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Opioid Update: Bellwether Settlement on Eve of Trial

On the eve of trial Monday morning, plaintiffs Summit and Cuyahoga Counties struck a deal worth $260 million. This avoided the first bellwether trial in the opioid multidistrict litigation before Judge Polster. The settlement extinguishes the counties’ claims against AmerisourceBergen, Teva, Cardinal Health, and McKesson. Walgreen’s did not settle, but its trial is pushed off … Continue Reading

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

Sixth Circuit Eliminates Contractual Limitations Periods For Title VII Claims

Employers in the Sixth Circuit may want to review their employment contracts following a recent decision in which the court ruled that employers cannot contractually shorten the statutory limitations period for Title VII claims—except in the arbitration context. In Logan v. MGM Grand Detroit Casino, Judge Bush (with Judges Boggs and Gibbons joining) explained that Title … 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

“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 – New Decisions on Probable Cause and Sentencing Commission Authority

Good Faith and Probable Cause: In another en banc decision, Judge John Rogers and eleven others held in United States v. Christian,that probable cause existed for Grand Rapids law enforcement to search the house of Tyrone Christian. As the affidavit detailed Christian’s four previous felony drug convictions, two previous drug busts at his house, and … Continue Reading

Late May Wrap-up: Another First Opinion, Another En Banc, Another Cert Grant

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.  Murphy’s (first) Law — Jurisdiction is often the first topic encountered by law students; fittingly, Judge Eric Murphy confronted it in his first published opinion as a Sixth … 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

Last week at the Sixth Circuit: Suspended licenses, (Dis)honor Codes, and Re-redistricting

Showing no signs of a Kentucky Derby hangover (or any follow-on litigation, at least not yet), last week the court wrapped up arguments during the second half of its May sitting. Your quick recap: A rational basis for suspended licenses – In a blow to con-law professors and indigent drivers, a divided panel held in … Continue Reading

Trail-Blazing Sixth Circuit Judge Damon Keith Dies at 96

Sixth Circuit Judge Damon J. Keith died this weekend at the age of 96.  He served on the Sixth Circuit for over 40 years.  A civil rights icon, he issued notable opinions addressing racial desegregation in public education, warrantless Nixon-era wiretaps, and blanket secrecy for deportation hearings of terrorism suspects after 9/11.  In remembrance, the … Continue Reading

Trends in the Sixth Circuit – A Substantial Increase In Written Decisions

Recently we discussed academic criticism claiming that circuit courts may respond to increased caseload pressure by spending less time per case or lengthening the appeals process.  We found evidence suggesting that this is not occurring at the Sixth Circuit.  One interesting side note that our analysis showed is that the percentage of written decisions has … Continue Reading

“The Learned Sixth” – Sixth Circuit Judges Busy Speaking and Writing

When welcoming his (many) new colleagues, Judge Sutton has sometimes mentioned his court’s long-lost nickname: “The Learned Sixth.” Many of its earliest judges—Taft, Day, Lurton, Howell Jackson—served as diplomats or law school deans, cooled their heels at the Sixth Circuit, and proceeded to the Supreme Court. Is the Sixth Circuit recovering its name and reputation? … Continue Reading

Who is Justice Joan Larsen?

In May 2017, Justice Joan Larsen was nominated to the Sixth Circuit seat being vacated by Judge David McKeague. Both of Michigan’s democratic senators returned blue slips supporting her appointment in August. The Senate Judiciary Committee favorably reported Justice Larsen’s nomination to the full Senate earlier this month, and yesterday Senator Mitch McConnell filed in … Continue Reading

Appellate Courts and Caseload Pressure

An interesting paper has been making the rounds discussing how appellate courts react to caseload pressure.  After September 11, 2001, the Second and Ninth Circuits had a large influx of immigration appeals that affect the other circuits, and the paper uses this as a “natural experiment.”   In his paper, Mr. Shay Lavie characterizes the Second Circuit … Continue Reading

Sixth Circuit Continues Trend of Limiting Information That May Be Filed Under Seal

Recently, in an unpublished decision, the Sixth Circuit illustrated that it was continuing last year’s trend in holding that district courts should allow parties to seal records only when compelling justifications exist. Danley v. Encore Capital Grp., Inc., No. 16-1670, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 3388 (6th Cir. Feb. 22, 2017).  As you may recall, the … Continue Reading

Sixth Circuit Labor Cases

Labor law and regulation has recently been a contentious topic of litigation and policymaking. That promises to continue through 2017, and we expect the Sixth Circuit to issue important decisions in this area. The Trump administration has pledged to loosen regulation on labor markets while, at the same time, making several public displays of reconciliation … Continue Reading
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