Federal Lawsuit Pending as Crude Oil Flows from Dakota Access Pipeline

The Standing Rock Sioux tribe is North Dakota has been protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline for months. The tribe has reservations and water sources lying downstream from the pipeline and fear that leakage could endanger their way of life.

The lawsuit that the Sioux Native American tribe filed in federal court is still pending. The tribe is asking for a federal judge to step in and shut down future extraction from the Dakota Access Pipeline, but so far the lawsuit is still pending.

The extraction of crude oil and transportation through the pipeline has been delayed over the last few months. The most contentious area of the Dakota Access Pipeline for the protesters has been the closing stretch of the pipeline that lied near the Missouri River. More than 700 total protesters have been arrested over the course of the many months that the protests raged.

Native Americans and environmentalist groups have squared off against a variety of oil partners looking to move the crude oil from Stanley, North Dakota to Patoka, Illinois. Energy Transfer Partners, Sunoco Logistics Partners, Enbridge, Phillips 66, and Marathon Petroleum are all partners in the Dakota Access Pipeline. Construction on the pipeline started in 2016, and extraction and transportation of the crude oil just started.

The Dakota Access Pipeline’s viability was helped along by President Trump. Overturning a call made by the Obama administration, President Trump decided to speed up the approval process for contentious sections of the pipeline in order to bring the Dakota Access Pipeline project to fulfillment.

Native Americans from the Standing Rock Sioux tribe still feel as though their water sources and sacred grounds could be endangered if the pipeline starts to leak. Although some leaks have already been reported, leaks just far have been minor and the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s water sources are not known to be imperiled.

The federal lawsuit calling for a shut down of extraction and transportation of the crude oil is still pending in federal court. In the meantime, a federal judge in March of this year denied a motion for preliminary injunction that would have delayed construction on the final stretch of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

One of the oil partners associated with the pipeline – Energy Transfer Partners – found that the pipeline is more environmentally conscious that sending the same crude oil by train or truck. The federal lawsuit is still pending.

House Financial Services Committee Seek to Roll Back Dodd-Frank

The Financial Services Committee in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives laid the groundwork for a full-scale roll back of Obama’s Dodd-Frank. The House made its move on June 1st when it approved a bill to repeal significant parts of Dodd-Frank that put restrictions on Wall Street’s freedom of movement.

Originally, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act put major regulatory controls of Wall Street’s financial maneuvers in the hands of government regulatory oversight. Dodd-Frank’s replacement bill, known as the CHOICE Act, was put forward by Texas Representative and House Chairman of the Financial Services Committee, Jeb Hensarling, on June 1st.

The vote was close at 34 approving to 26 disapproving the measure to repeal and replace Obama’s Wall Street regulations. Everyone on the Financial Services Committee voted on the bill and, unsurprising among a divided Congress, not one democrat voted with the Republican majority to support the regulatory overhaul.

Debates raged into the night for three days and republicans unrelentingly blocked amendments from House Financial Services Committee members from affixing amendments to the CHOICE Act. The CHOICE Act is undeniably a Republican creation, and republicans were loathe to allow democrats to insert amendments that would have safeguarded key components of Obama’s Dodd-Frank. The vote on June 1st went entirely down party lines.

Republicans have argued that Dodd-Frank has choked growth since its inception. Although the claim is difficult to prove, republicans also asset that Dodd-Frank has hamstrung the banks’ ability to extended credit and limiting choices across the board. Hence, the name: the CHOICE Act. Republicans are hoping to rectify the problems they see riddling the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

The CHOICE Act would sidestep the problem of overleveraged banks by allowing banks that had enough liquidity and cash on hand to avoid the most onerous regulations enshrined in Dodd-Frank. Dodd-Frnak also demanded stress tests for the banks to be undertaken quite frequently whereas the CHOICE Act limits stress tests to every two years. Supporters of the CHOICE Act are delighted; critics of the CHOICE Act feel the economy could move more quickly and the systemic risk expand quicker than a stress test every two years could detect.

Democrats are worried that repealing most of Dodd-Frank’s biting regulations at once could deregulate the financial markets too quickly and have unforeseen negative effects on the economy. Republicans counter that the CHOICE Act will create growth.

States and Counties Across U.S. Sue Drug Companies Over Opioids

In an interesting turn of events a number of states and cities blighted by the recent opioid epidemic sweeping the country have started filing lawsuits against select pharmaceutical companies. Individual counties in states hardest hit by the opioid epidemic have also decided to file lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies like Purdue Pharma LP.

