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On November 22, 1997, around 1:30 a.m., Miles demanded money from brothers Maher and Ziad, outside of Maher’s Cincinnati Save-Way store. The brothers complied but Miles shot them with an assault rifle. Cincinnati police hypothesized that Issa, a Save-Way employee, hired Miles to commit the murders because Linda, Maher’s wife, offered Issa money to kill her husband. The state charged all three with aggravated murder. Miles refused to testify at Issa’s trial although he had testified in Linda’s trial. The prosecution had revoked Miles’s immunity the day before he was to testify. The court concluded that Miles was unavailable and allowed the admission of Miles’s out-of-court statements, through the testimony of siblings who were Miles’s teenage friends at the time of the murders. A jury acquitted Linda; Miles received a life sentence. Issa received a death sentence. In 2003, Issa filed his initial habeas petition. The district court denied relief but granted a certificate of appealability for grounds including failure to call Linda as a witness and admission of the siblings’ testimony about Miles’s hearsay statements. The Sixth Circuit ordered a conditional writ of habeas corpus. The admission of Miles’s hearsay statements violated the Confrontation Clause under then-governing Supreme Court law and was not harmless. The Ohio Supreme Court did not consider the “totality of the circumstances,” which show that the statements are not trustworthy. The statements were the only direct evidence implicating Issa in a murder for hire. View "Issa v. Bradshaw" on Justia Law

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Cincinnati officers obtained a warrant, searched defendants’ home, and found over 2,000 grams of heroin, marijuana, drug-distribution paraphernalia, and a large amount of cash. The district court suppressed the evidence, holding that because the warrant application so failed to connect defendants’ home with drug-trafficking activity, no reasonable officer could have relied on the warrant. The Sixth Circuit reversed. The officers acted in good-faith reliance on the warrant; the warrant application established enough of a basis to believe that at least one of the defendants was engaged in a continual, ongoing drug-trafficking operation and that drug-related contraband was, therefore, likely to be found in his home. View "United States v. McCoy" on Justia Law

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In September 2016, the Governor of Tennessee convened a special session of the Tennessee General Assembly, concerning federal highway funding. During the session, a member of the House of Representatives moved to expel Durham. The House approved the motion 70 votes to two. It immediately expelled Durham. Durham may have qualified for lifetime health insurance if he had retired but because the House expelled him, the administrators stated that his government-health insurance would expire at the end of September. He also lost certain state-pension benefits. Durham sued under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging procedural due process violations, and requesting an order that the administrators pay his alleged benefits. The district court dismissed for lack of standing because the complaint alleged that the denial of his benefits was caused by the legislature’s expelling him, rather than by any act by the administrators. The Sixth Circuit reversed. Durham’s injury is fairly traceable to the administrators’ conduct: Durham alleges that he is not receiving benefits that the administrators should pay. That is sufficient to show standing. View "Durham v. Martin" on Justia Law

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Henderson, a patient with Alzheimer’s disease at Watermark’s nursing home, wandered from her room unattended and died after drinking detergent that she found in a kitchen cabinet. Henderson’s estate filed a wrongful death suit against Watermark. Morrison provided kitchen services at the facility and its employees had been in the kitchen shortly before Henderson discovered the detergent, but Watermark did not implead Morrison and argued that Morrison’s employees had properly locked the cabinet before leaving. A jury awarded $5.08 million. Watermark did not appeal but settled with Henderson’s estate for $3.65 million. On a joint motion, the court dismissed the action with prejudice. Months later, Watermark sued Morrison for contractual indemnification and breach of contract. The district court dismissed, finding that issue preclusion barred both claims. The Sixth Circuit affirmed in part. While a judgment that is set aside upon settlement can be used for collateral-estoppel purposes in future litigation, only the contractual indemnification issue is barred. Under the parties’ contract, Watermark can prevail on its indemnification claim only by showing that the damages it seeks were not the result of its own negligence. It cannot do so; the jury determined that the damages were the result of Watermark’s negligence. The jury’s finding of negligence does not, however, preclude Watermark from going forward with its breach-of-contract claim, which does not rely on the indemnity provision of the parties’ contract. View "Watermark Senior Living Communities, Inc. v. Morrison Management Specialists, Inc." on Justia Law

