We've all heard the dictum: Don't text and drive. Now, a New Jersey state appeals court has an addendum: Don't text a driver - or you could be held liable if he causes a crash.
Kyle Best was behind the wheel of his pickup in September 2009 driving down a rural highway, when Shannon Colonna sent him a text.
The two were teens at the time. He was 18; she was 17, and they were dating. They sent each other 62 texts that day, according to court documents. That's 14 messages an hour.
In the opposing lane of traffic, David Kubert was cruising along on a big, blue touring motorcycle with his wife Linda along for the ride. They approached Best at exactly the wrong time.
Six employees of JJ's restaurant in Kansas City, Missouri, have filed a lawsuit against five companies and one person in connection with the February 19 natural gas explosion that killed one woman.
The workers filed suit Monday in circuit court in Jackson County, naming Missouri Gas Energy, excavating contractor Heartland Midwest, Time Warner Cable (an independent company no longer owned by CNN parent Time Warner), two other businesses and one individual as defendants.FULL STORY
The U.S. Supreme Court has just blocked a lawsuit over the federal government's sweeping electronic monitoring of foreigners suspected of terrorism or spying.
The 5-4 conservative majority on Tuesday morning concluded that the plaintiffs – a group of attorneys, journalists and others – lacked "standing" or jurisdiction to proceed, without a specific showing they have been monitored. The National Security Agency has in turn refused to disclose monitoring specifics, which detractors call "Catch-22" logic.FULL STORY
The lawsuit filed by Michael Jackson's three children and mother that accuses a concert promoter of contributing to the pop icon's death can go to trial, a Los Angeles judge tentatively ruled Monday.
The trial for the wrongful death lawsuit against AEG Live, filed by Jackson matriarch Katherine Jackson and his children, Prince, Paris and Blanket Jackson, is set for April. A final order on Monday's decision has not been issued yet.
The U.S. Department of Justice has joined a whistle-blower lawsuit against cyclist Lance Armstrong that was originally filed by a former teammate, an attorney for Armstrong said Friday.
Former Armstrong teammate Floyd Landis, who was stripped of his 2006 Tour de France title after failing a drug test, filed a suit in 2010 against their former team, which was sponsored the U.S. Postal Service.
The lawsuit accused the team's former management of defrauding the government of millions of dollars because the team management knew about team members' drug use and didn't do anything.FULL STORY
A class action lawsuit has been filed against Carnival Corp. surrounding the events that crippled the cruise ship Triumph in the Gulf of Mexico.
Filing on behalf of other tourists, passengers Matt Crusan and Melissa Crusan alleged in their lawsuit that "Carnival knew or should have known that the vessel Triumph was likely to experience mechanical and/or engine issues because of prior similar issues," the court filing said.
The suit, filed Monday, follows a lawsuit that an individual passenger filed against the company last week.FULL STORY
Not even 24 hours after reaching land, a passenger on this week's infamously crippled Carnival cruise in the Gulf of Mexico has filed a lawsuit.
Passenger Terry Cassie of Texas has filed a lawsuit against Carnival in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Florida. The suit describes Carnival's Triumph cruise ship as a "floating hell."
The Triumph was towed into port in Alabama late Thursday night, five days after it lost power in a engine-room fire. More than 3,000 passengers and 1,000 crew members lived in squalid conditions after the outage, with overflowing commodes splashing floors with waste as the ship listed, passengers reported.FULL STORY
A second lawsuit has been filed accusing Kevin Clash, the puppeteer who provided the voice of Elmo on "Sesame Street," of engaging in a sexual relationship with a minor.
In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in New York, a Florida man referred to as John Doe says Clash lured him into a sexual relationship in 2000, when the then-16-year-old came to the New York area from Florida to pursue modeling opportunities.
Clash's lawyer said the federal cases against his client are without merit.FULL STORY
Before Sheldon Bruck told his orthodox Jewish parents he was gay, the teenager looked for a way out of homosexuality.
His search led him to JONAH – Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing – which claimed on its website to help people "struggling with unwanted same-sex sexual attractions."
