Tag Archives: civil lawsuits

Bill Cosby Accusers Request Pause on Defamation Lawsuit

Cammarata beat back a full stay of the case, but now he has reversed himself. Late last week, the attorney filed a motion to completely pause discovery of the civil lawsuit pending the end of the criminal prosecution.

It’s not every day when a plaintiff demands delay, but in the unfolding saga surrounding Cosby, there’s hardly much typical. The defamation case has numbers — six accusers — but the criminal one over Cosby’s alleged assault of former Temple University employee Andrea Constand has consequences. Should Cosby lose the Constand case scheduled to go to trial in Pennsylvania next June, he could spend most of his final days on Earth in a jail cell. What makes the interplay between the criminal and civil cases complicated is the possible trial testimony from many of Cosby’s accusers, including those suing him for defamation, but also others who are listed in court papers merely as knowledgeable witnesses.

In November, the Pennsylvania judge overseeing the criminal matter denied Cosby an opportunity to have a competency hearing to examine these women. At a court hearing next week, Cosby’s attorneys will argue they shouldn’t be allowed to testify for the prosecution about alleged prior bad acts.

In the meantime, Cosby has been pursuing depositions of the potential witnesses via the civil lawsuits.

“It appears that Defendant is misusing discovery in this action to conduct fact-finding for his own benefit in the criminal case,” states Cammarata’s memorandum in support of a stay. “This state of affairs should not continue, and there is little to gain in doing so.”

The plaintiffs’ attorney has been frustrated in his own efforts to investigate Cosby. For example, after Cosby filed counterclaims for tortious interference with his NBC and Netflix deals, Cammarata has been trying to measure the supposed harm to Cosby’s career only to be flummoxed by objections. Cammarata also deposed Singer in May, but didn’t get much because of the assertion of attorney-client privilege. Cammarata hasn’t been able to question Cosby about the nature of his relationship with female accusers, but he says that Cosby’s attorneys have been allowed to depose his clients.

“Since discovery began, it has been practically one-sided, in favor of Defendant,” writes Cammarata.

So now, upon word that Cosby wants to depose non-plaintiffs who may be testifying in the criminal action, Cammarata wants a time-out, doing what Judy Huth’s attorney Gloria Allred recently did in a civil case in California. There, Cosby’s attorneys fought against a discovery stay, telling the judge that the gambit represented a “breathtaking level of hypocrisy and gamesmanship,” and that the entertainer had a right to depose witnesses.

The Montgomery County, Pa., D.A. agrees with Cammarata and Allred, recently issuing a letter, expressing that “it is improper and inappropriate for the defendant or his attorneys to use the civil process to attempt to depose Commonwealth witnesses or otherwise gather discovery related to the pending criminal charges.”

Speaking of the interplay between the criminal and civil cases, it was the D.A.’s original decision more than a decade ago to not prosecute Cosby that allowed him to give a deposition in Constand’s civil case. The revelation of that 2005 deposition, where Cosby admitted obtaining quaaludes to give to women for sex, helped re-ignite the criminal case. On Monday, the Pennyslvania judge denied Cosby’s efforts to preclude the deposition at trial.

Sourced From – http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/bill-cosby-accusers-request-pause-defamation-lawsuit-952796

Court rejects state’s appeal in KKK highway cleanup case

Dismissing an appeal on a technicality, Georgia’s highest court granted a victory to a Ku Klux Klan group that has been seeking for years to participate in a state-run highway cleanup program

Dismissing an appeal on a technicality, Georgia’s highest court granted a victory to a Ku Klux Klan group that has been seeking for years to participate in a state-run highway cleanup program.

The Georgia Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected the state’s appeal of a lower court decision that the state had violated the KKK group’s free speech rights. The Department of Transportation filed its appeal incorrectly, leaving the high court without authority to consider its merits, the opinion said.

The state attorney general’s office, which represents the department, is reviewing the decision and considering its options, spokesman Nicholas Genesi said in an email.

The north Georgia KKK group applied to join the state’s Adopt-A-Highway program in May 2012, hoping to pick up litter along part of Route 515 in the Appalachian Mountains. The program was started in 1989 to get volunteers to clean up sections of roads in the state. In exchange, the Department of Transportation posts a sponsorship sign along the road with the program logo and the volunteer group’s name.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/article87664407.html#storylink=cpy

New lawsuit against Duke Energy alleges coal ash polluting N.C. lake

by Jenna Martin

A new lawsuit filed Monday alleges that a Duke Energy coal ash pond in the northern part of North Carolina is contaminating surrounding water sources and that the Charlotte-based utility stands in violation of the federal Clean Water Act.

Filed in the U.S. Middle District Court of North Carolina by attorneys with the Southern Environmental Law Center on behalf of the Roanoke River Basin Association, the 25-page complaint focuses on Duke’s coal-fired Mayo power plant near Roxboro. It asserts that about 6.9 million tons of coal ash is stored in a leaking, unlined pit along the banks of Mayo Lake and polluting the fishing lake, a stream feeding into Dan River and the Roanoke River Basin, adjacent wetlands and surrounding groundwater with heavy metals.

