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

September 2011 Archives

Conspiracy Theory? Sixth Circuit Denies Cop Qualified Immunity

Let's say you have an employee who leaves his job. Things become awkward between the two of you. What would you do?

Normal people would simply avoid each other. Maybe un-friend one another on Facebook. Normal people aren't fun to read about. Thankfully, the subjects of today's Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals case are extraordinary people.

Nidal Bazzi worked for Marwan Haidar for several months. When the relationship between the two became strained, Haidar allegedly decided to get Bazzi arrested.

Tennis Ball Toxin Suspect's Civil Rights Claim Bounced from Court

Sometimes we think there is no issue too small for appellate court review.

Take, for instance, Fisher v Dodson, an Ohio civil rights claim considered in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

John Fisher found himself in hot water after several witnesses informed Ohio state parks officials that Fisher was throwing tennis balls in a state park lake. The witnesses expressed concern that the tennis balls contained viruses or toxins.

Because that sort of thing happens.

Justice Roberts Names New Judicial Conference Committee Chairs

Chief Justice John Roberts named eight judges as new committee chairs for the Judicial Conference this week, and extended the service of three judges as committee chairs.

Among the eight new chairs, Justice Roberts appointed Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge John Rogers as the new chair of the Judicial Conference Committee on Codes of Conduct. Judge Rogers, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, has served on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals since 2002.

The other new committee chairs are:

Kentucky Symposium Will Discuss State Court Funding

Want to learn more about how the executive and judicial branches plan to address underfunded courts? The Kentucky Law Journal, with the American Bar Association (ABA) and the National Center for State Courts, will host a symposium this weekend to discuss the practical and constitutional impact of underfunded courts.

State courts are facing crippling budgets cuts nationwide. Last year, 40 states slashed state court funding. In New York, the state court system laid off 500 people. In New Hampshire, the state suspended all civil cases for a year to address overwhelming backlogs in the courts. In California, foster children recently sued the state's judicial council claiming that their constitutional rights were compromised through a lack of state court funding.

Sixth Circuit Dismisses Morgan Keegan Class Action Lawsuit

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed a Morgan Keegan class action lawsuit last week, finding that the Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act (SLUSA) precluded the action.

The plaintiffs in the case held shares in three mutual funds issued by Morgan Keegan Select Fund, Inc., an open-end investment company. Morgan Keegan structured these shares as "redeemable securities," entitling the holders to redemption at any time for their "proportionate share of the issuer's current net assets."

Like most investments, plaintiffs' shares lost value between 2007 and 2008 due to bad bets on sub-prime mortgage-backed securities; unlike most investors, they attributed their losses to fraud.

No New Trial: Shady Tactics Don't Equal Prosecutorial Misconduct

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, except when the girl is so hung up on them that she commits fraud to have more money to spend on jewelry. And therein lies the rub for Pamela Holder, who lost her appeal for a new trial in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals this week.

In June 2008, the government charged Fred and Pamela Holder with two counts of bank fraud and two counts of wire fraud for falsifying documents to obtain loans to acquire a home and sell it for a profit.

The Holders were accused of convincing a straw buyer to borrow $2.4 million to purchase a $1.4 million home. Pamela prepared and sent falsified documents to get the loan, moved into the house, and spent part of the balance of the money on jewelry, according to the AP.

Judge Bernice Donald Confirmed, Celebrates with Stripper Ruling

What would you if you had just been confirmed for a seat on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals? Open a bottle of champagne? Take a long lunch?

If you were U.S. District Judge Bernice Donald, you would head back to the bench to uphold a Shelby County ordinance banning alcohol in sex-related businesses.

All in a day's work, right?

Court: Volunteer Firefighters Are "Employees" in Title VII Claims

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last week that volunteer firefighters can be categorized as employees in a Title VII sexual harassment claim, and that a district court erred in concluding that "remuneration must be an independent antecedent inquiry" when evaluating whether volunteer firefighters were employees.

Why does it matter whether volunteer firefighters are "employees?"

Because Title VII requires that an employer have 15 employees to be subject to the Civil Rights Act.