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Jury Verdict of Over $2 Million Against Airline in Baggage Handler Employee's Suit, Plus Criminal Matters

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By FindLaw Staff on August 06, 2010 5:32 PM

US v. Williams, 09-3174, concerned a challenge to a defendant's conviction for illegal possession of a firearm and various drug distribution offenses.  In affirming, the court held that, because defendant cannot satisfy his burden under either prong of the Strickland standard, the district court's abuse of discretion in dismissing defendant's concerns regarding his attorney's performance, was harmless.  Also, because defendant was convicted of a violent felony, his claim that section 922(g)(1) unconstitutionally infringes on his right to possess a firearm is without merit.  Lastly, the court rejected defendant's argument that the district court erred in applying the 18 U.S.C section 3553(a) factors because the court failed to consider his non-frivolous sentencing.

In Re: U.S., 10-2766, involved proceedings involving a grant of the government's renewed petition for a writ of mandamus, directing the district court to admit into evidence in a drug related prosecution, evidence involving the recovery of latent fingerprints.  In denyin defendant's petition for rehearing, the court held that, based on the judge's demonstration of excess of emotion in excluding the evidence, the exacting standard for the grant of a writ of mandamus has been satisfied in this case.

Casanova v. Am. Airlines, Inc., 09-1020, concerned a challenge to a jury verdict for plaintiff of more than $1 million, $112,000 for lost wages, $250,000 for emotional injury, and $724,000 for punitive damages, and district court's denial of defendant's post-judgment motions, in a former baggage handler's suit against American Airlines, claiming he was terminated in retaliation for claiming workers' compensation benefits.  In reversing, the court held that defendant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law under Rule 50 as plaintiff's dissembling and insubordination was sufficient cause for his discharge.

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