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

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Judicial Take on Bias in the Court

The wheels of justice may turn slowly, but changing bias in the courtroom may take quite a few more turns of the big wheel.

Studies say that attitudes about bias in the legal system have not really changed in more than half a century. Across most of America, minorities don't think they can get a fair result in court.

Bias seems to be, for lack of a better word, "implicit" in the judicial system. The experts say it is not a criticism; it's just human nature.

No Take-Backs on Civil Settlement, 6th Circuit Rules

When is it too late to take back a federal court settlement?

Can you unwind it when you realize you made a mistake about the terms? What about when the terms are not equitable? Don't the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provide for "any other reason that justifies relief?"

In Cummings v. Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, it turned out to be more than a day late late and a dollar short for a former public employee.

Is five years too short of a sentence for a man found with 19 videos and 93 images depicting child pornography? Not according to Judge James S. Gwin of the Northern District of Ohio. Gwin imposed the minimum sentence against Ryan Collins, but only after polling the jurors who had convicted him.

And those jurors, had they been in charge of sentencing, would have imposed a much lighter punishment. Some jurors thought no incarceration was appropriate, while all but one recommended a sentence of less than two and a half years.

6th Circuit Says It Has Authority to Clarify EPA's WOTUS Rule

If there has ever been a convoluted rule to come from the EPA/Army Corps of Engineers, it's the "Waters of the United States" (WOTUS) rule. Just recently, the Sixth Circuit decided that it had jurisdiction to review the mountain of challenges against the controversial law, and not the Federal district courts.

The rule had been the result of a couple of SCOTUS decisions that the EPA/ACE had flexed too much authoritative muscle in regulating outlying waters. And now, debate over the expansiveness of the law has ballooned into about several dozen different lawsuits by various states and groups.

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.

A federal judge who undermined and insulted defense counsel in front of the jury and provided off-the-cuff, erroneous jury instructions has won the attorney's client a new trial. The Sixth Circuit ruled last week that a judge for the Eastern District of Michigan demonstrated such "outright bias and belittling of counsel" that the defendant was denied an impartial trial.

When counsel for Reginald Daniels, accused of being a felon in possession of a firearm, attempted to show that Daniels had not been in possession of a gun and that police had searched his home without a warrant, he was continuously and repeatedly interrupted by the judge, who accused him of distracting jurors, lying, and needing to "shut up." According to the Sixth Circuit, the judge's behavior was so unfair that Daniels' conviction had to be overturned.

In a case where the Tennessee Department of Children's Services sought to remove two children from their father, the father sought to remove the case to federal court. The removal of the children, and termination of parental rights, may well go ahead, but removal to federal court cannot, the Sixth Circuit ruled on Monday.

When the Department filed a petition to terminate Shaun Winesburgh's parental rights over his two children due to neglect and severe abuse, he claimed they were discriminating against him based on his mental disability and sought to remove the case to federal court. According to the Sixth, however, his federal counterclaims and invocation of civil rights removal provisions were insufficient to take his case out of state court.

Just like the verse-chorus-verse structure of classic pop music, federal litigation follows a predictable formula, one that courts don't like litigants rearranging. This point was highlighted in a recent kerfuffle between two karaoke companies, Slep-Tone and Karaoke Kandy Store.

Not only were these two out of pitch with each other -- Slep-Tone accused Karaoke Kandy Store of trademark violations -- they could not get into beat with the courts, as the Sixth Circuit was forced to stay Slep-Tone's appeal for coming in before its cue.

EEOC Gets Benchslapped by Sixth in Short, Hilarious Dismissal

It is a rare benchslap that lasts seven pages. It's not uncommon to see a paragraph or two that mocks a party's unreasonable position. And we've seen Judge Kethledge mock parties' unreasonable stances before, but a full seven pages? Well done, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission -- you've surpassed the "golden sombrero" to reach a whole new level of ineptitude.

What caused the seven page rant/affirmed dismissal? Only a hypocritical lawsuit supported by a comical attempt at producing scientific methodology in support a frivolous case of alleged disparate impact discrimination.

3 Tips For New Attorneys in The 6th Circuit

New attorneys practicing in the Sixth Circuit will have to learn the local court rules and make sure that their case will go as smoothly as possible (procedurally, anyway).

Whether it's getting acclimated to the court's e-filing system, or knowing the security measures for entering the building, here are three tips to get you started.