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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The European Court of Justice [official website] ruled [judgment, text] Wednesday that devices with pre-installed software that make it easier to stream pirated content may violate an European Union (EU) copyright protection directive [text, PDF]. The court determined that the sale of such multimedia players, often including popular so-called "streaming sticks," constitute a "communication to the public" that falls within the definition of the statute, which is prohibited. Because the purpose of the directive was to create a high level...
The US Supreme Court [official website] heard arguments [day call, PDF] on Wednesday in Amgen Inc. v. Sandoz Inc. and Maslenjak v. United States [transcripts, PDF]. In Amgen Inc. v. Sandoz Inc. [SCOTUSblog backgrounder], the court is asked to determine how much patent protection should be afforded to drugs that are "biosimilar" to "biologics." Biologics are complex bio-engineered drugs, and when their patents expire generic drug companies are usually free to enter the market with the same drug. However,...
[JURIST] US District Judge William Orrick from the Northern District of California [official profile] on Tuesday issued a temporary injunction [text, PDF] against Executive Order 13768, titled Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States [text, PDF] which would have allowed the federal government to withhold funds from cities which have been designated as "sanctuary cities." In the ijunction, Orrick rejected the government's argument that it did not reach beyond the president's scope, saying "[t]he President has called...
Israel's Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked [official website] confirmed [Twitter post, in Hebrew] Tuesday that the country's Judicial Appointments Committee has approved the first female judge to a Muslim religious court. Both Jewish Rabbinical and Muslim Sharia courts hear marriage, divorce and other family law cases [Rabbinical jurisdiction law, PDF] for their given religion in the country. Jewish law explicitly forbids women from serving as judges on Jewish family courts, but no similar rule exists for their Muslim counterparts. Women's advocates...
The US Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled [opinion, PDF] that tribal sovereign immunity does not extend to tribal employees acting in an individual capacity. Lewis v. Clarke [SCOTUSblog materials] arose when Brian and Michelle Lewis were injured in a car crash caused by William Clarke, an employee of the Mohegan Tribe [official website] who was driving a Mohegan Sun Casino limousine. Clarke argued that he was entitled to sovereign immunity and the lawsuit should be dismissed. The Supreme Court of...
The National Rifle Association (NRA) [official website] on Monday filed the first complaint [text, PDF] in a planned series of challenges [NRA -ILA press release] to new California gun control laws put in place following the San Bernardino attack [LA Times backgrounder]. The complaint was filed in the US District Court for the Central District of California Southern Division [official website]. Some experts doubt [LA Times report] that the legal challenges will prevail as the laws are "limiting gun use,...
[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] on Tuesday heard oral arguments [day call, PDF] in two civil procedure cases: Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California, San Francisco County, and BNSF Railway Co. v. Tyrrell [dockets]. Bristol-Myers Squibb [SCOTUSblog materials] focuses on whether plaintiffs may sue in a state that has no particular connection to them, but has significant connection to the defendant. The plaintiffs range from 33 states, but the action is taking place solely in California....
The NAACP [advocacy website] on Monday announced a lawsuit [press release] against the state of Georgia, claiming that state's 2015 voter redistricting was discriminatory. The group claims [US News report] that lawmakers redrew voting district lines for political gain at the expense of minority voters. The complaint asks that a three-judge panel review the redistricting and order the lawmakers to re-draw the districts in question. Furthermore, the NAACP has asked that no elections be held using the changed district lines....
The Canadian Province of Ontario [official website] announced Monday that it will begin a trial program for universal basic income [press release] this summer. The Ontario government said [Guardian report] that it will test the policy on roughly 4,000 participants. Participants for the three-year program will be selected from a randomly selected mailing invite for individuals between the ages of 18 and 64. The program will be aimed at individuals on social assistance, in low paying jobs, or in positions...
Indian President Shri Pranab Mukherjee [official profile] on Monday approved the Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control) Bill [text, PDF]. The law is intended to prevent discrimination against individuals with HIV and AIDS, and makes it a fine-able offense to disclose the HIV-positive status of an individual against his or her will. These protections extend to employment, service accommodations, property rentals, and insurance. Further, the act requires that informed consent be obtained before any HIV...
