Ohio Republicans defending state congressional map in court
Legal Topics | 2019/03/11 17:45
Attorneys for Ohio Republican officials will call witnesses this week to defend the state's congressional map.

A federal trial enters its second week Monday in a lawsuit by voter rights groups that say the current seats resulted from "an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander." Their witnesses have included Democratic activists and voters who have expressed frustration and confusion with districts that have stayed at 12 Republicans, four Democrats, since they were drawn ahead of the 2012 elections.

Attorneys for the Republican officials being sued say the map resulted from bipartisan compromise, with each party losing one seat after population shifts in the 2010 U.S. Census caused Ohio to lose two congressional seats.

Among potential GOP witnesses is former U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (BAY'-nur) of West Chester, Ohio.


Case about indigent drivers and drivers' licenses in court
Legal Topics | 2019/03/11 00:46
A federal court judge will hear motions in a lawsuit over a North Carolina law that mandates the revocation of drivers' licenses for unpaid traffic tickets even if the driver can't afford to pay.

Advocacy groups sued in May, seeking to declare the law unconstitutional. A hearing will be held Wednesday in Winston-Salem on motions for a preliminary injunction and class certification.

The judge also will consider a motion by the defendant, the commissioner of the Division of Motor Vehicles, for a judgment in his favor.

The American Civil Liberties Union and other groups sued on behalf of indigent residents facing license revocation or whose licenses have been revoked.

They're asking that a judge declare the law unconstitutional, saying it violates due process rights under the 14th Amendment.


Court rejects Ghosn’s request to attend Nissan board meeting
Attorney News | 2019/03/10 01:49
A Japanese court has rejected a request by former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn, released on bail last week, to attend the Japanese automaker’s board meeting on Tuesday.

Nissan dismissed Ghosn as chairman after his Nov. 19 arrest, but he remains on the board. The Tokyo District Court said it rejected Ghosn’s request on Monday but did not elaborate on the reasons.

It had been unclear whether Ghosn could attend the board meeting. The court’s approval was needed based on restrictions imposed for his release on bail. The restrictions say he cannot tamper with evidence, and attending the board meeting could be seen as putting pressure on Nissan employees.

Prosecutors had been expected to argue against his attendance. They were not available for immediate comment.

Ghosn has been charged with falsifying financial reports in underreporting his compensation and breach of trust in making payments to a Saudi businessman and having Nissan shoulder investment losses.

He insists he is innocent, saying the compensation was never decided or paid, the payments were for legitimate services and Nissan never suffered the losses.

Since his release on March 6 from Tokyo Detention Center on 1 billion yen ($9 million) bail, he has been spotted taking walks in Tokyo with his family, but he has not made any comments.

His attempt to exercise what his lawyer, Junichiro Hironaka, called his “duty” by attending the board meeting signals one way he may be fighting back.

Hironaka has said Ghosn will speak to reporters soon. A date for a news conference has not been announced.



Demonstrators gather for Heathrow expansion court challenge
Attorney News | 2019/03/09 15:49
A challenge against British government plans to expand Heathrow Airport through the construction of a third runway has begun in one of the country's highest courts.

A coalition of local councils, environmentalists and London residents claim the government has failed to properly address the impact on air quality, climate change, noise and congestion that expansion would bring.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan is also backing the lawsuit. Demonstrators gathered outside the High Court on Monday for the first day of a two-week hearing.

Parliament approved plans last year for the third runway, backing what the government described as the most important transportation project in a generation.

Prime Minister Theresa May has said the expansion will boost economic growth.



Court: $700M judgment against North Carolina still unpaid
Headline Legal News | 2019/03/08 01:49
A North Carolina judge has affirmed that a court judgment issued more than 10 years ago stating school districts are owed over $700 million in civil penalties from several state agencies is still nearly all unpaid.

The order signed Wednesday by Wake Superior Court Judge Vince Rozier ends a lawsuit filed last summer by the North Carolina School Boards Association and many local boards.

But Rozier's ruling makes clear he can't direct how and when the General Assembly should pay because of constitutional limitations. The school districts hope the new litigation will revive efforts to get lawmakers to repay the $730 million.

At issue were fees collected by agencies for late tax payments, overweight vehicles and other items that never got forwarded to schools, as the state constitution required.



N Carolina court: State retirees should pay health premiums
Opinions | 2019/03/06 01:49
A North Carolina appeals court is throwing out a judge's ruling that a former Supreme Court chief justice and other retired state government workers can't be forced to pay part of their health insurance premiums.

A state Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday the retirees don't have a contract preventing them from contributing to their coverage. A three-judge panel ruled unanimously that retired state employees were promised nothing more than what is offered to current workers.

Legislators passed a law in 2011 requiring retirees to pay premiums they didn't pay while working. Retirees including former Chief Justice I. Beverly Lake sued, saying that broke the state's promise to provide health insurance.

The State Health Plan covers more than 700,000 employees, retirees and their dependents.


Oregon's high court: Developers can't offset harm to farmers
Attorney News | 2019/03/04 06:37
The Oregon Supreme Court has ruled that negative impacts on Oregon's farmers from non-farm development can't be offset by making payments.

The Capital Press reported Friday that the court also ruled this week that it's not enough for a development to avoid taking away agriculturally-zoned land. A project also can't change costs or agricultural practices for farmers.

The ruling settles a lawsuit filed over a planned expansion of a landfill in Yamhill County that would affect nearby farms and orchards.

Waste Management, the owner of the Riverbend Landfill, is reviewing the Oregon Supreme Court's ruling.



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