U.S. Sixth Circuit - FindLaw

U.S. Sixth Circuit - The FindLaw 6th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog


The city of St. Johns, Michigan passed an ordinance banning unattended outdoor charitable donation bins. Planet Aid is a nonprofit organization that promotes sustainable food production and healthy lifestyles. Part of its business involves the use of such outdoor bins to get donations of clothes and shoes.

Of course you know where this is going, right? In January 2013, St. Johns directed Planet Aid to remove its donation bins, claiming the bins attracted "boxes and other refuse." Planet Aid refused and the city removed them. A year later, the city council passed an ordinance banning such bins, leading to this lawsuit.

Courts are continuing the trend toward striking down Draconian laws targeting sex offenders. Last year, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal disapproved of California's requirement that sex offenders hand over all their Internet usernames to the state attorney general. Last month, the California Supreme Court overturned a state law categorically banning sex offenders from living in certain areas.

At the end of March, a federal district judge in Michigan similarly struck parts of that state's Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA).

Just like the verse-chorus-verse structure of classic pop music, federal litigation follows a predictable formula, one that courts don't like litigants rearranging. This point was highlighted in a recent kerfuffle between two karaoke companies, Slep-Tone and Karaoke Kandy Store.

Not only were these two out of pitch with each other -- Slep-Tone accused Karaoke Kandy Store of trademark violations -- they could not get into beat with the courts, as the Sixth Circuit was forced to stay Slep-Tone's appeal for coming in before its cue.

A man stopped for speeding and arrested for possessing a kilo of heroin did not have his Fourth Amendment rights violated when police detained him so that a dog could sniff his car, the Sixth Circuit ruled on Tuesday. Sniffing out a car isn't a search under the Fourth, the court held, and does not implicate a citizen's reasonable expectation of privacy.

The case, United States v. Winters, challenged the further detention of Patrick Winters after he was pulled over and issued a speeding ticket and the use of the dog to sniff his car without a warrant.

When is an opinion that turns out to be wrong an untrue statement of fact? Only when it is not sincerely held, the Supreme Court ruled last week in a securities fraud case. The Court's decision in Omnicare v. Laborers District Council Construct Industry Pension Fund, overturned a recent Sixth Circuit holding and reconciled a split between the Sixth and other circuits.

Omnicare had been sued for securities fraud stemming from a statement that it believed it was complying with the law. The Sixth Circuit had ruled that plaintiffs did not have to allege that the belief was not sincerely held; that it was false was good enough. That didn't work for the Supreme Court, which chided the circuit for failing to sufficiently distinguish between fact and opinion.

A Mexican citizen who pled guilty to violating U.S. immigration law cannot have his sentence overturned because the district court failed to directly reference applicable sentencing guidelines, the Sixth Circuit ruled on Monday. Jose Solano-Rosales was sentenced to supervised release after he pled guilty to entering the U.S. without authorization after having been previously removed subsequent to a felony conviction.

During the sentencing, the district court never explicitly referenced the relevant federal sentencing guidelines, which generally recommended against supervised release. However, the district court's error did not impact Solano-Rosales' substantive rights, the Sixth Circuit ruled, since the reasons for supervised release and its deterrent effects were thoroughly discussed during sentencing.

One town over from where your author grew up lies the City of Painesville, Ohio, where in 2010, Painesville police officers electrocuted David Lee Nall with a TASER for 26 seconds. Nall suffered a heart attack and permanent brain damage as a result. He needs assistance with daily life tasks and has trouble remembering things.

All of this led to a civil rights lawsuit against the Painesville police. They asserted qualified immunity, but a federal district judge said "no way," as did the Sixth Circuit yesterday.

Meal breaks are generally supposed to be a time when employees aren't working. After all, if they're working during their break, then it's not really a break, is it?

That's what some current and former security guards at Detroit's MotorCity Casino thought. Their bargaining agreement with the casino allowed them to take 30-minute paid breaks and use the employee cafeteria, but they weren't allowed to leave the casino property and had to respond to calls over their radios.

Monitoring the radios, they claimed, was compensable work time, not a break. The Sixth Circuit, however, disagreed.

6th Cir. Year in Review: Top 10 Blog Posts of 2014

Let's play a word association game. I say "Sixth Circuit." You say ...

First circuit to rule against gay marriage since Windsor. A circuit that battles the Ninth Circuit for the title of "most reversed" A circuit that is somewhere in the Midwest.

Let's see how this year fit into our mental schematic, shall we? Here are the 10 most popular Sixth Circuit blog posts for 2014:

The Sixth Circuit today batted away a labor suit brought by the Michigan Corrections Organization, a union of prison correction officers, against the Michigan Department of Corrections.

The federal appeals court had no trouble affirming the district court's dismissal for absence of a cognizable federal claim. It took the time, however, to address, and dismiss, some of the plaintiffs' more novel theories of relief.