Articles Posted in U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals

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The Randolph-Sheppard Act, 20 U.S.C. 107–107e, gives blind persons a priority in winning contracts to operate vending facilities on federal properties. Fort Campbell, Kentucky, operates a cafeteria for its soldiers. For about 20 years, Kentucky’s Office for the Blind (OFB) has helped blind vendors apply for and win the base’s contracts for various services. In 2012, the Army, the federal entity that operates Fort Campbell, published a solicitation, asking for bids to provide dining-facility-attendant services. Rather than doing so under the Act, as it had before, the Army issued this solicitation as a set aside for Small Business Administration Historically Underutilized Business Zones. OFB, representing its blind vendor, filed for arbitration under the Act, and, days later, filed suit, seeking to prevent the Army from awarding the contract. The district court held that it lacked jurisdiction to consider a request for a preliminary injunction. The Sixth Circuit vacated. OFB’s failure to seek and complete arbitration does not deprive the federal courts of jurisdiction. View "Commonwealth of Kentucky v. United States" on Justia Law

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Aaron Hayward was driving home from his parents’ store around 4:00 a.m. when a Cleveland Clinic Police Department SUV followed him into his driveway without using a siren or lights. An officer yelled, “Hey you, come over here, boy,” as Aaron entered his home. It was not communicated to Aaron that he was under arrest. About 10-15 minutes later, five additional officers arrived and began pounding on the Haywards’ front door. Essex Hayward opened the main door and the officers tried to force their way through the outer security door. Essex shut the main door and used his body to prevent the officers from breaking down the door. The officers used the butt of a shotgun to shatter the main door’s window. Annie called 911. An officer stuck a taser through the window and blindly fired into the home, striking Aaron twice. The officers broke through the door, tased Aaron again, as he continued struggling, then dragged Aaron to the driveway, where they allegedly beat him with batons, kicked him in the head and other parts of his body, stunned him with a taser, and called him a “black nigger” before they handcuffed and arrested him. Aaron pleaded guilty to willfully fleeing a police officer and resisting arrest, admitting that he injured an officer. The Haywards brought a 42 U.S.C. 1983 suit. At the court’s request, they removed their claims based on pre-arrest conduct. The district court dismissed. The Sixth Circuit reversed dismissal of the parents’ section 1983 claim for illegal home entry and state law intentional infliction of emotional distress claim, but affirmed dismissal of other claims, including Aaron’s section 1983 claims. View "Hayward v. Cleveland Clinic Found." on Justia Law

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Circuit affirmed. When real estate taxes are not paid, a tax lien attaches to the property, annually, including interest, penalties, and fees accrued until paid, O.R.C. 323.11. Summit and other Ohio counties sell tax lien certificates that entitle the certificate holder to the first lien on the property. Property owners may redeem and remove the lien by paying the holder the purchase price plus interest, penalties, and costs, O.R.C. 5721.32. The certificate holder may initiate foreclosure proceedings after one year. Plymouth Park purchased Certificate 1, showing a purchase price of $4,083.73 with a negotiated interest rate of 0.25%, and Certificate 2, showing a purchase price of $2,045.44 with a negotiated interest rate of 18.00%. Summit County filed a foreclosure complaint following a request by Plymouth Park. The complaint stated that “as provided by Section 5721.38(b) of the Ohio Revised Code” the “redemption price” calculated was $10,585.82. A month later, the Debtors filed their Chapter 13 plan and petition; they did not file any notice to “redeem” their property during the bankruptcy action. The Chapter 13 payment plan (11 U.S.C. 1321) proposed to pay the interest rates listed on the certificates. , Plymouth Park filed a proof of claim based on both certificates for $10,521.46, including $2,120.00 in fees and the principal balance of $7,781.19 plus 18% interest. The Bankruptcy Court agreed that Plymouth Park’s claim was a tax claim under 11 U.S.C. 511 and that state law governed the interest rate, but rejected a claim that the 18% statutory rate, rather than the negotiated rate, should apply. The Bankruptcy Appellate Panel and Sixth View "Plymouth Park Tax Servs, LLC v. Bowers" on Justia Law

