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Negligent hiring

- (Elliott v. Titan Security Service et al, Illinois Court of Appeals, No. 1-01-4226, 2004)

Quick Bytes: Online spam glutton.

- The CAN-SPAM Act, intended to choke off the onslaught of junk e-mail, has generated copious commentary, criticism, congressional statements, and controversy. Now all that has been collected into one place: the CAN-SPAM Library at, a site created by attorney Douglas M. Isenberg to serve as a compendium of legal information related to the Internet. The library includes the text of the law and its legislative history, as well as links to relevant litigation, Federal Trade Commission regulations, and research reports. @ Link to the CAN-SPAM Library through SM Online.

Free Speech

- A federal appellate court has ruled that a Virginia state law is unconstitutional under the First Amendment. The law would make it illegal to disseminate information over the Internet that might be harmful to minors. The decision affirmed a U.S. district court ruling. (PSINet v. Chapman, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, No. 01-2352, 2004)


- The California Court of Appeal has ruled that an Internet message board is a public forum and that a posting critical of a publicly traded company or its management practices is of public interest and cannot be censored. The lawsuit concerned alleged defamatory statements posted on an Internet message board. (National Technical Systems, Inc., v. Schoneman, California Court of Appeal, No. B162794, 2004)

Internet decency

- Lawmakers in Utah have approved a bill (H.B. 341) that will prohibit libraries from receiving state funds unless they install Internet filters on library computers. The Utah bill is the first state bill to be modeled on the federal Children's Internet Protection Act of 2001. The Utah bill will only affect computers used by the public; computers used only by staff are exempt from the bill.


- (Bryson v. Banner Health System, Alaska Supreme Court, No. S-10653/10673, 2004)

Premises liability

- Average jury awards are down over a recent 10-year period.

Noncompete agreement

- A federal appeals court has ruled that a man who started his own business did not violate his noncompete agreement with his former employer when he solicited business within the employer's target sales area. The court ruled that merely soliciting business does not violate the agreement. To do so, the man's business must be physically located within the target sales area. (United Rentals v. Keizer, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, No. 02-1580, 2004)

Corporate liability

- (Cariglia v. Hertz Equipment Rental Corporation, U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, No. 02-2199, 2004)

First Amendment

- A federal appeals court has ruled that an employer who fired a worker for making false sexual harassment claims against his supervisor cannot be held liable for violating that employee's First Amendment rights. The court ruled that the internal investigation into the plaintiff's actions was sound and proved that the plaintiff had attempted to enlist other employees to backup the sexual harassment story. Also, the plaintiff's actions were legitimate grounds for dismissal. (Johnson v. State of Louisiana, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, No. 03-30087, 2004)

Nuclear security

- Two identical bills (H.R. 4212 and S. 2310) introduced by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), respectively, would establish a task force on nuclear material removal within the Department of Energy.

Aviation security

- Several bills currently under consideration in Congress are aimed at enhancing aviation security programs. One bill (H.R. 3959) introduced by Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ) would authorize the Homeland Security Department to provide air marshal training to law enforcement personnel from foreign countries. The bill has no cosponsors and has been referred to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Companion bills (H.R. 4126 and S. 2268) introduced by Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) and Sen. Jim Bunning (R-NY), respectively, would alter the federal flight deck officer program--allowing pilots to carry firearms on commercial flights. The measure would add mental health standards and firearms training to the list of eligibility requirements. The bill would also prohibit the disclosure of information relating to a pilot's participation in the program and provide an appeal process for pilots who have been determined ineligible for the program.

Cargo security

- The Coast Guard authorization bill (H.R. 2443) has been approved by the House of Representatives and has been approved in a different form by the Senate. In a conference committee, which is designed to hash out differences in the two versions, lawmakers rejected a controversial provision that would have required Coast Guard representatives to review the security plans of all foreign vessels entering U.S. waters. (Under current law, the Coast Guard is required to review the security plans of domestic vessels.) At a hearing before the bill was passed, Coast Guard Commandant Thomas H. Collins contended that the agency does not have the money or personnel to complete the task, which would have required reviewing plans for more than 10,000 foreign vessels.

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