Tags: HHS, Hobby Lobby Notre Dame’s third request for relief from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate requiring the University’s insurance plan to cover contraception was denied Feb. 21, but the Supreme Court heard oral arguments March 25 on other cases against Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Secretary of the Department of HHS.The Court will rule on Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius, two consolidated cases brought by companies owned by Christian families.Like Notre Dame’s lawsuit, these two cases center on contraceptive coverage and religious liberty. Currently, the University must provide contraceptive coverage under an “accommodation” that allows it to use its third-party health care administrator Meritain Health.In its most recent request for relief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, Notre Dame argued that this agreement with Meritain Health regarding the University providing birth control is against its Catholic beliefs.Notre Dame law professor Richard Garnett, who specializes in freedom of religion and constitutional law, said the University and the companies fall under different rules due to their institutional differences.“Notre Dame is obviously a ‘religious’ institution and a non-profit, while Hobby Lobby is a for-profit business operating in the commercial sector,” he said. “The ‘accommodation’ that Notre Dame is currently subject to is different in form from the rule that applies to Hobby Lobby.”Because Hobby Lobby is not presently eligible for the accommodation Notre Dame has, Garnett said the company is seeking a different exemption under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).“Hobby Lobby is seeking an exemption, under RFRA, from the requirement that they include certain contraceptives — not all, in Hobby Lobby’s case — which Hobby Lobby believes can operate as abortifacients,” he said.Garnett said while the Constitution, as the Court has interpreted it, “almost certainly does not entitle Hobby Lobby to an exception,” RFRA was enacted by Congress precisely for the purpose of providing more generous accommodations to religious objectors than the Constitution requires.Accommodating religion by statute is more flexible, he said, but if the Court rules in favor of Hobby Lobby, Congress has the chance to respond and change the final outcome.“If the Court rules for Hobby Lobby and Congress disagrees with that result, it has the authority to revise RFRA and, say, exclude business corporations from the Act’s coverage,” Garnett said.The parallels between Notre Dame’s case and Hobby Lobby’s center on the institutions’ understanding of their “religious exercise” rights, he said.“In all of these cases, the employers are saying that it would burden their legally protected ‘religious exercise’ rights to apply the relevant preventative-services-coverage provision to them,” he said.A February statement from Paul Browne, University vice president for public affairs and communications, maintained that Notre Dame is “concerned that if government is allowed to entangle a religious institution of higher education like Notre Dame in one area contrary to conscience, it’s given license to do so in others.” Garnett said this concern is “certainly legitimate.”“Of course, to say that the concern is legitimate is not to say that other burdensome regulations that interfere with or burden Notre Dame’s Catholic character are guaranteed, or to predict what form they will take,” he said. “But, the logic of the government’s argument in the HHS mandate context is one that underemphasizes and underappreciates the extent to which the University of Notre Dame does ‘exercise religion,’ and does have a religious-liberty right to pursue a distinctive vision and mission, animated by a distinctive charism.”Browne told The Observer on Tuesday that Notre Dame’s attorneys “are engaged in a review of options available to us” concerning the case.
Shawnee Mission Health sets new record for most babies delivered at a metro hospital. Shawnee Mission Health’s Birth Center welcomed a record 5,092 babies in 2016, breaking last year’s record of 5,000. Shawnee Mission delivers more babies than any other hospital in the Kansas City metro. Among the deliveries in 2016 were 2,489 boys, 2,603 girls and 96 sets of multiples. Of interest, August — 40 weeks after the Royals won the 2015 World Series — saw the highest delivery count of any month at 465.Johnson County Library Foundation receives grant from Kauffman Foundation. The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation has announced an $87,000 gift to the Johnson County Library Foundation to support the library’s youth literacy and K-12 academic programs. The grant funding will be used throughout 2017 in four programs: 6 by 6 Ready to Read; Latino children literacy programs; Homework Help/Tutor.com; and Summer Reading.
