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Top EU court : Members can ban taxi services like UberPop
Press Release | 2018/04/06 02:10
The European Union’s top court has ruled that member states can ban taxi services like UberPop without prior notification to the Commission.

The ruling came after France banned the UberPop service, which allowed drivers without a taxi license to pick up passengers, in 2014 to avoid unfair competition. A court in the French city of Lille then asked the European Court of Justice whether French authorities should have notified the Commission before passing the law.

The court said in a statement Tuesday that member states “may prohibit and punish the illegal exercise of a transport activity such as UberPop without having to notify the Commission in advance of” any laws penalizing such services. It’s another blow for Uber after the ECJ ruled it should be regulated like a taxi company.


Michigan's top court hearing cases over guns, schools
Court Watch | 2018/04/04 02:07
A gun openly carried by a spectator at a school concert in 2015 has turned into a major legal case as the Michigan Supreme Court considers whether the state's public schools can trump the Legislature and adopt their own restrictions on firearms.

The case from Ann Arbor has been on the court's docket for more than a year. But arguments set for Wednesday are getting extra attention in the wake of a Florida school shooting in February that killed 17.

There's no dispute that Michigan law bars people from possessing a gun inside a weapon-free school zone. But there's a wrinkle: Someone with a concealed pistol permit can enter school property with a gun that's openly holstered.

Though rare, it happened three years ago at a choir concert at Ann Arbor Pioneer High School, scaring teens, staff and spectators. The school board responded by banning all guns, with exceptions for police.

"If a student were to bring a gun into a school, that would be worthy of an expulsion," said Jeanice Kerr Swift, superintendent of Ann Arbor schools. "So why would it be different for other folks? ... What this case is about is local communities having a choice."

Separately, the Clio district, north of Flint, has a similar policy. The Supreme Court is hearing challenges from gun owners in both communities.

Gun-rights advocates argue that local governments, including elected school boards, can't step into an area reserved for the Michigan Legislature under state law. They point to a Lansing-area library whose ban on the open display of guns was struck down by the state appeals court in 2012.

But in Ann Arbor and Clio, another three-judge panel at the appeals court said schools are in a different category and have freedom to further restrict guns. The districts won that round.

Ken Herman, a paramedic and gun-owning parent who sued the Clio district, believes the appeals court got it wrong. In a filing at the Supreme Court, his attorney said schools have a duty to keep students safe, but lawmakers have "chosen to reserve the power to regulate the possession of firearms."

Herman, 36, said he carries a gun for protection wherever it's allowed. He said fears would be eased if more adults educated kids about proper gun ownership.



Supreme Court rejects appeal from Middle East attack victims
Court Issues | 2018/04/02 23:12
The Supreme Court is rejecting an appeal from American victims of terrorist attacks in the Middle East more than a decade ago.

The justices are not commenting Monday in ending a lawsuit against the PLO and Palestinian Authority in connection with attacks in Israel in 2002 and 2004 that killed 33 people. A lower court tossed out a $654 million verdict against the Palestinians.

The Trump administration sided with the Palestinians in calling on the high court to leave the lower court ruling in place. The federal appeals court in New York said U.S. courts can't consider lawsuits against foreign-based groups over random attacks that were not aimed at the United States.

The victims sued under the Anti-Terrorism Act, passed to open U.S. courts to American victims of international terrorism.


Drug companies want Supreme Court to take eye drop dispute
Court Issues | 2018/04/02 06:12
Eye drop users everywhere have had it happen. Tilt your head back, drip a drop in your eye and part of that drop always seems to dribble down your cheek.

But what most people see as an annoyance, some prescription drop users say is grounds for a lawsuit. Drug companies' bottles dispense drops that are too large, leaving wasted medication running down their faces, they say.

Don't roll your eyes. Major players in Americans' medicine cabinets — including Allergan, Bausch & Lomb, Merck and Pfizer — are asking the Supreme Court to get involved in the case.

On the other side are patients using the companies' drops to treat glaucoma and other eye conditions. Wasted medication affects their wallets, they say. They argue they would pay less for their treatment if their bottles of medication were designed to drip smaller drops. That would mean they could squeeze more doses out of every bottle. And they say companies could redesign the droppers on their bottles but have chosen not to.

The companies, for their part, have said the patients shouldn't be able to sue in federal court because their argument they would have paid less for treatment is based on a bottle that doesn't exist and speculation about how it would affect their costs if it did. They point out that the size of their drops was approved by the Food and Drug Administration and redesigned bottles would require FDA approval. The cost of changes could be passed on to patients, possibly resulting in treatment that costs more, they say.

Courts haven't seen eye to eye on whether patients should be able to sue. That's why the drugmakers are asking the Supreme Court to step in. A federal appeals court in Chicago threw out one lawsuit over drop size. But a federal appeals court in Philadelphia let the similar case now before the Supreme Court go forward. That kind of disagreement tends to get the Supreme Court's attention.

And if a drop-size lawsuit can go forward, so too could other packaging design lawsuits, like one by "toothpaste users whose tubes of toothpaste did not allow every bit of toothpaste to be used," wrote Kannon Shanmugam, a frequent advocate before the Supreme Court who is representing the drug companies in asking the high court to take the case.


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