Posts Tagged ‘Pennsylvania’

HOA mailbox spat turns into three-year court battle

“Abby and Jonathan Weber bought their daughter Mollie a mailbox inspired by Tigger, the colorful character from the Winnie the Pooh stories….You know who didn’t appreciate the Tigger mailbox? Members of the Laurel Oaks Homeowners Association that oversees the Bucks County neighborhood that the Webers call home.” Now, three years of litigation later… [Brian Hickey, Philly Voice]

Burger workers class action makes Happy Meal for lawyers

Lawyers will get $858,000 of what is described as the nearly million-dollar settlement of a suit against McDonald’s franchisees in northeastern Pennsylvania that had used debit cards to compensate workers, leading to complaints of fees. “The eight employees named in the suit, or the lead plaintiffs, will receive $1,250 each plus the debit-card fees they paid, according to WNEP. All others — only a few hundred of the roughly 2,400 signed paperwork to collect — will get $100 plus fee reimbursement.” [AP/Wilkes Barre Times Leader]

Schools roundup

  • Union contracts can result in truant-teacher syndrome [Larry Sand, City Journal]
  • “A Review of Department of Education Programs: Transgender Issues, Racial Quotas in School Discipline, and Campus Sexual Assault Mandates” [Linda Chavez et al., Regulatory Transparency Project]
  • Why is the FBI getting involved in college sports recruiting scandals? [Cato podcast with Ilya Shapiro]
  • School lobby in Pennsylvania, unable to defeat taxpayer advocates at ballot box, hopes to win in court instead [Matt Miller, PennLive on school finance suit]
  • “End Federal Pressure for Racial Quotas in Special Education” [Hans Bader, CEI]
  • Irvington, N.J.: “Student to get $6M after tripping, breaking arm in gym class” [AP/TribLive]

July 26 roundup

  • “It’s time for our justice system to embrace artificial intelligence” [Caleb Watney, Brookings]
  • Ontario woman named vexatious litigant and barred from filing lawsuits without leave tells newspaper “to hold off on publishing her story until all of her matters before the court were concluded, or else” [Jesse McLean and Emily Mathieu, Toronto Star]
  • Psittacine hearsay? Parrot said to have repeated “don’t (expletive) shoot” in murder victim’s voice; wife convicted [AP/Detroit News] “The parrot was not involved in any court proceedings.” [Evening Standard (U.K.)]
  • Pennsylvania’s abuse-of-process law, not particularly strong in the first place, survives a challenge [Hillary Hunter, WLF]
  • No, that’s not how the law works. Sanctions next? “Baton Rouge police officer injured in deadly ambush sues Black Lives Matter” and five leaders of it [CBS]
  • “When the first section heading of an opinion is ‘Design Basics and the Art of the Intellectual Property Shakedown,’ you can probably guess how things are going to turn out for Plaintiff Design Basics, LLC.” [John Ross, Short Circuit on this Seventh Circuit case]

Pennsylvania high court limits civil asset forfeiture

In an important decision the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled that to seize property under civil process the state must prove that property played a significant role in crime, and the value seized cannot be disproportionate to the offense [AP/Allentown Morning Call, C.J. Ciaramella/Reason, opinion in car and real estate proceedings involving Elizabeth Young, background Milad Emam, Philadelphia Inquirer 2016 op-ed on Institute for Justice brief] Philadelphia authorities seized Young’s house and minivan after her son sold $90 worth of marijuana on her front porch. Earlier this year I covered a different Pennsylvania intermediate court decision, which also checked the scope of forfeiture law, here.

Police roundup

  • The stalker wore a badge: AP finds mass abuse by police of non-public databases to check out romantic interests, celebrities, journalists;
  • Union-backed bill: “Pennsylvania lawmakers approve ban on naming officers in shootings” [Philadelphia Daily News]
  • How Chicago’s FOP shapes coverage of police shootings [Chicago Reader] Reason coverage of police unions here, here (Cleveland demand to stop open carry), here (union contracts restrict oversight), etc.
  • Inside the Chicago Police Department’s secret budget of millions a year from seizures and forfeitures [Chicago Reader]
  • Baltimore police spokesman T.J. Smith about force’s use of dragnet of social media information about citizens: “The only people that have anything to fear about anything being monitored are those that are criminals and attempting to commit criminal acts.” Yes, that’s really what Smith said [Alison Knezevich/Baltimore Sun; in sequel, social media companies rescind access to the Geofeedia service]
  • “It ought to be possible to terminate cops short of criminal convictions for incidents like that involving [Freddie] Gray’s” [Ed Krayewski]

October 26 roundup

  • Fuller investigation of that “reputation management” ruse of filing dummy court cases with the aim of getting critical web posts taken down [Eugene Volokh and Paul Alan Levy, Levy first and second followups, earlier here and here]
  • “When Civic Participation Means Shaming A Non-Voter’s Kid” [my Cato post about an ill-considered public service announcement]
  • Why America’s regulation problem is so intractable: Fortune magazine cover story [Brian O’Keefe]
  • El Paso benefits from immeasurable advantage over neighboring Juarez, Mexico: rule of law and related American cultural attitudes [Alfredo Corchado, City Journal]
  • Tort litigation in Pennsylvania is at its most intensive in a few counties, and residents pay the price [Peter Cameron, Scranton Times-Tribune, I’m quoted]
  • California AG Kamala Harris orders BackPage execs arrested; Section 230 be damned? [TechDirt]

A Kathleen Kane footnote, on forfeiture

The office of now-convicted Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane kept the existence of a pile of seized money secret for nearly two years: “Not until the state attorney general’s office filed a forfeiture petition for the money [nearly $1.8 million] in Cumberland County Court on June 16, did its existence become public.” [Allentown Morning Call/Philly.com]

Jury convicts Pennsylvania Attorney General

“Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane was convicted Monday of perjury, obstruction and other crimes after squandering her once bright political future on an illegal vendetta against an enemy.” Kane has thus far refused calls to resign from office, although her law license has been suspended [Philly.com] We’ve covered her ethical travails for some time, which included this excerpt from a post two years ago:

Pennsylvania attorney general Kathleen Kane dropped a longstanding corruption “sting” probe that had snagged several Philly officials. The Philadelphia Inquirer raised questions about her decision in its reporting, which contributed to a public outcry over the episode. Then Attorney General Kane brought a prominent libel litigator with her to a meeting with the Inquirer editors, and that lawyer announced that Kane was exploring her options of suing the paper and others that had reported on the matter, and that he was going to do the talking for her.

That was extraordinary behavior for a sitting public official — and, as we now know, indicative that underneath the bad appearances were some bad realities.