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This week, the federal district court in the District of Columbia awarded the parents of Otto Warmbier half-a-billion dollars for the death of their son at the hands of North Korean officials.

It is alleged that Otto was severely tortured for a minor offense and returned to the U.S. in a coma, and he later succumbed to his injuries. Otto was alleged to have removed a propaganda poster, and the evidence clearly shows that he was subjected to horrific acts of torture. North Korea did not respond to the lawsuit, and the massive judgment was ordered after a default judgment was entered.

Joe Arpaio Sues New York Times for Libel

Joe Arpaio -- the sheriff most famous for being convicted and then pardoned -- is suing the New York Times for libel.

The former Arizona sheriff says the newspaper has ruined his chances of winning political office. The suit is based on a Times opinion piece about Arpaio's failed run for the U.S. Senate.

The headline said his loss was "a fitting end to the public life of a truly sadistic man." Of course, Arpaio's public life is not really over because he's making his own headlines.

Lawsuit Claims Verizon Throttled Internet for CA Firefighters

As people died in the largest fire in California history, Verizon said firefighters would have to pay more if they wanted better internet service to battle the blaze.

It's an allegation almost too hard to believe, but there it is in a lawsuit joined by 22 states against the Federal Communications Commission. They are demanding the government restore net neutrality, a policy that kept companies like Verizon from throttling internet services.

No sooner had the FCC revoked the Obama-era policy than the reality of throttling broke out. No one expected it would start with a deadly fire that literally spewed smoke across the country.

Judge Stops Warnings on Cigar and Pipe Products

What do pregnant women and cigars have in common?

Hopefully, very little. But in legal arguments, almost anything is possible.

In Cigar Association of America v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a federal judge in Washington, DC stopped government-ordered health warnings on cigar and pipe products. Judge Amit Mehta said it's like a California case that says pregnancy counseling centers don't have to tell patients about abortion services.

Bars Liable in Drunken Brawl, but Not McDonald's

This is a case for why McDonald's should never offer alcohol or host a happy hour.

It's also an awful lesson about not drinking and fighting because Patrick Casey died outside a McDonald's in a drunken brawl. His parents sued the fast-food restaurant and the bars that allegedly served the brawlers too much booze.

In Casey v. McDonalds Corporation, a trial judge threw out their case. The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, however, said the plaintiffs have a case -- but not against McDonald's.

Challenge to Workplace Silica Rule Rejected

As a rule, no silica is good silica.

That actually is a rule of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Or in the words of the U.S Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, it is "no exposure level below which workers would not be expected to develop adverse health effects."

Industry groups had challenged the zero tolerance rule, which is designed to protect workers from exposure to the chemical compound. But in North America's Building Trades Unions v. Occupational Safety & Health Administration, the appeals court upheld it.

Court Affirms Case Against Muslim FBI Agent

When the FBI gets involved, you would expect some cloak-and-dagger story. This is not that movie.

In Gill v. United States Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation, the real-life drama is about as interesting as a long case citation. Basically, agent Kaiser Gill lost his security clearance because he searched an FBI database without authorization.

One detail, however, caught the attention of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Gill said the FBI revoked his security clearance because he is Muslim.

The countries of Sudan and Iran may finally be getting some relief from an over $14 billion judgment entered against them in the U.S. Federal District Court. The judgment is the result of an action filed against the nations for harboring the terrorists, members of al Qaeda, responsible for a coordinated attack on two U.S. embassies abroad in 1998.

Unfortunately for the two nations, neither lodged an appearance before the judgment was made final. Since that time, the nation of Sudan has appealed the judgment, and lost. However, the most recent order trimmed the $4 billion plus award of punitive damages off the total judgment.

Russian hackers, Chinese cyberterrorists, Ethiopian malware -- if you're a victim of any of state-sponsored hacking, you may be out of luck. Individuals who accuse foreign governments of hacking have virtually no access to the federal courts, the D.C. Circuit ruled on Tuesday. That's because the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act prevents suits against other nations, and its exception for noncommercial torts doesn't apply to hacking organized from abroad, the court explained.

The ruling is a "dangerous decision for cybersecurity," critics claim.

Fish Conservation Lawsuit Fails at DC Circuit

In a suit brought before the DC Circuit, plaintiffs claimed that federal agencies acted unlawfully by neglecting to manage various stocks of ocean fish in the Atlantic. The circuit decided to affirm the decision of a lower district court, finding, essentially, that the plaintiffs were blaming the wrong people for their woes.

But even if the plaintiffs had chosen the proper target for their suit, the plaintiffs would still be out of luck, because the law essentially stipulates that a "final agency action" has very particular requirements. Sometimes, you're just not destined to win in court.