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Williams, who was convicted in Michigan state court for the fatal shooting of the owner of a video store during an attempted robbery, filed a direct appeal, arguing that the introduction of the testimony of an eyewitness who died before trial at the preliminary hearings violated Williams’s rights under the Confrontation Clause, that his attorney was ineffective for failing to object to the introduction of the testimony, and that the lineup in which Williams participated was unduly suggestive and violated the due process clause. The Michigan Court of Appeals denied relief, concluding that Williams’s constitutional rights were not violated and that, if they were, the errors were harmless. The Michigan Supreme Court denied leave to appeal. The federal district court denied a 28 U.S.C. 2254 habeas petition. The Sixth Circuit affirmed. View "Williams v. Bauman" on Justia Law

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Haddad bought his condominium in 1991 and lived in the unit until 2005, when he began renting it out. In 2008, a law firm, representing the association, sent Haddad a notice of delinquency, stating that Haddad owed $803 in unpaid condominium assessments, $40 in late charges, and $55 in legal fees and costs. Haddad notified the firm that he disputed the amount demanded, that he had never missed a monthly dues payment, but that he had been “singled out and charged with various violations” by the management company. Correspondence continued for several months, with the amount owed increasing each month and Haddad contesting the charges. The law firm ultimately recorded a Notice of Lien, which was discharged about six months later. Haddad sued under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C. 1692, and the Michigan Collection Practices Act, alleging use of a false, deceptive or misleading representation in the collection of a debt, and continuing collection of a disputed debt before verification of the debt. The district court rejected the claims on the ground that the debt was commercial because the unit was rented when collection began. The Sixth Circuit court reversed, holding that an obligation to pay assessments arose from the original purchase and constituted a “debt” under the FDCPA. On remand, the district court granted summary judgment, finding that the firm had properly verified the debt and that the collection efforts were not deceptive or misleading. The Sixth Circuit reversed and remanded, based on failure to properly verify the debt. View "Haddad v. Alexander, Zelmanski, Danner & Fioritto, PLLC" on Justia Law

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Warner, insured by State Farm, was involved in an automobile accident. Following the accident, Michigan Spine provided Warner with about $26,000 of neurological treatment. State Farm denied coverage, stating that Warner’s condition was the result of a preexisting condition. Michigan Spine submitted the claim to Medicare, which approved a conditional payment of $5,000 under the Medicare Secondary Payer Act, 42 U.S.C. 1395y. Michigan Spine sued State Farm under Michigan’s No-Fault Act and the Medicare Secondary Payer Act, which permits private causes of action against primary plans that fail to pay medical expenses for which they are responsible. The district court dismissed, holding that a private party can recover under the Secondary Payer Act only if a “primary plan” has failed to provide appropriate reimbursement only because the planholder is entitled to Medicare benefits, and State Farm did not deny coverage on that basis. The Sixth Circuit reversed and remanded. Although the text of the Secondary Payer Act is unclear as to whether a private cause of action is available against a non-group health plan that denies coverage on a basis other than Medicare eligibility, accompanying regulations and congressional intent indicate that the requirement applies only to group health plans and not to non-group health plans. Michigan Spine may pursue its claim under the Secondary Payer Act. View "MI Spine & Brain Surgeons, PLLC v. State Farm Mut. Auto Ins Co" on Justia Law

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Cordell was an inmate at the Greene County Jail in Xenia, Ohio until he pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter. As Deputy McKinney performed his initial rounds on the floor on which Cordell was housed, several inmates, including Cordell, requested haircuts. A verbal conflict ensued. McKinney commanded Cordell to step into the vestibule area to be placed in handcuffs. The conflict continued as McKinney placed Cordell in "escort position” to take him to a third-floor holding cell. Cordell claimed that during this trip McKinney ran him “head first into the wall” with force sufficient to lacerate Cordell’s forehead, cause severe neck and back pain, and leave him “very, very groggy.” The jail’s nurse (Jordan) found “a little cut above his eye,” and bandaged it. Later, at a hospital, Cordell was diagnosed with whiplash. Based on a witness statement, McKinney received a written warning for use of excessive force. The district court rejected Cordell’s suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983 on summary judgment. The Sixth Circuit reversed and remanded. A genuine dispute as to several material facts exists. If Cordell’s version of events is credited, a reasonable jury could conclude that McKinney inflicted serious pain upon Cordell with malicious and sadistic intent. Any reasonable jail official would know that the Eighth Amendment prohibits the conduct that Cordell described. View "Cordell v. McKinney" on Justia Law

