Decided - The FindLaw Noteworthy Decisions and Settlements Blog

February 2014 Archives

Texas' Same-Sex Marriage Ban Struck Down; Appeal Pending

A federal judge struck down Texas' gay marriage ban as unconstitutional on Wednesday, although the ban will remain in effect until the decision is appealed.

Texas now joins a host of other traditionally conservative states who have had their same-sex marriage prohibitions challenged and invalidated in federal court. U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia, who was appointed by President Bill Clinton, found Texas' ban to "state-imposed inequality," reports The Washington Post.

How does this Texas marriage decision shape the national conversation about same-sex marriage?

Supreme Court Rejects NRA's Gun-Law Appeals

The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected a pair of NRA appeals challenging federal and state gun laws, leaving those laws more or less intact.

The High Court on Monday declined to hear two NRA cases concerning the ability to sell guns to those under 21, Reuters reports. It also declined to hear a third firearms-related case, brought by some District of Columbia residents, about consumers' ability to challenge regulations on gun sales.

In all three cases, the lower courts' rulings now stand.

Chickie's & Pete's Settlements: $8.5M for Wage, Tip Violations

Chickie's & Pete's, a popular sports bar chain in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, has agreed to pay a total of $8.5 million to settle both a Labor Department investigation and a lawsuit brought by current and former employees alleging wage and labor law violations.

The Philadelphia-based chain is set to pay about $6.8 million in back wages and damages to more than 1,100 current and former workers to resolve the Labor Department probe, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports. The company will pay an additional $1.68 million to settle a separate lawsuit initiated by another 90 past and present employees.

The Labor Department had alleged that the sports bar underpaid its servers under federal law and illegally took a percentage of their tips.

L.A. Archdiocese to Settle 17 Abuse Suits for $13M

Grave charges of abuse in the L.A. Archdiocese, the nation's largest, have been settled out of court to the tune of $13 million.

Wrapping up 17 civil suits for abuse, the Archdiocese -- which boasts 5 million members in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and Ventura counties in California -- stated that these were the last of its "pending priest molestation lawsuits," reports the Los Angeles Times.

Here's what the settlement means for the Church, and for the alleged victims:

San Diego's 'Good Cause' Concealed-Carry Policy Shot Down by 9th Cir.

San Diego County's policy of requiring "good cause" for concealed carry gun permits -- outside of the general desire to carry a gun for protection -- is unconstitutional, a federal appeals court ruled today.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling relied not only on the specifics of the county's policy but also the history and interpretation of the Second Amendment.

This decision dealt with a local gun policy, but The Wall Street Journal reports that the issue is very likely to be taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Merck NuvaRing Contraceptive Lawsuits to Settle for $100M

Merck is set to pay millions to settle claims related to its NuvaRing contraceptive, an intrauterine device that's been associated with heart attacks, strokes, and death.

The pharmaceutical company announced Friday that it plans to pay $100 million to settle nationwide lawsuits over NuvaRing, which allegedly increased users' risks of forming dangerous blood clots, Reuters reports.

How will former NuvaRing users be compensated?

Flashing Headlights as Speed-Trap Warning Is Free Speech: Judge

Drivers have a First Amendment right to flash their headlights to warn others about an upcoming speed trap, a federal judge has ruled.

U.S. District Judge Henry Autrey this week granted a preliminary injunction that bars the city of Ellisville, Missouri, from enforcing its ordinance against flashing headlights as a speed trap warning, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Autrey ruled that even though the city claims to have stopped targeting headlight-flashing drivers, a preliminary injunction was needed to make sure the ticketing stops too.

Facebook Turns 10: A Legal Status Update

Facebook is celebrating its 10th anniversary today. While the social media giant may get a "thumbs up" from many of its (more than) 1 billion users worldwide, it hasn't been the smoothest 10 years for the company, litigation-wise.

As anyone who saw "The Social Network" will know, Facebook had quite a litigious birth. And it seems the lawsuits just keep on coming.

Here's a look back at some of the more significant Facebook cases over the past decade: