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The California Supreme Court has left intact a ruling that allows customers to sue Amazon.com for failing to warn buyers that some products it sells may contain hazardous substances such as mercury.

The court in its decision Wednesday denied a request by Amazon’s lawyers to review a lower court ruling that said Amazon violated the state’s Proposition 65, which requires companies to warn consumers about products they make or sell that contain chemicals known to cause cancer, reproductive harm or birth defects.

The case involved a lawsuit filed in Alameda County that said the online retail giant knowingly allowed skin-lightening creams to be sold on its website for years despite being aware of concerns about toxic mercury levels in such creams.

Mercury can harm pregnant women and their fetuses. The suit alleged that some of the products produced by third parties but sold on Amazon contained mercury levels that were thousands of times the U.S. federal legal limit.

Amazon said in a statement Thursday that safety is a top priority and that the products in question have long since been removed.

“We require that all products comply with applicable laws and regulations, and we have proactive measures in place to prevent suspicious or non-compliant products from being listed and we monitor the products sold in our stores for product safety concerns,” the statement said.

The Supreme Court’s action allows the previous court ruling to be used as precedent in state courts.

However, California has such a large market share that any actions Amazon takes to comply with Proposition 65 could have a much wider impact on consumers, said Rachel Doughty, a plaintiff’s attorney in the suit.


The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Wednesday for an American woman who is involved in a bitter international custody dispute with her Italian husband over their young son.

The high court threw out lower court decisions ordering the return of the boy to Italy despite finding that he would be at “grave risk of psychological harm” because of the father’s physical and emotional abuse of the mother. The child, now around 6, has been living in the U.S. with his mother since 2018.

Federal courts in New York ruled that judges must try to return children to their usual country of residence by imposing conditions that would mitigate the risk, under the international Hague Convention on child abduction.

Writing for the Supreme Court, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said judges have ample discretion to refrain from ordering a child returned, if they find “the grave risk so unequivocal, or the potential harm so severe, that ameliorative measures would be inappropriate.”

The justices ordered a new look at the case with that discretion in mind.

It’s beyond dispute, Sotomayor wrote that the relationship between Narkis Golan, a U.S. citizen, and Isacco Saada, an Italian, “was characterized by violence from the beginning.” They met at a wedding in Milan in 2014, were married a year later and had their son a year after that.


The Alabama Supreme Court has set an execution date of July 28 for a man convicted of killing his one-time girlfriend after breaking into her home in Jefferson County almost three decades ago, according to a court order made public Monday.

Joe Nathan James Jr. would become the second Alabama inmate put to death this year unless a court intervenes.

James, 49, was sentenced to die after being convicted of capital murder during a burglary in the killing of his one-time girlfriend, Faith Hall, in Birmingham.

James, who had a history of stalking and harassing the woman, showed up at her apartment on Aug. 15, 1994, forced his way inside and accused her of unfaithfulness, court documents show. James pulled a gun out of his waistband and shot the woman, who died of multiple gunshot wounds, and James was later arrested in California.

A Jefferson County jury convicted James of capital murder in 1996 and voted to recommend the death penalty, which a judge imposed. The conviction was overturned when the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that a judge wrongly admitted some police reports into evidence.


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The Supreme Court ruled Monday that Native Americans prosecuted in certain tribal courts can also be prosecuted based on the same incident in federal court, which can result in longer sentences.

The 6-3 ruling is in keeping with an earlier ruling from the 1970s that said the same about a more widely used type of tribal court.

The case before the justices involved a Navajo Nation member, Merle Denezpi, accused of rape. He served nearly five months in jail after being charged with assault and battery in what is called a Court of Indian Offenses, a court that deals exclusively with alleged Native American offenders.

Under federal law Courts of Indian Offenses can only impose sentences of generally up to a year. The man was later prosecuted in federal court and sentenced to 30 years in prison. He said the Constitution’s “Double Jeopardy” clause should have barred the second prosecution.

But the justices disagreed.

