JURIST Legal News

JURIST's legal news service, powered by a team of over 40 law student reporters and editors led by Professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.
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California's Public Counsel partnered with Morrison & Foerster on Tuesday to file a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] in the Superior Court of Los Angeles claiming the state has failed to uphold its suggested standards for improving literacy rates for grade school children. The complaint is filed on behalf of former and current students along with teachers from multiple school districts. Five years ago, the president of the California State Board of Education [website], after identifying a crisis in literacy proficiency, published...
The US House of Representatives [official website] voted 423-3 [roll call] on Wednesday to approveH. Con. Res. 90 [text, PDF] condemning "ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya and calling for an end to the attacks in and an immediate restoration of humanitarian access to the state of Rakhine in Burma." The resolution, submitted by Representative Joseph Crowley [official website] of New York, also called on President Donald Trump [official profile] to impose sanctions members of the Myanmar military and security forces...
Australia's House of Representatives [official website] on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved [minutes] a bill [text, PDF] legalizing same-sex marriage, with just four votes in opposition. The new law changes the definition of marriage from "the union of a man and a woman" to "the union of 2 people" [text, PDF]. This comes after years of resistance from conservatives. There had previously been 22 unsuccessful attempts [NYT report] to make this change since 2004. This particular vote was preceded [Sydney Morning Herald...
Deputy Director Leandra English filed an amended complaint [text, pdf] Wednesday challenging President Donald Trump and his pick to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) [official website] as interim director. When former director Richard Cordray formally resigned November 24, he named English as his temporary replacement [press release]. However, Trump immediately named current Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney [official profile] as the acting director until he could confirm a permanent director through the Senate. The suit...
A state judge in California has dismissed [text, PDF] a case against Google alleging gender discrimination in pay and hiring practices. The suit was brought by three female employees on behalf of all women employed by Google. It claims that the tech giant pays women and minorities less for similar work and puts them in positions less likely to lead to promotion than their white male counterparts. The claim was dismissed on the grounds that the class was too vague...
The European Commission [official website] said Thursday that they plan [press release] to take Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic to the Court of Justice over their failure to accept their quota of refugees. This decision comes six months after the Commission launched infringement procedures against the three countries for failing to comply with their legal obligation to accept refugees under an emergency relocation and resettlement scheme they agreed to two years ago. The plan required [JURIST report] the three...
A highly divided US House of Representatives [official website] on Wednesday voted 231-198 [roll call, text] to pass HR 38 [text, PDF], a bill loosening gun regulations and allowing individuals with concealed weapons carrying permits to legally travel between states. The votes fell largely along partisan lines with most Democrats voting against the bill and Republicans voting in favor, although six Democrats voted in favor of the bill while 14 Republicans voted against it. Called "the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act,"...
Oliver Schmidt, a former senior manager at Volkswagen AG [corporate website] was sentenced to 84 months in prison and a $400,000 fine on Wednesday after pleading guilty [agreement, PDF] to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and to one count of violating the Clean Air Act. Issues arose in 2015 when Volkswagen released diesel operated vehicles that did not comply with EPA standards. Schmidt knew of these issues and worked with other employees to not only allow...
A group of UN human rights experts called [press release] Thursday for the Bahraini government to respect and guarantee Shia leader and cleric, Isa Qassim, his human rights. In June 2016 Qassim was stripped of his Bahraini citizenship, putting him in danger of being deported from the country. In May Quassim was charged with money laundering crimes related to the practice of "khums," a Shia religious practice of tithing. He remains under de facto house arrest to this day. In...
The US Supreme Court heard oral arguments in two cases on Wednesday morning. The first case involves award of attorney's fees in civil rights cases. In Murphy v. Smith [transcript, PDF], Chris Murphy, a prisoner at an Illinois correctional facility, was badly beaten by two guards while he was handcuffed, crushing part of his eye socket, choking him until he was unconscious, and leaving him naked face-down in his cell until a nurse came to check on him 30 minutes...
