A Florida street performer who came north to perform in front of Faneuil Hall last year only to be herded into a small space with lots of other performers is asking a federal judge to rescind what he calls a violation of his First Amendment rights.
Bruce "Chance" Peck sued the city earlier this year in US District Court in Boston over Mayor Menino's decision in July, 2008 to restrict street performers alongside the Faneuil Hall building, because their noise was bothering Hizzoner up in his fifth-floor City Hall office.
Peck's lawsuit says Peck's performances could hardly be heard that high up:
In the summer of 2008, Peck performed as a human statue, namely, a golden cowboy. He wore a golden outfit and painted his skin gold. As part of his act, he struck various poses for the crowd's enjoyment.
His suit alleges:
Justin Barrett, who re-ignited controversy over Gatesgate with racist e-mail about Gates, filed a federal lawsuit against the city yesterday. He's demanding unspecified damages for his pain and suffering - and an end to efforts by Police Commissioner Ed Davis and Mayor Tom Menino to bounce him from the force, at least without a hearing.
The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today that neither judge nor jury did anything wrong in awarding the verdict to a Cape man who died because of a 2003 accident involving a parking-lot gate that crashed into the bus the man was on.
The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today that tough Massachusetts consumer-protection laws apply to companies that operate here but which are based in other states that don't care as much about consumers.
The Massachusetts Appeals Court ruled today that a group of lawyers involved in a lengthy legal tussle with "Civil Action" and anti-turnpike lawyer Jan Schlichtmann were wrong to try to fight him with a state law normally used to battle big corporations attempting to squash small taxpayers.
The Supreme Judicial Court today ruled Proctor and Gamble won't have to pay the state several million dollars in taxes to settle a dispute, stretching back to 1998, over the status of the Gillette plant in South Boston.
At issue were tax credits Massachusetts allows companies to take for certain types of plant investments.
In 1998, the Gillette Co., based in Delaware, formally acquired all of the outstanding shares of subsidiary Gillette USA, which owned the South Boston plant. The following year, it filed for several million dollars in tax credits on the plant, but the state Department of Revenue denied the claim, and demanded $4.8 million in payments and interest, because the change in plant ownership meant the subsidiary had "disposed" of the plant, making it ineligible for the credits. Proctor and Gamble acquired Gillette in 2005.
As the court noted, however, "The day-to-day operations of the shaving products factory were unaffected by the merger, and the plant continued to operate."
Gillette appealed to the state Appellate Tax Board, which sided with the company. The court agreed with the board's decision:
The Legislature did not intend that a tax-free liquidation and merger of a wholly-owned subsidiary into a parent corporation constitute a "disposition" of the subsidiary's assets for the purposes of § 31A. We defer to the board's interpretation of § 31A's language in this case not only because the board adopted it, but, more importantly, because it is correct.
Robert Ambrogi analyzes a U.S. Court of Appeals decision that said a Staples salesman could continue his libel suit against the company even though he agreed the company had been truthful in a public statement explaining it had fired him for embezzlement.
The court ruled on Friday that you can successfully sue for libel over a true statement if the statement is made with malicious intent - in this case, after Staples fired the guy, a vice president sent e-mail to 1,500 employees letting them know why. Ambrogi is aghast at the implications of the ruling, especially since the court cited a 1902 Massachusetts law that the state Supreme Judicial Court had earlier ruled unconstitutional in a similar case:
... This is far from the end of this case. The 1st Circuit's decision sends it back to the lower court for a trial to determine how the case should be decided. Most likely, Staples will ask the full panel of 1st Circuit judges to review this case en banc. It could even make its way to the Supreme Court. For the time being, however, be afraid -- be very, very afraid -- of this precedent. If ill will is all that is needed to turn a truthful statement into libel, then everyone is a potential defendant.
So this barhopping New Yorker up in Boston climbs on top of an Acela train at South Station late one night in 2006, reaches up and is promptly zapped with 27,000 or so volts, leading to serious burns and injuries, including the loss of his left arm.
Naturally, he's suing Amtrak for gross negligence, because it failed to do enough to keep idiots from climbing on top of trains and grabbing hold of electrical wires.
In his suit (original complaint), Brian Hopkins argues Amtrak should have known people routinely trespass at South Station and so should have turned off the electricity at night, parked trains away from the station and warned people that grabbing hold of high-voltage power lines could cause serious injuries.
In its reply, Amtrak basically argues Hopkins's injuries were his own damn fault.
Hopkins (and his parents) originally brought the suit in a Queens state court, because he lives there; Amtrak won a request to have the suit moved to federal court, because it was created by Congress and is still half owned by the federal government. The suit is now before federal district court in Brooklyn.