U.S. Sixth Circuit: November 2010 Archives
U.S. Sixth Circuit - The FindLaw 6th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

November 2010 Archives

John B. v. Goetz, 09-6145

Portion of a consent decree entered in a 1998 class action challenge to Tennessee's managed care program under the Medicaid Act vacated

John B. v. Goetz, 09-6145, concerned a challenge to the district court's denial of defendants' motion to vacate a consent decree entered in a 1998 class action challenge to Tennessee's managed care program under the Medicaid Act claiming that the Tennessee officials charged with implementing TennCare failed to provide early and periodic screening, diagnosis, and treatment services in violation of the Medicaid Act.

US v. Reid, 09-5142

Convictions of a husband and wife for conspiracy to commit money laundering involving a large-scale drug trafficking operation

US v. Reid, 09-5142, concerned a challenge to convictions of a husband and wife for conspiracy to commit money laundering and related offenses, arising from a large-scale drug trafficking operation.

US v. Gibbs, 09-2031

Defendant's prior convictions for purposes of computing offense level

US v. Gibbs, 09-2031, concerned a challenge to the district court's imposition of a 108-month sentence in a prosecution of defendant for being a felon in possession of a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. section 922(g)(1).  In vacating the sentence, and remanding for resentencing, the court held that defendant's prior convictions for "walkaway" prison escape and resisting and obstructing an officer do not constitute crimes of violence for purposes of computing defendant's offense level.

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Brooks v. State of Tennessee, 07-5415

Habeas petition from first degree murder conviction

Brooks v. State of Tennessee, 07-5415, concerned a challenge to the district court's denial of defendant's request for habeas relief, but grant of certificate of appealability, in defendant's request for habeas relief from his convictions for first-degree felony murder, especially aggravated robbery, theft of property, and setting fire to personal property.

US v. Henderson, 08-3439

Conviction for murdering witnesses who testified in defenant's bank robbery trial

US  v. Henderson, 08-3439, concerned a challenge to a conviction and sentence of defendant for killing two witnesses in retaliation for providing information and testifying against him in a 1981 federal bank robbery prosecution.

 

US v. United Tech. Corp., 08-4256

Government's suit against maker of fighter jet engines for reimbursement under the False Claims Act

US v. United Tech. Corp., 08-4256, concerned a suit filed by the United States against United Technologies under the False Claims Act and common  law, seeking reimbursement for manipulating cost estimates to convince the Air Force to award the company a large share of the work to make fighter jet engines.

Defoe v. Spiva, 09-6080

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Suit challenging school district's decision banning displays of the Confederate flag in public schools

Defoe v. Spiva, 09-6080, concerned a challenge to the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendants, in plaintiffs' suit against a county, a school board and other individuals, claiming that the banning of displays of the Confederate flag in the schools violated their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights.

US v. Curb, 07-5286

Defendant's sentence for crack cocaine conviction reversed and remanded in light of Kimbrough and Spears

US v. Curb, 07-5286, concerne a challenge to the district court's imposition of a sentence of twenty-one years and ten months' imprisonment to be followed by eight years of supervised release, in a prosecution of defendant for crack cocaine related offenses.  In reversing, the court remanded for resentencing, the court held that, although defendant's challenge to the district court's enhancement of the total offense level for his status as a career offender fails, defendant's sentence is reversed and remanded for resentencing in light of the Supreme Court's recognition of crack-to-powder cocaine sentencing disparities in Kimbrough and Spears.

Schwalm v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 09-4275

Termination of disability benefits affirmed

Schwalm v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 09-4275, concerned a challenge to the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's suit against an insurer's decision to terminate plaintiff's long-term disability benefits for complications caused by a spinal fusion surgery.  In affirming, the court held that the insurer's decision was not arbitrary and capricious, and its conclusion that plaintiff was no longer disabled within the meaning of the plan is supported by substantial evidence.

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US v. Walden, 08-5641

Denial of motion to suppress in drug-related conviction

US v. Walden, 08-5641, concerned a challenge to the district court's refusal to consider an untimely motion to suppress made after defendant withdrew his guilty plea, in a prosecution of defendant for possession with the intent to distribute narcotics.

