US Supreme Court strikes down Texas state law requiring abortion clinics to meet surgical center requirements and abortion doctors to have hospital admitting privileges. Several other states, including Alabama, have similar laws. The Court noted that abortion is generally a very safe procedure with fewer deaths than many more common procedures not subject to the same requirements. Furthermore, Texas already required clinics to have arrangements with doctors who have admitting privileges. Thus, the law put unnecessary obstacles in the way of women seeking abortions. See Whole Woman’s Health v. Texas, Oct. Term 2015, No. 15-274.
US Supreme Court bolsters DUI laws by asserting that a warrant is not required to obtain breath test incident to DUI arrest. The judges equate this to a search of a person after arrest and that it is not a significant intrusion of privacy or person. On the other hand, the judges say that blood tests require piercing the skin, thus are more intrusive and give law enforcement a sample from which more information can be extracted. See Birchfield v. North Dakota, Oct. Term, No. 14-1468.
The US Supremes recently clarified 18 USC 922 which makes it illegal to possess a firearm if you have been convicted of the crime of domestic violence. The Court makes it clear that a misdemeanor conviction for domestic violence in state court, even if it was reckless as opposed to knowing or intentional, qualifies as a conviction for purposes of the act and prohibits that person from possessing firearms. So if you want to keep your guns, don’t hit your spouse. See Voisine et al v. US, Oct. Term, 2015, No. 14-10154.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires consumer reporting agencies to follow reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy of consumer reports and imposes liability on wilful failures to comply with the act. However, as the US Supreme Court recently stated, the consumer must establish an injury in fact, traceable to the agency, which can be redressed by a favorable court decision. In other words, the consumer must show that they were denied credit, a job or housing due to the defective credit report, and that the court can fix that either with a money judgment or injunctive relief. See Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, Supreme Court of the US, No 13-1339, decided 5/16/2016.
Have you ever had a problem with your auto and took it to the service department or garage for repair only to be told that they couldn’t find anything wrong with it. Or even worse, they make a repair and later the problem comes back. In a recently decided Alabama Supreme Court case, the court makes it clear that the burden on proof is on the consumer/auto owner to present expert opinion that the service department or garage was negligent in failing to diagnose the problem or correctly repair it. See Bishop Chevrolet v. Burden, 1141231, Oct. Term, 2015-2016, released 5/6/2016. Mr. Burden and taken his truck in on several occasions due to a burning smell emanating from under the hood. Bishop Chevrolet made a repair to no avail, and Mr. Burden brought it back again, but there was no resolution. Driving home from work the next day, the truck caught fire and was a complete loss. Mr. Burden settled with General Motors on product design issues, but Bishop Chevrolet refused. A jury awarded Mr. Burden substantial damages, but the Supremes overturned the award due to his failure to provide expert testimony that Bishop Chevrolet was negligent.