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Friday, August 26, 2011

Ind. Decisions - One Indiana decision today from 7th Circuit, and one interesting case out of Illinois

In Serednyj v. Beverly Health Care (ND Ind., Miller), a 32-page opinion, Judge Richard L. Young (SD Ind., sitting by designation) writes:

Beverly Healthcare, LLC (“Beverly”), employed Victoria Serednyj as an Activity Director in Beverly’s Golden Living nursing home in Valparaiso, Indiana, from August 2006 to March 2007. In early January 2007, Serednyj learned she was pregnant, and, at the end of February 2007, she began to experience pregnancy-related complications. Her doctor placed her on bed rest for two weeks, and, at the end of this twoweek period, her doctor placed her on light duty restrictions. Serednyj asked to be accommodated, and Beverly denied her request under its modified work policy. Because Serednyj also did not qualify for leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), Beverly terminated her employment. Serednyj then filed suit against Beverly, alleging gender discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), pregnancy discrimination under Title VII, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (“PDA”), disability discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), and retaliation. Beverly moved for summary judgment, which the district court granted. Serednyj now appeals. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.
Here are some quotes from Judges Woods' 13-page opinion in Kasalo v. Harris & Harris, Ltd. (ND Ill.):
Mariana Kasalo sued Harris & Harris, Ltd., a collection agency, for violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1692 et seq. The parties agree that Harris attempted to collect an overdue hospital bill from Kasalo in a way that violated the Act and that Kasalo is entitled at least to statutory damages of $1,000. See 15 U.S.C. § 1692k(a)(2)(A). A modest sum, to be sure, but one that Congress has deemed necessary to deter abusive collection practices and to compensate victims. Given the parties’ agreement, one might expect that the case would have been resolved long ago; and, indeed, the parties made clear to the district court at the very start of the litigation that they intended to settle Kasalo’s individual claim. Yet here we are with an appeal from the district court’s decision to dismiss the case for want of prosecution. We have reached this point because Kasalo’s lawyer endeavored to transform the case into a class action, and the district court, frustrated by this effort, grew impatient and dismissed the whole action. The district court chose this course without considering its other options for whittling down claims or resolving the case outright. We are sympathetic to its view of the proposed class action, but we conclude that its decision to dismiss for want of prosecution was an abuse of discretion.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on August 26, 2011 01:57 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions