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Monday, November 29, 2010

Ind. Decisions - Two Indiana cases today from 7th Circuit, plus seed corn case out of Illinois

In American Bank v. City of Menasha (ND Ind., J. Springmann), a 12-page opinion, Judge Psoner writes:

The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 provides, with an immaterial exception, that “all discovery and other proceedings shall be stayed during the pendency of any motion to dismiss” a suit governed by the Act. 15 U.S.C. § 78u-4(b)(3)(B). The Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act of 1998 (SLUSA) amended the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act (PSLRA) to authorize the district court to “stay discovery proceedings in any private action in a State court, as necessary in aid of its jurisdiction, or to protect or effectuate its judgments, in an action subject to a stay of discovery pursuant to [section 78u-4(b)(3)(B), quoted above].” 15 U.S.C. § 78u-4(b)(3)(D). The question presented by this appeal is whether this provision of SLUSA authorizes the district court to enjoin a private securities plaintiff from gaining access to records that a state’s public-records law entitles members of the public to see and copy at their own expense. * * *

The City’s position is not only wrong; if one looks to the future it is futile. The City acknowledges that had American Bank requested the records before filing suit, there would have been no ground for refusing the request. So the only effect (beyond this case) of our affirming the district court would be that in the future private securities plaintiffs would file their publicrecords requests a few weeks or months before rather than (as in this case) a few weeks after filing suit.

Of course if states create discovery procedures but call them “requests for public records,” perhaps by deeming all records in the files of private corporations public, this would not defeat a motion for a stay. Substance trumps form. But in this case substance and form coincide. The judgment granting a stay is REVERSED.

In O'Connor-Spinner v. Astrue (SD Ind., J. Hamilton), a 15-page opinion involving a social security case, Judge Ripple concludes:
We conclude that the ALJ failed to direct the VE to the totality of Ms. O’Connor-Spinner’s limitations, thus leaving unsupported the determination that someone with her limitations could perform work in the national economy. We further conclude that the ALJ did not address potentially important evidence that Ms. O’Connor-Spinner has difficulty taking instructions and responding appropriately to supervisors. Accordingly, the judgment of the district court is reversed, and this case is remanded to the agency for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
Clifford, III v. Crop Production Services (CD Ill), a negligence case involving Illinois substantive law, begins:
The plaintiff below and appellant here, John C. Clifford, III, farmed seed corn under a contract with Monsanto. In 2007, at Monsanto’s direction, Clifford planted male and female strains of seed corn on three different fields. The male strains were labeled as being sensitive to two types of herbicides: sulfonylureas and pigment inhibitors. In early June, Clifford noticed weeds in the corn and asked Monsanto about potential herbicides he could use to control the weeds. Despite the corn’s sensitivity to sulfonylureas and pigment inhibitors, a Monsanto representative told Clifford that there were no restrictions on the types of herbicides that could be applied to the corn. Clifford then contacted a supplier of herbicides, appellee Crop Productions Services, Inc. (“CPS”), and asked it to send a representative to his farm in order to view the weeds. A CPS representative viewed the weeds and recommended that Clifford use a custom blend of herbicides containing Steadfast, a brand-name sulfonylurea herbicide, and Callisto, a brand-name pigment-inhibitor herbicide.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on November 29, 2010 10:16 AM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions