Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

BLM Melina Abdullah's Arrest Lawful, says Jury; City-commissioned Panel Clears Garcetti of Wrongdoing; DA Gascon Won't Let Manhattan Beach Prosecute its Own Misdemeanors; and Other Stories: Monday Morning Memo

DMV test can be taken online; Meth addict's stillborn baby ruled not manslaughter; Apple employee skimmed $10 million from company; Judge shortage threatens justice; state worker's emails auto-deleted after 180 days

 

March 31, 2022

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Melina Abdullah, center, lost her lawsuit against the City of LA and its police chief when a jury found they lawfully arrested her during a meeting that went out of control

Courts & Rulings

California statutes utilizing court decisions

California statutes in numerous instances refer to, abrogate, or confirm appellate court decisions. In most instances, statutory references to reported court decisions occur with legislative intent language where the Legislature makes findings and declarations. But there are other instances in which the Legislature uses the court decision in an affirmative statement.

California Globe

Lakers show virus damage in partial COVID-19 coverage win

The Los Angeles Lakers netted a partial victory in their suit for pandemic coverage when a federal judge said the team showed how the coronavirus could cause physical damage to property, but couldn't show coverage exists under a business interruption claim.

Law360

Judge at hearing on DVRO application must consider entire record

A judge erred in assuming he could only consider evidence adduced in live testimony before him in deciding whether to issue an anti-harassment order, the Fifth District Court of Appeal has held, declaring that the entire record in the case is to be considered. The opinion filed Friday, and not certified for publication, reverses a decision by Kern Superior Court Judge Kenneth R. Green denying a request by Melissa Huth for a domestic violence restraining order ("DVRO") against Christian Huth.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Court money woes invite CA intervention

The COVID-19 pandemic's corrosive effects on California's public education system are obvious. The state's nearly six-million K-12 students were forced into jerry-rigged remote classes for months and even when schools reopened they have been plagued by political conflicts over whether students should be compelled to wear masks and/or be vaccinated.

CalMatters

Ninth Circuit upholds block on acrylamide warning for food products sold in California

Finding "a serious constitutional issue" raised by a California law requiring cancer warning labels on products containing the chemical acrylamide, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an injunction temporarily barring its enforcement on Thursday. Last year, U.S. District Judge Kimberly Mueller issued an order preventing the state or private parties from suing companies for not putting Proposition 65 warning labels solely on food and beverages containing the toxic chemical pending the outcome of legal challenge brought by the California Chamber of Commerce.

Courthouse News Service

California judge overturns 11-year prison term for woman whose baby was stillborn

A Central Valley woman's 11-year prison sentence was overturned this week after a Kings County judge ruled that her plea agreement for voluntary manslaughter was unlawful. Adora Perez was originally charged with murder after delivering a stillborn baby at Adventist Health Hanford on Dec. 30, 2017. Tests revealed that her son, Hades, had methamphetamine in his system, and a doctor told investigators he believed the drug was responsible for the death, court records show.

Los Angeles Times

Allegations mount against OC judge under fire from the state

Alleged misconduct by Orange County Superior Court Judge Michael Murray may go deeper than the one case cited in charges brought by the state Commission on Judicial Performance, according to a legal motion filed last week. The alleged misconduct occurred while Murray was a deputy district attorney, before his 2016 election to the bench. Murray faces an April 25 hearing on a state charge that he withheld evidence showing a CHP report was altered in a murder case involving the death of an off-duty law enforcement officer.

Orange County Register

Judge shortage a threat to justice, Calif. federal judges say

California's chief federal judges sounded the alarm at a forum Friday on the threat posed by huge caseloads and the failure of Congress to add more judgeships despite the state's population boom, with one jurist declaring, "We are in distress."

Law360

Senate confirms two federal judges to California courts

The Senate voted Thursday to confirm Jacqueline Scott Corley and Fred Slaughter to the federal bench in California, the latest of Biden's historic slate of federal judicial nominees to land seats on U.S. district courts. Judge Corley was confirmed to the Northern District of California by a 63-36 vote. Prior to her confirmation, the U.C. Berkeley and Harvard Law School graduate served as a U.S. magistrate judge in the Northern District of California since 2011.

Courthouse News Service

Railroads take pivotal California labor law case to Ninth Circuit

A Ninth Circuit panel heard arguments Thursday in an appeal with major implications for labor law in the United States and the sick pay of railroad workers in California. A consortium of railroad operators, including Amtrak and Union Pacific, sued the state of California claiming its 2014 law requiring employers to offer sick leave to workers should not apply to railroads for a variety of reasons.

