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Tentative Deal Reached To End Costly Calif. Ports Strike

Negotiators reached an agreement late Tuesday to end an eight-day strike that crippled the nation’s largest port complex and prevented shippers from delivering billions of dollars in cargo to warehouses and distribution centers across the country, CBS News reports. ”I’m really pleased to tell all of you that my 10,000 longshore workers in the ports of LA and Long Beach are going to start moving cargo on these ships,” said Ray Familathe, vice president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. “We’re going to get cargo moved throughout the supply chain and the country and get everybody those that they’re looking for in those stores.” Striking clerical workers and the longshoremen who refused to cross their picket lines will be back on the job Wednesday morning, said Stephen Berry of the Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor Employers Association. The union still has to ratify the contract Wednesday but officials said that shouldn’t be a problem., according to CBS station KCBS-TV in Los Angeles.

Apple-Samsung Billion-Dollar Legal Duel Continues

Apple and Samsung will face off in federal court on Thursday over whether a juror’s own legal dispute wrongly led to the South Korean firm being hit with a billion-dollar patent damages award. At the hearing before US District Court Judge Lucy Koh, Samsung will present a motion to have the $1.049 billion jury verdict tossed out based on the jury foreman’s undisclosed legal skirmish with Seagate nearly 20 years ago. The foreman had worked for Seagate, a technology company in which Samsung owns a small stake, and wound up declaring bankruptcy after a court battle with his former employer. Samsung hopes to convince Koh that the juror’s experience influenced the August verdict, in what amounted to misconduct strong enough to have the outcome overturned. Samsung also called for Apple lawyers to reveal whether they knew that aspect of the juror’s past—and opted not to share it in court. In a filing late last week, Apple attorney Mark Selwyn said that the legal team had not been aware of the juror’s history with Seagate and argued that deliberations were not tainted by misconduct.

Medical-Marijuana Law Is Legal, Arizona Judge Rules

Arizona’s 2-year-old medical marijuana law is legal and is not preempted by federal law, a trial judge ruled Tuesday. The Arizona Daily Star reports in an extensive ruling, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Michael Gordon rejected arguments by Attorney General Tom Horne and Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery that the voter-approved Arizona Medical Marijuana Act is void because the possession and sale of marijuana remain a federal crime. In his decision, Gordon pointed out 18 states and the District of Columbia already have laws permitting some form of legal marijuana use. And the judge said he wasn’t about to declare Arizona’s own version invalid. ”This court will not rule that Arizona, having sided with the ever-growing minority of states and having limited it to medical use, has violated public policy,” he wrote. Most immediately, the decision should pave the way for a planned dispensary in Sun City to get the paperwork it needs to open. But the broad scope of the ruling, unless overturned, provides legal grounds for the state going ahead with plans to license more than 100 dispensaries around the state.

California’s Gay-Conversion Ban Up In Air After 2 Judges Disagree 

The fate of the state’s new law banning gay-conversion therapy for underage Californians is uncertain after a federal judge said it may infringe on free-speech rights — and a second jurist disagreed, the LA Times reports. U.S. District Judge William Shubb said Monday the law, set to take effect Jan. 1, may inhibit the 1st Amendment rights of therapists who oppose homosexuality. He issued an injunction barring the state from enforcing the measure against three plaintiffs who sued to block it, until he can make a broader ruling on its merits. Within 24 hours, a second federal judge declined to interfere with the law in a separate case brought by other therapists and parents, who asserted that it violated free-speech, parental and religious rights. That action was immediately appealed. Unless the appeal is granted, the law will take effect as scheduled, exempting the two therapists and aspiring therapist who won the injunction, according to the state attorney general’s office.

U.S. Loses Supreme Court Property Rights Case

The Obama administration on Tuesday lost a Supreme Court fight over property rights that centered on a series of federally controlled and managed floods that caused major timber damage along an Arkansas river, CNN reports. The 8-0 ruling concluded that the periodic release of water from a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dam project begun two decades ago was a government “taking.” The legal designation would require the federal government to pay the state for damages.  The dispute is narrow and unique in many ways, but could clarify the standards for determining the scope, length of time, and impact of government actions affecting many property owners — private and public. At issue for the high court was whether the resulting downstream flooding was effectively “permanent” and therefore a “taking,” or was merely “temporary” and only a “trespass.” The state of Arkansas owned the flooded land and had earlier won a $5.6 million judgment. The Constitution’s Fifth Amendment forbids “private property be taken for public use without just compensation.”  Even thought the land in question is state property, all sides have treated the land as “private” in nature for purposes of settling the “takings” dispute.


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