Decided - The FindLaw Noteworthy Decisions and Settlements Blog

September 2015 Archives

The USS Cole was refueling in Yemen in October of 2000 when two al-Qaeda suicide bombers blew a hole in its hull. The attack killed 17 sailors and injured another 39. Fifteen of the injured sailors and three of their spouses filed a federal lawsuit against Sudan in 2010, claiming the country helped facilitate the bombing by lending material support to al-Qaeda.

The victims won the case, and now a federal appeals court in New York is ordering three banks to turn over Sudanese funds to satisfy the judgment.

The Batmobile is one of the most recognizable cars in the world. The fins, the gadgets, the weaponry: all singular to the Caped Crusader, and all very inviting to copycats.

But those looking to steal the Batmobile's signature look better beware. The 9th Circuit has ruled that Batman's costar car is sufficiently distinctive to warrant copyright protections.

It hasn't been a great year for General Motors. The auto manufacturer has been plagued with recalls and lawsuits regarding potentially deadly ignition switch defects. In all, GM's faulty ignition switch has been tied to at least 124 deaths.

Now the company is paying $900 million to the criminal charges related to the ignition switch. So where does GM go from here, and what will the settlement mean for existing civil lawsuits?

Public Is Subject to Voter Control: WA High Court Nixes Charter Schools

Weeks after the start of a new school year, Washington State's high court ruled that it is unconstitutional to fund charter schools with money from public coffers. The ruling reignited a national debate, raging for decades, about the controversial hybrid form of education that borrows from both the public and private school systems.

The Washington court concluded that charters are not "common schools" and cannot receive public money. "A common school, within the meaning of our constitution, is one that is common to all children of proper age and capacity, free, and subject to and under the control of the qualified voters of the school district," the opinion stated. Diverting public moneys for institutions that do not meet this definition violates the state's constitution.

StarKist is offering aggrieved customers the option of $25 in cash or $50 in tuna in order to settle a class action lawsuit that accused the tuna company of shorting the amount of fish in its cans.

The total payout will come to about $8 million, although StarKist has not admitted any fault.