INFORMATION

Site Map - Legal Issues

Trade Secrets

- A real estate worker who took a list of renters with her when she left her company did not violate trade secret law, says a state supreme court, because the renter list was a matter of public record.

Data Protection

- Bank customers cannot sue a bank for future damages that might occur due to lax data security, ruled a federal appeals court, because they had not yet suffered any damages.

Human Rights Law

- Read the complaint from an international rights law firm, suing Chiquita Brands International, Inc., for paying nearly $2 million to paramilitaries to murder and intimidate individuals in Colombia’s banana growing region.

Computer searches

- After being arrested for possession of child pornography and actively soliciting minors via e-mail, Jack Mni Leck filed a lawsuit claiming that the police violated his Fourth Amendment rights by searching a computer he had used. Because the computer Leck used was owned by a nonprofit organization for which Leck volunteered, and because the owner of the computer consented to a police search, the court found that Leck had no legal standing to contest the search. (State of Washington v. Jack Mni Leck, Washington Court of Appeals, No. 30714-6-II, 2004)

Investigations.

- A California appeals court has ruled that a government employer has violated an employee's rights by not letting the employee see the documents created and collected in the course of an investigation into the employee's conduct. The employer had a policy against sharing such documents with the subject of the investigation unless the punishment meted out was greater than a written reprimand. (Beverly Hinrichs v. County of Orange, California Court of Appeal, No. G028834, 2005

Negligence

- The Texas Supreme Court has overturned a jury verdict in favor of a man who died from burns he received during an explosion at his company. A jury awarded the man's family $42.5 million in damages due to the company's gross negligence in permitting the explosion. The state supreme court, after reviewing the facts in the case, ruled that the company had implemented numerous safety measures to protect against such explosions and had a vested interest in keeping the workplace safe and operational. (Diamond Shamrock Refining Co. v. Donna Hall, Supreme Court of Texas, No. 02-0566. 2005)

Identity theft

- Michigan Governor Jennifer M. Granholm has signed 11 new identity theft bills into law. The bills contain a number of provisions including making identity theft a felony in Michigan and prohibiting businesses or public utilities from denying service to identity theft victims. The bills also prohibit any company from requiring a Social Security number as a condition for doing business. The bills also prohibit photographing, recording, or electronically transmitting personal information taken without consent from credit, debit, and ATM cards.

Drug testing

- A federal court of appeals has ruled that an employee's arrest for the possession of drug paraphernalia, an abuse of sick leave policy, and his refusal to submit to a drug test are sufficient grounds for requiring the employee to undergo ongoing, random drug screening. (Robert Relford v. Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, No. 03-5600, 2004)

Workers' compensation.

- The Supreme Court of Montana has ruled that an employer must pay workers' compensation benefits for an intoxicated employer who fell from a balcony during a conference. Overturning a lower court's ruling, the state supreme court held that the employee's after-hours drinking did not negate his widow's workers' compensation claim (Mindy Van Fleet v. Montana Association of Counties Workers' Compensation Trust, Montana Supreme Court, No. 04-206, 2004)

Legal Reporter

- Common carrier liability and the ADA in the courts, and Congress legislates on genetic discrimination, homeland security, and privacy.

What’s the Verdict on Digital Evidence?

- The Canadian experience shows that many issues related to the admissibility of digital images in court proceedings remain unresolved.

What’s the Verdict on Digital Evidence?

- For information on how this issue of digital image admissibility is evolving in U.S. courts, link to an article by Rebecca Levy-Sachs and Melissa Sullivan of Robinson & Cole.

Discrimination.

- A federal appeals court has ruled that a woman who was fired approximately a month after she gave birth to a disabled child can pursue her claim of discrimination. The decision overturns a lower court’s summary judgment in favor of the company, which prevented the woman from taking her case to court. The judge ruled that the timing of the termination and the birth along with the woman’s successful 12-year career and excellent performance reviews were sufficient to move the case forward. (Strate v. Midwest Bankcentre, Inc., U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, No. 03-4039, 2005).
 




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