Keyword: attacklawyers

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  • NY judge grants class action status to frisk suit

    05/16/2012 10:47:31 AM PDT · by SmithL · 11 replies
    AP via SFGate ^ | 5/16/12 | LARRY NEUMEISTER, Associated Press
    Finding the city's attitude "deeply troubling," a judge granted class action status Wednesday to a 2008 lawsuit accusing the New York Police Department of discriminating against blacks and Hispanics with its stop-and-frisk policies aimed at reducing crime. U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin in Manhattan said in a written ruling that there was "overwhelming evidence" that a centralized stop-and-frisk program has led to thousands of unlawful stops. She noted that the vast majority of New Yorkers who are unlawfully stopped will never file a lawsuit in response, and she said class-action status was created for just these kinds of court cases.
  • TN GOP targets 'frivolous' lawsuits - Tennessee GOP warns filers they could face high fees

    04/29/2012 7:52:30 AM PDT · by SmithL · 6 replies
    Nashville Tennessean | 4/29/12 | Duane W. Gang
    Gannett Newspaper - Link Only: http://www.tennessean.com/article/20120429/NEWS0201/304290083/TN-GOP-targets-frivolous-lawsuits-?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE
  • TVA sued by zombie protestors

    01/27/2012 12:20:10 PM PST · by SmithL · 4 replies
    A group of six Knoxville residents are suing the Tennessee Valley Authority , claiming it violated their free speech rights by refusing them entry into a TVA board of directors meeting. The six people were dressed in zombie costumes when they were denied entry. Knoxville News Sentinel writes that they are also seeking an injunction stopping TVA from barring costumed citizens from attending meetings. Protestors in Chattanooga last July dressed up as zombies to urge TVA not to complete a plant in Bellefonte, where work has been idled since 1988. The protestors called Bellefonte a “corpse” of a power plant,...
  • Labor board ruling allows group claims in court

    01/07/2012 4:53:39 PM PST · by SmithL · 5 replies
    AP via SFGate ^ | 1/7/12 | MICHELE SALCEDO, Associated Press
    Employers can't require workers to sign arbitration agreements that prevent them from pursuing group claims in court, the National Labor Relations Board said Friday, in a decision that some experts say could have wide repercussions. The NLRB said agreements that required private sector workers to make claims only as individuals and only to an arbitrator violated their right to join together in "concerted action" under the National Labor Relations Act. . . . The board voted 2-0, with one recusal, in favor of the ruling against the Fort Worth, Tx.-based company. The NLRB said Brian Hayes, the board's only Republican,...
  • Power plants in East Contra County get formal notice of lawsuit threat

    12/20/2011 7:44:48 PM PST · by SmithL · 34 replies
    Contra Costa Times ^ | 12/20/11 | Mike Taugher
    Environmentalists filed notices Tuesday warning they would sue to force the owners of four existing and planned East Contra Costa power plants to protect rare plants and a butterfly and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In the endangered species notice, the environmental groups said emissions from four Antioch-area power plants -- two of which are not operational -- will increase nitrogen in the soil at Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge, a preserve near the waterfront industrial area. The increased nitrogen helps weeds that crowd out native plants, including a plant needed by the Lange's metalmark butterfly, of which about 35 survive,...
  • Small-business owners targets of ADA lawsuits

    11/16/2011 11:58:17 AM PST · by SmithL · 11 replies
    San Francisco Chronicle ^ | 11/16/11 | Andrew S. Ross
    One of the recurring scourges facing small-business owners in the Bay Area is the often frivolous lawsuits filed under provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Chronicle has done a number of stories about the problem, relating the travails of bookstore, restaurant and retail store owners in San Francisco who have either been put out of business or essentially extorted to cough up thousands of dollars - which go into the plaintiffs' and lawyers' pockets - to settle the complaints out of court. Now, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is getting into the act, initially on behalf of Latino...
  • Cost of firing 2 Oakland workers nears $1 million

