Seventh Circuit Abandons Damasco, Says Offers of Judgment Don’t Moot Cases

    In Chapman v. All American Painting, Inc., the Seventh Circuit today overruled a string of decisions, including Damasco v. Clearwire Corp., and held that a rejected offer of judgment that would have provided a plaintiff with complete relief does not moot the plaintiff's claims. The court adopted the analysis of Justice Kagan's dissenting opinion in Genesis Healthcare Corp. v. Symczyk (which, as the Seventh Circuit pointed out, was not disagreed with by the majority in the case) that a rejected offer of judgment cannot have mootness consequences because it does not prevent the court from providing effectual relief.

    The opinion was written by Judge Easterbrook and joined by Judge Posner (who had earlier pioneered the now-disavowed view that a rejected offer of judgment may moot a plaintiff's claim). The court explained that it realized the issue is currently before the Supreme Court in Campbell-Ewald Co. v. Gomez but wanted to "clean up the law of this circuit promptly, rather than require [litigants] to wait another year for the Supreme Court’s decision."

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