Decided - The FindLaw Noteworthy Decisions and Settlements Blog

March 2014 Archives

Fla.'s Damages Cap for Medical-Malpractice Death Cases Struck Down

In case you missed it, the Florida Supreme Court recently struck down the state's damages cap on wrongful death awards resulting caused by medical malpractice.

The state law placed a $1 million limit on the amount of money people could be awarded for pain and suffering when someone dies from medical malpractice.

Why was the cap on damages for these types of cases struck down?

Del. 'Secret Courts' Case Denied Supreme Court Review

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear Delaware's appeal to revive what critics called "secret courts" for business litigants.

The case came from the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that a Delaware law allowing state judges to conduct secret arbitration programs for business disputes valued at more than $1 million was unconstitutional, reports The News Journal.

Why are Delaware's so-called "secret courts" no good?

'Proof of Citizenship' Voting Rules in Kan., Ariz. Upheld by Judge

Voter laws in Arizona and Kansas requiring proof of citizenship when registering by mail were upheld by a federal judge Wednesday.

A U.S. District Court judge in Witchita, Kansas, ruled that because Congress had not acted to outlaw these sorts of "proof of citizenship" rules in the states, the two states were free to add those requirements to voter registration forms, reports Reuters. This ruling overturned a decision by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) which had denied Arizona's and Kansas' requests to require proof of citizenship for voters.

Does upholding a "proof of citizenship" requirement sanction voter suppression in these states?

Toyota's $1.2B Settlement to Resolve Criminal Probe

Toyota is slated to pay $1.2 billion to resolve a criminal probe by the U.S. Department of Justice over safety issues.

The car manufacturer admitted it concealed and misled consumers regarding safety defects in its vehicles, two of which caused unintended acceleration, reports Reuters. The acceleration defect was blamed for the deaths of a California Highway Patrol officer and his family -- allegedly caused by unintended acceleration in his Lexus.

How does this new settlement square Toyota with its customers and the federal government?

Birthing Moms Can Kick Dads Out of Delivery Room: N.J. Court

In the first ever ruling of its kind, a New Jersey judge ruled that a woman in labor has the right to ban an unwed father from the delivery room.

The case -- argued the day the mother went into labor (!) -- stemmed from an estranged couple who called off their wedding prior to the birth of their child. Steven Plotnick sued his ex-fiancée Rebecca DeLuccia for the right to know when she went into labor and for access to the baby upon its birth, The Star-Ledger reports.

Though the child has since been born (in case you're wondering: pops was present at the birth), Superior Court Judge Sohail Mohammed ruled in favor of the mother.

FAA's Commercial Drone Ban Shot Down by Admin. Law Judge

The FAA's ban on small commercial drones was struck down by a federal administrative law judge on Thursday, possibly green-lighting the use of drones without regulation.

National Transportation Safety Board Judge Patrick Geraghty ruled that the Federal Aviation Administration couldn't enforce its policies on commercial drones because it hadn't followed the proper rulemaking process, reports Politico.

With this rule shot down and nothing to replace it, are commercial drones free to fly the skies?

Daughter's Facebook 'SUCK IT' Post Nixes Dad's $80K Settlement

A five-figure confidential settlement between a former headmaster and a Florida school was blown after the plaintiff's daughter told the school to "SUCK IT" on Facebook, a state appellate court has ruled.

Patrick Snay, 69, had managed to settle a discrimination suit with Miami's Gulliver Preparatory School, which allocated $80,000 for Snay to walk away with, reports the Miami Herald. Too bad Snay's daughter Dana Snay blew the deal by blasting the school in a Facebook post.

Settlements don't come without strings, and Snay found that out the following lessons the hard way: