Tuesday, April 26, 2016

April 25, 2014: Switch to Flint River Water Supply, Flint, MI; 1926: New York Harbor a Menace | This Day in Water History

0425 Flint uses Flint River

April 25, 2014: Switch to Flint River Water Supply, Flint, MI; 1926: New York Harbor a Menace | This Day in Water History

April 25, 2014: Switch to Flint River Water Supply, Flint, MI. An article published onlinememorialized the change earlier that day from treated water from Detroit, Michigan, to the raw water supply of the Flint River and the activation of the Flint Water Plant. The photo from that article reproduced above shows local and state officials toasting each other with water from the Flint plant. I am certain that most of them would be happy to have their images removed from that and similar photographs.
About a month after the change, residents of Flint began to complain about discolored water and odors from the new water supply. The water coming out of city taps was orange, red, yellow and brown. City and State officials tried to assure Flint citizens that the water was safe to drink even after repeated failures of primary drinking water regulations: Total Coliform Rule and the trihalomethane regulation. But the worst was yet to come.
Once the water from the Flint River was demonstrated to be more corrosive to iron and steel than water from Detroit, someone in the water department, treatment plant staff, City administration or Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ, drinking water regulatory agency) should have asked the question, “What about corrosion of the 15,000 lead service lines serving water to homes in the City?”
Some stories about what happened in Flint state that the USEPA asked MDEQ if optimized treatment was being applied to prevent corrosion of lead service lines (LSLs). The MDEQ representative assured the USEPA that everything was just fine.
What we now know is that the treated Flint River water was highly corrosive to lead and levels greater than 10,000 ug/L have been found in some home samples. Hundreds of samples have been found to contain lead above the 15 ug/L State and federal action level. Young children who are most susceptible to the toxic effects of lead were exposed at high concentrations, which ultimately showed up as elevated blood lead levels in thousands of children.
It took the persistence of one mother in town, a smart, courageous doctor and an activist engineering professor to blow the whistle and get everyone to start paying attention to a public health emergency. Citizens of Flint owe a great deal to LeeAnne Walters, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha and Marc Edwards. Miguel Del Toral of the USEPA did everything that he could to ring alarm bells once he understood what was happening. Later reporting by Rachel Maddow of MSNBC brought the crisis to national attention and helped start a national discussion of the solutions needed.

Friday, April 22, 2016

RJ Reynolds Hit With $13M Verdict In Smoker Death Trial - Law360

RJ Reynolds Hit With $13M Verdict In Smoker Death Trial - Law360

Law360, Los Angeles (April 22, 2016, 1:47 PM ET) -- A Florida jury on Friday awarded $13 million against R.J. Reynolds to the children of a heavy smoker who died of lung disease, saying the tobacco company hid the dangers of cigarettes from her until she was hopelessly addicted.

The case against R.J. Reynolds centered on the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease death of smoker Virginia Wilkinson. (Credit: AP)
The verdict included $10 million in punitive damages awarded Friday morning, and $3 million in compensatory damages awarded a day earlier.

The case centered on the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease death of smoker Virginia Wilkinson. She smoked at least one pack every day for more than 40 years, beginning at age 14, according to her attorney, Eric Rosen of Kelley Uustal.

Rosen told jurors Friday morning that $8.8 million would be an appropriate award in this case.

"They [R.J. Reynolds] need to feel it," Rosen told jurors during the punitive damages phase of the trial. "That will get their attention. They will feel that."

R.J. Reynolds attorney Cory Hohnbaum of King & Spalding LLP told jurors that amount was extreme.

The tobacco giant has changed dramatically since it famously denied that cigarettes caused cancer in previous decades.

"A punitive damages award anywhere near the excessive amount Mr. Rosen suggested to you is simply not warranted under the facts of this case," Hohnbaum said. "Considering how the world has change[d] and how R.J. Reynolds has changed, you do have the discretion here not to award punitive damages."

