« Ind. Decisions - More on: Supreme Court denies transfer in Mid American Sound | Main | Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit decides a Wheaton College (Ill.) case on emergency contraception »

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit decides one Indiana case today, singling out attorney ...

In Darryl Pierce v. Visteon Corporation (SD Ind., McKinney), a 10-page opinion, Judge Easterbrook writes:

Federal law requires em ployers to offer laid off or discharged workers an opportuni ty to continue health insurance (including dental and vision benefits) at their own expense. This is called COBRA cover age, after the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985. An employer has 44 days after the end of a person’s employment to provide notice and essential details. * * *

Plaintiffs in this suit, which the district court certified as a class action, contend that Visteon Corp. failed to deliver timely notice to some of its ex-­employees. The district court defined the class in a way that contains 1,593 persons. * * *

The class filed a notice of appeal on July 11, 2014, and contends that the penalties are too low, the class too small, and the attorneys’ fees too modest. * * *

We were interested in two things: whether these loose ends had been tied up, and, if not, whether the omissions affected the finality of the June 25 decision, as opposed to providing a ground to reverse it. Our briefing order directs counsel to address “how Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(c)(3) inter acts with Rule 58 in class action cases.”

Ronald E. Weldy, representing the class, ignored our question. His post-­‐‑argument memorandum does not men tion Rule 23(c)(3). Visteon’s lawyers, by contrast, addressed the issue with care. * * *

That’s not all. We have mentioned Weldy’s failure to comply with our order to address the interaction between Rule 23(c)(3) and Rule 58. And his brief on the merits has problems beyond those pointed out already. It presents 13 issues for decision, violating the principle that appellate counsel must concentrate attention on the best issues. (To brief more than three or four issues not only diverts the judges’ attention but also means that none of the issues will be addressed in the necessary depth; an appellate brief cov-­‐‑ ering 13 issues can spend only a few pages on each.) The brief’s writing is careless to boot; it conveys the impression of “dictated but not read.” Here are two sentences: “This Court should be entered a high daily statutory penalty in this matter. Respectfully, the award of the District Court to the contrary law and an abuse of discretion.” There’s more, equally ungrammatical. Weldy is in no position to contend that his compensation is too low.

The appeal is limited to the award of attorneys’ fees, which is AFFIRMED

Posted by Marcia Oddi on July 1, 2015 07:21 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions