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

March 2017 Archives

The Sixth Circuit's Judge Damon J. Keith has served on the bench since 1967, and on the Sixth Circuit for four decades, but the 94-year-old jurist isn't exactly a household name. That may be changing soon, though.

A new documentary, "Walk With Me: The Trials of Damon J. Keith" seeks to introduce Judge Keith to a wider audience, while exploring his work as a judge and a civil rights leader.

President Trump will nominate Amul Thapar to the Sixth Circuit, the White House announced on Tuesday. Thapar currently sits on the District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky.

This is not the first time Trump has considered Thapar for a promotion, either. The judge was included on President Trump's short list of candidates to replace Justice Scalia on the Supreme Court. That spot went to the Tenth Circuit's Neil Gorsuch, but a shot at the Sixth isn't a bad consolation prize.

Court Gives FedEx Worker Another Chance to Prove Age Discrimination

Reinstating an age discrimination case, a federal appeals court said "suspicious circumstances" surrounded the termination of a former FedEx manager.

The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals said Gerard Howley, who had worked for the company 21 years, never had a reprimand until a new supervisor took over. A short time later, the new supervisor piled on warnings and then fired Howley for poor performance. The appeals court didn't buy it.

"Most significantly, there are the suspicious circumstances surrounding Howley's termination that give rise to a negative inference of age discrimination," Judge Eric Lee Clay wrote for the panel in Howley v. Federal Express Corporation.

"FedEx contends that it had legitimate reasons for issuing a warning to Howley on all three occasions for which he was disciplined," the panel continued. "However, this Court is struck by the relatively minor nature of Howley's offenses and wonders whether any of them merited termination."

Court Affirms Firing of Employee Who Carried Gun at Work

It should come as no surprise that Kentucky -- famous for the Kentucky Long Rifle -- allows workers to lawfully carry concealed weapons on the job.

After all, "Brown Bessie" was America's first firearm. She cleared the frontier, won the Revolution, and made U.S. history as much as any settler. So in Kentucky, they stand united behind their guns.

And so did Bruce Holly. He had a concealed weapons permit, and he kept a gun in his car at United Parcel Services.

The problem was the employer had a policy against workers possessing or using weapons on company property. And after Holly took the gun out of his car and placed it in another employee's vehicle, the company fired him.

En Banc 6th Cir. to Hear Government-Led Prayer Case

The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeal didn't take long to take another look at its recent decision against prayer at a county commission meeting.

The entire court, acting sua sponte, ordered another hearing on the issue less than two weeks after a panel ruled in the controversial case. In a split decision, the panel had said that Jackson County commissioners violated the First Amendment in conducting prayers before each meeting.

"Legislative prayer may fall outside the bounds of the Establishment Clause if it strays too far from its traditional purpose and effect--respectful solemnification -- or if it is unconstitutionally coercive," Judge Karen Nelson Moore wrote for the majority.