CourtSide - The FindLaw Breaking Legal Documents Blog

CourtSide - The FindLaw Breaking Legal News Blog


Before the next big show hits your TV screens, it's shopped to advertisers in "upfronts," lavish previews featuring network stars and musical numbers, hosted at venues like Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. And long before a single episode of that show hits the airwaves, a whole team goes to work on its scenery and backdrops. Who puts on these extravagant unveilings? Who do the networks call to design the latest sets and reality TV backgrounds? Turns out, it's a much messier process than the Hollywood polish would lead you to believe.

An entertainment industry party planning company is suing former employees and their side businesses, claiming they siphoned off millions in profit that should've gone to the company itself. Not only that, but party planners claim the illegal enterprise went on so long it amounted to racketeering, and now they're looking for $200 million in damages.

The federal Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals today struck down North Carolina's voter identification requirement, saying the state legislature enacted the law with discriminatory intent. The court bluntly rejected the statute, saying "the General Assembly enacted them in the immediate aftermath of unprecedented African American voter participation in a state with a troubled racial history and racially polarized voting. The district court clearly erred in ignoring or dismissing this historical background evidence, all of which supports a finding of discriminatory intent."

You can read the full opinion below:

Hamas, the Palestinian political group designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. government, apparently has a fairly robust Facebook presence. According to a recent lawsuit filed against the social media leviathan, Hamas leaders, spokesmen, and members maintained official Facebook accounts openly and with little or no interference.

That same lawsuit is asking for $10 billion from Facebook, for allegedly providing "material support" to Hamas, who the plaintiffs believe killed their relatives in terrorist attacks in Israel over the past two years. So do social media accounts constitute material support of terrorism? And does Facebook have any other defense? Take a look at the full lawsuit below.

Gretchen Carlson, former Miss America and former host of multiple Fox News programs including Fox & Friends, filed a lawsuit against Fox CEO Roger Ailes, claiming Ailes sexually harassed her, created a hostile work environment, and finally fired her after she objected to his sexual advances. The complaint also names her co-host Steve Doocy, and alleges he "engaged in a pattern and practice of sever and pervasive sexual harassment" against Carlson.

You can read the full complaint below, and we've highlighted some of the best/worst parts.

The first season of NPR's 'Serial' podcast took the nation by storm last year, partly due to its innovative storytelling style -- investigating what many believe was a false murder conviction -- and partly due to its main subject -- Adnan Syed. Syed, who was serving a life sentence for the murder of his former girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, came across during prison-phone interviews as charismatic and compelling in asserting his innocence.

And it wasn't just fans of the podcast that are convinced Syed got a raw deal. Today a Baltimore Circuit Court judge ordered Syed's conviction to be vacated, and he will get a new trial. We'll take you through the full order, which you can see below:

In its last major decision of the October 2015 term, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a Texas law regulating abortion clinics and doctors placed an undue burden on a woman's right to end a pregnancy. The statute required doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and also imposed strict regulations on surgical centers, causing about half the state's abortion clinics to shut down.

The Court, still missing a replacement for conservative justice Antonin Scalia, voted 5-3 that the Texas restrictions were unconstitutional. You can read the majority opinion, along with two dissenting opinions, below:

In a victory for affirmative action advocates, the Supreme Court upheld the University of Texas's admissions criteria that takes an applicant's race into account. The case was brought by a white female applicant, Abigail Fisher, who was denied admission to the university in 2008 and claimed that the school's holistic "Personal Achievement Index" (which considered race as a factor in admissions) violated the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause.

The Court disagreed, saying schools are permitted "considerable deference" when seeking diversity in their student body. You can see the full opinion below.

Last year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to regulate internet service providers the same as any common carrier of utility services, opening up companies like Comcast and Time Warner to regulation similar to water and electric providers. Today, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upheld that notion, an enormous victory for the Obama administration and net neutrality advocates.

The ruling also preserves federal regulations prohibiting companies from either blocking or slowing of internet traffic to consumers or speeding up websites that agree to pay a fee for faster access. Here's a look at the ruling:

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that citizens do not have a Second Amendment right to carry concealed firearms in public. The California federal court that covers states Arizona, Nevada, Oregon Washington, Idaho, Montana, Alaska, and Hawaii as well found that laws requiring gun owners to show "good cause" for carrying concealed handguns were not an unconstitutional restriction on a person's right to bear arms.

So what, specifically, did the court say, and what does this mean for gun owners nationwide? You can read the full opinion below:

A federal judge has barred members of the U.S. women's national soccer team from striking or being locked out in the lead-up to this summer's Olympics. Women's team members have been clashing with the U.S. Soccer Federation over fair wages and an expired collective bargaining agreement (CBA).

In finding that certain clauses of that CBA were still in effect, Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman of the U.S. District Court in Illinois "barred the players from authorizing, encouraging, or engaging in any strike, work stoppage, slowdown or other concerted interference with the activities of the Federation." Here's a look at the full opinion and order.