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Top 4 Opinions from Judge Richard Posner in 2011

By Robyn Hagan Cain | Last updated on

We have a well-documented law crush on Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Richard Posner. While some people think that public professions of law crushes are odd, we have found that we're not alone in our admiration for this particular jurist.

Every time we discuss Judge Posner with a fellow attorney, we hear the same thing: You love Judge Posner? I love him, too.

With that in mind, we're pandering to the Posner-philes and capping off the first week of 2012 with some of our favorite Posner-penned opinions of 2011.

  1. Sears Class Action. In a case Judge Posner described as "near frivolous," a plaintiff filed a class action suit against Sears Roebuck because his "stainless steel" dryer wasn't entirely made of stainless steel. The Seventh Circuit blocked the case from moving forward, but the Supreme Court vacated and remanded the case for reconsideration.
  2. Alien Tort Act Case. It's not often that a jurist throws down the gauntlet on a sister circuit, but Judge Posner is not your run-of-the-mill judge. Posner panned the Second Circuit's Kiobel decision in July, writing in Flomo v. Firestone Natural Rubber Co that corporations can be held liable under the Alien Tort Act.
  3. Junk Fax Act Class Action. Judge Posner may think that junk fax penalties are "draconian," but he accepts that the law is what it is, and he is merely tasked with interpreting it. That doesn't mean he has to certify a Junk Fax Act class action lawsuit. In November, Posner and company reversed and remanded a district court class action certification, finding that the attorneys' egregious misconduct in hunting for litigants raised questions about whether the attorneys could "fairly and adequately" represent the class.
  4. The Ostrich Opinion. You know we weren't going to get through this list without a nod to the famous ostrich opinion. In November, Judge Posner compared an attorney to an ostrich after the attorney failed to include dispositive precedent in his brief. To drive the point home, Posner included photographic illustrations. Amazing.

Will there be another top 4 Judge Posner-opinions list next year? Will our favorite Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals jurist remain in our analytical good graces? That may depend on the outcome in ACLU v. Alvarez, the police-recording case that the Seventh Circuit heard in September. During arguments, Judge Posner seemed skeptical of the idea that citizens have a right to record the police.

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