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The mayor of a southern Indiana city is defending a rental inspection ordinance that’s resulted in thousands of dollars in fines against property owners and is the subject of a lawsuit.

Charlestown Mayor Bob Hall testified during Friday’s daylong hearing in Scott County Circuit Court that the ordinance is needed to ensure safe housing in his Ohio River community.

The News and Tribune reported the Institute for Justice sued the city of Charlestown on behalf of residents in the Pleasant Ridge neighborhood.

The nonprofit law firm’s attorneys argued during Friday’s hearing that the city broke Indiana law when it fined property owners without first giving them “reasonable time” to make repairs to return to compliance.

The group wants to block Charlestown officials from enforcing the ordinance.



A court has ruled that pay-television giant DirecTV owes South Carolina nearly $15 million because of the way the company calculates its tax bill in the state.

The Post and Courier of Charleston reports the South Carolina Court of Appeals found that DirecTV revised its returns to the Department of Revenue in a way that understated how much money it collected from customers in the state over several years. The decision issued Thursday upholds a lower court ruling from June 2015.

Taxes on more than $2 billion in South Carolina subscriber fees are at stake.

The California-based company, which was acquired by AT&T in 2015, could pay the money or appeal to the S.C. Supreme Court. A DirecTV spokeswoman says the company is reviewing the court decision.



A former Spokane advertising executive has pleaded not guilty to charges related to a boat crash on Lake Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, that killed three people last year.

The Spokesman-Review reports that Dennis Magner entered his pleas Friday to charges of involuntary manslaughter and criminal conspiracy.

The crash on July 30, 2016 killed 34-year-old Justin Luhr and two 21-year-old passengers, Justin Honken and Caitlin Breeze.

The three victims were struck as they sat in Luhr's anchored boat. It took several days for divers to recover their bodies.

In addition to Magner, the grand jury charged Jonathan Sweat of Spokane with criminal conspiracy based on false statements he made to investigators.

Sweat was a passenger on Magner's boat at the time of the crash.

The crash occurred when Magner's Mastercraft struck and went airborne over the top of Luhr's boat. The collision ripped the top off the cabin.




A court will decide the best option to clean up a former manufacturing plant where tons of mercury had been dumped into Maine's Penobscot River decades ago.

Maine's highest court ruled in 2014 that the cleanup of the former HoltraChem Manufacturing Co. plant must be paid for by Mallinckrodt US LLC, the last vestige of the long-closed plant's former owners. Mallinckrodt US LLC is a subsidiary of medical device giant Medtronic.

Engineering firm Amec Foster Wheeler is drawing up a set of options for how the site could be cleaned up. A spokeswoman for the firm says the recommendations must be submitted by March of next year.

The HoltraChem site was located in Orrington, about two hours north of Portland. Environmental groups have been calling for the site to be cleaned up for many years.



Jerusalem residents woke to discover a surprising spectacle outside the country's Supreme Court — a golden statue of the court's president put up in protest by members of a religious nationalist group.

Police quickly removed the statue of Miram Naor, raised outside the court overnight, but after questioning some suspects, said no criminal activity had occurred.

Derech Chaim, which wants to impose Jewish religious law in Israel, said it had put up the statue to protest what one activist called the court's "dictatorship." Many Israeli hardliners consider the court to be excessively liberal and interventionist.

Ariel Gruner, a Derech Chaim activist, said the statue was erected in response to a court ruling this week over the country's treatment of African migrants. The ruling said that while Israel can transfer migrants to a third country, it cannot incarcerate them for more than 60 days to pressure them to leave.

The ruling is among a series of decisions that "eliminates the possibility of elected officials, of the government, to make decisions and rule," Gruner said.

He acknowledged that the statue had been inspired by a golden statue of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu erected by a left-wing artist in a main Tel Aviv square last year.




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