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‘The Supreme Court Is Not Well. And the People Know It.’
Court Feed News | 2019/09/10 17:04
The Supreme Court as we once knew it?as a national institution that could at least sometimes stand apart from partisanship?died last year. The ongoing fight over its corpse spilled into public view last week.

On Thursday, 53 United States senators?every member of the Republican caucus?wrote a “letter” to the clerk of the Supreme Court assuring the justices that the Republican Party has their back. The Democrats, the senators told the Court, pose “a direct, immediate threat to the independence of the judiciary.”

The spat is about guns. The Court has granted review in a Second Amendment case entitled New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. City of New York, New York, which (nominally) tests an obscure New York City ordinance governing how firearms owners could?note the past tense?travel with their weapons.

Under city law as it was when the case began, New Yorkers with a “premises” license had to keep their guns in their homes at all times, except when being taken to a licensed target-shooting facility for practice and training. But those facilities had to be in New York City itself. “Premises” licensees could not put their guns in their trunk and drive out of town for any reason?not to go to a gun range, not to compete in a shooting match, not to take the guns to a second home.



Cock-a-doodle-doo! French rooster crows over court win
Court Feed News | 2019/09/10 17:02
ing is exasperating Fesseau’s neighbors, a retired couple who moved to the island two years ago. They asked the court to make the animal move farther away, or shut up.

Instead, the judge in the southwest city of Rochefort ordered them to pay 1,000 euros ($1,005) in damages to Fesseau for reputational harm, plus court costs.

“That made my clients feel very bad,” their lawyer Vincent Huberdeau said. He said Fesseau intentionally put her chicken coop close to her neighbors’ window and then turned Maurice into a cause celebre for rural traditions, and that the judge went too far in punishing the plaintiffs instead.

Their case also backfired in the court of public opinion, at least locally. More than 120,000 people signed a petition urging authorities to leave Maurice alone ? and a “support committee” made up of roosters and hens from around the region came to support his owner during the trial in July.

“The countryside is alive and makes noise ? and so do roosters,” read one of their signs.

The ruling may spell good news for a flock of ducks in the Landes region of southwest France, where a trial is underway between farmers and neighbors angry over the creatures’ quacks and smell.

Authorities also ruled against residents of a village in the French Alps who complained in 2017 about annoying cow bells, and an effort last year to push out cicadas from a southern town to protect tourists from their summer song also failed.

Since Maurice’s tale came to light, some French lawmakers have suggested a law protecting the sounds and smells of the countryside as part of France’s rural heritage.


Louisiana high court rejects ‘NOLA No-Call’ suit against NFL
Court Feed News | 2019/09/08 00:00
A New Orleans Saints fan’s lawsuit against the NFL and game officials over the failure to call a crucial penalty against the Los Angeles Rams in a January playoff game was dismissed Friday by the Louisiana Supreme Court.

The ruling appeared to be a death blow to the last remaining lawsuit over what’s come to be known as the “NOLA No-Call.” It also means that, barring a reversal, Commissioner Roger Goodell and game officials will not have to be questioned under oath in New Orleans, as a lower court had previously ordered.

There were no dissents among the seven court members in the reversal of the lower court’s ruling.

Attorney Antonio LeMon had sued, alleging fraud and seeking damages over game officials’ failure to flag a blatant penalty: a Rams player’s helmet-to-helmet hit on a Saints receiver with a pass on the way. The lack of a penalty call for pass interference or roughness helped the Rams beat the Saints and advance to the Super Bowl.

LeMon was reviewing the decision Friday afternoon and was expected to comment later on whether he might seek a rehearing.

The unsigned opinion invoked precedent in a nearly 75-year-old case, stating that Louisiana law gives the ticket to a “place of public amusement” is a license to witness a performance. “Applying this reasoning to the case at bar, we find plaintiffs’ purchase of a ticket merely granted them the right of entry and a seat at the game,” the ruling said. “Plaintiffs have not alleged that these rights were revoked or denied in any way.”

LeMon, who filed with three other ticket-holders, had argued that the circumstances of the game ? and his lawsuit ? are unique. The suit wasn’t simply filed over a missed call, his filing said. Among its allegations are claims that fraud and “implicit or unconscious bias” on the part of game officials from the Los Angeles area led to the decision not to flag the penalty.


Court rules Rams lawsuit can be heard in St. Louis courtroom
Court Feed News | 2019/08/30 23:55
The Missouri Supreme Court has ruled that a lawsuit filed over the Rams' departure from St. Louis will be heard in a St. Louis courtroom, a defeat for the NFL team's owner who sought to send the case to arbitration.

