Decided - The FindLaw Noteworthy Decisions and Settlements Blog

February 2017 Archives

Although Planned Parenthood is no stranger to controversy, their 30 health centers in the Texas are likely breathing a collective sigh of relief this week, as are the individuals they serve. A federal judge put a temporary halt to the Medicaid funding termination notice issued to Texas Planned Parenthood, because the state claimed that the organization was unqualified.

Gun control is a divisive subject. Although the right to bear arms is rooted in the U.S. Constitution, even Yosemite Sam would agree that guns have changed quite a bit since 1787. In fact, the recent ruling by the Federal Appeals Court in the Fourth Circuit has distinguished that a certain class of gun does not even qualify for protection under the Second Amendment.

The ruling, announced this past Tuesday, is sure to make waves and be challenged to the Supreme Court. Whether SCOTUS decides to take the case up will be closely watched by both pro- and anti-gun control advocates, as well as the several states that have passed gun control and restriction laws.

Last week, a class action settlement between Uber and the company's riders was approved by the federal district court in San Francisco. The ride share company was facing class action claims for deceiving riders about tipping drivers. The settlement refunds to riders all tip monies purportedly wrongly taken by the company.

News broke this week that city officials in Baltimore have approved the $300,000 wrongful death settlement for the family of Anthony Anderson. The tragic death can be described as nothing other than police brutality and excessive force, based upon the statements of the witnesses who witnessed the violent encounter.

The settlement comes nearly five years after Mr. Anderson's death in 2012, which the medical examiner ruled was a homicide. However, the family hopes that the officers involved would be held personally and criminally accountable for their actions never materialized as the officers were cleared of wrongdoing. This settlement comes after the multi-million dollar Freddie Gray settlement.

C8, also known as perfluorooctanoic acid, is a toxic and cancerous chemical used to make Teflon. Since the 1950s, a DuPont plant near Parkersburg, West Virginia has been emitting C8 into the air and the Ohio River. According to recent lawsuits, DuPont knew C8 caused cancer in rats as early as 1980, yet covered it up. Now the company will be paying up to settle those suits.

DuPont and its subsidiary Chemours Co. have agreed to pony up $670 million in cash to settle around 3,550 personal injury claims arising from C8 leaks.

Ezell Ford, a 25-year-old African-American man diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, was shot and killed by a Los Angeles Police Department officer in August, 2014. A subsequent review found that, although the shooting itself was justifiable as Ford attempted to wrestle the officer's gun away, both officers involved violated department policy prior to the shooting.

Ford's killing was one of many police shootings to spark outrage and protests, and now it will cost the city $1.5 million. The Los Angeles City Council approved the settlement in response to a lawsuit filed by Ford's family.

The controversy over red-light cameras usually revolves around public safety and the rights of drivers. However, the City of Chicago's camera vendor stirred up an unexpected scandal involving bribery and corruption. After a few years of investigating and prosecuting, that vendor, Redflex, has agreed to a $20 million settlement with the Windy City. Until the corruption was discovered, Redflex was the city's exclusive red-light camera provider, and made hundreds of millions of dollars from Chicago alone.

The settlement will be paid out over several years, but $10 million is expected to be paid this fiscal year. Additionally, the city manager, John Bills, was convicted last year for his role in receiving cash kickbacks for each camera installed as well as other costly, luxury benefits. Also, the CEO of Redflex, Karen Finley, and a company consultant, Martin O'Malley, have been convicted for their involvement in the bribery scandal. All three are serving federal prison terms.

A little more than 3 months after DreamWorks and other animation studios settled out of the massive animator class action anti-poaching lawsuit, Disney is settling the claims against it for a reported $100 million. Like the other animation studios, it was alleged that Disney had a reciprocal agreement with the other companies to not hire their competitors' animators and studio employees, and to artificially keep down animator and other studio employee wages.

Of the animation studios sued in the class action, Disney is by far the largest and most active. DreamWorks settled for $50 million, while Sony and BlueSky settled for a combined $19 million. For the over 10,000 potential members of the class, that's a total of $169 million.

A decision by the highest state court in Colorado may have far reaching implications for states that have legalized recreational and medical marijuana.

The big pot-law decision they reached last week has sparked national debate over whether law enforcement must return marijuana seized in criminal investigations. Basically, despite Colorado state law requiring law enforcement to return marijuana seized for a criminal prosecution if the prosecution fails, the court found that officers are not required to return marijuana as it would violate federal drug laws.