Cass v. City of Dayton

After a “buy-bust” operation orchestrated by Dayton police, based on information from a confidential informant, Detective House shot and killed Jordan. Jordan, not the intended target of the bullet, sat in the front passenger seat of a vehicle that, moments before the shot was fired, had been driven into two officers in an attempt to escape. Jordan’s estate sued under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging that House used excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment and that the city failed to train and supervise its employees adequately. The district court awarded summary judgment to the defendants on all claims. The Sixth Circuit affirmed, finding House’s actions objectively reasonable. The “calculus of reasonableness” allows for the fact that police officers must often “make split-second judgments in circumstances that are tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving,” An officer does not violate the Fourth Amendment where, although ultimately wrong in his or her assessment of the circumstances, “a dangerous situation evolved quickly to a safe one before the police officer had a chance to realize the change.”View "Cass v. City of Dayton" on Justia Law

Suarez-Diaz v. Holder

Suarez, a citizen of Cuba, was paroled into the U.S. in 1980, under 8 U.S.C. 1182(d)(5). In 1984, he was convicted of robbery, unlawful possession of a weapon, and receiving stolen property in New Jersey state court and received a combined sentence of 10 years. Citing the convictions and his lack of an immigrant visa or other valid entry document, the government initiated removal proceedings. After obtaining a second continuance, to apply for deferral of removal and to seek separate relief under the Cuban Adjustment Act, Suarez failed to file an application to defer his removal within the 60 days. The IJ denied a third continuance, noting that the removal proceedings already had been delayed for over a year. Suarez then filed an application to defer his removal, relying on the United Nations Convention Against Torture and alleged that he had filed an application to change his citizenship status under the Cuban Adjustment Act. The IJ again denied a continuance. After his sixth request to postpone the proceedings was denied, Suarez appealed. The Board of Immigration Appeals dismissed. The Sixth Circuit denied a petition for review, finding no denial of due process.View "Suarez-Diaz v. Holder" on Justia Law

Roger Smith v. Aegon Companies Pension Plan

Smith was an employee CGC, which offered some employees, including Smith, enhanced compensation if they would remain with CGC through its merger with AEGON. Under the Voluntary Employee Retention and Retirement Program (VERRP) Smith would retire in 2000. Smith elected to receive $1,066.54 under the qualified plan and $1,122.97 under the non-qualified plan, through the “AEGON USA Pension Plan: Election for Distribution and Explanation of Benefits.” An attachment informed Smith that “you will be entitled to receive additional benefits from the [CGC] Retirement Plan.” The two plans subsequently merged. Smith retired and the Plan paid him a lump sum plus $2,189.51 per month. In 2007, AEGON amended the Plan to add a “Restriction on Venue. A participant or Beneficiary shall only bring an action in connection with the Plan in Federal District Court in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.” In 2011, the Plan told Smith that it had overpaid him by $1,122.97 per month for 11 years and eliminated Smith’s entire monthly payment to obtain recoupment. Smith exhausted administrative remedies then filed suit against CGC in state court, asserting breach of contract, wage and hour statutory violations, estoppel, and breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing. CGC removed the action to federal court, which dismissed, finding that that the VERRP was regulated by ERISA, that Smith was suing to recover benefits under this ERISA plan, and that only the Pension Committee, not CGC, was a proper defendant. The Sixth Circuit affirmed. Smith filed suit against the AEGON Plan in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky. The district court dismissed based on the venue selection clause. The Sixth Circuit affirmed, upholding the venue selection clause as applying to all actions brought by a participant or beneficiary, not just claims for benefits.View "Roger Smith v. Aegon Companies Pension Plan" on Justia Law

Ansfield v. Omnicare, Inc.