The lawsuit was filed by Wilkinson's children, Vivian Turner and Eugene Wilkinson, alleging that her decades-long habit of smoking caused her chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and, eventually, her death.

They alleged she tried to quit numerous times, even throwing out her cigarettes, lighters and ash trays, only to resume smoking just a couple of days later.

She cried when she talked about quitting, and she continued smoking even after she was diagnosed with COPD in 1993, they said.

R.J. Reynolds, however, argued that there was no evidence of which brand she smoked prior to the 1960s, and that there was evidence she had COPD as early as the 1980s. If she did have COPD in the 1980s and should have known, the son and daughter would be barred by the statute of limitations from pursuing their claims.

Jurors on Friday awarded Vivian Turner and Eugene Wilkinson each $1.5 million in non-economic compensatory damages.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

NYC~segregation obstacle for DeBlasio Affordable Housing Plans

Segregation Issue Complicates de Blasio’s Housing Push http://nyti.ms/1WtaIgd

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Louisiana ready to move forward with restoration now that BP oil spill is settled | Louisiana Record

Louisiana ready to move forward with restoration now that BP oil spill is settled | Louisiana Record

Louisiana ready to move forward with restoration now that BP oil spill is settled | Louisiana Record

by Karen Kidd

BATON ROUGE – With the $20 billion BP oil spill settlement now a 

by Karen Kiddreality, Louisiana can move forward with long-expected restoration plans, a state spokeswoman said during a recent interview. 

"Next steps for funds associated with natural resource damages include drafting the first in a series of project-specific restoration plans for public review and approval," Outreach and Engagement Director Jenny Kurz, of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana, said in an email interview with the Louisiana Record. "Similarly, projects to be funded with dollars subject to the RESTORE Act will be identified and publicly vetted."

Kurz said plans for the funds have been in the works since long before the settlement agreement was reached.

"Discussions with the public and partner agencies regarding potential projects for inclusion in oil spill restoration have been underway since 2013 and have continued to be refined as additional information was received," she said. "We ar

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Court Confirms BP Settlement with U.S, States in $20.8 billion Deal

With the filing this week of final judgment adopting the consent decree the litigation between BP Exploration and the United States, and the States of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas has come to an end.

Some, like the Providence Journal lament the $20.8 billion settlement find treatment of BP to be too mild.  But those sums are aside from the massive Deepwater Horizon Settlement Program - a separate class action by private parties.

The governmental settlements sums consist of civil penalties and natural resource damages suffered by the States and the United States.  They include

without limitation: (i) the costs of assessing injury, destruction, loss
of, or loss of use of Natural Resources and the resulting damages; (ii) the costs of restoration,
rehabilitation, or replacement of injured, destroyed, or lost Natural Resources and natural
resource services or of acquisition of equivalent resources; (iii) the costs of planning and
monitoring such restoration activities; and (iv) any other compensation for diminution in value or
loss of use or non-use values of Natural Resources. 
The $5.5 billion civil penalties payable to the U.S. in equal installments over fifteen years - as are the natural resource damages totaling $7.1 billion. Both accrue interest at market rate on 2-3 year government securities.  There is a five year $350 million nine year payment schedule for past due natural resource damage. $250 million additional payments are to be made in annual instalments over eight years.

It is easy to imagine a tougher result but thoughts of criminal prosecution have mostly been put to rest by the difficulty of finding criminal intent.


