Lawyers Propose Nationwide Settlement Framework In Opioid Lawsuits

Attorneys representing the counties and municipalities that are suing manufacturers and distributors of drugs over the roles they played in the opioid epidemic that has devastated the United States spoke publicly recently of a plan to bring the more than 24,000 communities across the country together in search of billions of dollars in settlement money.

A motion was filed in a Cleveland, Ohio federal court and outlined the proposal in detail. Currently, 1,850 lawsuits from local governments are pending with the same court. The allegations detailed in the suits are that drug makers like Purdue Pharma LP are liable for fueling America’s opioid crisis.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs are seeking to certify a class that will include all municipalities in the U.S. that have filed suit for the purposes of negotiating a settlement. The members of the class will possess the right to vote on any settlement offer from a company.

Lawyers say their proposal is in line with the desires expressed by United States District Judge Dan Polster. Judge Polster is presently presiding over the case and has expressed his belief that a national settlement should be reached that would address the crisis in a meaningful way.

Joe Rice is a lawyer with the Motley Rice law firm and is one lawyer working for the plaintiffs in the case. Rice says the proposal will allow companies to act in good faith toward the community without fear of more lawsuits being filed.

Rice says the objective is to form a national group of plaintiffs that will have the power to vote and negotiate a shared settlement. Rice was willing to acknowledge that the proposal may be opposed by some defendants who fear great exposure to liability.

University of Georgia Law Professor Elizabeth Chamblee Burch says it is not clear at this time if the court will give class action status to such a large group of municipalities.

Cardinal Health Inc. is a drug distributor and a defendant in the case. Cardinal Health said the proposal is a novel one that is untested. The drug distributor also said the proposal is likely to be challenged legally and years of litigation could result from these challenges.

The Center for Disease Control in the United States reported 47,600 deaths by overdose in 2017.

The lawsuit alleges that drug makers fueled the opioid crisis by overstating the positive benefits of opioid-based drugs and downplaying the risks of addiction.

Read More: https://www.axios.com/opioid-crisis-lawsuit-settlement-purdue-pharma-10843805-f1bc-4ee5-b27a-ce7280bd4453.html

Court Makes Ruling On Marijuana Possession In Prisons

California is one of the many states in the United States taking measures to legalize marijuana in some way. Proposition 64 in California allowed people in the state to possess small amounts of marijuana without being charged with a felony. A court in California ruled that Proposition 64 should apply to those incarcerated in California prisons as well.

This week, the California Third District Court of Appeals made a ruling on a case that involved five inmates within the California correctional system. The five inmates were found to be in possession of small amounts of marijuana. These inmates were charged with felonies for possession of the substance.

According to NY Times, in a divided decision, a three judge panel ruled that Proposition 64 applies to those in prison as well. The judges ruled that the five inmates could not be charged with felonies for possession. However, the judges also issued some clarifications to the ruling that has left the legal community in California confused.

The court ruled that the inmates could not be charged with felonies for possession, but the court also ruled that inmates could be charged with felonies for smoking or ingesting marijuana while they are incarcerated. The judges also ruled that while the inmates couldn’t be charged for possession, the prison system can still ban marijuana from prisons as a way to maintain safety and order within the state’s prisons.

The court stated that there needed to be new legislation passed in order to make the situation in prisons more clear. The judges also stated that a new referendum is another possible solution to the confusion.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra expressed his disapproval with the decision of the majority of judges. At this time, it is not known of Mr. Becerra will appeal the ruling in the matter to the California Supreme Court.

Unborn Act, House Bill 126

Last month, Missouri’s governor, Mike Parson, signed pro-life legislation, Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act, a bill also known as House Bill 126, prohibiting abortions after 8 weeks with exceptions for risking the life of the mother. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a petition for a referendum which was denied by Secretary of State, Jay Ashcroft, on the grounds that an emergency clause in the bill which went immediately into effect with the governor’s signature would make a referendum in this case contrary to the Missouri State Constitution. The clause states that both parents of minors seeking abortions need to be notified. The rest of the bill is set to pass on August 28.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a lawsuit against Ashcroft, claiming that the clause does not constitute an emergency since, as it already stood, at least one parent had to be notified, and the people should have their right to a referendum. Ashcroft’s response was that “the court clearly states the determination about whether or not an emergency clause is proper or not is a matter for the courts.” He says that the point remains that any bill with a provision in it that has already been passed precludes the bill from going to a referendum. The ACLU contends that the only reason the clause was included was to preempt a referendum.

