Decided - The FindLaw Noteworthy Decisions and Settlements Blog

October 2014 Archives

Comcast OKs $50M Settlement in Philly Cable-TV Class Action

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?

Trinity, Highway Guardrail Manufacturer, Hit With $525M Verdict

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?

Ariz.'s No-Bail Immigrant Law Struck Down by 9th Cir.

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?

Mass. Strip Club Can Buck Regulations Thanks to Federal Ruling

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 'Cramming' Settlement: $105M for Bogus Cell-Phone Charges

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?

U.S. Supreme Court Denies 5 States' Gay Marriage Appeals

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?

OVI Suspects Have Breathalyzer Data Defense: Ohio Sup. Ct.

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?