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US Legal News Round Up for Saturday, 7 April 2018

[JURIST] Here's the domestic legal news we covered this week:

Hawaii Governor David Ige [official profile] signed HB 2739 [text, PDF] on Thursday, also known as the Our Choice, Our Care Act.
The Attorneys General from 14states, led by New York Attorney General Schneiderman [official website] filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] on Thursday against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official websites] over the EPA's failure to limit methane emissions from sources in the oil and gas sector.
The Suffolk County Superior Court in Massachusetts released a decision [text, PDF] Wednesday, denying Equifax a motion to dismiss and allowing the commonwealth to move forward in its lawsuit against Equifax for its data breach [NYT report].

Equifax sought to dismiss the claims against them under Rule 12(b)(6) [rule text] of the Massachusetts Rules of Civil Procedure for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

Massachusetts alleged that Equifax did not take the proper steps to guard personal information and did not promptly inform consumers about the data breach or take appropriate steps to remedy that breach.

Lambda Legal [advocacy website] announced on Wednesday that Puerto Rico will modify current policies to allow transgender people to change their gender on identification cards following a federal court order [text, PDF].
A Pennsylvania appellate judge on Monday distinguished [opinion, PDF] the natural gas extraction practice known as hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," from conventional drilling property rights and held that fracking is not subject to the same "rules of capture."

In a suit brought against Marcellus Shale gas producer Southwestern Energy [corporate website] alleging trespass and conversion for producing gas under the plaintiffs' land, Senior Judge John Musmanno of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania [official website] explained that Pennsylvania courts have yet to determine whether the processes unique to fracking prevent its application to the same law of capture as traditional methods of drilling.

Traditionally, the rules of capture assume that oil and gas originate in subsurface reservoirs or pools, and can therefore migrate freely within the reservoir and across property lines.

Federal judge Orlando Garcia in the US District Court for the Western District of Texas [official website] in San Antonio has granted summary judgment [text, PDF] to a group of voters who argued that the voter registration measures of Texas' online driver's license registration system are unconstitutional under "motor voter" provisions of the 1993 National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) [official website].
The Missouri House of Representatives [official website] approved a bill [bill text] on Tuesday that would ban abortions occurring 20 weeks after fertilization.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] filed a lawsuit [complaint] in the Superior Court of California - Orange County Wednesday seeking declaratory and injunctive relief against the Orange County District Attorney (OCDA) and Orange County Sheriff (OCSD) [official websites] for operating secret jailhouse informant programs allegedly in violation of the US Constitution, California Constitution and California state laws.

The ACLU alleges that the "OCDA does not disclose anything about the Informant Program to the criminal defendants or their defense attorneys" despite the fact that the US Constitution requires prosecutors to provide material evidence to defendants.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman [official website] is leading a group of 17 states and seven cities in a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] filed on Tuesday against the Census Beureau and Commerce Department [official website] in an attempt to remove citizenship questions that have been added to the 2020 Census questionnaire.
In the first sentencing in the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Muller [official website] into Russian meddling, 33-year-old Dutch attorney Alex van der Zwaan was sentenced Tuesday to 30 days in prison and a $200,000 fine, followed by two months of supervised release.

Van der Zwaan pleaded guilty [text, PDF] in February after being indicted [order, PDF] on charges of lying [JURIST report] to special counsel prosecutors and the FBI regarding his communications with former Trump advisor Rick Gates in August 2016.

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] against the state of California Monday seeking an injunction against a state law [materials, text] that prohibits the sale of federal land.
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] on Monday filed a motion [text, PDF] seeking permission to engage in settlement negotiations with defendants in the multi-district opioid case.
The US Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Monday that service advisors at car dealerships are excluded from federal overtime pay requirements.
The US Supreme Court on Monday declined [order list, PDF] to hear an appeal in a dispute to determine whether a pole can be turned into a cross on public land in Michigan.
The US Supreme Court [official website] on Monday reversed a lower court denial [orders, PDF] of qualified immunity in a civil rights suit involving a shooting by a University of Arizona Police [official website] officer.

Hughes, who was shot four times in May 2010, sued Officer Andrew Kisela under 42 USC §1983 [text, PDF] alleging Kisela used excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

The US Supreme Court [official website] granted certiorari [order list, PDF] in Stokeling v.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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