Legal News Headlines 3.30.2010

Christian militia members arraigned

12 year old will be charged with murder as an adult

Iraq independent contractors investigated….again

Pfizer to pay $140 million in RICO fines

KC Royals answer “flying hotdog” lawsuit

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Legal News Headlines 4.7.2010

West Virginia Coal mine Disaster the worst since 1984.

Toyota facing $16.4 million fine

Health care scams begin

Justice Stevens to retire

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Today’s Legal News Headlines 2/24/2010

Toyota executives face tough questioning Tuesday at the first congressional hearing on the Japanese automaker’s sudden acceleration problems and the company’s handling of the safety issue.

Najibullah Zazi, of , has pleaded guilty in federal court in a plot to attack New York City with homemade bombs. Zazi pleaded guilty Monday afternoon on charges of conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction, supporting terror.

Some pediatricians say hot dogs need a warning label. The American Academy of Pediatrics says 10,000 children under age 14 choke on foods like hot dogs each year. The group is supporting warning labels or a redesign, saying hot dogs are the perfect shape to get lodged in a childs throat.

It’s being called the largest research fraud in medical history. Dr. Scott Reuben, a former member of Pfizer’s speakers’ bureau, has agreed to plead guilty to faking dozens of research studies that were published in medical journals.

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Brad Bannon on Supreme Court back in session

Scott interviews Washington DC political strategist Brad Bannon

(Huffington Post)

First Amendment cases top the Supreme Court’s docket as it begins a new term with a new justice and three women on the bench for the first time.

The court will look at provocative anti-gay protests at military funerals and a California law banning the sale of violent video games to children. These cases worry free speech advocates, who fear the court could limit First Amendment freedoms.

The funeral protest lawsuit, over signs praising American war deaths, “is one of those cases that tests our commitment to the First Amendment,” said Steven Shapiro, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Another case involves a different aspect of the First Amendment, the government’s relationship to religion. The justices will decide whether Arizona’s income tax credit scholarship program, in essence, directs state money to religious schools in violation of the constitutional separation of church and state.
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Foreclosure Litigation With James Kowalski

The paperwork mess muddying home foreclosures erupted last month. But the legal strategy behind it traces to a lawyer’s gambit in 2006 that has helped keep one couple in their home six years beyond their last mortgage payment.

Lillian and Robert Jackson stopped paying on their home in Jacksonville, Fla., in 2004 when business dropped off at their cleaning company. Eviction might have seemed inevitable when they faced a foreclosure hearing two years later.

But their lawyer, James Kowalski, had the idea of taking a deposition from the signer of the mortgage papers. When a document processor for GMAC Mortgage admitted she routinely signed such papers without being familiar with details of the loans, she was tagged as one of a species now known as robo-signers.

It was a first step in the growth of a legal sub-specialty called foreclosure defense that has sown confusion and turmoil in the housing market. Lawyers in the field now commonly use a technique more identified with corporate litigation: probing depositions, designed to uncover any lapses in judgment, flaws in a process or wrongdoing. In the 23 states where foreclosures entail a court hearing, the bank may be ordered to pay the homeowner’s legal bill if a lawyer can convince a judge that the bank has submitted false documents, such as affidavits saying employees personally reviewed the details of loans when they didn’t.
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Arizona Legal News Update 10/20/10

Ethnic studies lawsuit, Immigrant birthright debate and Intel to manufacture new processor in Arizona.

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Sean Carter on Supreme Court to post timely audio of oral arguments

The Supreme Court announced Tuesday that it will begin releasing audio recordings of all of its oral arguments in a more timely manner.

It will post the recordings on its Web site on Fridays in the weeks it hears arguments. The court already posts same-day transcripts of the arguments, which normally occur on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Previously, tapes of the arguments, maintained by the National Archives, were generally not available until the term was over.

But the court also said Tuesday that it would end the practice of releasing audio of its most important cases on the same day they are heard, a decision that disappointed some news media organizations.

Cameras are not allowed in Supreme Court proceedings, and in the past, media groups petitioned the justices to release the same-day audio. But no requests were granted last term, and justices have complained about having to decide which cases warranted the special treatment.

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Zoe Littlepage Hormone Therapy Breast Cancer Lawsuits Can Proceed in State Courts

A decision by the U.S. Supreme Court not to hear an appeal filed by Pfizer has cleared the way for state court hormone replacement therapy breast cancer lawsuits filed by more than 100 women in Minnesota to proceed.

By turning down the opportunity to hear the case last Tuesday, the Supreme Court let a decision by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals stand, which allowed lawsuits brought by 116 women to proceed in Minnesota state courts, instead of being transferred to federal court.

All of the lawsuits claim that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) drugs manufactured by Wyeth and Pharmacia caused plaintiffs to develop breast cancer, and that the companies, now both owned by Pfizer, failed to warn patients and doctors of the potential side effects of hormone therapy.

Zoe Littlepage (Littlepage Booth in Dallas) has been at the forefront of this litigation.
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