Legal experts claim that these lawsuits might have an uphill battle in the courts since all of the drugs in question are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. This makes it much tougher for a state to allege that the addictive potential of these drug companies was downplayed or pushed aside by the pharmaceutical companies behind the opioid medication.

The most recent state to join the spate of lawsuits against pharmaceutical giants like Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. and Johnson and Johnson’s is Ohio.

Ohio in particular and other states more broadly are arguing that states have been losing revenue by filing unnecessary prescriptions. States are also seeking compensation for the costs associated with these medications as well as state-funded addiction treatment centers that received funds associated with the rising opioid epidemic.

Surprisingly, this legal battle between the states and five large pharmaceutical companies has a recent legal precedent. In 1998 over 45 states received more than $200 billion in compensation when the courts ruled that major tobacco companies downplayed the addictive potential of cigarettes in their packaging and advertisements.

The same sort of allegations are being made today by states, cities, and counties across the United States that feel their residents and state budget’s have been adversely affected by the claims that pharmaceutical companies have been making. Many states, including Mississippi, feel that patients weren’t informed of all the risks before filling their prescriptions.

Unfortunately, for plaintiffs like the state of Mississippi these lawsuits might be exceedingly difficult to win in court. The reason is twofold. First, plaintiff’s attorneys are rationally worried about the fact that one or all five of these pharmaceutical companies could be protected by the fact that these opioid medications had FDA approval before making it to market.

The second reason that pharmaceutical companies like Johnson and Johnson’s stand on fairly solid legal ground is that the warning labels on these medications clearly state the addictive potential of the drugs in question. A judge in Orange County California, furthermore, stopped a case due to fears that pending lawsuits would stymie long-term opioid treatment.

President Trump’s Travel Ban Slated For Supreme Court Decision

On March 6th of 2017 President Trump signed an executive order that banned entry by people from six Muslim-majority countries. These countries included: Somalia, Libya, Syria, Sudan, Iran, and Yemen. The executive order, which is being challenged by multiple courts, sought to prohibit entry from the aforementioned nations for 90 days.

The Trump administration wanted 90 days so that a more stringent visa screening process could be worked out and put into effect in the meantime.

On June 1st the Trump administration asked the Supreme Court to reinstate his original executive order, which would temporarily ban travelers from places like Syria and Iran from entering the United States. Lower courts have found the travel ban signed into an executive order by President Trump to be discriminatory.

The upcoming decision from the nine Supreme Court justices will weigh a number of factors before deciding whether to reinstate Trump’s plan. The Supreme Court justices are set to weigh in on whether Trump’s fiery campaign rhetoric, which some found discriminatory against Muslims, can be used as evidence that Trump meant to discriminate against Muslims when crafting the executive order banning travelers from six Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.

Over the ensuing months President Trump and his legal team have done anything but sit idly by. In late May a Virginia Circuit Court of Appeals decided to uphold a Maryland ruling that blocked the executive order’s effects. In response, the Trump administration’s busy legal team filed an appeal against that particular motion.

Many legal experts working for the Trump administration feel that the U.S. Constitution lays out broad powers for the president to limit who comes into the country. Trump’s legal team feels good about its chances vis-a-vis the upcoming Supreme Court decision because of the president’s constitutionally protected duties to keep the country safe and out of harm’s way.

Still, the upcoming decision is anticipated to be extremely close. As usually happens in cases like this that split geopolitics with domestic security, Justice Kennedy’s swing vote will more likely than not prove decisive. Trump’s recent Supreme Court appointment, Neil Gorsuch, is anticipated to side with the national security argument.

The Trump administration has forwarded an emergency request. If granted, the Trump’s administration emergency request would immediately halt travelers from places like Somalia, Yemen, and Iran from entering the United States. Uncharacteristically, the U.S. Justice Department has asked the case be expedited.

Read More: https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/05/fourth-circuit-travel-ban/528222/

Connecticut First State To Have Animal Advocates In Courtroom

A new law in Connecticut makes it the first state in the U.S. to provide court-appointed advocates for animals who have been abused or involved in an animal cruelty case. This law for the animals is similar to those advocates that represent victims in child abuse cases. There are currently seven lawyers and a law professor from Connecticut that have been approved to be these advocates.

