SCHAUMBURG, IL — Megan Runnion sued the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana, alleging that the organization discriminated against her because she is deaf. The suit was thrown out a year and a half ago but the I-Team has learned it has been reinstated by the appellate court.
Runnion, of Schaumburg, may be deaf but her message is loud and clear. She’d been in Girl Scouts for six years. An interpreter was provided by the scouts so she could take part.
But her family said when the organization stopped paying for the interpreter and put restrictions on their activities, the Girl Scouts eventually disbanded her troop. The girl’s family sued, saying the Girl Scouts had run afoul of a federal law called the Rehabilitation Act.
“It’s sad. The initial reaction is shocked, because I didn’t really understand it,” said Edie Runnion, Megan’s mother.
That was what Edie told the I-Team in August 2012 when the family filed a lawsuit against the Girl Scouts for disbanding Megan’s troop.
Megan – deaf since birth – had thrived in scouting, according to her mom.
“Megan loves camping. That’s her favorite Girl Scout thing,” Edie said.
Some Girl Scout troops, such as this one, are actually composed of all deaf children with interpreters provided by the scouts.
“Our membership does include girls who have hearing loss and other disabilities, and in those situations, we do work with those girls and those troops and those families to provide what they need to access girl scouting,” said Julie Somogyi, Girl Scout Council of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana.
But Megan’s family alleges when the Schaumburg troop pulled the plug on her interpreter and later disbanded, it was discrimination and retaliation by the Girl Scout Council of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana – that the group had violated the federal Rehabilitation Act.
Three months after filing the suit, Judge Harry Leinenweber threw it out, saying Megan’s complaint hadn’t sufficiently alleged that the Girl Scouts were subject to the Rehabilitation Act.
This new decision from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago reverses that, allowing Megan’s lawsuit to proceed against the Girl Scouts.
An attorney for the Runnion family says the appellate court “opinion confirms that private organizations that receive federal funding are prohibited from discriminating against people with disabilities.”
The Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana issued the following written statement late Thursday: “Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana is unable to comment on the specifics of pending litigation. We can confirm that Girl Scouts has a long history of adapting activities to girls who have disabilities, special needs and chronic illnesses. It is Girl Scout policy that admission or access to Girl Scout program shall not be denied based on disability and that reasonable accommodations shall be made for girls with disabilities to ensure that girls have access to activities.”
An associate dean at the University of Virginia filed a defamation lawsuit on Tuesday against Rolling Stone magazine, which she said portrayed her as the “chief villain” in a discredited article about a gang rape on the university’s campus.
Nicole P. Eramo, an associate dean of students, is also suing the author of the article, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, and Rolling Stone’s parent company, Wenner Media. She is seeking nearly $8 million in damages.
Rolling Stone declined to comment.
The article, titled “A Rape on Campus” described a brutal gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity. It was initially praised for shedding light on the issue of campus rape, and the problems that some students have in pursuing their attackers. But it later emerged that the magazine had not tried to independently verify allegations, some of them explosive, made by one source, identified as Jackie in the article.
On April 5 the magazine retracted the article, and presented a report it had commissioned from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, which described a series of reportorial failings.
The lawsuit, filed in the Charlottesville Circuit Court, asserts that the magazine made defamatory statements about Ms. Eramo, a prominent character in the article, to present a narrative that she had “discouraged the reporting of a violent rape to law enforcement because she was more concerned with protecting the university’s reputation than with assisting victims of sexual assault,” the statement said.
A federal jury has handed a victory to HBO over Mitre Sports International’s claim that a September 2008 segment of “Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel” misled viewers into thinking that its soccer balls were made by low-paid, underage children in India.
“We are delighted with the jury’s decision, which confirms what we have said since the beginning of this legal proceeding in the fall of 2008: This case was without merit, and the ‘Real Sports’ reporting was unimpeachable,” an HBO spokesman said in a statement. “We couldn’t be prouder of the ‘Real Sports’ franchise and the award-winning work done over the past 20 years.
“We are grateful to the jury for their careful consideration of the evidence.”
