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Politics

Veterans win lawsuit against Massachusetts over denial of Welcome Home bonus

Three veterans who sued Massachusetts for denying them a Welcome Home bonus should receive the money, a Suffolk Superior Court judge ruled.

Massachusetts offers veterans who served after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks a Welcome Home bonus as long as they receive an honorable discharge. The bonus is $1,000 for veterans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan and $500 for those who served elsewhere for at least six months.

Read the source article at masslive.com

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Politics

$14.7 million verdict upheld in tobacco case

A divided South Florida appeals court Wednesday upheld a verdict that calls for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. to pay $14.7 million to the wife and daughter of a man who died at age 56 of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

In a 2-1 decision, a panel of the 3rd District Court of Appeal rejected arguments that the verdict was excessive and that a plaintiffs’ attorney made improper comments during closing arguments.

Read the source article at Home | Pensacola News Journal | pnj.com

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Politics

California court upholds $4 million sex abuse judgment against Jehovah’s Witnesses Watchtower organization

A California appeals court has affirmed a more than $4 million judgment against the nation’s leading body of Jehovah’s Witnesses in favor of a woman who claims she was molested as a child in by a church elder.

In its 44-page opinion issued Dec. 10, the California 4th District Court of Appeal, Division Two three-judge panel left in place terminating sanctions and a judgment of little more than $4 million against Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York Inc.

The Riverside Superior Court previously handed down the sanctions and judgment and Watchtower declined …

Read the source article at Legal Newsline

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Raising The Bar

NTL member Jonathan Perkins donates +300 lbs. of food to CT food bank

Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers has helped make the season brighter for families in need by donating 316 pounds of food to the Connecticut Food Bank. The food was collected during the law firm’s first annual food drive to benefit the statewide nonprofit organization.

The practice accepted food donations at its five locations- Bridgeport, Hartford, New London, Waterbury and Woodbridge. A team from Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers personally delivered the bounty to the Connecticut Food Bank’s warehouse in Bridgeport on December 18th. The hundreds of pounds of food equate to 216 meals that will feed residents across the state.

“I want to thank all of our employees, community members and partners who made this effort so successful,” said National Trial Lawyers member Jonathan Perkins. “This first collection exceeded our expectations and the generosity shown by everyone involved will go a long way in assisting our neighbors.”

The Connecticut Food Bank works through a network of nearly 700 community food assistance programs, including soup kitchens, food pantries and shelters to provide nutritious food to people in need in six of Connecticut’s eight counties: Fairfield, Litchfield, Middlesex, New Haven, New London and Windham. They are an affiliate of Feeding America, the nation’s food bank network.

Cynthia Sandoval, a Procurement Assistance rep at Connecticut Food Bank, voiced her appreciation for Perkins’ efforts. “We are so grateful for the contribution and were overwhelmed upon seeing the size of the delivery that was made. This effort is going to positively affect so many communities during the season of giving.”

Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers is one of Connecticut’s top accident and injury law firms and it protects the interests of clients across the state. The ever-growing firm is happy to lend its legal expertise to its newest practice area: employment discrimination.

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Politics

Opioid Makers Must Face Racketeering Claims

A federal judge in Ohio refused Wednesday to dismiss racketeering claims against Purdue Pharma and other drug manufacturers, distributors and pharmacies in a massive collection of cases blaming them for the nation’s opioid epidemic.

The claims of hundreds of cities and counties against opioid makers including Purdue and Johnson & Johnson have been consolidated in Cleveland federal court. U.S. District Judge Dan Polster is overseeing the case.

Read the source article at Homepage

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Politics

Oregon Officials Face Wrongful Death Suit for Releasing Alleged Murderer

A mother of five filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Oregon State Psychiatric Security Review Board in state court Wednesday, accusing it of prematurely releasing an inmate who killed two people after release.

Less than a month after being discharged, Anthony Montwheeler allegedly stabbed his ex-wife to death and then intentionally drove head-on into the car of Jessica and David Bates during a police chase, resulting in David’s death.

Read the source article at Homepage

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Politics

$480M Wells Fargo Shareholder Settlement Approved

A federal judge on Tuesday gave his final blessing to a $480 million deal to resolve claims that Wells Fargo misled investors about a costly sham accounts scandal that tarnished the bank’s reputation.

The settlement applies to those who purchased stock in the San Francisco-based bank between Feb. 26, 2014, and Sept. 20, 2016. Each investor will get about $0.35 per share after attorneys’ fees are deducted from the settlement fund.

Read the source article at Homepage

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Politics

New York alleges Target, Walmart sold toys with toxic lead levels

The state of New York has filed a lawsuit against the Target and Walmart, as well as LaRose Industries, alleging the sale of lead-contaminated toys with nearly 10 times more than legal level of lead allowed by federal standards.

According to the New York Attorney General’s Office, Walmart, Target and importer LaRose Industries violated state laws after testing showed “Cra-Z-Jewelz” sold by the retailers and imported by LaRose, contained more than the 100 parts per million over the federal limit. The Cra-Z-Jewlez jewelry-making kits tested by the Attorney General’s Office and retested by the Consumer …

Read the source article at Legal Newsline

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Politics

The Hamilton Project releases new report that concludes the cash bail system cost the U.S. economy over $15 billion in 2018

cash moneyThe Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution has released a new report titled, “The Economics of Bail and Pretrial Detention,” which explores the economic burden that the U.S. bail and pretrial detention system places not only on low-income defendants—but society as a whole. 

