This UABA Blog page provides information and commentary on issues that are relevant to the organization and its members. Although the blogs are public, comments can only be made by members. If yoiu wish to join the discussion, you are welcome to become a member.
The comments expressed on these blogs represent the opinions of the authors and not that of the UABA.
A U.S. Justice Department lawyer today urged a federal appeals court in Washington to overrule a judge who blocked the import of a drug used in lethal injections. U.S. District Judge Richard Leon ruled last year that food and drug regulators had a mandatory duty to disallow the entry of the drug, sodium thiopental, because it fails to meet certain requirements under federal law. The plaintiffs, represented by a team from Sidley Austin, are a group of death row inmates in Arizona, California and Tennessee. The closely watched case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit tests the scope of FDA's discretion to decline to enforce its own regulations. The appellate panelundefinedsenior judges David Sentelle and Douglas Ginsburg, sitting with Judge Judith Rogersundefineddidn't immediately rule following an hour-long hearing. The Blog of Legal Times. Read More.
The American Civil Liberties Union is taking a new tack in a suit challenging police searches of arrestees’ cell phones. The California Supreme Court ruled in the 2011 case People v. Diaz that arrestees’ Fourth Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution are not violated by police searches of their cell phones, report Wired, the San Francisco Examiner, the Associated Press and an ACLU press release. The ACLU suit (PDF) contends the cell phone searches violate the rights not only of arrestees but also of their friends and contacts whose information is contained in the phones. This suit claims violations of the California Constitution's guarantees of privacy and freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, as well as violations of the right to free speech and freedom of association under the U.S. and California Constitutions. ABA Journal. Read More.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a challenge to Michigan’s voter-approved ban on affirmative action at colleges and universities. The court accepted the case though it has not yet issued a decision in Fisher v. University of Texas, a case challenging race-conscious admissions policies at the University of Texas. SCOTUSblog says the new case is “significantly broader” than Fisher and represents “a surprise development.” The Associated Press and the Washington Post also have stories. Justice Elena Kagan recused herself in Fisher and in the new case, Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action. The new case will be heard in the next term beginning in October. ABA Journal. Read More.
Job seekers in New York City who are passed over because they are unemployed will be able to sue for discrimination under a new law passed over the mayor’s veto. New York City is among four jurisdictions that have passed laws targeting discrimination against the unemployed, the Associated Press reports. But New York is alone in authorizing lawsuits. The laws in New Jersey, Oregon and Washington, D.C., bar job ads that require applicants to be employed. ABA Journal. Read More.
By a 82-56 vote, the Maryland House of Delegates voted Friday to eliminate the state's death penalty. The state's senators approved the abolition of capital punishment last week, by a 27-20 margin. Gov. Martin O'Malley must still sign the bill into law before it is final, but he has been a staunch supporter and lobbied in its favor. The state is the 18th, and the sixth in six years, to decide that it is time to end the death penalty. Its last execution took place in 2005. The ultimate punishment has been in place since colonial times and the first recorded execution was in 1638, notes the Baltimore Sun. ABA Journal.Read More.
The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Monday to decide whether an assistant Illinois attorney general who lost his job at the age of 61 can sue for a violation of the equal protection clause under Section 1983. The Illinois attorney general argues the Age Discrimination in Employment Act is the exclusive remedy and former employee Harvey Levin cannot bypass the law, SCOTUSblog and United Press International report. Levin, who was hired at the age of 55 in 2000, was fired along with 11 other lawyers in 2006, according to the cert petition. ABA Journal. Read More.
The District of Columbia Court of Appeals heard arguments today in a case that tests the limits on when non-clients – or, at least, non-traditional clients – can sue an attorney for legal malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty. Boston-Maine Airways Corp. wants the appeals court to scrap the dismissal of the company's lawsuit against Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton. Boston-Maine wasn't formally a Sheppard client, but the company argued that Sheppard's representation of its sibling companies and a shared owner meant that Sheppard couldn't take actions that would harm members of the corporate family. The Blog of Legal Times. Read More.
In a move that would bring the D.C. Bar in line with other states with mandatory bars, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals recently approved a new rule giving the D.C. Bar Foundation authority to periodically check that local attorneys are participating in the Interest on Lawyers' Trust Accounts, or IOLTA, program. The mandatory program, which collects interest earned on lawyers' trust accounts, helps fund annual grants to local civil legal services organizations through the D.C. Bar Foundation. Katia Garrett, the foundation's executive director, said that having a way to verify participation is considered a best practice in managing IOLTA programs. The Blog of Legal Times. Read More.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau today moved to step up its supervision of the student loan market, proposing a rule that would bring the largest non-bank loan servicers under its direct oversight. Outstanding student loan debt in the United States tops $1 trillion - second only to mortgages in household debt - and delinquency rates have been rising. The proposed rule would give the CFPB authority to directly supervise non-bank companies if they service more than 1 million student loans. Servicers collect monthly payments, maintain account records and answer questions from borrowers. The rule would cover seven companies that together service 49 million federal and private student loans – about 70 percent of the market. The Blog of Legal Times. Read More.
While politically motivated trials of opposition leaders have sent Ukraine’s reputation and chances of European integration plummeting, the careers of the judges involved are blossoming. The recent promotion of Rodion Kireyev to acting deputy head of the Kyiv City Pechersk District Court on Feb. 14 comes less than 18 months after he sentenced former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko to seven years in prison for brokering the 2009 gas deal with Russia. Kyivpost. Read More.