S. Korean court says worker's rare disease linked to Samsung
Attorney News | 2017/08/31 06:05
South Korea's Supreme Court said a former worker in a Samsung LCD factory who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis should be recognized as having an occupationally caused disease, overturning lower court verdicts that held a lack of evidence against the worker.

In a milestone decision that could aid other sickened tech workers struggling to prove the origin of their diseases, the Supreme Court ruled there was a significant link between Lee Hee-jin's disease and workplace hazards and her working conditions.

Lower courts had denied her claim, partly because no records of her workplace conditions were publicly available. The Labor Ministry and Samsung refused to disclose them when a lower court requested the information, citing trade secrets.

In its ruling Tuesday, the court said the lack of evidence, resulting from Samsung's refusal to provide the information and an inadequate investigation by the government, should not be held against the sickened worker.

Instead, it said, such special circumstances should be considered in favor of the worker.

Lee, 33, began to work at a Samsung LCD factory in Cheonan, south of Seoul, in 2002 when she was a high school senior. She evaluated nearly one hundred display panels per hour on a conveyor belt, looking for defective panels and wiping them with isopropyl alcohol. She worked next to assembly lines that used other chemicals.

Three years after she joined Samsung Electronics, she first reported the symptoms of multiple sclerosis, a rare disease that affects the central nervous system. The average age of reporting multiple sclerosis in South Korea is 38. She left Samsung in 2007.

Lee first filed a claim in 2010 with a government agency, which denied her request for compensation. She took her case to the courts and lost twice before Tuesday's victory.


Otter appoints new justice to Idaho Supreme Court
Attorney News | 2017/08/29 06:06
Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter has appointed Twin Falls judge Richard Bevan to the state's highest court.

Otter announced Tuesday that Bevan — currently the 5th Judicial District's administrative judge — will replace retiring Idaho Supreme Court Justice Daniel Eismann. Bevan was among four other finalists vying for the open seat. Eismann will retire at the end of the month.

Bevan has been a judge since 2003, where he helped establish the 5th District's mental health court and presided over the Veterans Treatment Court. Previously, he was a private practice attorney and served a term as Twin Falls County prosecuting attorney.

Otter praised Bevan's judicial demeanor and understanding of the legal system, adding that Bevan has shown to have open mind on tough, socially significant issues.


Top NC court weighs lawmakers stripping of governor's powers
Attorney News | 2017/08/28 06:06
North Carolina's highest court on Monday tackled the question of how far the Republican-led legislature can go to minimize new Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's ability to pursue goals that helped him get elected last year by reshaping state government.

The state Supreme Court heard arguments in a lawsuit brought by Cooper that claims legislators violated North Carolina's constitution this spring by passing a law diminishing the governor's role in managing elections.

It's the first time the high court has waded into the ongoing political battle between lawmakers and Cooper that began after he narrowly beat incumbent Republican Gov. Pat McCrory last November. GOP lawmakers have sought to diminish Cooper's powers ever since.

The governor's lawyers told the seven-member court that the General Assembly violated the constitution's separation of powers requirement by reshaping the state elections board in ways that entrench Republican advantage. Elections boards are examples of the types of bodies that implement laws, functions that the state constitution requires from governors.


South Korean court sentences Samsung heir to 5 years prison
Attorney News | 2017/08/25 06:07
A South Korean court sentenced the billionaire chief of Samsung to five years in prison for crimes that helped topple the country’s president, a stunning downfall that could freeze up decision making at a global electronics powerhouse long run like a monarchy.

The Seoul Central District Court said Friday that Lee Jae-yong, 49, was guilty of offering bribes to Park Geun-hye when she was South Korea’s president, and to Park’s close friend, to get government support for efforts to cement his control over the Samsung empire. The revelations that led to Lee’s arrest in February fed public outrage which contributed to Park’s removal.

A panel of three judges also found Lee guilty of embezzling Samsung funds, hiding assets overseas, concealing profit from criminal acts and perjury. Prosecutors had sought a 12-year prison term.

The court said Lee and Samsung executives who advised him caused “a big negative effect” to South Korean society and its economy.

