Beydoun v. Wataniya Rest. Holding, QSC

Wataniya, a Qatari corporation, operates restaurant franchises in the Middle East and North Africa. It has never operated any franchises in the U.S., nor does it have any offices, representatives, or employees in Michigan. Other defendants are natural persons, all citizens of Qatar. Beydoun,a U.S. citizen, was approached in Michigan by a Wataniya representative about becoming Wataniya’s CEO to “bring Western culture and restaurant franchises to the Middle East.” Beydoun accepted the position and moved to Qatar in 2007; his family followed in 2008. After moving to Qatar, Beydoun made several business trips to Michigan on Wataniya’s behalf. Wataniya purchased restaurant equipment from Michigan companies. After the relationship soured, the company accused Beydoun of mismanagement and of stealing significant sums of money. Beydoun responded that the company had not paid him his salary nor reimbursed him for living expenses. Wataniya revoked his exit visa, rendering Beydoun unable to leave Qatar. Beydoun filed suit in the Qatari courts seeking back pay and benefits. Wataniya counter-sued for $13.7 million and lodged a criminal complaint. Wataniya’s lawsuit and the criminal complaint were dismissed and Beydoun was awarded $170,000 by the Qatari courts. Beydoun was not legally permitted to return to Michigan until more than a year had passed. Beydoun sued in Michigan, alleging false imprisonment, abuse of process, and malicious prosecution. The district court dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. The Sixth Circuit affirmed. Beydoun failed to establish that the claims proximately resulted from Wataniya’s contacts with Michigan View "Beydoun v. Wataniya Rest. Holding, QSC" on Justia Law

McKelvey v. Sec’y of U.S. Army

McKelvey served in Iraq. In 2004, he attempted to defuse a roadside bomb, and it exploded. He lost his right hand, among other injuries. McKelvey moved back to Michigan and accepted a civilian position with the Army as an operations specialist. At the new job, he received only menial assignments and was constantly taunted by colleagues, often about his war-related injuries. He eventually reached the breaking point and resigned in 2007. McKelvey sued the Army for disability discrimination in violation of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. 791. The Army offered to reinstate him in a new position at a new location that was otherwise equivalent to his old job and later offered $300,000 to settle the whole dispute. He rejected both offers. His claims of hostile work environment and constructive discharge, went to trial. The jury ruled in his favor, awarding him nearly $4.4 million in front pay. The district court vacated that award, however, and the Sixth Circuit affirmed in part, precluding front pay and holding that reinstatement was the proper remedy under the statute. A year after the remand, McKelvey and the Army settled. The district court awarded attorney’s fees to McKelvey as a prevailing party. View "McKelvey v. Sec'y of U.S. Army" on Justia Law

United Pet Supply, Inc. v. City of Chattanooga

McKamey, a private non-profit corporation that contracted with Chattanooga to provide animal-welfare services, received complaints about conditions at United pet store. McKamey employees Walsh and Nicholson discovered animals without water, and with no working air conditioning. Aided by Hurn, they removed animals and business records from the store and proceeded to revoke its pet-dealer permit. United filed a 42 U.S.C. 1983 suit against the city; McKamey; and the employees, in their individual and official capacities, alleging that removal of its animals and revocation of its permit without a prior hearing violated procedural due process and that the warrantless seizures violated the Fourth Amendment. The Sixth Circuit held that Hurn, acting as a private animal-welfare officer, may not assert qualified immunity as a defense in the personal capacity suit. Walsh and Nicholson, however, acted as both private animal-welfare officers and specially-commissioned city police officers; they are entitled to summary judgment of qualified immunity on the procedural due-process claims based on the seizure of the animals and of the permit. Regarding the Fourth Amendment claims: Walsh and Nicholson are entitled to summary judgment of qualified immunity on claims based on the seizure of the animals. Nicholson is entitled to summary judgment on the claim based on seizure of the business records. Walsh is denied summary judgment on the claim based on the seizure of business records. Qualified immunity is not an available defense to an official-capacity suit. View "United Pet Supply, Inc. v. City of Chattanooga" on Justia Law

Finn v. Warren Cnty

The district court entered a preliminary injunction, enjoining Ohio from enforcing SB 238’s amendments to section 3509.01 of the Ohio Revised Code reducing the EIP [early in person] voting period from 35 days before an election to the period beginning the day following the close of voter registration; providing that, for the 2014 general election, the EIP voting period shall consist of the 35 days prior to the election; and that, for the 2014 general election, all county Boards of Election must set uniform and suitable EIP voting hours for specific days. The state requested that the Sixth Circuit stay provisions “that could possibly require action” before resolution on appeal. The Sixth Circuit denied the motion. The state did not make a strong showing of likelihood to succeed on the merits or demonstrate that they will suffer more than a mere possibility of irreparable harm, but only articulated that failure to stay the Order would harm the “strong public interest in smooth and effective administration of the voting laws” and would “require additional time and money.” Plaintiffs demonstrated that the public will likely suffer significant harm if the stay is granted by arguing that the Order’s contents already have been disseminated to the public. Staying the Order would create confusion, adversely affecting voter turnout during EIP voting if the Order is affirmed on appeal. View "Finn v. Warren Cnty" on Justia Law

