Justia Family Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals
MidAmerican v. Cox, Sr., et al.
Parents appealed from the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of defendant, arguing that the district court erred in concluding that the antenuptial agreement between their son and his then-wife, Kathy L. Cox, was ineffective to waive Kathy's right to the funds in Michael's 401(k) plan. The son died before his divorce from Kathy was finalized. The parties agreed that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. 1001 et seq., governed the distribution of the funds in the plan. The court concluded that the son's designation of his Parents as beneficiaries of the plan must yield to Kathy's rights as a surviving spouse, agreeing with the district court that Kathy's consent did not satisfy the acknowledgment requirement of section 1055(c)(2)(A)(iii). View "MidAmerican v. Cox, Sr., et al." on Justia Law
Mehlhaff v. Allred
Debtor appealed from the bankruptcy court's order finding that her prepetition claim against her former spouse for alimony was property of her bankruptcy estate, and ordering her to turn that claim over to the trustee. The bankruptcy appellate panel (BAP) concluded that debtor had not shown that the right to alimony payments was different from any other stream of payments someone could have been ordered to pay to her under South Dakota law. Therefore, the BAP concluded that it fit within the broad definition under 11 U.S.C. 541(a)(1), and was not expressly excluded by section 541(b) or (c)(2). Thus, it was property of the estate, subject to any exemptions debtor could have under South Dakota law. Accordingly, the BAP affirmed the bankruptcy court's order. View "Mehlhaff v. Allred" on Justia Law
Midwest Foster Care, etc., et al v. Kincade, et al
Providers brought suit against the State, asserting that the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980 (CWA), 42 U.S.C. 670 et seq., gave them a privately enforceable right under 42 U.S.C. 1983 to receive payments from the State sufficient to cover the cost of certain statutorily enumerated components of foster care. At issue was whether Congress, in enacting the CWA, evinced a clear intent to grant foster care providers an individually enforceable right to foster care maintenance payments sufficiently large to cover the costs of each item enumerated in section 675(4)(A). The court held that Congress did not ambiguously confer such a right and, therefore, affirmed the district court's dismissal of the Providers' complaint for failure to state a claim. View "Midwest Foster Care, etc., et al v. Kincade, et al" on Justia Law
Dollar v. Smithway Motor Xpress, et al
Plaintiff sued her former employer alleging violations of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), 29 U.S.C. 2601 et seq. The district court found in favor of plaintiff and awarded back pay, front pay, and liquidated damages. The court rejected defendant's challenges to the district court's finding of liability. Even if defendants did not waive the affirmative defense of failure to mitigate damages, the court agreed with the district court's alternative holding that plaintiff's efforts to secure other employment were reasonable. The court vacated the award of front pay as overly speculative but affirmed the district court's judgment in all other respects. View "Dollar v. Smithway Motor Xpress, et al" on Justia Law
Slaven, et al v. Engstrom, et al
Plaintiffs, individually and as parents and next friends of C.S., A.S., and J.S., brought suit against the County under 42 U.S.C. 1983 for violations of their procedural due process rights stemming from their child-protection case. Plaintiffs' complaint related to the notice and hearing requirement of an emergency protective custody hearing. The court concluded that the County lacked any policymaking authority regarding the handling and scheduling of the EPC hearing and formal hearing. Plaintiffs' complaint essentially alleged that Minnesota law, and the state court judge's application of that law - not an independent County policy - caused the procedural due process violations. The County could not be liable to plaintiffs under section 1983 for the violation of their procedural due process rights based on the allegations contained in the complaint. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Slaven, et al v. Engstrom, et al" on Justia Law
Bosley v. Cargill Meat Solutions Corp.
Plaintiff, an employee of Cargill, sued under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), 29 U.S.C. 2601 et seq., asserting FMLA entitlement and retaliation claims. The district court granted Cargill's motion for summary judgment on both claims. The court held that plaintiff had provided insufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to find that she gave Cargill adequate notice under the FMLA; plaintiff's notice requirement was not excused on the basis of extraordinary circumstances; and there were no genuine issues of material fact as to her failure to satisfy her notice obligation under the FMLA and therefore, the district court did not err in dismissing plaintiff's entitlement claim. Further, plaintiff failed to make a prima facie case for FMLA retaliation and the district court did not err in dismissing this claim. View "Bosley v. Cargill Meat Solutions Corp." on Justia Law
A.J., et al v. UNUM, et al
Decedent, father of plaintiffs, died without naming a beneficiary of his Unum life insurance. Plaintiffs sued Unum, asserting a breach of the policy and an Employee Retirement Income Security Act, 29 U.S.C. 1002 et seq., violation. The district court concluded that they lacked standing and dismissed the suit. The court concluded that the estate's decision not to appeal precluded the children from having a reasonable or colorable claim to benefits. Because plaintiffs could not become entitled to benefits, the court held that the district court properly dismissed the case. View "A.J., et al v. UNUM, et al" on Justia Law
Marez v. Saint-Gobain Containers, Inc.
Kathleen Marez sued her former employer, Saint-Gobain Containers, Inc. for unlawful termination. Marez claimed that Saint-Gobain retaliated against her in violation of the family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and that Saint-Gobain committed gender discrimination in violation of the Missouri Human Rights Act (MHRA). A jury returned a verdict in Marez's favor on the FMLA claim and in Saint-Gobain's favor on the gender discrimination claim. The district court awarded Marez liquidated damages and part of her requested attorneys' fees. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, holding (1) there was sufficient evidence to support the jury's verdict in Marez's favor; (2) the district court did not abuse its discretion in awarding liquidated damages, as Saint-Gobain was liable for employment discrimination under the cat's-paw theory of liability, and liquidated damages may be awarded in eligible FMLA cases premised on cat's-paw liability; and (3) the district court did not abuse its discretion in its award of attorneys' fees. View "Marez v. Saint-Gobain Containers, Inc." on Justia Law
Bone v. G4S Youth Servs., LLC
Appellant appealed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of her employer, G4S Youth Services, LLC, and her supervisor, Todd Speight (Appellees), on Appellant's claims that they terminated her employment based on her race, age, and use of family medical leave. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, holding (1) because Appellant did not create a genuine issue of material fact as to whether G4S's legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for terminating her employment was merely a pretext for intentional race of age discrimination, the district court did not err in granting summary judgment in favor of Appellees on Appellant's race and age discrimination claims; and (2) because Appellant failed to raise a genuine issue of fact as to whether G4S retaliated against her for exercising her FMLA rights, the district court did not err in granting summary judgment on Appellant's Family and Medical Leave Act claims. View "Bone v. G4S Youth Servs., LLC" on Justia Law
Planned Parenthood Minn, N.D., S.D. v. Rounds
The Governor and Attorney General of South Dakota, along with two intervening crisis pregnancy centers and two of their personnel appealed the district court's permanent injunction barring enforcement of a South Dakota statute requiring the disclosure to patients seeking abortions of an "increased risk of suicide ideation and suicide" and the underlying grant of summary judgment in favor of Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and its medical director Dr. Carol Ball. The district court found that this advisory would unduly burden abortion rights and would violate physicians' First Amendment right to be free from compelled speech. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed, holding that on its face, the suicide advisory presented neither an undue burden on abortion rights nor a violation of physicians' free speech rights. View "Planned Parenthood Minn, N.D., S.D. v. Rounds" on Justia Law