Court warns lawyers about bad-mouthing their clients August 1, 2012 Regular News A lawyer who criticized a client in court filings and elsewhere, after being dismissed by that client, has been suspended for a year by the Florida Supreme Court.The court also found the attorney guilty of violating Bar Rule 4-1.6 (confidentiality of information) when it went beyond the grievance referee’s recommendation of a 90-day suspension and the Bar’s request for a 91-day rehabilitative suspension. The referee had found the attorney guilty of violating Rule 4-8.4(d) (conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice) but acquitted her of other violations, including Rule 4-1.6. The Bar asked the court to reverse that Rule 4-1.6 finding.The case revolved around the attorney representing the client in an extended immigration matter. Four days before a hearing in 2009, the attorney filed a motion to withdraw, saying the client had given her a check for $1,000 that had insufficient funds and implied it was for the immigration case. The check actually originated from a separate automobile accident where the attorney also represented the client.“Respondent [the attorney] also stated in the motion that she regretted helping her client, who had been rightly convicted of grand theft, and that respondent’s office had received reports from the Romanian community that her client had robbed them,” the opinion stated. “Respondent asserted in the motion that her client would not be prejudiced by her withdrawal as attorney.”Subsequently, the attorney and client worked out their differences with the client agreeing to pay additional fees and the attorney withdrew the motion. A few months later, the client decided to retain new counsel, and the attorney again filed a motion to withdraw and “asserted in her motion that she had received more reports that her client had intentionally failed to honor her contractual promises and had refused to pay for fulfilled work assignments.”The attorney then told an assistant state attorney assigned to the client’s criminal case that “she had reason to believe her client would lie to the immigration court at an upcoming hearing.” The prosecutor also anonymously received confidential paperwork from that immigration case, and the attorney was the only person known to possess that paperwork.The court rejected the claim that the disclosures were allowed under Rule 4-1.6(b)(1) to prevent a crime. The court said it was not clear a crime was going to be committed and if it was, the proper party to inform was the immigration court, not the assistant state attorney.The court noted it was uncontested that the attorney violated Rule 4-8.4(d), which, among other things, prohibits disparaging or humiliating litigants.“[W]e write to emphasize the inappropriateness of Respondent’s actions in violating her client’s sacred trust,” the court said, noting the attorney claimed the client did not honor checks of contracts, had robbed members of the Romanian community, and “most egregiously. . . brazenly asserted” the client had rightfully been convicted of grand theft and that the attorney regretted helping the client.“Such disparaging language is needless and has no place in a public court pleading, especially when the statements are made by an attorney and are directed at the attorney’s own client. Unbridled language of this sort harms the client and causes the public to lose faith in the legal profession. Respondent’s conduct was highly prejudicial to the administration of justice and cannot be tolerated,” the court said.The court said the one-year suspension was justified because the lawyer had received a public reprimand for similar conduct in another case and because of the nature of the lawyer’s actions.“When lawyers desire to withdraw from representing a client, they are not entitled to act in such a manner.“A lawyer who is upset with her client is not permitted to turn on her client and begin disparaging and betraying her. Rather, the lawyer must maintain client confidences, even after withdrawing from representation,” the court said. The court acted July 12 in case no. 10-1019. Court warns lawyers about bad-mouthing their clients