Rais v. Holder

Rais, born in Pakistan in 1975, entered the U.S. in 2002 to attend school, married a citizen, and applied for adjustment of status to lawful permanent residency. He was convicted of domestic violence against his wife, in 2002, and was granted advance parole, allowing him to leave the U.S. without abandoning his application for adjustment of status. He was paroled back into this country in 2003. In 2004, his application for adjustment of status was denied. Rais married another U.S. citizen in 2005, and again applied for adjustment of status. That application was denied in 2009 because of the domestic violence conviction. An IJ ordered his removal, determining that she lacked jurisdiction to grant adjustment of status under 8 U.S.C. 1255. The BIA affirmed. Rais twice moved to reopen removal proceedings, requesting that proceedings be suspended while the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services adjudicates his application for adjustment of status. The BIA denied the first motion on the merits and refused to exercise its sua sponte authority to grant the second, which was untimely and number-barred. Rais sought review of the second denial. The Sixth Circuit dismissed the petition for want of jurisdiction to review the BIA’s decision to refrain from exercising its authority. View "Rais v. Holder" on Justia Law

In re: Anderson

Debtors developed and sold property in “The Village of Arcadian Springs,” in Anderson, Tennessee. Plaintiffs alleged that they were fraudulently induced to purchase waterfront lots by misrepresentations concerning construction of a lake and other amenities which were never completed. After a hearing on noncompliance with discovery orders, the state court entered default judgment, stating: Plaintiffs are entitled to a Judgment pursuant to ... their Complaint including ... violation of the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act ... negligence; misrepresentation; fraud; conversion; negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress; outrageous conduct; and deceit. The Debtors filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition before a scheduled state court hearing on damages. In an adversary proceeding, the bankruptcy court compared the elements of 11 U.S.C. 523(a)(2)(A) to those of a cause of action for fraud in Tennessee, found that the fraud claims were actually litigated in the state court, that the finding of fraud was necessary to support the state judgment, and that collateral estoppel applied to the state court fraud claims, rendering them non-dischargeable under 11 U.S.C. 523(a)(2)(A). The Bankruptcy Appellate Panel affirmed, noting that the Debtors retained an attorney, filed an answer, and participated in discovery so that their repeated failures to respond properly resulted in default judgment. The fraud issues were, therefore, actually litigated. View "In re: Anderson" on Justia Law

In re: SII Liquidation Co.

Schwab filed a chapter 11 bankruptcy petition in 2010. HLP was appointed as bankruptcy counsel. Schwab’s individual directors/shareholders filed an adversary proceeding against Attorney Oscar and HLP, asserting malpractice arising from an allegedly undisclosed conflict of interest with Bank of America. The bankruptcy court dismissed, holding that the directors lacked standing to bring the claim directly or derivatively and that the claim was barred by res judicata. They did not appeal. One year after the dismissal, the directors sought to reopen the adversary proceeding on the basis of asserted newly discovered evidence of failure to disclose a conflict with Huntington National Bank. The bankruptcy court denied the motion for relief from judgment, reasoning that the directors had not challenged the prior ruling that they lacked standing and that, although other arguments were immaterial in light of lack of standing, the proffered evidence was neither new nor newly discovered. The directors “had knowledge of the specific conflict at least three years earlier than they’ve claimed in their motion for relief.” The Sixth Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel affirmed. Because the directors lacked standing to be a party in the underlying complaint, they lack standing to bring a motion for relief from judgment. View "In re: SII Liquidation Co." on Justia Law

Navistar, Inc. v. Forester

Forester was awarded benefits under the Black Lung Benefits Act, 30 U.S.C. 901-944, as amended by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, 124 Stat. 119, after the ALJ determined that Forester’s five years of private coal mine employment with Navistar’s predecessor, combined with his16 years of employment as a mine inspector with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration , rendered him eligible for the rebuttable presumption that, having been employed for at least 15 years in underground coal mines, and having a totally disabling respiratory or pulmonary impairment, he was totally disabled due to pneumoconiosis, commonly known as black lung disease. The Benefits Review Board upheld the award. The Sixth Circuit vacated, holding that a federal mine inspector is not a “miner” for purposes of the BLBA, and remanding for determination of whether Forester is entitled to an award of BLBA benefits without the benefit of the 15-year presumption. View "Navistar, Inc. v. Forester" on Justia Law

United States v. Bell

Bell dealt crack cocaine for years and customarily cooked it in his kitchen; police stopped his car after receiving a tip and found 58 grams of crack cocaine and thousands of dollars in cash. In his home they found three police scanners, a digital scale, and drug-packaging materials. His ex-wife, who still lived in Bell’s house, had removed thousands of dollars in cash, packaged-to-sell crack cocaine, and guns from the house after he called her from jail. Based on those facts, the district court imposed a two-level enhancement to his sentence under U.S.S.G. 2D1.1 for maintaining a premises for the purpose of manufacturing and distributing drugs. The Sixth Circuit affirmed; precedents under the guideline do not carve out residences as safe havens from being drug-production premises. View "United States v. Bell" on Justia Law

United State v. Elsass

Elsass and his companies, FRG, and STS, were charged with violations of the Tax Code, including claiming theft-loss deductions for losses that did not involve criminal conduct, claiming those deductions before it was clear that there was no reasonable prospect of recovery, falsely characterizing theft losses as losses incurred in a trade or business to artificially inflate refunds, claiming theft-loss deductions to which taxpayers were not entitled because the losses were incurred by deceased relatives, negotiating customers’ tax-refund checks and depositing them into defendants’ bank accounts, falsely indicating that Elsass was an attorney in good standing, making deceptive statements to customers that substantially interfered with the administration of the tax laws, promoting an abusive tax shelter through false or fraudulent statements about the tax benefits of participation, and aiding and abetting the understatement of tax liability. The district court held that there was no genuine issue as to whether Elsass and FRG had engaged in each of these prohibited practices and enjoined them from serving as tax-return preparers. While it granted summary judgment to STS with respect to all claims except on, because STS is wholly owned by Elsass, it enjoined STS to the same extent as Elsass and FRG. The Sixth Circuit affirmed. View "United State v. Elsass" on Justia Law