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Emails May Sink Chicago’s Water Department

When someone experiences discrimination at work – whether on the basis of his race, gender, age, sexual orientation – the victim should go to the company’s leadership to address and remedy the discrimination. But what happens when the discrimination originates with the very leadership who is supposed to make sure it doesn’t happen in the first place? According to a recent Chicago Tribune article, the Tribune had obtained copies of over 1,300 emails from the Chicago Water Department and found that many of those emails contained highly offensive, derogatory and discriminatory content and language that was not only entirely inappropriate for...

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Retaliation for Blowing the Whistle

Many state and federal laws are intended to regulate businesses and places of employment, in order to promote consumer and employee safety.  However, certain employers nonetheless violate these laws, and it is only because courageous employees expose this activity that this conduct is brought to light.  These Good Samaritan employees who decide to “blow the whistle” on their employers take great risks in coming forward.  Illinois law protects employee whistleblowers when they reasonably believe that their employers are violating a state or federal law, and has enacted the Illinois Whistleblower Act (“IWA”), 740 ILCS 174/ to afford certain protections to...

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Insurer Pays off Lawsuit With Thousands in Coins

By ROBERT JABLON Associated Press Associated Press An insurance company settled a lawsuit with a Los Angeles man by dropping off buckets full of thousands of quarters, nickels, dimes and pennies, his attorney said Wednesday. Andres Carrasco, 76, filed a lawsuit in 2012 against Adriana's Insurance Services, a Rancho Cucamonga-based company. The East Los Angeles man alleged that during an argument over why the company had cancelled his auto insurance, an agent assaulted him by physically removing him from the office. The company reached a settlement in June and last week delivered partial payment in the form of a check, but also tried to leave...

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Lawyer’s suspension includes lifetime ban on representing women

By Debra Cassens Weiss A Connecticut lawyer has been suspended for four months and barred from representing female clients for the rest of his career after he was accused of representing women in family law and domestic-violence cases in violation of a 2010 court order. The disciplinary counsel had initially sought disbarment for lawyer Ira Mayo, alleging he had violated the court order at least 11 times, the Connecticut Law Tribune reports. Mayo agreed to the suspension and ban on representing women to resolve the disciplinary complaint. Mayo was accused in two prior ethics cases, according to the Connecticut Law Tribune. In the...

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How corporations became people you can’t sue.

By Lina Khan Late last year a massive data hack at Target exposed as many as 110 million consumers around the country to identity theft and fraud. As details of its lax computer security oversight came to light, customers whose passwords and credit card numbers had been stolen banded together to file dozens of class-action lawsuits against the mega-chain-store company. A judge presiding over a consolidated suit will now sort out how much damage was done and how much Target may owe the victims of its negligence. As the case proceeds, documents and testimony pertaining to how the breach occurred will...

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CHP Officer Hit Woman in Now-Viral Video With “All the Strength He Had”: Lawsuit

The woman seen on a now-viral video being repeatedly punched by a California Highway Patrol officer said her dress was violently ripped to expose her bare buttocks as she told the officer “I didn’t do anything to you,” according to a federal civil rights lawsuit filed last week and amended Friday. Marlene Pinnock, 51, said in the lawsuit that she had dealt with the officer in the past, and that he called her by name as she walked in the area of the 10 Freeway west of downtown Los Angeles July 1. When she began to leave the area the lawsuit...

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Feds Failing To Act On Antibiotic Resistance Despite Grave Threat, Health Advocates Warn

Public health advocates are fuming over a new court ruling that they say could hasten the coming of the next pandemic. In a 2-1 decision released Thursday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit ruled that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration need not consider banning the use of antibiotics in healthy food-producing animals. "We believe that this decision allows dangerous practices known to threaten human health to continue," said Avinash Kar, an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council. "Adding antibiotics to farm animals' feed, day after day, is not what we should be doing. It's not what the...

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Ohio State band director fired after report finds sexualized culture

Michael Muskal Los Angeles Times 1:35 p.m. CDT, July 25, 2014 In the second recent scandal to cloud a nationally acclaimed marching band, the director of the Ohio State University band has been dismissed after investigators found a sexualized culture of rituals in the group that bills itself as the “Best Damn Band in the Land.” Band director Jonathan Waters was fired by the school after an investigation prompted by a parental complaint found the band’s “culture facilitated acts of sexual harassment, creating a hostile environment for students.” The lawyer representing Waters said the band leader will fight to clear his name. According...

