Thursday, December 30, 2004
Before closing, though, we thought we'd follow another tradition and skim back over the year. ABCnews noted "The Year in Infamous Criminal Cases" this morning. FindLaw detailed "The Most Important Legal Developments of 2004," and CourtTV came up with the "20 Wackiest Courthouse moments."
Have a safe weekend.
For anyone who's interested in EMTs, "first responders," or emergency service, the site to visit is that posted by the National Association of State EMS Directors @ http://emsscopeofpractice.org Instructions for submitting comments are contained in the posted draft.
"The existing regulations covering these plans were last updated in 1994," the Treasury Department's press release states. "Since then, there have been significant statutory changes." The final regulations are posted online in the Federal Register (Dec. 29, 2004 Vol.69 No.249 Pp.78144)
The FCC voted 5-0 on Nov. 9th. for a petition by Vonage asking that its product be declared an interstate service. Further information there is available through Tech Law Journal.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court in a surprise move said it would hear a key telecom case (FCC v. Brand X Internet Services), which could decide whether broadband cable should be regulated as an unregulated information service, or as a telephone-like telecommunications service that can be required to make its lines available to competitors.
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
Monday, December 27, 2004
Judge Ralph "Ted" Winkler is moving from the Hamilton County Municipal Court to the Hamilton County Common Pleas court. His replacement, appointed by Governor Taft, is Judge Alex Triantafilou. Judge Triantafilou is a former assistant prosecutor and administrator of the Hamilton County Clerk of Courts office.
Judge Ralph Winkler is retiring from the Ohio State First District Court of Appeals, and is being replaced by Judge Sylvia Hendon, of the Hamilton County Juvenile Court. Governort Taft appointed Hamilton County Municipal Court Judge Karla Grady to replace Judge Hendon on the Juvenile Court. (see the Cincinnati Enquirer Local News Briefs from December 22, 2004).
A Point of Light among Hellholes
Courts in Illinois, Texas, California, and West Virginia, among others, were named the 9 "Judicial Hellholes" of 2004 by the American Tort Reform Association. Ohio, on the other hand, was given the label of "point of light" for recent statutory changes establishing minimum medical requirements in asbestos litigation. (House Bill 292, 125th Legislature). The Ohio Legislature has other tort reform, in the text of amended Senate Bill 80, under consideration. S.B. 80 places limits on court discretion to award punitives outside the scope of statutory guidelines. The Legislature has passed or considered a number of other tort reform bills during the current session.
Zany for Rifle Range and Other Immunity Laws
The Center for Justice & Democracy issued its Zany Immunity Laws, in which Ohio gets a few mentions in relation to immunity for injuries occurring at your horse riding lessons and or noise generated by shooting ranges.
Thanks to Law.com for another interesting piece!
The lawyers interviewed believe that the decision, although technically a "win" for the non-lawyer group representing participants in hearings, will lead to an increase in workers' compensation representation by lawyers, and at least one firm indicated they'd be adding an attorney to deal with the expected increase.
The registry, established in October 2003, has more than 69 million telephone numbers, according to the article.
Phone numbers can be registered, or complaints filed at http://www.donotcall.gov or by calling (888) 382-1222. Both cell and home phones can be listed with the registry
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
Internet News posted a second article, having a link to the ruling.
"The efficient, effective, and appropriately consistent use of Federal agency public websites," the memo states, "is important to promote a more citizen-centered government"
An overview of "selected state child labor law standards" is available on DOL's website.
DOL also announced a proposal that would implement Wage Determinations Online, "replacing the current manual & paper-intensive processes with an Internet-based system."
The Clerk's website is reported one of the most comprehensive in Ohio.
Tuesday, December 21, 2004
The article also noted that "wireless companies were the No.2 sector for complaints to Better Business Bureaus in 2003, trailing only car dealers, and second-lowest in customer satisfaction according to the University of Michigan's index, second only to cable companies."
Monday, December 20, 2004
In an article in this morning's Court Index, IRS Commissioner Mark Everson is quoted as saying, "These new standards send a strong message to tax professionals considering selling a questionable product to clients. The new provisions give us more tools to battle abusive tax avoidance transactions and rein in practioners who disregard their ethical obligations.
A copy of the court's default judgment is posted on our resource page.
Friday, December 17, 2004
Thursday, December 16, 2004
1999, the article says, "could probably be the poster child for tort reform when jurors in 19 cases returned million-plus verdicts for a total of $128 million.... In 2003, only 10 plaintiff attorneys reported verdicts exceeding $1 million, and a total take of $61 million amounted to 55% free fall from 2002 when juries turned in 20 verdicts that topped $1 million and, all tolled, amounted to $111.13 million."
Medical Malpractice & wrongful death cases dominated the list.
An article on Medical News Today last Sunday reported that "70% of Maryland's OB/GYNs have been sued at least once for malpractice, with the average settlement exceeding $1 million."
And a Law.Com article (subscription also required) meanwhile foreshadows that "as debate over 'tort reform' continues across the country, several states are considering the creation of medical malpractice courts to help streamline what many view as costly, complex litigation...
"... Courts would likely be designed to eliminate juries and allow judges with medical expertise to decide cases, possibly with the help of court-appointed experts..
