Conagra Foods, Inc. v Kraft Foodservice, Inc.

Conagra appealed summary judgment in favor of Kraft and two other defendants. One defendant is a trust and the trust defendant removed the case from state to federal court. The panel asked for supplemental briefing on the federal courts subject matter jurisdiction and held there was none and remanded. It held that when a trust is a party to a case in its own name, under United States Supreme Court precedent, the citizenship of the trust is determined by looking at the citizenship of the members of the trust which must include at a minimum the beneficiaries of the trust. The panel noted it was adopting the minority view on the matter, but, reasoned it was bound to follow the Supreme Court’s actual precedent in the area. Here, there was no evidence that the beneficiaries of the trust defendant were not Kansas citizens, thus, diversity was not proven, judgment was reversed and the case was remanded to be remanded to state court. The panel left open the question of whether trustee citizenship must be considered for a case when that issue will be dispositive.

United States v Cassius

Cassius challenged his sentence arguing the district court erred by finding drug weights in excess of the amount found by the jury and basing his sentence on the higher amount. The panel affirmed. It held that because Cassius’ sentence was within the statutory range based on the jury verdict, there was no error as judges are still allowed to make weight determinations to guide sentencing within the statutory range. The panel noted this outcome is consistent with the views of all circuits which have ruled on the issue. It also noted that there were 10th Circuit unpublished opinions holding the opposite, but, those are not binding.

Riser v QEP Energy

Riser sued QEP alleging violations of the Equal Pay Act and Title VII. The district court granted summary judgment to QEP. The panel affirmed in part, reversed in part and remanded. It held that Riser stated a prima facia case for equal pay violations as she performed the same or nearly same job duties as the two men who took over her duties, was paid 30 to 40 % less and there was no sex neutral explanation a the summary judgment stage as the pay system did not explain the pay differences and the need to make a higher offer to one of the males only explained part of the difference. The panel also held that the disparities in pay stated a claim under Title VII and for age discrimination given the lack of a sex neutral explanation for the disparities. The panel finally held her retaliation claims were waived for lack of briefing and argument.

United States v Wray

Wray appealed his career criminal sentence arguing his statutory rape conviction was not a crime of violence for sentencing guideline purposes. The panel agreed and remanded for resentencing. It held the Colorado crime of sex with a minor 15 to 17 when the perpetrator is more than 10 years older is not a forcible sex crime as there is no element of force in the statutory definition and the guidelines do not incorporate stator rape in the career criminal guidelines while they do in other parts of the guidelines signifying stator rape is not forcible for career criminal purposes. The panel also held the statutory rape crime here is strict liability as there is no mens rea for the age of the victim element and thus not within the residual clause of eh guideline.