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Weapons

- The U.S. Supreme Court has ordered a lower court to reexamine Chicago’s handgun ban (.pdf). The Court did not rule on the constitutionality of the ban, but it did stress that owning firearms is a “fundamental” right.

ESPN Reporter Pushes Tough Antistalking Bill

- Victimized ESPN reporter Erin Andrews this week urged Congress to pass antistalking legislation that would toughen sentencing and allow law enforcement to pursue stalking undertaken via cell phone or the Internet.

Privacy

- A police department did not violate the constitutional rights of police officers (.pdf) when it read through their text messages, ruled the Supreme Court. The review of the text messages did not violate the Fourth Amendment, according to the ruling, because it was undertaken for work-related purposes and was not excessive in scope.

Social Media

- In a case recently filed in federal court, a company claims that former employees violated their noncompete agreements by communicating with the company’s current contract employees via LinkedIn (.pdf). The case could have important ramifications for how employees use social media networking sites.

Investigations

- A federal appeals court has ruled that an employee may not sue her employer for retaliation after the company failed to investigate her original discrimination claim. Failure to investigate in such instances does not constitute an adverse employment action, ruled the court.

Judging the Evidence

- A U.S. district judge takes a hard look at the scientific validity of forensic evidence.

Legal Report: U.S. Supreme Court Edition

- An update on this term's relevant cases from the U.S. Supreme Court, including those on privacy, fraud, terrorism, gun control, and the constitutionality of Sarbanes-Oxley.

Stun-gun Use Again Under Scrutiny in U.S. and England

- The use of stun guns is again a hot topic after three high-profile incidents in the past week, one involving the nephew of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Social Networking

- A high-school student who was taken out of her honors courses after she complained about a teacher on her Facebook page may pursue a lawsuit against her school. A federal court has ruled that the student’s post, which deemed an instructor “the worst teacher I ever met” contained no threats of violence and was protected under the First Amendment (.pdf). (Evans v. Bayer, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, No. 08-cv-61925, 2010)

U.S. Congressional Legislation: First Responders

- A bill (H.R. 4992) introduced by Rep. Zach Wamp (R-TN) is designed to protect individual first responders from litigation costs arising from unintended consequences. Under the bill, the employers of first responders would be required to pay for any liability, including litigation costs related to claims of liability, that first responders incur in the course of their official duties. Exceptions would be made in the case of intentional wrongdoing or activities undertaken in bad faith.

Privacy

- The New Jersey Supreme Court has ruled that when an employee was sending e-mail from a private, Web-based account, even though the account was accessed from a company computer, the e-mails were protected. By allowing occasional personal use, the company’s computer policy could lead an employee to assume a certain level of privacy. The fact that the e-mails were sent over a password-protected Web site was also significant, ruled the court.

Legal Report

- Rulings on employment issues and privacy, plus legislation on first responders and fire safety.

U.S. Supreme Court Clarifies "Honest Services" Fraud

- The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a lower court must reexamine the conviction of former Enron executive Jeffrey Skilling because of the "honest services" statute's vagueness.
 




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