“Denezpi’s single act led to separate prosecutions for violations of a tribal ordinance and a federal statute. Because the Tribe and the Federal Government are distinct sovereigns, those” offenses are not the same, Justice Amy Coney Barrett wrote for a majority of the court. “Denezpi’s second prosecution therefore did not offend the Double Jeopardy Clause.”

The Biden administration had argued for that result as had several states, which said barring federal prosecutions in similar cases could allow defendants to escape harsh sentences.

The case before the justices involves a tribal court system that has become increasingly rare over the last century. Courts of Indian Offenses were created in the late 1800s during a period when the federal government’s policy toward Native Americans was to encourage assimilation. Prosecutors are federal officers answerable to federal authorities, not tribal authorities.

Federal policy toward Native Americans shifted in the mid-1930s, however, to emphasize a greater respect for tribes’ native ways. As part of that, the government has encouraged tribes to create their own tribal courts, and the number of Courts of Indian Offenses has steadily decreased. Today there are five regional Courts of Indian Offenses that serve 16 tribes in Colorado, Oklahoma, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah. They are generally tribes with a small number of members or limited resources. Nationwide there are more than 570 federally recognized tribes.

The court said in 1978 that the Double Jeopardy clause did not bar the federal government from prosecuting a Native person in federal court after a tribal court prosecution, so the only question for the court this time was whether the rule should be different for Courts of Indian Offenses.

In July 2017, Denezpi traveled with a female member of the Navajo Nation to Towaoc, Colorado, which is a part of the Ute Mountain Ute Reservation. While there, Denezpi raped the woman.

Denezpi was first charged in a Court of Indian Offenses with assault and battery, among other things. He eventually agreed to a so-called Alford plea in the case, not admitting guilt but acknowledging that prosecutors had enough evidence that he would likely be convicted at trial. He was sentenced to time served, 140 days in jail. His prosecution in federal court followed.


A Nevada woman has lost her bid in a U.S. court to force international soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo to pay millions of dollars more than the $375,000 in hush money she received after claiming he raped her in Las Vegas in 2009.

U.S. District Judge Jennifer Dorsey in Las Vegas kicked the case out of court on Friday to punish the woman’s attorney, Leslie Mark Stovall, for “bad-faith conduct” and the use of leaked and stolen documents detailing attorney-client discussions between Ronaldo and his lawyers. Dorsey said that tainted the case beyond redemption.

Dorsey said in her 42-page order that dismissing a case outright with no option to file it again is a severe sanction, but said Ronaldo had been harmed by Stovall’s conduct.

“I find that the procurement and continued use of these documents was bad faith, and simply disqualifying Stovall will not cure the prejudice to Ronaldo because the misappropriated documents and their confidential contents have been woven into the very fabric of (plaintiff Kathryn) Mayorga’s claims,” the ruling said. “Harsh sanctions are merited.”

Stovall did not immediately respond Saturday to telephone and email messages. Text messages to associate Larissa Drohobyczer were not answered. They could appeal the decision to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

In a statement referring to Mayorga only as “plaintiff,” Ronaldo’s attorney in Las Vegas, Peter Christiansen, said Cristiano’s legal team welcomed the decision.


Erin is a transactional attorney based out of the Baltimore area. Erin practices primarily in the areas of commercial real estate, construction, and general corporate law. She has extensive experience representing commercial developers, owners, landlords, tenants, contractors, investors and lenders in connection with office, warehouse, flex, mixed-use, residential and retail projects.

Erin started her legal career at a large law firm, then spent 10 years practicing at a boutique firm prior to founding her own practice to prioritize top-rate service and the individual needs of each client.

Erin handles a wide variety of sophisticated transactions, including commercial leasing, land development and construction, and real estate acquisitions, dispositions, and financing. 

She represents her clients on projects from the ground up or at any stage in between, from acquisition, through the development, construction, and ultimately the leasing and/or sale of the asset, including obtaining acquisition and development financing and permanent refinancing.


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