Courthouse News Service

San Diego's Patricia Guerrero confirmed as first Latina on California's high court

A San Diego appellate justice was confirmed Tuesday to serve on the California Supreme Court, making her the first Latina to serve on the state's highest court. Patricia Guerrero's appointment to the California Supreme Court was approved through a unanimous vote by the Commission on Judicial Appointments. A report by the State Bar of California found she was "exceptionally well qualified" and "universally lauded for her superior intellect, clear writing, judicial temperament, work ethic, and compassion."

Times of San Diego

LA Black Lives Matter co-founder loses suit over Police Commission arrest

A co-founder of the Los Angeles Chapter of Black Lives Matter lost her lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles and its former police chief on Thursday, March 24, after a jury found that the woman's 2018 arrest at a Police Commission meeting was lawful. Melina Abdullah filed suit two years ago, alleging that during a raucous May 8, 2018, meeting she was "falsely, wrongfully, and intentionally detained, imprisoned, and arrested," according to the complaint for unspecified damages filed in Los Angeles federal court.

City News Service

Los Angeles District Attorney

ADDA's Eric Siddall on Spectrum One News (Video)

ADDA Vice President Eric Siddall appeared on Spectrum One News to discuss the recall campaign and other Gascon-related issues.

LA ADDA

SCV Chamber announces support for D.A. recall

The Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce announced Wednesday its support for the recall of L.A. County District Attorney George Gascón, becoming one of the first business organizations in the county to do so. The decision, officials said in a statement, reflects the fact that public safety is a key public policy priority for the chamber. "We know this is a bold move and a unique move by the SCV Chamber," said Hunt Braly, co-chair of the Chamber's Government Affairs Council, via a statement sent out Wednesday.

The Signal

Jonathan Hatami | L.A., we can do so much better

It has now been over a year since George Gascón became the DA of Los Angeles. And, in just that short time, homicides have risen to a 15-year high. We see smash-and-grab burglaries, follow-home robberies, violent crime and gun violence on an almost daily basis. The unhoused crisis is only getting worse, and Gascón's policies have only exacerbated this tragedy. Gascón promised reforms.

Jonathan Hatami/L.A. County District Attorney's Office

Prosecutors

DA George Gascon's office denies Manhattan Beach request to prosecute its own misdemeanors

Manhattan Beach probably won't be deciding how small crimes in the city get charged anytime soon. Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón earlier this month denied Manhattan Beach City Council's request to break away from the DA's misdemeanor prosecution services. The DA's office said the beach town doesn't have the resources needed to handle criminal cases, but the city controlling its own homeless court diversion program could still be negotiated.

Southern California News Group

District Attorney replies to city's letter on officer-involved incidents

In a reply to a letter from several city officials concerned about excessive length of police investigations, LA County District Attorney George Gascón said he shared the city's concerns and has made it a priority to resolve the investigations as quickly as possible, but in a thorough manner. "I added six lawyers and two investigators to the Justice System Integrity Division (JSID) since I took office in December 2020," Gason wrote in the letter dated March 16.

Pasadena Now

Firearms sales by LAPD captain, LASD deputy referred to feds for possible charges

Federal prosecutors are reviewing potential criminal charges against a high-ranking Los Angeles police official and an L.A. County sheriff's deputy who sold high-capacity firearms without a license. LAPD Capt. Steve Embrich sold about 50 firearms in recent years, and Sheriff's Deputy Christian Maciel sold nearly 40, according to L.A. County prosecutors. Many were "off-roster" guns with high-capacity magazines that are deemed unsafe for public sale in California but can be sold to law enforcement officers.

Los Angeles Times

Ron Jeremy ordered to undergo psychiatric evaluations ahead of rape trial

Ron Jeremy has been ordered by a judge to undergo psychiatric evaluations, after officials said he was "incoherent" at a court hearing on Thursday. The former adult film star, 69, who is set to stand trial in six weeks' time on 34 counts of sexual assault involving 21 complainants, was unable to recognize his own lawyer ahead of a key hearing at Los Angeles Superior Court.

Newsweek

Former Apple employee charged with defrauding $10 million

A former Apple employee has been charged with defrauding the tech giant out of more than $10 million by taking kickbacks, stealing equipment and laundering money. Federal prosecutors say they filed charges Friday against Dhirendra Prasad. He worked for 10 years as a buyer in Apple's Global Service Supply Chain department. Prosecutors say he exploited his position to defraud the company in several schemes, including stealing parts and causing the company to pay for items and services it never received.

