Court Roundup


Invasion of privacy suit against JB Hunt proceeds

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) -- An appeals court has ruled that an invasion of privacy lawsuit by a former worker who was inappropriately photographed during a J.B. Hunt Transport Co. retreat can proceed.

The Arkansas Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that David Coombs can pursue his claims that two managers took his clothes off and photographed him while he was asleep after having too much to drink.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports J.B. Hunt vice presidents Rich Allensworth and Mark Emerson, who were Coombs' supervisors, took the photos and showed them to others.

Coombs sued J.B. Hunt Transport, Allensworth and Emerson on several grounds. Wednesday's ruling reverses a circuit judge's dismissal of the case.

The incident came to light when an executive who was leaving the company alerted other managers about what happened.

Ann Arbor

Woman sues over wagon accident in Washtenaw County

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) -- An employee of a Michigan market who was paralyzed from the waist down after being run over by a horse-drawn wagon during a hayride has filed a lawsuit. reports 23-year-old Mary Armbruster of Ann Arbor sued Tuesday in Washtenaw County Circuit Court seeking more than $25,000 from Jenny's Dexter Market in Webster Township.

Armbruster claims the market gave her faulty equipment and didn't fix it when she complained.

Jennifer Lambers, who owns the market, declined to comment to Ann A telephone listing for the market was busy when called Thursday morning by The Associated Press.

The market is a popular weekend destination in Washtenaw County near Dexter, about 40 miles west of Detroit.

New Jersey

Abortion doctor accused of murder returning to Md.

CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) -- A New Jersey doctor charged with 10 counts of murder for providing late-term abortions in Maryland has agreed to return to that state to face charges.

Steven Brigham waived extradition at a hearing Wednesday in Camden, N.J.

The 55-year-old is still being held at the Camden County Jail Thursday. Jail officials say he'll be shipped to the Cecil County Jail in Maryland within a few days.

The doctor was arrested last week.

Brigham lives in Voorhees, N.J., and owns abortion clinics in New Jersey and in Elkton, Md. He has been barred from performing abortions in both states.

Authorities say Brigham would begin abortion procedures in New Jersey and would then have patients drive themselves to Maryland to complete them. Abortion laws are more lax in Maryland.


Ex-county official wants corruption trial halted

AKRON, Ohio (AP) -- A former county official in Ohio wants the judge to halt his racketeering trial while he presses his legal argument that a second federal indictment against him amounts to double jeopardy, or being charged twice for the same crime.

Attorneys for former Cuyahoga (ky-uh-HOH'-guh) County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora want to stop the trial and filed an appeal Wednesday evening with the federal appeals court in Cincinnati. The filing came after the first day of jury selection in Akron.

Trial Judge Sara Lioi (LEE'-oy) ruled earlier this week that double jeopardy doesn't apply since his first trial isn't finished. The government disputes the double jeopardy claim and won't comment on the move to stop the trial.


Hoax-kidnap mom to learn sentence in swindle

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- A suburban Philadelphia-area mother is being sentenced Thursday for a fraud scheme that prompted her to stage a hoax kidnapping before fleeing with her daughter to Disney World.

Bonnie Sweeten has since admitted that she fled as police investigated the theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars from her boss and an elderly relative.

Sweeten told a 911 operator in 2009 that two black men had carjacked her and her 9-year-old daughter. Sweeten, who is white, surfaced days later with her daughter in Florida.

The Feasterville woman has already served nearly a year in state prison for the false police report and 18 months awaiting trial on the federal fraud charges. She faces six to eight years under federal sentencing guidelines.

Defense lawyer James McHugh has called Sweeten "very remorseful."


Lawyer had qualms over H'burg incinerator deal

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) -- One of the lawyers who worked on a $25 million financing deal for Harrisburg's debt-ravaged trash incinerator says he wasn't entirely certain of the agreement's legality when it was finalized in 2006.

Former Harrisburg Authority special counsel Andrew Giorgione testified Wednesday that former Mayor Stephen Reed signed off on the deal without the approval of City Council.

The Patriot-News of Harrisburg reports Giorgione was the first witness to testify as part of a federal lawsuit by the authority and Dauphin County that seeks to void the agreement with CIT Capital of New York. The authority and county say the deal is invalid because it lacked proper approvals.

More than $300 million in debt tied to the incinerator prompted a failed bankruptcy filing try by the city council and a state takeover of the city's finances.


Lawsuit over teen's death settled, terms sealed

HENDERSON, Ky. (AP) -- The parents of a teen who died in 2006 during football practice at Henderson County High School have agreed to settle a lawsuit over his death, but terms have been sealed.

Ryan Owens was 16 when he died while practicing with his team on a hot and humid day in July.

Although some defendants named in the lawsuit alleging negligence were dismissed, a judge allowed it to go forward against several school personnel and a doctor.

The suit had been scheduled for trial in November, but Judge Steve Hayden sent the parties back for one more round of mediation.

Randy Owens told The Gleaner that the settlement over his son's death "was a bitter pill to swallow," but he is relieved that the court case has ended.

Published: Fri, Jan 6, 2012