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English: Seal of the Supreme Court of California

English: Seal of the Supreme Court of California (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The newest member of the California Supreme Court could be from Mexico. Today, Governor Jerry Brown announced his nomination of Mexican-born Stanford law professor Mariano-Florentino Cuellar to the state’s high court, reported the Los Angeles Times.

Born in Matamoros, Mexico, Cuellar crossed the border by foot for years to attend school in Texas before moving to the Imperial Valley with his family at the age of 14. He went on to receive a bachelor’s degree from Harvard College, a law degree from Yale Law School, and a doctorate in political science from Stanford. If elected, he will fill the vacancy created when Justice Marvin R. Baxter retires in January.

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In response to the discovery that a popular NFL team had instituted a bounty system in which players received bonuses for intentionally injuring targets on rival teams, the league dealt the team in question, the New Orleans Saints, a harsh blow by suspending its head coach for one year and withholding its draft picks, among other penalties. When players purposely inflict harm on one another, however, the consequences could extend beyond the field.

“Granted, players assume the risk of the game,” explained California personal injury attorney James Ballidis, “but, in the case of bounties, civil actions could arise.”

The NFL began investigating the bounty scheme after an unnamed player reported that the Saints were targeting high-ticket players on their opponents’ teams, including Kurt Warner, reported The New York Times. Although the initial claim could not be corroborated, new evidence came to light in late 2011, and the NFL found sufficient information to uncover the details of the scheme.

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Countless Facebook users in California and throughout the United States found themselves serving as unwitting spokespeople for companies in Facebook advertisements. Facebook has now agreed to pay $10 million in response to a lawsuit from disgruntled users, explains a California personal injury lawyer.

Social media giant Facebook has a unique model for advertising that has proven very lucrative for the company. Facebook users who “Like” products by clicking the “Like” button on their Facebook pages became de facto spokespeople for the products they liked, appearing in Sponsored Stories advertising the products.

According to statements made by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg as well as other statements by Facebook executives, sponsored stories may be between two and three times more profitable when sold to advertisers than other types of Facebook advertisements.

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In May of 2012, the Los Angeles Times reported on a fight following a Dodgers game that took place in the parking lot of the California stadium. The fight occurred after a minor traffic accident. During the fight, three men allegedly knocked the victim to the ground and beat and kicked him while his pregnant girlfriend watched. As the fight was ongoing, a bystander tracked down a security guard who stepped in to stop the incident. Fortunately, the victim suffered only cuts and bruises while three of the men who were involved in the fight were arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon.

“This fight was not the first of its kind at Dodger Stadium,” explained California personal injury attorney James Ballidis. “In fact, litigation to remedy the damages that resulted from the last incident is currently underway.”

One of the most recent and widely-known examples of spectator or fan violence also occurred at this same stadium in 2011 on Opening Day when a San Francisco Giants fan named Bryan Stow was brutally attacked and suffered severe brain damage as a result.

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Following the fatal shooting last February of African American teenager Trayvon Martin by 28-year-old neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in Florida, several questions have arisen concerning the state’s self-defense laws, specifically its “Stand Your Ground” rule and how it will impact the second-degree murder case against Zimmerman.

“Although general rules exist for the use of deadly force in instances of self-defense, the legal justification for it varies from state to state,” explains California personal injury attorney James Ballidis.

The Stand Your Ground rule, which is found in Florida code section 776.012, states that, “A person is justified in using force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force. However, a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if:

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In early March of 2012, the Los Angeles Times reported that the court system in Los Angeles County is scheduled to lay off an estimated 350 employees in June. This layoff will result in more than 50 courtrooms being restructured. Unfortunately, it is not the first reduction over the past two years. Staff has already been reduced by 10 percent-around 500 employees-as a result of layoffs prompted by deep cuts in state funding.

“Understaffed courts could cause delays and added expense for plaintiffs,” said California personal injury lawyer James Ballidis.

Among those likely to be cut in order to save an estimated $30 million in staffing costs include courtroom assistants, court reporters and other non-courtroom staff. The cuts will affect all matters handled within the Los Angeles County Superior Court system, including juvenile courts, and the presiding judge drafted a four page memo indicating that the “changes will affect every judicial officer and staff member–as well as the millions of attorneys and litigants who depend upon our courts to deliver justice.”

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