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Local Union 3-G represents employees at Kellogg’s Battle Creek plant and is affiliated with the International Union, which represents employees at additional Kellogg’s plants. “Regular” employees and “non-regular” employees, including casual employees, make up the 3-G bargaining unit. There is a Master Agreement between Kellogg, the International Union, and local unions at four plants, which have Supplemental Agreements. A Memorandum of Agreement, appended to the Battle Creek Supplemental Agreement, states that the Supplemental and Master Agreements will not apply to casual employees and the Company may terminate casual employees without being subject to the grievance procedure. A 2015 Master Agreement “established wage rates, a signing ratification bonus for all employees, the establishment of a transitional employee classification to replace casual employees, and other changes" for all Battle Creek bargaining unit employees. After the ratification vote, Kellogg refused to pay a ratification bonus to casual employees, seasonal employees, and some regular employees. The parties went through the grievance procedure, but Kellogg refused to arbitrate, arguing that the arbitration provisions do not apply to casual employees. The Sixth Circuit previously held that arbitration provisions in the “Memphis Supplemental Agreement” did not cover casual employees. The district court determined that judicial estoppel did not apply to the Battle Creek action and granted the motion to compel arbitration. The Sixth Circuit affirmed, The Agreement has a broad arbitration clause, so the presumption of arbitrability is particularly applicable. View "Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union AFL-CIO v. Kellogg Co." on Justia Law

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Integrity provides thousands of hourly workers, like Plaintiffs, to fill orders, track merchandise, and process returns at Amazon facilities. Other Plaintiffs were directly employed by Amazon. Plaintiffs claim “Amazon.com exercises direct control over the hours and other working conditions,” and sued, concerning a policy that is enforced at all Amazon locations. Plaintiffs and other hourly employees must undergo a security clearance check at the end of each shift and before taking lunch breaks, to deter theft and reduce inventory shrinkage. Plaintiffs allege that the policy "was solely for the benefit of the employers and their customers” and that this process took approximately 25 minutes each day. Because employees were required to “clock out” before the screening, they were not compensated for time spent waiting in line and undergoing the screenings. Plaintiffs alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. 201 (FLSA) and state labor laws. The district court dismissed. The Sixth Circuit reversed in part. While time spent undergoing mandatory security checks is not compensable under federal law, neither Nevada nor Arizona incorporates the federal Portal-to-Portal Act; the time is compensable under the states' laws, but the Arizona Plaintiffs failed to satisfy Arizona’s “workweek requirement,” by identifying a particular workweek in which, taking the average rate, they received less than the minimum wage per hour. View "Busk v. Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc." on Justia Law

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Upper Arlington's Master Plan guides its zoning decisions, emphasizing the need to increase the city’s revenue by attracting business development in the small portion of the city’s land that is devoted to commercial use. To further the Plan’s goals, the Unified Development Ordinance restricts the use of areas zoned "office district" to specific uses that are primarily commercial. The operation of schools, both secular and religious, is prohibited within the office district. Nonetheless, Tree of Life decided to purchase a large office building on a 16-acre tract within the office district for the operation of a pre-K through 12th-grade school. After failing to secure authorization to operate the school, Tree filed suit, citing the “equal terms” provision of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. 2000cc(b)(1). After two prior appeals, the district court granted Upper Arlington judgment, holding that the Ordinance is no more onerous to Tree than to non-religious entities that generate comparably small amounts of revenue for the city. The Sixth Circuit affirmed. Revenue maximization is a legitimate regulatory purpose. Upper Arlington’s assertion of revenue maximization as the purpose of the Ordinance is not pretextual. Daycares are the only potentially valid comparator put forward by Tree, which presented no evidence suggesting that nonprofit daycares are similarly situated to its proposed school in terms of their capacity to generate revenue. View "Tree of Life Christian Scool. v. City of Upper Arlington" on Justia Law

