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

May 2012 Archives

Continuance or Speedy Trial: You Can't Have it Both Ways

After reading appellate decisions all day, we appreciate a novel dismissal theory. The courts, however, don't always share that appreciation.

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals clarified on Thursday that a defendant won't prevail in his Speedy Trial Act appeal when the defendant's own motions delay his trial.

Summary Judgment Appeal Belly Flops in Cincinnati Pool Case

Just in time for Memorial Day, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an unpublished opinion this week concerning the question that’s been on every legal mind: Is there a constitutionally-protected right to public pools?

Surprisingly, the answer may be yes, but the Sixth Circuit lacked jurisdiction to address the issue because the appellant brought a post-trial summary judgment appeal instead of an interlocutory appeal.

What Dangers Require Disclosure in Failure-to-Warn Claims?

Lawyers make the worst surgical patients, because we tend to review lists of complications and ask our doctors about the likelihood of each one. (So my odds of not waking up after anesthesia are 1 in 100,000? How many patients have you treated? Have you already met your statistical loser?)

Doctors and medical device manufacturers have a duty to warn patients about likely side effects and glitches, but what kinds of harms does that duty include? The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals weighed in on the issue this week.

Sixth Circuit Rules in Michigan Rape Shield Case

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a federal habeas grant in a controversial rape shield law appeal on Wednesday. The Cincinnati-based court issued eight opinions in the matter, with the plurality concluding that Michigan state courts did not unreasonably restrict testimony regarding an alleged rape victim's sexual history.

In July 2000, Lewis Gagne and Donald Swathwood went to the home of Gagne's ex-girlfriend, P.C. After a day of considerable smoking and drinking, P.C. and Gagne had sex, which both agree was consensual. They disagree about how long it remained consensual.

Sixth Circuit Reverses Attorney Sanctions in Child Porn Case

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed attorney sanctions against Michigan lawyer John Freeman on Tuesday, finding that the district court erred in penalizing Freeman for an "unwarranted and baseless" disclosure request for the mother of a child pornography victim to speak at sentencing, reports The Associated Press.

Freeman represented Craig Aleo, a former Michigan school official who pleaded guilty to producing, possessing, and transporting and shipping child pornography. U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman slapped Freeman with $2,000 in attorney sanctions in 2002 after deciding that Freeman filed a meritless motion in a bad-faith effort to intimidate a victim who wished to speak during Aleo's sentencing hearing, pursuant to her rights under the Crime Victims' Rights Act (CVRA).

Gay Prisoner Can Sue for Sexual Orientation Discrimination

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated a Michigan prisoner’s discrimination lawsuit on Thursday, finding that the prisoner had sufficiently alleged a plausible claim for sexual orientation discrimination against prison officials.

Plaintiff Ricky Davis, who represented himself in the lawsuit, claimed that he was removed from his public-works employment because of his sexual orientation, in violation of his rights under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Maker's Mark Red Wax Seal Not Functional, Just a Pretty Face

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Wednesday that Maker's Mark Distillery, Inc.'s registered trademark for its red dripping wax seal is enforceable because it lacks aesthetic functionality.

The court also concluded that defendant Diageo's Case Cuervo tequila bottles featuring a similar red wax seal were likely to cause confusion in the marketplace.

Driver's Privacy Protection Act Seems Fairly Useless

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week that the bulk purchase of motor vehicle records without a specific need for every record does not violate the Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA).

Plaintiffs in the case claimed that a number of defendants, (including Ascom, the named defendant), violated the DPPA and the plaintiffs' right to privacy by obtaining, using, reselling, and disclosing personal information contained in Kentucky motor vehicle records without a permissible purpose.

Fen-Phen Fraud Lawyers Lose Sixth Circuit Appeal

Shirley Cunningham and William Gallion are down, but they still aren't out.

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the infamous fen-phen lawyers' appeal this week, finding that the pair "participated in a massive scheme to defraud their clients."