Decided - FindLaw Important Court Decisions and Settlements Blog

Decided - The FindLaw Noteworthy Decisions and Settlements Blog


Last week, a class action settlement between Uber and the company's riders was approved by the federal district court in San Francisco. The ride share company was facing class action claims for deceiving riders about tipping drivers. The settlement refunds to riders all tip monies purportedly wrongly taken by the company.

News broke this week that city officials in Baltimore have approved the $300,000 wrongful death settlement for the family of Anthony Anderson. The tragic death can be described as nothing other than police brutality and excessive force, based upon the statements of the witnesses who witnessed the violent encounter.

The settlement comes nearly five years after Mr. Anderson's death in 2012, which the medical examiner ruled was a homicide. However, the family hopes that the officers involved would be held personally and criminally accountable for their actions never materialized as the officers were cleared of wrongdoing. This settlement comes after the multi-million dollar Freddie Gray settlement.

C8, also known as perfluorooctanoic acid, is a toxic and cancerous chemical used to make Teflon. Since the 1950s, a DuPont plant near Parkersburg, West Virginia has been emitting C8 into the air and the Ohio River. According to recent lawsuits, DuPont knew C8 caused cancer in rats as early as 1980, yet covered it up. Now the company will be paying up to settle those suits.

DuPont and its subsidiary Chemours Co. have agreed to pony up $670 million in cash to settle around 3,550 personal injury claims arising from C8 leaks.

Ezell Ford, a 25-year-old African-American man diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, was shot and killed by a Los Angeles Police Department officer in August, 2014. A subsequent review found that, although the shooting itself was justifiable as Ford attempted to wrestle the officer's gun away, both officers involved violated department policy prior to the shooting.

Ford's killing was one of many police shootings to spark outrage and protests, and now it will cost the city $1.5 million. The Los Angeles City Council approved the settlement in response to a lawsuit filed by Ford's family.

The controversy over red-light cameras usually revolves around public safety and the rights of drivers. However, the City of Chicago's camera vendor stirred up an unexpected scandal involving bribery and corruption. After a few years of investigating and prosecuting, that vendor, Redflex, has agreed to a $20 million settlement with the Windy City. Until the corruption was discovered, Redflex was the city's exclusive red-light camera provider, and made hundreds of millions of dollars from Chicago alone.

The settlement will be paid out over several years, but $10 million is expected to be paid this fiscal year. Additionally, the city manager, John Bills, was convicted last year for his role in receiving cash kickbacks for each camera installed as well as other costly, luxury benefits. Also, the CEO of Redflex, Karen Finley, and a company consultant, Martin O'Malley, have been convicted for their involvement in the bribery scandal. All three are serving federal prison terms.

A little more than 3 months after DreamWorks and other animation studios settled out of the massive animator class action anti-poaching lawsuit, Disney is settling the claims against it for a reported $100 million. Like the other animation studios, it was alleged that Disney had a reciprocal agreement with the other companies to not hire their competitors' animators and studio employees, and to artificially keep down animator and other studio employee wages.

Of the animation studios sued in the class action, Disney is by far the largest and most active. DreamWorks settled for $50 million, while Sony and BlueSky settled for a combined $19 million. For the over 10,000 potential members of the class, that's a total of $169 million.

A decision by the highest state court in Colorado may have far reaching implications for states that have legalized recreational and medical marijuana.

The big pot-law decision they reached last week has sparked national debate over whether law enforcement must return marijuana seized in criminal investigations. Basically, despite Colorado state law requiring law enforcement to return marijuana seized for a criminal prosecution if the prosecution fails, the court found that officers are not required to return marijuana as it would violate federal drug laws.

Star Trek fans are likely reacting in some way to the news that the Axanar fan film has settled the lawsuit against it filed by CBS and Paramount. Shockingly, the settlement will allow the fan fic film to be made, but just not as a feature length film as originally intended. Also, the settlement includes numerous other demands the fan film must comply with to proceed with the film and all future projects.

The settlement allows Axanar to make their movie, but it must be no more than two 15 minute pieces, and follow all the other fan film guidelines, including not using the name Star Trek. Also, the film cannot have advertising or really attempt to generate revenue in anyway per the guidelines CBS and Paramount released for fan films to not be objectionable.

A vermiculite mine in northwestern Montana was one of the principal industries for residents in the town of Libby. Unfortunately, a byproduct of mining vermiculite is asbestos, which, for decades, has been known to be a dangerous, toxic substance from which exposure can result in severe illness causing death.

As a result of the mass exposure, workers in the mine, their families, and other residents of the town made up the thousands who have gotten sick over the years. While the mine is now closed, the residents of Libby have been left to face the aftermath.

Chicago was home to 700 homicides in 2016. (And that milestone was reached by December 1.) The city has long been trying to curb gun violence, but has received judicial pushback on its strict gun control laws. So it's perhaps no surprise that the federal Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned a comprehensive statute regulating gun ranges in the city of Chicago, a law that included a ban on anyone under 18 from entering a shooting range.

So what avenues are left for a city trying to diminish its death toll?