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Calif. high court agrees to hear teen smoking case Joe Camel may be long gone, but the so-called “Joe Camel Generation” lives on, and could be headed toward a court collision with Joe’s creators. The California Supreme Court agreed last week to decide whether four tobacco companies-including Joe Camel progenitor R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.-can be sued under the state’s unfair competition law for allegedly targeting teens with provocative and deceptive cigarette ads. The smoking suit was filed as a class action on behalf of all California residents younger than 18 who smoked one or more cigarettes between April 2, 1994, and Dec. 31, 1999. In re Tobacco Cases II, No. JCCP 4042, S129522. ABA adopts a new set of principles for juries The American Bar Association’s House of Delegates adopted Principles for Juries and Jury Trials at its mid-year meeting last week in Salt Lake City. The principles, among many other things, encourage a return to unanimous 12-person juries where feasible, allow jurors to discuss evidence as a civil trial unfolds, prohibit surveillance of jurors and prospective jurors without court consent and require reimbursement for childcare. The principles seek to create standards on juror comprehension aids, jury selection and other issues, such as the treatment of jurors. [NLJ, 8-9-04]. Panel reverses judge who settled clergy cases A Los Angeles Superior Court judge won points for innovation last week, but he was reversed all the same by an intermediate appellate court for stepping out of bounds as a settlement judge in dozens of clergy sexual abuse cases. It was proper, even creative, for Judge Peter Lichtman to hold a two-day hearing to estimate a reasonable settlement value for about 90 cases against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange County, the California 2d District Court of Appeal said. But Lichtman went too far when he told the parties they could use his “valuation order” in other courtrooms as evidence in future bad-faith proceedings. “The court abandoned its designated role as a neutral facilitator without decision-making authority,” wrote Court of Appeal Justice Laurence Rubin. Justices Candace Cooper and Madeleine Flier concurred. EEOC collects $420M The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission collected a record $420 million for aggrieved workers last year, when the number of complaints filed with the government was down slightly from the previous 12 months. The EEOC received 79,432 discrimination complaints against private employers and state and local governments in the year ending Sept. 30, 2004. The figure was down from the 81,293 complaints in 2003, and below the seven-year high of 84,442 recorded in 2002. Last year, the EEOC resolved 85,259 discrimination cases, down slightly from 2003, including some cases pending from previous years. Bush judicial nominees are back for Round II President Bush last week sent the Senate 20 judicial nominees, including several who were blocked in his first term, signaling a new fight with Democrats. Bush sent back 12 nominees for the U.S. courts of appeals-4th Circuit, Terrence W. Boyle and William James Haynes II; 5th Circuit, Priscilla Richman Owen; 6th Circuit, David W. McKeague, Susan Bieke Neilson, Henry W. Saad and Richard A. Griffin; 9th Circuit, William Gerry Myers III; 11th Circuit, William H. Pryor, who received a recess appointment from Bush after Democrats blocked his nomination; and District of Columbia Circuit, Janice Rogers Brown, Brett M. Kavanaugh and Thomas B. Griffith. Bush also renominated eight people to less controversial U.S. district court positions: Hawaii, J. Michael Seabright; Eastern District of Michigan, Sean F. Cox, Thomas L. Ludington and Daniel P. Ryan; New Jersey, Peter G. Sheridan; Southern District of New York, Paul A. Crotty; Eastern District of North Carolina, James C. Dever III; and Western District of North Carolina, Robert J. Conrad. The nominations will go back through the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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