Variety reports that jurors listened to weeks of detailed testimony and closing arguments in Mitre’s defamation suit, in what HBO’s attorney Dane Butswinkas said was “a trial based on suggestion, not a trial by evidence.” He repeatedly showed footage of children sewing soccer balls with a degree of precision that he surmised could not have been learned recently.
Among other things, Mitre contended that it does not produce soccer balls in Meerut, which is where the children were filmed, even though that may not have been evident to viewers due to editing. Mitre claimed that the 2008 segment was manipulated, and that in fact it has been working to stem child labor practices internationally.
The report was called both “Children of Industry” and “Childhood Lost,” and Mitre contended that the segment made it look as if it was unconcerned with the use of child labor. It sued in 2008, seeking tens of millions of dollars in damages.
Mitre’s lawsuit contended that even though the segment mentions that 10 international brands were made by child labor, it targeted only Mitre.
Ireland: The mother and son now reside together outside of the jurisdiction. Neither can be identified for legal reasons.
A mother and her young son, who was placed in foster care more than three years ago, have secured €40,000 in settlement of defamation and privacy proceedings against the HSE over social media postings by the son’s foster parents.
The mother alleged the foster parents defamed her via Facebook postings. It was also alleged that the privacy of both mother and child, who is back in his birth mother’s care, was breached by the same posts.
According to the Irish Times, the woman and child now reside together outside of the jurisdiction. Neither can be identified for legal reasons.
It was claimed that, some four years ago, the child was subject to care orders made by a District Court judge and was placed by the HSE in the care of foster parents.
It was claimed the foster parents put up a number of Facebook posts containing details of the child, including pictures, in early 2012.
It was also alleged the posts contained statements that were false, untrue and highly defamatory of the child’s birth mother.
It was claimed that the pictures and the information contained in the posts should never have been put up on social media, and involved a breach of privacy, confidence and statutory duty by the HSE.
As a result of the posts, the woman claimed she was subject to ridicule and contempt and her character had been damaged.
The mother and son Rights to privacy
The mother and son also claimed the rights to privacy under the Constitution and that the European Convention on Human Rights had been breached in this instance.
It was alleged that the HSE was negligent because it failed to ensure the foster parents received adequate, or any, training concerning the use of social media or in respect of entitlement to privacy.
It was also alleged that the HSE failed to have a policy for foster parents concerning the use of social media websites.
The case came before Mr Justice Kevin Cross at the High Court, who, following an application by Brendan Kirwan BL for the woman and her son, approved the settlement.
Counsel said the settlement of €40,000, exclusive of legal costs, was “a global offer” in relation to the claims brought by both his clients.
Dublin, Ireland: The High Court has overturned a €50,000 defamation award made to a Dublin man against the operators of a shop whom he alleged placed a picture of him on the shop’s front door with the words “Attention Shoplifters”.
Maxela Ltd, operator of a retail unit in Tallaght Village called Rasputin in 2011 but now trading under a different name, appealed against the defamation award, made by Dublin Circuit Court after a judge found Karl Morrison had been defamed.
The President of the High Court, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, ruled Mr Morrison had not proven his claim of defamation and the court had no option but to strike it out.
Mr Morrison claimed he was defamed in June 2011 when he saw his picture attached to the front door of the store, which sold goods and foods from eastern Europe. He said the picture was brought to his attention by two of his uncles.
Mr Morrison (23), who the court heard was never in trouble with gardaí, claimed he asked staff at the shop for the poster, described as being slightly bigger than A4 in size, to be taken down but it was still there about a month later.
Mr Morrison said, after his picture was posted, he had to leave his address at Kilmartin Park, Fettercairn, Tallaght as people were making adverse remarks about him. He also claimed he had difficulties obtaining employment in the area. He now lives in hostels, the court heard.
Maxela Ltd denied the claims. A director of the company, Max Bulgakov told the court the store never put up posters of Mr Morrison or anybody else.
In his ruling, Mr Justice Kearns said, in a case with “many twists and turns”, he had to decide the issues on the evidence put before him and was satisfied Mr Morrison failed to discharge the onus of proof required to prove his claim against the company.
Evidence tendered on behalf Mr Morrison, who was “confused” about certain matters when giving his evidence, lacked credibility, the judge said.
Mr Morrison had told the court he used his mobile phone to take pictures and a video clip of the poster in the shop and shown the picture to his solicitor, the judge said.