The court issued its ruling Tuesday in a lawsuit filed by St. Louis city and county and the St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority, which owns the domed stadium where the Rams formerly played. It named Rams owner Stan Kroenke, who moved the team to Los Angeles for the 2016 season, the NFL and league owners.

It wasn't immediately clear if an appeal was planned. Messages left Wednesday with the Rams, Kroenke's attorney and the NFL were not immediately returned

The lawsuit alleged that the Rams' departure violated a 1984 league guideline that was established after the Raiders moved from Oakland to Los Angeles. The league, the Rams and Kroenke have argued that the disagreements should be settled behind closed doors in arbitration.

The suit seeks financial damages, but a win for the city, county and dome authority would not return the team to St. Louis.

The Rams' departure left a bitter taste in St. Louis, which lost an NFL team for the second time in 30 years ? the Cardinals moved to Arizona in 1987.

Last month, a judge gave preliminary approval to the settlement of a separate suit filed on behalf of fans who bought St. Louis Rams tickets and team merchandise. The settlement could be worth up to $25 million. The


Appeal in John Steinbeck lawsuit heard in court
Court Feed News | 2019/08/12 01:37
Both sides had another day in court Tuesday in a family battle that has been waged for decades over who controls the works of iconic author John Steinbeck.

A three-judge panel of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments to an appeal by the estate of Steinbeck’s late son, Thomas Steinbeck. The panel was in Anchorage to hear various cases.

Thomas Steinbeck’s estate is contesting a 2017 federal jury verdict in California that awarded more than $13 million to the author’s stepdaughter, Waverly Scott Kaffaga, whose mother was John Steinbeck’s third wife. The lawsuit said Thomas Steinbeck and his wife, Gail Steinbeck, impeded film adaptations of the classic works. A judge earlier ruled in the same case that the couple breached an agreement between Kaffaga’s late mother and Thomas Steinbeck and his late brother, John Steinbeck IV.

Neither Gail Steinbeck nor Waverly Kaffaga attended Tuesday’s proceeding.

Attorney Matthew Dowd, representing the Thomas Steinbeck estate, told the circuit judges the appeal contends the 1983 agreement was in violation of a 1976 change to copyright law that gave artists or their blood relatives the right to terminate copyright deals. The appeal also disputes the award handed up by the jury, maintaining it was not supported by substantial evidence of Gail Steinbeck’s ability to pay.

Kaffaga’s attorney, Susan Kohlmann, told the circuit judges multiple courts, including an earlier Ninth Circuit decision, have already upheld the agreement as binding and valid, and deemed it enforceable. She called the contract argument a “complete red herring.”

Dowd disagreed. He said previous decisions on the agreement didn’t completely deal with the particular issue involving the 1976 statute. He said Gail Steinbeck was not allowed to fully address the issue in court.


Dutch Supreme Court upholds Srebrenica deaths liability
Court Feed News | 2019/07/20 21:35
The Dutch Supreme Court upheld Friday a lower court’s ruling that the Netherlands is partially liable in the deaths of some 350 Muslim men who were murdered by Bosnian Serb forces during the 1995 Srebrenica massacre.

The Netherlands’ highest court ruled that Dutch United Nations peacekeepers evacuated the men from their military base near Srebrenica on July 13, 1995, despite knowing that they “were in serious jeopardy of being abused and murdered” by Bosnian Serb forces.

Presiding Judge Kees Streefkerk said “the state did act wrongfully” and told relatives of the dead they can now claim compensation from the Dutch government.

“They are responsible and they will always have a stain,” Munira Subasic, one of the relatives who brought the case, said angrily of the Dutch. “We know what happened; we don’t need this court to tell us.”

The ruling upholding a 2017 appeals court judgment was the latest in a long-running legal battle by a group of relatives known as The Mothers of Srebrenica to hold the Dutch government accountable for the deaths of their family members in Europe’s worst massacre since World War II.

Dutch Defense Minister Ank Bijleveld-Schouten said the government accepted the ruling.

“We want to express again our sympathy to the relatives of the victims,” she said in a statement. “The Srebrenica genocide must never be forgotten.”

The 350 men were among 5,000 terrified Muslim residents of the Srebrenica area who took shelter in the Dutch peacekeepers’ base when the region was overrun by Bosnian Serb forces commanded by Gen. Ratko Mladic, who was convicted of genocide by a U.N. war crimes tribunal in 2017 for masterminding the massacre that left some 8,000 Muslim men and boys dead. Mladic has appealed.


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