Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Supreme Court blocks Mississippi lethal injection execution Mike Rosen-Molina at 7:26 PM ET
[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] granted a stay of execution [order, PDF] to a convicted murderer on Mississippi’s death row Tuesday, pending the Court’s decision on whether to grant certiorari in the case. Earl Wesley Berry was scheduled to die by lethal injection Tuesday night; his was the third stay granted by the justices since they agreed last month in Baze v. Rees (07-5439) [docket; cert. petition] to hear a challenge to the use of lethal injections [JURIST news archive] as a form of “cruel and unusual punishment.” Experts say that the stay may amount to a de facto nationwide moratorium on the death penalty.
ABC News has more.
AP has additional coverage.
JURIST – Paper Chase: ABA urges nationwide death penalty moratorium
Monday, October 29, 2007
ABA urges nationwide death penalty moratorium Jaime Jansen at 6:59 AM ET
[JURIST] The American Bar Association (ABA) [official website] said Monday that there are serious flaws in the fairness and accuracy of several state death penalty systems [project website], and called for a nationwide moratorium on executions [JURIST report]. The ABA task force studied eight sample states – Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Florida, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Tennessee [JURIST reports] – and found poor collection and preservation of DNA evidence, misidentification by eyewitnesses, false confessions and racial disparities.
The ABA study did not examine lethal injections [JURIST news archive], a form of execution that has come under fire nationwide recently. Several states have placed a moratorium on lethal injections pending US Supreme Court review in Baze v. Rees (07-5439) [docket; cert. petition]. In that case, the Court will consider whether the controversial three-drug mixture [DPIC backgrounder] of an anesthetic, a muscle paralyzer and a substance to stop the heart constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. Several constitutional challenges to the procedure have arisen across the country, arguing that the first drug fails to make the inmate fully unconscious, thereby making the inmate suffer excruciating pain when the heart-stopping drug is injected.
AP has more.
City of New York v. Welsbach Elec. Corp., No. 121In indemnification and contribution action by plaintiff city against defendant regarding defendant’s maintenance of traffic signals relative to a car accident, filed after plaintiff city was found liable, the Appellate Division erred in concluding that plaintiff was barred by the doctrines of res judicata and collateral estoppel from maintaining its action for indemnification or contribution against defendant.
CIVIL PROCEDURE, PROFESSIONAL MALPRACTICE
GML, Inc. v. Cinque & Cinque, P.C., No. 179 SSM 20In legal malpractice action brought by Tennessee plaintiffs against New York defendants, summary judgment for defendants on ground that the case was untimely is affirmed over claim that since defendants were not subject to in personam jurisdiction in Tennessee, plaintiffs should be able to utilize Tennessee’s tolling provision.
CRIMINAL LAW & PROCEDURE, SENTENCING
People v. Taylor, No. 123As New York’s jury deadlock instruction under CPL 400.27 was held, in People v LaValle (3 NY3d 88 ), to violate the State Constitution, an earlier attempt by a trial court to minimize the coercive effect of the flawed jury deadlock instruction in a death penalty case requires vacating defendant’s death sentence under the doctrine of stare decisis.
Boyd v. Manhattan & Bronx Surface Transit Operating Auth., No. 113In a negligence action against a common carrier for injuries caused by defective equipment, the jury should be charged that the plaintiff must show the carrier had actual or constructive notice of the defect.
FAMILY LAW, PER CURIAM, PROBATE, TRUSTS & ESTATES
In the Matter of the Estate of Wallens, No. 122In proceeding seeking judicial settlement of accounts of a co-trustee, finding that father, as co-trustee of beneficiary daughter’s trust left to her by her grandfather, did not engage in self-dealing, in breach of his fiduciary obligations to daughter by his use of trust funds for her private secondary school education and other expenses, is reversed where a remittal was necessary for Surrogate’s Court to conduct a hearing as to whether father carried out his fiduciary duty as a co-trustee to act, in good faith, in his daughter’s interests.
INSURANCE LAW, LABOR & EMPLOYMENT LAW
Friedman v. Conn. Gen. Life Ins. Co., No. 116The placement of a “Relation of Earnings to Insurance” clause within the “General Provisions” of a disability insurance policy complies with Insurance Law section 3216.
CIVIL PROCEDURE, CONTRACTS, DISPUTE RESOLUTION & ARBITRATION
Stark v. Molod Spitz DeSantis & Stark, P.C., No. 114In case involving terminated partner and her former law firm, dismissal of certain causes of action related to prior special proceeding and resolved by stipulated settlement, dismissal of another claim for failure to state a claim, and grant of motion to arbitrate gender discrimination claim is reversed as to the order of the Appellate Division that: 1) reinstated the causes of action; 2) denied the firm’s motion to compel arbitration; and 3) granted plaintiff’s cross motion to stay arbitration.
CIVIL PROCEDURE, EVIDENCE, INJURY AND TORT LAW
Ortega v. City of New York, No. 118The tort of third-party negligent spoliation of evidence is not cognizable in New York, as it is not clear that existing New York remedies are inadequate to deter spoliation or appropriately compensate its victims.
CRIMINAL LAW & PROCEDURE, EVIDENCE
In the Matter of Victor M., No. 120In case where appellant was adjudicated a delinquent and placed in the custody of the Office of Children and Family Services, the order of disposition is reversed where the police search in this case was unreasonable as a matter of law, and the drugs found on appellant during the search must be suppressed.
Reliance Ins. Co. v. Polyvision Corp., No. 117In dispute between construction surety and suppliers of allegedly deficient materials, question certified by U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit is answered as follows: CPLR 205 (a), which adds a six-month grace period to the statute of limitations, does not permit a corporation to refile an action originally commenced in the name of a different, related corporate entity that has been dismissed for naming the wrong plaintiff.
CIVIL PROCEDURE, CRIMINAL LAW & PROCEDURE, INJURY AND TORT LAW
Launders v. Steinberg, No. 115In action by estate of adopted six-year-old daughter against defendant, her father, who was convicted of her manslaughter, partial summary judgment against defendant based on collateral estoppel and grant of multi-million-dollar award to estate are vacated where the issue of prior acts of abuse was not necessarily decided at defendant’s criminal trial.
GOVERNMENT LAW, INSURANCE LAW
Dinallo v. DiNapoli, No. 111The New York State Comptroller has neither the constitutional nor statutory authority to audit the New York State Insurance Department Liquidation Bureau.
INJURY AND TORT LAW, INSURANCE LAW, LABOR & EMPLOYMENT LAW, WORKERS’ COMPENSATION
Burns v. Varriale, No. 112In proceeding to extinguish a lien asserted under Workers’ Compensation Law section 29, the Court of Appeals holds that the value of future workers’ compensation benefits for a claimant with a nonschedule permanent partial disability is speculative, that the present value of these benefits cannot be ascertained at the time claimant recovers damages in a third-party action, and that claimant is not entitled to an apportionment of attorney’s fees based on such future benefits.
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