Mr Morrison lost the phone before he got the video or images printed or downloaded, his solicitor Jillian O’Shea told the High Court she had no recollection of seeing the image and her evidence was not put before the Circuit Court, he added.
NEW DELHI: A Delhi court today said it would hear tomorrow the arguments on the issue of framing of charges on a criminal defamation complaint filed by union minister Nitin Gadkari against senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh.
Metropolitan Magistrate Gomati Manocha, who was scheduled to hear the arguments today, posted the case for tomorrow due to the ongoing lawyers strike.
District courts lawyers in Delhi are observing strike till May 2 against the delay in tabling in Parliament an amended bill regarding enhancement of pecuniary jurisdiction of trial courts.
Earlier, Singh had contended before the court that Gadkari has not placed any “admissible evidence” against him in the defamation complaint.
Gadkari’s counter in the Delhi Court
Countering his submissions, Gadkari’s advocate had said that the admissibility of evidence could be seen at the stage of trial.
Gadkari, Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, had earlier ruled out reaching a compromise with Singh, saying he would not withdraw his plea unless the Congress leader takes back his statement of 2012 on his alleged business links with the then MP Ajay Sancheti.
Singh, who was summoned as an accused in the complaint, had said “in my life I have never withdrawn my statement”.
The criminal defamation complaint was filed by Gadkari in 2012 against Singh who had alleged that the former BJP chief had business links with Sancheti.
Singh was earlier granted bail in the case by the court which, after finding “prima facie” evidence against him, had directed him to appear before it as accused for the offence punishable under sections 499 (defamation) and 500 (punishment for defamation) of IPC.
Calgary Ward 4 councillor Sean Chu has been sued for $275,000 for defamation by his former campaign manager.
In the statement of claim filed two weeks ago, Amanda Wilkie alleges that Chu, who was elected for the first time on Oct. 21, 2013, made defamatory comments when he spoke to a mutual acquaintance in November 2013 and on other occasions.
According to Calgary Herald, the former campaign manager says in the document filed that Chu told Lynne Walker that Wilkie “owes me money,” that she “took too much in expenses,” that she “mishandled campaign funds” and took “thousands of dollars” from the campaign fund and used them for her own expenses.
The plaintiff says all three of them remain involved in political circles in Calgary and that they all know and communicate with many of the same people.
Wilkie, who was in charge of the campaign plan and ensuring it was carried out, managed the campaign’s communications and marketing/advertising plans and ensured their proper execution, among other duties leading up to the election, alleges that at no time did she have control or access to the campaign bank account.
Any request for funds from the campaign bank account was reviewed and had to be approved by Andrew Chin, the campaign’s official agent, before funds were distributed, it is alleged in her lawsuit.
“The statements about the plaintiff made by Mr. Chu to Ms. Walker were and are malicious, injurious and completely false,” she alleges. “Such statements are extremely serious in nature and constitute a personal attack on the character of the plaintiff.
“The plaintiff has been informed that on numerous other occasions Mr. Chu has uttered the same or similar defamatory words, whereby Mr. Chu falsely and maliciously asserted that the plaintiff mishandled, misappropriated or stole funds from the campaign.”
None of the allegations have been proven in court.
A statement of defence has not yet been filed.
The Minnesota Court of Appeals Monday tossed out a lawsuit from a former doctor at the St. Peter, Minn., psychiatric hospital who argued that an MPR News investigation on the treatment of patients there was based on state data that should’ve been private.
Michael Harlow’s firing followed a November 2011 incident in which a patient at the psychiatric hospital was placed in restraints and stripped naked.
After Harlow was fired in December 2011, MPR News reporter Madeleine Baran, citing several sources, reported that the hospital was in turmoil and that officials didn’t give the staff any direction on how the incident should have been handled.
“He was maintained in a dehumanizing condition for hours without clothing, without [a] blanket, without a mattress, without a pillow, even though it was documented he was trying to sleep on the slab and was calm and quiet,” then hospital boss David Proffitt told Baran in her February 2012 story. “Those are things that are not common for this facility. They’re not acceptable for this facility.”
In a report several months later, Baran reported that an investigation by the Department of Human Services “found the facility and Dr. Harlow violated licensing standards, but that the violations were not serious or recurring.”
