A government subcontractor who has spent over four years imprisoned in Cuba should be allowed to sue the U.S. government over lost wages and legal fees, his attorney told an appeals court Friday.
Alan Gross was working in Cuba as a government subcontractor when he was arrested in 2009. He has since lost income and racked up legal fees, his attorney Barry Buchman told the three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. A lawyer for the government argued the claims are based on his detention in Cuba, making him ineligible to sue.
The panel is expected to issue a written ruling on the case at a later date.
A lower-court judge previously threw out Gross' lawsuit against the government in 2013, saying federal law bars lawsuits against the government based on injuries suffered in foreign countries. Gross' lawyers appealed.
Gross was detained in December 2009 while working to set up Internet access as a subcontractor for the U.S. government's U.S. Agency for International Development, which does work promoting democracy in the communist country. It was his fifth trip to Cuba to work with Jewish communities on setting up Internet access that bypassed local censorship. Cuba considers USAID's programs illegal attempts by the U.S. to undermine its government, and Gross was tried and sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Following an embarrassing security breach at the White House, one of the most closely protected buildings in the world, the Secret Service is said to be considering establishing new checkpoints to screen tourists in public areas near the presidential mansion.
Meanwhile, the man accused of scaling a security fence and getting into the president's home carrying a knife is scheduled to have his initial appearance Monday in federal court.Omar J. Gonzalez, 42, of Copperas Cove, Texas, is facing charges of unlawfully entering a restricted building or grounds while carrying a deadly or dangerous weapon.
The Army says Gonzalez served from 1997 until his discharge in 2003, and again from 2005 to December 2012, when he retired due to disability.The Secret Service tightened its guard outside the White House after Friday's security breach. Gonzalez is accused of scaling the White House perimeter fence, sprinting across the lawn and entering the building before agents could stop him.
President Barack Obama and his family were away at the time. Obama says he still has confidence in the troubled agency's ability to protect him and his family.Secret Service Director Julia Pierson has ordered increased surveillance and more officer patrols, and has begun an investigation into what went wrong.
The Indiana Court of Appeals has determined that state utility regulators wrongly approved $61 million in ratepayer fees for the Edwardsport coal gasification plant.
Duke Energy is seeking the money to cover construction costs for the new plant. But Appeals Court Judge James Kirsch wrote in an opinion issued Monday that members of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission should have better analyzed arguments from Duke Energy and plant opponents before approving the fee increase.
Duke officials have said a three-month delay led to increased project costs. But opponents led by the Citizens Action Coalition have argued that IURC regulators have been "rubber-stamping" fees and a rate hike sought by Duke.
The case is one of many surrounding the Edwardsport plant that is locked in battle inside the Indiana courts.
State lawyers tell the Ohio Supreme Court that using a budget bill to privatize state prisons didn’t violate a constitutional provision holding bills to a single subject.In a brief filed today, Ohio said the state’s budget, like any family’s, involves both revenues and expenses — not just appropriations.
The filing comes in a legal dispute with the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association. The prison workers’ union filed suit over privatization in 2012, contending that lawmakers extended beyond the single-subject rule when they used the budget to sell a state prison and turn others over to private operators.
An appellate court agreed, finding in October there was no “rational relationship” between the privatization plan and state spending.The state says privatization saved Ohio money and so had “obvious budget connections.”