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States brief ~ NY appeals court rules civil union partner has no standing to sue hospital
States brief ~ NY appeals court rules civil union partner has no standing to sue hospital

[JURIST] Leading Thursday's states brief, a New York appeals court [official website] ruled today that a member of a Vermont civil union has no standing to sue a Manhattan hospital for malpractice in the death of his partner. In finding that the partner had no standing, the court stated, "any contrary decision, no matter how circumscribed, will be taken as judicial imprimatur of same-sex marriages and would constitute a usurpation of powers expressly reserved by our Constitution to the Legislature." The attorney for John Langan, a 15-year partner of the deceased, said, "if this decision is allowed to stand, same-sex couples will be denied the very significant and important protections that all married heterosexual spouses can get." AP has more.

In other state legal news …

  • The Oregon Supreme Court ruled [text] Thursday that the Portland School District did not have the power to terminate its 300 janitors and subcontract the work out to a private company, as a state law [text] says janitors are employees of the school district and not of a private company. The majority found "when the 1937 Legislature defined custodians and assistant custodians as 'employees' it intended to define the legal status of those workers," but four dissenters found that law does not apply to janitorial workers and they are not district employees. The school district outsourced the work to save money and Leslie Frane, executive director of Service Employees International Union [union website] Local 503, said after the decision, "we hope that this decision will make other employers think twice before they try to save a quick buck by outsourcing crucial services." The high court ruling overturned the decision of the court of appeals [ruling]. AP has more.
  • New Hampshire Governor John Lynch has filed a brief [press release] with the US Supreme Court, asking it to declare the state's parental notification for abortions unconstitutional. Lynch says the law, which requires a doctor or clinic to notify a minor's parents 48 hours before performing an abortion, risks the health of women. His position is in opposition to state Attorney General Kelly Ayotte [official website], who argues a women's health can be protected because the law allows a court to intervene and other laws allow a doctor to act in an emergency. The Supreme Court is expected to hear the case at the end of November. View the governor's brief here and Attorney General Kelly Ayotte's brief here [PDF]. AP has more.