JONAH co-director Arthur Goldberg promised Bruck, then 17, that "JONAH could help him change his orientation from gay to straight," according to a consumer fraud lawsuit filed Tuesday against JONAH, Goldberg and a JONAH counselor.
"This is the first time that plaintiffs have sought to hold conversion therapists liable in a court of law," said Samuel Wolfe, a lawyer with the Southern Poverty Law Center.FULL STORY
The Penn State football team started its first season since former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was found guilty of sexually abusing 10 boys over 15 years.
The Nittany Lions' home game against Ohio University also will be the first time since 1966 that the team starts a season without Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno, who died in January, two months after the board of trustees fired him for allegedly failing to take his knowledge of the scandal to appropriate authorities.
Though Sandusky was convicted in June, many parts of the Sandusky matter have not been resolved. Here is where things stand in the scandal:
Jews and Muslims are joining forces in outrage over a German court's decision that could prohibit parents from having their children circumcised for religious reasons. The court deemed the oft-religious procedure an act of "bodily harm" to children, according to German media reports.
The Tuesday ruling says doctors who perform the procedure for religious reasons could be charged with committing bodily injury, sparking a debate that pits parents' religious freedom against a child's right to self-determination. The court essentially ruled that circumcision is not in a child's best interests, according to the German newspaper Der Spiegel.
"The body of the child is irreparably and permanently changed by a circumcision," the court said. "This change contravenes the interests of the child to decide later on his religious beliefs."
While the ruling is expected to influence other courts, it is not legally binding, Der Spiegel noted.
The procedure, which is relatively common in the United States (roughly six in 10 newborn boys are circumcised), is not so prevalent in Europe. In Germany, only 11% of boys are circumcised, according to 2007 figures. However, many of Germany's 4 million Muslims and its 100,000 Jews consider circumcision a religious rite.
The case began in Cologne in 2010 after a doctor performed a circumcision on a 4-year-old Muslim boy. His parents took him to a hospital two days later because he was bleeding heavily, the Medical Daily website reported. When prosecutors learned of the emergency room visit, they brought criminal charges against the doctor.
Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.
The Justice Department filed a civil lawsuit against Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Maricopa County, Arizona, on Thursday.
"They're using me for the Latino vote, showing that they're doing something, taking on the sheriff over an alleged racial profiling," Arpaio told reporters in Phoenix. Our readers had varying takes on the controversial sheriff, illegal immigration and Arizona in general.
Readers debated whether the federal government should be getting involved.
Tr1Xen: "I stand with Joe Arpaio on this one. Illegal immigration should be fought vigorously, and I applaud the State of Arizona and the Maricopa County Sheriff's Department for taking that fight much more seriously than the Obama administration has. Heck, the Obama administration found fault in Texas' recent legislation requiring registered voters to provide photo ID, claiming that it discriminated against Latinos because they disproportionately lack photo identification (even though they are every bit as eligible to obtain photo identification, provided they are here legally). By the way, as a Texan, if that legislation is overturned by the federal government or isn't in effect on Election Day, I plan to wear a name tag with someone else's name on it when I go to vote. I'll tell them my correct name and to just ignore the name tag on my clothing. I urge others to do likewise! :)"
NoTarOnBeach: "Then you stand with a criminal. If you are OK with the police working outside the laws, then don't complain when the police abuse carries over to you."
19volks71: "Thank you. The federal government has no business in county level operations."
These people spoke out against Arpaio. FULL POST
A New York judge Tuesday rejected claims by former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn that a civil lawsuit against him should be dismissed because he was protected by diplomatic immunity.
Bronx Supreme Court Justice Douglas McKeon denied a motion by Strauss-Kahn's lawyers to dismiss the lawsuit, which was filed by a hotel maid who accused him of sexual assault last year.
A lawyer for the maid, Nafissatou Diallo, said his client was pleased with the decision.
