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

March 2018 Archives

A funeral home in Michigan is learning one legal truth on appeal, or as the undertaker might colloquially say, postmortem: Transgender employees are protected from discrimination under Title VII.

Fortunately, no employees were murdered in the making of this appeal, but, according to a three judge panel of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, one was certainly discriminated against. Aimee Stephens sued her former employer, RG and GR Harris Funeral Homes, for firing her after she started to transition from male to female. In addition to the discriminatory termination, Stephens also alleged that a wardrobe allowance that was only provided to male employees constituted additional gender discrimination.

Letting anyone sign your name to anything without at least a cursory review is inviting trouble. Just ask the semi-retired lawyer who's now facing a 90-day suspension for a secretary at his firm basically using his name on boilerplate forms, without his review, in social security administration cases.

And while the bulk of the practice consisted of submitting form pleadings to the court without much care or attention, in one of those case, the court found the legal work so deficient it ordered the attorney to personally deliver a copy of the court's order to the client and instruct the client to carefully read the order. That order called the attorney incompetent. Somehow, another attorney at the firm decided it would be a good idea for them to sign the other attorney's name and do the delivering.

There is certain to be some pushback to any new law that restricts activity on the World Wide Web. Sometimes, thanks to the web the internet has woven, unlikely allies can unite to fight a common cause. And when Ohio passed its recent internet harassment law, an unlikely duo from across the partisan aisles joined forces to challenge it.

Although the challenge seems to make logical sense, it appears to suffer from some procedural defects. According to the federal district court in Ohio, the challenge had to be dismissed on the 12(b)1 subject matter jurisdiction challenge for lack of standing. The decision, in large part, rests upon the fact that neither challenger has faced actual consequences, nor suffered an actual injury, as a result of the new law.