Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Court Limits Suits Over Pay-Bias

Does big business rule the courts? You be the judge after reading about their ruling on pay-bias suits.
The Supreme Court has ruled 5-4 that the deadline for workers to file a pay-bias complaint under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act is 180 days from the date the decision on their pay is made and communicated to them.

In general, an individual wishing to bring a discrimination lawsuit must first file a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission within 180 days "after the alleged unlawful employment practice occurred."

The question before the Supreme Court was whether the clock on that 180 days restarts each time an employee receives a paycheck that reflects past discrimination.

Lilly Ledbetter was a supervisor at Goodyear Tire and Rubber's plant in Gadsden, Alabama, from 1979 until her retirement in 1998. At first, her pay was in line with the salaries of men, but over time a gap developed between her salary and the pay of male area managers with equal or less seniority. By the end of 1997, Ledbetter was the only woman working as an area manager and was paid $3,727 per month. By comparison, the pay of the lowest paid male area manager was $4,286 per month.

Ledbetter sued in 1998, alleging disparate treatment. The company argued that the suit should be dismissed because Ledbetter failed to file a complaint with the EEOC within 180 days of the previous pay decisions that Ledbetter alleges were discriminatory.

However, Ledbetter argued that the clock on the 180-day deadline restarted after each paycheck that reflected past discrimination. She claimed that each time the company issued her a paycheck, the company demonstrated an intent to discriminate and violated Title VII.

However, the majority rejected her arguments, saying Ledbetter should have filed a complaint after each pay decision.

"Ledbetter should have filed an EEOC charge within 180 days after each allegedly discriminatory pay decision was made and communicated to her," Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the majority. "She did not do so, and the paychecks that were issued to her during the 180 days prior to the filing of her EEOC charge do not provide a basis for overcoming that prior failure."

Friday, May 25, 2007

Saving Money on Ink Cartridges

Most people have a tendency to buy ink cartridges from the same manufacturer as the printer. Since major name brand printers make most of their profit from the replacement cartridges they charge a premium price. How can the average user save money on ink supplies.

One way is to purchase ink cartridges from independent sellers whose product will work just as well as those from the manufacturer. However, wise consumers will save not only money, but heartache as well if they do their homework.

By checking on the reputation of the independent seller, the consumer can avoid poorly made cartridges that not only produce low quality prints but can even damage the printer. If buying online, the consumer can look for testimonials and even search for independent reviews of the seller.

Another option available for consumers is using refillable inks for their cartridges. The downside here is again the quality of the ink along with the possible leaking of the cartridge.

Still another way to save money on printing costs is to use black ink in draft mode whenever possible. Color ink is more expensive and should only be used when printing the final project. Some everyday printing, such like something from the Internet may not require color ink. Use black ink in these cases.

Some consumers will buy ink in bulk as a way to save money. Additionally, if you have a major printing job that requires a lot of ink and want to stick to cartridges, try buying in quantity. Many online retailers offer special prices when several cartridges are ordered at one time.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Does Paris Hilton Deserve Jail Time?

Paris Hilton belongs behind bars, accordint to this analysis by Susan Filan:

No questions about it, Hilton should be behind bars

By Susan Filan
Senior legal analyst

It's about time Paris Hilton learned that rules apply to her too.

Until now, the hotel heiress has lived her life as if the law was a buffet menu from which she could pick and choose which to rules to follow and which to disobey.

On Friday, after she had the audacity to arrive 18 minutes late to her sentencing hearing, a Los Angeles judge ended her a la carte lifestyle and sentenced Hilton to 45 days in prison for violating the terms of her probation. And she won't be allowed to serve her prison sentence at a "camp" for celebrities either. The judge ordered Hilton to surrender on June 5 to Los Angeles County's jailhouse for women, a 2,200 inmate facility. This is one accommodation in which Hilton will not be permitted to order room service, use a cell phone or a Blackberry, or do whatever she wants whenever she wants. She will be allowed outside her cell for one hour a day to shower, watch television in the dayroom with other inmates, or go outside for recreation.

And this is the absolute right result. Justice has been served. Hilton brought this on herself by the choices she has made and by her own behavior. And now she has to pay the price. It’s only fair. Were the judge to have ruled differently, it would have sent a message to our celebrity-worshipping culture that only "regular" folks have to obey the rules.

Just what is Paris’ crime and why should she go to jail?

In January 2007, Hilton was convicted of reckless driving. Her blood alcohol content was .08, which is illegal. Her punishment then was a “get out of jail free” card. She was placed on probation for 36 months, fined $1,500 and ordered to enroll in alcohol education classes. And her driver’s license was suspended.

On January 15, 2007, Paris was caught driving with a suspended license. If your license is suspended, you can’t drive. It’s that simple. On February 27, 2007, Paris was caught driving again at 11:00 at night, license still suspended. She was speeding and she didn’t have her headlights on.

