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Monie was charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin and cocaine, 21 U.S.C. 846 (Count 1); possession with intent to distribute, aided by others, 21 U.S.C. 841(a)(1) and 18 U.S.C. 2 (Count 6); use of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime, 18 U.S.C. 924(c)(1) (Count 7); being a felon in possession of a firearm, 18 U.S.C. 922(g) and the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), 18 U.S.C. 924(e)(1) (Count 8). Monie pleaded guilty to Counts 1 and 8 without a plea agreement and was convicted on Counts 6 and 7. Count 8 carried a mandatory-minimum sentence of 15 years and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. During the plea colloquy, the court erroneously did not state that ACCA carried a mandatory-minimum sentence but erroneously stated that the maximum sentence for Count 8 was 10 years. That 15-year mandatory-minimum sentence affected every aspect of Monie’s sentence. The court sentenced Monie to 15 years each for Counts 1, 6, and 8, to be served concurrently, plus five consecutive years on Count 7. There is no evidence that Monie knew about the mandatory minimum before his plea. The Presentence Report correctly stated Count 8’s penalty range. The Sixth Circuit remanded to allow Monie to withdraw his plea. Monie established that there is a reasonable probability that he would not have pleaded guilty but for the court’s Rule 11 error, and demonstrated that the error affected his substantial rights. View "United States v. Monie" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Matovski, a UPS operations manager who has a disability, filed an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charge, claiming that UPS discriminated and retaliated against him in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. 12112(d). Matovski claims that UPS published confidential medical information about him and other employees on its intranet page. The EEOC investigation resulted in a subpoena that requested information about how UPS stored and disclosed employee medical information. UPS opposed the subpoena, claiming that the requested information was irrelevant to Matovski’s charge. The district court granted an application to enforce the subpoena. The Sixth Circuit affirmed. The information that the EEOC requested “relates to unlawful employment practices” covered by the ADA. UPS has not shown that the subpoena is burdensome in any material way. View "Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. United Parcel Service,Inc." on Justia Law

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Corey worked as a machine operator in Eaton’s Ohio factory. Corey has long suffered from cluster headaches— extremely painful attacks that strike several times per day for weeks on end. In 2014, Corey applied for short-term disability benefits under Eaton’s disability plan after a bout of headaches forced him to miss work. After granting a period of disability, the third party administering Eaton’s disability plan discontinued benefits because Corey failed to provide objective findings of disability. Under the plan, “[o]bjective findings include . . . [m]edications and/or treatment plan.” Corey’s physicians treated his headaches by prescribing prednisone, injecting Imitrex (a headache medication), administering oxygen therapy, and performing an occipital nerve block. The district court upheld the denial. The Sixth Circuit reversed, citing the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, 29 U.S.C. 1132(a)(1)(B). Corey’s medication and treatment plan satisfy the plan’s objective findings requirement. View "Corey v. Sedgwick Claims Management Services, Inc." on Justia Law

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A state court in Kent County, Michigan, issued an arrest warrant for Riley, having found probable cause to believe that he had committed armed robbery of a local store. Days later, Riley purchased a cell phone serviced by AT&T. A member of Riley’s family gave that phone’s telephone number to Riley’s girlfriend, who disclosed the number to the U.S. Marshal Service Grand Rapids Apprehension Team. Deputy Bowman obtained a state court order, compelling AT&T to produce telecommunications records of Riley’s cell phone under federal electronic-surveillance laws, 18 U.S.C. 2703, 3123, 3124. The government used Riley’s GPS location data to learn that Riley was hiding out at the Airport Inn in Memphis, Tennessee and arrested him about seven hours later, only after inquiring of the front-desk clerk to ascertain Riley’s specific room number. The Sixth Circuit affirmed denial of a motion to suppress. The GPS tracking provided no greater insight into Riley’s whereabouts than what Riley exposed to public view as he traveled “along public thoroughfares” to the hotel lobby. Riley has no reasonable expectation of privacy against such tracking and the tracking did not amount to a Fourth Amendment search. View "United States v. Riley" on Justia Law

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LCS, a nondenominational Christian school in Livingston County, Michigan, sought to relocate after operating for several years in Pinckney, LCS entered into a lease agreement to operate its school on the property of Brighton Nazarene Church in Genoa Charter Township. The Township informed LCS that an amended special-use permit was required. The Church applied for a permit on LSC’s behalf. The Township denied the application, citing traffic concerns, inconsistency with the surrounding area’s single-family residential zoning, the failure of the Planning Commission’s proposed conditional approval to mitigate these problems, and the Church’s history of noncompliance with the zoning ordinance and with conditions on its prior special-use permits. The district court rejected, on summary judgment, LCS’s claim that the denial violated the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, 42 U.S.C. 2000cc. The Sixth Circuit affirmed. When a religious institution has an available alternative outside of a desired jurisdiction, and where the distance from the desired location to the alternative property is reasonably close, the artificial boundaries of a particular jurisdiction become less important. The record here does not indicate that traveling roughly 12 miles to Pinckney would be unduly burdensome to LCS’s students. Nor does the record demonstrate that LCS’s religious beliefs required it to locate within Genoa Township. View "Livingston Christian School v. Genoa Charter Township" on Justia Law

