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South Korea's Supreme Court said a former worker in a Samsung LCD factory who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis should be recognized as having an occupationally caused disease, overturning lower court verdicts that held a lack of evidence against the worker.

In a milestone decision that could aid other sickened tech workers struggling to prove the origin of their diseases, the Supreme Court ruled there was a significant link between Lee Hee-jin's disease and workplace hazards and her working conditions.

Lower courts had denied her claim, partly because no records of her workplace conditions were publicly available. The Labor Ministry and Samsung refused to disclose them when a lower court requested the information, citing trade secrets.

In its ruling Tuesday, the court said the lack of evidence, resulting from Samsung's refusal to provide the information and an inadequate investigation by the government, should not be held against the sickened worker.

Instead, it said, such special circumstances should be considered in favor of the worker.

Lee, 33, began to work at a Samsung LCD factory in Cheonan, south of Seoul, in 2002 when she was a high school senior. She evaluated nearly one hundred display panels per hour on a conveyor belt, looking for defective panels and wiping them with isopropyl alcohol. She worked next to assembly lines that used other chemicals.

Three years after she joined Samsung Electronics, she first reported the symptoms of multiple sclerosis, a rare disease that affects the central nervous system. The average age of reporting multiple sclerosis in South Korea is 38. She left Samsung in 2007.

Lee first filed a claim in 2010 with a government agency, which denied her request for compensation. She took her case to the courts and lost twice before Tuesday's victory.




Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter has appointed Twin Falls judge Richard Bevan to the state's highest court.

Otter announced Tuesday that Bevan — currently the 5th Judicial District's administrative judge — will replace retiring Idaho Supreme Court Justice Daniel Eismann. Bevan was among four other finalists vying for the open seat. Eismann will retire at the end of the month.

Bevan has been a judge since 2003, where he helped establish the 5th District's mental health court and presided over the Veterans Treatment Court. Previously, he was a private practice attorney and served a term as Twin Falls County prosecuting attorney.

Otter praised Bevan's judicial demeanor and understanding of the legal system, adding that Bevan has shown to have open mind on tough, socially significant issues.



U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito on Monday temporarily halted enforcement of a lower-court ruling that required two Texas congressional districts to be redrawn.

Responding to an appeal by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, Alito halted action on the order and gave those who challenged the districts until Sept. 5 to address the points raised by Paxton’s appeal.

Sept. 5 is the day the three-judge court was to hold a hearing in San Antonio on redrawing the districts, including one based in Travis County and another that includes Bastrop County.

The court ruled two weeks ago that the districts were created by the Republican-controlled Legislature to intentionally discriminate against minority voters, who tend to favor Democrats.




North Carolina's highest court on Monday tackled the question of how far the Republican-led legislature can go to minimize new Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's ability to pursue goals that helped him get elected last year by reshaping state government.

The state Supreme Court heard arguments in a lawsuit brought by Cooper that claims legislators violated North Carolina's constitution this spring by passing a law diminishing the governor's role in managing elections.

It's the first time the high court has waded into the ongoing political battle between lawmakers and Cooper that began after he narrowly beat incumbent Republican Gov. Pat McCrory last November. GOP lawmakers have sought to diminish Cooper's powers ever since.

The governor's lawyers told the seven-member court that the General Assembly violated the constitution's separation of powers requirement by reshaping the state elections board in ways that entrench Republican advantage. Elections boards are examples of the types of bodies that implement laws, functions that the state constitution requires from governors.



The Montana Supreme Court has overturned a judge's ruling that the City of Billings owes 27 current and former police officers $2.7 million in back pay, costs and penalties in a dispute over how longevity pay should be calculated.

District Judge Nels Swandal ruled in 2011 that the contract awarded longevity pay from the beginning of an officer's employment. The city and union officials said longevity pay was earned based on completed years of service.

The Billings Gazette reports that because the contracts could be interpreted both ways, the Supreme Court sent the case back to District Court for a trial to determine the parties' intent in the longevity pay portion of the contract.



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