Decided - The FindLaw Noteworthy Decisions and Settlements Blog

December 2013 Archives

10 Important Court Rulings, Settlements From 2013

This year has been a tumultuous time in and out of court, and FindLaw's Decided blog has covered its highest peaks and lowest valleys.

While decisions like the U.S. Supreme Court's rulings on DOMA and California's Proposition 8 were historic, we also covered some other notable cases that you may not have heard about.

Without further ado, here are 10 important cases decided this year, which became our most-viewed Decided blog posts in 2013:

No Life Without Parole for Juveniles, Mass. High Court Rules

Earlier this week, the highest court in Massachusetts struck down life sentences without parole for juveniles as unconstitutional. The court said that scientific research shows that lifelong imprisonment for youths is cruel and unusual because their brains are not fully developed.

The court's decision dovetails with a previous ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court and fits into the goals of our juvenile justice system.

Utah's Gay Marriage Ban Is Unconstitutional: Federal Judge

A federal judge struck down Utah's ban on gay marriage on Friday, ruling that the law violated constitutional rights to due process and equal protection under the law.

U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Shelby wrote in his opinion that Utah laws barring same-sex couples from marrying were in conflict with the fundamental right to marry and were not supported by any rational basis, reports The Salt Lake Tribune.

What does Judge Shelby's ruling mean for gay marriage in the Beehive State?

Gay Marriage Is Legal in New Mexico, State Supreme Court Rules

Gay marriage was ruled constitutional by the New Mexico Supreme Court on Thursday, making it the 17th state to legalize gay marriage.

Almost a fourth of New Mexico's counties have begun issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples since August, prompting the state's Supreme Court to step in and clarify the law, reports The Associated Press.

How did the New Mexico High Court reach this historic decision?

NSA Phone Metadata Program Likely Unconstitutional: Fed. Judge

For the first time in open court, a federal judge has ruled that the NSA's phone metadata program, which collects information on almost all calls in the nation, is likely unconstitutional.

In a suit filed by legal activist Larry Klayman, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon granted a motion by Klayman to put the phone surveillance program on hold while the court determines whether or not it violates Klayman's (and other Americans') constitutional rights, reports Politico.

What does the judge's ruling mean for NSA surveillance?

Live Nation Settlement Could Mean Free Tickets, Discounts

As part of preliminary settlement, concert promoter Live Nation may dish out free concert tickets and discounts to hundreds of thousands concertgoers who attended shows at a New Jersey amphitheater from 2003 to 2011.

Concert attendees have a class action lawsuit to thank for the potential freebies and sweet deals.

Fosamax Settlement Proposed: $27.7M for 1,200 Plaintiffs

In a large Fosamax settlement, pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. Inc. has agreed to pay $27.7 million to about 1,200 plaintiffs who claimed the osteoporosis drug caused bones in their jaws to deteriorate.

The settlement centers on one of Fosamax's more serious side effects, a painful jaw-related condition called osteonecrosis.

Hotfile Lawsuit Settled; MPAA to Get $80M Over Piracy Issues

The Motion Picture Association of America's massive copyright infringement lawsuit against Hotfile has been settled outside of court, with the MPAA winning big.

But what does the high-profile Hollywood settlement entail, and how will it affect the future of cyberlockers like Hotfile?