Last week, a student of the University of Connecticut was the first to use one of the approved animal advocates in a dogfighting case. The case involved pitbulls who were found to be wandering around and from a home that was filled with feces and rotting food. One of the three dogs had to be euthanized because of the horrible condition it was currently in and the fighting it had been involved in.

The student was unsuccessful in getting the accused man banned from being allowed to participate in a program designed to clear first-time offenders after successful completion. This outcome of the case has happened before and the new Connecticut law was named because of it.

Many studies have been performed to show a direct correlation between animal abusers and violence against people. In one particular study conducted by the Humane Society, the police department of Chicago found that an average of sixty-five percent of arrested individuals who were charged with an animal abuse offense had been arrested afterwards for abuse or violence against another person. Another study which was conducted showed that animal abuse was a big risk factor for people becoming violent against their significant others.

The Humane Society director in Connecticut hopes that with this new law in place, there will begin to be a better procedural outcome in all animal abuse cases. She also stated that the Humane Society is excited about the new law and happy that the judges seem to be taking full advantage of it.

Original Article Source: www.npr.org

The State of Texas Implements a New Law

The State of Texas recently approved a new law regarding immigrants from Mexico. The new law is known as the SB4 and is meant to address the issue of Mexican immigrants entering the state. However, this is not the first time that the state is dealing with immigration issues. These issues existed long before Texas annexation. However, some of these laws to curb immigration in Texas have been deemed as discriminative. Some of the laws that the court recently termed as discriminative include the state ID law as well as restricting maps. Immigrants have had to deal with other major issues such as housing segregation as well as employment discrimination. In the worst scenarios, massacres and mob violence have been experienced in the state all due to immigration.

What you should know about the SB4 law
This law has been tipped to ensure public safety in the state. However, critics of this law say that it puts immigrants at risks of public officials and law enforcement officers. This law copies the one that had earlier been implemented in the state of Texas. Despite the efforts by the state officials to enforce this law, legal fights opposing the law have been filed in the Supreme Court.

This new law means that there are more people to enforce the law other than a police officer. Under the new law, people who can enforce the law include district attorney, sheriffs, city council members as well as county commissions. The new law allows the mentioned people to look into the immigration status of a person in the state of Texas. This means that even campus police and government officials cannot prevent a search by federal immigration officers. The law also has a provision for removing people who fail to enforce the law. This is the part where appointed and elected officials are relieved of duty if they materially limit or prohibit the search by the federal officials. That’s not all as they can be prosecuted with Class A misdemeanor charges. These are serious charges as they attract a fine of $500 for first timers and $25,000 for repeat offenders.

This new law allows employees to turn in people who do not comply with the law. This means that sheriffs, police officers, as well as government officials, will have to be careful in their efforts as they can be rattled at any moment. However, for this to apply, the officials must have probable cause before they can inquire about the immigration status of someone.

The Supreme Court to Decide of the Travel Ban

President Donald Trump has been making headlines for many reasons, but the latest one is banning immigrants from six nations from entering the United States. He achieved this through an executive order. However, this ban did not last for long as it was overturned by the judicial system of the United States. After being overturned, the Justice Department is seeking the Supreme Court to decide on the issue. These requests were made last Thursday and rulings are expected in a week’s time. Regarding this issue, the Department of Justice has requested the Supreme Court to act a little faster as the issue is very pressing. This comes at a bad timing when the judges of the Supreme Court are about to leave for the summer holiday. Even if they make the decision, they will have to defer their arguments after they return in fall.

When the issue was petitioned in courts, the judges reasoned that the president acted in bad faith and the executive order had to be overturned. However, in a seven person’s bench, the Department of Justice will require four votes for the executive order to be upheld. Using the language of the lawyers, this petition is referred to as certiorari petition. If the Supreme Court is to grant the stay for these executive orders, the travel ban will revive the ban. On the other hand, it will offer the justices time to deliberate on the issue.

Experts say that the Supreme Court will agree to listen to the appeal as this is always the case with such cases involving a presidential initiative. After this, a Supreme Court review is expected to follow. However, this is the hardest part of the process as difficult questions are usually asked. Also, many Americans and the world are watching as the decision is expected to have major consequences.

For people who don’t understand the issue, the current government is seeking to ban people from several Muslim nations from entering the United States. The government says that this is until it has established a better vetting procedure. However, the move is seen as a ploy by Donald Trump who is known for religious intolerance and opposition to immigration reforms. During the overturning of the issue by a Virginia Court, the court said that the order violated the first amendment where the government should not prohibit the establishment of religion. The Supreme Court issued a brief saying that it understands the magnitude of the case.

