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Saginaw uses a common parking enforcement practice known as “chalking.” City parking enforcement officers use chalk to mark the tires of parked vehicles to track how long they have been parked. Parking enforcement officers return to the car after the posted time for parking has passed, and if the chalk marks are still there—a sign that the vehicle has not moved—the officer issues a citation. Taylor, a frequent recipient of parking tickets, sued the city and its parking enforcement officer, Hoskins, alleging that chalking violated her Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable search. The district court dismissed , finding that, while chalking may have constituted a search under the Fourth Amendment, the search was reasonable. The Sixth Circuit reversed, characterizing the practice as a regulatory exercise. The chalking involves a physical intrusion and is intended to gather information. While automobiles have a reduced expectation of privacy, the court concluded that the need to deter drivers from exceeding the time permitted for parking—before they have even done so—is not sufficient to justify a warrantless search under the community caretaker rationale. View "Taylor v. Saginaw" on Justia Law

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In 2018, the Sixth Circuit reversed the district court’s order granting a preliminary injunction that had enjoined Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government from enforcing Ordinance 25-2017, which restricts the delivery of “unsolicited written materials” to six enumerated locations and provides for civil penalties for violations. On remand, further proceedings were taken in the district court. The Sixth Circuit affirmed the district court in concluding that Ordinance 25-2017 constitutes a valid time, place, and manner regulation of speech. View "Lexington H-L Services, Inc. v. Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government" on Justia Law

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In June 2016, Mateen entered the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando and opened fire, killing 49 people and injuring another 53. Victims and family members of deceased victims brought sought damages, not from Mateen, nor from ISIS, the international terrorist organization that allegedly motivated Mateen through social media, but from social media giants Twitter, Facebook, and Google under the Anti-Terrorism Act. Plaintiffs alleged ISIS used those social media platforms to post propaganda and “virtually recruit” Americans to commit terrorist attacks. Mateen allegedly viewed ISIS-related material online, became “self-radicalized,” and carried out the shooting. Following the attack, ISIS claimed responsibility. The complaint alleged aiding and abetting international terrorism, 18 U.S.C. 2333; conspiracy in furtherance of terrorism; providing material support and resources to terrorists, 18 U.S.C. 2339A, 2339B(a)(1); negligent infliction of emotional distress; and wrongful death The Sixth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the suit. Plaintiffs’ complaint includes no allegations that Twitter, Facebook, or Google had any direct connection to Mateen or his action. Plaintiffs did not suggest that those defendants provided “material support” to Mateen. Without these connections, Plaintiffs cannot state a viable claim under the Act. View "Crosby v. Twitter, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff was hired as an Assistant Principal at Grosse Pointe South High School in 2012. In 2014, Hamka became principal of GPSHS. Plaintiff had difficulties with changes instituted by Hamka and complained about Hamka’s comments and conduct toward her. After a series of incidents, Plaintiff received a “minimally effective” rating for the 2014–2015 school year in her personnel file, but an “effective” rating was sent to the State of Michigan as a “placeholder” pending Plaintiff’s job search. Plaintiff received only a one-year contract instead of a two-year rolling contract. She became ineligible for any merit pay or step increases and was placed on an Individualized Development Plan (IDP). In 2015, the district’s superintendent transferred Plaintiff to Parcells Middle School because of her complaint against Hamka and the other incidents. Plaintiff took Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave from November 2015 to March 2016 due to stress but nonetheless received an “effective” rating and was given a two-year contract and taken off the IDP. Plaintiff filed an EEOC charge in December 2015 alleging gender discrimination and retaliation for her earlier complaint of gender discrimination and harassment, then filed suit under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. 2000e, the FMLA, 29 U.S.C. 2601, and state law. The district court granted the school district summary judgment. The Sixth Circuit reversed with respect to the gender discrimination and retaliation claims but affirmed with regard to the FMLA retaliation claim. View "Redlin v. Grosse Pointe Public School System" on Justia Law

