National Roundup

New Mexico
Misconduct cases could cost over $12 million

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The potential taxpayer tab for misconduct cases involving Albuquerque police officers in 2013 is above $12 million.
That figure includes a $10.3 million jury award last month in a lawsuit filed by the family of Iraq War veteran Kenneth Ellis III.
The Albuquerque Journal reports that the taxpayer tab for 2013 would eclipse the three previous years combined for money paid out on police misconduct cases, depending on how the Ellis verdict and a handful of other pending lawsuits play out.
Albuquerque police cases cost the city $1.9 million last year, the lowest total since 2007.
Counting judgments, settlements and legal costs, the city paid out about $6 million to cover police lawsuits in 2010. The figure fell to $5.4 million in 2011.
This year’s potential total has surpassed the $9.7 million the city had set aside for police cases.
But city officials say they’re not concerned about the solvency of Albuquerque’s risk management fund, which is the pool of money used to pay out judgments and settle cases against all divisions of city government.
“Our finances are sound,” city Chief Administrative Officer Rob Perry told the Journal last week, declining to say how much money overall is in the fund.
Perry said it’s typical for the amount paid out in police cases to fluctuate.
“Claims, and what they produce in settlements, judgments and dismissals, kind of go up and down,” Perry said, adding that yearly totals often reflect the number of claims filed against the police department two, three or even five years prior.
It’s unclear how last month’s award to the Ellis family, one of the biggest in city history, will play out. In that case, Officer Brett Lampiris-Tremba fatally shot Ellis in the neck during a nine-minute encounter with police in which Ellis held a gun to his own head.
No check has been written yet, Perry said, as post-trial motions work their way through the court system. The city may appeal the case.
The city suffered a major setback in the case when state District Judge Shannon Bacon ruled the shooting was unlawful, leaving the jury to decide how much the city should pay.

Tyco: No proof Lilly thieves used security report

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A security company being sued over the theft of $60 million worth of pharmaceuticals from an Eli Lilly and Co. warehouse in Connecticut in 2010 insists there is no proof the thieves used a report it prepared detailing the building’s security weaknesses.
Attorneys for Tyco Integrated Systems LLC denied the allegations Thursday in a motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed in federal court in Hartford by Eli Lilly’s insurer, National Union Fire Insurance Co. of Pittsburgh. A spokesman for Tyco, based in Boca Raton, Fla., previously said the company doesn’t comment on pending litigation.
“Instead of backing its grave allegations with factual support, National Union merely assumes that, because burglars circumvented and disabled a TycoIS alarm system ... they necessarily must have had confidential information about the facility’s security system and that TycoIS must have failed to safeguard this information,” Hartford attorney Amy Markim wrote in the motion.
Tyco also said National Union filed the lawsuit too late under Connecticut’s statute of limitations and Lilly’s contract with Tyco.
In what authorities called the biggest heist in Connecticut history, thieves cut through the roof of Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly’s warehouse in Enfield, about 20 miles north of Hartford. They rappelled to the floor, disabled alarms, used a forklift to load pallets of antidepressants, antipsychotics and other drugs into a truck and drove off.
Two brothers from Miami, Amaury and Amed Villa, have pleaded not guilty to federal theft and conspiracy charges in connection with the March 2010 burglary.
Tyco, formerly known as ADT Security Services Inc., was sued last month by National Union, which is seeking $42 million in damages — the amount of the drug maker’s insurance claim.
National Union said the thieves cut a small hole in the only safe point of entry in the roof above the master control room, which was identified in the ADT report as being inadequately monitored. The suspects rappelled to a precise location in the warehouse that was invisible to detectors and cameras, National Union said, adding that the getaway truck was parked in the only loading bay outside the view of surveillance cameras.
National Union also suggested that Tyco failed to safeguard its customers’ security information before other burglaries in which thieves used confidential information about ADT’s security systems. Tyco denies those allegations as well.

Evangelist takes on city’s noise ordinance

FRANKLIN, Tenn. (AP) — A Kentucky Christian evangelist will challenge a Tennessee city’s noise ordinance in court.
John McGlone was ticketed for using a microphone and amplifier to spread his message at last spring’s Franklin Main Street Festival.
“I obey the government as long as the government doesn’t go against what God tells me to do,” said McGlone, 52, who preaches with PinPoint Evangelism, based in the southern Kentucky community of Breeding in Adair County.
The Tennessean reported the city revised its noise regulations in 2011. The rules allow sound amplification at special events, but only by the event organizer — in this case, the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County.
McGlone was cited, with the fine being $10 and court costs. His appeal is scheduled for June 6 in Williamson County Circuit Court.
McGlone has challenged rules in the past.
The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati ruled in his favor when McGlone challenged a Tennessee Tech University campus speech policy. The court ruled the university had abridged McGlone’s First Amendment right of free speech.
The appellate court took up McGlone’s challenge of University of Tennessee speech policy in January. No decision has yet been rendered.
In the Franklin case, McGlone said he was patient with the city.
“They could have dropped the whole thing,” he said. “But they didn’t.”
Records indicate an unidentified vendor at the festival told police McGlone’s sermons — boosted by a 16-watt amplifier — were disrupting her business.
City Administrator and Police Chief David Rahinsky asked McGlone to move outside the festival area or risk being cited. He continued to preach and drew the citation, but eventually left the festival.