Most Private Verdict: Washington Appellate Court Upholds Direct Observation of Urine Samples
Per an appellate court ruling in Washington, an employer’s drug testing requirement that urine sample collection be directly observed is not a violation of employee privacy, according to an article from JD Supra. The lawsuit sprung from a chemical dependency counselor who was given two choices for the exam--one was direct observation of sample collection and a second provided for a private sample after “visual inspection” by an independent healthcare professional. Both choices called for the inspector to be the same gender as the employee. After the employee refused the exam, she was asked to leave the premise. She never returned to work and was ultimately terminated, prompting the lawsuit.
Most Supreme Verdict: SCOTUS punts on Penn. post-Election Day votes
The Supreme Court declined to speed up the review of a “high-profile dispute over Pennsylvania's deadline for mail-in absentee ballots,” but left the possibility for post-election scrutiny open, according to an article from CBS News. The state’s Republican Party asked for the review after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court permitted an extension to collect the mail-in votes through Friday, Nov. 6. County election boards will keep ballots collected after Election Day separate in case there is further review of the matter.
Most Reversed Verdict: Convicted Murderer Freed After 17 Years Behind Bars
Convicted murdered Gary Bennett was found not guilty after a second trial related to the killing of Eva Marie Martin, according to an article from Myrtle Beach Online. Bennett was in prison for murder for 17 years before ultimately being cleared of the slaying. The incident dates back to a robbery plot from 2000 when Bennett, Martin and alleged crime partner Andrew Lindsey disagreed about robbing a Taco Bell safe. The jury deliberated for seven hours over two days.
Most Manipulative Verdict: Sex Cult Leader Gets 120 Years Behind Bars
Keith Raniere, founder of an alleged upstate New York sex cult, was sentenced to 120 years in prison for his role in running a “criminal enterprise” that created a “cult-like sorority where women were sexually exploited and branded with his initials,” according to an article from USA Today. Among some of the women involved in the cult were Seagram’s heiress Clare Bronfman and actress Allison Mack. Both have already pleaded guilty for their roles. Raniere was convicted of seven felonies after the trial, which included testimony about sexual manipulation and forced labor. Raniere used his self-help company NXIVM as a front for his criminal activities.
Most Historic Verdict: Florida Case Conducted Over Video Chat Nets $411M Verdict for Former Army Sgt.
A Florida jury awarded Duane Washington, a former Army sergeant who lives in Gadsden County, $411.7 million after he was paralyzed in a 45-vehicle pileup, according to an article from the Tallahassee Democrat. The record-setting verdict came in what was apparently the first trial in the region to be conducted via video conference. Washington was injured after he crashed his motorcycle into a “stopped truck that had no lights on in the emergency lane” while trying to avoid the pileup by steering into a nearby median on I-10 in the Tallahassee area. The crash was the result of poor weather conditions and purported speeding by a Top Auto commercial driver. Initially, Top Auto rejected a $1 million settlement.