More Law Schools Accepting GRE

Law schools from around the country are starting to accept Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores in lieu of traditional Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) scores. The reason is that many admissions committees feel that the LSAT requires a large time and financial investment to prepare for. The GRE is also less specialized but perhaps just as predictive of first-year success in law school.

The University of Arizona and, more recently, Harvard University have gotten on board with the plan to transition to the GRE for admissions purposes. Northwestern University in Illinois might be the next big-name law school to do so. Individual law schools as well as the American Bar Association’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions are taking a hard look at correlational studied before coming broader decisions that could affect the admissions criterion for all ABA-approved law schools in the United States.

Many legal experts concede that it may be a few short years before more law schools start accepting the GRE. It could be only a decade before every law school in the United States does so. Right now Northwestern is conducted a landmark study in partnership with the Educational Testing Service (ETS) in order to determine whether the GRE is as good a predictor of first-year GPA as the LSAT. If so, more law schools may consider taking on the GRE for admissions purposes.

Nearly three months ago Harvard said that it would transition over to the GRE. In statements, Harvard representatives and admissions personnel said that broadening diversity and eliminating barriers for low-income and underprivileged applicants were serious considerations swaying their decision in favor of allowing the GRE to influence application success.

Harvard undertook its own study with the ABA’s Section of Legal Applications and Admissions to find out whether the GRE or traditional LSAT proved a better predictor of grades in students’ first years. The study found that the GRE and LSAT were equally valid instruments for sussing out who makes the cut after the first year at law school. This is great news for students looking for more diverse entrance exams as well as the Educational Testing Service.

The hope is that by allowing the GRE to be used as an entrance exam more students of all backgrounds will apply to law school and remedy the problem of lower law school admissions across the board. Dozens more law schools may accept GRE scores.

Muslim Students Temporarily Barred from Entering Public Courtroom

A New York judge briefly barred a group of Muslim students from entering a public courtroom.

Judge Katherine Forrest of the US Southern District Court of New York stopped the trial upon the arrival of 16 students dressed in uniforms and hijabs (head coverings) from the Razi School, an Islamic private school in Queens. The judge called the student’s presence “gamesmanship” and held a conference with the trial lawyers while the students were forced to remain outside the court.

The unusual incident occurred last week at a civil trial of U.S. government against the Alavi Foundation. The U.S. government alleges that 650 Fifth Avenue, an office tower which is 60% owned by the Alavi Foundation, is clandestinely owned by the Iranian government.

Judge Forrest expressed concern that the presence of the Muslim students was a ploy by Alavi’s attorney, John Gleeson, to garner undue sympathy with the jury.

“The judge is out of line here,” said Sayyed Musawi, a social studies teacher at Razi who chaperoned the Muslim students. According to the Associated Press, Musawi said he convinced the school to approve the field trip in order to provide a venue for his students to better learn about the legal system. He denied knowing the lawyers in the case. He also said he was not trying to sway the jury in any way on behalf of the Alavi Foundation.

The students, including some who had participated in mock court sessions, were told that the judge was allowing them into the public courtroom.

“We were shocked,” said Eman Osman, the other social studies teacher. Osman said the students were very disappointed not to allowed into the courtroom.

Attorneys representing the U. S. government reminded the judge that it was a public courtroom and they were not opposed to having the students enter the courtroom.

After the lunch recess, the judge allowed the youngsters into court, all ten girls with white head scarves which are part of the private school’s uniform.

The U.S. Government is pressing for forfeiture of 650 Fifth Avenue and the trial has been contentious. Last week, Judge Forrest publicly scolded a former judge for making statements in court which she considered politically charged.

Bill Cosby Sexual Assault Trial Begins

Bill Cosby goes on trial Monday on alleged sexual assault charges. It will be the first major trial after nearly 60 women have come forward to accuse the comedian of sexual abuse.

