News Roundup

Afternoon Briefs: New win for flag burner in SCOTUS case; Johnson & Johnson seeks mistrial for stricken closing

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Charges dropped against activist whose flag burning led to SCOTUS decision

An activist is benefiting from the Supreme Court precedent he set 30 years ago. On Monday, prosecutors dropped charges against Gregory “Joey” Johnson, who burned an American flag in front of the White House on July 4 to protest President Donald Trump’s agenda. The Supreme Court had ruled for Johnson in 1989 when it held that flag burning is expressive conduct protected by the First Amendment. (The National Law Journal)

Johnson & Johnson seeks mistrial after judge strikes its lawyer’s entire closing argument

Johnson & Johnson argues a judge’s decision to strike its lawyer’s entire closing argument in a talcum powder case was “draconian” as well as “disproportionate and unreasonable.” Judge Ana Viscomi had struck the Sept. 4 argument by lawyer Diane Sullivan, a partner at Weil, Gotshal & Manges, after she argued that the plaintiffs’ case linking baby powder to mesothelioma was “lawsuit fiction” based on questionable evidence. J&J is seeking a mistrial. “The court took J&J’s arguments, crumpled them up and threw them in the trash, for all the jury and the world to see,” the motion said. When the plaintiffs’ lawyers put on their closing, it “was soaked with venom calculated to prejudice the jury against J&J,” the motion argued. (The New Jersey Law Journal, Law360)

2nd Circuit reinstates suit over Spirit Airlines’ carry-on bag fees

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is giving would-be class-action plaintiffs a chance to prove Spirit Airlines breached their contracts by charging “gotcha” carry-on bag fees when they bought tickets from online travel sites. The appeals court said the plaintiffs’ claims are not preempted by federal law that bars state regulation of air carriers. (Law360, CNBC, 2nd Circuit’s Sept. 10 order)

9th Circuit temporarily lifts judge’s second nationwide injunction blocking asylum ban

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued an administrative stay Tuesday night that narrows a nationwide injunction blocking rules that effectively ban asylum for many immigrants at the southern border. It’s the second time the 9th Circuit narrowed an injunction issued in the case by U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar. The injunction now applies only to jurisdictions within the 9th Circuit during the government’s appeal. (Politico, the San Francisco Chronicle, the 9th Circuit order)

Federal judge blocks North Dakota law requiring docs to tell patients that abortion drugs are reversible

A federal judge in Bismarck has blocked a North Dakota law that requires doctors to tell patients that it may be possible to reverse the effects of abortion-inducing medications. U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland issued the preliminary injunction in a challenge by the American Medical Association and the state’s only abortion clinic, which argued that abortion “reversal” is based on unproven theories. Hovland said the plaintiffs were likely to prevail on their claim that the law compelled speech in violation of the First Amendment. (CNN, the Bismarck Tribune, Center for Reproductive Rights press release, Hovland’s Sept. 9 order)

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