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Federal Judiciary

: Sixth Circuit Cases

Nov. 24-28, 2008: US 6th Circuit Court of Appeals Decisions

By Michael Stevens

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PUBLISHED OPINIONS

Opinion Short Title/District
08a0415p.06  Smith v. Jefferson Cnty
    Eastern District of Tennessee at Knoxville

KAREN NELSON MOORE, Circuit Judge. The former principal of Jefferson County, Tennessee?s alternative school and two former teachers at the school (collectively referred to as ?the teachers?), allege that, by closing the county?s public alternative school and contracting with Kingswood Academy (?Kingswood?) to provide alternative-school services for public-school students, the Jefferson County School Board of Commissioners and its members (collectively referred to as ?the Board?) violated the teachers? (1) First Amendment Establishment Clause rights under the United States Constitution and similar rights under article I, section 3 of the Tennessee Constitution; and (2) procedural and substantive due-process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and article I, section 8 of the Tennessee Constitution. The teachers appeal the grant of summary judgment to the Board and its members on all of the teachers? claims, and the denial of the teachers? motion for partial summary judgment.

We hold that there is a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the Board violated the Establishment Clause. In addition, we hold that the Board did not violate the teachers? procedural and substantive due-process rights, and that the individual Board members are entitled to legislative immunity. Therefore, we REVERSE the district court?s grant of summary judgment to the Board on the teachers? Establishment Clause claims and the district court?s denial of legislative immunity to the Board members, and REMAND to the district court for further proceedings. We AFFIRM the district court?s grant of summary judgment to the Board on the teachers? procedural and substantive due-process claims. Finally, because we hold that the individual Board members are entitled to legislative
08a0416p.06  USA v. Presley
    Eastern District of Michigan at Detroit
08a0417p.06  O'Bryan v. Holy See
    Western District of Kentucky at Louisville

JULIA SMITH GIBBONS, Circuit Judge. Defendant Holy See appeals the district court?s denial, in part, of its motion to dismiss all of plaintiffs? claims due to lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The Holy See contends that the district court has no subject matter jurisdiction over plaintiffs? claims because the Holy See is immune from suit as a foreign state pursuant to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (?FSIA?), 28 U.S.C. § 1602 et seq. Plaintiffs James H. O?Bryan, Donald E. Poppe, and Michael J. Turner (?plaintiffs?) cross-appeal the district court?s partial grant of the Holy See?s motion to dismiss. Plaintiffs claim that the FSIA does not immunize the Holy See from suit on the grounds alleged in their complaint and thus the district court does in fact have subject matter jurisdiction in this case. The United States as intervenor and amicus supports the position of the Holy See with respect to the Holy See?s status as a foreign state and the constitutionality of the FSIA. For the following reasons, we affirm the decision of the district court.
08a0418p.06  USA v. Robinson
    Eastern District of Tennessee at Winchester
08a0419p.06  Molina-Crespo v. US Merit System
    Northern District of Ohio at Cleveland
08a0420p.06  Stuart Brinley v. LPP Mortgage, Ltd
    Western District of Kentucky at Louisville

HOOD, District Judge. Debtors-Appellants Stuart C. Brinley (?Brinley?) and Fredrick L. Radcliffe, Jr.(?Radcliffe?) (collectively, ?Appellants?) appeal the district court?s opinion and order affirming the bankruptcy court?s order which allowed the Trustee, William W. Lawrence, to revoke his abandonment of Appellants? real property. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm the district court?s opinion and order.
08a0421p.06  USA v. McCauley
    Southern District of Ohio at Dayton
08a0422p.06  Chamar Avery v. John Prelesnik
    Western District of Michigan at Grand Rapids
08a0423p.06  USA v. Stephens
    Eastern District of Michigan at Bay City
08a0424p.06  Klein v. Leis
    Southern District of Ohio at Cincinnati
08a0424p.06  Klein v. Leis
    Southern District of Ohio at Cincinnati
08a0425p.06  Jordan v. Comm Social Security
    Western District of Tennessee at Jackson
08a0426p.06  Ronald Madden v. Chattanooga City Wide Service
    Eastern District of Tennessee of Chattanooga

