Category Archives: Legal News

Gunman shot shopper for looking at his girlfriend, charges state

By Ben Lockhart   |  Posted Oct 23rd, 2015 @ 9:25pm

WEST VALLEY CITY — A fight that led to a shooting in a West Valley City Wal-Mart parking lot started when the shooter confronted another man inside the store about looking at his girlfriend, according to charging documents.

Cole Ronald Shields, 31, was charged Thursday in 3rd District Court with two counts of illegal discharge of a firearm causing serious bodily injury, one a first-degree felony and the other a second-degree felony. He was also charged with obstruction of justice, a second-degree felony, and three counts of felony discharge of a firearm, a third-degree felony.

Shields, of Cottonwood Heights, allegedly confronted the man while leaving his checkout lane at the Wal-Mart, 3180 W. 5600 South, on Oct. 14 and asked him why the man was looking at his girlfriend.

“(The victim) told the defendant he wasn’t, and began walking to his car. The defendant followed (him) and continued to verbally harass him,” the charges state.

Shields then allegedly pulled out a gun and kicked the man in the leg. The man responded by punching Shields in the face and hitting him again after Shields fell to the ground, according to the charges. The man made his way toward his car again, this time walking backwards, when police say Shields opened fire, shooting at the man either five or six times and striking him once each in both feet.

“(The victim) required emergency medical treatment for his injuries and will be unable to walk for approximately six weeks,” the charges state. “(He) will require a bone graft to repair the damage to one of his feet.”

Shields admitted to opening fire in the parking lot, but claimed he did so in self-defense, according to the charging documents.

Utah court records show Shields entered a plea in abeyance to misdemeanor assault in June. He is currently in the Salt Lake County Jail and is scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday.

Read Full Story – https://www.ksl.com/?sid=37075070&nid=148&fm=most_popular&s_cid=article_popular-1

Family law: Re-focusing on the needs of the child

By Carolyn Laine

Something unique happened in Minnesota this year.

It had to do with how parents figure out child custody and parenting time after they separate. In about 5 percent of these cases, the courts need to resolve it for the parents. The law the courts use to make decisions becomes the backdrop for how parents are encouraged to work it out. Seldom is it easy for parents, but it is made more difficult if the law is unclear.

As times change, bringing changes in families and in parenting roles, the Legislature needs to make adjustments in family law. But that, too, is seldom easy.

Too often, the legislative fight over how to provide solutions to child custody, parenting time and child support is often a macrocosm of the difficulty parents encounter, with distrust, anger, fear and power plays interfering.

Such was the case in Minnesota — until recently. After more than a dozen years of battling, something different has happened.

In 2012, the usual legislative fight over how to make these changes resulted in a gubernatorial veto. But the governor also encouraged a collaborative approach between the warring sides.

A family court judge heeded the call to collaboration and brought in a mediator skilled in major public policy issues. The Child Custody Dialogue Group that formed agreed to side-step our entrenched positions and developed 26 principles we all shared. We then examined where the current family law and procedures did not match our shared principles.

More than a year later, in 2014, we passed through the Minnesota Legislature a few changes, including giving the judge permission to reserve a later re-determination of parenting time to correspond with the child’s changing developmental needs. The group continued working on deeper issues, and this work culminated in the 2015 legislative changes that are considered to be the most significant change in Minnesota’s family law in two decades.

The “Best Interests of the Child” factors lie at the core of family law, but we found them to be out of date. By re-focusing them more clearly on the needs of the child, instead of comparing parents, we hope this assists parents and courts in focusing on what arrangement going forth best meets the child’s needs in each unique family situation.

An important new factor to be considered in the 12 interrelated factors is the benefit to the child in maximizing time with both parents and the detriment to limiting time with one parent. This factor emphasizes the appropriately substantial participation of both parents in a way that benefits the child on a case-by-case basis. It reflects a shared principle instead of a contentious position.

We found a number of other places in family law that needed clarification. For example, there now are better remedies when a parent is not following court orders in such areas as parenting time, tax filing or income disclosures. As a reminder of the importance of involving both parents, the law now says the 25 percent presumption of parenting time is a minimum level. And the right of both parents to access school, medical and legal information is clearly identified right in the custody order.

Read full article – http://www.twincities.com/columnists/ci_28975783/carolyn-laine-family-law-re-focusing-needs-child

Johnson & Johnson, Ethicon Morcellator Lawsuits Centralized

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Lawsuits involving one of the biggest pharmaceutical companies and one of the most controversial medical devices in the U.S. now are centralized to a single court.

Johnson & Johnson is accused of hiding knowledge that its power morcellator could cause an accidental spread of uterine cancer during hysterectomies and surgeries to remove fibroids.

