A unanimous Supreme Court is siding with Goodyear Rubber & Tire Co. in a dispute over $2.7 million the company and its lawyers were ordered to pay in a personal injury case.
The justices on Tuesday sent the case back to a lower court to decide whether an Arizona family injured in a 2003 motor home accident is entitled to the entire amount.
The family sued Goodyear after they were seriously injured when a tire failed on their motor home, causing it to flip off the road. After settling the case in 2010, the family discovered the company hadn't turned over key testing data.
A federal judge said nearly all of the family's attorney fees could be blamed on the misconduct. A federal appeals court agreed.
Justice Neil Gorsuch dived into the public side of his new job Monday, piping up early and often as he took his seat on the Supreme Court bench for the first time to hear arguments.
The new justice waited just 11 minutes before asking questions in the first of three cases the court heard Monday, its first session since President Donald Trump's pick was sworn in one week earlier.
The 49-year-old Gorsuch echoed his own confirmation hearing testimony with questions focused on the text of federal laws and rules at issue before the court. He employed a bit of humor, expressed a modicum of humility, showed a hint of irritation and even channeled Justice Antonin Scalia, the man he replaced, with a touch of sarcasm.
"Wouldn't it be a lot easier if we just followed the plain text of the statute?" Gorsuch asked during the first argument, a highly technical case about which court federal employees go to with some discrimination claims.
That question sounded a lot like the answer Gorsuch gave last month, when he was pressed to defend an opinion he wrote against a fired trucker. "Senator, all I can tell you is my job is to apply the law you write," he said then.
While some of the other justices slouched, rocked back in their chairs or leaned their chin or forehead on their hands, Gorsuch sat straight in his high-backed chair, to the far left of Chief Justice John Roberts.
The justices sit by order of seniority, with the two longest-serving members of the court flanking the chief justice. The two newest justices sit on either end of the bench. The justices had removed one chair from the bench after Scalia died more than 14 months ago. Monday's session was the first since then with the ninth chair restored, and nine justices present.
He called 911 on April 11 and said: “’I killed my Mom,’” according to a detective’s affidavit supporting an arrest warrant. When officers arrived and could not find the woman, Gong told them she was “in the fridge,” the complaint said.
An officer found what appeared to be body parts.
“Another covered object in the freezer felt to a different officer like a human leg and foot,” the complaint said.
Yu Wei Gong didn’t speak or enter a plea during a brief court appearance Monday. Deputy Public Defender Diamond Grace requested a Mandarin interpreter for his preliminary hearing, scheduled for Wednesday. He remained in custody with bail set at $2 million.
Grace didn’t immediately return a phone message seeking comment after the hearing.
Authorities say Yu Wei Gong told officers that he accidentally killed his mother in September after she became angry when the 26-year-old said he wanted to work instead of going to school.
Deputy Medical Examiner Dr. Rachel Lange determined Liu Yun Gong had suffered blunt force injuries to the head, the complaint said. Her identity was confirmed by comparing fingerprints to those on file under her Hawaii driver’s license.
The manager of the apartment building where they lived told police he had not seen the man’s mother since before Christmas, the complaint said.
It said Liu Yun Gong did not show up for work on Aug. 21, 2016. When a supervisor called her phone, it went unanswered. Yu Wei Gong called the supervisor the next day, saying his mother was on another Hawaiian island and had left her phone at home.
Three women watched the hearing and said outside court they wanted to support Gong spiritually because he had attended their church.
A judge in the city where two unarmed blacks died in a 137-shot barrage of Cleveland police gunfire can hear dereliction of duty charges against five police supervisors accused of failing to control a high-speed chase involving more than 100 officers, the state's highest court ruled Thursday.
The ruling addresses only where the case can be heard and not the substance of the misdemeanor charges against the supervisors.
The supervisors' attorneys filed an appeal in July 2015 that said the case should be tried in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, where charges were originally filed. The 8th District Court of Appeals agreed and issued an order prohibiting East Cleveland Municipal Judge William Dawson from hearing the case after county prosecutors filed identical charges in that city.
