Police Use of Force and Misconduct in California

In the summer of 2020, the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis Police Department officer precipitated widespread protests and amplified calls for policing reform. This killing came after years of high-profile deaths of Black civilians—including Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Stephon Clark, among others—during encounters with police, and refocused efforts among policymakers at all levels of government to increase police accountability and transparency.

At the federal level, Congress was considering major reforms related to policing practices and law enforcement accountability, though legislators were unable to reach an agreement on a final bill.(1) The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act would have, among several other provisions, established national standards for police use of force, required state and local law enforcement agencies to report use-of-force data, and created a nationwide registry for police misconduct to make it more difficult for officers to change jurisdictions after committing misconduct.

In the last several years,

Walmart must pay pharmacist $27.5M for denying her breaks, overtime pay

The District Court of Central California on Oct. 20 awarded $27.5 million to Afrouz Nikmanesh, PharmD, after she filed a class-action lawsuit against Walmart, her former employer.

Six things to know:

The pharmacist originally filed the case in Orange County Superior Court in 2015. It was later moved to the District Court of Central California, according to Courthouse News Service.

In her complaint, Dr. Nikmanesh said Walmart denied her breaks and overtime wages, gave her inaccurate wage statements and terminated her employment wrongfully. She also said the retail giant forced her to study for and take an immunization certification exam but did not compensate her for this off-the-clock work.

During her time as a Walmart pharmacist, Dr. Nikmanesh drew attention to noncompliance issues, claiming the pharmacy charged Medicare patients above the Medi-Cal reimbursement rate and did not provide eligible beneficiaries with their Medicare discounts. She also said Walmart did not

Federal Panel Rules Against Nursing Homes; COVID-19 Lawsuits Belong in State Court

In an early blow to skilled nursing facilities, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against two nursing homes in New Jersey, finding the COVID-19 lawsuits should continue in state court.

Negligence and wrongful-death lawsuits were initially filed in April 2020 in state court against Andover Subacute & Rehabilitation I & II by families of four residents who died of COVID-19. The ruling, issued last week, is believed to be the first decided by a federal appeals court on the matter, according to the opinion.

The lawsuits alleged the facilities did not take precautions to contain the spread of COVID-19, including failing to monitor food preparation, failing to provide personal protective equipment and allowing visitors and employees to enter the facilities without taking their temperatures or making them wear a mask, the ruling stated.

After the lawsuits were filed in state court the nursing home defendants requested the cases be transferred to district court. The district court judge dismissed the case because it lacked jurisdiction and sent it back to state court, according to the opinion. The nursing homes appealed that decision.

The defendant nursing homes argued on appeal that they were covered by the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP), and the cases should be heard in federal court.

U.S. appeals court rules against nursing homes over COVID-19 lawsuits

The nursing homes had argued that the suits against them belonged in federal court, citing an emergency U.S. law known as the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act, which shields those fighting the pandemic from lawsuits.

The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia affirmed a lower court ruling and rejected the nursing homes’ argument that the PREP Act was so far reaching that families’ state-law negligence claims were really federal claims that belonged in federal court.

The families “asserted only garden-variety state-law claims, so state court is where these cases belong,” the court said.

Neil Lapinski, a Gordon, Fournaris & Mammarella attorney who represented the families, said “the court has provided a clear roadmap for litigants” that was consistent with lower court rulings.

The cases were filed in state court in April 2020 by families of four residents who died of COVID-19.

Heartbroken mother warns against aggressive dogs after losing infant to attack

Authorities were called to a home along Apache Lane in Kodak Oct. 19 after reports of a dog attack.

A dog attacked and killed an infant and injured the child’s grandmother, according to officials with the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office. The mother, Tiffany Parker, said 7-month-old Bentley was visiting his grandmother while she was moving into a home a block away. She told WVLT News she eventually heard commotion coming from near her mother’s home and rushed over to check on her son.

Investigators told her the family dog, which Parker said was a St. Bernard, attacked her mother and killed her son. Parker said the dog typically stayed outside when the baby was visiting his grandmother.

“He was so innocent. I know he couldn’t fight for himself and I know my mama did all she could,” said Parker. “That baby was so precious. So full of life. He just

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