[JURIST] The State of Hawaii filed its answer [text, PDF] as plaintiff with the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] on Friday in a lawsuit against the administration of President Donald Trump [official website], concerning Executive Order 13780 [text], also known as the "revised travel ban." The state maintains that a preliminary injunction issued by the district court should be affirmed, arguing that the order is overstepping presidential authority. Trump appealed [JURIST report] after the district...
[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] on Monday refused to hear an appeal by General Motors (GM) [corporate website] on its potential liability for ignition-switch defects. The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit [official website] had ruled [opinion] against General Motors' argument that it was not liable for the defects because they were made before it formed a new company following Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In 2015, the court held that GM was, in fact, open to liability for...
[JURIST] Eric Olsen [corporate profile], CEO of cement manufacturer LafargeHolcim [corporate website], announced on Monday that he will resign following the discovery that LafargeHolcim had paid armed groups in Syria to prevent a factory from closing. French prosecutors are investigating [Reuters report] the payments, and two human rights groups filed a complaint in a French court against the corporation, alleging that it may have been "complicit in financing Islamic State and in war crimes." Olsen said in his resignation [text],...
The US Supreme Court [official website] heard oral arguments on Monday in McWilliams v. Dunn and Davila v. Davis [dockets], two cases related to capital punishment. In McWilliams [SCOTUSblog materials], the court heard arguments [transcript, PDF] on whether a defendant in Alabama whose mental health was an issue in his case should have been entitled to psychiatric assistance independent of the prosecution. The petitioner was sentenced to death after being convicted of the rape and murder of a woman in...
[JURIST] Filipino lawyer Jude Sabio [personal Twitter] filed a complaint [text, PDF] Monday against Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte accusing him of extrajudicial killings during his nationwide anti-drugs crackdown. The 77-page complaint was filed before the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] and asks the court to prosecute Duterte over his involvement in the Davao Death Squad [HRW backgrounder]. In an accompanying statement, Sabio accused the Duterte of "repeatedly, unchangingly and continuously" committing extrajudicial executions from his term as Mayor of...
[JURIST] The Jordanian Cabinet [official website] on Sunday revoked Article 308 [penal code text, in Arabic], a provision of Jordan's penal code which opponents said would allow rapists to avoid a jail term in return for marrying their victim for at least three years. Although the statute was amended [BBC report] in 2016 to only apply to women and girls between the ages of 15 to 18 where the interaction was believed to be consensual, women's right groups intensified [Jordan...
The Supreme Court of Iran [official website] upheld the conviction and five-year prison sentence of a British-Iranian woman on Monday, but did not disclose the crime she is accused of committing. Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested [Al Jazeera report] at an airport last summer after visiting her Iranian parents and introducing them to their granddaughter, according to statements from her husband. Zaghari-Ratcliffe's daughter remains in Iran, with her grandparents. Although no specific charges were disclosed when she was indicted by the...
Sicilian prosecutor Carmelo Zuccaro stated to reporters on Sunday that an investigation has revealed evidence of direct contacts between some non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and human traffickers in Libya. It is suspected [La Stampa report, in Italian] that NGO migrant rescue ships have been colluding with Libya-based human smugglers. While some Italian politicians have criticized the work of these NGOs for running "taxi services" for migrants, some of which could say could be "criminals," human rights and humanitarian groups such as...
US District Judge Alfred H. Bennett [official website] on Saturday said he was considering initiating an independent review [AP report] of disabled voter access to polling locations in Houston. The judge's consideration comes as part of a lawsuit filed against Harris County in the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas [official website], which alleged the county failed to provide voting sites in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) [text], in violation of the Constitution. Among...
The United Nations (UN) [official website] and the World Bank [official website] announced a partnership [joint statement] on Saturday to build resilience for the most vulnerable of the world. This effort will focus on "reducing poverty, promoting shared prosperity, enhancing food security and sustaining peace in crisis-affected situations." The partnership builds on collaboration between the two organizations over the last decade and is an update of their common framework [text, PDF] signed in 2008. According to the statement, the renewed...

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