Editorial: Billions from BP - Opinion - providencejournal.com - Providence, RI

  Roughly six years after it was physically stanched, the BP oil spill came to a quiet official conclusion last week. On Monday, a federal judge in New Orleans gave final approval to a settlement estimated at $20.8 billion. Of that amount, $5.5 billion consists of penalties under the Clean Water Act. Much of the rest will be spent on compensation and repairs for environmental damage. Some will go toward reimbursing government costs.
In 2010, millions of gallons of oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico following a drilling-rig explosion that killed 11 workers. Under the settlement with BP, five Gulf states and numerous local governments will receive payments over the next dozen years. The funds will enable them to ramp up vital restoration work in coastal areas.
The Justice Department has described the agreement, initially announced last July, as the largest environmental settlement in U.S. history.
For a long-suffering region of the country, the settlement’s clearing of the way for environmental repairs is certainly a great step forward. Many Americans well recall scenes of soiled beaches, damaged fisheries and injured wildlife. Hotels, restaurants and related businesses suffered as tourists stayed away for months. Under a separate but uncapped 2012 agreement, BP continues to settle claims from business owners and residents who say they were harmed.
Yet only a handful of BP employees were criminally charged in the spill; they were either acquitted or received light punishment. The company itself paid $4 billion in criminal penalties tied to the rig workers’ deaths. But for the most part, individuals were not held accountable.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

GM Settles 3rd Ignition-Switch Bellwether Before Trial - Law360

Pursuing a strategy of try the weak ones, settle the strong, GM has settled the third bellwether trial in the ignition defect litigation. The problem for plaintiffs lawyers is that a reasonable offer should be accepted, depriving them of the opportunity to show how powerful is their claims against GM on liability.- gwc

BREAKING: GM Settles 3rd Ignition-Switch Bellwether Before Trial - Law360

Law360, New York (April 7, 2016, 1:27 PM ET) -- General Motors has settled the third in a series of bellwether trials over an ignition-switch defect that could make cars stall and lose power while driving, a potential setback for remaining plaintiffs in the multidistrict litigation in New York.
In a letter to U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman, GM lawyers Richard Godfrey and Andrew Bloomer of Kirkland & Ellis LLP said Thursday that plaintiff Nadia Yingling has entered into a confidential term sheet and a final settlement is expected to follow soon.

Yingling's husband, James, died in December 2013 from injuries suffered in a car accident in Pennsylvania on his way to work, and she claims an out-of-place ignition key caused him to lose control of the vehicle.

The settlement is a setback for plaintiffs in the MDL as they try to gain leverage against GM in potential settlement negotiations and prove that the pool of remaining cases is strong.

Each side had chosen three trials in the six-bellwether process; one of the plaintiffs' choices ended abruptly without a verdict, one has now settled, and GM won another. That leaves three bellwethers to go, and two of them are GM's choices, meaning they'll likely be weaker cases overall.

April 6, 1916: Typhoid Lawsuit and Reservoir Damage Lawsuit | This Day in Water History

0406 Milwaukee typhoid fever

John Snow established in 1854 that cholera was transmaitted not by foul vapors but by water plluted with human sewage.  He could not identify the organism but he established the causal link. Sixty years later transmission of typhoid was recognized as caused by contaminated drinking water - among other mechanisms.  Two years before these lawsuits the New York Court of Appeals in Stubbs v. City of Rochester dealt with the complex problem of how to prove causation in an individual case.  There were other possible sources - such as shellfish, unwashed vegetables, etc.

April 6, 1916: Typhoid Lawsuit and Reservoir Damage Lawsuit | This Day in Water History

Three Sue City for Typhoid Deaths. Milwaukee, Wis.-Three suits brought against the city of Milwaukee as a result of the recent typhoid epidemic, have been filed in circuit court, by two men for the deaths of their sons, and by a woman for the death of her husband. They are for $10,000 each. The complainants claim that the victims contracted the disease from the use of lake water, alleged to be unfit to drink because of the sewage which is being constantly emptied into the lake. The suits charge negligence in allowing the water to become polluted and at the same time supplying it to drink. It is claimed that at various times during the last ten years the city officials have been notified of the condition of the water, but that no attention has been paid to the warnings.”

