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Dutch court throws out case against Israeli military chiefs
Court Feed News | 2020/01/28 03:08
A Dutch court threw out a civil case Wednesday brought by a Dutch-Palestinian man seeking damages from two former Israeli military commanders for their roles in a 2014 airstrike on a Gaza house that killed six members of his family.

The Hague District Court ruled that the case filed by Ismail Zeyada can't proceed because the commanders, including high profile former military chief Benny Gantz, have immunity.

Zeyada was attempting to sue Gantz, who is now a prominent Israeli politician, and former Israeli air force commander Amir Eshel. Neither Gantz nor Eshel was in court for the decision.

Zeyada, who lives in the Netherlands, brought the case in The Hague because he argued he can't successfully hold Israeli military leaders accountable in Israeli courts.

But presiding judge Larisa Alwin said the court can't hear the case because the commanders “enjoy functional immunity from jurisdiction” as their actions were part of a state-sanctioned military operation.

Zeyada said he and his lawyers would study the ruling with a view to appealing. “I owe it to all the Palestinians who have suffered and continue to suffer the same fate, to continue this struggle to achieve what is denied to them: Access to independent justice and accountability for the unspeakable crimes committed against them,” he told reporters outside the courtroom.

The court agreed with the arguments of Dutch lawyers representing the men who said last year they should reject the case for lack of jurisdiction because the commanders have immunity because their actions in the 2014 Gaza conflict were part of an Israeli military operation and that Zeyada was free to sue them in Israel.



Supreme Court allows enforcement of new green card rule
Business Law Info | 2020/01/27 03:06
A divided Supreme Court on Monday allowed the Trump administration to put in place new rules that could jeopardize permanent resident status for immigrants who use food stamps, Medicaid and housing vouchers.

Under the new policy, immigration officials can deny green cards to legal immigrants over their use of public benefits. The justices' order came by a 5-4 vote and reversed a ruling from the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York that had kept in place a nationwide hold on the policy following lawsuits against it.

The court's four liberal justices, Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, voted to prevent the policy from taking effect.

Federal appeals courts in San Francisco and Richmond, Virginia, had previously overturned trial court rulings against the rules. An injunction in Illinois remains in effect but applies only to that state.

The lawsuits will continue, but immigrants applying for permanent residency must now show they wouldn't be public charges, or burdens to the country.

The new policy significantly expands what factors would be considered to make that determination, and if it is decided that immigrants could potentially become public charges later, that legal residency could be denied. Under the old rules, people who used non-cash benefits, including food stamps and Medicaid, were not considered public charges.


Court: Methodist bishops must testify in sex abuse case
Business Law Info | 2020/01/24 03:17
Two United Methodist bishops must testify in a lawsuit filed by a one-time church member who claimed he was sexually abused, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled Friday, turning away the church leaders’ efforts to stay out of the case.

The all-Republican court, in a 7-2 decision, rejected attempts by the current bishop for north Alabama, Debra Wallace-Padgett, and her predecessor, Will Willimon, to avoid sworn testimony.

Both Wallace-Padgett and Willimon, who now teaches at Duke University, claimed they didn’t know anything personally about the complaints of a male who claimed he was sexually abused as a minor by a United Methodist youth pastor. Wallace-Padgett also argued it would be “unduly burdensome” for her to provide documents.

The justices rejected their arguments, saying neither was protected by a rule that shields high-ranking corporate or government officials from testifying about cases in which they have no direct knowledge.

The decision came as courts nationwide grapple with lawsuits and legal questions raised by complaints of sexual abuse within multiple religious denominations.


Supreme Court rejects fast-track review of health care suit
Class Action News | 2020/01/22 17:58
The Supreme Court refused Tuesday to consider a fast-track review of a lawsuit that threatens the Obama-era health care law, making it highly unlikely that the justices would decide the case before the 2020 election.

The court denied a request by 20 mainly Democratic states and the Democratic-led House of Representatives to decide quickly on a lower-court ruling that declared part of the statute unconstitutional and cast a cloud over the rest.

Defenders of the Affordable Care Act argued that the issues raised by the case are too important to let the litigation drag on for months or years in lower courts, and that the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans erred when it struck down the health law's now toothless requirement that Americans have health insurance.

The justices did not comment on their order. They will consider the appeal on their normal timetable and could decide in the coming months whether to take up the case.


Court takes another look at Native American adoption law
Business Law Info | 2020/01/22 17:56
A 1978 law giving preference to Native American families in foster care and adoption proceedings involving American Indian children was getting a second look Wednesday from a federal appeals court in New Orleans.

A three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans upheld the Indian Child Welfare Act in August in a 2-1 ruling.

Opponents of the law — including non-Indian families who have sought to adopt American Indian children — sought and got a re-hearing. On Wednesday, the court's 16 active judges were expected to hear arguments.

A 1978 law giving preference to Native American families in foster care and adoption proceedings involving American Indian children was getting a second look Wednesday from a federal appeals court in New Orleans.

A three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans upheld the Indian Child Welfare Act in August in a 2-1 ruling.

Opponents of the law — including non-Indian families who have sought to adopt American Indian children — sought and got a re-hearing. On Wednesday, the court's 16 active judges were expected to hear arguments.



Bangladesh court orders 231 factories closed to save river
Business Law Info | 2020/01/19 01:59
Bangladesh’s High Court has asked authorities to shut down 231 factories surrounding the highly polluted main river in the nation’s capital, lawyers and activists said Tuesday.

Manzil Murshid, who filed a petition with the court seeking its intervention, said the factories are mainly small dyeing, tanning and rubber plants operating without approval from the Department of Environment. Such factories often are able to operate with the backing of influential politicians or by bribing government officials.

The court’s decision Monday on the factories near the River Buriganga was hailed by environment activists despite some previous court orders that were not carried out by government authorities, Murshid said.

Murshid represents Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh, a domestic advocacy group.

He said the decision came after the environment department submitted a report on 231 factories that operate illegally and contribute highly to the pollution. The court also asked the officials to prepare “a complete list of illegal factories or factories without effluent treatment plants” operating in and around Dhaka within three months.

“This is a good decision. The court has asked the authorities to disconnect water, electricity and other utility services for factories that are polluting the Buriganga,” he told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Amatul Karim, who represented the Department of Environment in the case, said the court’s order came after a thorough examination of the history of the factories, the level of pollution of the river and overall damage to the environment.


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