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Federal Judiciary

: Sixth Circuit Cases

Sept. 15-19, 2008 Decisions: US 6th Circuit Court of Appeals

By Michael Stevens

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  PUBLISHED OPINIONS 9/15 - 9/19/2008

OpinionShort Title/District
08a0346p.06

2008/09/15

Geoffrey Fieger v. US Attorney General
    Eastern District of Michigan at Detroit

RUSSELL, District Judge. Plaintiffs Geoffrey N. Fieger, Nancy Fisher, and Fieger, Fieger, Kenney and Johnson, P.C. (collectively, ?Plaintiffs?) appeal the dismissal with prejudice of their action challenging an ongoing grand jury investigation into Plaintiffs? alleged violation of federal campaign finance laws, challenging the district court?s decision that: 1) the statutory language of the Federal Election Campaign Act (the ?Act?), legislative history, and case law together indicate that the Act permits the Attorney General to conduct independent investigations into suspected criminal violations of campaign contribution laws without a referral from the Federal Election Commission; 2) Plaintiffs are not entitled to have a court compel the FEC to apply the alleged terms of the Act pursuant to APA §§ 701-706; and 3) Plaintiffs are not entitled to a writ of mandamus to compel FEC action in the instant case.

BACKGROUND Plaintiff-Appellant Geoffrey N. Fieger is a licensed attorney in the state of Michigan and president of the law firm Fieger, Fieger, Kenney & Johnson, PC (?FFKJ?). Plaintiff-Appellant Nancy Fisher is FFKJ?s office manager. On February 5, 2007, Plaintiffs filed a three-count complaint against Defendants Alberto R. Gonzales, United States Attorney General, and Michael E. Toner, Chairman of the Federal Election Commission (FEC). In Count I, Plaintiffs sought a declaratory judgment that the Defendants acted contrary to the plain language of the Act, which they assert bars the Attorney General and subordinate agencies from conducting an investigation of alleged violations of the Act until the FEC has investigated the matter itself and referred the matter to the Attorney General by an affirmative vote of four of its members. In Count II, they maintained that the FEC?s failure to comply with the requirements of the Act violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. §§ 701-706. In Count III, Plaintiffs sought a writ of mandamus from the district court compelling the FEC to perform what Plaintiffs assert are its statutorily defined duties pursuant to the Act.

08a0347p.06

2008/09/16

Assoc Builders v. MI Dept of Labor
    Eastern District of Michigan at Bay City

SUTTON, Circuit Judge. ?This is another Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) pre-emption case,? De Buono v. NYSA-ILA Med. & Clinical Servs. Fund, 520 U.S. 806, 808 (1997), one that asks whether ERISA preempts two provisions of a Michigan law governing the training of apprentice electricians. Because ?the substantive standards to be applied to apprenticeship training programs are . . . quite remote from the areas with which ERISA is expressly concerned,? and because of ?the paucity of indication in ERISA and its legislative history of any intent on the part of Congress to pre-empt state apprenticeship training standards,? Cal. Div. of Labor Standards Enforcement v. Dillingham Constr., N.A., Inc., 519 U.S. 316, 330?31 (1997), we hold that ERISA does not preempt the provisions.

08a0348p.06

2008/09/19

USA v. Hodson
    Eastern District of Kentucky at London

ALICE M. BATCHELDER, Circuit Judge. In this appeal, which arises from the district court?s denial of a criminal defendant?s motion to suppress evidence seized pursuant to a warrant, we must decide whether a suspect?s ostensibly admitting to having engaged in child molestation is sufficient, without more, to establish probable cause to search that suspect?s home for child pornography. Because we conclude that it is not, we REVERSE the district court?s denial of the suppression motion, VACATE the conviction, and REMAND this case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

08a0349p.06

2008/09/19

Niemi v. NHK Spring Co Ltd
    Northern District of Ohio at Toledo

McKEAGUE, Circuit Judge. Plaintiff Richard K. Niemi devised a new method of manufacturing stabilizer bars for automobiles in 1990, a ?trade secret.? He alleges he disclosed this method to defendant New Mather Metals, Inc., only after entering into an oral confidentiality agreement. Pursuant to this agreement, New Mather was allowed to use the manufacturing process in exchange for its promise to maintain its secrecy and to grant plaintiff the exclusive right to perform all design work for New Mather. In 1998, Niemi learned that New Mather had breached the agreement by entering into design contracts with other parties. Niemi brought suit for misappropriation of trade secret, breach of contract, and promissory estoppel. The district court dismissed the claims against New Mather?s parent corporation, NHK Spring Co., Ltd., for lack of personal jurisdiction and awarded summary judgment to New Mather on all of Niemi?s claims. Niemi has timely appealed these rulings. On careful consideration of the record, we uphold the district court?s dismissal of the claims against NHK Spring Co., but conclude there is sufficient evidence to create genuine issues of material fact on the trade secret and promissory estoppel claims. For the reasons that follow, the summary judgment rulings on these two claims are vacated and the matter remanded for further proceedings.

08a0350p.06

2008/09/19

USA v. Shank
    Southern District of Ohio at Dayton

    NOT RECOMMENDED FOR FULL-TEXT PUBLICATION OPINIONS
       

OpinionShort Title/District
08a0560n.06  Jack Tyler Engineering Company v. SPX Corporation
    Western District of Tennessee at Memphis

McKEAGUE, Circuit Judge. Jack Tyler Engineering Co., Inc. (?JTE?) sued several companies, including SPX Corp., over a terminated distributorship agreement. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants on all of JTE?s claims. JTE appeals the judgment on a sole claim: whether the termination of the distributorship agreement violated Tennessee Code § 47-25-1301 et seq. Two panels of this court have already considered and rejected similar claims. Because we agree with the reasoning of those panels, we affirm judgment in favor of SPX Corp.

08a0561n.06  Cindy Turnmire v. Commissioner of Social Security
    Western District of Tennessee at Memphis
08a0562n.06  Reda v. Mukasey
    Board of Immigration Appeals
08a0563n.06  USA v. Triana
    Northern District of Ohio at Cleveland
08a0564n.06  Reddic v. Conerly
    Eastern District of Michigan at Detroit
08a0565n.06  Jimmie Smith v. Home Depot USA, Inc.
    Western District of Tennessee at Memphis

DAMON J. KEITH, Circuit Judge. Plaintiff Jimmie Smith?s lower left leg was amputated as a result of injuries sustained while using a Krause Multimatic Ladder purchased at a Home Depot store in Tennessee. In the resulting product liability action, Defendant Home Depot USA, Inc. (?Home Depot?) appeals the district court?s grant of partial summary judgment in favor of Plaintiffs Jimmie and Georgianna Smith (?Plaintiffs?). Home Depot argues on appeal that the district court erred in finding that the present suit may be maintained against Home Depot, the seller, where, Home Depot claims, the district court has jurisdiction over the product?s manufacturer, Krause Werk GmbH and Company (?Krause-Werk?). For the following reasons, we AFFIRM.

08a0566n.06  USA v. Mason
    Western District of Tennessee at Memphis
08b0015n.06  In re: Louis G. Fusco, Jr. v.
    U.S. Bankruptcy Court - Columbus

Full post as published by Sixth Circuit Cases on September 21, 2008 (boomark / email).

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