AP

White couple charged with hate crime in alleged murder of Black man at California gas station

Prosecutors in California say a man and a woman accused of shooting and stabbing to death a Black Navy veteran at a gas station on March 15 committed a hate crime. Police say Justin Peoples, 30, was shot once and stabbed multiple times at a Chevron gas station in Tracy, California, shortly after 9 p.m. Christine Garner, 42, and Jeremy Jones, 49, were arrested and charged with murder the next morning.

CBS News

Policy/Legal

Valladares' bills to protect crime victims pass key committee

Assemblywoman Suzette Martinez Valladares, R-Santa Clarita, announced that her bills to protect crime victims passed the Assembly Public Safety Committee on Tuesday. Assembly Bill 1846 and AB 1847 "combat the reckless policies of Los Angeles (County) District Attorney George Gascón by breaking down barriers that make it harder for crime victims and their family members to be heard during parole or resentencing hearings," said a prepared statement issued by Valladares' office.

Assemblywoman Suzette Martinez Valladares News Release

Residents demanding change as string of thefts plagues Southland

Southern California residents, distressed by a string of thefts stretching back over recent years. The most recent incident, at a TJ Maxx in Fontana, was caught on camera by another patron's cellphone. It showed three women storming the front entrance of the store, ripping purses and other merchandise directly off of the rack - security wires and all. "It was real fast," he said, detailing the events to CBS reporters Friday evening.

CBS Los Angeles

Ventura County supervisor sues over political D- in a box

Ventura County Supervisor Linda Parks says she never ordered the five-inch chocolate penis that arrived at her home last June. In fact, she says it was an act of political intimidation. Now, Parks is suing the creators of the unwanted package in an effort to force them to reveal who sent it. Parks filed a lawsuit in California Superior Court Tuesday against specialty confectioner Dick at Your Door over the anonymous delivery.

Los Angeles Magazine

Joyce Dudley: The deadly unintended consequences of murder laws for juveniles

On March 4, Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton reported on the sentencing of a defendant convicted in a double murder that occurred in Goleta on Jan. 7, 2021. Tom's article began with this statement: "A 16-year-old boy has pleaded guilty to murder and other charges for two killings in Goleta last year." These murders were committed when the teenager was 15 years old. On Feb. 29, the teenager was sentenced to the maximum sentence under the law - seven years of confinement in a secure treatment facility.

Noozhawk

Los Angeles County/City

Villanueva's beef with firefighters, the L.A. Times, Gascón, 'Latinx' and more

The ostensible purpose of my sit-down with Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva was to talk about his department's Latino makeup and outlook. It took a bizarre detour when he began to offer random, tone-deaf pronouncements about the Black community for reasons known only to him. But throughout our one-hour chat, for which he arrived late but nevertheless gave me a tad more than his promised 60 minutes, el sheriff offered all sorts of insights, each more out there - and telling of his Nixonian nature - than the other.

Los Angeles Times

A report cleared Garcetti and advisor. Attorney for LAPD officer denounces the findings

A confidential, city-commissioned report on sexual harassment allegations made against a former political advisor to Mayor Eric Garcetti, given to a Senate panel, found no evidence that the advisor acted inappropriately or that Garcetti witnessed anything inappropriate. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved Garcetti's nomination by President Biden to be U.S. ambassador to India in January, two months after the panel received the report from the mayor's office.

Los Angeles Times

Debate takeaways: With a billionaire onstage, the talk turns to yachts and taxes

For the first time since the field in the Los Angeles mayor's race was set, all of the major candidates faced off Tuesday night in a debate at USC's Bovard Auditorium. The forum was the first featuring Rick Caruso, the developer and philanthropist who is a first-time candidate for public office. Here are six takeaways from the debate: Who's going to show their taxes? About halfway through the 90-minute debate, City Atty. Mike Feuer produced perhaps the evening's most provocative moment, when he challenged Caruso to release his taxes.

Los Angeles Times

L.A. says it has terminated 24 city employees over COVID-19 vaccination requirements

Months after Los Angeles rolled out requirements for city workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19, the city said that as of last week, it had terminated 24 employees for violating those rules. The terminated employees include a dozen workers at the Los Angeles Fire Department, as well as smaller numbers of employees in the city attorney's office, the Los Angeles Police Department, the parks department and Los Angeles World Airports, according to the city Personnel Department.