KAREN NELSON MOORE, Circuit Judge. Defendant-Appellant Chattanooga City Wide Service Department (?CWS?) appeals the district court?s entry of judgment following a bench trial awarding Plaintiff-Appellee Ronald L. Madden (?Madden?) back pay, front pay, and compensatory damages on his claim that CWS terminated his employment in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (?Title VII?), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2, and the Tennessee Human Rights Act (?THRA?), TENN. CODE ANN. § 4-21-101 et seq. Madden, who is African-American, worked as a crew worker for CWS until he was fired following an incident on March 22, 2006, in which he set off firecrackers at a work site and was reported by his white supervisor to senior managers. White employees had set off firecrackers or similar devices in the presence of supervisors without facing According to Templin, when he asked Madden why he had set off the fireworks, Madden said, ?I was just playing.? Joint Appendix (?J.A.?) at 171 (Trial Tr. at 101). Although Madden admits setting off the firecrackers, he testified at trial that he used the fireworks to ward off a dog that approached when he got out of the truck. J.A. at 124 (Trial Tr. at 47). According to Madden, crew workers commonly used firecrackers to scare off dogs and other animals. Id. Madden testified that when Templin asked him why he had set off the firecrackers, he responded, ?Didn?t you see that dog come up?? Id. Templin testified that Madden did not mention a dog and that he did not see any dogs. J.A. at 171 (Trial Tr. at 101). It is unclear whose version of events was credited by the district court. See J.A. at 52 (Mem. & Order at 2). discipline. On appeal, CWS argues that (1) the district court erred in finding that CWS intentionally discriminated against Madden, (2) the district court erred in failing to toll the award of back pay because Madden refused an offer of reinstatement, and (3) the district court erred by awarding excessive front pay. Because the district court did not clearly err in finding intentional discrimination and did not abuse its discretion in awarding damages, we AFFIRM the district court?s judgment for Madden.
08a0427p.06  State of Ohio ex rel. Dana Skaggs v. Jennifer Brunner
    Southern District of Ohio at Columbus
08a0428p.06  Doan v. Carter
    Southern District of Ohio at Cincinnati
08a0429p.06  League of Women Voters of Ohio v. Brunner
    Northern District of Ohio at Toledo
08a0429p.06  League of Women Voters of Ohio v. Brunner
    Northern District of Ohio at Toledo
08a0430p.06  USA v. Gilpatrick
    Middle District of Tennessee at Cookeville
08a0431p.06  Robert Golden v. Comm'r of Internal Revenue
    Commissioner of Internal Revenue

    NOT RECOMMENDED FOR

FULL-TEXT PUBLICATION OPINIONS
      

Opinion Short Title/District
08a0723n.06  Vakilian v. Shaw
    Eastern District of Michigan at Ann Arbor
08a0724n.06  Poindexter v. Booker
    Eastern District of Michigan at Detroit
08a0725n.06  USA v. Taylor
    Western District of Michigan at Grand Rapids
08a0725n.06  USA v. Taylor
    Western District of Michigan at Grand Rapids
08a0726n.06  USA v. Sanders
    Northern District of Ohio at Cleveland
08a0727n.06  Diana Cecil v. Louisville Water Company
    Western District of Kentucky at Louisville

McKEAGUE, Circuit Judge. At oral argument, counsel for appellant Diana Cecil analogized her client?s case to a pointillist painting,1 in which each allegedly discriminatory incident is a tiny dot in the bigger picture of disparate treatment, hostile work environment, and retaliation by her former employer, the Louisville Water Company (?LWC?). Because we are unable to perceive anything but broad brush strokes and general, conclusory allegations, we AFFIRM the district court?s grant of summary judgment in favor of LWC.
08a0728n.06  Debra Vaughn v. Louisville Water Company
    Western District of Kentucky at Louisville

McKEAGUE, Circuit Judge. Plaintiff Debra Vaughn appeals the district court?s grant of summary judgment in favor of her former employer, defendant Louisville Water Company (?LWC?), on her claims of disparate treatment, hostile work environment, and retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (?Title VII?), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. For the reasons stated below, we AFFIRM the decision of the district court. I
08a0729n.06  USA v. Back
    Southern District of Ohio at Cincinnati
08a0730n.06  Henderson v. Luoma
    Western District of Michigan at Marquette
08a0731n.06  USA v. Williams
    Eastern District of Kentucky at Covington

GRIFFIN, Circuit Judge. Defendant Michael L. Williams appeals the district court?s order denying his motion to suppress evidence seized from his person and vehicle following his arrest. Defendant also appeals his sentence as unreasonable. Because we conclude that the investigating officer had probable cause to order defendant?s warrantless arrest, the search incident to his arrest was lawful, and we therefore affirm. We also affirm defendant?s sentence as procedurally and substantively reasonable.
08a0732n.06  Rogers v. City of Warren
    Northern District of Ohio at Youngstown

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

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