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Elsewhere in the Courts: Defamation

- A restaurant owner may not sue a man who made negative remarks in an online forum. Ed Doherty, the owner of several restaurants, was quoted in an online article saying that respecting his employees was key to his success. Michael Murray, the father of a young woman who had sued Doherty, claiming she had been sexually harassed by restaurant managers when she worked for Doherty, posted a response to the article. Murray said that Doherty was “repugnant” and that his comments were untruthful. Doherty filed a defamation lawsuit against Murray. A New Jersey court dismissed the case, ruling that some of Murray’s statements were opinion and others were protected because they touched on issues of public concern. (Doherty Enterprises, Inc., v. Michael Murray, Superior Court of New Jersey, No. ESX-L-10079-08, 2009)

Identity Theft

- The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a person cannot be convicted under a federal statute forbidding aggravated identity theft unless the person knowingly misappropriated the identities of others.

Ruling Against Fraud Alert Companies

- A recent court ruling dealing a blow to fraud-alert companies leaves consumers in the dark.

Legal Report

- The strip search of a middle school student is unconstitutional; plus legislation on chemical facilities, food safety, and airport screening.

Research Shows DNA Evidence Can Be Faked

- They say there's nothing certain in life but death and taxes. Still, when it comes to prosecuting a criminal case or defending against it, it seemed that DNA evidence was hard to challenge. Now, a team of Israeli researchers shows why we can't be so certain of that either.

Drug Testing

- A federal appeals court has ruled that new regulations requiring that certain urine drug tests be performed under direct observation are justified and constitutional.

Privacy

- A federal appeals court has ruled that to recover compensatory damages under a law protecting stored electronic communications, plaintiffs must prove that they suffered actual harm. In the case, the court ruled that a plaintiff whose employer accessed her private e-mail account cannot recover compensatory damages even though the employer violated the law.

Terrorism Precursors

- The federal government has issued revised guidelines for suspicious activity reporting for law enforcement to help prevent discrimination and protect First Amendment rights.

The Constitution and 9/11: Recurring Threats to America's Freedoms

- The Constitution and 9-11 argues that the Bush administration's response to 9-11 has damaged America's constitutionally protected rights and culture, much like earlier periods in U.S. history.

Animal Extremist Terrorism Law "Legally Vulnerable," Judge Says

- A federal judge yesterday said that a new law to protect businesses from animal rights extremists "may be legally vulnerable," during a hearing for the first four defendants charged with breaking the law, reports The Mercury News.

Legal Report

- Court rulings on negligent hiring, religious discrimination, and trade secrets; plus legislation on whistleblowers, bioterrorism, and cybersecurity.

Elsewhere in the Courts: Discrimination

- In an agreement with the EEOC, YRC Inc. will take steps to enhance diversity to end an investigation into sexual discrimination in its hiring practices. Without admitting wrongdoing, the trucking company agreed to improve its work environment for women and minorities, provide new diversity training for managers, enhance recruiting of women and minorities, and develop new programs to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry.

Negligent Hiring

- In a California decision, an appeals court has ruled that a company cannot be held responsible for the actions of a former employee. In the case, a man who became romantically involved with a client shot and killed her two years after he was fired from his job.
 




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