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Opioid Update: Sixth Circuit Won’t Halt Bellwether Trial (and more)

Today the Sixth Circuit issued much-anticipated rulings rejecting bids by Ohio and the industry defendants to halt the upcoming opioid MDL bellwether trial. And as noted below, in other venues the opioid litigation has seen recent notable action from another key state plaintiff and Judge Polster. Sixth Circuit denies “drastic and extraordinary” mandamus relief – … Continue Reading

Reviewing the Sixth Circuit’s Performance at the Supreme Court, OT2018 — Part One

During October Term 2018 (“OT2018”), the Supreme Court reversed less than two out of every three cases – its lowest reversal rate in three years. The Sixth Circuit fared particularly well (4 affirmances, 3 reversals), joining the Eleventh and D.C. Circuits as the only circuits to post a winning record.  Notably, the Court did not … Continue Reading

Opioid Update: More Irons in the Fire

The Sixth Circuit activity continues to escalate as the MDL bellwether trial date approaches. In just the last week, since the Court of Appeals’ rare order requesting a response to Ohio’s mandamus petition, we’ve seen: Judge Polster respond—energetically—to Ohio’s mandamus petition, one day sooner than the deadline provided in the Court of Appeal’s order; Defendant … Continue Reading

Tenn. Billboard Act Violates First Amendment, Says Sixth Circuit

In a big win for noncommercial outdoor speakers and a loss for LBJ enthusiasts, the Sixth Circuit issued a major First Amendment decision striking down Tennessee’s Billboard Regulation and Control Act. Judge Batchelder’s unanimous opinion (Donald and Cole joining) in Thomas v. Bright held that the law’s on/off-premises distinction represents an unconstitutional content-based abridgment of speech … Continue Reading

Opioid Update: 6th Circuit Orders Mandamus Response from Judge Polster, Bellwether Counties

If anyone doubted the Sixth Circuit was paying close attention to the opioid MDL, that’s been put to rest. Today, in a short order issued by Circuit Clerk Deborah S. Hunt, the Sixth Circuit requested a response to the Ohio AG’s mandamus petition, supported by many states and the U.S. Chamber, seeking to enjoin the … Continue Reading

Sixth Circuit’s Plain-Meaning Approach to Foreign Arbitration Discovery

Parties may now seek discovery from district courts within the Sixth Circuit for use in foreign private arbitrations. In Abdul Latif Jameel Transportation Company v. FedEx, a unanimous panel held that the plain meaning of the phrase “foreign or international tribunal” included non-governmental tribunals. The decision addresses an important foreign-discovery provision that, according to some … Continue Reading

Opioid Update: MDL Defendants Seek Judge Polster DQ

Eight drug retailers, distributors, and pharmacies (but no manufacturers) have asked Judge Dan Aaron Polster to recuse himself from presiding over most of the 2,000 pending opioid lawsuits comprising the MDL. The parties filed the motion to disqualify Judge Polster on Saturday. They claim that the Judge’s comments made during various hearings, interviews, and forums … Continue Reading

Opioid Update: Ohio Asks Sixth Circuit for Mandamus while U.S. Chamber Says Muni Suits by Plaintiffs’ Firms Could Upend Civil Litigation

As we covered in July, the country has its eyes on an Ohio opioid MDL handling more than 2,000 lawsuits brought by more than 1,200 cities, counties, and tribes against drug manufacturers, distributors, and pharmacies. Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost recently filed a mandamus petition at the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to enjoin District … Continue Reading

En banc watch: “Death [or at least en banc denial] by distorted originalism”

Like a Sergio Leone scene, the Sixth Circuit issued an explosive en banc denial of CIC Services LLC v. Internal Revenue Service (a case we covered back in June). As he did at the panel stage, Judge Clay defended the application of the Anti-Injunction Act, which here bars CIC Services from challenging the IRS’s categorization … Continue Reading

Sixth Circuit: Bank Fraud Requires … a Bank

A divided Sixth Circuit panel overturned the convictions of two alleged fraudsters because the government failed to prove that they intended to obtain property from a bank (technically, a “financial institution,” under 18 U.S.C. §1344).  Back in the heady 2000s, the defendant homebuilders in the companion cases of U.S. v. Banyan and U.S. v. Puckett … Continue Reading

Bargaining from Scratch is Alright. Sometimes.

