Sunday, August 28, 2016

Sheriff Joe Arpaio suffers another defeat in profiling case - POLITICO

Sheriff Joe Arpaio suffers another defeat in profiling case - POLITICO

“America’s toughest sheriff” just suffered another defeat at the hands of a federal judge.
U.S. District Court Judge Murray Snow on Friday ordered another judge to rule on whether Joe Arpaio, the Republican sheriff of Arizona’s Maricopa County, and a deputy should be held in criminal contempt of court for repeatedly ignoring court orders to stop racially profiling Latinos.
The 84-year-old Arpaio, who has been sheriff of the metropolitan Phoenix area for 23 years and is running for reelection, was an early supporter of Donald Trump and spoke at the Republican National Convention last month. Arpaio, a hero on the right for his aggressive stance on illegal immigration, warned in his prime-time address that the federal government had allowed "terrorists coming over our border, infiltrating our communities, and causing massive destruction and mayhem.”
Snow’s referral means Arpaio could face criminal fines or even jail time. If he is convicted of a felony, he would need to step down.
In May, Snow — who was tapped for the federal bench in 2007 by President George W. Bush — found Arpaio in contempt of court, ruling that he and his aides had repeatedly ignored court orders to stop racially profiling Latinos.
“The Court finds that the Defendants have engaged in multiple acts of misconduct, dishonesty, and bad faith,” Snow wrote on May 13. “They have demonstrated a persistent disregard for the orders of the Court, as well as an intention to violate and manipulate the laws and policies regulating their conduct.”
The case stems from Snow’s ruling on a 2011 lawsuit, when he found that Arpaio’s office was unfairly singling out Latino drivers for special scrutiny and ordered that the practice be stopped. Two years later, Snow found that Arpaio had intentionally flouted his order, citing the sheriff’s own public comments, such as a 2012 interview with Fox News in which he declared, “I’m not stopping anything” and said he was “not going to bend to the federal government.”


Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2016/08/joe-arpaio-racial-profiling-court-order-227226#ixzz4IbEKER4v 
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Justice Department to handle Arpaio case - POLITICO

Justice Department to handle Arpaio case - POLITICO

The Department of Justice will now handle the investigation into Phoenix Sheriff Joe Arpaio over accusations of racial profiling after federal prosecutors in Arizona asked to be removed citing unspecified conflicts of interest.
According to court filings made public on Friday and reported by the Associated Press, Arizona's federal prosecutors did not provide specific details on conflict of interests, but said there is an "existing conflicts of interest or the appearance of conflicts of interest pertaining to the matter."


Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2016/08/joe-arpaio-justice-department-227468#ixzz4IbDT1jPV 
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Saturday, August 27, 2016

ImmigrationProf Blog

ImmigrationProf Blog

“It seems inconsistent with the terms “base, vile, or depraved” to hold that an unauthorized immigrant who uses a false social security number so that she can hold a job, pay taxes, and support her family would be guilty of a crime involving moral turpitude, while an unauthorized immigrant who is paid solely in cash under the table and does not pay any taxes would not necessarily be guilty of a crime involving moral turpitude. A rule that all crimes that involve any ele ment of deception categorically involve moral turpitude would produce results at odds with the accepted definition of moral turpitude as conduct that is “inherently base, vile, or depraved.” At the same time, there is significant precedent indicating that deceptive conduct is morally turpitudinous. In the end, though, we do not need to try to resolve this conflict definitively in this case. “ (Slip Op. at *11-12)

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Injured security guard defeats Schering Plough bar on suing its customers - NJ Appellate Division

Injured security guard at Schering Plough defeats bar on suing customers - NJ Appellate Division

Judge Ellen Koblitz, writing for a panel of the Appellate Division of new Jersey's Superior Court, declared Schering Plough may not use as a defense the disclaimer required by its security contractor that a   worker waive the "right to sue any of Allied
Barton's customers "to which [he] may be assigned, arising from
or related to injuries which are covered under the Workers'
Compensation statutes."

