Court Roundup


$41,500 deal is reached on dog’s euthanasia 
CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Carson City supervisors have authorized a $41,500 settlement to avert a lawsuit over city Animal Service’s euthanasia of a dog in July.
The board voted 4-0 on Thursday to approve the payment to Jeraldine Archuleta, owner of the shih tzu named Rollie.
Her lawyer, Cal Dunlap, released a statement praising the city’s action and saying he and Archuleta have “accomplished (their) goals” with the settlement.
The case came to light when Archuleta wrote a letter to the Nevada Appeal explaining that she tried to retrieve her dog from the shelter the day after it was picked up but was told she’d have to pay $100 within 72 hours.
Archuleta said she asked for more time to pay the $100 but was unable to come up with the money fast enough. Rollie was euthanized on July 30, five days after it was impounded.
“I cannot believe that the staff at the animal clinic were so uncooperative and not willing to allow me a few days to get the funds together,” Archuleta wrote.
Carson City supervisors concluded the case would have involved extensive legal work or a trial had a lawsuit been filed, the Appeal reported.
“Thus, the risk of attorney’s fees and costs to litigate this matter would be substantially more than this pre-litigation settlement amount which fairly compensates both claimant and her attorney,” a city document to supervisors states.
Randy Munn, chief deputy district attorney, said “indisputable facts” in the case included an Animal Services code change in May that allowed for 10-day boarding under protective custody at an owner’s expense of animals under city control.
Under the previous ordinance, there was a 72-hour waiting period before such an animal became city property.
The city also is being sued by the former animal services manager who says she was defamed and unfairly ousted from her job because of public outrage over the death.
New Jersey
Lawyer may face long sentence on murder charges 
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — More than four years after his arrest, a once notable New Jersey defense attorney faces sentencing on a host of counts including murder and racketeering.
The saga of Paul Bergrin dates back to May 2009, when he and several associates were arrested and charged with running Bergrin’s law business as a criminal enterprise. The U.S. Attorney’s Office charged Bergrin with more than 30 counts including racketeering, setting up the murder of a witness, money laundering and drug offenses.
A first trial on two murder counts ended in a hung jury two years ago. But in March a jury convicted Bergrin on nearly two dozen counts. The other defendants had already pleaded guilty.
Bergrin, a former assistant U.S. attorney, once represented entertainers Lil’ Kim, Queen Latifah and rappers Naughty By Nature.
Judge scolds 2 lawyers for juror contact after trial 
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — A federal judge says defense lawyers working for imprisoned former kosher slaughterhouse manager Sholom Rubashkin violated a court rule by contacting jurors who convicted him of bank fraud in 2009.
U.S. District Judge Linda Reade ruled Monday that Des Moines attorney Guy Cook and Kansas City attorney James Wyrsch violated a rule that bars attorneys and their investigators from contacting jurors without court permission.
Reade says she will decide how to punish them at a future hearing.
Reade called Monday’s hearing after jurors reported being contacted by private investigators working for Rubashkin as he prepares an appeal of his 27-year prison term.
In one case, Rubashkin’s daughter made an emotional appeal at a juror’s home.
An inquiry into the contacts revealed Cook’s law firm also contacted jurors in December 2009.


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