    09/26/2011 9:25:50 AM PDT · by SmithL · 18 replies
    San Francisco Chronicle ^ | 9/26/11 | Phillip Matier, Andrew Ross, Chronicle Columnist
    Cash-strapped Oakland has spent nearly $1 million and counting on outside lawyers to defend the city's decision to fire former City Administrator Deborah Edgerly and her top assistant, Cheryl Thompson. Edgerly and Thompson were both fired in 2008 by then-Mayor Ron Dellums after Edgerly was accused of warning her nephew William Lovan, a convicted felon who worked for the city as a parking meter repairman, of a planned police gang sweep. Lovan resigned from the city last September after his arrest for drug possession. At the time, he was on home detention for a gun conviction - and soon after...
  • Trial lawyer payoffs axed

    08/24/2011 12:42:13 PM PDT · by SmithL · 5 replies
    San Francisco Examiner ^ | 8/23/11 | David Freddoso
    Here’s a tip for you: Listening to really, really loud sounds over long periods of time can damage your hearing. Perhaps you already knew that. But a few years back, a group of clever trial lawyers decided they could make some serious money by arguing in court that you are too stupid to know it yourself. They filed 26 consumer-fraud lawsuits in multiple states against Motorola and other manufacturers of Bluetooth headsets. They alleged that consumers were not warned sufficiently about the dangers, and that they “would not have purchased their Bluetooth headsets but for defendants’ false advertising.” That led...
  • Medical insurers win big in California Supreme Court decision

    08/19/2011 8:39:38 AM PDT · by SmithL · 3 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 8/19/11 | Dan Walters
    The state Supreme Court handed insurers and business groups a major legal victory – and personal injury lawyers an equally big setback – on Thursday by imposing limits on medical damages in one of the era's most closely watched civil cases. The issue in the case, Howell v. Hamilton Meats & Provisions, was whether an injured party could collect the full medical care costs billed by doctors and hospitals, or the lesser amount that the medical providers accepted from an insurance company.
  • California says lawyers scammed homeowners with suit against banks

    08/18/2011 12:45:10 PM PDT · by SmithL · 4 replies
    AP via CoCo Times ^ | 8/18/11 | Jacob Adelman - Associated Press
    COSTA MESA -- California prosecutors filed a major lawsuit against several lawyers and call center operators for allegedly running a nationwide scam to dupe desperate homeowners into paying thousands of dollars to join dubious lawsuits against some of the country's largest banks. The complaint unsealed Thursday in Los Angeles County Superior Court accuses prominent foreclosure attorneys Philip Kramer and Mitchell Stein and at least 17 other individuals and businesses of luring borrowers into a scheme that falsely promised a cut of future settlements. The lawsuit portrays the defendants as the most recent in the chain of mortgage-related scammers who helped...
  • U.S. law firm spent $7 million to sue Wal-Mart

    06/21/2011 4:33:09 PM PDT · by mdittmar · 70 replies
    Reuters ^ | Jun 21, 2011 | Reuters
    Joseph Sellers is in the hole by about $7 million and does not expect to dig his way out any time soon. As lead counsel to the plaintiffs in the Wal-Mart Stores Inc employment discrimination lawsuit tossed out by the United States Supreme Court on Monday, Seller's law firm, Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, dedicated about $5 million in attorney hours and spent $2 million on experts and discovery in the decade-long case, he said.The Court found the claims filed by as many as 1.5 million women against the retail giant were too varied to permit class certification. The Court...
  • APNewsBreak: Railroads threatened with lawsuit

    06/21/2011 3:22:38 PM PDT · by SmithL · 66 replies
    AP via SFGate ^ | 6/21/11 | NOAKI SCHWARTZ, Associated Press
    An environmental group threatened to sue two of the nation's biggest rail owners Tuesday under a novel legal theory that would classify diesel exhaust as hazardous waste. The Natural Resources Defense Council sent letters to Union Pacific Corp. and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, saying it will file a lawsuit within 90 days under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, which regulates hazardous solid waste disposal. The notice letter, which is required before proceeding with a lawsuit, cited problems at 16 rail yards across California, from Oakland to San Bernardino.
  • California Chamber of Commerce says 28 bills are 'job killers'

    05/25/2011 11:06:48 AM PDT · by SmithL · 3 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 5/25/11 | Dan Walters
    Each year, the state Chamber of Commerce publishes a list of bills it calls "job killers," saying they will place onerous burdens on employers and discourage hiring -- and has run up a very strong record in killing or neutralizing measures on its list. Last year, for instance, the list contained 43 bills, of which just 12 made it to then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's desk, and he vetoed all but two of them. Republican Schwarzenegger rarely signed "job killer" bills, although his predecessor, Democrat Gray Davis, signed most that reached him. The targeted bills are mostly sponsored by labor unions, environmental...
  • Judge: I will again deny dismissal of Toyota suits