“The essence of the case is unethical collusion between political power and capital,” the court said in a statement. It led the public to fundamentally question the public nature of the president’s work and to have “mistrust in the morality of the Samsung group,” it said.

The families who control South Korea’s big conglomerates, known as chaebol, were lionized a generation ago for helping to turn South Korea into a manufacturing powerhouse put public tolerance for double standards that put them above the law has been rapidly diminishing.

Analysts said the verdict will not immediately have an impact on Samsung’s business operations, which are overseen by three chief executives. The company has successfully weathered past crises that include two recalls of Galaxy Note 7 smartphones prone to catch fire and Lee’s arrest. It is set to report its highest-ever earnings this year.

But long-term business decisions, such as finding future growth areas and identifying companies for acquisitions, may have to be put on hold.


DJ says taking Taylor Swift to court was only option
Attorney News | 2017/08/17 07:00
The former radio host who lost a groping lawsuit to Taylor Swift in federal court this week said he realizes the case was in the pop star's favor, but he had no interest in backing down.

David Mueller told The Associated Press on Tuesday that someone he knew suggested he pull out of the case early, but he refused.

"I knew that I couldn't go on with my life without representing myself," he said. "I'm never going to back down."

A six-woman, two-man jury determined Monday that Mueller groped Swift during a photo op before a concert in Denver in 2013. In keeping with Swift's request, they awarded her $1 in damages — an amount her attorney, Douglas Baldridge, called "a single symbolic dollar, the value of which is immeasurable to all women in this situation."

Mueller said he is thinking of giving Swift a Sacagawea dollar because the Native American is a prominent female.

"I mean if this is all about women's rights. ... It's a little poke at them, a little bit," he said. "I mean, I think they made this into a publicity stunt, and this is my life."

Swift's team initially tried to keep the accusation quiet by not reporting the incident to police, and instead contacting Mueller's bosses.

But it became public when Mueller sued Swift for up to $3 million, claiming her allegation cost him his $150,000-a-year job at country station KYGO-FM, where he was a morning host.

After Mueller sued, Swift countersued for assault and battery. During an hour of testimony last week, she blasted a low-key characterization by Mueller's attorney, Gabriel McFarland, of what happened. While Mueller testified he never grabbed Swift, she insisted she was groped.


Mental health court established for offenders on probation
Attorney News | 2017/08/14 18:54
A specialized court has been established in Pinal County to give defendants with mental problems an alternative path and keep them out of the criminal justice system.

Presiding Judge Stephen McCarville signed an administrative order last month calling for the establishment of Mental Health Treatment Court. It’s a therapeutic, post-sentence court for defendants placed on supervised probation.

People screened with a mental illness are referred to the court by the Pinal County Attorney’s Office or the county’s probation department. Then the court’s staff reviews the defendant’s case to determine whether the person’s situation is appropriate for the program, the Casa Grande Dispatch reported.

The offender undergoes outpatient treatment at a mental health facility while checking in with the court on a weekly basis. If defendants don’t follow the terms of the treatment, then they’re subject to having their probation revoked.

The goal is to keep people with mental disabilities out of the criminal justice system, Pinal County Superior Court Administrator Todd Zweig said. The number of probationers with mental health conditions has been increasing in the county, he added, prompting the need for this type of service.


Academic accused in Chicago killing due in California court
Attorney News | 2017/08/14 18:54
A Northwestern University microbiologist suspected in the stabbing death of a 26-year-old Chicago man is due in a California courtroom.

Wyndham Lathem and Oxford University financial officer, Andrew Warren, were sought in a cross-country chase on first-degree murder charges in the death of Trenton James Cornell-Duranleau. His body was found July 27 in an apartment near downtown Chicago.

Lathem and Warren were fugitives for more than a week before separately turning themselves in to California authorities. They have yet to be charged.

The 42-year-old Lathem is being held without bail in Alameda County. His court appearance is Monday in the city of Pleasanton.

Attorney Barry Sheppard says he expects Lathem to waive extradition. He also urged the public to wait until all the facts are released before making judgments.


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