A spokesperson from the ACLU said that refusing to allow the referendum proves that those in favor of the bill know they’re acting against the wishes of the majority, and that is why they don’t want it to go to a referendum. Republican House Speaker, Elijah Haahr, was grateful the Governor signed the bill because he said it reflects the values of the majority of the state’s population.

As it stands now, Missouri has only one abortion clinic located in St. Louis. If the law goes into effect on August 28th, any doctor performing an abortion could face up to 15 years in prison, though there is no stipulation that the woman receiving the abortion would be prosecuted.

North Carolina Files Lawsuit Against Juul

Juul Labs, Inc., better known simply as Juul, is one of the most popular manufacturers of e-cigarettes in the United States. The company, which divested its operations from parent company Pax Labs two years ago, also manufactures cartridges that contain nicotine salts, flavoring, and propylene glycol.

Juul’s e-cigarettes have become particularly popular among people under the age of 18, especially those who are attending school across the United States. This is because Juul e-cigarettes are so sleek and easy to hide. Further, they look much like USB drives, further concealing them from teachers’ and administrators’ eyes.

As such, backlash has been voiced by parents, school officials, and others throughout the past two years.

North Carolina just yesterday became the first state to file a formal lawsuit against Juul Labs, Inc.

Attorney General Josh Stein, the attorney general of North Carolina, was ultimately the one who formally filed the lawsuit, claiming that Juul Labs, Inc., was directly responsible for not adhering to the rules and guidelines set forth by the state’s Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

Attorney General Stein alleges that Juul violated the Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act by wrongly representing the potential dangers of nicotine in all of its e-cigarette products.

Stein further went on to say that Juul knowingly crafted and advertised its products in a manner that was designed specifically to generate interest among high schoolers and even younger kids, all of whom are not old enough to buy tobacco legally in the United States.

In a tweet from the state’s official Twitter account for its Attorney General, which can be found at @NCAGO, the agency alleged that Juul is responsible for having purposefully targeted people under the age of 2018 and misled them about the potential risks of using its e-cigarettes.

One of the changes that the North Carolina Attorney General has asked Juul to adopt is restricting the variety of vape juice flavors that it currently sells. Mango, which is currently one of the most popular flavors among Juul users in the United States, is a very fruity flavor that has widely appealed to young people across the nation.

Further, Attorney General Josh Stein asked Juul to get rid of all of its stores of consumer information in which the company’s directors are unable to confirm that they are at least 18 years of age. Stein also wants Juul to stop doing business with minors in the state.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Among Lawyers Suing To Block Vaccinations Orders In New York City

Five New Your City mothers are suing over an order that requires people living in certain zip codes to be vaccinated for measles. The zip codes in question are locations that have experienced recent measles outbreaks.

The lawsuit filed by the women characterizes the order as arbitrary and unconstitutional. The lawsuit also says there is no evidence of an outbreak of measles that would justify this extreme measure.

The parents also say they are exempted from the vaccinations and accuse the city of New York of violating their First Amendment rights by threatening them with criminal penalties for exercising their right to religious beliefs.

Robert Krakow is the lawsuit’s lead attorney. Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who has been described as a vaccine critic in the past, is also an attorney on the case.

Mayor Bill de Blasio gave the order for the vaccinations on April 9 for areas in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. The public health disaster was declared in response to an outbreak of measles among the Orthodox Jewish Community. Rabbis in the community say the vaccines are in accordance with Jewish law.

According to ABA Journal, the order issued by the city requires that all individuals living in designated zip codes be vaccinated for measles, rubella, and mumps if they cannot prove they are immune to catching measles.

There have been 285 documented cases of measles in New York City since the outbreak began in October. People who contract measles are at risk of developing encephalitis, pneumonia, and brain inflammation. Two adults and seven children have been hospitalized after contracting measles during the current outbreak.

Oxiris Barbot is the health commissioner for the city of New York. Barbot blames the current measles outbreak on a group of people using junk science to discourage others from being vaccinated.

