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Judicial Reform Tenth Circuit

United States Court of Appeals: 10th Circuit

Leans Pro Freedom
Total Judgeships: 


Political Makeup: 

7 Dem – 5 GOP

Denver, Colorado; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Wichita, Kansas
Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming


About The Court:

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals was established on February 28, 1929. Each of the districts in the Court's jurisdiction were part of the Eight Circuit until it was divided by a congressional statute. The Tenth Circuit is vast, comprising 560,625 square miles, which is almost 20 percent of the land mass of the U.S.


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Courts Rule in Favor of Prisoner in Need of Medical Care

Tue, 08/12/2014

Al-Turki v. Robinson, et al: While in prison one night, Plantiff Al-Turki began to experience severe pain in his left side and abdomen, to the point where Al-Turki collapsed, vomited, and believed he was dying. He reported this to a correctional officer, who contacted the medical center where the Defendant Robinson was on duty. Upon learning of Al-Turki’s condition, Robinson refused to see Al-Turki because the complaint was not an emergency. Al-Turki reported this severe pains two more times, and both times Robinson refused to see him, again saying it was not an emergency and she believed he posed an escape risk. At his medical appointment the next morning, Al-Turki passed two small kidney stones. The district court ruled that Plaintiff could prove a claim of deliberate indifference to medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment.


The Circuit Court affirmed

Read the full decision here

Court Allows Hospital to Ignore a Contract

Wed, 08/06/2014

Salzer v. SSM Health Care of Oklahoma: Richard Salzer was treated at an SSM Health Care of Oklahoma facility for an accident. Under contract, Salzer’s insurance company was required to cover care that any customers receive at the SSM facility; prohibiting SSM from charging Salzer for the care he received. Salzer sued SSM for a breach of contract. The district court denied his motion to remand because his claims were supposedly preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974


The Tenth Circuit Court affirmed the district court’s decision; effectively ruling that SSM was justified in breaching Salzer’s contract.

Read the full decision here

Unlawful Car Search Ruled Unconstitutional

Sat, 06/21/2014

Felders, et al. v. Malcom, et al.: A state trooper stopped Sherida Felders for speeding in Utah and asked her and the passengers why they were traveling to Colorado. Based on perceived inconsistencies of their answers, the trooper asked to search the car for drugs. After Felders refused, the trooper called for assistance from a K-9 Unit officer to conduct a dog sniff. The two-hour search yielded no drugs. Felders and her passengers sued, claiming that the search was unlawful and in violation of the 4th Amendment. The District Court denied the officer's motion for summary judgment.


The Tenth Circuit Court upheld the decision, concluding that the officer did not have probable cause to search the vehicle.

Read the full decision here

Unreasonable Request of Extended Paid Sick Leave

Thu, 05/29/2014

Hwang v. Kansas State University: Grace Hwang was given a six-month paid leave of absence by Kansas State University to seek cancer treatment. Following her doctor’s advice, she sought an extension for another semester, but the university had a policy allowing no more than six months for sick leave. Hwang sued the school for violating the Rehabilitation Act, but the District Court dismissed her complaint.


The Tenth Circuit affirmed the decision, concluding that reasonable accommodations for employees are “all about enabling employees to work, not to not work.”

Read the full decision here

Police Use Excessive Force

Wed, 03/12/2014

Estate of Marvin L. Booker, et al. v. Gomez, et al.: After being arrested for failure to appear at a hearing regarding a drug charge, Marvin Booker died as officers restrained him in response to his alleged resistance. Officers pinned him face-down to the ground, one placed him in a chokehold, and another tased him. The District Court denied the officers’ motion for summary judgment on qualified immunity grounds, finding that the officers used excessive force and then failed to appropriately tend to Booker’s resulting need for medical attention.


The Tenth Circuit Court affirmed the decision.

Read the full decision here

Scrutiny of Employers Has Become Excessive

Thu, 02/20/2014

Macon v. United Parcel Service, Inc.: Jeff Macon sued United Parcel Service (UPS) for firing him in violation of his rights under the Kansas worker’s compensation statute. UPS claimed to have fired him for dishonesty. After the review of uncontested facts, the District Court concluded that he was discharged in good faith.


A separate investigation was conducted by a regional independent union/management grievance panel for UPS. Based upon the results of that investigation, the Tenth Circuit affirmed.

Read the full decision here

Anti-Discrimination Laws Lead to Forced Association

Wed, 01/22/2014

Smothers v. Solvay Chemicals, Inc.: Steven Smothers sued Solvay Chemical, Inc. for alleged discrimination and violation of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by firing him on the basis of his medical disability and resulting absences from work. The District Court ruled in favor of Solvay on Smothers’ FMLA and ADA claims and on his state law claim for breach of implied contract.


The Tenth Circuit reversed on the FMLA and ADA claims, and affirmed on the contract claim.

Read the full decision here

1st Amendment Protects Political Contributions

Thu, 12/19/2013

Republican Party of New Mexico, et al. v. King, et al.: Before “Citizens United” in 2010, New Mexico had a campaign finance law that imposed limitations on the amount an individual may contribute to a political committee. Potential donors, political parties, and political committees challenged the law’s constitutionality, and the District Court agreed that it violated the 1st Amendment. On appeal, the defendants argued that the limitations furthered a compelling interest in preventing corruption.


The Tenth Circuit Court upheld the ruling that the state law could not be reconciled with Citizens United.

Read the full decision here