    04/29/2011 12:46:32 PM PDT · by SmithL · 9 replies · 1+ views
    AP via SFGate ^ | 4/29/11 | GREG RISLING, Associated Press
    A federal judge in California said Friday that he will deny another request from Toyota Motor Corp. to dismiss lawsuits filed by car owners who claim sudden-acceleration defects caused the value of their vehicles to drop. U.S. District Judge James Selna said in a 30-page ruling that the lawsuits have enough merit to move forward. "Taking these allegations as true, as the court must at the pleading stage, they establish an economic loss," Selna wrote. "Plaintiffs bargained for safe, defect-free vehicles, but instead received unsafe, defective vehicles. A vehicle with a defect is worth less than one without a defect."...
  • Berkeley officials blast lawsuit challenging library project

    04/28/2011 11:19:10 AM PDT · by SmithL · 11 replies
    Contra Costa Times ^ | 4/28/11 | Doug Oakley
    Berkeley officials say a lawsuit by residents could prevent the demolition and rebuilding of two aging libraries in the poorest areas of town. The officials took their case to Berkeley residents Tuesday night, publicly urging the plaintiffs to drop the suit at a rally before a City Council meeting. The suit, brought by five residents calling themselves Concerned Library Users, contends language in a 2008 ballot measure that secured money for the renovation of the libraries does not contain the word "demolish" and that doing so would be illegal. At issue are plans for demolition and construction of the west...
  • Brown's countdown, Day 57: Attorneys ready to challenge Brown's proposed budget cuts

    03/07/2011 8:00:01 AM PST · by SmithL · 11 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 3/7/11 | Jack Chang
    Even if lawmakers approve a California budget deal in floor votes expected this week, advocates say they've just begun to fight big cuts in the works for redevelopment agencies, developmentally disabled services and other swaths of the state budget. Attorneys are already preparing lawsuits challenging Gov. Jerry Brown's proposals on the grounds that they violate voter-passed constitutional amendments and long-standing state laws. If successful, the legal actions could cost the state – currently trying to fill a $26.6 billion hole – about $2.4 billion. Those areas already under scrutiny for lawsuits include proposals to create standards for serving developmentally disabled...
  • Judge opposes class action in TVA coal ash suits

    01/20/2011 12:35:17 PM PST · by SmithL · 1 replies
    AP via KnoxNews ^ | 1/20/11 | Bill Poovey, Associated Press
    CHATTANOOGA — The Tennessee Valley Authority won another round in a court fight against lawsuits from the utility’s huge coal ash spill, with a magistrate saying no to plaintiff lawyers who asked to seek damages in a class action. U.S. Magistrate Bruce Guyton recommended denying the class action status sought by attorneys for some of the 457 plaintiffs spread among about 50 current lawsuits, and for any others waiting to sue. Since the Dec. 22, 2008, spill of 5.4 million cubic yards of toxin-laden sludge in the Emory River and on privately held land beside TVA’s’ Kingston Plant, the utility...
  • Small businesses deal with disabled-access suits {ADA killing San Francisco businesses}

    01/06/2011 8:16:33 AM PST · by SmithL · 17 replies
    San Francisco Chronicle ^ | 1/6/11 | Robert Selna, Chronicle Staff Writer
    San Francisco merchants, concerned about being sued for failing to provide access to disabled customers, met Tuesday with city officials who soon will embark on a campaign to educate business owners about accessibility requirements and help forestall lawsuits that might put them out of business. Since November, several Noe Valley shop owners have received letters from people with disabilities suggesting that their stores may be violating state laws or federal access standards under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Those notices coincided with a rash of civil rights lawsuits in the Richmond District in late November that led some businesses to...
  • $1.7 million verdict for inmate's untreated cancer { Illegal Alien }

    11/11/2010 5:00:43 PM PST · by SmithL · 21 replies
    San Francisco Chronicle ^ | 11/11/10 | Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer
    LOS ANGELES -- A jury has hit the state with $1.73 million in damages in a suit by the family of an illegal immigrant who died of penile cancer that went untreated during more than a year in state and federal custody. The Los Angeles Superior Court jury found state prison doctors partly to blame Wednesday for the death of Francisco Castaneda in February 2007. A separate suit against the federal government is tentatively scheduled for trial in April, the family's lawyers said Thursday.
  • CALIFORNIA: Schools, students sue state over funding