“City Wins Reservoir Damage Suit. Fort Worth, Tex.-The second court of civil appeals has reversed and remanded the reservoir damage case against the city of Fort Worth, in which a jury in the sixty-seventh district court had awarded the plaintiff $39,867.88 for damage to her land flooded by the backwaters of Lake Worth and alleged damage to adjoining uplands. This is the first of four big reservoir damage suits that have gone against the city under the present administration to be submitted to the higher court. It was appealed on the grounds that the court erred in admitting certain testimony and of misconduct of the jury in considering matter that was not in evidence. The jury awarded $75 an acre for 361 acres of lowlands and $9 an acre for 839 acres of uplands. City witnesses appraised the lowlands at from $35 to $50 an acre and testified the uplands were not damaged. By the reversal the city also saves the interest on $39,867.88 from April 28, 1915.”

Reference: Municipal Journal. 1916. 40:14(April 6, 1916): 489.

Commentary: The typhoid fever epidemic in Milwaukee was caused by a city employee turning off the chlorine disinfection system for about 10 hours. The epidemic resulted in 513 cases and 59 deaths from typhoid fever. As filtration and chlorination became more widely installed to protect water supplies, it became harder for cities to claim that contaminated water supplies were not responsible for typhoid fever deaths. The combination of engineers wanting to do the right thing and lawsuits resulted in an accelerated introduction of the new technologies.

Cahill Can't Dodge Asbestos Victims' Spoliation Claims - Law360

 Cahill Can't Dodge Asbestos Victims' Spoliation Claims - Law360

by Aebra Coe

Law360, New York (April 6, 2016, 2:58 PM ET) -- A New Jersey federal judge on Wednesday shut down Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP’s efforts to escape a proposed fraud class action accusing it of conspiring with former client BASF to destroy evidence and conceal the fact that the company’s products contained asbestos.

U.S. District Judge Jose L. Linares rejected Cahill’s and BASF Catalysts LLC’s motions to dismiss fraud and fraudulent concealment claims brought against them over the alleged plot to suppress future asbestos lawsuits against the multinational chemical manufacturing corporation by destroying and manipulating evidence, rejecting their contention thatasbestos victims had failed to properly plead their case.

“Defendants had a clear duty to preserve that ran to a specific civil plaintiff, and then allegedly destroyed the evidence that would be required by similar individuals in the numerous lawsuits that were reasonably foreseeable,” Judge Linares said.

The matter of whether the plaintiffs’ allegations are true or not is yet to be seen, but, according to the court, discovery should proceed in order to determine the factual aspects of the case.

The Third Circuit ruled in September 2014 that a New Jersey federal judge had improperly dismissed the claims of fraud and fraudulent concealment against BASF and Cahill, after finding allegations surrounding the mid-1980s destruction of testing records showing asbestos in talc mined in Virginia were well-pled.

After the plaintiffs in the case filed their amended complaint in the district court litigation, the defendants renewed their motions for dismissal, arguing that the claims should be dismissed outright for lack of support.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Evidence, Policy, and E-Cigarettes — Will England Reframe the Debate? — NEJM

Because of the moralistic culture in which we live our tobacco control policy has been "just say no".  Blame is our approach to teen pregnancy and drug use.  Britian focuses on prevention. - gwc
Evidence, Policy, and E-Cigarettes — Will England Reframe the Debate? — NEJM