Andrea Constand, who’s lawyers gave permission to use her name, accuses Cosby of sexually assaulting her in an incident near his home in Philadelphia in 2004. Constand, claims that Cosby invited her to his home to discuss career opportunities and gave her wine and three blue pills to alleviate stress which “left her unable to speak or move after 30 minutes.” She says Cosby lying on a couch with her and engaging in sexual activity. Constand was 31 at the time, Cosby was 66.
Cosby was charged in December 2015 with three counts of aggravated indecent sexual assault. The crime is a second-degree felony and if convicted, Cosby could be sentenced up to 10 years in prison.
Cosby did meet Constand in 2001 at his alma mater Temple University in Philadelphia where he serves on the Board of Trustees. He has since resigned from this position.
Constand manages the women’s basketball team and had frequented the TV celebrity’s home at dinner parties during her time at Temple. Constand maintains that she rejected Cosby’s sexual advances twice before the alleged assault. She quit her job and moved back to Canada several months after the alleged assault. On January 13, 2005, a year after the alleged assault, she told police of the incident citing flashbacks had triggered her memory.
A criminal investigation was opened in 2005 but was closed due to lack of evidence. At the time, Constand pressed her allegations and Cosby and came to a settlement with included a non-disclosure agreement.
The current trial to begin tomorrow was a result of the unsealing of federal court documents from Constand’s 2005 lawsuit against Cosby. In the deposition transcripts, Cosby admits to providing drugs and having sexual relations with her and other women on different occasions but maintains that the sexual relationship was consensual.
Constand will be the main witness in the trial. Cosby said he will not take the stand, during an interview with Sirius XM’s Michael Smerconish last month.
.Cosby’s attorney, Walter Phillips, has tried repeatedly to get the cased dismissed citing a 12-year delay and other legal caveats. Judge Steven O’Neill has denied their motions.

Career Spotlight: Litigation with Karl Heideck

While litigation attorneys may represent criminal clients, real estate firms or individuals who are filing personal injury claims, people are usually referring to civil issues when they talk about litigation attorneys. These attorneys prepare cases for trial. However, up to 90% of cases do not go to trial. Most cases are settled out of court. In criminal proceedings, defendants usually take a plea deal. In personal injury, real estate and other civil cases, plaintiffs often accept a settlement.

Life As A Litigation Attorney

Most civil litigation lawyers work for law firms that employ several attorneys. Some may work in boutique firms or have a private practice. Larger law firms usually have litigation departments, and some have sub-departments for business, real estate, patents and other types of law. While the majority of civil litigation attorneys work in the private sector, some work for the government. Most government litigators work in criminal law as prosecutors and district attorneys. However, civil litigators work for municipalities and several U.S. attorneys’ offices.

Some corporations are large enough that they employ their own litigators. Large banks and other financial institutions do the same, and some insurance companies employ their own litigation attorneys as well. Companies with a large staff of attorneys may have several working on a case and one or more senior attorneys supervising them.

Duties Of A Civil Litigator

When a litigation attorney picks up a new case, he or she starts with some investigative work. From collecting documents such as witness statements to collecting medical records or necessary evidence to strengthen the case, the attorney and legal staff work hard to find all relevant details. Once the details are in place, civil litigators contact the legal representative of the other party and try to reach a settlement. If an agreeable settlement is reached before a lawsuit is filed, this saves both sides a considerable amount of money.

If a settlement cannot be reached before a lawsuit is filed, the litigator drafts necessary motions and pleadings to file with the court. A summons will be issued, and the defendant’s attorney must respond. An attorney may file additional motions when necessary. For example, a change of venue may be requested if the attorney feels that it would benefit the case and has a legitimate reason for the request.

The discovery phase happens next, and the litigators from each side exchange important information related to the case. This usually involves the exchange of documents. If there is physical evidence related to the case, they view it. There may be additional filings during this phase. Next, the attorneys prepare for trial. Pretrial conferences, depositions and proceedings take place.

In most cases, a settlement is reached after the pretrial stage. The court does not want to spend money on a trial, and businesses or individuals usually do not want the expense of a trial. If a settlement is not reached, the trial process is hectic. Attorneys work hard around the clock to build the best defense and predict any arguments from the other side to form solid responses. They may have to work with experts in a variety of fields to help strengthen the case, and they must continually examine the details of the case.

When the verdict is reached after all trial dates are completed, there may be an appeal process. If a litigator who was expecting to win loses, he or she typically files an appeal. Any issues that were not properly addressed during the trial must be highlighted. The attorney often rethinks strategies and finds additional ways to strengthen the point or points that were supposed to produce a better outcome. Some critical cases require the help of experts. If a litigation attorney who works for a corporation or other large business feels that the appeals process is out of his or her league, experts may be called in. Appellate litigators with experience in a specific area of law can usually help strengthen the appeal for a more favorable outcome.

