Special Reports Coming to National Courts Monitor (NCM)

SPECIAL REPORTS: In the coming weeks, the National Courts Monitor (NCM) will be announcing a series of “special reports” focusing on some of today’s most urgent civil litigation issues. Similar to the print-edition special reports that helped launch the website in California (as the California Courts Monitor) more than a decade ago, the reports from across the country will include original reporting and production from the NCM while also showcasing investigative and writing from partner organizations. Watch this space for more information, and we are making this announcement now because our reporters and video producers are now in the field conducting the background research necessary for multi-media reporting on issues including environmental lawsuits, immigration issues and, of course, the rationing of civil justice in America.

– THE EDITORS

Johnson & Johnson ordered to pay $10 million to two Ohio counties

Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals manufactured opioids and Johnson & Johnson also owned two companies that processed and imported the raw material used to manufacture oxycodone, a highly addictive opioid, shown above. Photo credit: www.drugs.com.

Johnson & Johnson has reached a tentative settlement in Ohio in response to a federal lawsuit over the nation’s opioid epidemic, The Washington Post reports.

The health-care giant will pay $10 million to Cuyahoga and Summit counties, Ohio, as well as reimburse $5 million in legal fees and donate $5.4 million for opioid-related programs in the communities, The Post reports.

The case was brought by more than 2,500 counties, cities and Native American tribes.

In August, Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay the state of Oklahoma $572 million in the first opioid-related state case to go to trial.

Cleveland County (Okla.) District Judge Thad Balkman found the pharmaceutical company responsible for the opioid crisis in Oklahoma, one of more than 40 states waging lawsuits, The Washington Post reports.

An estimated 400,000 people have died of overdoses from painkillers, heroin and illegal fentanyl since 1999.

Judge blocks new rules for detention of migrant children, parents

Dolly M. Gee, District Judge. Photo credit: Wikipedia

The Trump administration is barred by federal court order from enacting new rules aimed at detaining migrant children and their parents for longer periods of time.

U.S. District Judge Dolly M. Gee issued the permanent injunction on Sept. 27 in the Central District of California, The Washington Post reports.

The Justice Department had argued for withdrawal from a 1997 federal consent decree setting basic standards for detaining migrant children.

“The decree includes a 20-day limit for holding children in detention facilities that have not been licensed by the states for the purpose of caring for minors,” The Post reports.

Federal regulators issued new regulations in August seeking to terminate the settlement and remove the 20-day limit, The Post reports.

Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to be heard in Sandy Hook case

Radio host and conspiracy theorist, Alex Jones. Photo credit: Wikipedia.

According to the Hartford Courant, lawyers for conspiracy theorist Alex Jones went to the state Supreme Court Thursday “to challenge a court order in a case where families from Sandy Hook Elementary School are suing him, saying the radio host claimed the school shooting was a hoax.”

The lawyer for Alex Jones argued in the Connecticut Supreme Court that he “should not have been penalized for an angry outburst on his Infowars web show against an attorney for relatives of some of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims,” reports the Associated Press.

The AP report explains, “The families of eight victims of the 2012 shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, and an FBI agent who responded to the massacre are suing Jones, Infowars, and others for promoting a theory that the shooting was a hoax. A 20-year-old gunman killed 20 first-graders, six educators and himself at the school, after having killed his mother at their Newtown home. The families said they have been subjected to harassment and death threats from Jones’ followers because of the hoax conspiracy.”

Trump vows to revoke waiver allowing California to set auto emissions

Photo credit: Damian Dovarganes/AP as reported by NPR on 9/18/19.

President Trump announced he will revoke a 2013 waiver issued by the EPA to the California Air Resources Board which allowed the state to set stricter air-quality standards than those imposed on the federal level.

According to an NPR report, “The move comes after the Department of Justice earlier this month launched an antitrust investigation into a July deal between California and four automakers – Ford, Volkswagen, Honda and BMW – and is seen as a broader effort by the White House to rollback efforts to combat climate change.”

The report notes, “California’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra has vowed to take the Trump administration to court. Speaking on Tuesday, California’s Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom said that while the White House ‘has abdicated its responsibility,’ his state ‘has stepped up.'”

States unveil bipartisan antitrust probe of Google

 

Image credit: Wikipedia.

“Google is expected to rake in more than $48 billion in U.S. digital ad revenue this year, far rivaling its peers, while capturing 75 percent of all spending on U.S. search ads, according to eMarketer,” The Washington Post reports.

The probe is supported by 50 U.S. states and territories, excluding Alabama and California, home of Silicon Valley.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said Google “dominates all aspects of advertising on the Internet and searching on the Internet,” though he clarified that states are launching an investigation and not a lawsuit.

“The probe marks the latest regulatory headache for Google and the rest of Silicon Valley, which have faced growing criticism — and widening state and federal scrutiny — into whether they’ve grown too big and powerful, undermining rivals and resulting in costlier or worse service for web users,” The Post reports.

Federal regulators have decided against assessing major penalties against the company, including breaking it up, but “The European Union has issued the company $9 billion in competition-related fines over the past three years,” The Post reports.