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Justices turn away GM appeal over ignition switches
Legal Business | 2017/04/29 00:01
The Supreme Court on Monday turned away an appeal from General Motors Co. seeking to block dozens of lawsuits over faulty ignition switches that could expose the company to billions of dollars in additional claims.

The justices without comment left in place a lower court ruling that said the automaker's 2009 bankruptcy did not shield it from liability in the cases.

A federal appeals court ruled last year that GM remains responsible for ignition-switch injuries and deaths that occurred pre-bankruptcy because the company knew about the problem for more than a decade but kept it secret from the bankruptcy court.

The company had argued that well-established bankruptcy law allowed the newly reorganized GM to obtain the old company's assets "free and clear" of liabilities.

GM recalled 2.6 million small cars worldwide in 2014 to replace defective switches that played a role in at least 124 deaths and 275 injuries, according to a victims' fund set up by GM and administered by attorney Kenneth Feinberg.

The automaker has paid nearly $875 million to settle death and injury claims related to the switches. That includes $600 million from Feinberg's fund and $275 million to settle 1,385 separate claims. It also has paid $300 million to settle shareholder lawsuits. But many others are pursuing their claims in court.

After it emerged from the government-funded bankruptcy, the company referred to as New GM was indemnified against most claims made against the pre-bankruptcy company, known as Old GM. A bankruptcy court sided with the company in 2015, ruling that most claims against Old GM could not be pursued.

But the appeals court in Manhattan overturned most of that decision and said hundreds of pre-bankruptcy claims could go forward.




Michigan Supreme Court Justice Young announces retirement
Legal Business | 2017/04/01 16:23
Michigan Supreme Court Justice Robert Young plans to retire and return to his former law firm.

A statement from the court says Young announced his plans Wednesday during a meeting with fellow Michigan Supreme Court justices. The 65-year-old says his retirement from the court is effective April 30 or earlier. He’s going back to the Dickinson Wright firm.

Young served three years on the Michigan Court of Appeals and 18 years on Michigan’s highest court, including six years as chief justice. Young says he’s proud of his accomplishments, including helping to reduce acrimony among the court.

He says in a statement “we proved that good people who may differ in their opinions can come together and accomplish important things for the people we serve — and we do it amicably.”



Ohio brother slaying case might return to juvenile court
Legal Business | 2017/01/11 13:35
An Ohio teenager accused of killing his 14-year-old brother after an argument over Halloween candy will have a hearing Feb. 9 to determine whether his case is handled in juvenile court or the adult court system.

The 16-year-old Springfield boy was charged with aggravated murder and pleaded not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity in Clark County Common Pleas Court.

The Springfield News-Sun reports the case is returning to juvenile court for a hearing because of a recent Ohio Supreme Court case. In that ruling, justices said automatically transferring certain juvenile cases to adult courts is unconstitutional.

Authorities allege the Springfield teen beat his brother with a baseball bat, then stabbed him. Their grandmother found the younger teen dead in bed on Oct. 31.


Circus operator agrees to plea deal in tent collapse
Legal Business | 2017/01/04 13:37
Court records show a Florida-based circus operator has agreed to a plea deal following a tent collapse in New Hampshire in 2015 that killed two people and injured dozens.

The Caledonian-Record in Vermont reports details of the plea deal involving Sarasota-based Walker International Events weren't made available.

The company had previously pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of operating without a license and to misdemeanor counts alleging it hadn't complied with state standards. Corporations can face fines and sanctions on criminal convictions.

The company, now out of business, agreed to pay federal safety fines and settled some lawsuits.

Forty-one-year-old Robert Young and his 6-year-old daughter, Annabelle, of Concord, Vermont, died when a storm with 75 mph winds blew through the Lancaster Fairgrounds, toppling the tent.



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