Coast Guard finds probable cause for 'negligence' in Branson duck boat tragedy, feds say

The U.S. Coast Guard found probable cause to believe the captain in last month's duck boat tragedy on Table Rock Lake in Branson committed "misconduct, negligence or inattention to duties," according to recent court filings.

The U.S. attorney's office filed motions Wednesday to delay the discovery process in the civil lawsuits filed against the operators of a duck boat that sank on July 19, killing 17 passengers.

Read the source article at Home | Pensacola News Journal |

Over 100 Attorneys Across Country Join Statement to Senate Opposing President Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee Based on Civil Rights Record

Lawyers' Committee Also Released Its Report Evaluating The Available Civil Rights Record Of Judge Kavanaugh.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee) released its report evaluating the available civil rights record of Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh. The report offers a careful and comprehensive examination of Kavanaugh's record on cases concerning civil rights matters, including criminal justice, voting rights, fair housing, education, reproductive rights, environmental justice and access to justice issues – matters central to the Lawyers’ Committee’s mission. The report is based primarily on the opinions authored or joined by the judge during his time on the D.C. Circuit.

In addition to the report, the Lawyers’ Committee also issued a statement opposing Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Court - joined by over 100 members of its Board of Directors, including former judges, bar association presidents, law firm leaders, General Counsels and more, located across the country. The report was presented to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Minority Leader Charles Schumer, Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, and Ranking Member Diane Feinstein urging the Senate to closely and carefully examine Judge Kavanaugh's record on civil rights matters.

“We do not arrive at this position lightly, having taken several weeks to carefully asses Judge Kavanaugh's record both on and off the bench, with a focus on the implications that this nomination will have on African American communities across the country,” said Lawyers’ Committee President and Executive Director Kristen Clarke.  “Simply put, we do not find that Judge Kavanaugh brings a commitment to protecting and safeguarding civil rights.  The Supreme Court has always occupied a central place in American democracy as the arbiter of some of the most impactful cases that typically arise across our country.  We urge the Senate to focus on Judge Kavanaugh's record concerning the interpretation and application of the Constitution and federal civil rights laws. We make this request recognizing that hundreds of thousands of documents concerning Judge Kavanaugh's time at the White House remain outstanding, significantly impairing the ability of the Senate to carry out its constitutional obligation to provide advice and consent.”

Judge Shira Scheindlin, Co-Chair of the Judicial Nominations Committee of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, stated: “The Senate Judiciary Committee must closely examine Judge Kavanaugh’s record to determine whether he truly brings a commitment to fairly interpreting the Constitution and federal civil rights laws.  Our country deserves a Justice who will be faithful to the principle of equal justice under law.”

Adam Klein, Co-Chair of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law stated: “The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is driven by a Board comprised of attorneys from across our country who believe that the Supreme Court plays a special role in our society.  The Senate Judiciary Committee must ensure that Judge Kavanaugh will fairly handle all matters that come before the Court, including civil rights matters.”

Edward Correia, a Member of the Judicial Nominations Committee, stated: “At its finest moments, the Supreme Court has promoted racial tolerance, protected the rights of the disadvantaged, and made sure that every person, including Presidents, are subject to the rule law. The question for the Senate is whether Judge Kavanaugh will advance those goals.”

Since its creation in 1963 at the urging of President John F. Kennedy, the Lawyers’ Committee has been devoted to the recognition and enforcement of civil rights in the United States. While we have seen significant progress, the challenges of unlawful discrimination remain. Recognizing the Supreme Court’s critical role in civil rights enforcement and the central role that the Court plays in our democracy, the Lawyers’ Committee has long reviewed the record of nominees to the Court to determine if the nominee demonstrates views that are consistent with the core civil rights principles for which we have long advocated.

In evaluating nominees to the Court, the Lawyers’ Committee has employed a rigorous standard with two distinct components: (1) exceptional competence to serve on the Court based on education, experience and engagement in the legal system at the highest levels of responsibility, and (2) profound respect for the importance of protecting the civil rights afforded by the Constitution and the nation’s civil rights laws based on a large body of civil rights opinions or comparable information from statements and activities other than service on the bench.

In its report, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law outlines its grave concerns regarding the pending nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, with a focus on issues of great concern to our organization and our clients, the majority of whom are African American and other disadvantaged minorities. The report notes that in his criminal justice decisions, Judge Kavanaugh takes a narrow view of constitutional rights, particularly Fourth Amendment rights. The report also raises concern regarding his views on educational opportunities and students with disabilities. In addition, the report notes that Judge Kavanaugh has written a number of opinions on employment law issues in which he has generally affirmed district court decisions dismissing claims asserted by people of color, women, and disabled people. The Lawyers’ Committee also observed that the Senate must explore Judge Kavanaugh’s commitment to fairly interpreting and applying laws such as the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Affordable Care Act, and the Environmental Protection Act.

A copy of the report is available here.  

A letter signed by close to 100 members of the Board of Directors of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law can be found here.

