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


During a conference with over a 100 lawyers in his courtroom, District Court Judge Dan Polster, who has been assigned to handle the consolidated multi-district litigation in the Opioid crisis cases, demanded that the parties in the extraordinarily complex litigation try to figure out a way to settle the whole matter.

In his remarks, Judge Polster explained his belief that everyone in litigation is somewhat responsible for the current opioid epidemic. From the doctors to drug makers, distributors, hospitals, and even governments and individuals, Judge Polster believes there's plenty of blame to share, but that pointing fingers just isn't worthwhile. He explained that on that day, based on the numbers, 150 individuals would die due to opioids.

Court Rejects Attack on Anti-Abortion Law

Tennesseans voted abortion rights out of the state constitution, and that settles it, a federal appeals court said.

Fifty-three percent of the voters approved the constitutional amendment, but opponents sued for a recount. The U.S Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously to reject the lawsuit in George v. Hargett.

"Although the subject of abortion rights will continue to be controversial in Tennessee and across our nation, it is time for uncertainty surrounding the people's 2014 approval and ratification of Amendment 1 to be put to rest," Judge David McKeague wrote.

Court Interprets Insurance Term: 'Illegal Use of Alcohol'

A day after the New Year's drinking ended, a federal appeals court ended a life insurance company's attempt to deny coverage to a drunk driver.

The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeal did not condone the driver's behavior -- he partied, crashed and suffered severe injuries. But the appeals court also did not let the insurer escape the terms of its own policy.

"This matter is about whether a contract should mean what it says," wrote Judge R. Guy Cole, Jr. in Heimer v. Companion Life Insurance Company.

Taxes May Be Collected From Forfeited Property, Maybe

The thing with gambling is, you never know what you're going to get -- or lose.

That's what happened with George Marcus Hall and property he got gambling. The federal government charged him with running an illegal gambling and money laundering operation, and took away his property.

But things got complicated when the local government liened on the property for unpaid taxes. The feds didn't want to give it all up in United States of America v. Hall.

Nestle Waters v. Mountain Glacier Continues

The case between Nestle Waters and Mountain Glacier could be called "the water wars," except for one thing.

There was a cease-fire when Mountain Glacier filed for bankruptcy and the case was stayed. Now reorganized, the company wants back into the fight.

Nestle Waters said Mountain Glacier waived its claims, but the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals said there will be another battle in Nestle Waters North America, Inc. v. Mountain Glacier, LLC.

6th Circuit: Detroit's Dog Ordinance Bites

Some 50,000 stray dogs roam -- sometimes in packs -- the streets and abandoned homes of Detroit.

That's how the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals describes the "dog problem" in Motor City. So how bad is it?

It's so bad the city passed an ordinance authorizing police to enter private property and seize animals without a warrant. That's bad, too, the appeals court said in Hardrick v. City of Detroit.

In the closely watched case of the anonymous blogger John Doe who runs the blog "Amthrax," the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a decision in this case of first impression which Doe and other anonymous bloggers may want to blog about.

The Signature Management v. Doe decision sets out the considerations for a federal court to consider when it comes to unmasking an anonymous blogger whose blogging has been found to violate the law and therefore would not be entitled to First Amendment protection. Though the appellate court did not order the "Amthrax" author revealed, it did remand with instructions for the lower court to reconsider their decision not to unmask.

Judge Sam Benningfield, of White County, Tennessee, made national headlines this spring, again over the summer, and is doing it one more time this fall. For the most part, it's all related to the same idea he had that was so wild it violated the Constitution.

Benningfield, back in May, issued an order that gave inmates 30 days credit in exchange for undergoing a birth control procedure. For male inmates, it involved a vasectomy, for female inmates, it involved a placement of the Nexplannon device, a birth control device that is implanted in the arm and lasts for three years. Not surprisingly, after his order was announced, an outcry and investigation ensued. As a result of that investigation, Benningfield received a public reprimand from the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct.

A group of blind voters, along with the National Federation of the Blind, successfully appealed the dismissal of their lawsuit against Ohio's Secretary of State, Jon Husted, to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. The case involves a challenge to Ohio's absentee voting process claiming it is discriminatory against blind voters under the ADA.

The case was dismissed after the state filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings. The state asserted that the requested relief was not reasonable or practical because the plaintiffs sought the implementation of certain online voting tools that had not been certified by the state's election board. The heart of the state's claim was that the plaintiffs were trying to use the ADA to get around state procedural laws. While the district court agreed, the circuit court did not.

Honeywell Retirees Won't Get Health Benefits

The Honeywell Autolite factory in Fostoria, Ohio, once employed more than 1,000 people; that was nearly 10 percent of the town's population.

Then, following a string of factory closures in the area, the spark plug plant started to close down. Today, there's only a handful of workers at the plant and not much they can do about it.

For Honeywell retirees, it's even worse. They had counted on health insurance benefits, but a federal appeals court said the company doesn't owe them any.