Karl Heideck’s Tips For Success

Karl Heideck has always had a desire to see others succeed. He released a guide for new or aspiring litigation attorneys to reach their goals. In the guide, he emphasized the importance of making connections and being kind, humble and honest. He says that making connections and treating them as valuable treasures will be helpful along the way. Successful civil litigators are known for being respectful and helpful to others. Mr. Heideck also says that asking questions is important. This is how most litigation attorneys build their knowledge and success faster. He says that choosing a specialty should always require a great deal of thought, and putting a lot of effort into getting an ideal first associate’s position is also crucial.

For more information, follow Karl Heideck on Twitter.

Who Is Karl Heideck?

Karl Heideck
Who is Karl Heideck?

Karl Heideck is a talented and persistent attorney who specializes in compliance and risk management. He serves the greater Philadelphia area and has experience as a successful litigator.

Mr. Heideck is listed with Hire Council and has been a member since 2015. He provides services such as risk management advising and compliance consulting. His litigation areas of expertise go beyond these to include product liability, corporate law, employment proceedings and commercial litigation. In addition to being a dedicated litigator, adviser and consultant, Mr. Heideck is a talented writer who is devoted to his blog. The purpose of his blog is to explain legal news and changes to the public and especially to Pennsylvania residents.

Mr. Heideck graduated from Swarthmore College with an undergraduate degree in 2003 and earned a law degree from James E. Beasley School of Law at Temple University in 2009. He has been working in related positions in the Philadelphia area for over 10 years. In addition to being an associate at Conrad O’Brien, he worked with Pepper Hamilton LLP. His experiences gave him the skills he uses today to help his clients solve complex legal matters. He was exposed to all steps involved in litigation during his time with Conrad O’Brien.

More by Karl Heideck:  Karl Heideck’s Guide to Pennsylvania Employment Law for Small Businesses

 

Sujit Choudhry: A Proponent for Peace Through Constitutional Law

Sujit Choudhry

No constitutional democracy is complete without a constitution and no constitution is complete without an expert in comparative constitutional law. That’s where Sujit Choudhry comes in.

 

Sujit Choudhry, an internationally recognized authority on comparative constitutional law, is the founding director of the Center for Constitutional Transitions, an organization which assembles leading global experts to produce evidence-based policy options for decision-makers and agenda-setting. But this position does not come without a variety of law degrees, a multicultural upbringing, and years of experience of serving as a constitutional advisor for emerging democracies. After years of traveling around the world to forge constitutions in ethnically divided societies, Choudhry was drawn to the idea of building a global knowledge network to help these new constitutional democracies. He found there was a severe lack of up-to-date sufficient research when it came to implementing these constitutions, which hindered his constitutional advice. Out of this gap, sprouted the Center for Constitutional Transitions.

 

As an immigrant with degrees from three different countries, Choudhry’s global background inspired him to approach public policy from a more objective and worldly stance. This global viewpoint is important in today’s times now more than ever. Comparative experience, Choudhry claims, is vital to the current climate so that all constitutional democracies may learn from the successes and failures of other countries.

 

As someone who was worked with people of all different cultures, Choudhry has learned to take on a more empathetic approach to constitution building. The first step to assisting other constitutional democracies should be to first understand their point-of-view. The second step should be to not fear change, but to welcome new ideas. In the future, Choudhry would love to see a new organization which organizes and hosts the most important constitutional case-law from around the world, which would change the history of constitutionalism. But for now, Choudhry is proud to foster a community of experts to create global knowledge networks. And in the meantime, Choudhry is preparing to launch three global collaborative research projects with the with the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance in the fall.

 

Born in India and raised in Canada, Choudhry’s multicultural upbringing shaped his global perspective and future career. Additionally, his well-educated parents fostered a home based on intellectual stimulation. With a father who taught economics at the University of Toronto and a mother who taught nursing, Choudhry was inspired to pursue an academic path from an early age. Choudhry now holds law degrees from Toronto, Harvard, and Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar

 

Now Choudhry is the I. Michael Heyman Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley – School of Law, where he served as Dean. Previously, he was the Cecelia Goetz Professor of Law at New York University, and the Scholl Chair at the University of Toronto. Since his intellectually-stimulating childhood, Choudhry has gone on to speak in over two dozen countries and publish over ninety articles, book chapters, working papers and reports. His books include The Migration of Constitutional Ideas (Cambridge, 2006), Constitutional Design for Divided Societies: Integration or Accommodation? (Oxford, 2008), The Oxford Handbook of the Indian Constitution (Oxford, 2016) and Constitution Making (Edward Elgar, 2016).

