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In Tran v. Minnesota Life Ins. Co., No. 18-1723, 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 12895, ___ F.3d ___ (7th Cir. Apr. 29, 2019), the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a district court’s judgment, which had allowed a policy beneficiary to recover under two Accidental Death & Dismemberment (“AD&D”) riders for an insured’s death caused by autoerotic asphyxiation.  The riders provided that “[i]n no event will [the insurer] pay the [AD&D] benefit where it results from…
In AEI Life LLC v. Lincoln Benefit Life Co., No. 17-224, 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 15485 (2d Cir. Jun. 8, 2018), a Trust purchased a $6.5 million life insurance policy on an individual.  On the application, it claimed that the named individual had a net worth of $87 million and an annual income of $1.5 million.  It would later prove that this simply wasn’t true.  But in the meantime, a stranger to the policy…
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 the Senate a cloture motion to end debate and move for a vote on her nomination. Thus, in the very…
In Stein v. hhgregg, a split panel of the Sixth Circuit held that a written policy would trump the company’s actual practices. hhGregg employs retail sales employees that are paid under a “draw-on-commission policy.” Under that policy, sales employees are paid on the basis of commissions only. If after dividing the employee’s weekly commission by the number of hours worked, the quotient fails to equate to the federal hourly minimum wage, the employee is…
Last week in Marshall v. Rawlings, a split panel of the Sixth Circuit held that the cat’s paw theory of liability applies to FMLA retaliation claims.  In Marshall, an employee was fired after using FMLA leave.  The employee sued for FMLA retaliation, ADA discrimination, FMLA interference, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.  The district court granted summary judgment to the employer, and the Sixth Circuit reversed the district court’s judgment as to the employee’s…
Recently, in an unpublished decision, the Sixth Circuit illustrated that it was continuing last year’s trend in holding that district courts should allow parties to seal records only when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 Sixth Circuit issued a series of decisions last year that distinguished between the standards that apply to protective orders…
In Summa Holdings, Inc. v. Comm’r of Internal Revenue, a unanimous panel reversed the judgment of a United States Tax Court and rejected the Tax Commissioner’s attempt to reclassify a series of transactions which had originally allowed two taxpayers to avoid Roth IRA contribution limits and lower their tax obligations.  The Court recognized that the petitioners’ complicated series of transactions were essentially a strategy for funneling money into Roth IRAs without triggering the contribution…
In United States ex rel. Harper v. Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District, a divided panel of the Sixth Circuit interpreted the 2010 amendments to the False Claims Act (FCA) and affirmed the district court’s dismissal of relators’ qui tam action filed under the FCA’s reverse-false-claim and conversion provisions.  Relators alleged that Muskingum Watershed Conservatory District (MWCD), by selling fracking rights to certain land and retaining the land, violated a 1949 deed, providing that the land…