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

September 2012 Archives

Chase Suit in 'Cleveland v. Wall Street' is Moot

The foreclosure crisis hit Cleveland particularly hard. Between 2000 and 2008, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, (where Cleveland is located), recorded approximately 80,000 foreclosures. In 2007, County Treasurer Jim Rokakis described the city as “the epicenter of the mortgage meltdown in America.”

Cleveland responded in the classic American fashion: With lawsuits.

This week, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a federal court could have granted Chase Bank’s request to block the city’s claims. Not that it matters now, Legal Newsline reports.

Detroit's Ambassador Bridge is Not a 'Federal Instrumentality'

In 2008, the Michigan Supreme Court unanimously held that the Detroit International Bridge Company (DIBC) was immune from the City of Detroit's zoning ordinances because it was a federal instrumentality for the limited purpose of facilitating commerce over the Ambassador Bridge, which connects Detroit, Michigan to Ontario, Canada.

This week, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the Michigan Supreme Court was wrong.

Walmart Can Fire Cancer Patient for Medical Marijuana Use

A state can adopt a liberal attitude toward medical marijuana use, but that doesn't mean that employers within that state are required to adopt a similarly progressive drug policy.

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Wednesday that the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA) does not protect patients from disciplinary action in a private employment setting for using medical marijuana, Huffington Post reports.

Condition Precedent Still Matters in Excess Insurance Suit

Let's say you get a call from a client, a company that makes approximately a bazillion dollars annually. The company wants to sue its excess insurer for not ponying up the liability limits of an excess policy.

This is the time to remind your client of any relative condition precedent: "Your contract states that coverage won't kick in until X happens. X has not happened. They don't have to pay you a dime."

Your Bazillion Dollar Client may not want to hear it, but it's better that the bad news comes from you instead of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Age Discrimination: Beating the Odds of Indirect Evidence

Yesterday, we told you about Robert Back, a former employee at Nestlé's Mount Sterling, Ky. "Hot Pocket" plant. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals recently upheld a district court's dismissal of Back's age discrimination suit against Nestlé.

Back offered two types of evidence to support his claims under the Kentucky Civil Rights Act: Direct evidence and circumstantial evidence. As we discussed previously, the courts ruled that his direct evidence -- the Human Resources Director's alleged statement that upper management had decided to get rid of the three oldest employees -- was inadmissible hearsay.

The appellate court also considered Back's circumstantial evidence on appeal. That's the evidence we're discussing today.

Age Discrimination: You Can't Make Your Case with Double Hearsay

If you want to win an age discrimination case with direct evidence, there’s a good chance you’ll have to argue hearsay. If your case involves double hearsay, you have to argue why the statement is admissible at each step.

For example …

Robert Back worked in Nestlé’s “Hot Pocket” plant in Mount Sterling, Ky. from November 1998 until July 2007. He was 53 when Nestlé fired him for his “history of failing to properly supervise his subordinates and his team’s history of failing to meet expectations.”

Sixth Circuit: Severance Pay Not Subject to FICA Taxes

You may have noticed that the unemployment rate is still pretty high. Though it's down from the October 2009 peak, companies continue to lay off workers.

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion last week that could ease the financial burden on flailing businesses facing layoffs: Friday, the court ruled that severance pay is not subject to FICA taxes, Thomson Reuters News & Insight reports.

6th Cir Adopts 'Harmless Error' in Disability Benefits Appeals

Not sure how to proceed in a Social Security disability benefits appeal when an administrative law judge (ALJ) makes a factual -- though possibly harmless -- error?

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals announced Friday that harmless error analysis applies to credibility determinations in the Social Security disability context.

Sixth Circuit: Radio Station Robo-Call Exempt from TCPA

Mark Leyse takes prerecorded phone calls seriously.

In 2005, Leyse filed a class-action lawsuit against Clear Channel after a Clear Channel radio station called Leyse's home phone number and delivered a prerecorded message: Hi, this is Al "Bernie" Bernstein from 106.7 Lite FM. In case your favorite station went away, I want to take just a minute to remind you about the best variety of yesterday and today at 106.7. Motown, classic 70s from James Taylor, Elton, and Carole King; it's all here...

(The message goes on to announce a contest, but we lost interest. Frankly, we would have hung up after the pre-recorded "Hi.")