 

His wide-ranging research agenda is combined with in-depth field experience as an advisor to constitution building processes. Professor Choudhry’s research addresses a broad range of issues in comparative constitutional law and politics, from using constitutional design as a tool to manage the transition from violent conflict to peaceful democratic politics to basic methodological questions in the study of comparative constitutional law.

Twitter: @sujit_choudhry

How to Issue a Subpoena for Family Law Court

A subpoena is one of the most powerful tools a litigant or attorney has in their arsenal to develop and present important information and evidence to the court. In family law, subpoenas are vital because these are often contentious affairs. During family law cases, parties are commonly reluctant to produce the requested evidence or documents. In this common instance, you must ask the court to issue a subpoena to force the other party to comply with the request. Continue reading to learn the basic steps of having a subpoena issued for family law court.

Steps to Issue a Subpoena for Family Law Court

In a nutshell, you must fill out the form, file it with the court, and have the person served, and submit an official notice to the court. With this powerful legal document, the individual will be held legally responsible to comply or produce the specified evidence or documents.

Fill Out the Form

The first step to issue a subpoena is to fill out the appropriate subpoena form. While each state’s requirements may vary, most of the information will be the same. You must provide your name underneath the defendant or plaintiff field. Below the name field, you should find boxes for civil and criminal. Family law matters are classified as civil issues, so you should check civil. Then fill out the address and other requested information of the person who is being subpoenaed.

The “You Are Ordered” Section

It’s important to check all of the appropriate boxes in the section titled, “You Are Ordered.” You must include the time and place if you are ordering someone to show up at a hearing. A few of the most common reasons family law courts issue subpoenas are to:

  • To produce evidence or documents
  • To require someone to provide a testimony at a deposition
  • To require someone to provide a testimony at a trial

In any case, make sure you check all of the options that apply to your case.

Issuing the Subpoena

Finally, fill out the rest of the information, such as your address, name, and contact phone number. Then sign and date the document. If you aren’t an attorney, you should check with your respective family law court because you may have to get permission of the court to issue the subpoena. Most states do require an attorney in order for the subpoena to be issued.

Serving the Subpoena

Since family law matters can be difficult for all parties, it’s best to serve subpoenas by certified mail. However, you can choose to use a personal service, which involves a process server delivering it directly to the person by hand. It’s important for the individual delivering the subpoena to be over the age of 18 and be someone other than you. Simply put, you cannot provide personal service delivery for yourself because it is illegal and can further intensify the already messy family law conflict. Doing it yourself can even lead to violence. In addition, doing personal service yourself will cause your proceedings to be dismissed or cause a delay.

Filing with the Court

After the subpoena has been delivered through personal hand delivery or by certified mail, you should file the form with the appropriate family law court. To do so, send a copy of the form with a short letter letting the court know that the individual has been subpoenaed.

In any case, filing a family law subpoena is confusing if you do not have previous experience. Instead of doing it alone, contact a San Francisco Bay area divorce attorney for assistance.

What is the Function of a Family Law Paralegal?

You may be looking for answers from a family attorney for advice involving divorce, separation, adoption, domestic abuse or many other family related issues. When you call, the receptionist might refer you to a family law paralegal at their law firm. You think to yourself, I thought I would have to get advice from a lawyer about this and how can a family law paralegal help me? Today, we will be looking at this question in its entirety.

The Bigger Picture of Family Law

Family law covers a lot of ground. A lot of clients typically seek out family law because of divorce, but parents don’t have to be married to one another to have custody or support issues. Family law can also cover guardianship, adoption, paternity testing, annulment, child abuse or neglect. Many family law practices specialize in divorce while others cover a broader range of issues.

Where the Paralegal Comes In

When you call the law office for the first time most of the time you will be transferred to a paralegal who will ask you specific questions regarding your case and keep you focused on what you’re trying to accomplish. Sometimes you may be emotionally frustrated or angry, and these emotions may come up during the call for your particular case. The paralegal will go over these questions with you and pass it on the lawyer. This information is vital, as the lawyer will go over a transcript of key facts covered by your initial interview with the paralegal. As a nurse is an assistant to a doctor, so a paralegal is an assistant to a lawyer, but the paralegal cannot give a client any legal advice.