The number of people stopped from illegally crossing the border and the number of deportations are down, but immigration arrests are up from previous years, according to end-of-year statistics [press release] released by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) [official website] Tuesday. According to the report, 98percent of US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) apprehensions nationwide were at the southwest border, which "underscor[ed] the need for a physical barrier at the border." Apprehensions at the border have decreased from previous...
The California Department of Insurance [official website] announced [press release] Wednesday that it has served Wells Fargo Bank and Wells Fargo Insurance with an accusation [text, PDF] seeking to suspend or revoke the companies' licenses due to improper insurance sales practices. An investigation was opened [press release] against Wells Fargo last year after Prudential employees accused Wells Fargo of signing up customers for insurance policies without permission. Customers were told they were applying for a quote but were subsequently signed...
The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) [official website] Cyber Unit announced [press release] Monday that it has obtained an emergency asset freeze against Dominic Lacroix, Lacroix's partner Sabrina Paradis-Royer, and his company, PlexCorps, after filing charges [complaint, PDF] alleging that the company's initial coin offering (ICO) for the cryptocurrency PlexCoins was a cyber scam. Lacroix, Paradis-Royer and PlexCorps have been charged with violating anti-fraud provisions of US federal securities laws. Lacroix and PlexCorps were also charged with violating the...
Ethiopian officials have renewed their campaign of collecting intelligence against government critics abroad through the use of commercial spyware, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] said [press release] Wednesday. According to Citizen Lab [website], an independent research group in Toronto, Ethiopia, along with other countries such as the US and UK, are spying [report] on government critics through a spyware company, Cyberbit [website], by attaching documents in emails disguised as Adobe Flash updates and PDF plugins. If successful, these attachments...
Several immigration and civil rights organizations filed suit [complaint, PDF] Wednesday against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) [official websites] division for illegally withholding a memo recommending the closure of an Alabama immigration detention facility run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement [ICE]. The complaint addresses a 2016 Freedom of Information Act [backgrounder] request made by the plaintiffs for the CRCL to disclose the "Super-Recomendations Memorandum" addressed in the its fiscal...
The UN Human Rights Council [official website] on Tuesday approved a resolution [text, DOC] condemning systematic human rights violations against the Rohingya minority and the acts of violence committed by Myanmar security forces, calling instead for a peaceful resolution. Thirty-three member-states were in favor of the resolution [press release] while nine abstained. According to High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein [official profile], many Rohingya people are still fleeing their homes calling into question whether acts of genocide [JURIST...
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein [official profile] said [text] on Tuesday that Mexico's proposed security legislation will not assist its armed forces in combating the war on drugs. The Law on Internal Security [text, PDF, in Spanish] was approved by the Chamber of Deputies last month. The law would allow for certain circumstances that would place police officers under the command of the armed forces. However, the law would not place restrictions of the armed...
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled [judgment] Wednesday that luxury brands can prohibit their distributors from selling products on third-party Internet sites like Amazon. The ruling came from a decision referred to the court by the Higher Regional Court, Frankfurt am Main of Germany from a dispute between luxury beauty company, Coty Germany, and their distributor, Parfümerie Akzente, about sales on Amazon. Coty Germany sought to prohibit the distributor from sales on the platform as not meeting their standard...
The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on Tuesday revived [order, PDF] a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] brought against Alibaba Group Holding Ltd [corporate website] by the Chinese online retailer's shareholders last year. The suit alleged that in addition to knowing about counterfeiters selling knock-off versions of luxury products on their website, Alibaba defrauded their shareholders by concealing information [Reuters report] regarding a meeting they had with China's State Administration for Industry & Commerce [official website] in which the...
Thirteen states filed a motion for leave to file bill of complaint [text, PDF] with the US Supreme Court Monday challenging a California egg law. In 2008 California enacted California Health & Safety Code §§ 25990-25996 [text], which prohibits the sale of farm eggs produced by hens that are kept in a manner that prevents them from "lying down, standing up, and fully extending his or her limbs; and turning around freely." In their motion, the plaintiff states argue that...

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