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Garrett entered into a Rule 11(c)(1)(C) plea agreement and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute more than 50 grams of crack cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. 846 and 841(b)(1)(A)(iii). The district court sentenced Garrett to 151 months of imprisonment, which was the bottom end of the guideline range as calculated in his presentence report. Garrett argued that he was eligible for resentencing under 18 U.S.C. 3582(c)(2) because his original sentence was “based on a sentencing range that has subsequently been lowered by the Sentencing Commission” and because reduction would be “consistent with applicable policy statements issued by the Sentencing Commission.” The district court rejected the argument. The Sixth Circuit reversed and remanded. When a defendant’s sentence follows from a Rule 11(c)(1)(C) plea agreement, the district court is bound by that agreement if it accepts it, and the sentence is, therefore, “based on” an agreement “that a specific sentence or sentencing range is the appropriate disposition of the case, or that a particular provision of the Sentencing Guidelines, or policy statement, or sentencing factor does or does not apply.” Garrett’s agreement employed a range that was subsequently lowered by the Sentencing Commission. View "United States v. Garrett" on Justia Law

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Debtors filed a Chapter 7 petition and received a discharge in February 2008. On July 3, 2008, Debtors filed a Chapter 13 case to pay an auto loan and tax obligations, to cure the default on a first mortgage, and to avoid a wholly unsecured second home mortgage. The Amended Chapter 13 Plan was confirmed in September 2008 and provided: Debtors will avoid the mortgage and/or judgment liens of Amerifirst Finance, Squires Construction, and the Ohio Department of Taxation, which are wholly unsecured under 11 U.S.C. 506(a), 1322(b)(2) and 1325(a)(5)(B), and which impair Debtors’ exemption in their home (11 U.S.C. 522(f)); those unsecured claim shall be disallowed as discharged in Debtors’ Chapter 7 Bankruptcy unless otherwise allowed by separate order. Because Debtors had received a Chapter 7 discharge within the preceding four years, they were ineligible for discharge under Chapter 13, 11 U.S.C. 1328(f)(1). Upon completion of plan payments, the Chapter 13 Trustee sought an Order Releasing Wages and Closing Case Without Discharge, which was granted on May 6, 2013. The Debtors sought to avoid Amerifirst’s lien to effectuate the confirmed Chapter 13 Plan. The residence was valued at not more than $100,800 and was encumbered by a first mortgage of $106,306.38 and by Amerifirst’s second mortgage of $9,415.28. No party objected, but the Bankruptcy Court denied the motion, stating that the lien stripping power of 11 U.S.C. 506 was unavailable. The Sixth Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel reversed and remanded, holding that the wholly unsecured status of Amerifirst’s claim, rather than eligibility for a discharge is determinative. View "In re: Cain" on Justia Law

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In 2006, Plaintiffs entered into a settlement agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), agreeing to pay for a study of an Ohio landfill site and to reimburse the government’s response costs in exchange for a partial resolution of liability. About four years later, Plaintiffs filed the first of two actions under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA), the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986 (SARA), both codified at 42 U.S.C. 9601–9675, and Ohio common law of unjust enrichment, seeking to recover costs or gain contribution from other entities responsible for the contamination. In 2012, Plaintiffs brought another case, alleging the same three causes of action, against additional defendants. In both cases, the district court dismissed the section 113(f)(3)(B) contribution claims as untimely and dismissed the unjust-enrichment claims for failing to state a valid cause of action. The court allowed limited discovery on the section107(a)(4)(B) cost-recovery claims but, ultimately, granted summary judgment to the defendants, finding that CERCLA and controlling case law prohibit a party that has entered a liability-resolving settlement agreement with the government from prosecuting such an action. The Sixth Circuit affirmed. View "Hobart Corp. v. Coca-Cola Enters, Inc." on Justia Law