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Decisions In Criminal Matters, Plus Vendor Liability of a New Home Builder

By FindLaw Staff on June 09, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

In US v. Connors, No. 09-1143, the Seventh Circuit faced a challenge to the district court's judgment in civil forfeiture proceedings of defendant's home allegedly used to facilitate his illegal operation of Cuban cigar smuggling and distribution business, for which he was eventually convicted of.  In affirming the district court's judgment and the forfeiture order, the court held that the district court properly denied defendant's motion to dismiss based on the statute of limitations as the government filed its complaint within five years of the alleged offenses.  Furthermore, the district court's grant of summary judgment on the income deficiency theory is affirmed and, held that the property remains forfeited to the United States.   

US v. Rollins, No. 09-2293, the court faced a challenge to the district court's denial of defendant's motion for reconsideration of the court's denial of a motion for a new trial based on newly discovered evidence.  In vacating the judgment, the court held that the defendant filed his motion to reconsider within the time available for appeal and sought a substantive modification of the judgment, and therefore, the motion suspended the finality of the district court's order.  Here, the district court should have treated defendant's motion as a petition under section 2255 and asked him whether he wished to proceed on that basis or to have the motion dismissed.   

Tindle v. Pulte Home Corp., No. 09-2293, the court faced a challenge to the district court's grant of defendant's motion for summary judgment in plaintiff's suit against the builder of his new home for sustaining serious injuries when his foot and leg sank into a hole concealed underneath the sod in the backyard. 

In affirming the jugment, the court held that the summary judgment on plaintiff's vendor liability under Restatement (Second) of Torts section 353 claim was properly granted because plaintiff knew or had reason to know the condition and risk involved. The court went onto hold that plaintiff's claim also fails because he has failed to produce evidence that defendant knew or had reason to know of the dangerous condition at the time of the sale.   

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