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May 15, 2017 - The California Supreme Court has ruled on an employment law case regarding the state's "day of rest" statute, which entitles employees to one day’s rest in seven and prohibits employers to "cause" workers to work more than six in seven days. In its opinion in Mendoza v. Nordstrom, __Cal.4th__ (decided May 8, 2017), the court stated that “a day of rest is guaranteed for each work week,” rather than on a 7-day rolling basis. In responding to certified questions from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the  California Supreme Court answered (1) periods of more than six consecutive days of work that stretch across more than one work week are not per se prohibited; (2) the exemption for employees working shifts of six hours or less applies only to those who never exceed six hours of work on any day of the week; and (3) an employer “causes” its employee to go without a day of rest when it induces the employee to forgo rest to which he or she is entitled. May 15, 2017 - In Kimmel v. State of New York, __N.Y.3d__, 2017 N.Y. Slip. Op. 03689, the New York Court of Appeals held that plaintiffs prevailing against their state- agency employers in sex discrimination actions are eligible for attorney fees. A divided court decided, for the first time, that lawyers who successfully argue actions under the state's Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA) against state agencies are eligible for court-awarded fees. May 15, 2017 - In Pyskaty v. Wide World of Cars, LLC, __F.3d__ (2d Cir. dec. May 10, 2017), the Second Circuit joined the Third and the Sixth Circuits in holding that, in an action under the “federal lemon law” for rescission, the amount in controversy is determined by the amount of consideration paid under the contract and not the current value of the car. November 28, 2016 - Does Florida Still Have a Death Penalty? Recent rulings by the Florida Supreme Court seem to be eliminating the death penalty in Florida absent legislative action. Last month, the Florida Supreme Court high court ruled in Hurst v. State (SC No. 121947), upon remand from the United States Supreme Court, that juries must unanimously agree to a death sentence before a judge could impose it. The ruling negated a law passed earlier this year requiring at least a 10-2 vote. Now Florida has a death penalty but no legal way to sentence someone to it, at least until the legislature passes a new law that survives future legal challenges. In the Hurst decision the Florida Supreme Court remanded for a new sentencing hearing. But there are 379 men and four women sitting on death row. Is it possible to grant new sentencing hearings for all of these inmates? The burden of picking new juries and finding witnesses from cases that are 10, 20 years old and older would be a daunting task to say the least.   November 20, 2016 -    Our presidential election has put the Electoral College into controversy again. There is a petition being circulated to encourage the electors to vote for the winner of the popular vote. The issue was not presented to the Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore, but it has been the subject of a Supreme Court decision, which allowed states to empower political parties to require formal pledges from Presidential Electors (Ray v Blair, 343 US 214). Nonetheless, 21 states still do not require their members of the Electoral College to vote for their party's designated candidate. The 24 states that do have requirements issue a small variety of rarely enforced punishments for faithless Electors, including fines and misdemeanors.    Since the founding of the Electoral College, there have been 156 faithless Electors.  71 of these votes were changed because the original candidate died before the day on which the Electoral College cast their votes.  Three of the votes were not cast at all as three Electors chose to abstain from casting their Electoral vote for any candidate.  The other 82 Electoral votes were changed on the personal initiative of the Elector. _________________________________________________________________ October 2, 2016 -    In a landmark ruling, the New York Court of Appeals has revised the legal definition of “parent” under New York’s Domestic Relations Law, changing the laws regarding parental custody and visitation, especially as it relates to same-sex couples.  The new criteria no longer relies on 25 year old precedent which defined “parent” exclusively as a person related by biology or adoption to a child. The Court found that this rule had “become unworkable when applied to increasingly varied familial relationships.”    The decision in Brooke S.B. v. Elizabeth A. C.C. followed an appeal on behalf of a child seeking time with both mothers after his same-sex parents split up. The Court expressly overruled its holding in Alison D. v. Virginia M. (1991) where it had previously created a “bright line” rule holding that only persons related to a child through biology or adoption had standing to seek custodial/visitation rights to a child, refusing to give consideration to deeply held parent-child relationships formed outside of these traditional spheres and whether it is in the best interest of the child to continue such relationships.   _________________________________________________________________ September 29, 2016 -    The Appellate Division, Second Department, handed down two cases today under the caption CANTALUPO CONSTRUCTION CORP. v 2319 RICHMOND TERRACE CORP., that are of special interest.    In decision case, the Court held that a provision against oral modification could not be waived by inconsistent conduct. That is against basic New York law. Rose v. Spa Realty Assoc., 42 N.Y.2d 338, 397 N.Y.S.2d 922, 366 N.E.2d 1279; Madison Avenue Leasehold, LLC v Madison Bentley Assoc, LLC , 30 AD3d 1, 4 (1 st Dept 2006) aff'd 8 NY3d 59 (2006)    In the other, the Court reaffirmed the rule, often misunderstood, that a trial court cannot revise a judgment in a substantive manner after it has been rendered. __________________________________________________________________

