Decided - The FindLaw Noteworthy Decisions and Settlements Blog

January 2014 Archives

NYC to Drop Stop-and-Frisk Appeal, Will Carry Out Reforms

New York City no longer plans to appeal the "stop-and-frisk" ruling handed down by a federal judge last summer, opting instead to carry out reforms.

As this issue had been a plank in Mayor Bill de Blasio's campaign, the new mayor -- who's been in office for less than a month -- spoke Thursday about his administration taking a "major step toward resolving the polarizing dispute" surrounding the police custom, The New York Times reports.

With NYC's fight over stop-and-frisk coming to an end, what changes are now being promised?

NSA Surveillance Settlement Lets Tech Giants Disclose More Info

Tech titans like Google and Facebook have won a small victory for transparency under a settlement that will allow for more disclosures of government surveillance.

The deal, announced Monday, was reached between the Obama administration and several Internet industry leaders (Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo, LinkedIn, and Google). It gives these companies the option to disclose more details about the government's requests for consumer information, Politico reported.

This is a good start for these tech giants, but does this mean an end to secret surveillance?

Supreme Ct.: Nuns Can Skip Obamacare Form, Pending Mandate Appeal

The nuns behind the Little Sisters of the Poor got a partial win on Friday, as the full U.S. Supreme Court ruled that they can avoid official government forms to sidestep Obamacare's contraceptive mandate.

In a page-long order, the High Court blocked the government from enforcing the contraceptive mandate against the objecting non-profit. The order also allowed the Sisters to send a letter declaring themselves to be a non-profit with religious objections rather than use the official government form.

Here's what the Supreme Court's order means as the Sisters' case moves forward:

Jurors Can't Be Excused for Being Gay: 9th Circuit

A federal appellate court affirmed Tuesday what many advocates have argued for decades: jurors cannot be kicked off a jury simply for being gay.

Lawyers are prohibited from excusing jurors based on race and gender, but the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held that removing a juror based on his sexual orientation was unconstitutional, reports the San Jose Mercury News.

What does this new ruling mean for the protected status of gays and lesbians?

What Is Net Neutrality? How the D.C. Circuit Ruling May Affect You

What is "net neutrality"? A federal court's ruling on this high-tech issue could potentially change your Web-surfing experience.

For starters, net neutrality is the idea that all content on the Internet should be treated equally. Under that theory, no service provider would be allowed to give preferential treatment to a website or company in terms of connection speed, according to CNN.

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday struck down anti-blocking and anti-discrimination sections of an FCC ruling that prevented Internet service providers from giving certain websites special treatment.

Terminally Ill Have Right to 'Aid in Dying,' N.M. Court Rules

Terminally ill patients in New Mexico have the constitutional right to obtain "aid in dying," allowing a fatal dose of drugs to be administered to end their lives and suffering, a state court has affirmed.

This ruling could make New Mexico the fifth state in the nation to allow doctors to provide lethal doses to long-suffering patients, and may protect doctors from prosecution, reports The New York Times.

Will this decision open the door to a constitutional right to assisted suicide?

NFL Concussion Settlement: Details Revealed in Court Filing

The NFL's concussion settlement agreement with former players was released in detail on Monday.

The 356-page agreement was filed in federal court, but the details of the payout have some critics wondering if the settlement will be the final word on this issue, reports ESPN.com. Ex-players who aren't satisfied with the settlement can choose to opt-out and pursue their own trials against the NFL.

What does the concussion settlement promise players and their families?

Chicago's Gun Ban Struck Down, but Ruling Placed On Hold

A city ban on gun sales within Chicago is unconstitutional, a federal judge ruled. U.S. District Judge Edmond E. Chang said the city ban, aimed to curb gun violence, is unconstitutional because it goes too far in barring buyers and dealers from engaging in lawful sales. The ruling opens the possibility for retail gun retailers to set up shop in Chicago.

For now, however, the judgment is stayed, until the city can figure out its next steps.

Obamacare's Contraceptive Mandate Blocked for 2 Religious Non-Profits

Before U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor presided over the Times Square ball drop on New Year's Eve, she temporarily blocked Obamacare's contraceptive mandate from being enforced on two religious non-profits.

The Colorado- and Maryland-based Little Sisters of the Poor and Illinois-based Christian Brothers Services were granted a temporary injunction, preventing Obamacare's contraceptive mandate (which would have gone into effect on New Year's Day) from applying to these non-profits, reports Reuters.

What does Justice Sotomayor's order mean for Obamacare's enforcement?