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

December 2015 Archives

When Samantha Bachynski was arrested by Michigan police -- after being found in a stolen truck with the dead owner in the back -- the 19-year-old initially invoked her Miranda rights, refusing to speak until she had an attorney present. But when it came time to pick a lawyer, she changed her mind, confessing to murder, torture, and other crimes.

Bachynski later moved to suppress her confessions, arguing that they were coerced in violation of her Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Her confessions were admitted anyway and she was convicted. The Sixth Circuit upheld that conviction last Wednesday, finding that Bachynski voluntarily waived her Miranda rights.

If Your Accountant Screws Up, You're on the Hook, Rules 6th Cir.

The Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed a lower federal district court's ruling that Maurice Vaughn (former pro baseball "Mo" Vaughn) must be held accountable for fees and penalties arising out of his accountant's breach of fiduciary duties to him.

Does good faith selection of a financial manager shield you from the consequent fees and penalties assessed against you by the IRS? Surprise! No, you're still hosed.

Birth Control Patch Lawsuit Loses at 6th Circuit

Pharma can breathe a little easier knowing Sixth Circuit ruled against a 17-year-old girl injured by her birth control patch. It was the country's first ever appellate level expansion of the doctrine of " impossibility preemption."

If you're wondering what "impossibility preemption" is, we refer you back to the 2013 case of Mutual Pharmaceutical Co. v. Bartlett.

The Fight Over Ohio's Election Laws Fizzles From Mootness

The Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit just granted the State of Ohio's motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the Libertarian Party of Ohio in what had become a "long struggle."

The Party had previously tasted defeat when the district court granted partial summary judgment to the State, ruling that Ohio's voting statutes did not violate the First Amendment or the Fourteenth Amendment; and that Sovereign Immunity clothed the state in Teflon. This latest ruling basically just killed the Party's request to revisit those findings.

Wayne State University is not a 'person' for purposes of the False Claims Act, which imposes liability on individuals and businesses who defraud the federal government. Further, the school is entitled to sovereign immunity, and protected from FCA whistleblower lawsuits, as an "arm of the state" under the Eleventh Amendment.

Those are the holdings of a recent Sixth Circuit opinion which adopted the "arm of the state" test for FCA claims -- and tossed a Wayne State assistant professor's whistleblower suit in the process.

SCOTUS Refuses Cert. of Habeas Corpus Case, Scalia Dissents ... Calmly

The nation's highest court refused to intervene in a Confrontation Clause case in which a convicted murder pled for relief. This is the latest in Sixth Circuit Opinions where that court has taken its own path with regards to 'precedent.'

In an atypically calm dissenting opinion, Justice Scalia reasoned that the Sixth Circuit had built up an appetite and "taste for disregarding" the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act and that the Supreme Court should have granted review to "discourage" such appetites.