J&J’s DePuy Ortho on the hook for $246M in Pinnacle hip implant bellwether

Johnson & Johnson subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics is on the hook for approximately $246.1 million in damages in a bellwether case over its allegedly defective Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip implants, according to recently released court documents.

Judge Ed Kinkeade of the Texas Northern District Court entered approximately $246.1 million in final judgments for plaintiffs in the bellwether case after a jury ruled in their favor, finding J&J liable for the defects and fraud.

Read the source article at MassDevice

RICO Class Certified in Student Loan Interest Suit

Hundreds of thousands of borrowers will be able to collectively sue student loan servicing company Great Lakes for inflating their loan balances, after a federal court certified the suit as a class action Aug. 28.

Claims under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and common law were certified for liability purposes only for now, Judge James D. Peterson wrote for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin.

Read the source article at Big Law Business

Thousands of Uber drivers set to get $75, before lawyers’ fees, in settlement

Lawyers representing over 4,500 Uber drivers who claim they were consistently underpaid by the company have now asked a federal judge to approve a settlement. If US District Judge William Alsup agrees, Uber will pay out $ 345,622. When divided amongst the group, that will result in approximately $75 per person, before attorneys' fees are calculated.

Read the source article at Ars Technica

California Bar Still Can Withhold Exam Takers’ Racial Data

A professor’s bid to obtain data on the races and scores of those who take and pass the California bar will remain unfulfilled, a state appeals court ruled.

The ruling is the latest in a decade-long fight between University of California Los Angeles professor Richard Sander and the state bar.

Read the source article at Big Law Business

Court Not on Nationwide’s Side in Would-Be 401(k) Class Action

Nationwide Life Insurance Co. must defend claims that it charged excessive fees for record-keeping and customer services provided to 401(k) plans it administered on behalf of employers.

A federal judge in Ohio Aug. 24 refused to dismiss the lawsuit filed last year by an investor in a 401(k) plan sponsored by law firm Andrus Wagstaff. The investor seeks to represent more than 37,000 plans and 2.4 million individual investors.

Read the source article at Big Law Business

$4 Million Settlement Reached in Medicare Fraud Lawsuit Against Tampa Dermatologist Practice

The United States Attorney's Office in reached a settlement in a qui tam whistleblower suit under the False Claims Act. The whistleblower's suit alleged that Dermatology Healthcare, LLC falsely billed government healthcare programs, including Medicare and Medicaid, for complex radiation treatments.

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Court Determines Employee’s Use of Company Car Was Permissive in Recent DUI Accident Case

Recently, a Missouri appellate court issued an opinion in a personal injury case discussing an important issue that frequently arises in car accident cases nationwide. The court discussed whether a drunken employee who caused an accident injuring the plaintiff was a “permissive user” under his employer’s insurance policy. Finding that the employee was a permissive user, the insurance company will be required to satisfy the judgment against the employee.

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Video: Toobin on Trump's threats of violence from the left

President Trump's warning to evangelical leaders about violence if the GOP loses the midterm elections stems from Trump's appeal to racism, according to CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin. "They will overturn everything that we've done, and they'll do it quickly and violently, and violently," Trump said, according to reports from The New York Times and NBC News. 

Missouri appeals court revives pelvic mesh suit against Bard

A Missouri state appeals court last week revived a pelvic mesh product liability lawsuit against Becton Dickinson & Co. subsidiary C.R. Bard, ruling that a lower court was wrong to exclude prior verdicts that went against the company.

Barad and co-defendant Boston Scientific escaped the suit in February 2016 after a Kansas City jury voted 10-2 that their implants were not defective and didn’t cause plaintiff Eve Sherrer’s injuries.

Read the source article at MassDevice

$4.7B Baby Powder Verdict Upheld in Missouri

A Missouri state court judge affirmed the recent $4.69 billion baby powder verdict against Johnson & Johnson, indicating that the women’s award this past month over developing ovarian cancer from asbestos contamination in the company’s prized Baby Powder and other talcum powder products will stand.

Read the source article at Home - Arentz Law Group

Televangelist Accused Of Sexual Abuse, Forcing Vasectomy: The Importance Of Hearing All Victims

An Ohio televangelist is accused of sexually abusing a former employee by forcing him to undergo a vasectomy as a job requirement, expose himself and masturbate in front of the television preacher to "make sure he was ejaculating correctly."

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Nature Valley Drops ‘100% Natural’ Claim After Pesticide Suit

General Mills Inc.’s Nature Valley bars will no longer bear the “Made with 100% Natural Whole Grain Oats” label, after the company settled a lawsuit alleging the snack contained glyphosate—a pesticide better known as RoundUp.

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Bayer’s Monsanto Faces 8,000 U.S. lawsuits on Glyphosate-Based Weedkillers

Asked if Bayer would consider settling cases out of court, the CEO  said: “We will vigorously defend all upcoming cases.”

Read the source article at Insurance Journal