Articles Posted in U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

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In 2014-2015, Schmückle, a German citizen living in Germany, served as MAG Group’s CEO and managing director of MAG Germany. In 2015, MAG Holdings and MAG US sued (in Michigan) for breach of fiduciary duty, professional negligence, waste of corporate assets, unjust enrichment, and tortious interference under Michigan law. In response to a challenge to jurisdiction, plaintiffs alleged that Schmückle “transacted business” within Michigan and that his “actions and activities led to consequences” in Michigan. Plaintiffs asserted that: Schmückle was responsible for “worldwide operations,” including MAG US; they (Michigan residents) reported directly to Schmückle by email and phone; Schmückle was involved in determining the Michigan facility's operations, budgets, work flow, and sales priorities; he charged MAG US an annual fee, used to pay part of his salary and expenses; he reallocated work from the “consistently profitable” Michigan facility to the “less-profitable” MAG Germany operations and negatively affected the profitability of MAG US in Michigan; and he told MAG US leaders to prepare to transfer $10 million to MAG Germany. Schmückle allegedly visited Michigan twice as CEO, maintains a residence in Oregon, and sits on the boards of U.S.-based three companies. The district court, without holding an evidentiary hearing, dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction. The Sixth Circuit reversed, stating that the record did not overcome the presumption that exercising personal jurisdiction over Schmückle in Michigan was reasonable. View "MAG IAS Holdings, Inc. v. Schmückle" on Justia Law

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Hayes, a U.S. citizen, married Pliego, a Spanish diplomat. Their child was born in 2011. In 2012, the family moved to Turkey, where Pliego served in the Spanish embassy. In 2014, Hayes took the child to Kentucky, stating she would not return. Pliego sought the child’s return under the International Child Abduction Remedies Act, 22 U.S.C. 9001–9011 (ICARA), which implements the Hague Abduction Convention. The district court determined the child’s country of habitual residence was Turkey and that removal of the child violated Pliego’s joint custody rights under Turkish law. Convention Article 13(b) creates a defense to a child’s return if “there is a grave risk” of “physical or psychological harm” or “an intolerable situation.” Hayes alleged, and Pliego denied, that Pliego had abused her and the child. The court concluded that the evidence of “physical or psychological harm” was not “clear and convincing.” Pliego and the child returned to Turkey. Hayes followed and obtained temporary custody from a Turkish court. That court subsequently dismissed the temporary custody order based on Pliego’s diplomatic status, but Hayes and the child had fled to the United States. Pliego filed his second ICARA petition; the court granted Pliego temporary custody while Pliego waived diplomatic immunity to seek permanent custody in Turkey. During visitation, Hayes photographed bruises on the child; she alleged that Turkish courts could not protect the child due to Pliego’s diplomatic status. The court found credible Pliego’s and his mother’s testimony that the “bruises” were actually mosquito bites, held that custody litigation could proceed in Turkey, held that Hayes had failed to make out a defense under Article 13(b), and awarded Pliego $100,471.18 in fees and costs. The Sixth Circuit affirmed. The Spanish government’s waiver of Pliego’s diplomatic immunity sufficiently permits the Turkish courts to adjudicate custody. View "Pliego v. Hayes" on Justia Law

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The American husband and German wife have lived together in Germany since 2002. They sought damages for complications that arose when a surgical stapler manufactured in Mexico by an American corporation, Ethicon, allegedly malfunctioned during a 2012 surgery that husband underwent in Germany. An Ohio district court dismissed on the ground of forum non conveniens in favor of litigating in Germany. The Sixth Circuit affirmed. Where a district court has considered all relevant public- and private-interest factors, and has reasonably balanced those factors, its decision deserves substantial deference. Private-interest factors include the relative ease of access to sources of proof; availability of compulsory process and the cost of obtaining witnesses; possibility of view of premises, id appropriate; and all other practical problems. Public-interest factors include administrative difficulties from court congestion; the local interest in the controversy’; the interest in having the trial in a forum that is at home with the law that governs the action; and the unfairness of burdening citizens in an unrelated forum with jury duty. The court here correctly concluded that Ethicon met its burden of showing that if the case remained in Ohio, the vexation it would endure and trouble to the court would be disproportionate to the plaintiffs’ minimal convenience. View "Hefferan v. Ethicon Endo-Surgery, Inc." on Justia Law