Sharon H. Green, M.P.H., Ronald Bayer, Ph.D., and Amy L. Fairchild, Ph.D., M.P.H.
N Engl J Med 2016; 374:1301-1303April 7, 2016DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp1601154
 Comments open through April 13, 2016
Audio Interview
Interview with Dr. Amy Fairchild on public health recommendations regarding electronic cigarettes in England and the United States.
Interview with Dr. Amy Fairchild on public health recommendations regarding electronic cigarettes in England and the United States. (10:53)
Tobacco-control advocates have been embroiled in a multiyear controversy over whether electronic cigarettes threaten the goal of further reducing tobacco smoking or offer the possibility of minimizing harm for people who cannot or will not quit smoking conventional cigarettes. England and the United States have now staked out very different positions.
The international landscape was dramatically reshaped in August 2015, when Public Health England (PHE), an agency of England’s Department of Health, released a groundbreaking report, “E-cigarettes: an evidence update.” With its claim that e-cigarettes are 95% less harmful than combustible cigarettes, the report attracted headlines internationally. It recommended that smokers who cannot or will not quit smoking tobacco try e-cigarettes and expressed great concern that the public perceived the two products as posing equal risks. Strikingly, the report underscored e-cigarettes’ potential to address the challenge of health inequalities, a central mission of PHE, stating that these devices “potentially offer a wide reach, low-cost intervention to reduce smoking and improve health in these more deprived groups in society where smoking is elevated.”1
The report — written by tobacco-addiction researcher Ann McNeill of King’s College London — reflected the position on e-cigarettes that had been agreed to by the U.K. public health community. Yet the editors of the Lancet asserted that though PHE claims to protect the nation’s health and well-being, it has failed to do so with this report. Two public health scholars writing in the BMJalso denounced the report, seizing on the methodologic limitations of one of the many studies on which the evidence review had relied, underlining the potential conflicts of interests acknowledged in the paper, and roundly condemning PHE for failing to meet basic evidentiary standards. Invoking the precautionary principle, the authors asserted that e-cigarette proponents bore the burden of proving that these products are not harmful. In contrast, 12 prominent U.K. public health organizations, including Cancer Research U.K. and the British Lung Foundation, defended PHE. Their joint press release underscored a public health responsibility to encourage smokers to switch to e-cigarettes, perhaps with the help of local smoking-cessation programs.
As dramatic as the report’s recommendations appear to be, they built on the United Kingdom’s long-standing commitment to harm reduction. In 1926, the Ministry of Health’s Rolleston Committee concluded that drug addiction was an illness that should be treated by physicians, sometimes with a minimal dose of drugs in order to prevent withdrawal symptoms. When AIDS came to the United Kingdom in the 1980s, the first government report on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection among injection-drug users encouraged safer drug practices. Meanwhile, the United States took a prohibitionist position. Tight narcotic regulation and refusal to provide narcotics to addicts as treatment or maintenance defined the U.S. posture for decades....

FDA plans new device analysis center


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

TRANSCRIPT: Bernie Sanders meets with News Editorial Board - NY Daily News

TRANSCRIPT: Bernie Sanders meets with News Editorial Board - NY Daily News

This interview with the Daily News Editorial Board is really embarrassing.     He campaigns on breaking up the big banks.  but he he knows nothing about Dodd Frank or the powers of the Fed; nor anything about Israel; positively Trumpian on trade agreements.  Ceaseless vacuous rhetoric.

As a lawyer, a law teacher, editorial writer for New Jersey's legal newspapers since 1995, and (thirty years ago) a Mondale representative on the Democratic National Platform Committee; as counsel to the Nuclear Freeze Campaign in New Jersey  I built my career on knowing what I am talking about.

I am shocked that Sanders - after all his years in Congress - cannot discuss key issues in a professional and competent way.  - gwc

Monday, April 4, 2016

O'Bannon v. NCAA - fee award largely affirmed

 U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilkens has affirmed with relatively modest changes the fee award of the Magistrate Judge in favor of the college players who prevailed in their Sherman Act case against the NCAA.  They sought to share in revenues the colleges gain from selling the student athletes images and likenesses.

Because plaintiffs prevailed in part by obtaining partial affirmance on appeal, and because the litigation was the catalyst for certain NCAA rule changes Judge Wilkens held that the plaintiffs were a prevailing party.  Here is the bottom line:
For the reasons stated above, the Court GRANTS the NCAA’s motion for de novo review of Magistrate Judge Cousins’ fee order and adopts the fee order in part. Docket No. 415. The Court orders the following reductions in addition to the reductions ordered by Magistrate Judge Cousins. The Court will further reduce Plaintiffs’ attorneys’ fees by $3,628,610.15, to $40,794,245.89, and will further reduce Plaintiffs’ costs by $5,675.00, to $1,540,195.58. 