The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation transferred at least 28 morcellator lawsuits to the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas, a multidistrict litigation (MDL) court.

“This decision by the panel is an extremely important one because it ensures that these cases will move at the fastest possible pace,” said Paul Pennock, a lead attorney at Weitz & Luxenberg who led the arguments for consolidation.

Courts consolidate lawsuits to MDLs when a large number of plaintiffs file lawsuits involving the same facts against the same defendant. The process allows the courts to operate more efficiently and decreases the costs for all parties involved.

“We believe this will allow our clients to obtain justice much more swiftly and reliably than might otherwise be the case if each client were compelled to battle the defendants in isolated courtrooms scattered across the country,” Pennock said.

The lawsuits accuse Ethicon, a subsidiary of J&J, of designing a defective product and failing to warn patients of risks.

Morcellator Controversy Growing

The surgical tool that uses small blades to break tissue into small fragments remains one of the most controversial devices in the U.S.

One congressman, U.S. Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick, fought for amendments to regulate medical devices to be added to the 21st Century Cures Act that was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in July. The amendments stemmed from news that some women were rapidly developing cancer after surgeries involving the device.

Months later, members of Congress led by Fitzpatrick petitioned the U.S. Government Accountability Office to investigate the devices and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration process that cleared them. The GAO agreed to investigate morcellators and the FDA in September.

The recent news adds to an existing history of controversy involving power morcellators that began more than a year ago, and Johnson & Johnson’s name keeps coming up.

J&J, Ethicon May Have Known of Risks

Morcellators were once thought to have an extremely rare risk of unintentionally spreading uterine cancer, but the FDA warned the actual risk was one in 350 in April 2014. The warning came almost two decades after the device entered the market.

Read Full Article Here – http://www.drugwatch.com/2015/10/20/ethicon-morcellator-mdl-kansas/

Assange Lawyer: UK and Sweden ‘Violating International Law’

U.K. authorities say they will arrest the Australian national if he leaves the embassy to seek medical treatment.

The United Kingdom and Sweden are “clearly violating international law” for refusing to grant Julian Assange medical attention outside the Ecuadorean Embassy in London without arrest, a lawyer for the WikiLeaks founder told RT Thursday.

Assange, who has been living in asylum in the embassy for over three years, has been suffering from a “deep pain” in his right shoulder since June, for which his doctor has advised a magnetic resonance imaging scan.

U.K. authorities have said that they will arrest the Australian national if he leaves the embassy to seek medical treatment, which Assange’s legal team says is an affront on his human rights.

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“The U.K. and Sweden are clearly violating international law,” lawyer Carey Shenkman told RT in a televised interview. “The U.K. is effectively brushing off its international obligations.”

According to Shenkman, both the U.K. and Sweden are contravening legally binding accords, including the Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, the European Convention on Human Rights, both of which grant the right to medical treatment, while both nations recognize asylum in embassies.

“What they are doing in reality is making Assange choose between his asylum and getting medical treatment. No person should ever have to make that choice,” Shenkman added.

Assange is wanted for questioning by Sweden over sexual assault. If arrested he faces the risk of extradition to the U.S. where there has been an ongoing attempt to prosecute Wikileaks and its founder over the slew of damning revelations made about the U.S. military.

For Full Article and Video – This content was originally published by teleSUR at the following address: http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Assange-Lawyer-UK-and-Sweden-Violating-International-Law–20151016-0002.html

Small-business legal group urges Supreme Court to hear property case

By Lydia Wheeler – 10/19/15 11:23 AM EDT

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Small Business Legal Center is urging the Supreme Court to take a case out of California that questions whether a city can constitutionally force developers to sell certain housing units below market rates.

The case, California Building Industry Association v. City of San Jose, Calif., centers on a city rule that requires developers to set aside 15 percent of all newly constructed residential units for the city to use as affordable housing stock or opt out by paying a fee.

NFIB Small Business Legal Center is asking the Supreme Court to hear the case and reverse the California Supreme Court decision upholding the housing rule.

“Here we have the city of San Jose trying to use its power to bully landowners,” Karen Harned, the group’s executive director said in a news release. “Clearly, the constitution protects private property and the right of landowners to exercise their right to use and sell their property at market rate. The court should stop San Jose and other cities with similar schemes.”

The legal arm of the nation’s leading small-business association said the court should settle the lower court split and follow the legal precedence it set in Nollan v. California Coastal Commission. In that case, the court held that the government couldn’t require a landowner to dedicate property as a condition of a permit approval.

Read Full Article – http://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/257306-small-business-legal-group-urges-supreme-court-to-hear-property-case