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Lawsuit: Inflatable sumo wrestling led to brain injury at Miami-Dade charter school

By David Ovalle dovalle@MiamiHerald.com During a Hialeah Gardens school “Spirit Day,” a teen girl dressed in an inflatable sumo wrestler suit for what was supposed to be a goofy match with a classmate. But a lawsuit claims the sumo fun went horribly wrong, leaving the teen with severe brain damage after her head repeatedly struck the floor. The girl, 15-year-old freshman Celaida Lissabet, and her mother late last week sued charter school Mater Academy and Mega Party Events, the company that supplied the inflatable suits, which the lawsuit contends are designed for use in “violent recreational sumo wrestling games.” Adrian De La Rosa, owner of...

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UConn Settles Sexual Assault Lawsuit For $1.3 Million, But Won’t Admit Guilt

Tyler Kingkade The University of Connecticut will pay nearly $1.3 million to settle a lawsuit brought forward by five sexual assault victims, the school and the women's attorney announced Friday, but it will not admit to wrongdoing in the cases. The lawsuit, filed against UConn on Nov. 1 by high-profile attorney Gloria Allred and co-counsel Nina Pirrotti, came days after four of the women filed two federal complaints to the Department of Education. UConn was accused of mishandling rape cases and refusing to condemn or intervene on reported harassment of female students, in violation of the gender equity law Title IX. UConn is...

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City paid out $30K to settle 2012 lawsuit against chokehold cop Daniel Pantaleo

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- One of the two civil rights lawsuits against Daniel Pantaleo, the NYPD officer who put Eric Garner in a chokehold Thursday, ended up costing taxpayers $30,000 in settlement money, according to the plaintiffs' attorney. The suit, which was settled in January, accuses Pantaleo and another officer of strip-searching two men on a New Brighton street, pulling down their pants and underwear in broad daylight, in March 2012. It alleges that Pantaleo and several other officers -- Joseph Torres, Ignazio Conca, and Steven Lopez -- "unlawfully stopped" a vehicle on Jersey Street in New Brighton. Another officer, Christian Cataldo,...

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Florida jury awards $23 billion punitive damages against RJ Reynolds

By Barbara Liston ORLANDO Fla. Sat Jul 19, 2014 6:32pm EDT (Reuters) - A Florida jury has awarded the widow of a chain smoker who died of lung cancer punitive damages of more than $23 billion in her lawsuit against the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, the nation's second-biggest cigarette maker. The judgment, returned on Friday night, was the largest in Florida history in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by a single plaintiff, according to Ryan Julison, a spokesman for the woman's lawyer, Chris Chestnut. Cynthia Robinson of Florida Panhandle city of Pensacola sued the cigarette maker in 2008 over the death of her...

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Study: Sexual harassment is a real problem in science

Updated by Susannah Locke on July 16, 2014, 2:40 p.m. ET Sexual harassment and assault are problems that no one should have to deal with in the workplace. And according to one new study, even science isn't immune to such problems. "The study is the most in-depth look yet at sexual harassment in science" The paper, published in PLOS ONE, surveyed more than 600 anthropologists, archaeologists, biologists, zoologists, and other scientists about their experiences while doing fieldwork away from the university. And the picture was disturbing — there were many experiences of sexual harassment and assault, as well as little awareness of how to...

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Former Twitter employee alleges age discrimination in lawsuit

By Riley Snyder A former Twitter employee is suing the company, alleging that the social media giant fired him for being too old. The lawsuit was filed by former Twitter employee Peter Taylor, who alleged he was fired last year with no warning and a month after the then-57-year-old underwent surgery to remove kidney stones. The suit says Taylor saved Twitter millions of dollars during its data center expansion and met all performance review standards before he was fired and replaced by workers in their 20s and 30s. Taylor, who worked as Twitter’s manager of data center deployment, said in the suit that his...

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Whitman County assessor faces sexual harassment lawsuit

Kip Hill The Spokesman-Review Whitman County’s longtime assessor is in federal court in Spokane this week, fighting a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by an employee. Joe Reynolds, who has served as assessor in Whitman County since 1991, described his office as “loose” and that employees “talked nasty at times,” according to court filings. Yet Brenda Arthur, who started working for the office in 2000, says Reynolds crossed the line, touching her inappropriately and making several sexually explicit remarks during the past several years. The alleged harassment prompted Arthur to request time off and to seek medical help for physical and emotional distress. Whitman...

