WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 10 declined review of an insider trading conviction, and Justice Antonin Scalia issued a three-page statement asking for a case to be brought to the Supreme Court that addresses the extent of the Securities and Exchange Commission's power to interpret criminal law (Douglas F. Whitman v. United States, No. 14-29, U.S. Sup.).
THE HAGUE, Netherlands - The Ecuadorian residents who contend that Chevron Corp. is avoiding paying them the $18.5 billion judgment they are owed for personal injuries caused by the company's oil operations in the Lago Agrio region of Ecuador on Oct. 23 sent an official letter to the International Criminal Court (ICC), asking the ICC prosecutor to open an investigation against Chevron for crimes against humanity related to the company's "inhumane" actions "to ensure that it will never have to pay a cent to affected peoples." The residents allege that Chevron has engaged in murder, forced deportation and other acts that constitute crime against humanity, which are punishable by the ICC.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Because the records sought by various media outlets related to an on-campus rape at Vanderbilt University are "relevant to a pending or contemplated criminal action," a Tennessee Court of Appeals panel majority on Sept. 30 held that the records were not discoverable under an exemption to the Tennessee Public Records Act (TPRA), reversing a trial court's ruling (The Tennessean, et al. v. Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson Co., et al., No. M2014-00524-COA-R3-CV, Tenn. App.; 2014 Tenn. App. LEXIS 616).
ELGIN, Ill. - An insulation contractor is not liable for injuries suffered by a homeowner during a burglary committed by one of the contractor's temporary workers, the Second District Illinois Appellate Court ruled Sept. 30 (Rosemary O'Rourke v. Bruce McIlvaine, et al., No. 2-13-1191, Ill. App., 2nd Dist.).
TRENTON, N.J. - A New Jersey legislator on Sept. 23 sent a letter to the U.S. attorney for the District of New Jersey calling for review of the official report of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) as part of an investigation into potential criminal conduct related to a spill of vinyl chloride and other chemicals that occurred when a train derailed while crossing the bridge over Mantua Creek in Paulsboro, N.J., in 2012 (In re: Paulsboro Derailment Cases, No. 13-784, D. N.J.).
NEW ORLEANS - The former director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's (TDCJ) Public Information Office, who was demoted for various time-keeping violations, may proceed with her gender bias claims, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Sept. 9, reversing a trial court's summary judgment ruling for TDCJ (Michelle Lyons v. Texas Department of Criminal Justice, No. 13-20543, 5th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 17394).
JACKSON, Miss. - A lawsuit brought by an exonerated criminal defendant over testimony that a doctor insured gave as an expert witness is not covered under the doctor's medical malpractice insurance policy, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed Aug. 28 (Dr. Steven Hayne v. The Doctors Company, et al., No. 2013-CA-00252-SCT, Miss. Sup.; 2014 Miss. LEXIS 432).
VERNON, Calif. - Exide Technologies on Aug. 14 filed a report with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in which it indicated that the company has been subpoenaed by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of California to appear before a grand jury concerning a criminal investigation of its lead-battery recycling facility. A spokesman with the U.S. Attorney's Office said he could neither confirm nor deny that a grand jury probe was under way.
PORTLAND, Ore. - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 25 found that the criminal acts of a fraudulent "carrier" that resulted in an insured's loss of 2,500 LCD computer monitors valued at $310,172 are subject to an insurance policy's exclusion for carrier dishonesty, reducing a lower court's judgment in favor of an insured from $300,000 to $50,000 (Intransit Inc., d/b/a Uti Transport Solutions v. Travelers Property and Casualty Company of America, No. 13-35002, 9th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 14210).
AUSTIN, Texas - Vascular Solutions Inc. has agreed to pay $520,000 to settle a False Claims Act lawsuit with the federal government and a whistle-blower for alleged off-label promotion of its varicose vein device, according to a July 17 filing in Texas federal court and a company financial report (United States of America, et al., ex rel. DeSalle Bui v. Vascular Solutions, Inc., No. 1:10-cv-883, W.D. Texas, Austin Div.).
