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

March 2013 Archives

Out-of-District Student Entitled to Due Process Before Expulsion

In Goss v. Lopez, the Supreme Court held that the Due Process Clause applies to suspension or expulsion from school where a state has conferred a property interest in a public education. Before you kick a kid out of his local public school, he should get notice and a chance to present his side of the story.

But what if the school from which the student is removed isn’t his local public school?

School Nurse Immune from Suit After Examining Child's Genitalia

Six-year-old B.H. went to the school office, twice in three days, complaining of irritation in her genital area and that it "burned" when she urinated. The initial visit to the office led to a phone call with the girls' mother, who informed the school that her daughter had issues with chronic bladder infections. The second visit led to a trip to the school nurse.

Nurse Sliwowski, one of the defendants in this case, took B.H. to the faculty restroom, and with the school secretary present, performed a medical examination of B.H., including of her genitalia. At no point did she actually touch the girl - the exam was purely visual and was done to locate any signs of redness or irritation. There was also no suspicion of child abuse.

Girlfriend Turns In Pedophile, Gives Texts, But No Probable Cause?

Charles Kinison, Jr. is an alleged pedophile. We say “alleged” because he is innocent until proven guilty. That being said, if the facts contained in this opinion are true, it’s only a matter of time.

And he almost got away with it.

Kinison allegedly collected and viewed images and videos of child porn. He told his girlfriend, via text message, that he wanted the two of them to join a group that adopted children for the purposes of sexual abuse. He also proposed that they babysit a child in order to produce porn (to prove their “cred” with the pedo crowd) and texted her vivid descriptions of the disgusting acts he was witnessing on his computer.

Basketball Coach Fails to Meet Prima Facie Retaliation Burden

In 1999, Geraldine Fuhr filed a successful lawsuit to be instated as varsity boys basketball coach at Hazel Park High School, where she had been employed as varsity girls basketball coach. For five years she coached both the girls and boys varsity basketball teams. In 2006, she was removed from her position coaching varsity girls basketball.

Fuhr says she was removed in retaliation for her lawsuit. The school district claimed that she was removed to allow for even more equality.

So who wins? According to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, the school district gets the W because Fuhr failed to state a prima facie case for her claims.

Affirmed: TennCare Federal Consent Decree Vacated

For 15 years, Tennessee’s Medicaid program has operated under a federal consent decree. In recent years, however, the Volunteer State moved to vacate the decree on grounds that the State is now compliant with both the decree and the Medicaid statute.

Despite pressure from class action plaintiffs to leave the decree in tact, both a district court and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals believe that Tennessee is ready to reclaim the reins of its Medicaid program.

6th Cir: SSA Reconsider Disability Benefits for Bipolar Disorder

Charles Gayheart applied for Social Security disability insurance benefits (DIB) in December 2005 due to manifestations of anxiety, panic disorder, bipolar disorder, and depression. After an initial denial of his application and three separate hearings, an administrative law judge (ALJ) found that the limitations caused by Gayheart’s impairments did not preclude him from working and denied his DIB application. Gayheart later lost his administrative and district court appeals.

Tuesday, the Sixth Circuit kicked Gayheart’s case back to the Social Security Administration for further review.

Court Refuses to Store RICO Claims in PODS

When Connie Mathews allegedly failed to pay her Portable on Demand Storage (PODS) bill, the company auctioned off the contents of her container and used the proceeds to pay the bill. Her belongings were reportedly worth over $300,000. PODS received approximately one percent of that amount.

Mathews was peeved, so she did what any disgruntled storage customer would do: She slapped PODS with a $2 million RICO claim. Wednesday, the Sixth Circuit explained that a RICO suit isn't the best revenge.

Broker Can't Sue Law Firm for Breach of Fiduciary Duty

Timothy Pagliara has been a licensed securities broker for more than 25 years. He's received numerous accolades and maintained a nearly-spotless record with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). He blames the single blemish on Birmingham law firm Johnston Barton Proctor & Rose, LLP (JBPR).

Even if the JBPR is the reason for Pagliara's almost-perfect-but-not-quite record, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week that a district court properly dismissed Pagliara's breach of fiduciary duty claim against the firm.