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Cleveland settles federal lawsuit with families of police chase victims Timothy Russell, Malissa Williams

By John Caniglia, The Plain Dealer on July 16, 2014 at 2:00 PM CLEVELAND, Ohio – Cleveland has settled a federal lawsuit for an undisclosed amount of money with the families of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams, who were killed after a 2012 car chase in which police officers fired 137 shots at Russell's car, a judge said Wednesday. U.S. District Judge Dan Aaron Polster said in documents that the settlement is dependent upon a judge's approval in Cuyahoga County Probate Court, where the estates were set up to oversee any awards from the lawsuit. A probate judge would decide whether the...

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Kansas City woman files lawsuit against Monster Energy Drink after husband’s death

Amy Hawley A Kansas City woman launches the latest lawsuit against Monster Energy Drink. Heather Felts said her husband, Shane, died after consuming about one energy drink a day for two weeks. The drink's manufacturer, she said, touts the energy drink as a dietary supplement when there are few to no documented health benefits. Felts said her husband consumed Monster Energy Drinks for just two weeks. Kansas City woman files lawsuit against Monster Energy Drink after husband's death...

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Lawsuit over 1996 car crash leads to $18 million award

By The Associated Press on July 13, 2014 READING, Pa. (AP) — An insurance company that was tongue-lashed in a decision last month by a Pennsylvania judge is contesting his ruling that it pay $18 million in punitive damages after a long court battle over faulty repairs to a family's vehicle in 1996. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. on Friday asked Berks County Judge Jeffrey K. Sprecher to reconsider a decision believed to be the largest punitive award ever handed down in Pennsylvania in a lawsuit accusing an insurer of bad faith, the Philadelphia Inquirer (http://bit.ly/1nkxYqP ) reported Sunday. Sprecher ruled in June that...

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Tracy Morgan released from care, files lawsuit against Walmart

Comic and actor Tracy Morgan files suit against Walmart over a New Jersey highway crash Actor Tracy Morgan has been released from a rehabilitation center and will continue his recovery at home, a representative for the comedian said Saturday. The news came after Morgan filed a lawsuit against Walmart Stores Inc. over the New Jersey highway crash that left one man dead and several injured last month. The lawsuit, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in New Jersey by Morgan and three other survivors of the crash, claims Walmart was negligent when the driver of one of its tractor trailers struck Morgan's limousine. James McNair,...

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Ohio brothers get $235,000 in patrol crash lawsuit

The Associated Press 2:01 a.m. EDT July 10, 2014 COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The State Highway Patrol has reached a $235,000 settlement in a lawsuit by two southwest Ohio brothers who alleged their vehicle was hit by a patrol car traveling over 95 mph while not using overhead lights or sirens. The Ohio Court of Claims approved the settlement for the brothers Tuesday. Ohio brothers get $235,000 in patrol crash lawsuit...

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St. Paul to settle police officer’s sexual harassment lawsuit for $60,000

By Emily Gurnon The city of St. Paul will pay a former police officer $60,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit she filed last year. Sgt. Aine M. Bebeau claimed that her juvenile unit supervisor, Cmdr. Eugene Polyak, made "inappropriate sexual statements to her" at work and that department brass retaliated against her when she reported it. She also claimed she was subjected to a hostile work environment and discrimination as a Native American woman. Between September and November 2010, Polyak complained to Bebeau about his marital problems, told her he became aroused when thinking about her, reported on "erotic dreams" she inspired and...

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Ex-employee settles lawsuit with Milk Shake Factory

By Brian Bowling Friday, July 11, 2014, 11:36 a.m. A former general manager of The Milk Shake Factory on Carson Street has settled her lawsuit claiming she was fired for refusing to discriminate against male and minority job applicants. Denise Beloncis, 44, of Crafton Heights said in the lawsuit that her supervisor at Edward Marc Chocolatier told her to hire the “all-American girl,” which in this case meant a blonde, blue-eyed college graduate, preferably from Duquesne University. The company fired her after three months on the job because she was hiring people who didn't fit the criteria, the lawsuit said. The Trafford-based company...

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City of Charlotte settles lawsuit over police shooting for $115,000

By Michael Gordon For the second time this year, the city of Charlotte has settled a lawsuit arising from a police shooting – this one involving a 15-year-old who was wounded in 2010 as he came to the aid of his injured mother. The city will pay $115,000 to Jeffery Green. He was shot in October 2010 by Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Officer Matthew Wilson, who was responding to the stabbing of Green’s mother, Valinda Streater. Wilson remains on the force. Green, who recovered from his injuries, is enrolled as a nursing student at Central Piedmont Community College. City of Charlotte settles lawsuit over police shooting...