Los Angeles Times

Crime/Public Safety

Robberies spike in LA (Video)

Officials report a rise in robberies across the city. Eric Leonard reports for the NBC4 News on Tuesday, March 22, 2022.

NBC4

How bad is crime in L.A.? Here are the numbers behind the mayoral race rhetoric

Crime was one of the big issues discussed Tuesday during a debate by the top candidates running for mayor of Los Angeles. While many of the candidates talked about an uptick in crime, billionaire businessman Rick Caruso gave a particularly dark view of public safety. "Everybody in this city - at every corner of the city, no matter where you live, what your background is - is scared to walk out their doors. Everybody is worried about crime, is worried about their children going to school," Caruso said.

Los Angeles Times

Shocking moment LA murder suspect is filmed MUGGING woman and trying to carjack driver during chase

Helicopter footage captured the terrifying moment a woman walking her dogs in LA was mugged by a murder suspect who was being chased by police. The unnamed suspect was filmed yanking a blue purse from the frightened woman on Sunday, before trying to grab the door handle of a passing SUV in an attempted carjacking - only for the driver of that vehicle to speed off before they could come to any harm.

Daily Mail

New video: Smash-and-grab robbers use sledgehammers on Beverly Hills store

New video captured by bystanders showed a group of assailants using what appeared to be sledgehammers to smash a Beverly Hills jewelry store's windows before snatching the jewelry on display and running Tuesday. Police were investigating and the chief said he was adding a camera trailer, extra security patrols, and an extra special watch from officers in the 200 block of South Beverly Drive. Beverly Hills police said about five robbers rolled up in a stolen vehicle, and then used sledgehammers to smash the windows of a jewelry store.

NBC4

Dangerous Tesla stunt caught on video ends in crash in Echo Park neighborhood, driver on the loose

Dramatic video shows a driver trying to pull off a dangerously high-speed stunt in a Tesla but ending up crashing in an Echo Park neighborhood. In the viral video, the Tesla blows through an intersection, going airborne, then slamming into two parked vehicles and several trash cans. "When I got out here everybody had left and there was just an abandoned Tesla still turned on smashed into the back of my car," explained Jordan Hook.

ABC7

Selling Sunset stars rocked by armed robbery outside West Hollywood office

The cast of Selling Sunset have been left shaken after an armed robbery took place outside of their office in West Hollywood, Los Angeles on Thursday. A man was forced to hand over his luxury watch after a thief approached him with a gun as he left a restaurant in the same parking lot as The Oppenheim Group offices. Company founder Jason Oppenheim spoke just hours after the incident occurred, and revealed that he has now banned his glamorous staff from wearing flashy watches and expensive jewels as a precaution.

Express Informer

Petty thieves plague San Francisco. 'These last two years have been insane.'

Terry Asten Bennett's family has been running Cliff's Variety Store since 1936. In all that time, they've never experienced the amount of burglaries and property damage that they have recently, Ms. Bennett said. Thieves smashed a display window and broke down a door to steal items as small as spray paint, and people shattered glass doors on two occasions for no apparent reason. "These last two years have been insane," she said. "It used to be a rare occurrence."

Wall Street Journal

'Crime tourism' bringing burglary crews from South America to Hillsborough, other CA communities

Law enforcement agencies call it "crime tourism" - groups of thieves from South America traveling to California to burglarize homes. Surveillance video released by Hillsborough police shows a burglary crew believed to be from South America targeting a luxury home. It's just one in a series of crimes involving burglars from out of the country, hitting homes in affluent communities up and down the state.

ABC7

Consumer

High Court ruling again not enough to can robocall claims

An Arizona federal judge has refused to toss a putative class action accusing mortgage originator loanDepot of placing illegal robocalls, agreeing with the Sixth Circuit and at least 40 other district courts that have rejected the argument that the federal ban on such calls was invalid during the five years that that government debt collections were exempt from the law.

Law360

California/National

Auto-delete state workers' emails? Some departments scrap records in as little as 90 days

When the California Department of Insurance announced a plan to start deleting employees' emails automatically after 180 days, an employee raised concerns that had nothing to do with scandals at the top of the department. The employee worried instead that their work would suffer if they couldn't pull up old emails related to past enforcement activities. The employee requested anonymity to discuss the proposal with The Sacramento Bee, fearing retaliation.

