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High court sides with property owners in wetlands case
Breaking Legal News | 2016/05/31 16:31
The Supreme Court is making it easier for landowners to bring a court challenge when federal regulators try to restrict property development due to concerns about water pollution.

The justices ruled unanimously Tuesday that a Minnesota company could file a lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers over the agency's determination that its land is off limits to peat mining under the Clean Water Act.

The ruling is a win for property rights and business groups that said it was unfair for government agencies to decide what land is subject to complex environmental laws without a court ever deciding whether the agency is right.

It was the second time in four years that the high court sided with property owners against the government in a dispute over the right to challenge a designation of protected wetlands.

The Obama administration argued that the Hawkes Company could only contest the finding by seeking a permit, an expensive process that could take years to resolve. The company said it should be able to challenge the order immediately in federal court without having to spend more than $100,000 on a permit or risk hefty fines.

Writing for the court, Chief Justice John Roberts said the Corps' decision was the kind of final decision that carries a risk of major criminal and civil penalties if landowners don't go along. He said property owners shouldn't have to wait for the agency to "drop the hammer in order to have their day in court."

The case began when the East Grand Forks, Minnesota, company planned to expand its peat processing operations and asked the Corps for guidance. The agency issued a determination that the property was governed by the Clean Water Act because it affected the Red River of the North about 120 miles away.



Egyptian court sentences 36 Islamists to life in prison
Court Watch | 2016/05/30 16:31
An Egyptian court has convicted and sentenced 36 Islamists, including a top leader of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, to life imprisonment.

The state-run MENA news agency says Mohamed Badie and the other defendants were sentenced on Monday for inciting violence that led to the killing of three people in July 2013.

The case goes back to the days after the military's ouster of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi, a Muslim Brotherhood member. It's one in a series of mass trials involving members and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood since they were toppled from power in 2013.

Rights groups have criticized Egypt for the mass trials and many death penalties handed down en masse.

Badie was given the death penalty in another case and also life sentences in other ongoing cases.


Man admits kidnapping teen girl, raping her during captivity
Law Center | 2016/05/29 16:32
A man who kidnapped a 14-year-old girl when she accepted his offer of a ride home from school because her feet were sore, held her in captivity for nine months and raped her repeatedly at his trailer acknowledged his crimes on Thursday.
 
Nathaniel Kibby pleaded guilty to kidnapping, aggravated felonious sex assault and criminal threatening, and prosecutors asked for a sentence of 45 to 90 years in prison for him.

Kibby, who had pleaded not guilty shortly after his arrest, had been scheduled to go on trial next month on nearly 200 felony charges related to the girl's October 2013 disappearance and the months that followed. But he changed his plea to guilty at a hearing on Thursday.

Before the 35-year-old Kibby could enter his new plea, a prosecutor said Kibby had kidnapped the girl by offering her a ride home from her school and then brandishing a gun when she attempted to get out of his car.

Prosecutor Jane Young said the girl and Kibby didn't know each other and she accepted the ride because she'd worn boots to school and her feet were blistered. Young said when the girl tried to get out of the car in a parking lot Kibby pulled out the gun and threatened to "blow her brains out."

Kibby also pleaded guilty to witness tampering and other offenses. Last week, a judge ruled Kibby's lawyers could not question the girl before his trial about her exposure to media coverage and the amount of freedom she was given to move about his trailer in Gorham, where prosecutors say he used a stun gun, zip ties and a shock collar to control her.

Kibby was charged with kidnapping the girl on Oct. 9, 2013, as she walked home from her high school in Conway. The girl returned to her home in North Conway the night of July 20, 2014, but prosecutors have not elaborated on the circumstances of her return. She waited until a week after she was home to reveal Kibby's identity. She was able to identify Kibby because she spotted his full name inside a cookbook in his home.

Lawyers hired by the girl's family said she had suffered "numerous acts of unspeakable violence" during her months of captivity. Their statement was largely a plea for privacy and did not elaborate on what she endured. The girl, who is now 17 years old, attended Thursday's hearing.


Swedish court upholds arrest warrant for Julian Assange
Court Watch | 2016/05/28 16:32
A Swedish court on Wednesday rejected a request to overturn the arrest warrant of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange because there were no new circumstances to consider.

The Stockholm District Court said it made the decision because Assange is still wanted for questioning in a case of suspected rape and that "there is still a risk that he will depart or in some other way evade prosecution or penalty."

The court said it saw no reason to hold another detention hearing saying he would remain "detained in absentia."

Thomas Olsson, Assange's lawyer in Sweden, says he would appeal the decision because "the passivity of the prosecutor had delayed the investigation in an unacceptable" way.

