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Federal Judiciary

: Sixth Circuit Cases

Nov. 17-21, 2008: US 6th Circuit Court of Appeals Decisions

By Michael Stevens

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PUBLISHED OPINIONS

Opinion Short Title/District
08a0403p.06  Chavtz Seals v. GMC
    Northern District of Ohio at Cleveland

RALPH B. GUY, JR., Circuit Judge. Plaintiff Chavtz Seals, who was injured at work, brought this action asserting a workplace intentional tort claim against defendant General Motors Corporation (GM). The district court granted GM?s motion for summary judgment, finding (1) that this claim was barred by a release plaintiff signed in connection with a voluntary buyout of his employment, and (2) that plaintiff failed to demonstrate a genuine issue of material fact with respect to his intentional tort claim. Seeking reversal, plaintiff argues that there was a genuine issue of material fact concerning the intent of the parties to the general release under the circumstances. On the merits, plaintiff contends that the district court erred in concluding that there was no evidence either that GM had ?knowledge? of the allegedly dangerous condition or that GM knew an injury was ?substantially certain? to result from that condition. Because we conclude that the release barred plaintiff?s claim, we affirm the judgment in favor of GM.
08a0404p.06  Vance v. Wade
    Eastern District of Tennessee at Greeneville

force, Plaintiff-Appellant George A. Vance (?Vance?) appeals the grant of summary judgment to 1 No. 07-5930 Vance v. Wade et al. Although the parties inconsistently spell his name both ?Breuer? and ?Brewer,? the record seems clear that his name is spelled ?Breuer.? See Joint Appendix (?J.A.?) at 121 (Bristol Tennessee Police Department Individual Training Record for James Breuer); J.A. at 167 (Dep. of James J. Breuer). 2 Breuer did not recall Vance requesting to contact his lawyer. J.A. at 171 (Breuer Dep. at 36). Defendants-Appellees Captain Blaine Wade (?Wade?), Detective Jim Breuer (?Breuer?),1 and the city of Bristol, Tennessee. In June 2000, Vance filed this lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that on June 10, 1999, officers Wade and Breuer used excessive force in handcuffing and securing him during the execution of a search warrant at his business and that the city of Bristol, Tennessee, failed to train and supervise its officers. Vance?s lawsuit also involved state-law claims for false arrest and assault and battery. The case was stayed pending the resolution of criminal proceedings in state court against Vance, and in April 2005 the parties consented to the exercise of jurisdiction by a U.S. Magistrate Judge. In July 2007, the magistrate judge issued a Memorandum Opinion and Judgment granting Wade, Breuer, and Bristol?s motions for summary judgment, in particular finding that Wade did not use excessive force in handcuffing Vance and that Wade, although he did use excessive force in shoving and cramming Vance in the backseat of a police vehicle, was entitled to qualified immunity on that claim. In this appeal, Vance focuses his challenge to the judgment primarily as it pertains to Wade. Although we agree that Vance?s allegations are insufficient to support an excessive-force claim for handcuffing, we disagree that Wade is entitled to qualified immunity on the excessive-force claim relating to Wade?s actions in placing Vance in the back of a police vehicle. We therefore REVERSE the magistrate judge?s order granting summary judgment on Vance?s claim of excessive force relating to Wade?s actions in shoving Vance inside the police vehicle, AFFIRM the magistrate judge?s order granting summary judgment in all other respects, and REMAND the case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

08a0405p.06  Dealer Computer v. Dub Herring Ford
    Eastern District of Michigan at Detroit

DAMON J. KEITH, Circuit Judge. Plaintiff Dealer Computer Services, Inc. (?DCS?) appeals the district court?s denial of its motion to vacate an arbitration award that did not preclude class arbitration of contract claims brought by Defendants Dub Herring Ford, et al. (?Dealers?) against DCS. DCS argues the district court erred by failing to find the arbitration panel both exceeded its powers in violation of 9 U.S.C. § 10(a)(4) and acted with ?manifest disregard of the law.? DCS also appeals the district court?s denial of its related motions for default judgment and reconsideration.