"We are extremely pleased with Judge McKeon's well-reasoned and articulate decision recognizing that Strauss-Kahn is not entitled to immunity," said attorney Douglas H. Wigdor. "We have said all along that Strauss-Kahn's desperate plea for immunity was a tactic designed to delay these proceedings and we now look forward to holding him accountable for the brutal sexual assault that he committed."
Alex Karras, the former Detroit Lions standout who starred in the 1980s sitcom “Webster” - and whose wife says is now suffering from dementia - has joined hundreds of ex-NFL players suing the league over concussion-related injuries.
Karras, who also played the horse-punching Mongo in the 1974 movie “Blazing Saddles," is the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court in Philadelphia on behalf of him and 69 other former NFL players.
The suit – the 12th concussion-related complaint filed against the NFL by the Locks Law Firm in Philadelphia, now representing about 700 former NFL players – alleges that the league didn’t do enough to warn players that they risked permanent brain damage if they played too soon after a concussion, and that it concealed evidence about the risks for decades.
The suits claim that plaintiffs suffer from neurological problems after sustaining traumatic impacts to the head.
Karras, 76, of California, “sustained repetitive traumatic impacts to his head and/or concussions on multiple occasions” during his NFL career, and “suffers from various neurological conditions and symptoms related to the multiple head traumas,” the latest lawsuit says.
“Alex suffers from dementia but still enjoys many things, including watching football,” his wife and “Webster” co-star Susan Clark said in a news release Thursday. “But dementia prevents him from doing everyday activities such as driving, cooking, sports fishing, reading books and going to big events or traveling.
“His constant complaint is dizziness – the result of multiple concussions. What Alex wants is for the game of football to be made safer and allow players and their families to enjoy a healthier, happier retirement.”
In many ways, the "kill the head" speech by former New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams sounds like typical pregame, fire-up-the-troops rhetoric, but former and current players say there are several instances where the now-suspended coach crossed the line.
The speech has added new fire to an already scalding scandal in which the NFL alleges that the Saints administered a bounty program aimed at taking out opposing players.
The day before the Saints' January 14 playoff clash with the San Francisco 49ers, Williams started his speech by instructing his team to never apologize for how they play. No big deal.
Williams goes on to say, "Kill the head, the body will die," a twist on the frequent tutelage of boxer "Smokin'" Joe Frazier. It sounds nefarious given the recent attention given to concussions in football, but it could probably be written off as normal locker room bravado.
Except, and this is a big except, Williams starts naming players by name, and what's more, he starts naming anatomy: tight end Vernon Davis' ankle, running back Frank Gore's head, quarterback Alex Smith's chin and wide receiver Michael Crabtree's "outside ACL."
Former Detroit Lions cornerback Lamar Campbell, who retired in 2004, told the Detroit Free Press that Williams' speech began like many that Campbell heard during his playing days. Listening to it made him reminisce at first.
“You hear, ‘Knock the (expletive) out of him,’ and, ‘Kick his ass,’ and I love, ‘They’re going to be shocked with our contact, they’re going to be shocked with our speed, they’re going to be shocked with the way we strip,’ ” Campbell said Thursday. “I felt nostalgic reading it and then I get to a line that says, ‘Let’s see how many times we can bull rush and get that outside ACL,’ and it’s like, hold up. You had me and then, ‘Go get this guy’s ACL?’ Are you serious?”
Perhaps most disturbingly, Gregg Williams demands a big hit on kick returner Kyle Williams because of a recent concussion, something the New York Giants' Jacquian Williams and Devin Thomas caught heat for the following week when they said the same thing.
"We’ve got to do everything in the world to make sure we kill Frank Gore's head," Gregg Williams said on the tape. "We want him running sideways. We want his head sideways."
This could simply mean Williams wants his defense in the backfield so quickly that Gore has trouble getting upfield, that he wants Gore running east and west rather than north and south. Again, probably pretty typical of the instructions that defensive coordinators give to their men.
Even Williams' invocation to "knock the f*** out of" backup running back Kendall Hunter isn't as bad as it initially sounds because he follows it with world-class hyperbole.
