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One day at the Sixth Circuit: murder victim's family gets no relief; prisoner's claim is tossed; and mortgage fraud victim may get a trial

Today three appellate decisions were handed down:  in each case a summary judgment against the plaintiff-victim was addressed.  One case involved mortgage fraud; one involved the family of a woman murdered after leaving Kwame Kilpatrick's party; and the last involved a prison injury and 8th Amendment ("cruel and unusual punishment") claim.  The latter decision is easiest to describe:  the court held that an administrative ruling at the prison which found the prisoner, and not two guards, responsible for the altercation that caused his injury, was binding on the prisoner.  He was allowed no "day in court" to contest that administrative decision, so his constitutional right was determined by the prison administration and not by a jury of his peers.  Probably the same system they use in Chinese prisons.  However dubious the prisoner's claim may have been, this is a fairly stunning decision.  The prisoner's case title was Peterson v. Johnson, et al.

The second case involved the family of Tamara Greene, the exotic dancer who was murdered in the early morning after performing at a Kilpatrick party at the Manoogian Mansion.  We now know that Kilpatrick was not always acting within the law.  In any event, the family argued that their right to seek justice was denied by the Detroit Police Department's mishandling of evidence and procedure.  They cited testimony confirming that significant evidence and investigator notes disappeared from locked police storage; significant, routine procedures were violated (for example the case was assigned to "cold cases" prematurely); investigating officers were reassigned and demoted; and as a result of police irregularities, the murder has never been thoroughly investigated or solved.  The Court held that despite the evidence, the family had failed to plead a valid claim.  The case name is Flagg, et al. v. City of Detroit.

Finally, in the mortgage foreclosure case, the District Court had summarily dismissed the homeowner's fraud case.  The lower court had held that even though a fraudulent appraisal had been arranged by bank agents and used to secure refinancing of his home for an addition, the bank's fraud was not "the cause" of his loss of the home. 

Even though the bank's patently superficial appraisal process over-valued the borrower's home by $125,000.00 and the ARM's teaser 2 percent interest rate quickly accelerated to a far higher rate, the trial judge had held that the banking agents were not responsible for any of the borrower's loss.  The appellate panel disagreed and overturned the lower court's decision:  it noted that there was ample evidence to go to a jury on the homeowner's claim that the actions of the bank and its faux-appraiser enticed the homeowner into a disastrous financial arrangement based on phantom equity.  This last case is entitled Wallace v. Midwest Fin. & Mortg. Serv., et al.

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