Decided - The FindLaw Noteworthy Decisions and Settlements Blog

February 2013 Archives

Many Businesses Support Same-Sex Marriage

Is corporate America is urging the Supreme Court of the United States to support same-sex marriage?

More than 200 companies signed a friend-of-the-court brief supporting gay marriage. The brief urges the Supreme Court to strike down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that limits marriage to heterosexual couples, reports Reuters.

Some of the companies that signed the brief include Microsoft, Google, Citigroup, and Goldman Sachs.

Concealed Carry Permits Not Protected By 2nd Amendment

Owning a gun is a right protected by the Second Amendment, but it doesn’t include the right to a concealed carry permit, according to a federal court.

The case started with a Washington man, Gray Peterson, who was denied a concealed carry permit in Colorado. The state only issues those permits to certain people, a policy that Peterson claimed violated his Second Amendment rights.

His complaint was initially dismissed by a federal district court judge and Peterson appealed the decision. But with Friday’s decision, it looks like he was unsuccessful.

Police Detention 1 Mile From Site of Search May Go Too Far

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that police need a valid reason if they want to detain a criminal suspect far away from the site of a search.

In a case out of New York, the High Court ruled that police needed a better reason than making it safer and easier to conduct a search if they wanted to hold a man 1 mile away from his home as officers searched the man's home.

Generally, the Court ruled that police may detain people in connection with executing a search warrant. But cops will need another valid reason if they want to detain a suspect far from the place being searched, writes Reuters.

Drug Dog's 'Sniff Is Up to Snuff,' Supreme Court Rules

The U.S. Supreme Court has held that a drug dog's "sniff is up to snuff," despite a Florida court's ruling that police failed to prove the dog's sniff was reliable.

The High Court found that police training records established the reliability of the dog, Aldo, in sniffing out illegal drugs. As a result, his handler had reason to believe that a vehicle was carrying illegal drugs based on the dog's reaction, reports Reuters.

The ruling has the potential to give law enforcement authorities much greater leeway in relying upon trained canine officers in finding contraband, without first establishing the dog's reliability.

Army Dad Can Pursue Int'l Child Custody Case: Supreme Court

Being an army dad or mom can be challenging, but having to fight for custody when your child is outside the United States makes it even more complicated.

For U.S. Army Sgt. Jeffrey Chafin, however, the battle just got a little easier. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously Tuesday that he can seek custody of his 6-year-old daughter Eris, who lives in Scotland with her mother.

That may not sound like much of a victory, and it's true that the legal battle has only just begun. But for Chafin and other parents who have a child living outside U.S. shores, it's an important decision.

Motrin Lawsuit Verdict: $63M for Girl's Skin Loss, Blindness

A Motrin lawsuit verdict has resulted in a $63 million judgment against Johnson & Johnson. With interest, the award totals $109 million.

Samantha Reckis was 7 years old when she took Children's Motrin ibuprofen a decade ago. Shortly after taking the drug, the girl suffered a serious life-threatening side effect. She lost 90% of her skin, was blinded, and suffered severe respiratory impairment, among other injuries, reports The Associated Press.

The family sued in 2007. This week, the jury finally handed down its verdict, awarding $63 million to the family plus interest, resulting in a total $109 million judgment.

Mich. Marijuana Dispensaries Can Be Shut Down as Public Nuisance

The Michigan Supreme Court recently dealt a blow to the state's medical cannabis industry when it ruled that prosecutors can shut down medical marijuana dispensaries as public nuisances.

Friday's 4-1 decision held that the transfer of marijuana from patient to patient, which is how marijuana transactions took place in many of Michigan's pot clubs, was not legal under the state's medical marijuana law, Yahoo! News reports.

Under Michigan's public nuisance laws, a place is a nuisance if it involves danger, annoyance or injury to the public in general. According to the Michigan State Bar, the public nuisance law applies to "low grade criminal activities that interfere with the ... public health, morals or peace."

NRA Loses Appeal Over N.J.'s 1-Gun-Per-Month Restriction

Since 2010, New Jersey has enforced a one-gun-per-month rule for people who want to buy firearms in the state. It's something that bothered the National Rifle Association.

It bothered them so much that the official NRA state association, the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs, filed a lawsuit to challenge its enforcement. They claimed the law was barred by federal law.

The Federal Toy Gun Act bars states from prohibiting the sale of BB guns and other pellet firing guns. But the argument that New Jersey's "one gun" law violated it failed on appeal.

Club's Strippers Are Employees, Kan. Supreme Court Rules

One surprising legal question being asked across the country is: Are strippers employees or independent contractors? The Kansas Supreme Court has ruled that in one particular case, they are employees.

Exotic dancers at Club Orleans in Topeka, Kansas, fought for their right to be classified as employees, reports The Kansas City Star. The dispute dates back to 2005.

This classification is important to the strippers, as it can be the difference between receiving and not receiving certain benefits like unemployment insurance.

Burger King Loogie Appeal: Deputy Can Sue for Emotional Distress

Remember that sheriff's deputy who got his Burger King Whopper with extra loogie? He sued just over a year ago for emotional distress.

His original case was thrown out by a federal court because his lawsuit was about mental distress without physical harm. The court claimed that wasn't allowed under the laws of Washington state, where the case took place.

But the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed, and said it should be up to Washington's Supreme Court to decide what is and isn't allowed under Washington state law.

Well the court has issued an answer, and it looks like this case will continue.