"The prosecutor ought to have arranged for an interview with Mr. Assange at a far earlier stage and she hasn't presented any reasons for not arranging an interview," he told The Associated Press.

Assange, who has been holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since 2012, is wanted for questioning by Swedish police over rape allegations stemming from his visit to the country in 2010. He denies all the accusations against him made by two women.

He has refused to go back to Sweden for fear of being extradited to the United States because of an investigation into WikiLeaks' dissemination of hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. documents. Last year, a U.S. federal court confirmed there are "active and ongoing" attempts to prosecute him and WikiLeaks in an investigation involving espionage, conspiracy, and computer fraud.


Court upholds $3M judgment against Gerber Products Co.
Court Watch | 2016/05/27 16:32
A sharply divided Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday said a baby food manufacturer must pay more than $3 million to workers for the time they spent dressing and undressing into uniforms and protective gear.

In a 4-3 ruling, the high court upheld a lower court's ruling that Gerber Products Co. should have compensated more than 800 workers at its Fort Smith facility for the time they spent changing into uniforms, donning protective gear such as ear plugs and washing their hands, as well as undressing after their shifts ended. Justices sided with the workers who said Arkansas' Minimum Wage Act required the company to compensate for the activities despite an agreement with the union.

"We hold that the donning and doffing activities constitute compensable work under the AMWA, despite the custom and practice under the collective-bargaining agreement," Justice Karen Baker wrote in the majority opinion.

The ruling drew sharp objections from three justices, who said in a dissenting opinion that because of the decision "the floodgates will open to litigation at the enormous cost to businesses in Arkansas."

"In addition, the majority undermines the collective-bargaining process and destroys any confidence employers and employees have in the enforceability of their agreements," Justice Rhonda Wood wrote.

Gerber had argued the workers' union had agreed to not be paid for the time in a contract that also included larger wage increases for the employees. The company said in a statement it was disappointed with the ruling and was evaluating its options.



Hulk Hogan, Gawker back in court in Florida
Health Care | 2016/05/25 23:20
A court hearing involving the Hulk Hogan sex tape case is underway in Florida, with Gawker Media asking for a new trial.
 
Gawker and Hogan faced off Wednesday morning in a St. Petersburg courtroom. It's the latest chapter in a years-long legal fight.

Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea, won a $140 million verdict against Gawker in March.

Hogan sued Gawker after it posted a video of him having sex with his then-best friend's wife. The three-week trial was a lurid inside look at the business of celebrity gossip and a debate over newsworthiness versus celebrity privacy.

Earlier this month, Hogan sued Gawker again, saying the gossip website leaked sealed court documents with a transcript that quoted him making racist remarks.



Swedish court upholds arrest warrant for Julian Assange
Breaking Legal News | 2016/05/25 23:20
A Swedish court on Wednesday rejected a request to overturn the arrest warrant of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange because there were no new circumstances to consider.

The Stockholm District Court said it made the decision because Assange is still wanted for questioning in a case of suspected rape and that "there is still a risk that he will depart or in some other way evade prosecution or penalty."

The court said it saw no reason to hold another detention hearing saying he would remain "detained in absentia."

Thomas Olsson, Assange's lawyer in Sweden, says he would appeal the decision because "the passivity of the prosecutor had delayed the investigation in an unacceptable" way.

"The prosecutor ought to have arranged for an interview with Mr. Assange at a far earlier stage and she hasn't presented any reasons for not arranging an interview," he told The Associated Press.

Assange, who has been holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since 2012, is wanted for questioning by Swedish police over rape allegations stemming from his visit to the country in 2010. He denies all the accusations against him made by two women.

He has refused to go back to Sweden for fear of being extradited to the United States because of an investigation into WikiLeaks' dissemination of hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. documents. Last year, a U.S. federal court confirmed there are "active and ongoing" attempts to prosecute him and WikiLeaks in an investigation involving espionage, conspiracy, and computer fraud.





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Class action or a representative action is a form of lawsuit in which a large group of people collectively bring a claim to court and/or in which a class of defendants is being sued. This form of collective lawsuit originated in the United States and is still predominantly a U.S. phenomenon, at least the U.S. variant of it. In the United States federal courts, class actions are governed by Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule. Since 1938, many states have adopted rules similar to the FRCP. However, some states like California have civil procedure systems which deviate significantly from the federal rules; the California Codes provide for four separate types of class actions. As a result, there are two separate treatises devoted solely to the complex topic of California class actions. Some states, such as Virginia, do not provide for any class actions, while others, such as New York, limit the types of claims that may be brought as class actions. Medicare fraud advanced prosthetic devices
 
 
 
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