Smart Filing

Lawyers are typically involved in several cases at the same time, so they need to be extremely organized. Law firms have been using cloud technology to have their client’s information sent to their smart devices, so it’s readily available anywhere and anytime. The paralegal keeps clients files with all their information up to date that can be easily available in both hard-copy and virtually in the cloud. The paralegal also has to keep up with the drafts and documents lawyers need when they go to court.

Investigation & Discovery

They say the devil is in the details and as a paralegal you will have to get every detail possible when helping a client. You will have to have your investigation skills fined tuned as you will be digging up financial details about your client. Sometimes during your research you will find gaps, and in these cases you will have to use discovery methods. Discovery uses subpoenas, electronic discovery using digital forensics, depositions, interrogatories, or request for admissions. You might even have to hire a private investigator to track down details as well.

Maintaining Court Contact

As a paralegal, you have to have constant contact with the court for the attorneys who employee you. You will be notified if anything changes from the court and will have to keep the lawyers informed on those details. An example would be, a judge orders a marital counseling for the client and or a mediation over the children. This is important information that needs to be updated.

Conclusion

Today, we’ve seen that a family law paralegal is often a client’s point of contact who serves that client directly and indirectly by accomplishing particular tasks for a lawyer. Whether you are contacting a family law firm for a divorce or another situation, we encourage you to receive the help you need today to resolve your dilemma.

How to Know if You’re Being Discriminated Against

Discrimination in business is a complex subject, but at its core, it revolves around whether or not you are being treated fairly and equally by an employer. Most types of discrimination fall into one or more of the following categories – if you believe you’re being discriminated against and it doesn’t match any of these, you may need to consult an attorney for more information.

Race and Ethnicity

Race and Ethnicity are an unfortunately common source of discrimination in the workplace, despite the fact that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act specifically prohibits using race or color in regards to many hiring decisions. It also rejects the use of stereotypes for potential employees, but this doesn’t always stop companies from displaying a bias.

Example: Generic Business Company is a national corporation with offices in twelve states. Twenty-seven percent of its workforce is African-American, and another ten percent is Hispanic, but executive and managerial positions are staffed exclusively by Caucasians. Darryl Johnson is an African-American who has been with the company for seventeen years, and has performed as well (or better than) many people who have been promoted to managers… and repeatedly been denied a promotion despite the fact that his performance demonstrates he deserves it. He is probably being discriminated against.

Gender and Sexual Orientation

Often referred to merely as ‘sex’ in documents, there are times when one’s gender or sexual orientation have an adverse impact on their ability to succeed within the company. This type of discrimination is typically – but not always – financial.

Example: Betty Brown is a manager at Generic Business Company, where she makes an annual salary of $60,580. This is an average salary for female managers in the company, but male managers have an average salary of $75,931, even if they perform worse (and have been employed for a shorter amount of time) than Betty. This is a probable case of gender discrimination, and Betty would be entirely within her rights to inquire about the discrepancy.

Age

Some companies don’t like the costs associated with having older workers, but federal guidelines are clear that age is not an acceptable reason for denying promotions, hiring, or benefits.

Example: Robert Jeffson is a 54-year-old male who has been with Generic Business Company for 30 years. Over that time, he has performed well and steadily been rewarded with raises. However, an economic downturn has cut into the business’ cash reserves, and it decided to fire him because of his ‘inappropriate age for the position he holds’. Robert has a discrimination case on his hands.

Disability

This is the most complex area of discrimination. Companies cannot discriminate against employees who suffer in a way outlined by the Americans with Disabilities Act. However, neither are companies required to lower their quality standards or go to “undue hardship” to provide for that employee.

Example: Carl cannot use his legs, and requires a wheelchair to move around the office. Generic Business Company hired him, but refused to provide him with an elevator key, slowing his movement between floors… then fired him for “consistently failing to move between areas in a timely manner”. GBC’s failure to provide a reasonable accommodation for his disability, then blaming him for problems caused by this, is a clear case of discrimination based on a disability.

Note: In all cases, there are times when exceptions are made to the rules. For example, many companies require bathrooms to be cleaned exclusively by individuals of the same gender as those using it. Refusing to hire a woman to clean the men’s bathroom – or the other way around – is not necessarily discrimination.