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Russian court says bobsledder can keep Olympic titles
Attorney News | 2019/01/10 07:21

Russian bobsledder Alexander Zubkov won a Moscow court ruling on Friday that could make it harder for the International Olympic Committee to recover his gold medals.

The Russian flagbearer at the 2014 Sochi Olympics was stripped of his two gold medals from those games in 2017 by the IOC for doping. He failed to overturn that disqualification at the Court of Arbitration for Sport last year.

But Moscow’s highest civil court in November upheld Zubkov’s claim that the CAS procedure was unfair and shouldn’t be recognized in Russia. That means Zubkov is legally recognized as an Olympic champion — but only in Russia.

On Friday, the court rejected an IOC-backed appeal from the Russian Olympic Committee, which earlier said letting Zubkov keep his medals could “give rise to doubt that Russia truly observes the main principles of the fight against doping.”

Zubkov strongly denies cheating. “I am a clean athlete. If you don’t know my story you can open Wikipedia and see how much I’ve done for sport and what I did in Sochi,” he said. “I brought gold medals here and gave sport 30 years (of my life).”

Friday’s ruling will also make it harder for Zubkov to be removed as president of the Russian Bobsled Federation, and may entitle him to a Russian state pension for retired star athletes.



Court orders mediation in Maryland desegregation case
Attorney News | 2019/01/06 23:33

A federal appeals court has ordered a fourth attempt at mediation in a long-running dispute over the state of Maryland’s treatment of its historically black colleges.

The black colleges say the state has underfunded them while developing programs at traditionally white schools that directly compete with them and drain prospective students away.

In 2013, a judge found that the state had maintained an unconstitutional “dual and segregated education system.” The judge said the state allowed traditionally white schools to replicate programs at historically black institutions, thereby undermining the success of the black schools.

Despite three previous tries at mediation, the two sides have been unable to agree on a solution.

On Wednesday, a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered Maryland’s higher education commission and the coalition to begin mediation again to try to settle the 12-year-old lawsuit.


The Latest: Shutdown affects court cases that involve Trump
Attorney News | 2018/12/29 08:19

The partial government shutdown has prompted the chief judge of Manhattan federal courts to suspend work on civil cases involving U.S. government lawyers. The order suspends action in several civil lawsuits in which President Donald Trump is a defendant.

Judge Colleen McMahon said in a written order that the suspension will remain in effect until the business day after the president signs a budget appropriation law restoring Justice Department funding.

The Manhattan courts, with several dozen judges, are among the nation’s busiest courts.

In one case involving Trump, a judge last week ruled that a group of people suing Trump and his three eldest children can remain anonymous because they fear retaliation by the president or his followers.

Back from a 29-hour trip to visit U.S. troops in Iraq, President Donald Trump is returning his attention to the ongoing partial U.S. government shutdown, which is in its sixth day.

In a morning tweet, Trump says “we desperately need” a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, funding for which has been a flashpoint between the White House and Congress ever since Trump took office.

The president is calling on Democrats in Congress to fund his wall, saying the shutdown affects their supporters. He says: “Do the Dems realize that most of the people not getting paid are Democrats?”

Hundreds of thousands of federal workers are on unpaid furlough and even more are required to work without pay after Trump and Congress could not reach consensus on a short-term funding bill last week.


Mississippi chief justice: Time for another to lead court
Attorney News | 2018/12/26 20:17

After 21 years on the Mississippi Supreme Court and 10 years as chief justice, Bill Waller Jr. says it's time for someone else to take the helm.

Waller's court has at times questioned problems with forensic evidence, but passed when asked to rule on the legality of Mississippi's cap on punitive damages. He said his biggest regret is not getting a statewide system of county courts.

Gov. Phil Bryant has announced that he will replace Waller with Court of Appeals Chief Judge Kenny Griffis, while Presiding Justice Michael Randolph will become the next leader of the nine-member Supreme Court, based on seniority. The outgoing chief justice, son of the late Gov. Bill Waller Sr., a Democrat who served from 1972 to 1976, said he still might run for governor himself.

Waller came on to the court in a different time, before the new judicial building was started, when most record-keeping was on paper and when a hot political battle was waging over limiting damages on civil lawsuits. Another change has been improvements in how inmates are represented in appeals, with the creation of the Office of Capital Post-Conviction Counsel and then the Office of Indigent Appeals.



Fight over report on Wynn allegations back in court Jan. 4
Attorney News | 2018/12/23 04:20

The fight over a Massachusetts Gaming Commission report on allegations of sexual misconduct against former casino mogul Steve Wynn will be back in a Nevada courtroom next month.

Clark County District Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez on Thursday set a Jan. 4 court hearing on whether to extend an order blocking the report's release. It details an investigation into how Wynn Resorts handled the allegations and could affect whether the company keeps a gambling license for a $2 billion casino and hotel set to open near Boston in June.

Wynn has denied allegations of misconduct and sued last month to keep the report from going public. He argued that it contains confidential information obtained from his attorneys, which is protected by attorney-client privilege.

Wynn resigned from his company in February, and his name has been stripped from the new casino. It is now called Encore Boston Harbor.

Wynn Resorts attorney Patrick Byrne said Thursday that the company supports the investigation and is cooperating with Massachusetts regulators.

Ahead of the January hearing, Wynn's attorneys are negotiating with Wynn Resorts and the Massachusetts Gaming Commission over what interviews and documents his lawyers can review to determine if they're privileged.

The Nevada judge is expected to rule on areas where the attorneys can't agree.

The gaming commission's attorney, Michael Rawlins, questioned how much access Wynn should be given and whether the ex-mogul's lawyers would seek to review even more elements of the unpublished report.

Rawlins said in court Thursday that the commission wants to move forward quickly but "we do not want to open the investigative files of a law enforcement agency to the curious eyes of the person whose behavior is the subject of the investigation."

Judge Gonzalez said she understood why the commission was reluctant to share its information but that some documents needed to be disclosed to determine whether Wynn's attorney-client privilege was violated.


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