US court bars Trump from reversing transgender troops policy
Attorney News | 2017/11/01 23:19
A federal judge on Monday barred President Donald Trump's administration from proceeding with plans to exclude transgender people from military service.

U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ruled that the transgender service members who had sued over Trump's policy were likely to win their lawsuit. She directed a return to the situation that existed before Trump announced his new policy this summer, saying the administration had provided no solid evidence for why a ban should be implemented.

Trump had ordered a reinstatement of the longstanding policy that barred transgender individuals from joining the military; service members who were revealed to be transgender were subject to discharge. Under President Barack Obama, that policy was changed last year to allow transgender people to serve openly.

The Trump administration may appeal Kollar-Kotelly's decision, but for now, the proposed ban remains unenforceable under Kollar-Kotelly's preliminary injunction.

"We disagree with the court's ruling and are currently evaluating the next steps," said Justice Department spokesman Lauren Ehrsam.

She reiterated the department's view that the lawsuit was premature because the Pentagon was still in the process of reviewing how the transgender policy might evolve.

One of the attorneys handling the lawsuit, Shannon Minter of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said the ruling was an enormous relief to his clients.



Brazilian court revives case against Olympian Ryan Lochte
Attorney News | 2017/10/29 15:31
Over the summer, it appeared Ryan Lochte had been cleared of criminal charges in Brazil after he was accused of fabricating a story about getting robbed at gunpoint in Rio de Janeiro during the 2016 Olympics. On Friday, a decision made by an appeals court that originally ruled the case should be dismissed was reversed, according to USA Today, which cited Brazilian newspaper O Globo. The ruling came after Rio's prosecutor's office filed its own appeal.

"I'm disappointed that they're trying to take another shot at it," Lochte's attorney Jeff Ostrow told USA Today. "I think they should just let it die because they lost and because he didn't do anything wrong. But for whatever reason, they want to try to save face and continue this charade, let them do what they gotta do and we'll continue to fight it because we believe we're right."

Ostrow said he will now attempt to halt further proceedings by filing his own legal motion. If the case continues, Lochte could once again be facing a sentence of one to six months in jail should he be convicted of a misdemeanor offense of fabrication, although he would be unlikely to serve it. The reason, according to CNBC, is that Lochte would need to be extradited to Brazil, which would require U.S. cooperation. Under agreed upon terms with Brazil, extradition only applies in the case of more serious offenses, such as murder or rape.

Lochte's alleged offense was making up a tale inspired by a confrontation between him and three other U.S. swimmers and security at a gas station. After the incident, Lochte embarked on a media tour telling the world he was robbed at gunpoint by criminals posing as Rio police. With Rio authorities trying to downplay the city's crime rate, however, Lochte's allegations sparked an investigation. Eventually security camera footage revealed Lochte's story was untrue.



Oregon Supreme Court denies request for information release
Attorney News | 2017/10/16 08:52
The Oregon Supreme Court has denied a request by The Oregonian Publishing Co. for Oregon Health and Science University to release the names of patients who intend to sue.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports the court ruled on Thursday that the information is protected from public disclosure under the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

The company that publishes the Portland newspaper in 2011 sought a list of names of those who planned to sue the university, which is a public institution that receives taxpayer money. The list would have included patients, students, employees, contractors and visitors.

Lower courts ordered the university to release the information, but it appealed to the state Supreme Court. State attorneys filed a brief in support of the newspaper’s position.



DC house party the subject of Supreme Court argument
Attorney News | 2017/10/05 16:00
A late-night party at a vacant home in Washington with strippers and the scent of marijuana. Don't forget the hostess — partygoers said she was called Peaches.

Justices heard arguments Wednesday, and some of them brought up their own party experiences in discussing the case.

At issue are arrests that police made at the party years ago. When responding to neighbors' complaints, they found the home had been turned into something resembling a strip club, with scantily clad women wearing cash-stuffed garter belts.

Partygoers told conflicting stories about what was going on. In the end, police arrested 21 people for trespassing.


European Court Asked to Rule on Facebook Data Transfers
Attorney News | 2017/10/02 23:01
The European Court of Justice has been asked to consider whether Facebook's Dublin-based subsidiary can legally transfer users' personal data to its U.S. parent, after Ireland's top court said Tuesday that there are "well-founded concerns" the practice violates European law.

In a case brought after former U.S. defense contractor Edward Snowden revealed the extent of electronic surveillance by American security agencies, the Irish court found that Facebook's transfers may compromise the data of European citizens.

The case has far-reaching implications for social media companies and others who move large amounts of data via the internet. Facebook's European subsidiary regularly does so.

Ireland's data commissioner had already issued a preliminary decision that such transfers may be illegal because agreements between Facebook and its Irish subsidiary don't adequately protect the privacy of European citizens. The Irish High Court is referring the case to the European Court of Justice because the data sharing agreements had been approved by the European Union's executive Commission.

Ireland's data commissioner "has raised well-founded concerns that there is an absence of an effective remedy in U.S. law . for an EU citizen whose data are transferred to the U.S. where they may be at risk of being accessed and processed by U.S. state agencies for national security purposes in a manner incompatible" with the EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights, the Irish High Court said Tuesday.

Austrian privacy campaigner Maximillian Schrems, who has a Facebook account, had challenged this practice through the Irish courts because of concerns that his data was being illegally accessed by U.S security agencies.


Elliott's fast start fades with Cowboys as court looms again
Attorney News | 2017/09/29 23:01
Ezekiel Elliott pretended to wipe his face with a towel following his signature "feed me" gesture to celebrate his first touchdown.

The star Dallas running back got to hand the ball to his mother twice on his second score after the original TD ruling was reversed, with his mom kissing his facemask on the exchange that counted from her spot on the front row of a field-level box behind the end zone.

Those happy moments were gone after a 35-30 loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, the day before a federal appeals court hearing that could result in the lifting of an injunction that is allowing Elliott to play as he fights the NFL's six-game suspension stemming from a domestic case in Ohio.

Elliott said he wasn't sure if he would attend Monday's arguments before the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. If the three-judge panel moves quickly and grants the NFL's emergency request to overrule a Texas judge's injunction, he could be sitting as early as next weekend at home against Green Bay.

"I'm not talking about it," Elliott said when asked how the looming hearing might affect his upcoming week.

In the first half against the Rams (3-1), it sure looked as if Elliott would have plenty of reasons to smile despite the looming hearing. He had a 10-yard scoring catch and a 1-yard plunge after the initial sprint for the pylon from the 2 was called a score and overruled on replay.

Last year's NFL rushing leader had 56 yards at halftime and another 41 yards receiving. The Cowboys led 24-16 and had scored on all four possessions.




Not guilty pleas entered in Lake Coeur d'Alene boat crash
Attorney News | 2017/09/01 08:59
A former Spokane advertising executive has pleaded not guilty to charges related to a boat crash on Lake Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, that killed three people last year.

The Spokesman-Review reports that Dennis Magner entered his pleas Friday to charges of involuntary manslaughter and criminal conspiracy.

The crash on July 30, 2016 killed 34-year-old Justin Luhr and two 21-year-old passengers, Justin Honken and Caitlin Breeze.

The three victims were struck as they sat in Luhr's anchored boat. It took several days for divers to recover their bodies.

In addition to Magner, the grand jury charged Jonathan Sweat of Spokane with criminal conspiracy based on false statements he made to investigators.

Sweat was a passenger on Magner's boat at the time of the crash.

The crash occurred when Magner's Mastercraft struck and went airborne over the top of Luhr's boat. The collision ripped the top off the cabin.


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