The disclaimer provided:

As a result, and in consideration of Allied
Security offering me employment, I hereby
waive and forever release any and all rights
I may have to:
- make a claim, or
- commence a lawsuit, or
- recover damages or losses
from or against any customer (and the
employees of any customer) of Allied
Security to which I may be assigned, arising
from or related to injuries which are
covered under the Workers' Compensation
statutes. 
The court struck the waiver on policy grounds. Not only did the worker not appreciate the import of what he was signing, nor even know the identity of Allied Barton's customers, the waiver undercut the Workers Compensation Act which preserves the right to sue third parties (here Schering) or an employer which willfully or fraudulently cause harm to a covered employee.




Justices Green Light Reglan Mass Tort Claims | New Jersey Law Journal

Justices Green Light Reglan Mass Tort Claims | New Jersey Law Journal

The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled Aug. 22 that hundreds of failure-to-warn claims against makers of generic Reglan—which is used to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease—are not pre-empted by federal law.
In a 5-0 ruling in In re Reglan Litigation, the court refused to overturn two lower court rulings that said approximately 650 pending lawsuits consolidated in Middlesex County Superior Court as mass tort claims will be allowed to proceed.
In their lawsuits, the plaintiffs allege the generic manufacturers of the drug, known pharmaceutically as metoclopramide, failed to update their warning labels after 2004, when the brand-name manufacturers issued warnings about the dangers of taking the drug for an extended period of more than 12 weeks.
"Had defendants provided the same labeling as the brand-name manufacturers as required by federal law, defendants would have enjoyed a safe harbor," wrote Justice Barry Albin for the court. "As alleged, defendants' inadequate labeling breached a duty of care under the New Jersey Products Liability Act."
The plaintiffs' lead attorney, Louis Bograd, said he was "obviously pleased" with the ruling.
"The case has been moving through the appellate courts for years, and now we are going to be able to present our cases in the trial court," said Bograd, of the Washington, D.C., office of Motley Rice.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Federal Judge Refers Joe Arpaio Contempt-Of-Court Case

Federal Judge Refers Joe Arpaio Contempt-Of-Court Case

ByJACQUES BILLEAUD PublishedAUGUST 20, 2016, 11:46 AM EDT

PHOENIX (AP) — A federal judge wants another judge to decide whether metro Phoenix's sheriff and his top aide should be held in criminal contempt-of-court for ignoring court orders in a racial profiling case.

U.S. District Judge Murray Snow said in a ruling Friday that the judge in question will decide whether Sheriff Joe Arpaio should be held in criminal contempt for prolonging his immigration patrols months after Snow had ordered them stopped.

According to the AZCentral, Snow recommended that the U.S. Attorney’s Office bring a criminal contempt of court charges against Arpaio and three of his aides.

The judge said there was also probable cause to believe Arpaio intentionally failed to turn over records that he had promised, under oath, to give to a court official.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Christie rejects bill to automatically register voters - News - NorthJersey.com

 Christie rejects bill to automatically register voters - News - NorthJersey.com

Christie vetoes voter registration bills," by The Record's Dustin Racioppi: 

"Governor Christie  vetoed a pair of bills intended to expand voter registration, telling lawmakers in a formal veto message that one of them should be renamed 'The Voter Fraud Enhancement and Permission Act.' The bill proposes automatically registering voters as part of the driver's license application or renewal process, but Christie signaled earlier this week that he would reject it, calling it a 'cocktail for fraud.' Although there have not been any recent confirmed cases of voter fraud in New Jersey, Christie has begun to talk of cheating at the polls. At the same time, Christie's friend Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump continues to warn voters of a 'rigged' presidential election. Trump trails in most polls against Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton."

