Seventh Circuit Review


The Seventh Circuit, in its recent decision In Re Slave Descendants Litigation, dismissed the claims of plaintiffs seeking disgorgement of the profits earned by Northern companies as a result of their illegal involvement in slavery. It is the latest in a long line of reparations cases dismissed by courts for various reasons, including the statute of limitations. This Comment addresses the tolling doctrines the Seventh Circuit should have applied and questions the court’s reasoning with respect to the expiration of the statute of limitations. In doing so, it positions Slave Descendants within the history of reparations by recounting the relevant case law. It further delineates the holdings of the district court and the Seventh Circuit opinion in Slave Descendants and outlines the manner in which the court should have applied the standard for equitable estoppel, and the considerations of efficiency, equity, and history such an application would have satisfied.

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