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

February 2017 Archives

Tax Loophole Upheld by 6th Circuit

Caligula, the notorious Roman emperor, posted the tax laws in fine print and so high that citizens could not read them.

"How can citizens comply with what they can't see?" the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeal said in comparing the short-lived emperor to the commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service. "And how can anyone assess the tax collector's exercise of power in that setting?"

Reversing a tax court decision, the federal appeals court upbraided the IRS commissioner for penalizing taxpayers for their contributions to Roth IRA's. The contributions were designed to avoid taxes within the scope of the law at the time, but the commissioner "recharacterized" the transactions to extract more tax dollars.

"As it turns out, the Commissioner does not have such sweeping authority," Judge Jeffrey Sutton wrote for the unanimous court. "And neither do we."

During his unconventional press conference on Thursday, President Trump described the Ninth Circuit, as "in chaos." It was "a circuit that has been overturned a record number," he said, going on to explain that "this is just a number I heard, that they are overturned 80 percent of the time."

The comments come just days after the Ninth Circuit ruled against the president's travel ban, prompting surrogates to deride the court as "the most overturned court in the country." But that assertion isn't accurate, by many measures. That honor now goes to the Sixth. Not, however, that it matters.

AT&T Didn't Violate ADA for Firing Employee With Depression

A company lawfully fired a woman suffering from depression and anxiety because she was not qualified to do her job, a federal appeals court ruled.

The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a judgment against a woman who sued under the Americans with Disabilities Act after her employer fired her for excessive absenteeism. Kirsten Williams, who went months without reporting for work, blamed her absences on depression and anxiety attacks. The appellate court said she had no case because she could not do her job.

"In the end, this case reflects the reality that there are some jobs that a person with disabilities is simply unable to perform," the unanimous panel said. "A blind person cannot be an airline pilot, nor can one with advanced Parkinson's disease be a neurosurgeon."