Smoking Gun Memo Could Bolster Voting Rights Case Against North Carolina

Smoking Gun Memo Could Bolster Voting Rights Case Against North Carolina

by Tierney Sneed//TPM



North Carolina's Republican Party has had an interesting response to a recent appeals court ruling that said a number of voting restrictions passed by the state's GOP legislature were enacted with the intent to discriminate against minorities, specifically African Americans. In their scramble after the ruling, party operatives and local Republican officials have perhaps inadvertently provided more evidence that the restrictions were passed with the intent to discriminate.
The most egregious example was a memo sent by North Carolina Republican Party executive director Dallas Woodhouse to county election officials urging them to continue to push for reductions in voting access, in which he explicitly spelled out a partisan motivation.
The memo came as the state is asking the Supreme Court to reverse the appeal court ruling, and restore for November's election some of the restrictions the appeals court struck down. And it may provide additional fodder for the voting rights advocates fighting the state's restrictions.
“It was stunning and stupid,” Daniel Tokaji, an elections law professor at Ohio State University. “Stunning that somebody would be so brazen about his and the party’s objective, and stupid in the sense it really seems to me to undercut their arguments to get the Supreme Court review that the lawyers had made.”
The state -- now represented by the high-powered Supreme Court advocate Paul Clement, a former solicitor general in the George W. Bush administration -- is currently asking Chief Justice John Roberts to allow it to implement some of the restrictions struck down by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last month. Among other things, North Carolina wants a reversal on the early voting provision -- where the appeals court had invalidated a law that cut back early voting from 17 days to 10.
“If I was their lawyer, I would be absolutely furious,” Tokaji said, of the Woodhouse memo.
In the memo, Woodhouse pushed for the reduction of voting hours, the removal of college campus polling sites and the elimination of Sunday voting.
“Republican Board members should feel empowered to make legal changes to early voting plans, that are supported by Republicans,” he wrote. “Republicans can and should make party line changes to early voting.”
He directed it to Republicans on county election boards, who are currently working out the voting schedules for the extra week of voting put back in place by the appeals court.
“They can comply with the law by just having early voting available for just 17 days but only at county board of elections during business hours,” said Chris Brooks, the legal director of the ACLU of North Carolina who is on the challengers' team of lawyers. “From a practical standpoint that is insane."
More than half the state is expected to use in-person early voting this election, according to a directive the state Board of Elections itself sent out to the counties after the appeals court decision.
Yet, a handful of county officials are doing anything to make early voting -- which is used disproportionately by African Americans -- as inaccessible as possible. Mecklenburg County’s GOP elections board chair Mary Potter Summa said she was “not a fan of early voting” before slashing more than 200 hours from the schedule. Watauga County officials blocked an election site at Appalachian State University and will have only one office for early voting. Dallas Woodhouse’s own cousin, Eddie Woodhouse, tried unsuccessfully to eliminate Sunday voting and remove a site from N.C. State’s campus.
“Many of the jurisdictions feel that they are on the receiving end of a liberal decision that will help Democrats in elections. They are going to do whatever they can to re-enact the laws within the bounds that the court has allowed,” said Nate Persily, an election law professor at Stanford University. “Their resistance is expected, given that they are afraid that the court’s decision will accelerate a Democratic tide in the presidential election.”
But their efforts, coupled with Woodhouse’s memo, may inadvertently make it easier for the the restrictions' legal opponents to prove their point to the Supreme Court.
“In the Supreme Court, there’s usually no introduction of material not in the record of the court below. The Supreme Court generally cannot engage in fact finding,” Rick Hasen, a professor at UC-Irvine School of Law who runs the Election Law blog, said in an email to TPM. “Nonetheless, it would not surprise me for some of the plaintiffs to cite news reports on this to make the claim that this is further evidence of discriminatory intent and that the Fourth Circuit got it right. And the Justices (or their clerks) are no doubt aware of this in any case.”
According to Persily, North Carolina's monkeying with county protocols could invite not just a stay denial, but also a written explanation that backs up the 4th Circuit's findings.
“The critical question is whether the court, whether five members of the court, think it’s important to send a signal to the lower courts and to the jurisdictions on the run up in this election,” Persily said.
Clement did not respond to TPM’s inquiry. But Woodhouse has defended his memo in a statement that said, “ Republicans will keep fighting for our positions to preserve the integrity of the voting process so everyone’s vote is properly counted, and any other positions we deem fit— because the Democrats haven’t made it a crime to be Republican— YET.”
When asked by TPM about its potential impact on the litigation, he wrote in an email, "[R]epublicans have the same right to advocate that voting sites be put in certain places, what hours they are open, and the fairness of the procedures."
“The 4th [C]ircuit ruled that the law we passed should not go forward. They did not rule that we [R]epublicans are prevented from advocating our own cause,” he added. “The left wants people with no ID, to vote whenever and however they want, and [R]epublicans to be silent about it or they call us names. They won't stop us from advocating for fair, safe and secure voting.”