The lawsuit questions how safe it is to take the vaccine and says defenders fo the vaccine refuse to disclose the measles cases that result from the vaccine. The fear of the vaccination spreading measles is a ‘poisonous myth’ according to Barbot.

A second lawsuit complains that Rockland County officials overstepped their authority by banning children who did not get vaccinated from schools and other public places. A county judge issued a temporary stay that prevents the order from being enforced for the time being.

Rockland County officials recently issued a second order that requires children who have contracted measles to remain in their homes. Students in two zip codes are also required to stay away from school if they have not been vaccinated.

After a Dog Bite: Kisling, Nestico & Redick Help You Know Your Legal Rights

Kisling Nestico & RedickAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year, with 20 percent of those bites requiring medical attention. That’s almost one million dog bites labeled as severe and requiring additional treatment. Furthermore, these bites can lead to additional diseases like rabies and tetanus in certain cases. Needless to say, dog bites are no joke and should be taken seriously. The law office of Kisling, Nestico & Redick are experts in handling personal injury lawsuits and can help get the care and compensation victims deserve. 

A dog bite can be a legal matter that must be taken seriously. Data from the Insurance Information Institute shows that $675 million was paid in liability claims in 2018 as a direct result of dog bites or other dog-related injuries. This goes to show how important it is to get the right legal advice for a dog bite and take care of any hardship that may result.

How to Handle a Dog Bite in Ohio

Because many personal injury laws, including those relating to dog bites, are different from state-to-state, it’s important to understand the laws regarding dog bites in Ohio before attempting to make a claim.

According to Ohio statute 955.28, an owner, harborer, or keeper of a dog is generally liable for injuries caused by that animal. That person is also responsible for “death or loss to person or property that is caused by the dog.” The individual controlling the dog is therefore at fault in any instance where a dog bite becomes serious and the victim needs medical treatment or additional care.

Additionally, under the state’s common law doctrine, added compensation can be warranted if the dog has previously bitten another person or acted aggressively in the past. However, proving this in a court of law is not easy and may require collecting witness testimony from those who have experienced the dog’s aggressive behavior. Another option is to look up bite records which were previously filed in the court system. If you find that you were not the first victim of the dog in question and there was malicious intent, you may be entitled to punitive damages. These damages are used to punish the defendant for multiple acts of wrongdoing in the hopes of making them understand the severity of these harmful acts.

In the state of Ohio, the majority of dog bite cases are covered under homeowner’s insurance policies. This is the first place a victim can go to obtain the restitution and damages they deserve and may be all that is needed if the bite is less severe. However, more severe bites may warrant additional damages, so it is important to consult with an expert legal team.

It should go without saying that this law does not apply if the injury was inflicted upon someone who was committing an unlawful act, such as trespassing on private property, committing a crime, or abusing the dog in question.

KNR Knows Your Rights

A serious dog bite can start with serious injuries and scars and lead to missed time from work, psychological trauma, and other hardships. The team at Kisling, Nestico & Redick know that anyone bitten by a dog should get the care and compensation they deserve so that they can move forward with their life.

Kisling, Nestico & RedickAn experienced lawyer from Kisling, Nestico & Redick knows the drill when it comes to filing a third-party claim against the insurer representing the dog’s owner. Depending on the bite and severity, this claim may request both economic damages (like medical expenses and lost wages) and non-economic damages (like physical and emotional pain or scarring from the injury).

First, the legal team at KNR works to understand all of the details of the attack by conducting a thorough investigation. From there, the team can then provide guidance on the best next steps, whether that is filing an insurance claim or taking the incident to the legal system and filing a lawsuit against the dog’s owner.

It’s not easy to navigate the insurance and legal systems in Ohio, especially after being attacked and severely injured by a dog. That’s why it’s best to turn to experts who are trained in providing you with the best legal service and can help you recover the most compensation possible to help you move forward with your life.

Contact KNR today to get more information or a free legal consultation for any dog bite that you or a loved one may have recently experienced.

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The Department Of Homeland Security Is In Border Crisis Mode According To Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen

The Southern border debacle continues to give Trump heartburn. Mr. Trump blasted the Mexico government for letting all the immigrants pass through the Southern border while Mexico sits back and watches Trump’s face turn from orange to red.

