March 6, 2014 |
In a case that has cost tens of millions in legal fees and riveted the attention of legal experts nationwide, a federal judge in New York on Tuesday found that an $18 billion judgment against energy giant Chevron Corp. for polluting a wide swath of the rain forest in Ecuador was procured through fraud, including bribery and doctored experts' reports. In an exhaustive, 485-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan found that lead plaintiffs' lawyer Steven Donziger initiated the fraud in 2006, after it appeared that the case in Ecuador had begun to go against him. Kaplan found that Donziger, who is based in New York, had concealed the fraud from Kohn Swift & Graf, a Philadelphia plaintiffs firm that financed the case until it pulled out in 2009 over concern that Donziger and his team had acted improperly.
February 5, 2014 |
CHERRY HILL A Superior Court judge on Monday upheld the Cherry Hill Township zoning board's approval of a 152-unit luxury apartment complex to be built at a site most recently occupied by a building materials supplier. In a case that underscored development tensions in one of the state's most heavily built-out municipalities, Judge Lee A. Solomon accepted the board's conclusion that Buckingham Partners L.L.C. of Cherry Hill had met its burden of proof related to variances. He rejected all arguments by the plaintiffs, a group of residents living nearby, who pledged to appeal.
January 19, 2014 |
Lawyers representing pharmaceuticals saleswomen employed by Merck & Co. have upped the ante in a sexual discrimination lawsuit, adding plaintiffs and setting damages sought at $250 million. "Merck's glass ceiling and maternal walls are indisputable," lawyers for the women wrote in documents filed in federal court in Trenton late Thursday evening. The pleadings say Merck discriminates against saleswomen who "are or have been pregnant or are caregivers to young children" by denying them promotions and failing to compensate them as they do men. Lawyers for the women are seeking class-action status and say the class could include thousands of women.
December 21, 2013 |
HARRISBURG - Accusations are flying in an increasingly acrimonious dispute between attorneys in the federal case over same-sex marriage in Pennsylvania. At issue is a request by the state that the plaintiffs divulge what their attorneys are calling "highly private and sensitive information. " In a letter to U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III, the American Civil Liberties Union legal director in Pennsylvania, Witold J. Walczak, said the state's "invasive and overreaching" requests include whether the gay plaintiffs had been involved in opposite-sex relationships and the identity of sperm donors.
October 29, 2013 |
For years, Chevron Corp. has insisted a sprawling environmental-pollution lawsuit in Ecuador initiated by a Philadelphia law firm that resulted in a $19 billion judgment was riddled with fraud. Now, the company is trying to prove its case in a closely watched civil trial in federal district court in New York that could establish new limits on when and where U.S. companies can be sued over claims they caused environmental harm in foreign jurisdictions. Chevron has sued some of the lawyers and others on the plaintiffs' team, saying they doctored one expert-witness report, surreptitiously authored the findings of a court-appointed expert awarding their clients billions, and bribed a judge, among other improper and illegal acts.
October 14, 2013 |
Debra Johnson saw it coming. "Dear God. Not here, where everybody could hear," she thought. She was at a packed college basketball game, sitting alongside her great-niece, who had just learned to count. "And she was holding my hand, which we do all the time," Johnson, 54, recalled in a honeyed, Louisiana drawl. "I could see her counting her fingers, and then she would reach over and . . . count mine. " And then it came. "I have five fingers . . . . You have four?" "Yes, I do. " "Why?"
October 5, 2013 |
In late March, the U.S. Supreme Court seemed to have plunged a stake into a long-running class-action lawsuit between Comcast Corp. and plaintiffs' attorneys who claimed the company abused its market power to hike cable bills on Philadelphia-area customers. The high court voted, 5-4, on ideological lines not to certify the case - forcing it back to a lower court. They said the financial damages for two million TV customers could not be fairly measured throughout the expansive Philadelphia region.
September 5, 2013 |
If there ever was an anguish-inducing choice, the options faced by lawyers at Anapol Schwartz in the NFL head-injury lawsuit presented it. The players, many of them, had a claim and a lot of science to back up their belief that years of head-banging in the sometimes exceptionally brutal sport of professional football had left them with horrible neurological damage. But the players also had a contract with the NFL that barred them from suing their employers. They might have been able to litigate that point, arguing that the NFL had concealed the risk.
July 27, 2013 |
HARRISBURG - Conflicting estimates on the number of people who lack proper identification to vote was the topic of testimony on the ninth day of the trial over Pennsylvania's voter identification law. A statistician hired by the state disputed estimates produced by a plaintiffs' expert, saying it included dead people and inmates, and counted thousands of people twice. William Wecker of the Wyoming-based Wecker Associates attacked the methodology used by Bernard Siskin, a Philadelphia-based statistician working for the plaintiffs, as "error-prone.
July 18, 2013 |
HARRISBURG - A Philadelphia-based statistician testified Tuesday that as many as 511,000 eligible Pennsylvania voters, a disproportionate number of them minorities, do not possess the forms of photo identification required by the state's voter ID law. Bernard Siskin, testifying for the plaintiffs in the suit challenging the law, told Commonwealth Court that his analysis of data from the Pennsylvania Departments of Transportation and State found...