Television personality Keith Olbermann sued his former employer, Current TV, on Thursday, claiming breach-of-contract, unfair dealing and disparagement in an action filed in California Superior Court.
Current TV's co-founders, including former Vice President Al Gore, ousted Olbermann (pictured) last week.
"This action is necessary as Current has repeatedly and willfully breached its written agreement with Olbermann," the lawsuit said, "often continuing to do so after receiving specific notices to cure such breaches.
"In its most recent breach, Current unilaterally, and without cause, terminated its Agreement with Olbermann. Current's sudden and public termination of Olbermann was the latest in a series of increasingly erratic and unprofessional actions undertaken by Current's senior management," the lawsuit said.FULL STORY
A jury in Christiansburg, Virginia, decided Wednesday in favor of two families of victims in the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting who had accused the school of negligence.
The seven-member jury awarded $4 million to each of the families, a spokesman for the state attorney general's office said. In suing the state, the families' lawyers had argued that the school should have notified the student body sooner after learning that two other students had been found dead in a West Ambler Johnston dormitory room on the morning of April 16, 2007.
Seung-Hui Cho then went on to kill 30 other people, including the two victims whose families had sued - Erin Peterson and Julia Pryde - before killing himself. Peterson died while in her French class; Pryde was pursuing a master's degree in biological systems engineering.
"Vindication has finally come," said Suzanne Grimes, whose son Kevin Sterne was among the wounded at Virginia Tech. "This is about them being accountable," she told CNN in a telephone interview from Florida. "This will ensure the safety of students in the future."
An Ecuadorian appeals court upheld an $8.6 billion ruling against oil giant Chevron stemming from claims that the company had a detrimental impact on Amazonian communities where it operated.
The judgment against Chevron is the latest in 19 years of litigation between Amazon residents and Texaco, which was later purchased by Chevron.
A three-judge panel handed down the ruling Tuesday, nearly a year after receiving the case, the state-run Andes news agency reported.
In addition, the appeals court ruled that Chevron must publicly apologize to Ecuador, and if it fails to do so, the fine will be doubled to nearly $18 billion, Andes reported.
In a statement, Chevron said the appeals court ruling "is another glaring example of the politicization and corruption of Ecuador's judiciary that has plagued this fraudulent case from the start."FULL STORY
It appears to be a whine-off between warring clans of out-of-touch rich guys. With the NBA owners and players both opting for bombast over balance in their overtures, it’s difficult to see exactly what happened Monday afternoon.
This much is certain: The NBA offered players a deal and threatened that if they didn’t bite, the deal would get worse. The National Basketball Player’s Association didn’t vote on the proposal, disclaimed interest in its union (ending collective bargain negotiations) and is threatening to file a class-action antitrust suit against the NBA. The chance of a 2011-2012 season is now slimmer than your likelihood of hitting a full-court sky hook blindfolded.
This much is uncertain: everything.
The players and owners lose a great deal of control in the courts. The range of possibilities is now vast. It could be as simple as a judge ordering both sides back to the bargaining table, or it could result in billions in damages that owners say could bankrupt the league and play out in the courts for years.
Remember, this isn’t a strike, and the players will make the case in court that the league lockout prevented them from playing, i.e. earning a paycheck. They will be represented, in part, by David Boies, an attorney with some lofty antitrust credentials.
Move past NBA Commissioner David Stern’s talk of “nuclear winter” and the players’ and NBPA ex-executive director Billy Hunter’s chatter about strong-arming and ultimatums, and it appears both sides played hardball a little too well.
The Supreme Court on Monday put the brakes on a massive job discrimination lawsuit against Wal-Mart. The suit was the largest class-action suit in U.S. history – and, says Jeffrey Toobin, CNN's senior legal analyst, therein lies the problem.
Toobin, who was in the courtroom for opening arguments in March, spoke on "CNN Newsroom" after the high court's ruling was announced. He shared his initial impressions of the ruling and noted that he was still reading the "complicated" decision.
He said the class-action status – potentially involving hundreds of thousands of female workers – was too large.