Unanimous Supreme Court Preserves Principle Of One Person, One Vote

The Supreme Court has stricken one of the most unnerving and dishonest efforts to restrict voting rights: using eligible voters, not total population, for electoral districting.  The opinion was written by Justice Ruth Ginsburg.Though they concurred in the judgment  Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas grumbled, laying the basis for future attacks .  . - gwc

Unanimous Supreme Court Preserves Principle Of One Person, One Vote

by Tierney Sneed // Talking Points Memo

The Supreme Court unanimously ruled against challengers seeking to change the long-held interpretation of the principle of one person, one vote. Siding with a lower court, the 8-member high court held that total population could be used to draw electoral districts in Evenwell v. Abbot, Governor of Texas.

The decision for the case, Evenwel v. Abbott, was written by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Justice Samuel Alito and Justice Clarence Thomas each filed concurring opinions.

"Appellants have shown no reason for the Court to disturb this longstanding use of total population," Ginsburg wrote.

The challengers had argued the use of total population -- which includes non-citizens, but also children and disenfranchise prisoners -- to draw districts was unconstitutional because it diluted the political power of eligible voters. Civil rights advocates argued that the lawsuit was an attempt to increase the political power of white suburban and rural voters, who tend to vote Republican, at the cost of minority and urban communities, which have a larger share of non-eligible voters in their districts.

Raiders QB's Ken Stabler's Wife Joins New NFL Concussion Suit - Law360

The latest action against the National Football League is Scroggins V. NFL. The complaint alleges the NFL's behaviour is "strikingly similar" to that of the tobacco companies who supported junk science to undercut evidence of the health effects of cigarette smoking. The plaintiffs seek "relief for medical monitoring, as well as compensation and financial recovery, financial losses, expenses and intangible losses suffered by current living Plaintiffs diagnosed with the degenerative brain disorder, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) as a result of the defendant's carelessness, negligence, intentional misconduct, and concealment of information directly related to each Plaintiffs' injuries and losses. This action also seeks to recover fair compensation for the spouses of the player plaintiffs based upon their right to seek loss of consortium."
- gwc
Deceased Raiders QB's Wife Joins New NFL Concussion Suit - Law360

by Zach Zagger

Law360, New York (April 1, 2016, 9:31 PM ET) -- The wife of deceased Oakland Raiders star quarterback Kenny Stabler, who was posthumously found to have suffered from the degenerative brain condition CTE, joined on Friday a racketeering suit in Florida against the NFL alleging it purposefully concealed dangers of repeated head injuries and concussions, including through "junk science."

Rose Stabler, the wife of former Raiders quarterback and NFL MVP Kenny Stabler, who passed away last July, has joined as a named plaintiff in a proposed class action brought by former Detroit Lions linebacker and defensive end Tracy Scroggins, according to an amended complaint filed Friday. The amended complaint also adds two other former players as named plaintiffs, one of whom played as recently as the 2014 to 2015 season.

Kenny Stabler, nicknamed “the Snake,” passed away from colon cancer in July but was posthumously diagnosed as having suffered from the degenerative brain disorder chronic traumatic encephalopathy, according to a New York Times report cited in the amended complaint.

The amended complaint comes a week after Scroggins lodged the suit against the NFL on the heels of another report from the Times that said the league used faulty data in its concussion research and drew ties between the league and the tobacco industry, which long used questionable science to hide harmful effects of smoking.

The NFL has since disputed the report and demanded the Times issue a retraction threatening a defamation lawsuit and calling the purported Big Tobacco ties “sensational.” The Times has stood by its reporting.

