Decided - FindLaw Important Court Decisions and Settlements Blog

Decided - The FindLaw Noteworthy Decisions and Settlements Blog


Back in October, Nike, which owns Converse, sued 31 companies for manufacturing knock-off versions of those famous "Chuck Taylor" Converse All-Star shoes. You're seen them before: the canvas high-tops with the big star on the ankle.

You've also probably seen the knock-offs, which come dangerously close to looking just like Converse's Chuck Taylors. Well, yesterday, at least one company -- Ralph Lauren -- settled its dispute with Nike. Just 30 more to go!

A federal judge has overturned the Labor Department's rules providing overtime and minimum-wage protection for home health care workers.

The rules were announced in 2011 by President Obama, reports The Associated Press. Federal employment regulations had previously exempted home health care workers from wage and overtime requirements for other types of employees. The new rules were due to take effect January 1, but had been delayed pending the judge's ruling.

What led to the judge's decision in this case?

A federal judge has struck down California's ban on foie gras on the grounds that it conflicts with federal poultry regulations.

California's ban on the controversial French delicacy was first signed into law in 2004, taking effect in 2012. But on Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge Stephen Wilson sided with a group of restaurants, foie gras producers, and farmers who argued that the California law was unconstitutional, reports the Los Angeles Times.

What led to the ruling, and what does it mean for foie gras fans in California?

This has been a big year for landmark decisions and settlements, and FindLaw's Decided was there to cover all of 2014's big legal moments.

There were Supreme Court decisions and denials, companies settling over less than honest business practices, and even a reminder on how social media can screw up a perfectly good legal agreement.

Here's to 2014, and here's the Top 10 cases you loved most from this year:

Injured skiers and snowboarders got a win in the Oregon Supreme Court on Thursday; the state's highest court ruled that a ski resort's blanket liability waivers were not enforceable.

The ruling focused on the case of Myles Bagley, a snowboarder who was paralyzed in 2006 after an accident at the Mount Bachelor terrain park near Bend, Oregon. The Associated Press reports that Bagley had his injury claim against the ski resort thrown out of a lower court, because his lift ticket and season pass contained a liability waiver.

Why did the Oregon Supreme Court find that the waiver wasn't binding?

The Ohio Supreme Court has upheld the use of traffic cameras by state municipalities as well as the administrative procedure for hearing appeals by those ticketed.

The ruling was split, with three of the court's seven justices dissenting, reports The Plain Dealer. And the decision comes as legislation requiring a police officer be present at every traffic camera was passed in the Ohio legislature last week. That bill would effectively end the use of the cameras in much of the state.

What led to the court's decision?

Police officers may stop a vehicle based on a misunderstanding of traffic laws without violating the civil rights, the Supreme Court has ruled.

In its 8-1 ruling on Monday, the High Court found that even though a North Carolina police officer misunderstood a state traffic law regarding brake lights, the mistake was reasonable, and thus the search that followed was not illegal. The driver, Nicholas B. Heien, consented to the search of his car following the stop, which yielded a baggie of cocaine.

So why did the Court rule for a search based on a good-faith mistake in Heien v. North Carolina?

A 2010 oil spill in the Kalamazoo River area has prompted the company responsible to propose forking over $6.8 million in settlement funds.

Enbridge, a Calgary-based energy company, has offered to pay to settle a class-action lawsuit by those who lived within 1,000 feet of the affected river, offering more to those who live closest to the spill area. The Battle Creek Enquirer reports that Enbridge has already settled with dozens of other plaintiffs, although four more spill-related cases are set for trial next year.

What are the terms of this proposed settlement?

Workers at Amazon's warehouses won't have to be paid for time spent in security screenings thanks to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling issued today.

The High Court unanimously determined that while workers may spend as long as 25 minutes in security screenings after they clock out, the process was not "integral and indispensible" to the workers' jobs. The New York Times reports that this decision could affect more than 400,000 plaintiffs who have filed lawsuits against Amazon and other companies.

What are the nuts and bolts of this Amazon ruling?

SiriusXM agreed to pay out $3.8 million to settle charges that it stuck consumers with unwanted charges and used misleading advertising.

According to The Plain Dealer, the settlement includes at least 45 states whose attorneys general had received complaints from consumers about trouble canceling contracts or "higher-than-expected fees." As part of the nationwide settlement, SiriusXM will change its billing practices, change advertising, and revamp its cancellation policy.

But what, if anything, will consumers get in this deal?