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Archive for March 2011

Walmart Seeks Smiley Face from Supremes

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When is a class too big to litigate?

That is the central question before the U.S. Supreme Court involving a class action of female employees suing discount giant Walmart.  The issue before the Court is whether a class action can be “supersized” like the meals at McDonalds or whether class actions involving gender discrimination claims have established parameters or limits.

The decision by the Court will be monumental.  Big corporations have sided with Walmart and fear the repercussions of a decision allowing en masse class actions that could cripple a company’s check book.

Walmart denies the claims by the female employees and staunchly argues that the class cannot be certified because not all female employees have the same claims. The plaintiffs’ attorneys argue that the class should be certified and that discrimination laws do not limit the size of a potential class.

A decision is expected by late May or June.

Stay tuned.

🙂

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Written by Admin

March 29, 2011 at 4:23 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

The Painful Side of the First Amendment

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To many Americans, it is unthinkable and dishonorable to protest the death of a soldier who died in the name of freedom.  But to Fred Phelps, the leader of the Westboro Baptist Church, funeral protests are a means of communicating God’s message.  Albert Snyder, the father of a soldier who died in Iraq and who had to tolerate Phelps’ protesters at his son’s funeral, disagreed with Phelps tactics and sued him, his daughters, and the church to stop protests at future funerals.  Specifically, Snyder filed a diversity action and also alleged state claims of intentional infliction of emotional distress, intrusion upon seclusion, and civil conspiracy.   A jury found Phelps, his daughters, and his church liable and awarded Snyder damages.  The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the verdict on First Amendment grounds.

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court stunned many observers by ruling 8-1 in favor of Phelps in Snyder v. Phelps.  Justice Alito was the sole dissenter. The court held “[b]ecause this Nation has chosen to protect even hurtful speech on public issues to ensure that public debate is not stifled, Westboro must be shielded from tort liability for its picketing in this case.”

 

Written by Admin

March 9, 2011 at 6:51 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Not Quite a “Person”

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In Federal Elections Commission v. AT&T, the U.S. Supreme Court clarified that corporations are not entitled to claim “personal privacy” as an exemption to disclosure when someone requests documents about the corporation from a federal agency.  T he vote was unanimous.

Written by Admin

March 1, 2011 at 11:18 pm

Posted in Uncategorized