Sacramento Bee

NYPD revives 'broken windows' as Adams fumes over shootings

Mayor Eric Adams called police brass on the carpet over the two dozen shooting incidents that took place this past weekend - sparking the NYPD to scramble to get more cops on the streets in a revival of some "broken windows" policies, The Post has learned. Adams spoke with top NYPD officials on Tuesday over the surge in bloodshed that left 29 people wounded ahead of his planned news conference on the department's new anti-gun units, law-enforcement sources said Wednesday.

New York Post

DMV's written test can now be taken online

Prospective drivers dreading long waits at the DMV now have a new option: they can take the driver's knowledge test at home. The California Department of Motor Vehicles announced Thursday that it is now letting people who need to take a driver's license knowledge test complete the requirement online at home before visiting a DMV office. For those renewing a license with a knowledge test requirement, they can either complete a remote version of the traditional knowledge test or complete an interactive e-learning course.

KTLA

Convicted Capitol rioter says first-of-its-kind trial was unfair

The first Capitol rioter to go to trial is asking for a new trial less than two weeks after a jury unanimously convicted him of all five charges against him. Guy Reffitt, 49, of Bonham, Texas, was a member of the Texas Three Percenters who charged at police, with a gun holstered on his waist, during the attempt to overthrow the U.S. government on Jan. 6, 2021. Although he did not enter the Capitol building, prosecutors made the case at trial that Reffitt "showed the mob the way" inside.

Courthouse News Service

Smollett attorney still on the hook in defamation case brought by Osundairo brothers

The legal saga surrounding Jussie Smollett turned a new page Friday morning when a federal judge in Chicago released a ruling declaring that defamation claims against one of Smollett's attorneys can proceed to trial. The case was brought by Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, a pair of brothers who say they helped Smollett carry out a bogus hate crime in 2019. Days after Cook County State's Attorney Kimberly Foxx dropped the initial criminal charges against Smollett in March 2019, the actor's attorney Tina Glandian appeared on the "Today" show and "Good Morning America," as well as several podcasts.

Courthouse News Service

Convictions/Sentences/Pleas

Former Long Beach police officer pleads guilty to federal charge of distribution of child pornography

A former Long Beach Police officer pleaded guilty today to a federal criminal charge for distributing child pornography, including when he was on duty as a law enforcement officer. Anthony Brown, 57, of Lakewood, pleaded guilty to one count of distribution of child pornography. According to his plea agreement, Brown used his smart phone to log into MeWe, an internet-based messaging application, including when he was on duty as a Long Beach Police officer.

Department of Justice Press Release

Man to be sentenced for California kidnap once called hoax

A man who sexually assaulted a Northern California woman who was kidnapped from her home in what police initially thought was a hoax was sentenced Friday to 31 years in state prison on Friday, prosecutors said. Matthew Muller, who already is serving a 40-year sentence for federal crimes, was sentenced in Solano County Superior Court after pleading no contest to two counts of forcible rape of Denise Huskins, who was dragged from her Vallejo home in 2015, the county district attorney's office said.

AP

Hacienda Heights man admits bilking Amazon in $1.3 million refund scam and will plead guilty to federal fraud charge

A third-party seller on Amazon.com Inc. has admitted gaming the online retailer's payment system in a scheme that defrauded the company out of more than $1.3 million, the Justice Department announced today. Ting Hong Yeung, 41, of Hacienda Heights, was charged with wire fraud in an information filed today in United States District Court. In a plea agreement also filed today, Yeung agreed to plead guilty to the felony offense, which carries a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison.

Department of Justice Press Release

Articles of Interest

Demand for safe rooms skyrockets in Los Angeles

"Our influx of inquiries has increased more than 1,000 percent over the past three months," says Dean Cryer, vp international operations at Building Consensus/Panic Room Builders, a firm specializing in the building of safe rooms. "It's gone insane." Because of the perceived increase in crime in metropolitan areas and high-profile murders and robberies in high-net-worth neighborhoods like Beverly Hills, "hidden rooms are definitely trending right now," says Cryer.

Hollywood Reporter

Second Circuit tells DraftKings participants cheating is part of sports – get over it

You read that right. The exact quote from the Second Circuit's March 21, 2022 decision in Olsen v. Major League Baseball, Docket No. 20-1831, reads as follows: "[A]ny reasonable spectator or consumer of sports competitions - including participants in fantasy sports contests based upon such sporting events - is undoubtedly aware that cheating is, unfortunately, part of sports and is one of many unknown variables that can affect player performance and statistics on any given day, and over time."