Note — This post (plus many others) arrives thanks to the hard work of Sixth Circuit Appellate Blog intern extraordinaire Barrett Block, a rising 3L at UK Law.  In Hendrickson USA, LLC. v. National Labor Relations Board, a divided Sixth Circuit panel revisited one of the oft-litigated phrases in labor law: “bargaining from scratch.”  The … Continue Reading

July Wrap-Up: First Amendment Arrest Edition

The Sixth Circuit wrapped up July with two decisions addressing similar protest-arrest claims under the First Amendment.  But the panel opinions and outcomes looked quite different. Parma police parody: Anthony Novak was fed up with the Parma Police Department. So he created a “farcical Facebook account” (i.e., “meme” page) designed to look like the police … Continue Reading

“Lexis on Steroids”: Corpus Linguistics receives mixed reception at the Sixth Circuit

By Zak Lutz (HLS ’20; Squire Patton Boggs summer associate) and Benjamin Beaton Sixth Circuit judges have taken an interest in “corpus linguistics.” At a recent gathering in northern Kentucky, three Sixth Circuit judges engaged in an impromptu discussion of the interpretive tool. And last week, in Wilson v. Safelite Group, two other Sixth Circuit … Continue Reading

Court Week(s): June’s Oral Arguments and one Supreme Court affirmance

If you’ve got the money, I’ve got the time (for an infringement action) — Willie Nelson made an appearance at the Sixth Circuit last month—but alas, only in the briefs. The court heard argument in Philpot v. L.M. Communications, involving a radio station website’s unauthorized use of a photo of the Red-Headed Stranger. The district … Continue Reading

June Wrap-Up: Opioid non-disclosure and Obamacare non-discrimination

The Sixth Circuit wrapped up June with two weeks of oral arguments, some of which we’ll feature later this week. And the Circuit got a pat on the back from the Supreme Court, which affirmed its decision striking down a Tennessee liquor law under the “dormant” Commerce Clause. (Stay tuned for more on the Circuit’s … Continue Reading

En Banc Watch: Fight Over Substantive Due Process Sees Court Refuse to Rehear Flint Water Case

The Sixth Circuit denied Flint, Michigan’s petition for en banc review of a panel decision allowing citizens exposed to contaminated water to sue city and state officials. The order drew two concurrences, one dissent, and plenty of skepticism about the plaintiffs’ case—which is nevertheless allowed to proceed in the district court. The plaintiffs’ theory is … Continue Reading

Last Week at the 6th Circuit: Substantive unreasonableness, maiden voyages, and railroaded state law

No arguments at the court last week, but we received 13 published opinions and 9 unpublished opinions. Plus, as we’ll discuss later this week, one white-hot denial from en banc review that produced four separate opinions. Here’s what you may have missed: A substantively unreasonable sentence – A divided Sixth Circuit panel vacated the sentence … Continue Reading

Sixth Circuit Amends “Chalking” Decision to Clarify Scope

Earlier this week, the Sixth Circuit issued a decision addressing a constitutional challenge to the practice of “chalking” the tires of parked cars for parking enforcement purposes. As we noted, that decision garnered a lot of attention from the national media. Yesterday, the Court issued an amended opinion clarifying the scope of its ruling. The … Continue Reading

Sixth Circuit Rules on Turbulent Air-Line Merger

In an opinion colored by aviation-themed puns, Judge Thapar, writing for the Sixth Circuit in Flight Options, LLC v. Int’l Bhd. of Teamsters, Local 1108, ordered airlines and pilot unions to arbitrate their long-running dispute. A few years ago, two luxury airlines merged, leading to a spate of litigation. Most recently, the airlines attempted to … Continue Reading

Sixth Circuit Clarifies Exhaustion Requirement in ERISA Suits

In Hitchcock v. Cumberland University 403(b) DC Plan, the Sixth Circuit decided what could be a very important case in ERISA litigation. Practitioners are familiar with the common injunction upon plaintiffs to exhaust administrative remedies before they seek relief in court, as well as the limited and narrow exceptions to that requirement. But the question … Continue Reading

Sixth Circuit Provides Guidance in Trademark Cases

In NetJets, Inc. v. IntelliJet Group, LLC, the Sixth Circuit offered important interpretations, regarding trademark infringement, of both federal law and Ohio common law on trademarks. In a careful and deliberate analysis that in part affirmed, reversed, and remanded the district court’s holding, the Court offered a view into what trademark holders, and alleged trademark … Continue Reading

SCOTUS To Decide If Clean Water Rule Can Be Challenged Directly In U.S. Circuit Courts

In February of last year, we reported on the Sixth Circuit’s split-panel holding that it had jurisdiction to review challenges to the validity of the “Clean Water Rule” (which clarifies the term “waters of the United States” in the Clean Water Act). Last week, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in National Association of Manufacturers v. … Continue Reading
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