Susan Gragel, the attorney who wrote the appeal on behalf of the supervisors, said that while she respects the Supreme Court's ruling, the Eighth District's prohibition order correctly addressed the fact that charges were filed in East Cleveland while the same charges were pending in county court.
The chase began near Cleveland police headquarters after an officer standing outside the building reported that a shot had been fired from a beat-up Chevy Malibu passing by. Experts later said it was likely the sound of the car backfiring.
The supervisors' trial originally was scheduled to begin in July 2015 in front of Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge John P. O'Donnell, who weeks earlier acquitted Brelo during a bench trial, sparking protests. Then-County Prosecutor Tim McGinty told the supervisors and their attorneys at a hearing before trial that identical charges had been filed in East Cleveland and asked O'Donnell to dismiss the county case, which he did.
The city of Cleveland paid the families of Russell and Williams a total of $3 million to settle a federal civil rights lawsuit.
Mississippi does not have to publicly disclose details of how it carries out executions, the state's highest court ruled Thursday.
In a 7-2 decision, the Mississippi Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit by the Roderick & Solange MacArthur Justice Center that argued the state's corrections department hadn't disclosed enough information in response to a 2014 public records request.
A chancery judge had ordered more information disclosed, but the state appealed. Last year, while the appeal was still pending, legislators changed the law, joining states nationwide in shielding drug purchases and other execution methods from public disclosure.
The state argues that releasing names of drug suppliers could allow death penalty opponents to terminate the supply using public pressure. States have had increasing trouble obtaining execution drugs because some pharmaceutical makers don't want their medicines used for that purpose.
MacArthur Center lawyer Jim Craig disputes that disclosure is a threat, saying it's important to have a full accounting of where Mississippi is getting its death penalty drugs and how it plans to use them.
"There's no threat against any of these pharmacies," Craig said Thursday. "There's no economic threat; there's no physical threat. And across the country this is just being used as a dodge to prevent people from knowing where these dollars are going."
Presiding Supreme Court Justice Michael Randolph wrote in Thursday's decision that the judges must apply the new law to the pre-existing dispute, because lawmakers didn't carve out an exception for ongoing requests and lawsuits.
A media advocacy group and the American Civil Liberties Union are asking Missouri's highest court to settle whether the state's prison system must reveal the closely guarded source of the drug it uses in executions.
The nonprofit Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, the American Civil Liberties Union and other plaintiffs asked the Missouri Supreme Court on Wednesday to review the matter, saying the issue has led to conflicting lower-court rulings.
The Missouri Department of Corrections has refused to disclose who supplies it with pentobarbital, saying suppliers' identities are shielded as part of its "execution team."
But the sources of the drugs in Missouri and other death-penalty states are widely believed to be compounding pharmacies, which make drugs tailored to a client's specific needs. Those pharmacies do not face the same approval process or testing standards of larger pharmaceutical companies, spawning lawsuits by watchdogs pressing for them to be publicly known and properly scrutinized.
Wednesday's filing insisted that "any resolution of this question directly affects the ability of the public to exercise effective oversight."
"Transparency is critical for the public to maintain trust in the manner in which executions are carried out in this state," the filing added. "Given this court's special, constitutionally enshrined role in monitoring executions in Missouri, it is in the best position to resolve this issue of immense public interest."
The Missouri Department of Corrections has not returned calls left Thursday morning seeking comment.
The Missouri Court of Appeals' Western District ruled in February that prison administrators aren't obligated to divulge who supplies the execution drugs, overturning a 2016 trial court ruling that found the state wrongly withheld documents that would identify pharmaceutical suppliers.
The first two inmates facing lethal injection under Arkansas' unprecedented multiple execution plan are seeking a stay from the state Supreme Court.
Attorneys for Don Davis and Bruce Ward asked justices Wednesday to block their executions, scheduled for Monday, while the U.S. Supreme Court takes up a case concerning access to independent mental health experts by defendants. The U.S. high court is set to hold oral arguments in that case April 24, a week after the two are set to be put to death.
The inmates' attorneys say they were denied access to independent mental health experts in their cases.
The two men are among seven inmates Arkansas plans to put to death over a 10-day period. The filing is among a flurry of lawsuits aimed at halting the executions.