    05/21/2010 7:56:28 AM PDT · by SmithL · 22 replies · 746+ views
    San Francisco Chronicle ^ | 5/21/10 | Jill Tucker,Marisa Lagos, Chronicle Staff Writers
    More than 60 children and nine school districts across California filed a historic lawsuit Thursday, arguing that elected officials have failed in their constitutional obligation to support public schools. The case has the potential to completely overhaul how, and how much, money flows into schools. In short, the case seeks to force the state Legislature and governor to fix a broken education funding system - one that has failed to take into account what it actually costs to educate a child, plaintiffs' attorneys said. The lawsuit would require Sacramento to fund schools based on what state law requires they offer...
  • The Buzz: Senate seat moves to suit stage

    05/07/2010 8:14:35 AM PDT · by SmithL · 521+ views
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 5/7/10 | Dan Smith & Torey Van Oot
    How bad do the Democrats want to win the Senate seat vacated by newly crowned Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado?First they strung out Republican Maldo's confirmation in the Assembly to force – they thought – Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to make the special election for the Senate seat the same day as the general election in November. That, the Dems figured, would let them take advantage of the largest possible voter turnout and give them the best chance to capture the Central Coast Senate seat.But the Republican governor is still a Republican, and he called for a special election in the dead...
  • Judge backs Redding atheist who balked at religious anti-drug program

    04/17/2010 8:48:09 PM PDT · by SmithL · 18 replies · 787+ views
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 4/17/10 | Denny Walsh and Sam Stanton
    Barry A. Hazle Jr. served a year in prison on a drug charge. After he got out, his parole agent sent him back for being an atheist. Now, the 41-year-old Redding computer technician has won a ruling from a Sacramento federal judge against the state and stands to collect damages for having his constitutional rights violated. Even before U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr. decided in his favor last week, California corrections officials had issued a new policy protecting the rights of atheist parolees. "This has been a long and painful process for me," Hazle said in a statement...
  • Appellate court sides with Schwarzenegger

    04/12/2010 7:28:23 PM PDT · by SmithL · 9 replies · 418+ views
    SacBee: The State Worker ^ | 4/12/10 | Jon Ortiz
    The 1st District Court of Appeal has granted Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's petition for writ of supercedeas in Union of American Physicians and Dentists v. Schwarzenegger. The decision means that furloughs continue during the appeal of Alameda Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch's decision to end furloughs for state workers in "special fund" departments named in the lawsuit. Here's the language from the San Francisco-based court's Web site:
  • Episcopal rival sues for Anglican church's assets

    02/12/2010 1:52:38 PM PST · by SmithL · 7 replies · 297+ views
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 2/12/10 | Sue Nowicki - Modesto Bee
    MODESTO – The Episcopal-Anglican battle in Stanislaus County got very personal this week when the Episcopal faction filed a lawsuit against St. Francis Anglican Church in Turlock seeking control of the its assets. The suit was filed Monday in Stanislaus Superior Court by the Rev. Jerry Lamb, bishop of the Modesto-based Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin. It names the Rev. Gerald "Gerry" Grossman and nine members of the church's vestry, or ruling body, as well as the St. Francis parish as defendants. St. Francis is the first parish in the diocese to face an individual lawsuit in the dispute that...
  • GOP legislators aim to cut red tape, lawsuits to boost Cailfornia job growth

    02/11/2010 7:56:12 AM PST · by SmithL · 2 replies · 210+ views
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 2/11/10 | Susan Ferriss
    California legislative Republicans said Wednesday they'll be rolling out their own bills over the next several weeks to try to spur private-sector job growth by cutting regulations on businesses and trying to reduce lawsuits. Members of the minority party gathered on the Capitol steps with Senate GOP leader Dennis Hollingsworth, R-Murietta, who said Republicans will introduce some new bills and revive others they've tried "for years and for years" to get approved. "The answer isn't more government," Hollingsworth said, "and it isn't more government spending and it certainly isn't more taxes and more regulations on California's businesses and workers." Hollingsworth...
  • Dan Walters: Schwarzenegger renews old battle over lawsuits

