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

January 2016 Archives

Retiree Benefits Case Goes Back to Trial Court for the 3rd Time

After what can only be called a meandering journey of legal issues through the courts, the Sixth Circuit remanded a collective bargaining agreement case back to the district court, again to re-evaluate the law consistent with SCOTUS's newly greenlit "ordinary principles of contract law."

Chief Judge Cole was quick to point out that the case of Tackett v. M&G Polymers had seen the inside of his courtroom before, and readers of his opinion could almost hear the weariness through his pen. This would have been the third time his court would be faced with making a substantive decision as to applicable law in this most ostensibly basic of CBA disputes.

A nursing home patient's agreement to arbitrate "any and all disputes" against the facility doesn't prevent his estate from bringing a wrongful death suit after he died in the home's care, the Sixth Circuit ruled last Friday.

The court rejected arguments that the Federal Arbitration Act gave the nursing home the right to compel arbitration, finding that the FAA did not change Kentucky state law on wrongful death suits.

A group of 194 employees fired by Vanderbilt University in the summer of 2013 can't pursue a class action -- and planned settlement -- against the university over Vanderbilt's violation of "mass layoff" laws, the Sixth Circuit ruled last week.

The canned employees alleged that Vanderbilt never provided them or 279 other employees 60-days notice as required by the mass layoff provisions of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act. But, to fall under WARN, a layoff must effect at least 500 workers, the Sixth found, and the two groups of fired employees were let go too far apart to be combined for WARN purposes.

6th Circuit Affirms Tribal Version of 'State's Interest' Test

In a rather interesting jurisdiction case, the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed a lower court's decision which held that a tribe did not have jurisdiction over a member's off-reservation criminal conduct. The circuit rule that the tribe essentially held criminal jurisdiction over the defendant inasmuch as it was needed to protect the tribe's self-governance and internal relations.

The case represents a refreshing dip into civil procedure by breaking away from federal and state courts, and into the world of Native American law.