 

Ellison v. Balinski, 09-2033

Civil rights suit against an investigator for unreasonable search and seizure

Ellison v. Balinski, 09-2033, concerned a challenge to the jury verdict in favor of the plaintiff on the Fourth Amendment claim and an award of $100,000 in compensatory damages, in plaintiff's 42 U.S.C. section 1983 suit for violation of her Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures, and a state law claim for libel and slander.

 

Robertson v. Simpson, 07-6191

Equitable tolling in defendant's habeas petition

Robertson v. Simpson, 07-6191, concerned a challenge to the district court's denial of defendant's petition for habeas relief filed one month beyond the one-year statute of limitations, holding that defendant failed to meet his burden of proving that he was entitled to equitable tolling.  The court remanded the matter for a determination of whether defendant's attorney's cocaine use and possible misadvice constitute sufficient extraordinary circumstances to entitle defendant to equitable tolling.

 

US v. Gross, 08-2362

Tax evasion conviction affirmed

US v. Gross, 08-2362, concerned a challenge to the district court's conviction of defendant for attempting to evade or defeat tax and related crimes and imposition of a 21-month sentence.  In affirming, the court held that the defendant committed an affirmative act of tax evasion when he submitted false W-4 forms to his employer and neither the IRS's receipt of his employer's W-2 forms nor the Paperwork Reduction Act excused defendant's failure to file a tax return.  Further, defendant's argument concerning his supposed good-faith defense is meritless.  Lastly, the court held that the district court did not err in looking to defendant's employer's W-2 forms in determining defendant's base offense level, and his sentence did not violate Apprendi.

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McCarthy v. City of Cleveland, 09-4149

Plaintiff's constitutional challenge to the traffic camera ordinance

McCarthy v. City of Cleveland, 09-4149, concerned a challenge to the district court's dismissal of plaintiffs' suit for failure to state a cause of action under the Takings Clause of either the United States or Ohio Constitution, in plaintiffs' 42 U.S.C. section 1983 suit against the City of Cleveland, claiming that the city's decision to enforce its traffic camera ordinance against drivers who lease their cars constituted an unconstitutional taking of private property without just compensation because the ordinance originally did not provide for lessee liability.

Sykes v. Anderson, 08-2088

Civil rights action against police officers and a city

Sykes v. Anderson, 08-2088, concerned a challenge to a jury verdict in favor of the plaintiffs on their claims against two police officers and award of over $2.5 million in compensatory and punitive damages, in plaintiffs' 42 U.S.C. section 1983 actions against several police officers, asserting claims of false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, and denial of due process, and against the City of Detroit claiming that the city failed to respond to citizen complaints and that it failed to train and supervise its employees, following their overturned convictions for state crimes of "Larceny by Conversion" and "False Report of a Felony."

Camaj v. Holder, 09-3926

Petition for review, brought by a native and citizen of the former Yugoslavia, BIA's denial of motion to reopen dismissed

Camaj v. Holder, 09-3926, concerned a petition for review brought by a native and citizen of the former Yugoslavia of the BIA's affirmance of an IJ's denial of his motion to reopen proceedings after the issuance of an in absentia deportation order.

De la Paz v. Holder, 09-3229

Denial of petition for review DHS's reinstatement of its earlier order excluding Mexican citizen from the U.S.

De la Paz v. Holder, 09-3229, concerned a Mexican citizen's petition for review of a final order of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reinstating an earlier order excluding petitioner from the country.

Gamel v. City of Cincinnati, 10-3665

District court's refusal to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over city retirees' state-law claims affirmed

Gamel v. City of Cincinnati, 10-3665, concerned city retirees' putative class action lawsuit against the City of Cincinnati to prevent the city from implementing an ordinance requiring city retirees to pay for part of their post-retirement health insurance benefits.

