States brief ~ Oklahoma  Supreme Court strikes down collective bargaining act

States brief ~ Oklahoma Supreme Court strikes down collective bargaining act

[JURIST] Leading Tuesday's states brief, the Oklahoma Supreme Court Tuesday struck down the Oklahoma Municipal Employees Collective Bargaining Act [text] as unconstitutional. The state law allowed municipal employees to unionize in cities with populations greater than 35,000. The court found the law unconstitutional because it discriminated against municipal workers in towns with smaller populations, and Justice Steven W. Taylor wrote in the majority opinion "to avoid the special treatment of a special law, the privilege of collective bargaining must extend to employees of all the cities throughout the state if it is to extend to any." Attorneys for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees [official website] and the Communications Workers of America [official website] argued that the smaller population limits have been upheld. AP has more.

In other state legal news …

  • The Connecticut Supreme Court has upheld [PDF text] a $300,000 punitive award granted by an arbitration panel because "Connecticut does not have a well-defined public policy against the award of excessive punitive damages." The arbitration award was given to two Subway franchise owners after the panel determined that Subway [corporate website] founder Fred DeLuca violated the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act [text]. The panel awarded no compensatory damages, but granted each franchise owner $150,000 in punitive damages. AP has more.
  • The North Carolina Court of Appeals ruled [text] Tuesday that the firing of a Randolph County investigator by a district attorney, after the investigator publicly criticized the district attorney, was within the district attorney's power. The appeals court held that the decision to fire the investigator "rested within [the district attorney's] lawful and discretionary scope of authority" and that the firing was not injurious to the public or against the public good. During the investigator's campaign for sheriff, he chastised the district attorney for several prosecutorial decisions. AP has more.