The Department of Homeland Security needs more border agents, according to Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. Trump told her to hire 5,000 more border agents in 2017, but so far DHS hired 118 new border agents. Being a border agent is one of those jobs few people want on their resume.

Hiring border agents is a challenge due to all the red tape applicants have to go through to get the job. And most of the applicants don’t want to live in a tent in the remote terrain along the border. In short, the immigration system needs help, and Nielsen is in over her head. Kirstjen wants Congress to change the immigration laws now. She’s on the verge of having the same kind of meltdown Trump has every time he turns on the news and sees thousands of immigrants knocking at the border door.

Mr. Trump is so upset with the border situation he threatened to close the Southern border. That would be a monumental screw-up, according to the Washington Post. Thousands of legal workers cross that border every day. And thousands of products that American manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers need to do business would be in jeopardy. The U.S. economy would take another devastating hit if Trump closes the Southern border, according to the New York Times.

In order to show his voter base he means business, Trump cut funding for Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. Trump claims most of the bad guys in the United States come from those countries. And Trump thinks cutting off American aid will make the governments of those countries stop the bad guys from leaving. The truth is those countries want them to leave.

The president gave Mexico a few Twitter gabs, but Mexico really doesn’t care what Trump says. The Mexican economy is on fire thanks to Trump’s tariffs. Chinese companies are in the process of opening factories in Mexico to avoid Trump’s tariffs. Trump’s tariff thing hurts American consumers more than it hurts China or any other country that feels the economic burn from the tariffs.

Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is in over her head. And she wants help from Congress, so the DHS can protect migrant children and families. She didn’t mention Trump’s border wall in her letter to Congress. Nielsen’s letter said DHS has 1,200 unaccompanied migrant kids in custody, and she doesn’t know what to do with them.

Law Firm Sues Associate Who Quits Job Early

There is an article on the Above the Law website about a law firm suing one of their associate lawyers because she quit her job after only one year. The firm, Preis PLC Law, had the lawyer, Jane Daily, sign a three-year contract when she joined the law firm fresh out of law school. The job wasn’t for her, however, so she left early, and the firm hit back in court.

A break with tradition

New lawyers leaving a law firm earlier than planned is very common. In fact, the legal field is notorious for its high turnover and burnout rates among those new to the lawyer profession. Generally, when a new associate is hired, the hiring firm accepts that they are taking a risk and that the associate may be out the door earlier than hoped. In fact, many associates work briefly for multiple firms before finding one that is a good fit for them. When contracts are signed, they usually aren’t enforced if broken, and law firms focus on retaining partners rather than associates because the former are likely to take business with them if they exit the firm.

Preis PLC, therefore, is going against tradition in their lawsuit against Daily. They say in their filing that they take great pride in recruiting new lawyers out of law school and training them thoroughly, and, that by leaving early, Daily not only cost them money but hurt their effectiveness by taking experienced lawyers away from their regular duties to train her. In its suit, the firm alleges that they have determined that it takes at least three years to properly train a lawyer, so Daily can’t claim that she was an asset to the company.

A tough profession

There are many reasons why so many new lawyers leave their first associate posting early. Many are blindsided by the many unpleasant realities of the law in practice versus the idealism of the law as presented in the classroom. Furthermore, law firms are notorious for making their associates work long hours; while associates know this is a stepping stone on the road to the more leisurely life of partner, many grow frustrated and despondent. Furthermore, associate lawyers are often working closely with a single experienced lawyer, and, if there is some kind of conflict, it’s generally not the associate that the hiring firm sides with.

Reference: https://abovethelaw.com/2017/03/4-tips-for-not-getting-sued-when-changing-jobs/

Former Bush Ethics Lawyer Richard Painter Thinks Trump Should Be Removed From Office

Richard Painter was when George W. Bush ethics lawyer when he was president. Painter thinks Mr. Trump’s national emergency is proof the president’s decision-making process is more about winning than doing the right thing. In other words, Trump, according to Painter, is an out-of-control narcissist. Declaring a national state of emergency proves Mr. Trump has an overwhelming need to be in control and be the center of attention, according to Mr. Painter.
When Congress refused to fund his border wall project, Trump decided to do it his way long before the Congressional committee found a solution to the fake border wall crisis. Trump made that decision when the Democrats forced him to sign the funding bill. Nancy Pelosi’s wall challenge enraged Trump.

