Archives for January 2017

Texas Court Hearing Will Address Decades-Old Asbestos Testimony

A Texas reporter is trying to unearth asbestos-related testimony from nearly 20 years ago that might shed light on some more recent activity. Specifically, the reporter feels a deposition, apparently sealed for all this time, might shed light on a famous witness-coaching memo that came to light during the landmark Garlock bankruptcy case two years ago. A hearing is set for today (Jan. 31) in a downtown Austin, Tx., courtroom.

We will update the results, which are not expected to be immediate. Meanwhile, the case has attracted the attention of tort-reform organizations and even the center-right Tucker Carlson website Daily Caller, which published a scorched earth article on the even of the hearing. The reporter is also a contributor to the Paul Johnson Films documentary “UnSettled: Inside the Strange World of Asbestos Lawsuits” and did original reporting at the Dallas Observer that appeared in the film. Asbestos litigation is America’s longest-running tort litigation and a frequent target of civil lawsuit “reform” groups, typically backed by business groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Read the Daily Caller opinion piece, from a regular contributor but not a news staff writer, here.

Trump’s Immigration Plan Brings Several Early Legal Challenges

Demonstrators gather outside the Trump International Hotel in Washington on Sunday to protest President Trump’s executive order on immigration. (Oliver Contreras/For The Washington Post) (Oliver Contreras/For The Washington Post)

President Trump’s immigration orders over the weekend brought both protests and legal challenges, with several judges ordering halts to the program and scholars offering opinions. The Washington Post had a good article outlining the civil concerns, including listing some of the groups opposing the move:

“… the American Civil Liberties Union, which won the injunction from a New York judge Saturday, immigrant legal aid societies, public-interest groups and the alliance of 16 state attorney generals.”

The story also predicted more challenges under both constitutional grounds and legal decisions over decades.

See the WaPo story here:

CM Publisher Makes Case For Bi-Partisian Fix on Immigration Court

Sara Warner, Founding Publisher of the National Courts Monitor & California Courts Monitor

Courts Monitor Publisher Sara Warner, in a Huffington Post blog, makes her case that fixing the swamped immigration courts should be a low-hanging issue for bi-partisian action. Although, perhaps the parties have differing motivations.

See her argument here:

Swamped Immigration Courts Are A Bi-Partisian Fix Opportunity

NYT Says DHS allegations are idled for years; security issues raised

A naturalization ceremony at Ellis Island last year. Investigators at United States Citizenship and Immigration Services say that possible corruption among contract workers is going unexamined and puts the immigration system at risk. Credit John Moore/Getty Images

The New York Times is reporting that:

“Dozens of cases of possible wrongdoing by contract workers at the Department of Homeland Security agency responsible for citizenship, visas and green cards have sat idle for two years because internal investigators say they have been denied the authority to look into the allegations, interviews and documents show.”

The story says that investigators at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services allege they have repeatedly warned top managers of the problem among contractors that “could put the immigration system at risk.”

Read the truly alarming story here:
Claims of Corrupt Immigration Contractors Go Unexamined, Investigators Say

Report Outlines Why NY Has Huge Immigration Court Backlog

Photo credit: WNYC Audio Report, 1/17/17

New York’s WNYC radio has an excellent report on why the Big Apple’s immigration courts are backed up, noting that more than a half-million cases are pending nationwide and tens of thousands of those are in NYC. The reporter visits one of the city’s 28 immigration courts, which are actually not federal courts but administrative functions of the Justice Department. The story follows one immigrant and notes ” the whole process took about five minutes for each case, and Khan was scheduling future court appearances as late as August of 2018. This isn’t so bad given, that Schmidt said he was scheduling hearings for 2021 before retiring last summer.”

The reporting is in the context of Donald Trump presidency and any attempt to increase the pace of court-ordered deportations. The take-away is that there’s no real capacity to increase or even keep pace

See the story here: Why New York’s Immigration Courts Are Overwhelmed