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A Lebanese citizen, Al-Saka married Hashem, a U.S. citizen, in Beirut in 1999. He entered the U.S. in 2001 as a conditional permanent resident based on his marriage to Hashem continuing for at least two years. Just weeks later, the couple signed a religious divorce. In August 2001, the Lebanese government granted a legal divorce. Two months later, Michigan annulled the marriage at Hashem’s request after finding that “there had been no marital cohabitation.” In 2003, Al-Saka married another woman in Lebanon and took steps to remove the permanent-residence condition. Because he had divorced Hashem, he could not file a joint petition with her, as the law requires, 8 U.S.C. 1186a(c)–(d). He instead claimed that deportation would cause hardship and that he married Hashem in good faith. An UJ found that Al-Saka and Hashem did not marry in good faith, and refused to waive the joint-petition requirement. She rejected his hardship claim on the ground that his family remained in Lebanon. The BIA affirmed. The Sixth Circuit denied Al-Saka’s petition for relief, noting substantial evidence that his first marriage was not in good faith and rejecting a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel. View "Al-Saka v. Sessions" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law

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The Whitis brothers and Pyles drove to Louisville to pick up drugs for distribution. On the way home, Kentucky State Trooper Ramsey noticed their car traveling over the speed limit. Ramsey learned that the car’s owner had an outstanding arrest warrant. Ramsey approached and noticed Pyles stuffing something under a pile of clothes in the back seat. An occupant rolled down the window. Ramsey smelled marijuana and called for backup. Officers searched the car and found a loaded handgun, marijuana, and over 200 grams of methamphetamine. The Seventh Circuit affirmed the denial of a motion to suppress and Whitis’s 200-month sentence. Once an officer discovers that a car’s owner has an outstanding arrest warrant, he needs only reasonable suspicion that the owner is in the vehicle; Ramsey had reasonable suspicion to stop this car. Ramsey consistently stated that, before he stopped and approached the car, he could not determine the gender of the back-seat passenger and could not tell whether there were more passengers in the vehicle. Ramsey’s testimony was not so internally inconsistent or implausible that a reasonable factfinder would not credit it. The district court did not explicitly discuss Whitis’s health but showed familiarity with the arguments in Whitis’s sentencing memorandum. It looked at the section 3553(a) factors and explained that it was imposing a sentence above the guidelines range because the range understated Whitis’s criminal history. View "United States v. Pyles" on Justia Law

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During a campaign rally at Louisville’s Kentucky International Convention Center, then-candidate Trump spoke for 35 minutes. Plaintiffs attended the rally with the intention of peacefully protesting. Protesters’ actions during Trump’s video-recorded address precipitated directions from Trump on five different occasions to “get ’em out of here.” Members of the audience assaulted, pushed and shoved plaintiffs. Plaintiff Brousseau was punched in the stomach. Defendants Heimbach and Bamberger participated in the assaults. Plaintiffs sued Trump, the campaign, Heimbach, Bamberger, and an unknown woman who punched Brousseau, for battery, assault, incitement to riot, negligence, gross negligence and recklessness. The district court dismissed claims against the Trump defendants alleging they were vicariously liable for the actions of Heimbach, Bamberger and the unknown woman, and dismissed a negligent-speech theory as “incompatible with the First Amendment” but refused to dismiss the incitement-to-riot claims. On interlocutory appeal, the Sixth Circuit found that the claim should be dismissed. Plaintiffs have not stated a valid claim under Kentucky law, given the elements of “incitement to riot.” Trump’s speech enjoys First Amendment protection because he did not specifically advocate imminent lawless action. Trump’s “get ’em out of here” statement, closely followed by, “Don’t hurt ’em,” cannot be interpreted as advocating a riot or the use of any violence. View "Nwanguma v. Trump" on Justia Law