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Supreme Court to hear class-action dispute
Legal Interview | 2014/04/08 16:52
The Supreme Court will consider the requirements for transferring class-action lawsuits from state courts to federal courts.

The justices on Monday agreed to hear an appeal from a Michigan energy company that asserts it should be allowed to move a class-action case from Kansas state court to federal court. Federal law allows such transfers in cases involving more than $5 million.

A group of royalty owners sued the Dart Cherokee Basin Operating Co. alleging they were underpaid royalties on oil and gas wells. The plaintiffs did not seek a specific damage amount, but the company claimed it would far exceed $5 million.

Video: Supreme Court Won’t Hear NSA Case Now

A federal judge rejected the transfer request because the company did not offer any evidentiary support. The company says the law does not require detailed evidence.

Court rejects cat hoarders' appeal of convictions
Legal Interview | 2013/07/09 15:27
The Montana Supreme Court has denied the appeal of a northwestern Montana couple's conviction of aggravated cruelty to animals after 116 cats were found living in filthy, snowbound trailers.

The Daily Inter Lake reports the court announced the decision July 2 involving Edwin and Cheryl Criswell.

The cats were found in December 2010 and a jury the following year found the couple guilty. In October 2011 Cheryl Criswell received a two-year sentence deferred over six years. Edwin Criswell received a two-year suspended sentence but later violated his probation by testing positive for marijuana and methamphetamine. In January he was sentenced to two years in prison.

In September 2006, the Criswells entered Alford pleas to 10 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty in northern Idaho in what officials then called the largest animal hoarding case in state history involving 430 animals.

In the Montana case, the Criswells contended they were wrongly convicted because during the trial Flathead County Deputy Attorney Ken Park called them "professional freeloaders," prejudicing the jury.

Crone Hawxhurst LLP
Legal Interview | 2013/05/09 06:18
We are trial lawyers based in Los Angeles, California. We focus on business litigation, including intellectual property, employment and consumer class action defense. Although headquartered in California, we represent clients in courts and arbitrations throughout the U.S.

Our partners graduated from top law schools. Before founding the Firm, they practiced at two of the country’s most prominent law firms—Quinn Emanuel and Simpson Thacher—where they worked alongside with and were trained by some of the country’s best lawyers.

We have developed a reputation as a “go-to” alternative to large, top tier firms (who often are our adversaries). Clients often hire us to represent them in cases that are already pending, either to replace their existing counsel or work alongside them. While we are aggressive and independent thinkers, we take pride in our ability to work well with co-counsel.

Our philosophy is to staff and run every case as if we were the client. Before embarking on a litigation strategy, we take the time to understand the client’s business and litigation goals. Our efforts are directed at obtaining efficient results, not racking up legal bills. We manage cases leanly and efficiently. Most often, two lawyers and a paralegal handle a case, even through trial.

Crone Hawxhurst LLP
10880 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 1150
Los Angeles, California 90024

Tel: (310) 893-5150
Fax: (310) 893-5195

3 guilty in Dallas-area, Houston health care fraud
Legal Interview | 2013/04/12 22:20
Three more people have been convicted in a nearly $3 million health care fraud case involving Houston and Dallas-area companies.

Prosecutors say unlicensed doctors were recruited to treat patients at their homes and then wrongly bill Medicare.

A federal judge in Dallas on Wednesday convicted Godwin Umotong and Comfort Gates of Houston of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and health care fraud. A third person - Vagharshak Smbatyan of Grenada Hills, Calif., - was convicted of making a false statement to an agency.

All will be sentenced in July and face penalties ranging from five to 10 years per count.

Prosecutors say Umotong worked for Euless Healthcare Corp. in Hurst and Medic Healthcare Inc. of Houston. Gates worked for Medic.

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