We conclude the district court lacked jurisdiction to consider DCS?s motion to vacate the arbitration award because the matter was not ripe for judicial review. Therefore, we VACATE the orders of the district court with respect to DCS?s pending motions and REMAND the case to the district court with instructions to DISMISS for lack of jurisdiction.
08a0406p.06  Hawkins v. Coyle
    Southern District of Ohio at Cincinnati
08a0406p.06  Hawkins v. Coyle
    Southern District of Ohio at Cincinnati
08a0407p.06  Doris Redmon v. Sud-Chemie Inc. Retirement Pla
    Western District of Kentucky at Louisville

JULIA SMITH GIBBONS, Circuit Judge. Plaintiff-appellant Doris A. Redmon appeals the judgment of the district court dismissing her claims against defendants-appellees Sud-Chemie Inc. Retirement Plan for Union Employees, Retirement Plan Committee for the Sud-Chemie Inc. Retirement Plan for Union Employees, and Sud-Chemie Inc. (collectively, ?Sud-Chemie?). Redmon alleges that Sud-Chemie failed to pay her survivor benefits due under her husband?s retirement plan and failed to provide her with the plan information she requested in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (?ERISA?), 29 U.S.C. § 1001 et seq. The district court found that Redmon?s claims were time-barred by the applicable Kentucky statute of limitations and dismissed her claims. Redmon now appeals, arguing that the district court applied the wrong state statute of limitations and erroneously calculated the date her claims accrued. For the reasons that follow, we affirm the dismissal of Redmon?s claims.
08a0408a.06  USA v. Brown
    Western District of Kentucky at Louisville

BOYCE F. MARTIN, JR., Circuit Judge. John S. Brown appeals his 144 month sentence for possession of crack and powder cocaine with intent to distribute, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug crime, and possession of a firearm after a felony conviction. On appeal, he argues that his sentence should be vacated because it was imposed without a presentence report. We find that the district court properly exercised its discretion to impose a sentence without a presentence report under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 32(c)(1)(A)(ii) and United States Sentencing Guidelines Manual § 6A1.1(a)(2). Finding Brown?s sentence to be procedurally reasonable, we AFFIRM. However, we REMAND for reconsideration of his sentence in light of
08a0409p.06  Thompkins v. Berghuis
    Eastern District of Michigan at Detroit

 

08a0410p.06  Howard Frank v. Dana Corporation
    Northern District of Ohio at Toledo

CLAY, Circuit Judge. Plaintiffs-appellants represent a class of investors who purchased securities of Dana Corporation (?Dana?) between April 21, 2004 and October 7, 2005 (the ?Class Period?). Plaintiffs? class-action complaint alleges violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, 15 U.S.C. §§ 78j(b) and 78t(a), and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder by the Securities and Exchange Commission, 17 C.F.R. § 240.10b-5. In particular, Plaintiffs allege that the Defendants, two of Dana?s chief corporate officers during the Class Period, are responsible for a number of intentional or reckless misstatements and material omissions which Plaintiffs allege were calculated to artificially boost Dana?s stock price.

Pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the district court dismissed the complaint for failure to satisfy the heightened pleading requirements of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (?PSLRA?), finding that the complaint failed to assert allegations that could support a ?strong inference? that Defendants acted with the requisite scienter. Frank v. Dana Corp., 525 F. Supp. 2d 922, 932 (N.D. Ohio 2007). In articulating the controlling pleading standard, the district court stated that it was ?required to accept plaintiff?s inferences of scienter only if those inferences are the most plausible of competing inferences.? Id. at 930 (emphasis added). Because this formulation of the applicable pleading standard is contrary to the Supreme Court?s decision in Tellabs, Inc. v. Makor Issues & Rights, Ltd., ___ U.S. ___, 127 S. Ct. 2499 (2007), which held that a complaint will survive a motion to dismiss so long as ?a reasonable person would deem the inference of scienter cogent and at least as compelling as any opposing inference one could draw from the facts alleged,? id. at 2510 (emphasis added), we vacate the judgment of the district court.

08a0411p.06  Saxton v. Sheets
    Northern District of Ohio at Toledo
08a0412p.06  Martin v. Toledo Cardiology
    Northern District of Ohio at Toledo

LEON JORDAN, District Judge. Plaintiff, Kathleen Martin, a former employee with defendant, Toledo Cardiology Consultants, Inc. (?Toledo Cardiology?), brought suit under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (?ADEA?), 29 U.S.C. § 623(a), and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-3(a). The district court granted summary judgment in favor of defendant on all claims, and dismissed the case in its entirety. For the reasons that follow, we REVERSE the district court?s decision and REMAND.
08a0413p.06  USA v. Blackie
    Western District of Michigan at Grand Rapids
08a0414p.06  Fednav, Limited v. Steven Chester
    Eastern District of Michigan at Detroit

KETHLEDGE, Circuit Judge. Plaintiffs?a coalition of shipping companies, non-profit shipping associations, a port terminal and dock operator, and a port association?appeal the district court?s dismissal of their constitutional challenges to the so-called Michigan Ballast Water Statute, Mich. Comp. Laws § 324.3112(6), and the regulations promulgated pursuant thereto. We hold that Plaintiffs lack standing to challenge one portion of the statute, and reject their arguments as to its remainder. We therefore affirm.

