Woman drives a $50,000 lemon into federal court
The U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals overruled a district judge’s dismissal of a lawsuit from a woman who complained she’d been sold a “lemon” by a New York car dealer. Ordinarily, such complaints don’t rise to the level of federal court review. The appeals court said the sale was subject to the Magnuson-Moss Warranty—Federal Trade Commission Improvement Act, and that the $51,195 payment for the vehicle narrowly exceeded the federal court’s $50,000 amount-in-controversy requirement.
Hospital’s press release leads to $2.4 million fine
The Department of Health and Human Services said a Texas hospital will pay $2.4 million because it published a patient’s name in a press release that was distributed to about 15 news media outlets. The patient, identified through police records as Blanca Borrego, 44, was arrested by Houston police for using a false driver’s license. Releasing information about Borrego to police is permissible, but HHS said that including her name in a press release violated the patient privacy rules of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA). Borrego has been identified as an illegal alien who has lived in the U.S. for about 12 years.
New Mexico man indicted for dog fighting
Robert Arellano, 63, of Albuquerque, N.M., was indicted by a federal grand jury for violating the dog fighting prohibitions of the Animal Welfare Act. The Department of Justice said Arellano was previously charged in New Jersey for transporting, buying and receiving pit bull dogs for dog fights throughout the U.S.
Census report: Voting rates in 2016 election
Voter turnout in the 2016 presidential election was a déjà vu experience for U.S. Census Bureau statisticians. The turnout rate of 61.4% of the nation’s total voting-age population was nearly identical to the 61.8% rate of voter participation in 2012. A statistical review found that Millennial voters aged 18 to 29 were the only age group that experienced an increased turnout, going from 45.0% in 2012 to 46.1% in 2016.
Montana’s glaciers are evaporating
Data from the U.S. Geological Survey confirms that glaciers are disappearing at a quickening pace in Montana where only 26 glaciers remain larger than 25 acres. Comparatively, there were 150 glaciers larger than 25 acres (the minimum size a glacier must have to be considered a glacier) in the early 1900s. USGS said the evaporation is significant “because of the impact shrinking glaciers can have on tourism.” Montana’s Glacier National Park attracted 2.9 million tourists last year.
Barclays settles SEC charges for $97 million
Barclays Investment Bank, the London-based financial giant formerly known as Barclays Capital, will pay $97 million to resolve three sets of violations, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said. Among other things, the banking firm was accused of collecting excess fees from 22,138 accounts due to miscalculations and billing errors. The SEC said nearly $50 million of the settlement will be used to make refunds to harmed clients, and $30 million is a penalty.
Free night lights are not a bargain
The Consumer Product Safety Commission said 37,000 night lights that were distributed as a free promotional item by AM Conservation Group Inc., of Charleston, S.C., are being recalled because they can overheat and cause a fire hazard. CPSC said 14 incidents of the night lights’ smoking or smoldering have been reported, none of the incidents causing injury.
ACLU sues New Hampshire over voter signatures
The American Civil Liberties Union accused New Hampshire of violating the U.S. Constitution and the Americans With Disabilities Act by invalidating absentee ballots when voters’ signatures on a pair of voting documents do not match. The ACLU lawsuit questioned the validity of New Hampshire’s signature-matching law, claiming that “of the approximately 500,000 absentee ballots cast during general elections since 1996, the State identified only two verified cases of voter impersonation by absentee ballot.”
FOIA seeks Nigerian oil bribery documents
Public Citizen submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for Department of Justice documents that could shed light on a 2010 deferred prosecution agreement which was signed by Royal Dutch Shell to avoid having to pay a fine for Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations. PC’s request for documents follows recent revelations that Royal Dutch Shell may have violated the agreement in 2011 by participating in a billion dollar bribery scheme in Nigeria.
Study: Employers steal $15 billion from workers’ pay
A study from the pro-labor Democrat-leaning Economic Policy Institute estimates that employers steal $15 billion a year from their workers by not paying the federal minimum wage of $9 per hour ($7.25 for employers who offer health insurance benefits). An audit of minimum wage violations in 10 states—California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas—found that 2.4 million workers lose $8 billion annually.
Rip ‘n Read is a daily compilation of press releases found on hundreds of websites that are maintained by the federal government, think tanks, watchdog groups and national advocacy organizations. Press releases selected for this feature are, in the opinion of the editor, exceptionally newsworthy, interesting or just plain curious.
The press releases and documents linked to this report were posted on their websites on Wednesday, May 10