CourtSide - The FindLaw Breaking Legal News Blog


Soon after his election as president, Donald Trump attempted to crack down on speech coming out of federal agencies, especially speech on social media that might be critical of the new administration or supportive of the previous one. That attempt backfired somewhat, with federal employees going "rogue" and creating alternate social media accounts used to blast Trump policy changes.

In response, the Trump administration furthered its attempt to silence disparaging speech, issuing a federal summons to Twitter in an effort to unmask the users behind at least one rogue account. Twitter didn't blink, and countersued the Department of Homeland Security, along with several other individuals and agencies.

Less than 24 hours later, Trump's team withdrew its summons and Twitter followed suit, dropping its complaint challenging the administration's power to demand such information. You can read Twitter's filing below.

One inevitable outcome to manufacturing driverless cars is that there will nonetheless be lawsuits if and when those cars get into accidents. And if there's no "driver" to sue, those lawsuits will be undoubtedly be aimed at the manufacturer.

One driverless car manufacturer is trying to avoid liability for several accidents, essentially arguing "to err is human." Tesla says that no manufacturer has been expected to build a perfectly accident-free automobile, especially in the face of human error, nor should it be expected to design a car, even a driverless one, that can overcome those human errors. You can see their full legal filing below:

Most of us are skeptical when buying a used car -- we want the CARFAX report and we don't always believe salesmen's assurances that a car on their lot is safe. But the "Certified Pre-Owned" distinction is meant to allay those fears -- after all, the CARFAX website itself calls them "the low-cost alternative to a new car, or as a low-risk option to a used car." But it turns out CPOs might not be as safe as you'd think.

A federal lawsuit alleges the Federal Trade Commission allowed dealers to market and advertise certified pre-owned vehicles as "safe," even when the same vehicles were subject to safety recalls due to dangerous defects. The suit covers cars, trucks, motorcycles, and motor homes, and claims the FTC did not require dealers to submit the vehicles to the recalls or fix the defects; they only had to disclose the vehicles "may" be subject to recalls, even when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had already required a safety recall. You can read the full lawsuit below.

President Donald Trump's second attempt at barring entry into the United States from Muslim-majority countries has been put on hold, with a federal judge in Hawaii issuing a temporary restraining order against enforcement of the travel ban. U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson's ruling comes two months after another federal court in Washington blocked Trump's initial executive order on immigration, a decision which was upheld by a unanimous Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals just a few weeks ago.

Judge Watson's opinion was not kind to President Trump or his surrogates, who are quoted extensively as evidence that the ban was specifically targeted toward Muslims. You can read the full opinion below.

In 2015, the Freedom of the Press Foundation sued the Department of Justice under the Freedom of Information Act in an attempt to force the DOJ to publish its rules for conducting warrantless spying on journalists in the United States. The DOJ responded that it had supplied all of the documentation the Foundation requested, aside from information that fell under certain FOIA exceptions.

This week, a U.S. District judge in California ruled that the unpublished rules on media surveillance could remain unpublished, ending the Foundation's lawsuit. You can read the opinion in full, below:

A local wine bar is taking the president to court. Or at least trying to. Cork Wine Bar in Washington, D.C. is suing President Donald Trump, claiming his continued ownership of the Trump International Hotel constitutes unfair competition under District of Columbia law.

The lawsuit claims that even though Trump placed control of his business interests to his adult sons, he continues to benefit from ownership of the hotel and that customers looking to curry favor with the new administration have left Cork for Trump International. You can see the full lawsuit below.

President Trump has issued a revised executive order addressing travel and immigration from six Muslim-majority countries. The new order comes less than a month after the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously blocked his previous executive order on the issue.

While the latest executive order is designed to avoid the same political and legal issues as its predecessor, it retains many of the same travel restrictions. So what's new in the new travel ban, and will it be any more palatable to protestors, politicians, and, most importantly, the courts? You can read it for yourself below.

One of the precepts of the rule of law is that the laws apply to everyone equally. And the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S Constitution prohibits states from denying "any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." So when you have a law that only applies to women (like, for instance, Fort Collins's statute saying, "No female who is ten (10) years of age or older shall knowingly appear in any public place with her breast exposed below the top of the areola and nipple"), that might be a red flag that a law doesn't apply to everyone.

The good people at Free the Nipple sued Fort Collins, claiming the law discriminated against women. And a federal judge found that the group was likely to win their case and granted them an injunction to keep the city from enforcing the law. You can see that order below.

Maybe it's not all that surprising that a lawsuit involving a virtual reality company called Magic Leap, known in in venture capital circles as a "unicorn," would involve some discussion of wizards. But the claims made in the lawsuit are very real.

A unicorn is defined as "a startup company valued at more than $1 billion even though it has yet to bring a product on the market." A wizard is defined as "a man who has magical powers." And ignoring, insulting, and firing female employees, especially those hired to fix your company's gender issues, is a text book case of "hostile environment sex discrimination and retaliation."

Making headlines across the country tonight, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the lower federal district court's order, issued last week, blocking President Trump's controversial immigration executive order, commonly referred to as the "Muslim ban," from taking effect nationwide. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in a rare unanimous per curium decision, repeatedly explained that the federal government's arguments were untenable.

The lower court put a stop to the executive order, which allowed immigrants, and lawful permanent residents, who were being denied entry under the order, to enter the country. The Ninth Circuit's ruling essentially means that those who would have been affected by the executive order but for the lower court's ruling, will still not be affected by it. However, it should be noted that all of these orders are preliminary, and will only be in place until a final resolution is reached as to the constitutional challenges to the executive order, which could take years if it is allowed to continue.