Harlow sued the DHS, David Proffitt and DHS deputy commissioner Ann Barry for defamation, and said Minnesota data practices laws prevented the details of his firing from being released.
The Court of Appeals, however, ruled today that the data given Baran about Harlow’s firing was public data at the time of the release, even though a separate investigation was underway.
A former employee of Al Jazeera America is suing the network for $15 million, alleging that a manager with close ties to top executives discriminated against female employees and made disparaging remarks about Jews and Israel.
According to POLITICO, Matthew Luke, who started with Al Jazeera America in 2013 ahead of its launch as supervisor of media and archive management, filed the lawsuit in New York Supreme Court on Tuesday. In it, he alleges that Osman Mahmud, who rose through the ranks to become Luke’s supervisor as senior vice president of broadcast operations and technology, removed female employees from projects, excluded women from emails and meetings and made discriminatory, anti-Semitic and anti-American remarks such as “whoever supports Israel should die a fiery death in hell.”
Not long after Luke went to human resources to report on the behavior, he alleges he was told he did not fit into the company’s culture and was fired.
In an interview with The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple, Mahmud denied the charges, calling them a “pack of lies” and if he had said such remarks more people would’ve reported them.
Not long after the lawsuit was filed on Tuesday, the network also announced that two top executives, executive vice president for human resources Diana Lee, and executive vice president for communications Dawn Bridges, were leaving the company. In a memo to staff announcing the departures, the network’s chief executive said they were leaving because working in cable is “extremely time consuming” and that the two wanted to change their “work/life mix.”
The network, the American arm of the popular and widespread Al Jazeera network, was launched with big budgets and great fanfare last year after buying Current TV. But the network has struggled mightily in ratings and, according to the New York Post, is starting to lay off staffers and substitute more programming from Al Jazeera English.
The network said in a statement to media outlets that it does “not comment on pending litigation” though the company “takes these matters seriously and will respond in the appropriate forum.”
“Al Jazeera America’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is fundamental to its mission, and is boldly reflected throughout the company: in its staff, its leadership and its programming,” the network said.
A 64-year-old Florida tech worker filed an age discrimination lawsuit against Google on Wednesday, claiming the company passed on him after a job interview because of his age.
Robert Heath says in his age discrimination complaint filed in U.S. District Court in San Jose, Calif., that Google unfairly dismissed his application for a software engineering job in 2011 when he was 60 years old, despite his work experience at IBM, Compaq, and General Dynamics. The lawsuit says Google based its decision not to hire Heath on a brief phone interview, despite telling him in an email that the company was “embarking on its largest recruiting / hiring campaign in its history,” and “you would be a great candidate to come work at Google.”
Heath, represented by law firm Kotchen & Low, is seeking a class-action case on behalf of job applicants 40 and older who were not hired by the Internet search company. “There are very qualified older tech workers who are out of work,” Heath said Thursday. “We had to do something about it.”
A Google spokeswoman said: “We believe that the facts will show that this case is without merit and we intend to defend ourselves vigorously.”
The lawsuit cites a survey of employees of different companies by Payscale.com, a workforce information website, that Google had a median age of 29 in 2013, while the U.S. Department of Labor reported that the median age was 43 years in the U.S. for computer programmers. A spokeswoman for Payscale.com said the median age was based on the self-reporting of 840 Google employees. Payscale data shows Google has the sixth-youngest workforce among 22 tech companies. AOL has the youngest workforce, with a median age of 27, and Facebook had the second-youngest at 28, Payscale found in December. Hewlett-Packard has the oldest, with a median age of 39, and Oracle the second-oldest at 38.
The lawsuit also cites an earlier case, Reid v. Google, in which former Google executive Brian Reid said he was referred to at the company as an “old fuddy duddy,” and that his ideas were “too old to matter.” That 2007 case was settled for undisclosed damages.
Google helped to jump-start a new wave of diversity disclosures last year by releasing data on its workforce’s racial and gender makeup. The lawsuit notes that Google’s Diversity webpage does not include age-related workforce data, despite disclosing data about other worker characteristics. Other tech companies releasing workforce diversity data did not typically disclose age data either.