United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit
Civil Procedure — mootness
A union’s challenge to an employer’s policy is moot after the aggrieved employee settles the case.
“[W]e do not need to answer definitively how the Super Tire Engineering Co. exception fits into the broader scheme of mootness doctrine. That question is for another day. Rather, applying the explicit language of Super Tire Engineering Co. resolves the issue here. To qualify for that mootness exception, the ongoing policy must ‘by its continuing and brooding presence, cast[ ] . . . a substantial adverse effect on the interests of the petitioning parties.’ Super Tire Engineering Co., 416 U.S. at 122. Nothing of that sort exists here. As discussed, the MPA has not proffered any other member who is faced with Ramskugler’s predicament. Further still, the MPA has not referenced someone who was in that position previously, which implies that Ramskugler was merely trapped in a sparsely populated limbo. The MPA has not even pled a single injury-in-fact. As such, the MPA has given us no reason to find the continuing policy a ‘brooding presence’ over it, much less one with a ‘substantial adverse effect.’ Id. This case is now ‘an abstract dispute about the law’ not linked to the rights of a particular plaintiff. Alvarez v. Smith, supra, 130 S. Ct. at 580. Federal courts cannot produce advisory opinions on such issues. It does not matter that the parties agreed to allow this suit to proceed as a declaratory judgment. They do not get to make that decision. Parties cannot contract around the limitations of federal court jurisdiction. Commodity Futures Trading Comm’n v. Schor, 478 U.S. 833, 850-51 (1986).”
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, Randa, J., Kanne, J.