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Court to consider bathroom use by transgender student
Business Law Info | 2019/12/06 04:38
A transgender student’s fight over school bathrooms comes before a federal appeals court Thursday, setting the stage for a groundbreaking ruling.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta will hear arguments about whether a Florida school district should be ordered to allow students to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity.

Drew Adams, who has since graduated from Nease High School in Ponte Vedra, won a lower court ruling last year ordering the St. Johns County school district to allow him to use the boys’ restroom. The district has appealed, arguing that although it will permit transgender students to use single-occupancy, gender-neutral restrooms, it shouldn’t be forced to let students use the restroom of the gender they identify with.

The 11th Circuit could become the first federal appeals court to issue a binding ruling on the issue, which has arisen in several states. The ruling would cover schools in Florida, Georgia and Alabama, and could carry the issue to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The 4th Circuit had ruled in favor of a Virginia student, but the Supreme Court sent the case back down for further consideration. That’s because the U.S. Department of Education, under President Donald Trump, withdrew guidance that said federal law called for treating transgender students equally, including allowing them to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity.


Afghanistan probe appeal begins at Hague international court
Court Feed News | 2019/12/04 12:40
The International Criminal Court opened a three-day hearing Wednesday at which prosecutors and victims aim to overturn a decision scrapping a proposed investigation into alleged crimes in Afghanistan’s brutal conflict.

Fergal Gaynor, a lawyer representing 82 Afghan victims, called it “a historic day for accountability in Afghanistan.”

In April, judges rejected a request by the court’s prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, to open an investigation into crimes allegedly committed by the Taliban, Afghan security forces and American military and intelligence agencies.

In the ruling, which was condemned by victims and rights groups, the judges said that an investigation "would not serve the interests of justice" because it would likely fail due to lack of cooperation.

The decision came a month after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo banned visas for ICC staff seeking to investigate allegations of war crimes and other abuses by U.S. forces in Afghanistan or elsewhere.

“Whether the two events are in fact related is unknown, but for many ? victims as well as commentators ? the timing appeared more than coincidental,” said lawyer Katherine Gallagher, who was representing two men being held at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.

The United States is not a member of the global court and refuses to cooperate with it, seeing the institution as a threat to U.S. sovereignty and arguing American courts are capable of dealing with allegations of abuse by U.S. nationals.


Justices weigh dismissal of case over New York City gun law
Criminal Law Updates | 2019/11/30 12:50
The Supreme Court considered Monday whether to dismiss the first gun rights case it has heard in nearly 10 years, an outcome that would come as a huge relief to gun-control advocates.

The justices heard arguments in a dispute over New York City restrictions on transporting licensed, locked and unloaded guns outside the city limits. New York has dropped its transport ban, but only after the high court decided in January to hear the case.

Gun-rights groups are hoping a conservative majority fortified by two appointees of President Donald Trump, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, would use the case to expand on landmark decisions from a decade ago.

But the court spent most of the hour trying to determine whether anything is left of the case brought by the National Rifle Association’s New York affiliate and three city residents.

Chief Justice John Roberts sought assurances from the city’s lawyer that New York police would not refuse to issue gun licenses to people who have may have violated the old law.

In urging the justices to get rid of the case, Richard Dearing, the city’s lawyer, said repeatedly that the city would not prosecute people for or deny licenses based on past violations.



Ohio court will hear case over bullying, teacher liability
Class Action News | 2019/11/26 12:50
The Ohio Supreme Court this week agreed to hear a case over whether educators were reckless in failing to prevent an injury to a student even though they had been notified she was being bullied by a fellow kindergartner.

The court will consider whether teachers and principals can be sued when a student is bullied under their supervision, The (Toledo) Blade reported.

In this case, one girl reportedly punctured another girl’s cheek with a pencil at Toledo’s DeVeaux Elementary School several years ago.

A Lucas County court concluded a teacher and two principals were protected from the resulting lawsuit by statutory immunity. But a 2-1 ruling by a state appeals court panel resurrected the lawsuit on the recklessness issue.

State law makes educators immune from liability unless they act with “malicious purpose, in bad faith, or in a wanton or reckless manner.”

The appeals court panel concluded there was some evidence of ongoing verbal and physical abuse in the Toledo case but no sign that attempts were made to keep the two girls apart.

The school employees said they spoke with both students after being told about the teasing and bullying. The teacher said she saw no sign of the injury and didn’t learn about it until days afterward.


Bolivians urge US court to restore $10M verdict on killings
Class Action News | 2019/11/20 03:23
Bolivians asked a U.S. appeals court Tuesday to restore a $10 million jury verdict against a former president and defense minister of the South American nation over killings by security forces during 2003 unrest there.

Lawyers for a group of indigenous Bolivians told a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that a Florida judge was wrong to set aside last year's verdict.

The jury found against former Bolivian President Gonzalo "Goni" Sanchez de Lozada and former defense minister, Jose Carlos Sanchez Berzain. Both have been living in the U.S. after fleeing Bolivia in 2003.

We have faith that the court of appeals will see what the Bolivian people and the American jury also saw: that Goni and Sánchez Berzaín are responsible for these killings, and that justice must be done," said Teófilo Baltazar Cerro, a plaintiff whose pregnant wife Teodosia was shot and killed during the unrest.

The judges did not indicate when they would rule. In the lawsuit, relatives of eight Bolivians who died claimed the two officials planned to kill thousands of civilians to crush political opposition during civil unrest known as the "Gas War." The lawsuit was filed under the Torture Victim Protection Act, which authorizes suits in the U.S. for extrajudicial killings.

The unrest erupted in the fall of 2003 as street protests in Bolivia over use of the country's vast natural gas reserves boiled over. Demonstrators threw up street blockades of flaming debris and rubble in several places including on the outskirts of the capital of La Paz, and violent clashes between police and security forces with the civilian protesters turned deadly.

At times, government forces intent on clearing street barricades fired on demonstrators, mainly in the El Alto municipality adjacent to La Paz, leading to deaths. Other fatalities were reported in confrontations between security forces and Bolivian miners marching to the capital in support of the protesters. Many of the civilian victims were indigenous Aymara Bolivians.



Ohio Supreme Court keeps camera challenge alive
Court Feed News | 2019/11/20 03:21
Ohio’s Supreme Court has rejected Toledo’s motion to dismiss a challenge to how the city handles appeals of citations related to camera-captured traffic violations.

The high court recently rejected the motion to dismiss a challenge by Susan Magsig, of Woodville.

The Toledo Blade reports  Magsig received a citation alleging a camera held by a police officer caught her vehicle traveling 75 mph in a 60 mph-zone. Magsig argues Toledo violates state law by considering such appeals through an administrative hearing rather than through municipal court.

The city argues the case shouldn’t continue because a lower court’s preliminary ruling prevents enforcement of a state law giving local courts jurisdiction over all traffic violations. Magsig’s attorney says she isn’t bound by that ruling involving a legal dispute between the city and state.


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