Get the stadium deal movingThere are many ideas for a new Viking’s stadium, but nobody’s acted on them. David SteinbergSeptember 28, 2011Jump to CommentsShare on FacebookShare on TwitterShare via EmailPrintBy now everyone has heard something about the issues surrounding a new VikingâÄôs stadium âÄî although there are now so many possibilities of what that âÄúsomethingâÄù could be that itâÄôs hard to keep track.Will it be in Minneapolis? Arden Hills? What about the new roof and turf that was just installed at the Metrodome? And what will the team do in the interim once the lease has expired while waiting for a new venue to be established? These are just some of the questions weâÄôve heard at this point, with few corresponding answers.With the state government shutdown still in the rearview mirror, politicians keep pushing this issue down the road. However, with the Metrodome lease expiration looming this coming February, they must make decisions soon.Both the Vikings management and the state government have stated that Arden Hills is their priority. Yet how this endeavor will be paid for is still unknown. A Ramsey County estimate would ask for $407 million from the Vikings, $300 million from the state and $350 million from the county through an increased sales tax. But questions persist about whether the public, including those with no interest in the team, should have to pay for a new stadium. Complicating things, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and Minneapolis City Council President Barbara Johnson wrote a letter to Gov. Mark Dayton requesting $30.5 million from the state for what the city of Minneapolis has done to preserve the Metrodome throughout its 30 years. While R.T. Rybak is not against the Arden Hills proposal and Dayton is not against the repayment to Minneapolis, no decisions have been made.Someone must act on these ideas âÄî and soon âÄî to create a viable option for all parties. Otherwise, the only option might be another one that has been floating around for a while: complete team relocation. David Steinberg welcomes comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Camp will be responsible for strengthening relationships and attracting new business in the areas of breakbulk, liquid and dry bulk, project, auto and reefer cargoes.Prior to joining JAXPORT, Camp served as marketing representative for the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority. www.jaxport.com
Over the course of the past seven days we have seen a number of new capital project and contract awards. Saipem secured USD850 million of drilling contracts; Alstom inked a USD540 million deal for a power station in Mexico; while China is set to develop nuclear power stations in Argentina and Romania.UK ministers have given the go-ahead for the expansion of fracking operations in the country – which will allow drilling in protected areas and national parks in “exceptional circumstances”.The British government will invite firms to bid for onshore exploration licences for the first time in six years. Competition to explore the country’s newfound shale reserves is likely to be high, despite fierce protests from environmental campaigners. Italian oil and gas contractor Saipem has been awarded new drilling contracts in Indonesia, Nigeria, the Arabian Gulf and Latin America worth approximately USD850 million – USD540 million of which relate to offshore works. http://www.saipem.com/site/home/press/business/articolo6423.html Statoil awarded the Technip-DeepOcean PRS joint venture a new five-year frame agreement for pipeline repair system (PRS) pool services. http://investors-en.technip.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=110877&p=irol-news&nyo=0 Technip also secured a two subsea construction projects from Maersk Oil for the Valdemar & Roar Gas Lift project as well as the Rolf Replacement Pipeline project, located on the Danish Continental Shelf, approximately 250 km offshore Esbjerg. Technip’s operating centre in Oslo will execute the project and vessels from the group’s fleet will perform the offshore installation in summer 2015. http://investors-en.technip.com Leighton Contractors, as part of the Wellington Gateway Partnership (WGP), has closed a public private partnership agreement with the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) for delivery of the USD850 million Transmission Gully Motorway. WGP will finance, design and construct the project, and then operate and maintain the 27 km motorway from 2020 for a period of 25 years. http://www.hochtief.com/hochtief_en/200.jhtml?pid=9617 Nordex has received a contract for the construction of a wind farm in Uruguay. Once fully operational, 20 turbines will generate 200,000 MWh of clean electricity a year in the north east of the country, around 60 km from the Brazilian border. The customer is a subsidiary of one of Italy’s largest utilities. http://www.nordex-online.com/en/news-press/news-detail.html?tx_ttnews Skanska has secured a two-year contract from integrated support services company, Carillion, to deliver the mechanical and electrical shell, core and fit-out works for 866 prime residential apartments, as part of Phase 1 of the Battersea Power Station redevelopment in London, UK. The contract is worth about USD151 million. http://news.cision.com/skanska/r/skanska-awarded-contract-for-phase-1-of-the-battersea-power-stations-redevelopment-in-the-uk–worth-,c9621410 A consortium of STRABAG and Heilit+Woerner