Court Roundup

Judge asked to reconsider ruling in Arpaio case

PHOENIX (AP) — Maricopa County is asking a judge to reconsider her decision not to dismiss the county from a lawsuit alleging that Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s office carried out a pattern of discrimination against Latinos in its immigration patrols.
The sheriff’s office was dismissed from the Justice Department’s lawsuit, but Arpaio and the county failed in their bid to be dismissed.
The county says the case’s judge erred in not addressing its argument that the U.S. Constitution requires dismissal if she can’t grant the relief sought by the lawsuit.
Arpaio’s office is accused of profiling Latinos in its immigration patrols and retaliating against critics.
Arpaio denies the allegations, saying people are stopped if deputies have probable cause to believe they have committed crimes and that deputies later find many of them are illegal immigrants.

Groups appealing order to remove online reviews

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Two groups are taking the case of a Virginia woman ordered to remove negative online reviews of a home contractor to the state’s highest court.
The Virginia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and Public Citizen said last week that they filed papers in the Supreme Court of Virginia appealing a preliminary injunction issued in Fairfax County Circuit Court.
Jane Perez is being sued over comments she posted on the Internet regarding Dietz Development LLC, implying the contractor stole items from her home. The contractor is claiming the reviews posted on Yelp and Angie’s List were false and cost him $300,000 in business. He’s suing for defamation and is seeking $750,000.
Earlier this month, a judge ordered Perez to delete some accusations and barred her from repeating them in new posts while the lawsuit is pending.
The groups say the judge’s order is a violation of both the First Amendment and Virginia law.
“Such orders run afoul of the American tradition of free speech, which assumes that the public can sort out truth from fiction so long as both sides have the opportunity to have their say,” Paul Levy, an attorney with Public Citizen, said in a news release.

Time-out called in antitrust lawsuit against Blues

DETROIT (AP) — Bills approved by state lawmakers could have an impact on a lawsuit that accuses Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan of discouraging competition by insisting on unfair terms with hospitals.
Lawyers for Blue Cross and the government have called a time-out through Jan. 8 in Detroit federal court.
The bills would prohibit so-called “most favored” clauses, which can force Blue Cross competitors to pay higher prices at hospitals. Those provisions are at the heart of an antitrust lawsuit against Blue Cross by the U.S. Justice Department. The government says patients end up paying more.
The lawsuit, filed in 2010, is pending. The bills haven’t been signed by Gov. Rick Snyder.

Hospital CEO vows fight on decision to force her leave

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — The chief executive officer of a Birmingham hospital vows to fight a decision to place her on administrative leave.
Cooper Green Mercy Hospital CEO Sandral Hull was placed on administrative leave as the county hospital ends in-patient care for the poor and uninsured.
The hospital, operated by Jefferson County, announced the layoffs of 200 workers earlier this month.
Hull’s lawyer, U.W. Clemon, tells WBRC-TV that she should not have been placed on administrative leave. Clemon says he will fight the action, and that he intends to show the decision was motivated by his client’s race and age. Hull is black.
Jefferson County Manager Tony Petelos tells the station that everything was done according to the county’s personnel board rules and state laws.