JD Supra

California's progressives are in retreat

"I'm asking myself, 'What the hell is going on?'" said Gavin Newsom to the assembled cameras, "It looked like a third-world country." California's progressive governor was in his state's largest city because of a piece of viral content: images of railway tracks in East Los Angeles strewn with thousands of emptied Amazon packages. It's easy to see why the images of the debris, a very pandemic-era combination of online shopping and urban lawlessness, received heavy play on local news and spread far and wide across the web.

UnHerd

The US is offering to pay rewards of up to $5 million for information about Russian oligarchs' yachts, mansions, and other assets

The US government wants your help getting ahold of stolen assets held by Russian oligarchs - and it's willing to pay a pretty penny for it. The Treasury Department is offering rewards of up to $5 million for information about Russian elites' yachts, mansions, private jets, and other property through an effort known as the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Rewards Program.

Business Insider

Appeals court orders MLB to release 2017 letter to Yanks on sign stealing

Major League Baseball has been ordered to publically release a 2017 letter from Commissioner Rob Manfred to Yankees general manager Brian Cashman detailing the team's alleged involvement in sign-stealing. On Monday, a three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld the April 2020 ruling by U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff to dismiss a lawsuit brought on by five DraftKings contestants against the league and the Boston Red Sox.

ABC7 Denver

Porn star Stormy Daniels loses appeal in Trump case, owes former president almost $300,000

Porn star Stormy Daniels is on the hook to pay former President Donald Trump nearly $300,000 in attorneys' fees after a federal appeals court rejected her bid to overturn a lower court decision in her failed defamation lawsuit against him. Friday's ruling, which Trump bragged about in a statement issued Monday night, likely puts to bed a yearslong legal feud between Daniels and the ex-president related to her claim that they had sex one time in 2006.

CNBC

Insurers may face more exposure in suits after Sandy Hook

Insurers who underwrite the firearms industry may be reexamining their policies after families affected by the 2012 Sand Hook Elementary School mass shooting agreed to a $73 million settlement in February...

Law360

9th Circ. upholds dealerships' $10M verdict against Zurich

The Ninth Circuit upheld a jury verdict ordering Zurich and its underwriter to pay a total of $10 million to two car dealership owners, finding an Idaho federal judge properly found that a fiduciary duty exists between the parties.

Law360

Lapsus$ hack leaves NVIDIA in a tight spot

According to an IBM report, ransomware was the top attack type (again) in 2021. Recently, NVIDIA confirmed the hack attack that compromised their internal systems. The infamous hacker group Lapsus$ claimed credit for the attack. Later, Lapsus$ also hacked Ubisoft. Lapsus$ broke into NVIDIA's internal network and managed to steal sensitive data - from hashed login credentials to trade secrets.

Analytics India Magazine

Supreme Court asked to clarify arbitration rules in Taco Bell case

An Iowa woman's lawsuit against a Taco Bell franchisee that began as an effort to prove the fast-food chain shortchanged employees like her on overtime pay wound up before the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday in an esoteric discussion of federal arbitration law that could affect similar cases across the nation. During oral arguments, the justices gave little indication of where they are leaning as they struggled with whether Robyn Morgan's claims should have been resolved through arbitration and whether the case should be decided under state or federal contract law.

Courthouse News Service

Meet Kimberly Gardner, the rogue prosecutor whose policies are wreaking havoc in St. Louis

Yacht Charter Fleet (not a Russian oligarch's boat)

The Treasury Department is offering rewards of up to $5 million for information about Russian elites' yachts, mansions, private jets, and other property through an effort known as the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Rewards Program.

Kimberly Gardner, the beleaguered rogue prosecutor (called the "circuit attorney") for the city of St. Louis, Missouri, has made a national name for herself. Unfortunately, as we demonstrate below, her national reputation comes from her radical pro-criminal, anti-victim policies and a series of high-profile missteps she has made. Like many other rogue prosecutors around the country, she was swept into office by winning her 2016 election with a wave of money from George Soros and tech billionaire-funded entities, who again contributed heavily to help her win reelection in 2020.

The Daily Signal

Pensions

CalPERS to reassess investment portfolio, divesting from Russia

Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, both the U.S. and California government have retaliated with economic sanctions hoping to strip Russian President Vladimir Putin of economic resources, including the millions of dollar in investments from California Public Employees' Retirement System. On March 8, President Joe Biden announced a ban on Russian energy imports. Gov. Gavin Newson also announced on March 4 the California Public Employees' Retirement System, the largest U.S. pension fund, which covers Cal Poly Pomona employees, halted all transactions in Russia.

The Poly Post

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