Fertility clinic malfunction spurs Calif. lawsuit

After a tank failed, a California-based fertility clinic was confronted with a class action lawsuit due to damage to the eggs of potentially hundreds of clients.

A San Francisco woman, who was assured that her eggs would remain frozen until she needed them, brought the litigation. The case was filed in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, San Francisco Division.

“In this first suit to be filed after a rare malfunction that remains under investigation, the woman, who remains anonymous for privacy, is seeking compensation for negligence and breach of contract from the Prelude Fertility, where she received treatment in 2016, and Pacific Fertility Center, which stored her eggs,” The Mercury News reported.

The eggs and embryos of hundreds of other patients “were stored in malfunctioning Tank No. 4 at Pacific Fertility Center’s lab on Francisco Street — and are now presumed damaged.”

The  law firm, Sauder Schelkopf of Berwyn, Penn., is seeking a class action certification, “saying that at least 400 individuals may have been harmed by the incident.”

Appeals court upholds Texas ban on ‘sanctuary cities’

Photo credit: REUTERS/Jon Herskovitz/File Photo, as reported in the article U.S. court upholds most of Texas law to punish ‘sanctuary cities’ on March 13, 2018.

A Texas ban on “sanctuary cities,” which threatens sheriffs, police chiefs and other officials with jail time and removal from office if they do not cooperate with federal immigration authorities, can take effect while legal challenges proceed, an appeals court ruled on Tuesday, 3/15.

Reuters reported, “The law was the first of its kind since Republican Donald Trump became president in January 2017, promising to crack down on illegal immigration and communities that protect the immigrants.”

While upholding the bulk of the law, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a provision “to punish local officials who endorse policies running contrary to the law.”

The New York Times explained, “The law in question — Senate Bill 4, passed by the Texas Legislature in May 2017 — requires police chiefs and sheriffs to cooperate with federal immigration officials, and allows the police to question the immigration status of anyone they arrest. It was passed in response to the proliferation of sanctuary cities, which restrict such cooperation and have gained national attention as President Trump pursues stricter immigration policies.”

Remington mum about effects of bankruptcy on settlement

Photo credit: Reuters file photo as reported on 2/8/18.

The 202-year-old gun manufacturer Remington is not disclosing whether a pending bankruptcy filing will jeopardize a class action settlement involving its Model 700 bolt-action rifle.

“Neither Remington nor its attorneys responded to multiple emails about whether the company intends to abide by the agreement in the event of a bankruptcy filing,” CNBC reported. “While the settlement includes a guarantee that the company will meet its financial obligations under the agreement, it does not address the possibility of a bankruptcy.”

Reuters reported in February, “Remington, which is controlled by buyout firm Cerberus Capital Management LP, was abandoned by some of Cerberus’ private equity fund investors after one of its Bushmaster rifles was used in the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in Connecticut in 2012 that killed 20 children and six adults. … Remington’s sales plunged 27 percent in the first nine months of 2017, resulting in a $28 million operating loss.”

CNBC reported, “Remington has agreed to replace millions of triggers on the 700 and a dozen other models to settle allegations that, for decades, the company covered up a deadly design defect that allowed the guns to fire without the trigger being pulled.”

The company denies any cover-up or the defect, but acknowledged the fix could cost as much as half a billion dollars, CNBC reported. “There are real concerns that with the bankruptcy no guns will be fixed at all.”

Supreme Court strikes down bond hearings for detainees

In a major immigration case, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Jennings v. Rodriguez, a class action lawsuit challenging the federal government’s practice of jailing immigrants while they litigate their deportation cases. It ruled that detainees held by the government for possible deportation are not entitled to a bond hearing even after months or years of detention. Civil rights advocates, such as the ACLU, question whether it is constitutional to “lock up immigrants indefinitely.”

The Washington Post reported on the Feb. 27 ruling, noting, “In a splintered 5 to 3 decision, the court’s conservatives said that the relevant statute does not even ‘hint,’ as Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. wrote, at the broad reading of the right to bail hearings adopted by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.”

The American Civil Liberties Union argued, “In the appeals court, we fought for and won on the principle that immigrants should be given the opportunity to present their case to a judge, allowing that judge to decide whether the detainee could be released without risk of flight or threat to public safety.”


Criminal records cleared for some Californians convicted on pot charges

Those convicted of marijuana-related infractions could receive a clean slate in California, based on a trend in some jurisdictions.

“Thousands of people with misdemeanor convictions for marijuana possession dating back 40 years will have their criminal records cleared, the San Francisco district attorney’s office said Wednesday,” The New York Times reported in January. “San Diego is also forgiving old convictions,”

National Public Radio reported, “Nine states now have laws related to expunging or reducing marijuana convictions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures but marijuana is still illegal under federal law. And not everyone in California is high on the idea of legalization. Jill Replogle, of member station KPCC, reported earlier this month that ’73 percent of cities and counties in California currently ban commercial cannabis businesses.’”

But a few communities are seeking to erase criminal records for those convicted on marijuana charges. The New York Times noted, “George Gascón, San Francisco’s district attorney, said his office would automatically erase convictions there, which total about 3,000. An additional 4,900 felony marijuana charges will be examined by prosecutors to determine if they should be retroactively reduced to misdemeanors. San Diego has identified 4,700 cases, both felonies and misdemeanors, that will be cleared or downgraded.”