    NOT RECOMMENDED FOR FULL-TEXT PUBLICATION OPINIONS
       

Opinion Short Title/District
08a0700n.06  Richards v. USA
    Western District of Michigan at Grand Rapids
08a0701n.06  USA v. Shearer
    Southern District of Ohio at Cincinnati
08a0701n.06  USA v. Hatcher
    Southern District of Ohio at Cincinnati
08a0702n.06  USA v. Darron Howard
    Western District of Michigan at Grand Rapids
08a0703n.06  Gregory Bey v. Margaret Bagley
    Northern District of Ohio at Toledo
08a0704n.06  Bell v. Anderson
    Northern District of Ohio at Cleveland
08a0705n.06  Jacobs v. Sherman
    Western District of Michigan at Marquette
08a0706n.06  USA v. Gignac
    Eastern District of Michigan at Detroit
08a0707n.06  Mator v. Ecorse
    Eastern District of Michigan at Ann Arbor
08a0708n.06  USA v. Richards
    Middle District of Tennessee at Nashville
08a0709n.06  James Whitehead v. Neil Bowen
    Western District of Kentucky at Louisville

ALICE M. BATCHELDER, Circuit Judge. Plaintiff?Appellant James Whitehead (?Whitehead?) appeals the district court?s grant of summary judgment in favor of Defendant Pioneer Valley Police Officer Neil Bowen (?Bowen?) in this action brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and state law seeking damages for Bowen?s alleged use of excessive force in the course of an arrest. Whitehead appeals as well the court?s denial of his Rule 59(e) Motion to Alter, Amend or Vacate that decision. For the following reasons, we AFFIRM the judgment of the district court.

08a0710n.06  USA v. Horne
    Southern District of Ohio at Cincinnati
08a0711n.06  Damarious Walker v. Rent-A-Center
    Northern District of Ohio at Akron
08a0712n.06  USA v. Lemuel Frazier
    Eastern District of Kentucky at Covington

JULIA SMITH GIBBONS, Circuit Judge. Lemuel Frazier appeals his conviction from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky for distribution of crack cocaine, conspiracy to distribute cocaine, possession of crack cocaine with the intent to distribute, possession of a firearm to further drug trafficking, and possession of a firearm as a felon. He appeals his conviction on two grounds, claiming that the district court abused its discretion by allowing him to be impeached by mention of his prior felony conviction, and that his conviction violates his constitutional right to possess a firearm for protection. For the reasons outlined below, we affirm Frazier?s conviction and the judgment of the district court.
08a0713n.06  Graceland Fruit Inc. v. KIC Chemical
    Western District of Michigan at Grand Rapids
08a0714n.06  White v. USA
    Southern District of Ohio at Columbus
08a0715n.06  Antar v. Mukasey
    Board of Immigration Appeals
08a0716n.06  Margerita Martini v. Michael Mukasey
    Board of Immigration Appeals
08a0705n.06  Jacobs v. Sherman
    Western District of Michigan at Marquette
08a0717n.06  Eves v. Amer Clearinghouse
    Southern District of Ohio at Columbus
08a0718n.06  USA v. Orozco-Torres
    Middle District of Tennessee at Nashville
08a0718n.06  USA v. Rocha
    Middle District of Tennessee at Nashville
08a0719n.06  USA v. Roberts
    Northern District of Ohio at Cleveland
08a0720n.06  USA v. Smead
    Northern District of Ohio at Cleveland
08a0721n.06  Aubin Industries, Incorporated v. Jeff Smith
    Southern District of Ohio at Cincinnati
08a0722n.06  USA v. Estrada
    Western District of Kentucky at Owensboro
COOK, Circuit Judge. A federal grand jury indicted Willie Estrada (?Willie?) and Fidel Villasenor (?Fidel?) for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana (Count 2) in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(A)(vii), and 846. The same indictment charged Fidel with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine (Count 1) in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(A)(viii), and 846. Willie and Fidel both challenge their jury convictions, and Willie also appeals his sentence. 
08a0722n.06  USA v. Villasenor
    Western District of Kentucky at Owensboro

COOK, Circuit Judge. A federal grand jury indicted Willie Estrada (?Willie?) and Fidel Villasenor (?Fidel?) for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana (Count 2) in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(A)(vii), and 846. The same indictment charged Fidel with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine (Count 1) in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(A)(viii), and 846. Willie and Fidel both challenge their jury convictions, and Willie also appeals his sentence.

Full post as published by Sixth Circuit Cases on December 12, 2008 (boomark / email).

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