    01/29/2010 7:43:12 AM PST · by SmithL · 3 replies · 252+ views
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 1/29/10 | Dan Walters
    Governors and other politicians come to the Capitol and eventually go away, some to other political venues and some to obscurity. As they come and go, however, thousands of interest groups and their professional warriors remain, fighting and refighting battles for decades. None of those conflicts is more enduring than "tort war," the struggle over the rules governing injury lawsuits waged by trial lawyers, who would expand the ability to sue and collect damages, and business groups that want to restrict suits. While some of their clashes are obvious – the decades-long fight over medical malpractice damages, for instance –...
  • Caltrans, disabled advocates reach $1.1 billion settlement

    12/22/2009 12:41:13 PM PST · by SmithL · 13 replies · 514+ views
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 12/22/9 | Carlos Alcala
    State officials and advocates for the rights of the disabled are hailing a $1.1 billion settlement of a suit regarding access to sidewalks and facilities owned or maintained by the state's Department of Transportation. "This settlement is a win-win," said Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, in a statement released by Caltrans today. . . .
  • California placed on lawsuit 'watch list'

    12/15/2009 2:58:50 PM PST · by SmithL · 3 replies · 403+ views
    SacBee: Capitol Alert ^ | 12/15/9 | Dan Walters
    California just missed being labeled a "judicial hellhole" by the American Tort Reform Foundation, a business-backed group that lobbies for changes in the laws and procedures governing lawsuits that allege injuries. Instead, the state was placed on the organization's "watch list" for what the Washington-based organization termed "poorly reasoned California court decisions (that) have placed the state's citizens and business owners in jeopardy." It did not specify what those decisions were, but added, "California businesses are concerned that they will be unfairly hit with consumer and disabled-access lawsuits by those who have chosen litigation as a lifestyle. . . .
  • Administration wants suit against Yoo dismissed

    12/07/2009 12:55:14 PM PST · by SmithL · 3 replies · 371+ views
    San Francisco Chronicle ^ | 12/7/9 | Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer
    SAN FRANCISCO -- The Obama administration has asked an appeals court to dismiss a lawsuit accusing former Bush administration attorney John Yoo of authorizing the torture of a terrorism suspect, saying federal law does not allow damage claims against lawyers who advise the president on national security issues. Such lawsuits ask courts to second-guess presidential decisions and pose "the risk of deterring full and frank advice regarding the military's detention and treatment of those determined to be enemies during an armed conflict," Justice Department lawyers said Thursday in arguments to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco....
  • Berkeley activists can sue over raid

    11/30/2009 9:39:19 PM PST · by SmithL · 3 replies · 332+ views
    San Francisco Chronicle ^ | 11/30/9 | Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer
    BERKELEY -- Berkeley activists can sue federal agents for their role in a 2008 raid in which officers seized their computers and records in search of alleged threats by animal-rights advocates, a federal judge ruled Monday. The activist group Long Haul Inc. can try to prove that the search of its Berkeley offices exceeded legal boundaries, that agents misled the judge who issued a search warrant, and that it was targeted because of its left-wing views, said U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White. An unaffiliated group with offices in the same Berkeley building, East Bay Prisoner Support, also won the right...
  • Dan Walters: California cap in malpractice cases an issue

    11/30/2009 7:52:02 AM PST · by SmithL · 3 replies · 388+ views
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 11/30/9 | Dan Walters
    One of the many contentious issues in the national health care debate is something that began 34 years ago in California when Jerry Brown, in the first year of his first governorship, signed legislation imposing a $250,000 limit on pain and suffering damages in medical malpractice cases. The version of a national health care bill that Speaker Nancy Pelosi pushed through the House contains a provision that would push – but not quite compel – California and other states with malpractice damage caps to repeal them.
  • Judge values union land bought for a steal in 2004

    11/28/2009 12:28:19 PM PST · by SmithL · 18 replies · 1,486+ views
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 11/28/9 | Andy Furillo
    Thanks to a timely traffic wreck, a local real estate developer won 57 acres of prime Rancho Murieta property five years ago for just $2,000. And if that came as a shock to the big union pension fund and the bank that lost out in the deal, the bad news recently got worse for them.On Nov. 16, a judge gaveled more salt into the wounds of the Operating Engineers Local 3 Pension Trust Fund and the Amalgamated Bank. It came in a tentative decision that established the value of the land at $27 million, or 13,500 times more than what...
  • Dan Walters: California's 1988 insurance battle could see 2010 reprise