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The Debtors filed a chapter 7 bankruptcy petition in 2008. Creditor CJV was granted derivative standing on behalf of the bankruptcy estate and sought a declaratory judgment that personal property located at the Debtors' home was property of the bankruptcy estate. The Debtors asserted that the personal property is held in trust or belongs to other people, such as their children and that the complaint was barred by the statute of limitations. After discovery was completed, the Trustee moved to abandon the action, arguing that, even if the personal property was property of the bankruptcy estate, it was only worth approximately $200,000, as opposed to more than one million dollars as CJV had asserted and that the IRS had a tax lien in far excess of its value, so that the litigation could result in a loss to the estate. CJV asserted that the cause of action was no longer property of the bankruptcy estate. The bankruptcy court granted the motion for abandonment and dismissed the adversary proceeding. The Bankruptcy Appellate affirmed. The action remained property of the estate; Section 554(a) of the Bankruptcy Code allows a trustee, after notice and a hearing, to abandon property that is of inconsequential value and benefit to the estate. The Trustee’s determination was based on sound business judgment and within his discretion. View "In re Blasingame" on Justia Law

Posted in: Bankruptcy

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Ace, a licensed physician, and Lesa Chaney owned and operated Ace Clinique in Hazard, Kentucky. An anonymous caller told the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services that Ace pre-signed prescriptions. An investigation revealed that Ace was absent on the day that several prescriptions signed by Ace and dated that day were filled. Clinique employees admitted to using and showed agents pre-signed prescription blanks. Agents obtained warrants to search Clinique and the Chaneys’ home and airplane hangar for evidence of violations of 21 U.S.C. 841(a)(1), knowing or intentional distribution of controlled substances, and 18 U.S.C. 1956(h), conspiracies to commit money laundering. Evidence seized from the hangar and evidence seized from Clinique that dated to before March 2006 were suppressed. The court rejected arguments that the warrants’ enumeration of “patient files” was overly broad and insufficiently particular. During trial, an alternate juror reported some “concerns about how serious[ly] the jury was taking their duty.” The court did not tell counsel about those concerns. After the verdict, the same alternate juror—who did not participate in deliberations—contacted defense counsel; the court conducted an in camera interview, then denied a motion for a new trial. To calculate the sentencing guidelines range, the PSR recommended that every drug Ace prescribed during the relevant time period and every Medicaid billing should be used to calculate drug quantity and loss amount. The court found that 60 percent of the drugs and billings were fraudulent, varied downward from the guidelines-recommended life sentences, and sentenced Ace to 180 months and Lesa to 80 months in custody. The Sixth Circuit affirmed, rejecting challenges to the constitutionality of the warrant that allowed the search of the clinic; the sufficiency of the evidence; and the calculation of the guidelines range and a claim of jury misconduct. View "United States v. Chaney" on Justia Law

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Gold Forever, a music publishing company solely owned by Holland, has agreements with various artists entitling it to half of the royalties collected for the sale and performance of those artists’ work. Holland was a Motown artist and co-wrote several famous songs. His music forms some, but not all, of Gold’s catalog. BMI and Universal license others to use Gold’s music; they collect and remit the royalties to Gold. Holland owes millions of dollars to the IRS in taxes, interest, and penalties. In 2012, the IRS served notices of levy to BMI and Universal, identifying Gold as the “alter ego/nominee transferee of" Holland and requiring the companies to remit to the IRS property and rights to property that they were obligated to pay Gold. Beginning on October 6, 2016, the companies remitted $967,140.76 to the IRS. Gold made requests for refunds to the IRS within nine months. On December 6, 2017, Gold filed a wrongful levy action for the funds remitted beginning on October 6, 2016, alleging that most, if not all, of the money belongs either to Gold or to artists other than Holland. The court dismissed the suit as untimely. The Sixth Circuit reversed. The statute of limitations for a wrongful levy action cannot begin until there has been a levy that attaches to the property at issue. Notices of levy in 2012 did not constitute levies on royalties generated after the notices were served, so the statute of limitations did not bar the wrongful levy action. View "Gold Forever Music, Inc. v. United States" on Justia Law