Paris said she did not know her license was suspended, but she had to sign a piece of paper acknowledging the license suspension. Guess what? That piece of paper was in her glove compartment with her signature on it.

Oh, and those alcohol education classes she was supposed to enroll in by February 12th? As of April 17 , she still hadn’t enrolled.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Twice-Convicted Murderer Released

From The New York Times:
OKLAHOMA CITY, May 21 — “It’s like landing on a new planet,” said Curtis E. McCarty, who was freed from death row this month after two convictions for the same murder, and 22 years in prison, 16 of them on death row.

Mr. McCarty, 44, had been scheduled to stand trial yet again on Monday for the killing in 1982 of a police officer’s daughter but was released based on a presumption of innocence after DNA evidence from earlier trials was destroyed.

“This is a real bad situation for everybody involved — for my family, for the victim’s family, for myself, for the local court system, for the people of this community,” Mr. McCarty said in a telephone interview after declining to show up Friday at a news conference at the Capitol featuring his parents and justice advocates calling for a commission to examine wrongful convictions.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Supreme Court: Prisoner Must Die

The Supreme Court reversed a lower court ruling and orders death for inmate.
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court ruled against a death row inmate Monday who directed his lawyer not to present evidence that could spare him, then argued on appeal that the attorney was ineffective.

The court reversed a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision granting twice-convicted killer Jeffrey Landrigan a hearing on his claim that his lawyer didn’t do enough to ward off the death sentence.

The appeals court should have deferred to lower court rulings against Landrigan, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the majority in a 5-4 decision.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Asbestos and Mesothelioma

In our society many people have been being diagnosed with a deadly cancer called mesothelioma, which is a disease of the lining that surrounds vital organs such as the lungs, the abdomen, and the heart. Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to a material we have all heard of called asbestos.

Asbestos was widely used in the late 19th century into the middle of the 20th century, and it was so common because of its fire resistant properties. Studies soon started to show that the dust from asbestos would get into your lungs but your body would not reject it.

Asbestos exposure can cause many health problems but mesothelioma is the worst, and in most cases it is deadly. There are many studies being done trying to find something to help battle against mesothelioma, but at this point the life expectancy after a mesothelioma diagnosis is usually around a year.

One of the major problems with mesothelioma is that you can show no signs or symptoms for years and then whee you do show symptoms and get the diagnosis from the doctor it is usually too late.

Advancements are being made in mesothelioma research and there are high hopes for the near future in at least extending the life expectancy and the quality of life for the patient. Doctors and scientists are working on many prescriptions and radiation treatments to try and aid a mesothelioma patient. If you know that you were exposed to asbestos in the past this is a disease you should learn more about and it can be quite scary and overwhelming.

There are many support groups and counselors that can help someone diagnosed with mesothelioma and understand the different types of this asbestos cancer.

So if you or someone you know is seeking more info on mesothelioma there are many great informational and legal sites that can help you become more educated.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Court Rules Against Mormon in Tax Case

A federal appeals court has dismissed a case in which a Mormon argued his religion should exempt him from Social Security taxes.
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A U.S. federal appeals court dismissed a case on Monday in which a Las Vegas attorney argued his Mormon religion should exempt him from
Social Security taxes.

"I don't believe in it, I don't like it, I think it is Satanic," Jonathan Hansen said in a telephone interview, adding that to date he has paid his Social Security taxes. "I belong to a religion that will take care of me. I don't need the Social Security system and I don't want it."

"It violates my religious beliefs and it violates the teachings of my church as I interpret them."

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed with such arguments and backed a lower court's dismissal of Hansen's claim.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Courts Swamped by Immigration-Related Felonies

Federal courts along the southern border are swamped with immigration-related felony cases. The problem stems from a Border Patrol decision to send illegal immigrants to court rather than deport them.

From the Associated Press:
During a push to crack down on illegal immigration last fall, Customs and Border Protection floated a plan for New Mexico that would have suspended the practice of sending home hundreds of illegal immigrants caught near the border with Mexico. Instead, these people would be sent to court.

The idea, called "Operation Streamline," was to make it clear that people caught illegally in the U.S. would be prosecuted.

Then New Mexico's federal judges reminded the Border Patrol that they lacked the resources to handle the hundreds of new defendants who would stream into the court system every day.

"We said, 'Do you realize that the second week into this we're going to run out of (jail) space?'" Martha Vazquez, chief judge for the District of New Mexico, recalled telling Border Patrol chief David Aguilar.

"We were obviously alarmed because where would we put our bank robbers? Our rapists? Those who violate probation?" she said.

Border Patrol eventually dropped the idea. Officials said they could not get all the necessary agencies to agree to it.