Bell v. Taylor, No. 14-3099 (7th Cir. 2015)Annotate this Case
Bell, a lawyer and photographer, alleged that three small Indianapolis business owners violated federal copyright laws and an Indiana theft statute by publishing on the internet a photo that he took of the Indianapolis skyline without his authorization. In August 2013, the district court set a deadline for filing motions for leave to amend the pleadings. Bell sought to amend his complaint (for a fourth time) eight months after the cut-off after learning that defendant Taylor had not actually used the photo at issue but had displayed a different photo belonging to Bell. The district court denied Bell’s motion, citing undue delay and his own carelessness. The district court granted defendants summary judgment on the damages issue, finding that Bell cannot demonstrate how they caused him financial harm and was not entitled to monetary recovery. The Seventh Circuit dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. Although the court purported to issue a “final judgment” after ruling on the summary judgment motion, it did so in error; the issue of injunctive relief was never adjudicated. Because Bell’s copyright claim was not entirely disposed of by the ruling, the judgment was not final.