The lawsuit, which relies on the Times reporting, alleges that the NFL has “actively concealed and actively disputed any correlation between repeated head trauma and CTE” for the past four decades and sought to suppress the findings of others who found a connection through the 1990s and 2000s.

“Despite its knowledge of the grave risks players in the NFL have been exposed to because of the defendant's concerted inaction or concealment of safety information, the defendant carelessly failed to take reasonable steps to develop appropriate and necessary steps to alert players to their risk of long-term neurogenic illness,” the amended suit alleged.

Last year, the NFL reached an uncapped settlement with a class of former players in a multidistrict litigation over concussions. That settlement is being challenged by some who say it does not do enough for the players with CTE.

But the amended complaint further said many former players, such as Stabler, who are diagnosed with CTE following an April 2015 cutoff and their families are not entitled to anything under the settlement. If not for that condition in the settlement, Stabler's family could recover approximately $980,000, the amended complaint said.

"The NFL Concussion Settlement fails to address CTE and grotesquely denies any recovery for NFL players alive and dead with and from CTE," attorney Tim Howard of Howard & Associates PA, who is representing the plaintiffs, told Law360.

The complaint brings claims of concealment, civil conspiracy and negligence against the NFL and violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. It calls for the establishment of a medical monitoring program for players who are believed to suffer from long-term brain injury and also seeks compensation, expenses and “intangible losses” on behalf of former NFL players and their spouses under the “right to seek loss of consortium.”

The NFL did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.

The plaintiffs are represented by represented by Tim Howard of Howard & Associates PA.

Counsel information for the NFL was not immediately available on Friday.

The case is Tracy Scroggins et al. v. National Football League, case number 0:16-cv-60644, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

When Whites Just Don’t Get It, Part 6 - The New York Times

 When Whites Just Don’t Get It, Part 6 - The New York Times

by Nicholas Kristof

LET’S start with a quiz. When researchers sent young whites and blacks out to interview for low-wage jobs in New York City armed with equivalent résumés, the result was:
A) Whites and blacks were hired at similar rates.
B) Blacks had a modest edge because of affirmative action.
C) Whites were twice as likely to get callbacks.
The answer is C, and a black applicant with a clean criminal record did no better than a white applicant who was said to have just been released from 18 months in prison.
A majority of whites believe that job opportunities are equal for whites and blacks, according to a PBS poll, but rigorous studies show that just isn’t so.
Back in 2014, I did a series of columns called “When Whites Just Don’t Get It” to draw attention to inequities, and I’m revisiting it because public attention to racial disparities seems to be flagging even as the issues are as grave as ever.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Kayak.com Granted Partial Fee Award After Beating Patent Suit | New Jersey Law Journal

 Kayak.com Granted Partial Fee Award After Beating Patent Suit | New Jersey Law Journal

by Charles Toutant

A federal judge in Camden has ruled that the operator of travel website Kayak.com is entitled to a partial fee award after emerging as the victor in a patent infringement suit. But the judge found Kayak's counsel failed to demonstrate that its hourly rates of up to $781 were reasonable.

U.S. District Judge Noel Hillman of the District of New Jersey granted in part the motion by Kayak Software Corp. seeking a declaration that a patent infringement suit by Source Search Technologies LLC was "exceptional" under 35 U.S.C. 285. The judge found the "exceptional" label applied to all proceedings after Kayak filed a motion for summary judgment of invalidity.

Source Search claimed in the suit, filed in June 2011, that Kayak infringed its '328 patent, which was entitled "Computerized Quotation System and Method." The late U.S. District Judge Joseph Irenas dismissed the suit in July 2015 after finding that the '328 patent was invalid for claiming an abstract idea. Kayak then filed its motion to find the patent case "exceptional," based on the litigation conduct and allegedly meritless arguments made by the plaintiff.
Read more: http://www.njlawjournal.com/id=1202753896591/Kayakcom-Granted-Partial-Fee-Award-After-Beating-Patent-Suit#ixzz44banOssO