NEW YORK - Because a defendant intentionally designed and operated his "Silk Road" website "for the purpose of facilitating unlawful transactions," he can be found guilty of criminal conspiracy, a New York federal judge ruled July 9, denying the defendant's motion to dismiss a four-count indictment against him in what she called a case of first impression (United States of America v. Ross William Ulbricht, No. 1:14-cr-00068, S.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93093).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - The U.S. Department of Justice on July 2 filed a criminal complaint against known hacker Cameron Lacroix, charging him with violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) for allegedly hacking into a San Francisco help desk, by which he gained access to two company's Twitter accounts (United States of America v. Cameron Lacroix, No. 5:14-cr-00349, N.D. Calif.).
BALTIMORE - A federal judge in Maryland on June 25 ordered that a criminal indictment for making false statements to an insurance regulator against the former president of an insolvent insurer be unsealed (United States of American v. Jeffrey Cohen, No. 14-cr-00310, D. Md.).
SANTE FE, N.M. - A New Mexico appeals court on June 9 affirmed the dismissal of a state's case accusing a home health care provider of Medicaid violations, saying a failure to comply with criminal screening requirements for caregivers does not support liability under state Medicaid laws (State of New Mexico ex rel. Gary K. King, Attorney General v. Behavioral Home Care Inc., No. 31,682, N.M. App.; 2014 N.M. App. LEXIS 60).
NEW ORLEANS - Residents of a polluted Corpus Christi, Texas, neighborhood seeking $55 million in restitution as part of CITGO Petroleum Corp.'s and a subsidiary's sentencing for criminal violations were denied a writ of mandamus in the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 23 (United States v. CITGO Petroleum Corp., et al., No. 14-4-5-5, 5th Cir.).
ELGIN, Ill. - An online statement calling a politician a "Sandusky" constituted an allegation of a criminal act that was not susceptible to an innocent interpretation, an Illinois appeals panel majority found May 8, affirming a trial court's grant of the politician's motion to subpoena a website to obtain identity of the commenter for purpose of pursing a defamation claim (Bill Hadley v. Subscriber Doe a/k/a Fuboy, No. 12-L-24, Ill. App., 2nd Dist.; 2014 Ill. App. LEXIS 303).
TOPEKA, Kan. - Facts asserted in criminal documents against an insured involved in a federal investigation fail to trigger employment practices liability (EPL) or directors and officers (D&O) liability coverage, a Kansas federal judge ruled May 1, finding that the insurer has no duty to defend its insured (McCalla Corporation v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's, London, subscribing to policy No. KAH100513, No. 13-1317-SAC, D. Kan.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60309).
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - Compensation for future medical expenses, court-ordered medical monitoring and relocation from allegedly polluted properties is not justified by the evidence, the Texas federal judge sentencing CITGO Petroleum Corp. for criminal pollution violations said in an April 30 sentencing memorandum (United States v. CITGO Petroleum Corp., et al., No. CR-06-563, S.D. Texas, Corpus Christi Div.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60172).
TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on April 24 granted a motion to abate an insurer's declaratory relief claim regarding its duty to indemnify officers of an insolvent insurance company who are involved in a criminal investigation (RSUI Indemnity Co. v. Akshay M. Desai, et al., No. 13-2629, M.D. Fla.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57215).
SAN FRANCISCO - In a criminal trial against a man accused of sending threatening emails to police and prosecutors, a judge erred in excluding a psychologist's testimony regarding diminished capacity because he had evaluated the defendant only for competency to stand trial, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled April 17 in reversing the conviction and ordering a new trial (United States of America v. Eric Leon Christian, No. 12-10202, 9th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 7218).
LOS ANGELES - A purchaser of Herbalife Ltd. stock filed a class complaint in California federal court on April 14 accusing the company and its executives of hiding the fact that the company's operations were based on a pyramid scheme, resulting in artificially inflated stock prices before the disclosure (Abdul Awad, et al. v. Herbalife Ltd., et al., No. 14-2850, C.D. Calif.).
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - A Texas federal judge on March 25 amended judgments issued in a criminal pollution sentencing to address the prosecution's concerns about potential restitution to residents claiming damages and to require the defendants to pay interest on the fines he had imposed (United States v. CITGO Petroleum Corp., et al., No. CR-06-563, S.D. Texas, Corpus Christi Div.).
NEW YORK - Toyota Motor Corp. will forfeit $1.2 billion as part of a deferred criminal prosecution agreement for wire fraud for allegedly misleading consumers, the federal government and Congress about "sudden acceleration" problems in the company's cars, the parties announced March 19 (United States of America v. Toyota Motor Corporation, No. n/a, S.D. N.Y.).