Uber reaches $100m settlement in fight with drivers, who will stay contractors | Technology | The Guardian

this article is four months old. The settlement has been rejected by the judge. -gwc

Uber reaches $100m settlement in fight with drivers, who will stay contractors | Technology | The Guardian

by Julia Carrie Wong

Uber has agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit with its California andMassachusetts drivers for up to $100m, avoiding a jury trial that could have reclassified contractors as employees and was expected to determine the fate of the so-called gig economy.
The proposed settlement – which must be approved by a judge – would allow the ride-hail app to continue classifying drivers as independent contractors though it will make some changes to their working conditions.
Under the terms of the settlement, Uber has agreed to stop deactivating drivers “at will” and will allow drivers to solicit tips by placing a sign in their cars. Uberwill also facilitate the formation of a “drivers’ association” that “can play a role similar to a union”, according to a statement from the drivers’ attorney, Shannon Liss-Riordan.
Though the drivers’ associations and settlement money will only apply to drivers in California and Massachusetts, the new deactivation policy will be implemented nationwide, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said in a blogpost announcing the agreement.
“As Uber has grown – over 450,000 drivers use the app each month here in the US –we haven’t always done a good job working with drivers,” Kalanick wrote. “For example, we don’t have a policy explaining when and how we bar drivers from using the app, or a process to appeal these decisions. At our size that’s not good enough. It’s time to change.”
Of the settlement money, $84m is guaranteed to drivers once the settlement is approved. An additional $16m will be paid out if Uber goes public and its value increases one and a half times from its December 2015 valuation of $62.5bn within a year of its IPO.
The settlement money will be apportioned to drivers based on the number of miles they have driven with an Uber passenger.

Uber v drivers: judge rejects 'unfair' settlement in US class action lawsuit | Technology | The Guardian

Uber v drivers: judge rejects 'unfair' settlement in US class action lawsuit | Technology | The Guardian

by Carrie Wong

A federal judge has rejected the proposal to settle a major class-action lawsuit by California and Massachusetts drivers against Uber for $84m, ruling that “the settlement as a whole as currently structured is not fair, adequate, and reasonable”.
In a ruling issued Thursday, Judge Edward M Chen noted that the settlement “yields less than 5% of the total verdict value of all claims being released”.
In particular, Chen objected to the portion of the settlement that would accept $1m to settle a claim that is estimated to result in penalties to Uber of over $1bn, without providing any “coherent analysis” to justify “such a relatively meager value”.
“The settlement, mutually agreed by both sides, was fair and reasonable,” an Uber spokesperson said in a statement. “We’re disappointed in this decision and are taking a look at our options.”
“I am disappointed the judge did not approve the settlement, but I understand and I have heard him,” said Shannon Liss-Riordan, the plaintiff’s attorney.
If a new agreement that meets the judge’s approval is not reached, she said, “I will take the case to trial and fight my hardest for Uber drivers.”....