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Chase sued to recover millions of dollars under a credit agreement "between Chase and entities owned and operated by [Winget]” and obtained an award of over $425 million. Winget’s personal trust was liable for the full amount. Winget, protected by a limitation in his personal guaranty, owed Chase only $50 million, which he paid. The parties then litigated attorneys’ fees and whether Winget was personally liable for Chase’s $12.6 million in fees and expenses. The Sixth Circuit held that despite Winget’s limited personal guaranty, he “is still liable for Chase’s costs and expenses associated with collection of the Guaranteed Obligation.” The district court then entered a final amended judgment against Winget and his trust. Rather than use the trust’s assets to pay Chase, Winget transferred the assets out of his trust and filed a new lawsuit, seeking a declaration that Chase had no recourse against those assets. Chase filed counterclaims, alleging that the transfers were fraudulent conveyances. The district court consolidated the new lawsuit with the previous litigation, calling it “the functional equivalent of post-judgment proceedings,” and granted one motion, awarding Chase another $2 million for expenses from June 2015 through November 2016. The court noted that “Chase’s efforts to collect the Guaranteed Obligations are ongoing.” The Sixth Circuit dismissed an appeal for lack of jurisdiction, reasoning that the order is not a “final decision” under 28 U.S.C. 1291. View "JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. v. Winget" on Justia Law

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On April 29, 2013, the government charged White with drug distribution and firearm crimes. On May 2, White was arrested. He made his initial appearance the next day and was released on bond. The parties filed a stipulation with the court on May 17, agreeing to adjourn White’s preliminary hearing and exclude the time between May 23 and June 7 from White’s Speedy Trial Act clock. Plea negotiations were unsuccessful. A grand jury indicted White on June 4. Including those days expressly excluded by the court, 33 days passed between White’s arrest and indictment. White moved to dismiss the indictment because the government failed to indict him within 30 days of his arrest in violation of the Speedy Trial Act, 18 U.S.C. 3161, but substantively argued only his rights under the Sixth Amendment's Speedy Trial Clause. The court denied the motion. A jury convicted White; the court sentenced him to 84 months in prison. The Sixth Circuit affirmed. On remand from the Supreme Court, the Sixth Circuit again affirmed. While the Supreme Court’s intervening "Bloate" decision invalidated Sixth Circuit precedent, so that the continuance to engage in pre-indictment plea negotiations did not qualify for automatic exclusion under section 3161(h)(1), White cannot overcome plain-error review of his Bloate argument. Alternatively, the time for pre-indictment plea negotiations was properly excluded as an ends-of-justice continuance under Speedy Trial Act section 3161(h)(7). View "United States v. White" on Justia Law

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Jones, a Michigan citizen, began working in Equatorial Guinea around 2007. In 2011, he started IPX to provide telecommunication services in Equatorial Guinea. IPX is incorporated and has its principal place of business in Equatorial Guinea. Jones was a shareholder, director, and employee, working as a Director-General under a contract, signed annually in Equatorial Guinea. He lived and worked there during the contract’s term. IPX decided in 2015 to open a U.S. subsidiary and sent Jones to Michigan. His work there was supposed to take six months. Jones would then return to Equatorial Guinea. After Jones arrived in Michigan, IPX learned that he may have stolen money and neglected important business relationships and suspended Jones. Jones claims that the suspension was a pretext to divest him of his stock. He sued for breach of contract in the Eastern District of Michigan. The court dismissed the complaint under forum non conveniens. The Sixth Circuit affirmed. Equatorial Guinea is an available and adequate forum; IXP is subject to process there. Most of the witnesses and key documents are in Equatorial Guinea; witnesses can be compelled to testify there. Equatorial Guinean law governs under the underlying employment contract’s choice-of-law provision. There is strong evidence that Jones is not at home in the United States, negating the assumption that a U.S. court is most convenient for him. View "Jones v. IPX International Equatorial Guinea S.A." on Justia Law