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Lafayette officer facing federal lawsuit after wheelchair incident

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – A Lafayette man has filed a federal lawsuit after a police officer pushed him over in a wheelchair. The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court of Northern Indiana on behalf of 25-year-old Nicholas Kincade on Thursday. Kincade was in a motorized wheelchair after being in an accident. The lawsuit said in October of 2013, Lafayette Police Department officer Tom Davidson was called to investigate Kincade. He said Davidson searched his backpack without a warrant. Lafayette officer facing federal lawsuit after wheelchair incident...

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Dating app Tinder sued for sexual harassment

Jessica Guynn, USATODAY 9:55 p.m. EDT June 30, 2014 SAN FRANCISCO — Popular mobile dating app Tinder is being sued for sexual harassment and discrimination by a former marketing executive. Whitney Wolfe, Tinder's former marketing vice president, claims she was subjected to a pattern of abusive behavior including inappropriate private messages from a company co-founder while working at Tinder. In the suit, she alleges Tinder co-founder and marketing chief Justin Mateen stripped Wolfe of her co-founder title, telling her that having a "24‐year-old girl" as a co-founder made the company "seem like a joke." Dating app Tinder sued for sexual harassment  ...

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Family of man left alone in ER after asthma attack wins $7M judgment

BY LISA DONOVAN Cook County Reporter ldonovan@suntimes.com August 1, 2012 8:26PM A Cook County jury has awarded $7 million to the family of a Chicago man who was being treated for an asthma attack but was left alone in a local hospital emergency room where he suffered brain and other injuries that eventually killed him. The award, delivered Tuesday, came after a three-week trial stemming from the wrongful death and medical malpractice lawsuit Michael Bell’s wife filed after his 2006 death. Bell, a longtime asthmatic, suffered an attack at his Southwest Side home on July 14, 2002, said Kevin Burke, the lawyer for...

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Ex-Des Plaines cop says reporting misconduct cost him his job

Lawsuit says former deputy chief forced into retirement By Jonathan Bullington, Chicago Tribune reporter August 17, 2012 A former Des Plaines deputy police chief has sued the city and its former and current top officials, claiming he was forced to retire as retaliation for reporting the alleged misconduct of a police officer. In the recently filed federal lawsuit, Richard Rozkuszka, 54, claims that he reported to former police Chief James Prandini five separate instances of misconduct by police Officer John Bueno, and that he was told each time by Prandini to "drop it." Prandini, who retired Jan. 1, could not be reached for comment...

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Judge tosses lawsuit over FBI surveillance of California mosques

August 14, 2012|By Dan Whitcomb | Reuters LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A federal judge on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit charging that the FBI violated civil liberties by sending an informant into several California mosques to spy on U.S. Muslims, ruling that allowing the case to proceed could risk disclosure of government secrets. U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney wrote in a 36-page order that he was reluctant to toss out the case before it could be litigated but was forced to weigh national security against individual liberties and an open judicial process. In the decision, Carney compared himself to the fictional Greek hero Odysseus,...

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Many luxury cars flunk new type of crash test

When a car's front corner hits something, what happens? The driver often gets seriously injured, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's new crash test finds. By Jerry Hirsch Chicago Tribune reporter Results of a new crash test that focused on luxury cars are raising worries that most vehicles may not be able to provide protection from serious injuries in a common accident. Such fancy nameplates as BMW, Mercedes and Lexus all earned "poor" ratings in a test that simulated what happens when the front corner of a sedan hits another vehicle or an object such as a tree or pole, according to the...

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Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano favored women pals for jobs: lawsuit

By BRUCE GOLDING Last Updated: 6:10 AM, August 10, 2012 A veteran US law-enforcement official has filed a blockbuster discrimination lawsuit against Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, charging she pushed him aside to make way for a less-qualified woman who’s “enjoyed a long-standing relationship” with the anti-terror chief. That woman, Dora Schriro, was later appointed by Mayor Bloomberg as commissioner of the city Department of Correction, a post she still holds. The court papers also allege that Suzanne Barr, Napolitano’s chief of staff at Immigration and Customs Enforcement, has engaged in “numerous” acts of “sexually offensive behavior” intended to “humiliate and intimidate male...

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