Even though he lost that battle, he knew he could make it look like he won in the eyes of his voter base. In his phony victory speech, he claimed the wall is under construction even though the part of the wall he wants to build won’t get underway until funds are available. The legal battles about the emergency will keep the funds in the courts for years, according to legal experts.

Mr. Trump believes he doesn’t answer to Congress. He doesn’t realize he is accountable for his decisions, according to Painter. Mr. Trump always finds someone or something else to blame when his decisions create more challenges.

When former FBI deputy director, Andrew McCabe went on the talk show circuit to promote his new book, he told viewers, Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein mentioned Trump’s mental issues when the president fired James Comey. Rosenstein and McCabe talked about the possibility of removing Trump from office using the 25th Amendment. But the men didn’t take action. It was just a concerned conversation that included other solutions that might protect the country from Trump’s irrational decision-making.

Rosenstein and McCabe knew Trump’s cabinet wouldn’t take the necessary steps to evoke the 25th amendment in 2017. And Congress didn’t want to pursue impeachment. But now that the Mueller investigation uncovered the Trump Organization’s attempt to allegedly work in tandem with the Russians, some Washington insiders say it’s time to use the 25th amendment.

But according to legal scholars, there’s not enough proof to evoke the 25th amendment or impeach Trump. Mueller or the Congressional Intelligence Committee would have to find smoking gun-type proof that Trump colluded with the Russians or he tried to obstruct justice when he fired James Comey.

Source: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/richard-painter-donald-trump-removed_n_5c6bbd5ee4b0b9cc78ffd688

Group Legally Disputes Label From Southern Poverty Law Center

A recent article on the National Public Radio website details the lawsuit by the right-wing, male-only group Proud Boys against the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) after the latter organization labelled the former a hate group. Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes says that he is not running a hate group, and, therefore, the SPLC designation defames him.

McInnes says that Proud Boys is a harmless fraternal group, and that, while they may not be politically correct, they are far from a hate group. SPLC, by contrast, say that the group in general and McInnes in particular have a documented history of making racist, homophobic and xenophobic remarks.

Issues of reputation

McInnes says that the classification of Proud Boys as a hate group by SPLC forced him to leave the group he created because its and his own reputation had been destroyed. He noted that PayPal, Twitter and other online entities dropped Proud Boys after the classification, and he says that isn’t fair. His lawyers go on to question the amount of power SPLC center has in shaping public perception of fringe groups with strong views.

SPLC Response

SPLC have responded to the effect that they do not feel that McInnes has a legal case against them. For starters, they say his group is, in fact a hate group, and that they are merely voicing their own opinions as protected by the First Amendment. They also say that having earned the enmity of a person such as McInnes, who they characterize as bigoted, proves that they are doing their job.

SPLC was formed in 1971, and their mission is to advocate for the civil rights movement. Their hate group list is meant to put down in one place organizations they feel discriminate against others based on race, religion, sexual identity, gender orientation or ethnicity.

Read the full article: https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2019/02/04/us/ap-us-proud-boys-lawsuit.html

Family Alleged To Have Built Huge Fortune Off OxyContin

In a recent lawsuit filed by the Massachusetts Attorney General, the Sackler family is alleged to have built a huge fortune off of the production of OxyContin. This opiate drug is known to be highly addictive within a short amount of using the prescription painkiller. OxyContin addiction has often lead to people buying similar drugs off the street, some of which have been contaminated by the animal tranquilizer fentanyl, which is deadly in minute doses. Overdoses and deaths related to Oxycontin and fentanyl have skyrocketed over the past six years.

In the Massachusetts lawsuit, Attorney General Maura Healey found that in 2013, Purdue Pharma paid the Sackler family $400 million from its profits of selling OxyContin. Those profits were from the first three quarters of the calendar year. During the fourth quarter, profits from OxyContin decreased. At this time, the Sackler family is alleged to have pushed Purdue Pharma to increase the pressure of its sales representatives on doctors and hospitals to prescribe more of the addictive drug.

