Decided - FindLaw Important Court Decisions and Settlements Blog

Decided - The FindLaw Noteworthy Decisions and Settlements Blog


Cable giant Comcast has agreed to a $50 million settlement in a class action that accused the company of overcharging its cable TV subscribers.

This case has been bouncing around in court for over 10 years now with plaintiffs alleging that Comcast had monopolized the cable-TV market in Philadelphia and unfairly raised prices. Reuters reports that the suit once covered more than 2 million subscribers, but the settlement reached on Tuesday covers just over 800,000.

What are the details of this Comcast settlement, and when will current and former subscribers see a dime of it?

Earlier this month, we blogged about a lawsuit against Trinity Industries, which makes highway guardrails. The suit alleged that Trinity failed to report a change in the design of its guardrails to the government. This design change, the government said, led to the death of five people and the injuries of even more.

Yesterday, a federal jury in Texas returned its verdict against Trinity: $175 million, which will be tripled under a federal statute to $525 million.

What could have led to such a big verdict?

An Arizona law denying bail to certain undocumented immigrants was struck down on Wednesday by a federal appeals court, finding the law to be an unconstitutional violation of due process.

This isn't the first time that the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has reviewed Proposition 100, a 2006 Arizona ballot measure that denied bail to undocumented immigrants charged with "serious" crimes. The Los Angeles Times reported that the appellate court upheld the law in a 2-1 decision last year, but the full panel wanted to rehear the case.

So why did the 9th Circuit decide to struck down the no-bail law this time?

A strip club in Massachusetts can operate with fewer restrictions thanks to a recent federal appellate court's ruling.

Showtime Entertainment LLC sued the town of Mendon because of the hamlet's "maze of regulations" which made it near impossible to establish or operate an adult entertainment business there. Mendon's bylaws focused specifically on adult entertainment businesses like Showtime, requiring them to be within a size and height limit, mandating off-duty policemen to patrol the business, and forbidding alcohol.

Why did the court rule for Showtime over Mendon's rules?

AT&T has agreed to a $105 million settlement with the Federal Trade Commission over claims that the carrier allegedly charged consumers for unauthorized third-party services and subscriptions through a process called "cramming."

The settlement is the largest to date in the FTC's effort to combat the practice of mobile cramming. Earlier this year, the FTC filed a complaint against T-Mobile alleging that carrier was cramming users' bills with unauthorized third-party charges as well.

What exactly is cramming, and what are the terms of AT&T's cramming settlement?

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear five gay marriage appeals, effectively making gay marriage legal in five more states.

The High Court denied applications for appeal from Utah, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Virginia, which means the lower court decisions which struck down gay marriage bans in those states are in effect. The Associated Press reports that six other states will likely have marriage equality soon, with their respective gay marriage decisions only on hold pending the Supreme Court's review.

What does the Supreme Court's refusal to hear gay marriage cases mean?

Ohio OVI suspects got a win from the state's Supreme Court this week when justices affirmed that alcohol breath-test evidence could be thrown out if the state doesn't give the defendant certain data about the breath-testing device itself.

On Wednesday, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled unanimously that a court could exclude breath-test evidence from a drunken driving case (which Ohio calls "operating a vehicle under the influence," or OVI) if prosecutors failed to provide the defendant with data on the functionality and reliability of the device used in the case. In the case at hand, the device was called the Intoxilyzer 8000, and the Court agreed that defendant had the right to know if the particular device was reliable.

What can future OVI suspects learn from this case?

A divided U.S. Supreme Court has blocked early voting from beginning today in Ohio, with opponents worried that minority voters will be the ones to suffer.

In a 5-4 decision, the High Court granted Ohio's request to stay an earlier ruling by a lower federal court which is pending appeal, reports USA Today. Grants to stay lower rulings from the Supreme Court don't typically have much detail, but this one-page ruling did indicate that four of the nine justices opposed it.

What are the effects of this early voting stay?

A federal judge has reinstated federal protections for gray wolves in Wyoming but stopped short of declaring them once again endangered or threatened.

The ruling marks the latest twist in an extended legal battle between the state of Wyoming and federal authorities regarding the wolves, reports USA Today. In 2012, the wolves were delisted from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife, and control over maintaining the wolves' population was transferred to individual states, including Wyoming.

Tuesday's ruling, however, places the wolves in Wyoming back under the protection of the federal government.

A Louisiana judge has found the state's gay marriage ban unconstitutional, but the ruling may be limited to this particular case.

Judge Edward Rubin of Louisiana's 15th Judicial District Court struck down the same-sex marriage ban in a case involving a lesbian couple and their young child. Lafayette's KATC-TV reports that Angela Marie Costanza and Chasity Shanelle Brewer were legally married in California, but they were having issues getting Costanza recognized as a second parent (Brewer was the biological parent).

This Louisiana ruling granted both parents the rights they sought, and it may mean hastening legal gay marriage in Louisiana.