has signed a EUR130 million contract for the construction of a stretch of the S7 Trasa Nwohucka expressway in eastern Kraków. Construction is scheduled to start in August/September 2014. http://www.strabag.com/databases/internet/_public/content.nsf/web/SE-PRESSE.COM-index_e.html Keadby Wind Farm Limited has notified the UK’s Planning Inspectorate to extend its existing wind farm by 10 turbines. http://infrastructure.planningportal.gov.uk/projects/yorkshire-and-the-humber/keadby-wind-farm-extension/ Alstom has been awarded contracts worth approximately USD450 million to supply a power island for Iberdrola’s Monterrey III combined-cycle power plant in Pesqueria, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. The new unit will consist of one GT24 gas turbine, a steam turbine and a heat recovery steam generator (HRSG). http://www.alstom.com/press-centre/2014/7/alstom-to-supply-major-equipment-and-maintenance-package-for-iberdrolas-monterrey-iii-power-plant/ A proposed uranium mine in the East Pilbara, Australia, has been given conditional approval by Western Australia’s environmental watchdog. https://consultation.epa.wa.gov.au/communications/environmental-review-and-management-programme-kint-1/consult_view World Nuclear News reports that an agreement has been signed by the governments of Argentina and China to build a third pressurized heavy water reactor at the Atucha nuclear power plant in Argentina. China Nuclear Power Engineering Co (CNPEC) has also signed a binding agreement with Candu Energy for the construction of two more reactors at the Cernavoda nuclear power plant in Romania. http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NN-China-signs-Candu-deals-with-Romania-and-Argentina-2507145.html Costain has been appointed by oil and gas contractor Perenco for EPC services for the environmental upgrade of the Dimlington gas terminal on Humberside. http://www.costain.com/news/news-releases/2014/7/29/costain-wins-epc-contract-extension-with-perenco.aspx DC Hidro Enerji Üretim has awarded Pöyry with the feasibility studies and final design services assignments for Doganli 1, Doganli 2, Doganli 3 and Çukurca dams and hydroelectric power plants in Turkey. The hydro projects located on the Zap River in the eastern part of Turkey, and developed by private investors in Turkey. The combined installed capacity of all four projects is around 735 MW with an annual generation of 2.246 GWH. http://www.poyry.com/news-events/news/poyry-awarded-feasibility-and-final-design-assignments-hydropower-projects-turkey KBR has received a letter of award from Hyundai Heavy Industries to perform engineering design services for the Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company Al-Nasr Full Field Development project, located offshore Abu Dhabi. The Al-Nasr Package 2 facilities consist of a multi-platform super complex that includes central processing facilities, accommodation, utilities, flares, bridges and power distribution. The Al-Nasr offshore oil field is located approximately 80 miles northwest of Abu Dhabi in the Arabian Gulf. http://www.kbr.com/Newsroom/Press-Releases/2014/07/25/KBR-Awarded-Major-Engineering-Design-Contract-by-Hyundai-Heavy-Industries-Co-Limited-for-the-Al-Nasr-Full-Field-Development-Project/ AME Info reports that major global energy players have placed bids for stakes in Abu Dhabi’s onshore oil fields, capable of producing 1.6 million barrels per day. http://ameinfo.com/blog/energy-oil-and-gas/bidding-abu-dhabis-onshore-oil-fields-starts/ OAO Gazprom reported that Turkey has approved the environmental impact assessment (EIA) for the South Stream gas pipeline in the Black Sea. The first pipe-laying vessel is slated to enter the Turkish exclusive economic zone in first-quarter 2015. The pipeline’s offshore section will have four strings, each more than 930 km long. http://www.ogj.com/articles/2014/07/turkey-approves-environmental-assessment-for-south-stream.html Maritime Executive reports that Northern Petroleum has been awarded two permits in Italy. One permit, Cascina Alberto, is onshore in the Po Valley and the other, C.R149.NP, is offshore in the Sicily Channel adjacent to the Northern Petroleum operated permit C.R146.NP. http://www.maritime-executive.com/pressrelease/Northern-Petroleum-Awarded-Italian-permits-2014-07-25 Engineering design firm AECOM Technology Corporation has acquired Hunt Construction Group, significantly adding to AECOM’s construction services business.http://investors.aecom.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=131318&p=RssLanding&cat=news&id=1952279 Rio Tinto will divest Rio Tinto Coal Mozambique, which comprises the Benga coal mine and other projects in the Tete province of Mozambique, to International Coal Ventures Private Limited (ICVL) for USD50 million.http://riotinto.msgfocus.com/files/amf_rio_tinto/project_37/140730_Rio_Tinto_agrees_sale_of_coal_assets_in_Mozambique.pdf ConocoPhillips has completed the sale of its Nigerian upstream business to Oando Energy Resources for a price of USD1.5 billion. http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20140730005364/en/ConocoPhillips-Completes-Sale-Nigeria-Business#.U9jsuKiqO3U
