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

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The redistricting/gerrymandering case going on in the state of Michigan just got a whole lot more complicated. That's because the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has allowed eight Republican Congress members to intervene in the League of Women Voter's lawsuit against the Michigan Secretary of State.

The lawsuit alleges that after the 2010 U.S. census, Republican lawmakers unconstitutionally redrew the districts to their advantage.

Judge Sued for Denying Name Changes to Transgender Children

It's almost a maxim that half of the people in a courtroom -- other than the judge and staff -- go home unhappy.

Judge Joseph W. Kirby knows that; appeals are a given for trial judges. However, he didn't expect the legal backfire that hit him after he denied name changes to parents of transgender children.

In Whitaker v. Kirby, the plaintiffs have sued the Ohio judge for allegedly discriminating against transgender children. It may be a short-lived suit because of judicial immunity, but the issue is not going away.

While employers need to be rather careful when employees make requests for accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the recent decision from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in McDonald v. UAW-GM is rather instructive for employers.

In this case, the employer did engage with the employee to work on finding a reasonable accommodation that would work for both employer and employee. However, the accommodations proposed by the employer, despite seeming to fit with the employee's doctor's recommendation, were rejected by the employee. Unfortunately for the employee, as the appellate court noted, the ADA does not require that employers provide a specifically requested accommodation, but rather to work with the employee to find an accommodation that works for both.

A Michigan federal court judge recently rejected claims filed on behalf of Detroit public school students that the state was denying the children their right to an education. The plaintiffs have vowed to appeal to the Sixth Circuit.

While expressing remorse over the deplorable conditions that the Detroit public school students suffer, Judge Stephen Murphy III also explained that the plaintiffs were seeking to enforce a right that does not exist. Additionally, the court found that the claim of race discrimination failed to show that other schools were treated more favorably by the state.

Sixth Circuit Mulls Police Shooting of Dogs

Dogs are routinely euthanized after some civil process, typically when a dog has been found to be a danger to people.

But in a Michigan case, police executed three dogs during a search for drugs. They said the animals bared their teeth and charged them.

The owners sued for civil rights violations, but a trial judge thew out their case. In arguments to the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, the judges searched for the truth.

There is certain to be some pushback to any new law that restricts activity on the World Wide Web. Sometimes, thanks to the web the internet has woven, unlikely allies can unite to fight a common cause. And when Ohio passed its recent internet harassment law, an unlikely duo from across the partisan aisles joined forces to challenge it.

Although the challenge seems to make logical sense, it appears to suffer from some procedural defects. According to the federal district court in Ohio, the challenge had to be dismissed on the 12(b)1 subject matter jurisdiction challenge for lack of standing. The decision, in large part, rests upon the fact that neither challenger has faced actual consequences, nor suffered an actual injury, as a result of the new law.

A recently filed federal wrongful death lawsuit in Tennessee alleges excessive force in relation to law enforcement's controversial killing of Michael Dial in April 2017.

The officers involved in the shooting were cleared of wrong doing by the county, which believed the officers acted reasonably. However, Sheriff Oddie Shoupe's statements, captured on audio from the scene after the shooting, belies the county's belief and could be strong evidence for Dial's survivors.

In the closely watched case of the anonymous blogger John Doe who runs the blog "Amthrax," the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a decision in this case of first impression which Doe and other anonymous bloggers may want to blog about.

The Signature Management v. Doe decision sets out the considerations for a federal court to consider when it comes to unmasking an anonymous blogger whose blogging has been found to violate the law and therefore would not be entitled to First Amendment protection. Though the appellate court did not order the "Amthrax" author revealed, it did remand with instructions for the lower court to reconsider their decision not to unmask.

A group of blind voters, along with the National Federation of the Blind, successfully appealed the dismissal of their lawsuit against Ohio's Secretary of State, Jon Husted, to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. The case involves a challenge to Ohio's absentee voting process claiming it is discriminatory against blind voters under the ADA.

The case was dismissed after the state filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings. The state asserted that the requested relief was not reasonable or practical because the plaintiffs sought the implementation of certain online voting tools that had not been certified by the state's election board. The heart of the state's claim was that the plaintiffs were trying to use the ADA to get around state procedural laws. While the district court agreed, the circuit court did not.

Using a rarely exercised bit of appellate procedure, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed to take up an interlocutory appeal of the Trump campaign rally incitement case. The lower court had denied Trump's motion to dismiss the incitement claim, but then certified the opinion so that the order could be appealed (as normally orders on a motion to dismiss are not eligible for interlocutory appeals).

But, as the circuit court noted, the procedural circumstances, like the facts, in this case, are rather unique. Clearly the appellate court sees the value in an early resolution of this issue, as a determination that Trump's speech is protected under the First Amendment would squash the incitement claim, and squashing claims against a sitting U.S. president is something the federal courts are somewhat motivated to do in order to maintain political peace.