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Harkness was commissioned as a Navy Chaplain Corps officer in 1987, endorsed by a non-liturgical Christian church. Harkness left active duty in 1995 and took reserve status. In 2000, Harkness and other non-liturgical chaplains sued the Navy, alleging systemic denominational prejudice in its promotion procedures. That suit is still pending. In 2007, Harkness was denied promotion by a reserve officer promotion board. Harkness requested a special selection board (SSB). The petition was denied. Harkness filed suit in 2010, challenging (10 U.S.C. 14502(h)(1)) the SSB denial and the promotion procedures. The Sixth Circuit affirmed dismissal of the constitutional claim for failure to exhaust administrative remedies. In 2012, the Secretary convened an SSB to reconsider the 2007 decision. It did not select Harkness for promotion; Harkness unsuccessfully requested a second SSB. In 2013, Harkness was again denied promotion and unsuccessfully requested an SSB, alleging that procedures employed by promotion boards produced denominational preferences and challenging the delegation of governmental authority to chaplains serving on promotion boards without effective guarantees that the power would be exercised in a neutral, secular manner. In filing suit, Harkness added a First Amendment retaliation claim. The Sixth Circuit affirmed dismissal of all claims. the 2013 promotion board was not constitutionally infirm; the denial of Harkness’s 2013 SSB request was not arbitrary, capricious, or otherwise contrary to law under section 14502(h)(1). View "Harkness v. Secretary of Navy" on Justia Law

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Twenty-three Michigan landowners filed suit in the Western District of Michigan, seeking damages in excess of $10,000 for the claimed taking of their land for use as a public recreation trail, alleging: a declaratory judgment claim, a Fifth Amendment claim for just compensation under the Little Tucker Act, 28 U.S.C. 1346 and a Fifth Amendment claim for just compensation under 28 U.S.C. 1331. The district court determined that the Tucker Act, 28 U.S.C. 1491, and the Little Tucker Act, “vested the Court of Federal Claims with exclusive jurisdiction to hear all claims against the United States founded upon the Constitution where the amount in controversy exceeds $10,000.” The court found no constitutional infirmity in this statutory framework, although the Tucker Act prevents the landowners from filing their claims for damages exceeding $10,000 in an Article III court, and litigants bringing claims in the Court of Federal Claims or in the district court under the Little Tucker Act are deprived of a jury trial. Because the landowners had failed to demonstrate that the Acts were unconstitutional, they had no basis for a declaratory judgment. The Sixth Circuit affirmed the dismissal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. View "Brott v. United States" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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Baker pled guilty to participating in a drug trafficking conspiracy. Baker had a criminal history category of IV; the plea agreement stipulated that 100-200 grams of cocaine be attributed to Baker and that his total offense level be set at 12, resulting in an agreed Guidelines range of 21-27 months’ imprisonment. The government explained that it could not prove an amount in excess of 172 grams of cocaine attributable to Baker, but the court was unconvinced and reviewed Baker’s confidential proffer statement, developed after Baker agreed to provide information about the conspiracy. The court found Baker responsible for 500 grams to two kilograms of cocaine, significantly increasing Baker’s offense level. The court acknowledged that it could not use information found only in Baker’s confidential proffer statement to determine the applicable Guidelines range, but based its finding on a post-arrest recorded phone call in which Baker stated that officers missed “twelve-five” when they searched his home; a codefendant’s proffer statement that Baker was given a “large” amount of cocaine; and a codefendant’s proffer that discussed drug transactions but did not specify any amount. The court determined that the appropriate range was 51-63 months’ imprisonment and sentenced Baker to 50 months. The Sixth Circuit affirmed, acknowledging that the court’s methodology “raises concerns,” but finding the sentence neither procedurally nor substantively unreasonable. View "United States v. Baker" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The National Labor Relations Board sought enforcement of its Order finding that AEI violated the National Labor Relations Act by barring employees from pursuing class-action litigation or collective arbitration of work-related claims and by forbidding an AEI technician from discussing a proposed compensation change with his coworkers and by firing that technician for discussing the proposed change and complaining to management about it. AEI employees sign an agreement that “Disputes … relating to your employment” must, at the election of the employee or the company, be resolved “exclusively through binding arbitration” and that “you and AEI also agree that a claim may not be arbitrated as a class action, also called ‘representative’ or ‘collective’ actions, and that a claim may not otherwise be consolidated or joined with the claims of others.” AEI’s employee handbook prohibits “[u]nauthorized disclosure of business secrets or confidential business or customer information, including any compensation or employee salary information.” The Sixth Circuit enforced the order. An arbitration provision requiring employees covered by the Act individually to arbitrate all employment-related claims is not enforceable. The evidence was adequate to support the ALJ’s factual findings and conclusion that DeCommer was fired for engaging in protected, concerted activity View "National Labor Relations Board v. Alternative Entertainment, Inc." on Justia Law

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Anita drove her son, Omar, to Lowe’s, to pick up his last paycheck. When the assistant manager approached, Omar “started talking a lot of gibberish” and eventually began throwing paint cans. Officers, responding to a 911 call, stopped Anita’s car. Omar was evasive but compliant. During the pat-down, officers discovered pills in a container, which they returned to Omar’s pocket after handcuffing him. Omar stated that he had not taken his medication, for a psychiatric condition, for weeks. Anita stated that Omar, who began ranting incoherently, was bipolar, that the pills were Seroquel, and that he had not taken his medication. At the jail, Omar would calm down periodically, then return to rambling, talking to himself, and engaging in strange behavior. Released without handcuffs to make a phone call, Omar threw an officer to the floor and began choking him. Officers rushed into the jail and pulled Omar into the restraint chair and noticed something wrong. Omar’s pulse was weak. They tried to resuscitate him and called the rescue squad. At the hospital, Omar was pronounced dead “as a result of a sudden cardiac event during a physical altercation in association with bipolar disease.” In Anita’s suit, alleging deliberate indifference, the court denied the officers qualified immunity. The Sixth Circuit reversed. There was no violation of a clearly established constitutional right. The officers did not act with recklessness that would permit them to be liable under Ohio law. View "Arrington-Bey v. City of Bedford Heights" on Justia Law