The head of the standard bearer for alternative business structures has admitted the company grew too fast in its early years.Matt Howells (pictured), managing director of Co-operative Legal Services, spoke as the business – the first big non-lawyer consumer brand to enter the new legal market in 2012 – posted losses of £5.1m for the first half of 2014.That figure was 70% up on the same period in 2013, bringing total losses in the last 18 months to more than £14m. Revenues for the first half of 2014 were down by 28%, from £18m to £13m.The losses were blamed on the costs associated with a year of job cuts and rebuilding the business.Howells, who joined CLS in April 2014, revealed that staff numbers are now down to around 400, from a peak of more than 500 in January 2013. And he lifted the lid on the Co-op’s struggle to cope with the rapid expansion that followed the high-profile grant of an ABS licence.‘We grew very quickly and those costs had nowhere to go when the revenue was not coming in,’ he said. ‘The problem was the pace we executed our strategy. We grew far too quickly. There is always a balance between how much noise you make and the attention you want to draw. What you can now expect is a business that is very clear on what it’s trying to achieve.‘We have started to look at what is the right size and shape of the organisation.’Howells said the firm has ‘100% backing’ from the Co-op group, which has absorbed the losses of the past two years, but admitted it has to start turning a profit in 2015. CLS is earmarked to break even in the second half of this year.The former Barclays managing director said probate, wills and family divisions had all brought in revenue in line with expectations, with personal injury income suffering following reforms to the sector.Howells insisted CLS can prosper despite its early setbacks and said he still believes the company has something different to offer compared with traditional firms.‘The reason we’re here is to offer customers an alternative solution,’ he added.‘We’ve tried exceptionally hard to give customers transparent, fixed-fee pricing.‘There is always going to be a need for the high-street [firm] and customers who want that. The key thing is to be an alternative. We need to be more realistic.
The profession’s commitment to pro bono work is declining, a respected annual bellwether suggests.Thomson Reuters Foundation’s latest TrustLaw Index of Pro Bono reports that fee-earners in England and Wales clocked 21.6 hours in the last 12 months, down on the 22.5 hours reported in last year’s index.The proportion of fee-earners who did 10 or more hours has fallen from 35.8% in 2015 to 27.6%.The global snapshot shows that lawyers in China do more pro bono hours than England and Wales, at 37.3 per fee-earner. Regional analysis for Asia-Pacific shows a 38% increase in the average number of pro bono hours per fee-earner over the past year, from 17.5 hours to 24.2. The proportion of fee-earners doing 10 or more hours increased from 21.8% last year to 31%.Thomson Reuters Foundation CEO Monique Villa (pictured) said China was ‘definitely the country to watch’.‘Only 10 years ago, pro bono in China was a niche practice, but today the country has overtaken the amount of hours in England and other countries with solid pro bono traditions,’ she added.In England and Wales, partner engagement in pro bono nevertheless remains strong, with 40.5% spending time on pro bono work this year compared to 37.8% last time.Regional analysis also shows that the number of in-house legal teams who are setting up formal pro bono programmes within their corporations has increased.’In-house lawyers are typically not covered by professional indemnity insurance for pro bono work but lawyers are finding ways around this barrier by, for example, collaborating with law firms on joint pro bono projects,’ the index states.The survey covers data from more than 130 law firms, representing 64,500 lawyers in 75 countries.Immigration, refugees and asylum were cited as the key focus areas for pro bono work by 41.4% of firms across the globe, compared to 28% the previous year.Villa said: ‘The ongoing refugee crisis poses unprecedented challenges for Europe and the rest of the world. We are seeing a worrying increase in the number of migrants illegally detained, including unaccompanied children.‘Lawyers are stepping up to provide life-changing support, and this is undoubtedly a beautiful story of solidarity in action.’