US v. Daniel Halloran, 15-996-cr

   The public corruption conviction of former New York City Councilman Daniel Halloran for trying to rig the city's 2013 mayoral race was affirmed Thursday by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The case presented numerous issues concerning public corruption and construction of the Travel Act.    Judges Guido Calabresi, Gerard Lynch and Raymond Lohier affirmed both the conviction and 10-year prison sentence imposed on Halloran, who was caught on tape at a midtown Manhattan steakhouse taking cash from a government cooperator declaring, "You can't do anything without the [expletive] money."    His trial before Southern District Judge Kenneth Karas ended when a jury, after just one hour of deliberating, convicted him on two counts of wire fraud, 18 U.S.C. §1343, 1346, two counts of violating the Travel Act, 18 U.S.C. §1952 and a single count of conspiracy to commit both offenses.    In one scheme, the jury found he took bribes for promising in 2012 to funnel discretionary council funds to an undercover FBI agent who went by the name of "Raj" and a real estate developer named Moses "Mark" Stern. Stern, who had ties to the Orthodox Jewish community, had been caught by the FBI and was cooperating with the government.    The government charged that Halloran was bribed to divert between $40,000 to $80,000 in council "member items." He was once given $10,000 in cash in a car outside of a pastry shop in Flushing and disguised it as a campaign contribution for his failed bid for Congress.    The second scheme came about because Smith, facing a crowded Democratic primary field, wanted to keep his party registration while obtaining a so-called Wilson-Pakula authorization from Republican Party leaders so he could run on their ticket.
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US v. Daniel Halloran, 15-996-cr

The public corruption conviction of former New York City Councilman Daniel Halloran for trying to rig the city's 2013 mayoral race was affirmed Thursday by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The case presented numerous issues concerning public corruption and construction of the Travel Act. Judges Guido Calabresi, Gerard Lynch and Raymond Lohier affirmed both the conviction and 10-year prison sentence imposed on Halloran, who was caught on tape at a midtown Manhattan steakhouse taking cash from a government cooperator declaring, "You can't do anything without the [expletive] money." His trial before Southern District Judge Kenneth Karas ended when a jury, after just one hour of deliberating, convicted him on two counts of wire fraud, 18 U.S.C. §1343, 1346, two counts of violating the Travel Act, 18 U.S.C. §1952 and a single count of conspiracy to commit both offenses. In one scheme, the jury found he took bribes for promising in 2012 to funnel discretionary council funds to an undercover FBI agent who went by the name of "Raj" and a real estate developer named Moses "Mark" Stern. Stern, who had ties to the Orthodox Jewish community, had been caught by the FBI and was cooperating with the government. The government charged that Halloran was bribed to divert between $40,000 to $80,000 in council "member items." He was once given $10,000 in cash in a car outside of a pastry shop in Flushing and disguised it as a campaign contribution for his failed bid for Congress. The second scheme came about because Smith, facing a crowded Democratic primary field, wanted to keep his party registration while obtaining a so-called Wilson-Pakula authorization from Republican Party leaders so he could run on their ticket.
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