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Monthly Archives: diciembre 2015

(English) Class Action Lawsuit – Historic Cases and Large Cases

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The definition of a class action suit is as follows:

Class Action Lawsuit – Historic Cases and Large Cases by Tijerina Legal GroupCharges advanced in a court by one or more plaintiffs on behalf of a large group of others who have a common interest.

There have been some class-action cases that changed history. Most people are aware of civil action lawsuits like those covered in the movies Erin Brokovich and A Civil Action. Cases where a group of people – for example, the residents of a small town or workers in a certain plant – are suing a large company demonstrate a civil action that is also a class-action.

There have been Supreme Court decisions that originated as civil lawsuits. In the state of Tennessee versus John Thomas Scopes, a Tennessee law was challenged. This law made it unlawful to deny the divine creation (Adam and Eve) and teach the theory of evolution. This law was called the Butler Act. Scopes was a biology teacher who, encouraged by the American civil liberties Union, agreed to teach evolution to his classes. Many subsequent civil action lawsuits followed and the Butler Act was eventually repealed in Tennessee in 1967.

Another case involved a massive civil settlement of $333 million in 1996. The case was brought by the residents of a California town called Hinkley. Pacific Gas and Electric Company was found to have knowingly dumped wastewater into the ground in this area. This wastewater contained chromium 6 — a known carcinogen. Interestingly, a new class-action was filed in 2011 because it was found that the chromium had been spreading, and in the end, Pacific Gas and Electric Company purchased some of the homes and properties in the town.

Another interesting case that affected US history is the Lois E Jensen versus Eveleth Taconite Company. This lawsuit was brought in 1988 and was the first sexual harassment class action suit in America. Lois Jensen along with 14 other female coworkers employed by the Taconite EVTAC mine in Minnesota presented that they were subjected to intimidation and extreme physical harassment from male coworkers and also supervisors of the mine.

The attorneys with the mining company managed to delay the case for a decade but the day before the jury trial was to take place, they settled and provided monetary damages to the group of women.

An example of a large sum class-action was the Nortel Networks case that was settled in 2006. This class-action lawsuit was brought by investors who held stock in Nortel Networks, which at the time was a major supplier of fiber-optic equipment to new, up-and-coming Internet companies. You may remember the Internet bust – when that happened, sales drastically declined. The company created fake accounting entries that showed equipment sales that were not actually happening. This was uncovered and investors won their lawsuit to the tune of 2.4 billion.

Another big time class-action was settled in 2005 for the amount of $2.5 billion. This one also involved investors. Those who invested in AOL Time Warner stock brought the suit alleging that Time Warner had falsely shown revenue generation. What the company was doing was moving money around between accounts in the form of advertising transactions over a period of four years. They were designed to look like income when in reality it was just money shifting from one area to another. These false earning statements constituted fraud and the investors won their class action lawsuit.

These types of cases are fascinating and we will share more of them in an upcoming article. As your McAllen personal injury attorney, we represent victims of big company negligence and recklessness. Call Tijerina Legal Group to discuss your class action lawsuit.

Source of some case information: InfoLaw

(English) History of the United States Supreme Court – Part 2

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Us Supreme Court History - Tijerina Legal FirmIt is interesting to note that when the Constitution was written, the Supreme Court was created as a compromise – middle ground between states’ rights advocates and Federalists. In the first 10 years of operation, the Supreme Court only decided about 50 cases. How greatly it would be used and needed could only have been a point of slight wonder for the founding fathers. But in the years of 1801-1835, under Chief Justice John Marshall, the Supreme Court would prove to be a major aspect of the United States justice system, as it became more involved, more united, and more productive.

It is doubtful that the original writers of our Constitution would have predicted that the Supreme Court would also become a source of great controversy, attack, and opposition.

During the meetings of the very first Congress for our country, congressmen worked to outline a workable national judiciary that would follow the constitution yet still address their concerns. Again, the Federalists and Anti-federalists made their arguments. The law that emerged from this debate was the Judiciary Act of 1789.

Under this historic act, a three-part judiciary was established:

  1. A Supreme Court, consisting of a chief justice and five associate justices (and would meet in Washington, DC)
  2. Three circuit courts, each having two justices of the Supreme Court and a district judge; and
  3. Thirteen district courts, each presided over by one district judge.

The middle tier of this new system — the U.S. circuit courts — acted as the principal trial courts in this newly adopted court system. Each justice was assigned to one of three geographical circuits, and attended the appropriate meetings within the districts of that circuit. The term “circuit riding” came about at this time. Judges usually spent more time on their circuit court duties than their district court duties.

As the ratification process of the Constitution was underway, many citizens voiced fears about the power of an independent federal judiciary. These questioners felt it could threaten state courts and restrict some civil liberties. So, the Judiciary Act responded accordingly, to bring these concerned citizens some reassurance. It allowed state courts to exercise concurrent jurisdiction over many federal questions. It also required federal courts to select juries according to the procedures used by the district’s state courts. Lastly, it guaranteed the right to trial in the district where the defendant lived.

At the same time that debates and decisions were underway involving the Judiciary Act, Congress was discussing the Bill of Rights, and this legislation provided still more assurances that the federal courts would respect certain liberties such as trial by jury.

It became clear that the three-tiered court system was being developed and accepted by the U.S. citizens. And so, to this day, we have a multi-tiered federal court structure that operates in conjunction with state courts—an arrangement conceived in 1789 and still in place today.

Tijerina Legal Group is proud of our country’s history and heritage, and takes the upholding of justice very seriously. We serve McAllen, Brownsville, and surrounding areas of Texas. Contact your dedicated McAllen personal injury attorney to speak with someone committed to your legal rights.