Purdue Pharma followed up on this by hiring a consulting firm. The consultants targeted doctors who wrote the highest numbers of prescriptions for OxyContin. Many of those physicians were located in the state of Massachusetts. After getting more visits from the pharmaceutical sales representatives, one doctor wrote 167 more OxyContin prescriptions.

Between 2008 and 2016, the Sackler family was paid more than $4 billion by Purdue Pharma. The lawsuit charges that the Sackler family has profited from the injury, addiction and death of people who were prescribed OxyContin by their doctors. Eight members of the Sackler family who have served on the board of Purdue Pharma as well as other members of the company’s board have been specifically named in the lawsuit. A judge on the case demanded that Purdue Pharma release its sales records. Purdue Pharma requested that its release be allowed to include redactions. The judge declined that appeal, forcing Purdue Pharma to release its records in full.

The lawsuit is ongoing in the Suffolk County Superior Court, which is located in Boston, Massachusetts. It is just one lawsuit of several hundred filed against Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family by state attorneys general from across the United States. The states are attempting to recover some of the funds they have spent on emergency care, police response and addiction treatment for people who have taken or been harmed by OxyContin.

Lawyer Says It Is Impossible For Man To Sue His Parents

A 27-year-old man from India recently went viral after he stated that he was going to sue his parents for giving birth to him. He stated that he did not give his parents consent to have him. The man, whose name is Raphael Samuel, stated that his parents should pay him for life. He also said that anyone who is born without their consent should be paid for life.

Raphael stated that he wants everyone to know that they do not owe their parents anything. He also said that parents should maintain their children for the rest of their lives. He said that he wishes he had not been born. Raphael stated that his life is not bad, but he wishes was he was not here.

Viva Frei is an attorney who has commented on this issue. He stated that this lawsuit is the stupidest thing that he has ever heard. He said that it is obvious that the man is doing this for publicity. He also stated that this can possibly be a social experiment.

Viva said that even though this lawsuit is stupid, he said that there is something that people can learn from it. You have to be able to prove fault, damages and a link between the two. Viva said that this lawsuit is not going to go anywhere.

Visa also stated that the man admitted that his life has been wonderful, so he has no reason to sue his parents. Additionally, he said that newborns do not require their parents’ consent. A newborn is not capable of giving consent by law.

Raphael is being slammed by people on social media. One person said that Raphael’s parents should counter-sue him for housing, food and educational costs. Another person stated that the man is ashamed of his actions, which is why he is disguising his looks.

2018 Review of Important Supreme Court Decisions

A lot has happened in the Supreme Court of the United States in 2018. The most notable event was the circus-like confirmation hearing for Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace retiring SCOTUS Justice Anthony Kennedy. SCOTUS continued to make historical decisions during this time that will have an effect all of us. George Khoury looked at five important SCOTUS decisions of 2018 on Findlaw.com.

Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission
Jack Phillips, a devout Christian owner of a bakery in Colorado, refused to create a cake for a same-sex couple’s wedding for religious reasons that are backed by the First Amendment. He offered to sell the couple other products in his bakery, but the lower courts found Jack Phillips to be in violation of the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act. SCOTUS ruled 7-2 in favor of Jack Phillips, citing the CCRC’s hostility towards religion. SCOTUS did not decide on the constitutionality of the CADA, so a case like this will likely appear in front of SCOTUS in the future.

Murphy, Governor of New Jersey v. National Collegiate Athletic Association
This 6-3 decision ruled in favor of states to allow sports betting. States were prohibited from allowing sports betting entities from being created according to the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. States were charged with enforcing the PASPA, but New Jersey sued to relieve the state from enforcing the PASPA. SCOTUS ruled that Congress overstepped its powers by making states enforce federal law.

Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis
The Fair Labor Standards Act allows employees to litigate labor disputes as a class or collective action in federal courts. This 5-4 decision ruled in favor of employers putting in place and enforce arbitration agreements in employee contracts that ban collective action.

Carpenter v. the United States
Wireless carriers can track, collect, and store the location of its users when users cell phones connect to a cell tower site. The FBI and other law enforcement agencies would contact wireless carriers to obtain cell phone information to help find criminal suspects. In a 5-4 decision, SCOTUS ruled that law enforcement agencies will have to get a warrant to gain access to this information.

