Court Roundup


Court favors Abercrombie in lawsuit over hijab 
TULSA, Okla. (AP) — A federal appeals court has dismissed a lawsuit filed on behalf of an Oklahoma woman who says she wasn’t hired by Abercrombie & Fitch because her headscarf conflicted with the retailer’s dress code, which has since been changed.
A federal judge initially ruled in favor of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which filed the lawsuit for Samantha Elauf. The EEOC alleges that Elauf wasn’t hired in 2008 at an Abercrombie store in Tulsa’s Woodland Hills Mall because her hijab violated the retailer’s “Look Policy.”
The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that decision Tuesday, finding that Elauf never told Abercrombie she needed a religious accommodation — even though she was wearing the headscarf during her interview.
The company changed its policy three years ago to allow the head coverings.
Derby Pie maker, restaurant end trademark dispute 
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A chocolate-nut pie by any other name may be just as sweet, but it won’t be a Derby Pie.
Kern’s Kitchen, the Louisville-based company that makes the famous dessert, and Claudia Sanders Dinner House settled a dispute over the trademark on the name Derby Pie. Under the agreement approved by U.S. District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove, Claudia Sanders Dinner House in Shelbyville and its employees are permanently barred from using the Derby Pie name to promote the chocolate pie made with pecans and chocolate chips.
Kern’s Kitchen holds a trademark in the name of the sweet treat, which was created in 1950 at the Melrose Inn in Prospect.
Kern’s Kitchen sued Claudia Sanders Dinner House in June, alleging the company violated its trademark by using the name.
Lawyers want to quit death row torture case 
GREENSBURG, Pa. (AP) — Attorneys for a western Pennsylvania man on death row for orchestrating the torture murder of a mentally disabled woman want to quit while the defendant appeals.
Defense attorney Michael DeRiso represented the 27-year-old Greensburg man, Ricky Smyrnes, during the guilt phase of his February trial. Attorney Terrance Faye represented Smyrnes during the penalty phase.
DeRiso says he doesn’t do appeal work in death penalty cases, though Faye didn’t list a reason for wanting to quit.
Smyrnes was convicted of first-degree murder for organizing five others in holding 30-year-old Jennifer Daugherty captive in a dingy apartment for more than two day. She was tormented, humiliated and finally killed by people she initially believed were her friends in February 2010.
Smyrnes is claiming the trial judge made errors, including refusing to let him plead guilty but mentally ill.
Woman pleads guilty to running dog-fighting ring 
WEST CHESTER, Pa. (AP) — A southeastern Pennsylvania woman pleaded guilty to running a dog-fighting ring out of the home she shared with her husband and five children and has agreed to testify against him.
Laura Acampora, 34, of Coatesville, pleaded guilty Tuesday in Chester County Court to three animal cruelty counts and charges of endangering the welfare of children, corruption of minors and criminal conspiracy, according to the Daily Local News of West Chester.
Senior Judge Thomas Gavin told her that he had received multiple letters expressing outrage and demanding a strict sentence, but he would rule based on the facts.
Acampora, who didn’t address the court other than answering questions about whether she understood the meaning of her pleas, was granted bail and released from prison.
She and her husband, 34-year-old Shane Santiago of Coatesville, who is scheduled for trial in November, were arrested in December after authorities went to the residence while investigating the remains of dead dogs found in the West Brandywine area.
“When we got into that home what we found was a nightmare,” District Attorney Tom Hogan said at the time of the couple’s arrest. “This was a full-scale operation of not only dog fighting, but dog training, dog breeding, and dog killing.”
Investigators said as many as 16 pit bulls were kept in the home, which contained tools used to encourage aggression in the animals. They said plywood barriers were set up around the fighting area, and the walls and floor were spattered with blood.
Assistant District Attorney Priya DeSouza alleged that the couple hosted dog fights and also exposed their children, who were 3 to 15 years old at the time, to training and the eldest attended fights.
Officials also alleged that another dog was burned alive after fighting.