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Washington high court to hear charter school case

•  Headline News     updated  2014/08/19 14:52

The Washington Supreme Court has agreed to consider whether the state's voter-approved charter school law violates the state constitution.

Oral arguments concerning the lawsuit brought by charter school opponents have been scheduled for the afternoon of Oct. 28.

A King County Superior Court judge found in December that parts of the new law are unconstitutional. Judge Jean Rietschel's decision focused on whether certain taxpayer dollars can be used to pay for the operation of charter schools.

Both sides asked the Supreme Court to skip the appeals court process and directly review the case.

Attorney Paul Lawrence says the briefs to the court and the oral arguments will focus on that part of the lawsuit.

The state's charter school system was approved by voters in 2012.

Ala court upholds generic drug decision

•  Law Firm News     updated  2014/08/19 14:51

The Alabama Supreme Court is standing by a decision that business sees as a defeat.

The court on Friday issued an opinion that mostly parallels its ruling last year in a generic drug case.

A divided court says the original decision isn't as broad as some are claiming. But a majority stuck by a 2013 decision saying a brand-name drugmaker can be held responsible by someone who took a generic medication made by a different company.

The Business Council of Alabama says it's disappointed. So is Wyeth, the drug manufacturer sued by Danny and Vicki Weeks over the man's use of a generic form of the brand-name medicine Reglan.

The Weeks filed suit in federal court, and a judge asked the Supreme Court to clarify state law.



The Michigan Court of Appeals has upheld a decision by state environmental regulators to allow construction of a nickel and copper mine in the Upper Peninsula.

A three-judge panel unanimously sided with the Department of Environmental Quality, which issued mining and groundwater discharge permits to Kennecott Eagle Minerals Co. The Marquette County mine is now owned by Lundin Mining Corp.

DEQ officials approved a mining permit for the project in 2007, drawing legal challenges from environmentalists and the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community. A DEQ administrative law judge and a circuit court judge affirmed the department's decisions, and opponents took the case to the Court of Appeals.

The mine has been constructed and is scheduled to begin producing minerals this fall.

Court considers if executioners can be named

•  Breaking Legal News     updated  2014/08/13 15:01


A Tennessee appeals court is considering whether 10 death row inmates have the right to know about the drugs that will be used in their executions and whether their lawyers can get the names of the people who will kill them.

The Tennessean reports that the state Court of Appeals heard oral arguments Monday in the lawsuit brought by the inmates. They sued after the legislature passed a law that keeps details about lethal injection secret.

Lawyers for the state argued that a Nashville judge overstepped her authority when she ordered officials to turn over the names of the execution team to the attorneys for the condemned prisoners. The lower court ruled the names must be released but said neither the public nor the inmates could have them.

"We are here today because for the first time in the history of lethal injection in the state of Tennessee a court has ordered the state to disclose the identities of those people who are involved in the lethal injection process," said Special Assistant Attorney General Kyle Hixson said. "This is an abuse of discretion."

Assistant federal public defender Stephen Kissinger, who represents some of the inmates, argued that there's no "executioner's privilege" that would stop the state from releasing the identities of the execution team in a court case because they would be sealed.

He said a ruling that would allow the state to keep such information secret would have far-reaching implications.

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