Lack of Consideration Could Lead to Lack of Protection

Author: Brynn Stylinski, Contributing Member, University of Cincinnati Law Review

Discrimination and equal pay have been brought back into the public eye through recent celebrity revelations of huge disparities between the salaries of actors and actresses and the boycott of the Oscars by several stars. These issues have long been a part of our society, however, and courts have attempted to navigate protective legislation such as Title VII in many different ways over the years. Earlier this year, the Seventh Circuit addressed the case of a Mexican-American woman who believed Continue reading “Lack of Consideration Could Lead to Lack of Protection”

The Seventh Circuit Revisits Standing for Data Breach Class Actions

By Zachariah DeMeola, Guest Editor, BakerHostetler
Link to original post: http://bit.ly/1pOpf9K 

 

One obstacle for named plaintiffs in proposed data breach class actions is the extent to which plaintiffs must allege an injury-in-fact to have standing. Disputes often arise about whether proactive efforts to mitigate against the potential misuse of stolen data, such as utilizing credit monitoring services, are sufficient to confer Article III standing. Since the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Clapper v. Amnesty International USA, Continue reading “The Seventh Circuit Revisits Standing for Data Breach Class Actions”

Is geographic location relevant when “caring for” a family member under the Family Medical Leave Act?

Author: Stephanie Scott, Associate Member, University of Cincinnati Law Review

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows employees to take up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave to care for a family member with a serious health condition.[1]  However, courts have struggled to interpret what “caring for” a family member must consist of under the FMLA. Particularly, limitations on the geographic locations Continue reading “Is geographic location relevant when “caring for” a family member under the Family Medical Leave Act?”

Defining “Public Disclosure” Under The False Claims Act: How Loud Must The Whistle Be Blown?

Author: Collin L. Ryan, Associate Member, University of Cincinnati Law Review

The term “whistleblower,” in general, refers to someone who informs on another’s illegal activities. The False Claims Act (FCA), for example, is one of several federal statutes that encourage individuals to disclose to the government their knowledge of another’s illegal activities, i.e., to blow the proverbial whistle.[1] Under the FCA, private individuals can receive large sums of money for blowing the whistle on fraud committed against the government. But once a whistle is blown, the FCA’s “public disclosure bar” prevents subsequent whistleblowers from obtaining rewards for the previously-disclosed fraud.[2] The issue, therefore, is in what manner must the whistle be blown in order for the FCA’s public disclosure bar to go into effect. For a majority of circuit courts that have addressed the issue, the public disclosure bar is not triggered unless the whistle is blown loud enough for the general public to hear it.[3] The Seventh Circuit, however, holds the whistle needs to be blown only loud enough for it to reach the ears of “a competent government official,” regardless of whether the public hears it.[4] Because the Seventh Circuit’s interpretation aligns more with the purpose of the FCA’s whistleblowing provision, it is more persuasive and should be followed by other courts.

Continue reading “Defining “Public Disclosure” Under The False Claims Act: How Loud Must The Whistle Be Blown?”

The Formal Notice Requirement Behind Rule 11 Sanctions: Why an Informal Threat Should Not Be Treated as a Binding Promise

Author: Collin L. Ryan, Associate Member, University of Cincinnati Law Review

Talk is cheap, put your money where your mouth is, et cetera—all idioms that reflect a common underlying theme that in order for one’s statements to be taken seriously, one must take a formal action threatening stern consequences. Anything less, and others will think the statements insignificant. In a recent decision from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Penn LLC v. Prosper Bus. Dev. Corp., the court found that the same theme applies to civil procedure—that for purposes of Rule 11 sanctions, an informal warning letter is insufficient, and formal service of a motion is required.[1] While other circuit courts have reached similar conclusions,[2] the Seventh Circuit disagrees, holding that strict compliance with the formalities of the sanctions process is not required.[3] However, in consideration of the court’s textual arguments, policy rationale, and practical implications, the reasoning of the Sixth Circuit is more persuasive, and other jurisdictions should not follow the Seventh Circuit’s interpretation of Rule 11.

Continue reading “The Formal Notice Requirement Behind Rule 11 Sanctions: Why an Informal Threat Should Not Be Treated as a Binding Promise”

Restricting Content Without Restricting Content: Is Springfield’s Anti-Panhandling Ordinance Truly “Content-Neutral?”

Author: Collin L. Ryan, Associate Member, University of Cincinnati Law Review

Springfield, Illinois enacted an ordinance that prohibits panhandling within the city’s downtown historical district—an area that comprises “less than 2% of the City’s area but contain[s] its principal shopping, entertainment, and governmental areas, including the Statehouse and many state-government buildings.”[1] “The ordinance defines panhandling, in pertinent part, as [a]ny solicitation made in person . . . in which a person requests an immediate donation of money or other gratuity.”[2] The ordinance does, however, permit the use of signs with written requests for donations, as well as requests for donations at a later time.[3]

Plaintiffs, the recipients of citations for violating the ordinance, sought a preliminary injunction to prevent enforcement of the ordinance.[4] When considering whether to grant or deny a preliminary injunction, a court must consider, among other factors, whether plaintiffs are “likely to succeed on the merits.”[5] Here, the question of the plaintiffs’ “likely success on the merits” hinged upon the distinction between content-neutral and content-based restrictions on free speech.

Continue reading “Restricting Content Without Restricting Content: Is Springfield’s Anti-Panhandling Ordinance Truly “Content-Neutral?””