Employee's FLSA Suit Against Kellogg, Plus Criminal Matters - Criminal Law - U.S. Sixth Circuit
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Employee's FLSA Suit Against Kellogg, Plus Criminal Matters

Franklin v. Kellogg Co., 09-5880, involved a plaintiff's suit against Kellogg Company on behalf of herself and all similarly situated employees to recover wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for time spent donning and doffing Kellogg's mandatory food safety uniforms and protective equipment, and for time spent walking to and from the changing area and the time clock.

 

In affirming in part, the court held that section 203 is not an exemption and therefore not an affirmative defense.  Also, the items at issue are clothes within the meaning of section 203(o), and the evidence demonstrates that there was a custom or practice of nonpayment for time spent changing clothes under a bona fide CBA, and as such, time spent donning and doffing the equipment is excluded from "hours worked" under section 203(o).  However, the court reversed in part and remanded as, under the continuous workday rule, plaintiff may be entitled to payment for her post-donning and pre-donning walking time, and as such, the matter is remanded because there are questions of fact as to the length of time it took her to walk from the changing area to the time clock and whether that time was de minimis.

Wright v. Bell, 07-5305, concerned a challenge to the district court's denial of defendant's request for habeas relief from his 1984 conviction for committing two murders and a sentence of death.

In affirming, the court held that the admission of a doctor's testimony at the sentencing phase of the trial was harmless because, under the aggravating circumstances found by the jury, the sequence of the murders did not matter.  With respect to defendant's ineffective assistance of counsel claim, the state appellate court's decision that defendant's attorneys' performance at the sentencing phase was not constitutionally deficient was neither contrary to clearly established federal law nor an unreasonable application of federal law.  The court held that, regardless of whether the state ever actually offered defendant a life sentence in exchange for a guilty plea prior to trial, the evidence of plea negotiations was not relevant mitigation evidence.  Lastly, the district court correctly determined that the state courts had applied a procedural time bar to the claims presented for the first time in defendant's 1991 and 1995 petitions for post-conviction relief, and that therefore, defendant has procedurally defaulted the claims brought only in those petitions.

US v. Master, 08-6418, concerned a challenge to the district court's denial of a motion to suppress evidence found at defendant's home during the execution of a search warrant, in a prosecution of defendant for being a felon in possession of a firearm.  In remanding the case, the court held that the search violated defendant's Fourth Amendment rights as the judge's authority to issue warrants stems exclusively from Tennessee law, but that same source of law provides that the judge had no authority to issue a warrant for a search of defendant's home.  Thus, while it appears at first blush that suppression might be inappropriate in this case, the case is remanded to the district court for the purposes of re-examining the facts and balancing the interests required by Herring v. U.S. 129 S. Ct. 659 (2009).

McGuire v. State of Ohio, 07-3991, concerned a challenge to the district court's denial of defendant's request for habeas relief from his conviction for kidnapping, rape and aggravated murder and a sentence of death.  In  affirming, the court held that the Supreme Court of Ohio did not unreasonably apply federal law when it held that excluding a witness's statement did not violate defendant's constitutional rights and he was not entitled to habeas relief on this basis.  And, even assuming the trial court committed constitutional error by omitting a catch-all mitigation factor and appellate counsel performed deficiently in failing to challenge the omission before the Court of Appeals of Ohio, the Supreme Court of Ohio cured any resulting error by its reweighing of the proper aggravating circumstances and mitigating factors.  Lastly, the Supreme Court of Ohio did not unreasonably determine the facts when it held that sufficient evidence supports the jury's verdict that defendant is guilty of rape, and therefore guilty of aggravated murder and eligible for the death penalty.

Keith v. Bobby, 09-3871, concerned a challenge to the district court's denial of defendant's motion to reconsider its order transferring his request for habeas relief to the appellate court.  In affirming, the court held that defendant's Rule 59(e) motion was untimely and the appellate court's order barred the district court from reconsidering whether defendant's petition was "second or successive."

 

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