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In Thacker v. Tennessee Valley Authority, the Supreme Court held that sovereign immunity does not necessarily shield TVA’s “discretionary functions” from liability.  Justice Kagan’s unanimous opinion reversed the Eleventh Circuit, which had sided with longstanding Sixth Circuit precedent treating many TVA functions as immune from suit. Congress created the Tennessee Valley Authority, a government-owned corporation, to promote economic development during the Great Depression. TVA exercises both “traditionally governmental functions” (like making arrests and condemning…
The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals features as many as three “short-listers” to replace the retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy on the US Supreme Court: Judges Raymond Kethledge and Joan Larsen of Michigan, and Judge Amul Thapar of Kentucky. All three reportedly interviewed with President Trump last week, and all three are young and prominent enough to be considered for future vacancies that might develop. The Yale Journal on Regulation’s blog has published an in-depth…
Recently, a federal district court dismissed a hospital’s complaint against an ERISA plan administrator as inadequately pled and outlined the minimum degree of specificity required in similar cases.  In Polk Med. Ctr., Inc. v. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Ga., Inc., the plaintiff hospital alleged that the defendant administrator was employing various tactics to obstruct and/or reduce reimbursements for emergency treatment, such as refusing to honor assignments of benefits and refusing to pay…
As we’ve previously noted, the Sixth Circuit currently has two vacancies, and will soon have a third, as Judge McKeague has already announced his plans to take senior status. Judge Amul Thapar of the Eastern District of Kentucky has already been nominated to fill the vacancy created by Judge Martin’s retirement in 2013, and his April 26 confirmation hearing went smoothly.  Prior to serving on the district court, Judge Thapar had been the U.S.…
Last week, the Sixth Circuit granted en banc review in Bormuth v. County of Jackson, where a split panel had held that a district court had erred in rejecting the plaintiff’s argument that the prayer preceding a Michigan county’s Board of Commissioners’ monthly meeting violated the First Amendment by coercing residents to support and participate in the exercise of religion. The panel not only reversed the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of…
A unanimous panel of the Sixth Circuit held today in D.O., et al. v. Glisson that the Child Welfare Act creates a private right to foster-care maintenance payments enforceable by a foster parent under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.  The CWA provides for federal foster care and adoption assistance to eligible states.  To be eligible, a state must submit a plan that meets the CWA’s criteria, and also “provide[] for foster care maintenance payments” for each…
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. Department of Defense. While interlocutory cert petitions are typically disfavored by the Supreme Court, jurisdictional issues have long been…
Normally, a regulatory-takings plaintiff must seek compensation through “procedures the State has provided,” before suing in federal court.  Last week, in a unanimous unpublished opinion, Lilly Investments v. City of Rochester, the Sixth Circuit joined the Second and Fourth Circuits by holding that, by removing the case, a defendant-city waives this exhaustion requirement.  The Court reasoned that, “[w]hen a state or locality removes to federal court, it ‘implicitly agrees’ with the competence of federal…
Yesterday, in Linglong Americas, Inc. v. Horizon Tire, Inc., a unanimous panel of the Sixth Circuit rejected a tire manufacturer’s attempt to compel arbitration of claims in China under a contract that had already expired.  The manufacturer and its distributor had a “Collaboration Agreement” with an arbitration clause. The agreement expired in 2011 and was not renewed, but the parties continued to collaborate until, in 2014, a series of events led to the parties…
In Mason v. Lockwood, Andrews & Neuman, a split panel of the Sixth Circuit affirmed a district court’s decision to remand a class action to state court under the “local controversy” exception to the Class Action Fairness Act.  CAFA requires a court to “decline” jurisdiction over a class action that otherwise qualifies for federal court if the class action meets three requirements. One of these is that more than two thirds of the class…