The study concludes that in 2018, the direct cost of bail to the U.S. economy was $15.26 billion (illustrated below in Table 1). The more than $15 billion in costs does not include additional indirect fees and long-run damages including: decreased future employment opportunities, increased financial burdens placed on family members, and future crimes committed, among other factors.  Additional findings from the report include:

  • Despite California’s recent elimination of cash bail, the analysis finds that in recent decades, the usage of bail and the duration of pretrial detention in the U.S. has increased significantly—regardless of the type of offense. For example: between 1992 and 2009, median bail increased by 33 percent for drug offenses, 48 percent for public order offenses, and 67 percent for violent offenses. 
  • Nearly 25 percent of all state and local inmates are in jail without having been convicted of a crime. The majority of these people are deemed eligible for release by a judge—but are unable to raise the funds to leave jail.
  • Pretrial detention periods are growing substantially, subsequently increasing costs to those who cannot afford bail. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the median duration of pretrial detention increased for every charged offense, ranging from an increase of 34 percent for burglary to 104 percent for rape. 
  • The share of released defendants who relied on commercial bail bonds more than doubled—rising from 24 to 49 percent, from 1990-2009. Commercial bonds account for all of the increase in total defendants who are able to secure financial release.

To learn more about the findings in the analysis, view the full report online.

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Politics

ACLU and The Leadership Conference Praise Senate Passage of FIRST STEP Act

JailThe Senate has passed a revised version of the FIRST STEP Act by a margin of 87-12. It is expected to pass quickly in the House of Representatives in the coming days.

Jesselyn McCurdy, deputy director of the Washington Legislative Office at the American Civil Liberties Union, had the following reaction:

“The FIRST STEP Act is by no means perfect. But we are in the midst of a mass incarceration crisis, and the time to act is now.”

“We applaud the bipartisan group of senators who were willing to listen to advocates and include important sentencing reforms that will grant thousands of currently incarcerated people a second chance.”

“People’s lives are at stake. We’re delighted to see common sense prevail and the FIRST STEP Act move closer to the finish line.”

Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of the The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, had the following response:

“The Senate’s bipartisan vote to pass the FIRST STEP Act is an important, but modest step forward for justice and human dignity. But it is not the end of our fight. This bipartisan bill offers some important improvements to the current federal system, but it falls short of providing the meaningful change that is required, as we explained in a letter to the Senate. More work will be needed as we push for transformational change that will end mass incarceration in America.”

“We applaud our coalition members for their tireless work to ensure that the final bill included the vital sentencing provisions that improved the bill, Senators Durbin, Booker, Harris, Lee, and Grassley for their leadership, and the many formerly incarcerated allies and advocates who remind us that this work has real-world impact.”

More information about the ACLU’s position on the FIRST STEP Act can be found here:
https://www.aclu.org/blog/smart-justice/mass-incarceration/how-first-step-act-moves-criminal-justice-reform-forward

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Politics

Judge rules cops, schools had no duty to shield students in Parkland shooting lawsuit

A federal judge on Monday ruled that Broward County schools and the Sheriff’s Office were not legally obligated to protect and shield students in the shooting that occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., last February.

U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom tossed out a lawsuit brought by 15 students who survived the school shooting that argued the Sheriff’s Office and the Broward school district had a legal duty to protect them during the massacre.

Read the source article at The Hill

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Politics

Passenger alleges first Viking River Cruises ship failed to move, second struck bridge

A Maryland man is seeking damages from California cruise line after his ship failed to sail and the replacement ship struck a bridge.

John Amato IV, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, filed a complaint on Dec. 6 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland against Viking River Cruises Inc. alleging negligence and fraud.

Read the source article at Legal Newsline

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Politics

Jury Awards $25 Million Against Texas Nightclub in Cowboys Player’s Death

A Dallas County jury awarded the mother of former Dallas Cowboys football player Jerry Brown $25 million Thursday afternoon, concluding a local nightclub shared responsibility in his car collision death six years ago.

Jurors deliberated for over four hours before finding Beamers Private Club and Brown’s teammate, Josh Brent, each 48 percent responsible for Brown’s death, while holding Brown himself four percent responsible.

Read the source article at Homepage

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Politics

Billing records for Texas opioid cases show wildly varying costs among lawyers

The name partners at the Tyler, Texas-based Martin Walker law firm each billed 14.5 hours at $750 an hour, for a total of $21,750, to review lawsuits six Texas counties were preparing to file against opioid manufacturers and distributors that day.

The next day, they each turned in 10-hour days, billing five more counties $15,000 to review their opioid suits.

Read the source article at Legal Newsline

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Politics

SC Cities Join Conservationists to Fight Seismic Testing for Oil

16 South Carolina coastal cities teamed up with environmentalists to file lawsuits against the Trump administration aiming to stop offshore oil exploration, arguing that seismic testing will devastate marine life and the coastal economy.

The municipalities and nine environmental groups filed a pair of complaints in Charleston federal court hoping to reverse the administration’s approval of exploration along the Atlantic Coast.

Read the source article at Homepage