    11/18/2009 7:45:30 AM PST · by SmithL · 258+ views
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 11/18/9 | Dan Walters
    When California's political consultants share war stories, 1988's immensely expensive, multifront battle between insurance companies and lawyer-backed consumer groups takes center stage. Tens of millions of dollars were spent on a confusing array of competing ballot measures, and when the dust had settled, insurers had lost big, particularly with passage of Proposition 103, which made the state insurance commissioner an elected official and dramatically increased insurance regulation. It was a big battle in the decades-long "tort war" over rules governing who can sue whom for personal injuries, including auto accidents – a war fought in the Legislature, on the ballot...
  • The State Worker: Numerous lawsuits fight California furloughs

    08/13/2009 7:50:01 AM PDT · by SmithL · 8 replies · 555+ views
    SacBee: State Worker ^ | 8/13/9 | Jon Ortiz
    California's government is in a state of civil war. The battlegrounds: courtrooms from San Francisco to Sacramento. The fight: furloughs. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's administration spent $228,000 on furlough litigation as part of an eight-month contract that ended in June with Kronick, Moskovitz, Tiedemann & Girard, a Sacramento-based law firm. "These legal costs wouldn't be so high if people weren't fighting the furloughs," said Lynelle Jolley, spokeswoman for Schwarzenegger's Department of Personnel Administration. "That's ludicrous," said Yvonne Walker, president of Service Employees International Union Local 1000, which represents about 95,000 state workers. "What audacity, to blame the very people they're hurting...
  • Cal-OSHA sued for alleged inability to protect farm laborers

    07/30/2009 8:11:01 PM PDT · by SmithL · 1 replies · 291+ views
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 7/30/9 | Susan Ferriss
    The American Civil Liberties Union and the United Farm Workers Union filed a lawsuit this morning against Cal-OSHA, accusing it of not being capable of protecting the state's 650,000 farm laborers from heat injury and death. The suit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court credits occupational safety officials with stepping up enforcement in the wake of fatalities last year. But it says employers remain out of compliance with regulations. It cites as evidence six farmworker deaths last year -- three more than Cal-OSHA recognizes -- injuries of farmworkers this year and widespread violations of laws that Cal-OSHA inspectors have found...
  • A naked million

    05/24/2009 9:59:03 AM PDT · by SmithL · 16 replies · 1,410+ views
    San Francisco Chronicle ^ | 5/24/9 | Debra J. Saunders
    In 1992, after he stopped wearing clothes to his UC Berkeley classes, Andrew Martinez was something of a walking only-in-Berserkeley joke as the campus' own Naked Guy. But his life was no laughing matter. Around 1997, he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. In 2003, he was arrested for assaulting a staff member at a halfway house where he was a resident. He spent the next 21/2 years in Santa Clara County jail, its acute psychiatric unit, Napa and Atascadero state hospitals - until at age 33, he killed himself by suffocating himself with a plastic bag in a jail cell on...
  • Cigarette makers lose appeal in landmark case

    05/22/2009 9:23:34 AM PDT · by SmithL · 21 replies · 691+ views
    AP via SFGate ^ | 5/22/9 | NEDRA PICKLER, Associated Press Writer
    WASHINGTON, (AP) -- A federal appeals court on Friday largely agreed with a landmark ruling that found cigarette makers deceived the public for decades about the heath hazards of smoking. The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington upheld the major elements of a 2006 ruling that found the nation's top tobacco companies guilty of fraud and violating racketeering laws. The ruling said manufacturers must change the way they market cigarettes. It bans labels such as "low tar,""light,""ultra light" or "mild," since such cigarettes have been found to be no safer than others because of how people smoke them. It also...
  • White House shelves Bush campaign to curb lawsuits

    05/20/2009 3:54:39 PM PDT · by SmithL · 15 replies · 537+ views
    WASHINGTON, (AP) -- The Obama White House is reversing a Bush administration initiative that used federal health and safety regulations to limit the ability of injured consumers to sue companies in state courts. ...Trial lawyers who file class-action lawsuits on behalf of millions of consumers praised Obama's action.
  • Law school is Obama boot camp