The suit states that the Roanoke River Basin Association notified Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), the Environmental Protection Agency and the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality on April 11 of the violations and its intent to take legal action if they were not corrected within 60 days.

It contends that Duke Energy has built a lined landfill on property near the Mayo plant where the coal ash could be relocated. The association asks that the court require Duke to move the ash to a lined, solid-waste landfill away from the lake and tributary and asses a civil penalty of up to $37,500 per violation each day.

The plant, which according to Duke began operating commercially in 1983, is located near the Virginia border and about 70 miles east of Duke’s Dan River Steam Station near Eden — the site of a 2014 spill of 39,000 tons of coal ash into the river. Back in March, state regulators told Duke Energy it is subject to fines and penalties for improper leaks at coal ash ponds at 12 plants, including Mayo.

That follows a $7 million settlement reached last October between Duke and the DEQ to resolve groundwater-contamination issues at all 14 of Duke’s coal plants in the state — an order the SELC contested.

Full Article – http://www.bizjournals.com/charlotte/news/2016/06/14/new-lawsuit-against-duke-energy-alleges-coal-ash.html

Prospective Jurors Refuse to Serve Under Aaron Persky, the Judge in Brock Turner Case

The East Bay Times reports that as many as ten prospective jurors have refused to serve under Aaron Persky, the judge who presided over Brock Turner’s sentencing, in a new, unrelated case.

According to the paper, one prospective juror stood up and said, “I can’t believe what you did,” referring to the six-month sentence Persky gave Turner after the ex-Stanford student was convicted of three felonies, including assault with the intent to commit rape. Another juror said, “I’m sorry, I can’t be here.” Persky’s new case is a misdemeanor stolen property case.

Each time a juror refused, Persky said “I understand,” thanked the juror and dismissed them.

Since Persky gave Turner his sentence (which will likely be reduced to three months) last week, there have been calls for his resignation and removal. Earlier this week, the Daily Dot covered two petitions for Persky’s recall, including one by Stanford professor Michele Dauber. On Sunday, Dauber shared a letterwritten by Dan Turner, Brock’s father, advocating for leniency. In that letter, Dan Turner described his son’s sexual assault on an unconscious woman as “20 minutes of action.”

Persky, who was recently reelected to the bench after running unopposed, has a history of presiding over controversial rape cases. In 2011, Persky presided over the civil case of an underage victim who alleged that she was gang-raped by multiple members of the De Anza College basketball team in 2007.

That case has shades of the Turner case: an unconscious victim, college athletes, and bystanders who intervened to end the assault, all on a college campus. Though none of the alleged De Anza rapists were ever prosecuted (a deeply controversial decision made by Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office), the victim sought recourse in civil court, suing for $7.5 million in damages.

During that civil trial, Persky made a controversial evidentiary ruling whichallowed the jury to view seven photographs of the alleged victim “partying about a year or so after the alleged gang rape. In the photos, she is scantily clad, wearing a garter belt and what appear to be fishnet stockings.” Lawyers for the defendant claimed that the photographs were a “direct contradiction” of the alleged victim’s claims. The victim, inevitably, lost the lawsuit.

Though the De Anza case didn’t go “viral,” it speaks, perhaps, to the contradictions of a judge who campaigned as tough on sexual predators and a vocal advocate of victims.

From – http://jezebel.com/prospective-jurors-refuse-to-serve-under-aaron-persky-1781618871

Trump University case will go to trial

  @CNNMoney April 26, 2016: 5:49 PM ET

The slug-fest between Donald Trump and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman over Trump University continues.

On Tuesday, a New York court ruled that Schneiderman’s $40 million civil suit alleging fraud against Trump University would still have to go to trial, even though Schneiderman had asked the court for a ruling based on the evidence already presented.

No date has been set for a trial. But according to a statement from Schneiderman, the judge “indicated her intention to move as expeditiously as possible.”

A spokesman for Schneiderman’s office said the trial could take place as early as this fall. If so, that timing could prove tricky for Trump should he be chosen as the GOP’s presidential nominee.

The Trump camp was happy with the court’s decision Tuesday.

“We are extremely pleased that the Supreme Court has yet again rejected the Attorney General’s attempt to avoid a trial.” said Alan Garten, an attorney for Trump.

Related: Trump University controversy … in 2 minutes

The denial of Schneiderman’s request for summary judgment came after a New York court rejected the arguments of Donald Trump’s lawyers that Schneiderman’s fraud case should be tossed out.

Trump University, launched in 2005, was a real estate seminar business that promised to teach students the mogul’s investing techniques to get rich on real estate. The business, which has effectively been defunct for several years, is currently facing three lawsuits filed by and on behalf of former students who claim it was a fraud.

Schneiderman’s suit, filed in 2013, accuses Trump University of deceptive business practices, alleging that its advertisements made false claims, including that Trump handpicked the instructors and that consumers who took the seminars would receive access to private sources of financing — i.e., “hard money lenders.”

“It was a classic bait-and-switch scheme,” Schneiderman told CNN.

–CNN’s Drew Griffin contributed to this report.

 CNNMoney (New York)First published April 26, 2016: 5:20 PM ET from http://money.cnn.com/2016/04/26/news/trump-university/