US v. Holcomb, 08-6520

Defendant's sentence for escaping from federal prison affirmed

US v. Holcomb, 08-6520, concerned a challenge to the district court's imposition of a 10-month sentence upon a defendant convicted for escaping from a federal prison camp.  In affirming the sentence, the court held that the district court's decision was well reasoned and sufficiently detailed to easily pass muster as procedurally reasonable.  The court also held that defendant's sentence was substantively reasonable as the district court properly calculated the applicable guidelines range and discussed the relevant section 3553(a) factors, evaluated the nature and circumstances of the offense and the need for the sentence imposed, in determining that a below-guidelines sentence would best differentiate between this case and other more serious escapes.

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US v. Monea Family Trust I, 09-3730

Trustee's suit challenging forfeiture order of personal items used by convicted beneficiary

US v. Monea Family Trust I, 09-3730, concerned a petition filed by a family trust and several other parties, seeking to amend a district court's order of forfeiture regarding several items of personal property, including a diamond ring, used in a money-laundering scheme by a convicted beneficiary of the trust.

US v. Battaglia, 08-4275

Application of five level enhancement to defendant's sentence for child pornography conviction affirmed

US v. Battaglia, 08-4275, concerned a challenge to the district court's application of a five-level enhancement under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines in finding that defendant had traded or attempted to trade child pornography, iIn a prosecution of defendant for knowingly receiving and distributing child pornography and for possessing child pornography.

Jones v. Muskegon County, 09-2125

Deceased inmate's father's civil rights suit

Jones v. Muskegon County, 09-2125, concerned a challenge to the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendants, in a deceased inmate's father's action raising a 42 U.S.C. section 1983 claim and state law claims for gross negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress against members of the medical staff, corrections officers, and the county, for his son's death while incarcerated at the county jail.

 

Landrum v. Mitchell, 06-4194

Challenge district court's grant of defendant's petition for habeas relief on ineffective assistance of counsel claim

Landrum v. Mitchell, 06-4194, concerned a challenge to the district court's grant of defendant's petition for habeas relief on the basis of guilt-phase ineffective assistance of counsel.  In reversing the judgment, the court held that defendant procedurally defaulted his claim of ineffective assistance of trial counsel for failing to seek admission of witness's testimony during the guilt phase.  Further, defendant has not shown cause to excuse default of the claim because he has also procedurally defaulted his ineffective assistance of appellate counsel claim.  Lastly, the court held that the balance of defendant's guilt phase ineffective assistance claims are without merit.

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US v. Peebles, 09-1986

Defendant's sentence procedurally unreasonable

US v. Peebles, 09-1986, concerned a challenge to the district court's imposition of a ten-month sentence upon a defendant for violating the conditions of her supervised release.  In vacating the sentence and remanding for resentencing, the court held that defendant's sentence is procedurally unreasonable because the district court did not calculate the appropriate guideline range and because it is impossible to determine with certainty what sentencing range the district court relied on and whether the district court meant to impose a sentence within or above that range.

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Bates v. Dura Auto. Sys., Inc., 09-6351

Employees' ADA suit against employer for drug testing policy

Bates v. Dura Auto. Sys., Inc., 09-6351, concerned a challenge to the district court's holding, that individuals do not need to be disabled to assert claims under section 12112(b)(6), in this interlocutory appeal in plaintiffs' suit against their former employer, claiming that the employer's drug testing policy violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.

 

US v. Watkins, 09-3966

Denial of sentence reduction in crack cocaine conviction affirmed

US v. Watkins, 09-3966, concerned a challenge to the district court's denial of a sentence reduction pursuant to 18 U.S.C. section 3582(c)(2), in a prosecution of defendant for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute crack cocaine.

 

Teamsters Local Union No. 783 v. Anheuser-Busch, Inc., 09-6065

Union's suit against Anheuser-Busch to compel arbitration over pension rights and benefits

Teamsters Local Union No. 783 v. Anheuser-Busch, Inc., 09-6065, concerned a union's suit against Anheuser-Busch seeking to compel arbitration over Section 11 of the collective bargaining agreement and its effect on pension rights and benefits.