    05/19/2009 7:49:53 AM PDT · by SmithL · 4 replies · 421+ views
    San Francisco Chronicle ^ | 5/19/9 | Debra J. Saunders
    Members of President Obama's Cabinet are three times more likely to have attended law school than boot camp. How things have changed since 2004, when Democrats were outraged that, in time of war, the GOP White House could be run by men with no combat experience. Saying that he was "reporting for duty," while speaking at the Democratic National Convention in Boston, Sen. John F. Kerry, D-Mass., made much of his combat experience, as others criticized President George W. Bush for only serving in the Air National Guard during Vietnam. From the Senate floor, Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., called Vice...
  • MEMPHIS: Council says OK to city lawsuit - Resolution alleges lenders targeted black community

    01/07/2009 9:55:23 AM PST · by SmithL · 24 replies · 1,133+ views
    Memphis Commercial Appeal ^ | 1/7/9 | Amos Maki
    City Council members on Tuesday approved a resolution authorizing the city to file suit against national lenders who they say created a foreclosure crisis in Memphis and Shelby County that disproportionately affected African-Americans. The resolution alleges lenders engaged in "deceptive" and "discriminatory" lending practices targeted at the black community and "other select groups" that caused "substantial" and "irreparable" harm to neighborhoods and the governments. The Shelby County Commission recently approved a similar resolution, claiming the foreclosure epidemic has devastated neighborhoods, slashed property values, eroded the tax base and drained local government coffers because of a host of direct and indirect...
  • Appeals court lets Vatican sex-abuse case proceed

    11/24/2008 12:30:40 PM PST · by SmithL · 5 replies · 348+ views
    AP via SFGate ^ | 11/24/8 | BRETT BARROUQUERE, Associated Press Writer
    Louisville, Ky. (AP) -- A lawsuit can continue against the Vatican alleging that top church officials should have warned the public or authorities of known or suspected sexual abuse of children by priests in the Archdiocese of Louisville, a federal appeals court ruled Monday. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals gave the go-ahead for the lawsuit filed by three men who claim priests abused them as children. They allege the Vatican orchestrated a decades-long coverup of priests sexually abusing children throughout the U.S. Louisville attorney William McMurry is seeking class-action status, saying there are thousands of victims nationally in...
  • Day laborers settle lawsuit against OC deputies

    08/19/2008 1:02:05 PM PDT · by SmithL · 7 replies · 162+ views
    AP via SFGate ^ | 8/19/8 | AMY TAXIN, Associated Press Writer
    Santa Ana, CA (AP) -- Day laborers reached a tentative settlement with the Orange County Sheriff's Department in an unusual harassment lawsuit that saw workers take their case to federal court, an attorney said. . . . Trial had been set to begin Tuesday in the suit filed by more than 50 laborers who claimed deputies violated their right to free speech by telling them they couldn't seek work on a street corner in Lake Forest.
  • ADA accessibility lawsuits causing headaches for small business owners

    06/13/2008 7:47:50 AM PDT · by SmithL · 12 replies · 351+ views
    San Francisco Chronicle ^ | 6/13/8 | Carol Lloyd
    A tray of asymmetrical chocolate lumps balances on the counter behind the espresso machine, where owner Jean-Marc Gorce is slinging a cappuccino. Scotch-taped to the walls, clippings about the mom-and-pop truffle shop display accolades from Gourmet, the New York Times and 7 x 7. At the window, a few stools share a high counter; outside, two tables perch on the sidewalk. Cluttered but quaint, off-kilter but authentic, XOX Truffles is just the sort of place that one might associate with North Beach's motley character. Yet one of its design anomalies - a step from the curb into the shop -...
  • Critics say disabled access bill is too broad, too weak

    06/09/2008 7:55:48 AM PDT · by SmithL · 14 replies · 60+ views
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 6/9/8 | Marjie Lundstrom
    On one side are disabled Californians, who can't believe businesses still deny them access.On the other are angry business owners, who loathe the lawsuits spawned by a doorway too narrow, a toilet too high, a ramp too steep.After years of failed efforts, the Legislature is attempting again to bridge the divide with a proposal to curb lawsuits while improving public access for California's disabled. Democratic Sen. Ellen Corbett of San Leandro has put together a complex bill she believes both Democrats and Republicans – as well as disabled Californians and business interests – can support.Critics say the plan is too...
  • Antioch city, police sued for discrimination {for enforcing the law in Section 8 housing}

