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

American Family Insurance Agents Aren't Employees

It should come as no surprise to thousands of American Family insurance agents that they are independent contractors.

And it's not because the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals said so in Jammal v. American Family Insurance Company. It's because the agents said so when they joined the insurance company.

Of course, the case is more complicated than that. Unfortunately for 7,000 agents and their families, it means they don't get health and retirement benefits.

6th Circuit Ponders Down Syndrome Abortion Law

Abortion decisions are never easy, but a case before the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals is almost impossible.

If a woman is carrying an unborn child with Down syndrome, does she have the right to end that life? Or can the government ban the abortion because it discriminates based on a disability?

In Preterm-Cleveland v. Himes, the appeals court considered the questions in an ongoing public argument. No matter how the justices rule, their answer will not quiet the debate.

Infomercial Mogul Loses Appeal After 12 Years in Prison

Paul Monea had his 15 minutes of fame about 30 years ago, when Mike Tyson was the heavyweight champion of the world.

Monea was famous in his own right, making millions with infomercials. Then he bought the former champ's mansion, which led to a different kind of fame.

He tried to sell it later in a notorious money-laundering scheme that included a 43-carat diamond ring. That turned his 15 minutes into about 12 years in prison.

An oddball case has made it to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, alleging that inmates in Tennessee were unduly coerced into agreeing to have a vasectomy in exchange for credit for time served in custody, and that the offer violated the civil rights of inmates.

Shortly after the news of the judge created policy broke in the summer of 2017, it was rescinded under public pressure. However, as noted in appellate argument, some inmates were still being awarded the credits under the policy.

The Flint water crisis is likely to be remembered as one of the worst public disasters caused by a local government in the state of Michigan's history.

And while several lawsuits have been filed, one recently made it back from the Sixth Circuit with bad news for several of the government officials named as defendants. The appellate court affirmed the lower court's ruling that certain officials and the state were not immune, but it also reversed the holding in favor of some other officials.

Federal Judge Strikes Down Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

A federal judge in Detroit dismissed charges against doctors and others for female genital mutilations, saying a federal ban against the procedure was unconstitutional.

Judge Bernard Friedman said Congress "overstepped its bounds" by enacting a 1996 statute that prohibited the practice. Friedman said it is a matter for the states, and the federal government did not have authority as it claimed under the Commerce Clause.

Defendants still face other charges, but not for mutilating the nine girls in the case. That's because Michigan didn't criminalize their acts until after the fact.

Man Convicted of Terrorism for Michigan Airport Knife Attack

Jean Reno has acted in movies about assassins, killers, and spies -- and sometimes died in those roles.

So it was a surprise to see a real-life mug shot of a terrorist who looked just like him. That's about where the similarities end.

Amor Ftouhi, 53, has been convicted of stabbing a police officer in a terrorist act. Despite a death wish, however, it looks like this terrorist won't die.

Tennessee Must Stop Suspending Driver's Licenses of People Who Can't Pay

Most people come face-to-face with the law through traffic court.

In Tennessee, about 291,000 may see an about-face in their traffic cases. A trial judge has ruled the state can no longer revoke drivers licenses of people who cannot afford to pay their fines.

Judge Aleta Trauger has enjoined officials from enforcing license revocation laws. She also opened the door for hundreds of thousands of drivers to get their licenses back.

Police Can't Shoot Unlicensed Dogs During Search

Pet owners may sue police who shot and killed their dogs during a home search, a federal appeals court said.

In Smith v. City of Detroit, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals said police acted unreasonably when they shot two pit bulls and a Rottweiler. A divided panel reversed a trial judge who said the owners had no right to sue because their dogs were unlicensed.

The issue revolves around whether pet owners have a possessory interest in unlicensed animals under the Fourth Amendment. But Detroit has a bigger dog problem -- there are about 50,000 strays roaming its streets.

'Street Outlaw Memphis' Reality Show Sued Over On-Set Brawl

It's hard to know what's real and what's not on reality television -- even for lawyers.

But two Nashville attorneys say their clients really got beat up on "Street Outlaws: Memphis." The show, which airs on the Discovery Channel, pits street racers against each other.

In one episode last February, however, the street race turned into a street fight.