KBC Asset Management sued Omnicare (a pharmaceutical company) and affiliated individuals, on behalf of Ansfield and other similarly situated shareholders, alleging that the defendants had committed securities fraud in violation of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, 15 U.S.C. 78j(b) and 78t(a), and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Rule 10b-5. KBC charged the defendants with making various material misrepresentations and omissions between January 10, 2007 and August 5, 2010 in public and in SEC filings regarding Omnicare’s compliance with Medicare and Medicaid regulations. The district court dismissed. The Sixth Circuit affirmed, based on the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, 15 U.S.C. 78u-4, which created heightened pleading standards for securities-fraud cases and requires that plaintiffs identify each misleading or false statement and explain how it is misleading. Plaintiffs also must “state with particularity facts giving rise to a strong inference that the defendant[s] acted with the required state of mind.” KCB did not meet those requirements.View "Ansfield v. Omnicare, Inc." on Justia Law

Platt v. Bd. of Comm’rs of Grievances & Discipline

Aspiring Ohio state court judges must run for office and must follow the Code of Judicial Conduct, promulgated by the Ohio Supreme Court. The Code limits candidates’ campaign-related speech to help maintain an “independent, fair, and impartial judiciary,” free of “impropriety and the appearance of impropriety.” After the Sixth Circuit struck parts of the Kentucky Code of Judicial Conduct, Ohio narrowed its Code. As amended, all judicial candidates—incumbents and challengers—are subject to restrictions on direct, personal monetary solicitation; bans on public political party speeches and endorsements of other candidates; and a prohibition on receiving campaign money earlier than 120-days before the primary. Platt, an attorney who wishes to run for Ohio judicial office, wanted to publicly endorse other candidates, directly solicit campaign funds in person, and to receive campaign contributions without the time limitations. Platt sued to preliminarily enjoin enforcement of the rules as applied to non-sitting judicial candidates. The district court denied Platt’s request, holding that Platt failed to show a strong likelihood of success on the merits of his First Amendment claims and that the requested injunction would cause substantial harm to sitting judicial candidates who would still be subject to the restrictions. The Sixth Circuit affirmed.View "Platt v. Bd. of Comm'rs of Grievances & Discipline" on Justia Law

Occupy Nashville v. Haslam

In 2011, a group of protesters calling themselves “Occupy Nashville” established an around-the-clock presence on the Nashville War Memorial Plaza, with the aim of bringing attention to disparities in wealth and power in the United States. After several weeks of occupying the Plaza, representatives of the protesters sought a meeting with state officials to discuss safety and health concerns that had developed. The state agreed and adopted a new policy that imposed a curfew for the Plaza. Those policies may have been promulgated in derogation of Tennessee’s version of the Uniform Administrative Procedures Act. Six protesters were later arrested for violating that curfew and brought claims under 42 U.S.C. 1983 against state officials, alleging violations of rights under the First, Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments. Two officials appealed the district court’s ruling that that they were not entitled to qualified immunity and were personally liable for damages. The Sixth Circuit reversed, holding that the state officials are protected by qualified immunity because, regardless of the specifics of Tennessee’s administrative law, the protesters’ claimed First Amendment right to unrestricted 24-hour access to the Plaza is not a clearly established constitutional right.View "Occupy Nashville v. Haslam" on Justia Law

Blackston v. Rapelje

Miller disappeared in 1988. In 1999 interviews of Miller’s associates, Lamp admitted involvement in the disappearance and led police to Miller’s remains, buried in woods near Lamp’s property. Lamp stated that he and Blackston had killed Miller with the help of Simpson. The state charged Blackston with first-degree murder. In exchange for his testimony, the state granted Simpson immunity from prosecution and permitted Lamp to plead guilty to manslaughter. No physical evidence connected Blackston to Miller’s death. The state’s case depended on testimony by Lamp and Simpson and three women friends. Lamp and Simpson described the crime. The defense noted their favorable deals and inconsistencies in their stories. The jury convicted Blackston but the judge reversed because he had misinformed the jury regarding the extent of Simpson’s immunity. Before the second trial, Zantello and Simpson prepared written statements, recanting their testimony. At trial, the judge tired of their erratic behavior, deemed Simpson and Zantello to be “unavailable” and ordered their testimony from the first trial read to the jury. The judge did not allow the recantations to be read to the jury. The testimony of all remaining witnesses was consistent with testimony at the first trial. The second jury convicted Blackston. The Michigan Supreme Court twice reversed the appeals court, finding that it was not error to exclude the recantations or that other evidence rendered any error harmless. A federal district court granted a conditional habeas writ, finding that Blackston’s rights of confrontation and due process were violated. The Sixth Circuit affirmed, finding that the state unreasonably abridged Blackston’s clearly established federal constitutional right.View "Blackston v. Rapelje" on Justia Law