"While a medical malpractice court has yet to be created, the idea is being debated in at least four states-- Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania-- through either legislation, budget maneuvers, or proposed pilot programs.
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
"E-mails with the misspelled attachment 'Happy Hollydays' arrived in inboxes Tuesday, with the subject line 'Merry Christmas.' A worm is in the attachment.
Ass.'t Attorney General Steve Sakamoto-Wengel, however, said he believes the statute should be upheld, and plaintiff Eric Menhart, a 3rd.-year law student at George Washington University, has indicated that he will appeal the case.
The federal government and as many as 36 states have "anti-spam" legislation on their books, and appeals courts in California and Washington have both overturned lower court rulings declaring those states' statutes unconstitutional on similar grounds.
Internet law is developing, Sakamoto-Wengel observed in a CNN article yesterday. "There are going to be conflicting rulings," he said. "But the ultimate hope is that they all get resolved and we have clear rules over what the states can & can't regulate."
There is a good article on the Baltimore Sun's online (registration required) from Nov. 28th. backgrounding Mr. Menhart and this particular case.
Internetweek is carrying a story this morning, too, predicting increased amounts of spam thru the holiday season.
Also, our two previous "spam" postings might be of interest.
CNN-Money carried an article telling of a Google project that will digitally scan the collections of seven libraries, including Harvard and Oxford, making them available online in the coming years.
This morning, there's an article on ABCnews about concerns that Google's "move to digitize research collections could spell the commercialization of libraries.
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
"At the summertime urging of the solicitor general," a Law.com article relates, "the Court had expedited the handling of United States v. Booker and United States v. Fanfan to remedy the 'disarray' of the federal sentencing system in the wake of last June's Blakely v. Washington ruling, which struck down a state sentencing law similar to the federal guidelines. The Court heard arguments in the cases on the first day of its term in October, and many had expected decisions by November, but adjournment now means that the earliest a ruling could now come is Jan. 11, 2005.
The Court did decide that police "have the authority to arrest suspects on charges that later fall apart as long as they had a second, valid reason for the detention." It also refused to clarify "when police could use deadly force to stop fleeing criminal suspects, but did say a lower court got it wrong in allowing a lawsuit against a police officer in the state of Washington who shot a burglary suspect."
Monday, December 13, 2004
UCCJEA "revises the law on child custody in the light of federal enactments & almost 30 years inconsistent case law," the article recites. It is intended to "provide clearer standards for which the states can exercise original jurisdiction over child custody determinations," and "a remedial process to enforce interstate child custody & visitation determinations." A 16-page PDF explanation by the Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention is accessible online.
Kentucky,Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania have all passed some version of the Act, while Indiana's SB 280 died in the House in the 2003-2004 session, according to the NCCUSL Web site's UCCJEA Code Citation list and bill tracking service.
The American Bar Association has posted a table outlining the "child custody criteria" of the states, and FindLaw provides a link to pertinent state statutes.
House Bill 185, and its bill analysis, are available thru the Ohio Legislative Service.
Thursday, December 09, 2004
"Netsky-P," allegedly written by German teenager Sven Jaschan in March, tops a list of the top ten viruses & hoaxes reported to that company.
An article posted by Enterprise Security Today comments that "virus writers took off their gloves in 2004, with the more inventive hackers focusing more on developing sphisticated malware for financial gains... One recent and quite worrisome example being the lastest generation of phishing attacks: those waiting for users to visit real banking websites and then monitoring & secretly recording login processes."
CNN.com this morning reports that computer-security experts, including former government officials, are urging the Bush administration to devote more effort to strengthening defenses against hackers and other online threats," including giving the Homeland Security Department more authority to oversee cyber security.
Meanwhile, a second news article on MSNBC.com reports, internet companies and law enforcement agaencies will be working more closely together to track down online scam artists involved in phishing.
Ohio and many other states are working on these situations. See my previous posting on spam laws and David's on Ohio's spam felony efforts.
Wednesday, December 08, 2004
The site, called TOXMAP, is free and does not require any registration.
TOXMAP joins other web resources maintained by the group for consumer health information broadly (MedlinePlus.gov), research studies (ClinicalTrials.gov), and older American concerns (NIHSeniorHealth.gov).
Tuesday, December 07, 2004
First is an clip linking a GAO report on "data mining" from BeSpacific.com that provides some interesting insight.
Law Technology News has a piece about building blogs, and there's an article on MSNBC news about "The Business of Blogging" which is pretty interesting.
Monday, December 06, 2004
The Court held its regular private conference Friday to discuss cases, but no announcement is expected at least until today. The case, FCC v. Brand X Internet Services, is from the 9th. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Article available on Law.com and FindLaw.
Thursday, December 02, 2004
The Business First of Columbus for 11/29 reports that AOL feels as though it's received "an early and important holiday gift" as House Bill 383 passed the Ohio Senate and makes its last journey before being signed by the Governor. In light of the recent felony convictions in Virginia (see Law.com or CNN for coverage) that involved AOL, you can imagine their pleasure at new legislation coming along.
Although Ohio has had anti-spam laws since 2002, when it passed Senate Bill 8 and created civil penalties for improper use of commercial, unsolicited e-mail, this is the first felony spam law for Ohio. See Chuck's previous posting on spam for links to current spam laws in other jurisdictions.