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WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to consider a discrimination case in which a Coca-Cola bottling company fired a black employee, one of seven cases the court added to its docket. Coca-Cola asked the Supreme Court to hear the lawsuit, which involves allegations that a supervisor of employee Stephen Peters was motivated by racial bias and influenced a human resources manager to fire the worker. Such circumstances are sometimes referred to as “cat’s paw” or “rubber stamp” liability. Coca-Cola fired Peters for insubordination after he refused a request to work on a weekend during his scheduled days off. A federal appeals court reinstated a lawsuit brought on Peters’ behalf by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The appeals court said a federal judge placed too much emphasis on the fact that Peters’ immediate supervisor made no express recommendation to fire him. In asking the court to hear the case, the company asked the justices to consider when an employer may be held liable for intentional discrimination when the person who fired an employee harbored no discriminatory bias. Peters worked at the Coca-Cola facility in Albuquerque, N.M. The case is BCI Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Los Angeles v. EEOC, 06-341. The other appeals the court accepted involve: -Another death sentence from Texas, the fourth this term. Lawyers for Scott Louis Panetti, who killed his estranged wife’s parents in 1992, said he has suffered from severe mental illness for 25 years and should be spared the death penalty. Panetti wore a purple cowboy costume during his 1995 capital murder trial and tried to subpoena Jesus Christ and John F. Kennedy. Lower courts have found him mentally competent to be executed. -An environmental dispute over federal agencies’ responsibilities to protect endangered species. The Environmental Protection Agency contested an appeals court ruling that blocked EPA from transferring authority to issue water pollution permits to the state of Arizona. EPA did not do enough to ensure that endangered species would not be harmed if the state took over the permitting, the appeals court said. The case turns on the interaction of two federal laws, the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act, which set out different standards for federal agencies to meet. EPA said it complied with the Clean Water Act requirements in its decision to give Arizona control over whether to issue water pollution permits for development projects. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, however, agreed with the Defenders of Wildlife environmental group, which argued that EPA has a duty to consider whether endangered species might be harmed by the transfer. -A battle between a private prep school and the Tennessee athletic association to which it belongs over the school’s recruiting practices for its powerhouse football team. Brentwood Academy in suburban Nashville has won a string of court rulings in a long-running fight over alleged recruiting violations. -A securities fraud lawsuit by stockholders of Naperville, Ill.-based Tellabs Inc. At issue is the legal standard for proceeding in the courts with shareholder allegations of securities fraud. -A dispute over the rights of home care workers to overtime pay. An appeals court has twice said the workers, employed by agencies rather than families, are entitled to overtime. -The question of how to determine who is liable for the loss of a shipment of cigars and cigar bands that traveled by sea from Puerto Rico to Jacksonville, Fla., and then was stolen from a truck in Florida. Arguments will take place before the end of April.

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