Calhoun v. Jackson

Calhoun, a Michigan state prisoner, filed a federal habeas petition in 2003. Although the petition included only exhausted claims, Calhoun also sought to litigate some unexhausted claims and moved to stay his petition while he exhausted the additional claims in state court. The district court granted the stay on conditions that Calhoun file his additional claims in state court within 90 days of the stay order and that he return to federal court within 30 days of exhausting them. Rather than file his unexhausted claims within 90 days, he waited more than six years, until 2010, to file them in Michigan state court. The Michigan trial and appellate courts denied relief. In 2012, Calhoun returned to the district court and filed an amended petition that included his old claims from the initial petition and his newly (but tardily) exhausted claims. The district court vacated its stay as of the date it had been entered and dismissed Calhoun’s original petition and amended petition as untimely. The Sixth Circuit affirmed.View "Calhoun v. Jackson" on Justia Law

Ford Motor Co. v. United States

When a taxpayer is a large corporation such as Ford, it often takes years for the IRS to conduct an audit of the corporation’s tax liability. When the IRS determines that the taxpayer underpaid its taxes, the taxpayer is liable for underpayment interest that accrued while the IRS analyzed its tax liability, 26 U.S.C. 6601(a). If the IRS determines that the taxpayer overpaid its taxes for the year under scrutiny, the government owes overpayment interest, which accrues from “the date of the overpayment.” Ford remitted approximately $875 million to the IRS in the 1990s after the IRS initiated an audit and preliminarily determined that Ford had underpaid its taxes by nearly $2 billion during the preceding decade. Ford sent the money pursuant to Revenue Procedure 84-58, which allows taxpayers to remit funds to stop the accrual of underpayment interest and identifies: “deposits in the nature of a cash bond” and “advance tax payments.” Ford designated each of its payments as a deposit in the nature of a cash bond, which the IRS says is “made merely to stop the running of [underpayment] interest,” “is not a payment of tax,” and “if returned to the taxpayer, does not bear interest.” Later Ford asked the IRS to treat its remittances as advance tax payments, which do bear interest in the event of an overpayment. The IRS complied, but subsequently reversed its position and concluded that the monies Ford remitted to the IRS to cover the alleged deficiencies were actually an overpayment of taxes. The government refunded Ford’s tax remittances plus overpayment interest, calculated from the dates on which Ford requested that its deposits be converted into advance tax payments rather than from the earlier dates on which Ford remitted the deposits. View "Ford Motor Co. v. United States" on Justia Law

Laborers’ Local 265 Pension Fund v. iShares Trust

Securities lending is a common practice: securities are temporarily transferred by the lender to a borrower, who is obliged to return the securities, either on demand, or at the end of any agreed term. For the period of the loan the lender is secured by acceptable collateral (in the U.S., often cash) valued at 102% [to] 105% of the market value of the loaned securities. The borrower may be motivated by desire to cover a short position, to sell the borrowed securities in hopes of buying them back at a lower price before returning them, or to gain tax advantages associated with the temporary transfer of ownership. The plaintiffs are pension funds that are shareholders in exchange-traded funds issued by iShares. iShares, as part of its mutual-fund operations, lends its securities holdings to various borrowers to generate substantial revenue. BTC, a related company, serves as iShares’s middleman between iShares and those who seek to borrow iShares’s securities and receives 35% of all securities-lending net revenue. BFA, another related company, is the investment adviser for iShares and manages its portfolios for a separate fee. Plaintiffs alleged that BFA and BTC violated the Investment Company Act, 15 U.S.C. 80a-35(a), (b), by charging an excessive lending fee because the fee charged by BTC bears no relationship to actual services rendered. The district court dismissed. The Sixth Circuit affirmed, finding that the Act does not create a private cause of action.View "Laborers' Local 265 Pension Fund v. iShares Trust" on Justia Law