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Cruz was to host a party in his village in Oaxaca, Mexico on New Year’s Day 2006. He went to the municipal hall to deliver invitations, where a man approached and shot him and a bystander. Both men died. The murderer fled the scene. Cruz’s family accused Martinez, then a U.S. permanent resident (a citizen since 2010) whose family lived in the village. Cruz’s widow and parents met with Martinez’s wife and brother before a town clerk and signed an agreement stating that Martinez had “committed the homicide” and that “the family of the perpetrator” would pay 50,000 pesos for “the expenses incurred,” so that “the matter shall be closed.” Days later, two eyewitnesses made sworn statements identifying Martinez as the murderer. An Oaxacan judge issued an arrest warrant. Martinez returned to Tennessee. In 2009, an American consular official asked about the status of Martinez’s arrest warrant. The Oaxacan court responded that it was “still pending and executable.” In 2012, the Mexican government filed a diplomatic note with the State Department, requesting his “provisional arrest” pursuant to the extradition treaty between the two nations. U.S. authorities arrested Martinez about a year later; Mexican officials filed a formal extradition request in 2013. Complying with the procedures identified in 18 U.S.C. 3184-3186, the Secretary of State filed the request with a federal magistrate judge, who certified that Martinez could be extradited. The Sixth Circuit affirmed rejection of Martinez’s habeas corpus action. The extradition will not violate the statute of limitations or his Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial. View "Cruz-Martinez v. United States" on Justia Law

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Bašić, a Balkan native, came to the U.S. in 1994 as a refugee to escape the civil war that was tearing Yugoslavia apart. She settled in Kentucky and became a naturalized citizen. She is now accused in Bosnia, one of Yugoslavia’s successor states, of crimes committed against ethnic Serbs during the war while Bašić was a member of the Croatian army. Bosnia asked the U.S. to extradite Bašić for trial. The Department of State filed a Complaint for Extradition in 2011. A Magistrate Judge certified the complaint, concluding that Bašić was extraditable under a 1902 treaty between the U.S. and the Kingdom of Serbia, 32 Stat. 1890. Direct appeal is not available in extradition proceedings, so Bašić filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. 2241. The Sixth Circuit affirmed denial, rejecting arguments that the Treaty prohibits extradition of U.S. citizens to Bosnia and that the Bosnian government failed to produce a warrant for Bašić’s arrest as required by the Treaty. View "Bašic v. Steck" on Justia Law

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A guest at Ohio social gathering, Grimm, brought a rifle and ammunition to the Sunbury house, where he assembled and invited guests to shoot. At Grimm's direction, Rote loaded the rifle; before the bolt moved into a closed-and-secured position, the round exploded and a “loud sound” was heard. Rote sustained severe damage to his right hand. The round that exploded came from a box bearing marks identifying it as being manufactured by DGFM. The allegedly defective ammunition was purchased online through a New Jersey-based company. Rote and his wife filed a negligence and products-liability suit against several defendants, including DGFM. DGFM argued that, as an instrumentality of the Republic of Argentina, it is immune from suit under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, 28 U.S.C. 1602. The district court denied its motion to dismiss, finding that the “commercial activity” exception to the Act applies. The Sixth Circuit affirmed, stating that the design and manufacture of a product constitutes a “commercial activity” under the FSIA and that a court need not find that a foreign state has minimum contacts with the United States in order to conclude that the state’s acts have a direct effect here. View "Rote v. Zel Custom Mfg., LLC" on Justia Law