    05/14/2008 7:53:40 AM PDT · by SmithL · 4 replies · 246+ views
    Contra Costa Times ^ | 5/14/8 | Simon Read, East County Times
    The Antioch Police Department has been named in a federal lawsuit alleging the department's Community Action Team unfairly targets African-American families enrolled in the subsidized-housing program known as Section 8. Filed in U.S. District Court earlier this month by Bay Area Legal Aid — a civil legal service for low-income families — the suit alleges the city and police department are engaged in a "concerted and unlawful campaign to seek evidence which could lead to the termination of participants' Section 8 voucher benefits." Four individuals and a group of Section 8 families are named as plaintiffs. The suit seeks unspecified...
  • Lesbian chased out of NYC bathroom settles suit

    05/13/2008 12:04:28 PM PDT · by SmithL · 38 replies · 246+ views
    NEW YORK—A popular restaurant has agreed to pay $35,000 to settle a lawsuit with a lesbian who said a bouncer chased her out of the women's bathroom and forced her to leave because she looked masculine. The Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund announced the settlement Tuesday on behalf of Khadijah Farmer. The Caliente Cab Company, while denying the allegations, also agreed to add gender identity to its nondiscrimination policy, amend its employee handbook with a section on customer restroom use and adopt a gender-neutral employee dress code. Farmer said the confrontation at the Greenwich Village eatery occurred June 24...
  • Judge: Corps of Engineers can be sued over Katrina flooding

    05/02/2008 4:17:16 PM PDT · by SmithL · 25 replies · 930+ views
    AP via SFGate ^ | 5/2/8 | CAIN BURDEAU, Associated Press Writer
    New Orleans (AP) -- The Army Corps of Engineers can be held liable for flood damage caused by a "hurricane highway," a navigation channel that is believed to have funneled Hurricane Katrina's storm surge into the city, a federal judge ruled Friday. The Corps of Engineers had argued that it was immune from liability because the channel is part of New Orleans' flood control system. The law says the federal government cannot be sued if something goes wrong with a flood control project such as a levee, reservoir or dam. Judge Stanwood Duval dismissed that argument, saying the Mississippi River-Gulf...
  • CALIFORNIA: Chamber of Commerce ranks state's legal climate low

    04/23/2008 11:59:02 AM PDT · by SmithL · 3 replies · 89+ views
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 4/23/8 | Dale Kasler
    California has the seventh-worst legal climate in the nation for business, according to a survey released Wednesday by a leading business lobby. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for Legal Reform said California's legal climate moved up a spot from last year, but was still stuck in 44th place. "California's low ranking is not surprising, given the fact that California courts have a reputation for certifying class action lawsuits that most other jurisdictions would toss out, and that California juries are increasingly likely to award disproportionately large judgments in civil cases,"
  • Senate takes up pay disparity

    04/23/2008 10:39:15 AM PDT · by SmithL · 5 replies · 60+ views
    AP via SFGate ^ | 4/23/8 | LAURIE KELLMAN
    Republicans complained Wednesday that Senate Democrats are scheduling votes around the plans of presidential rivals Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, but predicted the ploy wouldn't save a pay equity bill. "To have the schedule of the Senate revolve around the schedule of the presidential candidates strikes me as particularly ridiculous," said Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he was delaying Senate business until late Wednesday to give Obama and Clinton time to return from the campaign trail. Republicans bristled at the move, particularly in the face of Reid's complaints earlier this week of GOP...
  • Case of sour grapes

    03/25/2008 5:44:03 PM PDT · by Graybeard58 · 12 replies · 789+ views
    Waterbury Republican-American ^ | March 25, 2008 | Editorial
    Why can't America find jurists like John Leighton Williams? Alexander Martin-Sklan, an accountant from a London suburb, tore his right quadriceps tendon in a fall in a store parking lot in June 2004. Stuck to the bottom of his right sandal was a grape, and a plan for raisin' money was born. Mr. Martin-Sklan sued the store for $600,000 for pain, suffering, depression, and compensation for lost business during his recuperation and his inability to ski or play tennis anymore. But Deputy Judge Williams ruled Mr. Martin-Sklan didn't have a leg to stand on. The plaintiff could have picked up...