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  Business - Legal News


Top Carnival Corp. executives are due back in court to explain what the world's largest cruise line is doing to reduce ocean pollution.

A hearing is set Wednesday in Miami federal court for an update on what steps Carnival is taking. Chairman Micky Arison, who also owns the Miami Heat, and CEO Arnold Donald are both expected to be there.

Earlier this year, Carnival admitted violating probation from a 2016 criminal pollution case as its ships continued to cause environmental harm around the world since then and was hit with a $20 million penalty. That comes on top of a $40 million fine imposed in the original case.

Carnival operates more than 100 ships across its nine cruise brands and sails to more than 700 destinations.


A divided Ohio Supreme Court has upheld a state law invalidating a Cleveland requirement that public construction contractors hire city residents for a portion of work on projects.

A 2003 Cleveland ordinance mandates that residents must perform 20% of the total hours on public construction projects over $100,000.

The GOP-controlled Legislature approved a bill in 2016 stripping local governments of the ability to impose such residency requirements on contractors. The high court on Tuesday sided with the state in a 4-3 decision.

Mayor Frank Jackson says the city will ask the Court to reconsider the ruling immediately.

Cleveland City Council President Kevin Kelley says the ruling is an attack on "the ability of cities to help life people out of poverty and establish careers.


A Pennsylvania judge plans to rule in a couple weeks about whether and how a five-year consent decree that’s about to expire between two mammoth health care providers and the attorney general’s office can be modified.

Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson on Friday scheduled a two-day hearing about the future of the fraught business relationship Highmark and UPMC.

The state Supreme Court earlier this week asked for the proceedings, and it’s all but certain that the justices will review whatever Simpson determines.

The consent decree the companies signed in 2014 is set to expire at the end of June, triggering higher costs for Highmark insurance customers who get treatment at UPMC’s vast network in western Pennsylvania. Simpson says he hopes to rule by June 14.



Fighting to maintain its access to major markets for next-generation communications, Chinese tech giant Huawei is challenging the constitutionality of a U.S. law that limits its sales of telecom equipment.

Huawei’s chief legal officer, Song Liuping, said Wednesday that Huawei filed a motion asking a court in Plano, Texas, for a summary judgment on whether a U.S. military spending provision that bars the government and its contractors from using Huawei equipment is constitutional.

The lawsuit comes as the U.S. and China are embroiled in a broader trade war in which both sides have imposed billions of dollars of punitive tariffs against each other’s products. Chinese state media suggested Wednesday that the country’s rich supply of rare earths — key elements for high-tech manufacturing — could be used as leverage against the U.S. in the dispute.

Huawei is the biggest global maker of network equipment and enjoys a lead in 5G, or fifth-generation, technology. It also is the No. 2 maker of smartphones. The Trump administration says the company could use its equipment to spy on behalf of the Chinese government and is thus a threat to international cybersecurity.

“This decision threatens to harm our customers in over 170 countries, including more than 3 billion customers who use Huawei products and services around the world,” Song said at a news briefing.

Huawei, whose U.S. headquarters is in Plano, launched a lawsuit in March against the U.S. national defense law, calling the provision a “bill of attainder” that selectively punishes Huawei and violates its due process by presuming its guilt without a fair trial. The summary judgment motion seeks to accelerate the legal process to give U.S. customers access to Huawei equipment sooner, Huawei said in a statement.

Song said the “state-sanctioned campaign” against the company will not improve cybersecurity.

“Politicians in the U.S. are using the strength of an entire nation to come after a private company,” he said. “This is not normal.”

Apart from the defense law provision, the U.S. Commerce Department recently placed Huawei on its “Entity List,” effectively barring U.S. companies from selling their technology to it and other Chinese firms without government approval. Huawei relies heavily on U.S. components, including computer chips, and about one-third of its suppliers are American.

The dispute centers on China’s longstanding huge trade surplus with the U.S. and complaints that Beijing and Chinese companies use unfair tactics to acquire advanced foreign technologies.

The most recent round of negotiations between Beijing and Washington ended earlier this month without an agreement after Trump more than doubled duties on $200 billion in Chinese products. China responded by raising tariffs of 5% to 25% on $60 billion worth of American goods.

DeVaney sworn in to South Dakota Supreme Court

  Business  -   POSTED: 2019/05/24 15:35

Patricia DeVaney has been sworn in as South Dakota's newest Supreme Court justice.

DeVaney took her oath of office in the state's Capitol Rotunda in Pierre Thursday, steps away from the Attorney General's Office where she spent much of her career.

Republican Gov. Kristi Noem highlighted DeVaney's work as an assistant attorney general prosecuting one of South Dakota's serial killers, Robert Leroy Anderson. The Rapid City Journal says Noem also highlighted DeVaney's work defending the constitutionality of South Dakota's laws requiring "informed consent" prior to an abortion.

DeVaney remained with the Attorney General's Office until 2012, when former-Gov. Dennis Daugaard appointed her to South Dakota's 6th Judicial Circuit. She fills the seat vacated by Justice Steven Zinter, who died unexpectedly last October.



Tesla's CEO Elon Musk is back in the spotlight for saying something when perhaps he should have remained quiet.

A federal judge will hear oral arguments Thursday about whether Musk should be held in contempt of court for violating an agreement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The SEC says Musk blatantly violated the settlement in February when he tweeted about Tesla's vehicle production without a lawyer's approval.

It's unclear if Musk plans to attend the hearing. If he is found in contempt of court, Musk could face fines or even jail time.

Musk's 13-word tweet on Feb. 19 said Tesla would produce around 500,000 vehicles this year. But the tweet wasn't approved by Tesla's "disclosure counsel," and when the contempt-of-court motion was filed in February Musk had not sought a lawyer's approval for a single tweet, the SEC said.

Musk said his tweet about car production didn't need pre-approval because it wasn't new information that would be meaningful to investors. His attorneys say the SEC is violating his First Amendment rights to free speech.

The SEC says the arrangement doesn't restrict Musk's freedom of speech because as long as his statements are not false or misleading, they would be approved.

Meanwhile, Tesla's shares fell 8% in midday trading Thursday after the company said it churned out 77,100 vehicles in the first quarter, well behind the pace it must sustain to fulfill Musk's pledge to manufacture 500,000 cars annually.


A Japanese court has rejected a request by former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn, released on bail last week, to attend the Japanese automaker’s board meeting on Tuesday.

Nissan dismissed Ghosn as chairman after his Nov. 19 arrest, but he remains on the board. The Tokyo District Court said it rejected Ghosn’s request on Monday but did not elaborate on the reasons.

It had been unclear whether Ghosn could attend the board meeting. The court’s approval was needed based on restrictions imposed for his release on bail. The restrictions say he cannot tamper with evidence, and attending the board meeting could be seen as putting pressure on Nissan employees.

Prosecutors had been expected to argue against his attendance. They were not available for immediate comment.

Ghosn has been charged with falsifying financial reports in underreporting his compensation and breach of trust in making payments to a Saudi businessman and having Nissan shoulder investment losses.

He insists he is innocent, saying the compensation was never decided or paid, the payments were for legitimate services and Nissan never suffered the losses.

Since his release on March 6 from Tokyo Detention Center on 1 billion yen ($9 million) bail, he has been spotted taking walks in Tokyo with his family, but he has not made any comments.

His attempt to exercise what his lawyer, Junichiro Hironaka, called his “duty” by attending the board meeting signals one way he may be fighting back.

Hironaka has said Ghosn will speak to reporters soon. A date for a news conference has not been announced.

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