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Legal Reporter

- Congress passes an intelligence reform bill. Plus, courts look at cases involving premises liability, negligence, and defamation, while states pass legislation on background checks and identity theft.

Background checks

- In an expansion of the state's program to require fingerprinting for government agencies, a new Arizona law (formerly H.B. 2073) requires that child protective service (CPS) workers obtain fingerprint clearance cards.

Religious discrimination

- Kimberly M. Cloutier v. Costco Wholesale Corporation, U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, No. 04-1475, 2004

ADA

- The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), in conjunction with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has issued guidelines for employers in the food service industry. The guidelines discuss the basic rights of employees in this job sector and offer examples for business owners in how they should handle disabled employees.

Vicarious Liability

- A landlord is responsible for injuries incurred by a third party doing work on his property. In this case, a landlord authorized the tenant to prune the branches on a tree in his yard. A limb fell on the tenant’s daughter causing severe internal injuries. The court found that the landlord is liable for the daughter’s injuries because he should have taken more care in choosing his contractor.

Religious Discrimination

- A federal appeals court has ruled that a pharmacy did not discriminate against a pharmacist when it required him to refer patients and doctors requesting contraceptives to another pharmacist. The court ruled that the pharmacy had already accommodated the employee and that further accommodation would constitute an undue hardship.

Travel Time

- A construction company does not need to compensate workers for the time they spend traveling to a secure site and going through security screening at the site because these activities are not an integral or indispensable part of the work activities, ruled a federal appeals court.

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.

Mukasey Wins Approval

- The new attorney general will replace Alberto R. Gonzales who left the post in August.

Infant abduction

- A bill (H.R. 252) introduced by Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX) would require all hospitals that are reimbursed under Medicare to follow security regulations set out by the government regarding infant abduction. The Health and Human Services Department (HHS) would be required to promulgate interim regulations within 12 months of the bill's passage. The security procedures would be designed to reduce the likelihood of infant abduction and infant switching.

Gangs

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Did You Know That?

- Are companies wising up about premises liability, or are more meritless claims being filed? Either way, plaintiffs are winning a smaller percentage of suits. In 1992, plaintiffs won in 44.4 percent of cases in which they reached a jury trial in state court in one of the 75 largest U.S. counties.
 




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