South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc.
In a 5-4 decision, SCOTUS ruled in favor of South Dakota who wanted to collect taxes for out-of-state online sales. Legal experts expect other states to look at this ruling and develop out-of-state online sales tax laws that are in line with this ruling.

Kim Kardashian Becomes Social Justice Activist

While more well-known for her reality television shows and other business and entertainment enterprises, Kim Kardashian has also recently appeared to embark on a new path, that of social justice activist. Along with her much-discussed Oval Office meetings with President Trump in which the two discussed criminal justice reform, Kim Kardashian has also in recent months taken up the cause of Cyntoia Brown. Serving a life sentence in prison for a murder she has freely admitted to committing, there are nevertheless numerous celebrities, social activists, and organizations such as the ACLU working to see Cyntoia Brown be set free.

Considered a classic example by many of how the criminal justice system can sometimes fail those who may slip through the cracks, Cyntoia Brown’s case is quite complex. Like many young girls, Brown was a victim of sex trafficking. When she was 16, she was arrested for murdering a man, Johnny Mitchell Allen, who had paid to have sex with her. Despite a claim of self-defense, her age at the time of the murder, and the set of circumstances surrounding the case, Brown was sentenced by a jury to life in prison.

Having already served many years of her sentence, Brown will be eligible for parole when she turns 69. However, Kardashian is hoping to see Brown win her freedom well before then. To accomplish this, she has hired a team of high-profile criminal defense attorneys to review the case and work to free Brown, headed by lead attorney Shawn Holley.

Using social media to her advantage, Kardashian has taken her cause of freeing Cyntoia Brown to her large online legion of followers from around the world. As a result, Brown’s case is drawing worldwide attention, with many legal experts believing her case may eventually lead to her winning her freedom.

But along with the case of Cyntoia Brown, Kardashian has also played a key role in using her new-found social justice activism to help win the freedom of another prisoner, Alice Johnson. Given a life sentence for a first-time, non-violent drug conviction, the now 63 year-old Johnson was recently granted clemency and pardoned by President Trump after a meeting between himself and Kardashian.

With these success stories under her belt, one wonders if Kim Kardashian will continue to use her celebrity influence in future cases of social justice. To learn more details about this story, visit abovethelaw.com.

Observers concerned With Conflict Of Interest Following Vote By Prosecutors To Join Police Union

Investigators and assistant prosecutors in the county of St. Louis recently voted to become members of the police union. The vote is taken at a time when a leader with reform in mind prepares to take control of the St. Louis County Prosecutors Office.

The vote happened on Monday and has raised concerns that a conflict of interest could develop.

Wesley Bell is the new County Prosecutor in St. Louis. He is the first person of African-American heritage to hold the position. Bell will replace Robert McCulloch, who was County prosecutor when a grand jury declined to indict officer Darren Wilson for the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

The grand jury decision sparked violence among the citizens of Ferguson and protests across the country.

Bell stands in opposition to the death penalty and prefers treatment alternatives for individuals accused of minor drug offenses. He has also been on record promising reform to the cash bail system used in St. Louis County. Another major emphasis Bell expresses is holding police officers accountable for the actions they take while on duty.

The St. Louis Police Association is viewed by some as the most aggressive police union in America. The union regularly donated to the campaign efforts of McCulloch throughout his nearly three decades as County Prosecutor.

Jeff Roorda is the business manager for the union. Roorda caused a stir on social media a few years back when he used a Facebook platform to blame then president Barack Obama for the shooting of five police officers in Dallas, Texas. Roorda also made comments to the media suggesting the happenings in Ferguson amounted to a war being waged on police officers around the country. He also penned a book on the matter entitled Ferghanistan: The War On Police.

One potential conflict identified by the Washington Post is a scenario where a prosecutor files a criminal complaint against a police officer. If that officer then files a complaint with the union, which of the two union members will be backed by the union?

The Post also concluded that the vote to join the union by investigators and prosecutors can only serve to further worsen an already bad relationship between the police and the black community in St. Louis County.

Bell acknowledged that the choice by assistant prosecutors to join the police union raises questions but said he supports their right to join the union of their choice.

Read the full report: https://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/nation-world/national/article223264940.html