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NATIONAL
March 8, 2012 | By David G. Savage, Los Angeles Times
Mary Brown, a 56-year-old Florida woman who owned a small auto repair shop but had no health insurance, became the lead plaintiff challenging President Obama's healthcare law because she was passionate about the issue. Brown "doesn't have insurance. She doesn't want to pay for it. And she doesn't want the government to tell her she has to have it," said Karen Harned, a lawyer for the National Federation of Independent Business. Brown is a plaintiff in the federation's case, which the Supreme Court plans to hear later this month.
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NATIONAL
February 22, 2012 | By Richard Fausset, Los Angeles Times
Spill 4.9 million barrels of oil into the ocean, and this is what you get: the lollapalooza, labyrinthine, mega-mother of all lawsuits. It encompasses 72 million pages of documents, 20,000 exhibits and 303 depositions — the collective effort of hundreds of lawyers and legal workers. It involves the Justice Department and about 120,000 plaintiffs: angry fishermen, restaurateurs, state governments and condo owners who say their beach-side property is not worth what it once was. The trial phase, set to begin Feb. 27 in a New Orleans federal courtroom, could go on for nine months.
NEWS
February 15, 2012 | By Chris Erskine, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
Tickets are now on sale for the 9th Annual California Wine Festival in Santa Barbara, July 19-21. Call (800) 797-7753 .... San Francisco's Aquarium of the Bay is now home to some giant Pacific octopuses . Through Feb. 26,  it will honor the new residents with octopus talks and other octopus-related activities. For details, click here .... Checking out the cherry blossoms this spring? The Liaison Capitol Hill in Washington is offering a $190-per-night package March 22-April 22, in honor of the 100th anniversary of the gift of the 3,000 trees from Japan.
BUSINESS
January 17, 2012 | By Stuart Pfeifer, Los Angeles Times
Workers at weight-loss surgery centers affiliated with the 1-800-GET-THIN ad campaign persuaded patients to have medically unnecessary surgeries and billed insurance companies for procedures that were never performed, a new lawsuit alleges. Two women who formerly worked at surgery centers associated with the Lap-Band ad campaign also alleged that executives covered up mistakes that contributed to the Sept. 8 death of Paula Rojeski, a Lap-Band patient from Orange County. The new lawsuit seeks damages from eight people, including brothers Michael and Julian Omidi, who the lawsuit says run the weight-loss business from offices in Beverly Hills.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 7, 2012 | By Abby Sewell, Los Angeles Times
Two women who sued the city of Compton, alleging that the city's election system violates the rights of Latino voters, have not presented enough evidence to decide the case without a trial, a judge has ruled. The plaintiffs, both Latinas, asked the court for a summary judgment, arguing that the facts show without dispute that the city's at-large voting system impairs the ability of Latino voters to elect the candidates of their choice. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Allen White ruled Friday that the women had not presented strong enough evidence to decide the case on the spot, meaning it will go to trial as scheduled in February.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 23, 2011 | By Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times
A group of Southern Californians who insist that President Obama was born in Africa and should be ousted from the Oval Office had their case thrown out by a federal appeals court Thursday, but vowed to press their conspiracy theory with judges at the top of the judicial chain. None of the "birthers" who filed suit on Inauguration Day 2009 can show that they suffered any harm from the Obama presidency that would give them the right to sue him, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said in dismissing the lawsuit brought by dozens of opponents.
BUSINESS
December 21, 2011 | Richard Verrier, Los Angeles Times
A Los Angeles judge has found various companies tied to "Crash" producer Bob Yari liable for about $12 million in damages payable to director Paul Haggis, star Brendan Fraser, producer Mark Harris and co-writer Bobby Moresco. The ruling by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Daniel J. Buckley follows a decision this summer in which he supported allegations from the plaintiffs that Yari improperly withheld money owed to them from the 2005 movie that won three Academy Awards, including best picture.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 28, 2011 | By Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times
Several photographers sued the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and several of its deputies Thursday, alleging that they were harassed, detained and improperly searched while taking pictures legally in public places. "Photography is not a crime. It's protected 1st Amendment expression," said Peter Bibring, senior staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of the photographers. "To single them out for such treatment while they're pursuing a constitutionally protected activity is doubly wrong.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 17, 2011 | By Valerie J. Nelson, Los Angeles Times
Elouise Cobell, the treasurer of the Blackfeet tribe who tenaciously pursued a lawsuit that accused the federal government of cheating Native Americans out of more than a century's worth of royalties, resulting in a record $3.4-billion settlement, has died. She was 65. Cobell died Sunday at a hospital in Great Falls, Mont., of complications from cancer, her spokesman Bill McAllister announced. Growing up on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in northwest Montana, Cobell often heard her parents and neighbors wonder why they weren't being paid for allowing others to use their land, she later recalled.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 24, 2011 | By Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times
Match.com settled a lawsuit brought by a sexual assault victim by agreeing Tuesday to conduct background checks on all members to screen out known sex offenders. Screenwriter Carole Markin proclaimed victory for the millions of singles who make use of online dating services, saying Match.com's commitment to security screening could prevent attacks such as the one she suffered last year on a second date with Alan Paul Wurtzel of Pacific Palisades, who had at least six previous sex offense convictions.
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