SUPREME COURT NOTEBOOK

Justices reject Skilling appeal once again

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court has rejected another appeal from Jeffrey Skilling, the ex-CEO of disgraced energy giant Enron.

The high court on Monday refused to hear his appeal of a lower court's rejection of his theory that a flaw in his earlier trial meant that the whole thing should have been thrown out.

Skilling was convicted in 2006 of conspiracy, securities fraud, insider trading and lying to auditors for his role in the downfall of the once-mighty Houston-based energy giant. The company collapsed into bankruptcy in 2001 under the weight of years of illicit business deals and accounting tricks. Skilling is serving a sentence of more than 24 years at a minimum security prison outside Denver, although he is awaiting resentencing.

In 2010, the Supreme Court said one of his convictions was flawed when it sharply curtailed the use of the "honest services" fraud law, and told the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans to decide whether he deserved a new trial.

The lower court said no, but Skilling's resentencing can move forward.

Court won't hear argument over NFL arbitration

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court won't hear an appeal from the Cleveland Browns in the team's attempt to force into NFL arbitration a lawsuit by former center LeCharles Bentley over his career-ending staph infection.

The high court's decision Monday keeps the case -- and lawsuit -- in Cuyahoga County court in Cleveland.

The team had appealed a July ruling by an Ohio appeals court that said the issue isn't related to the NFL collective bargaining agreement and can be handled in county court.

Bentley says he contracted the infection while rehabbing from a 2006 knee injury at the team's suburban Cleveland facility. The team is accused of failing to tell Bentley about unsanitary conditions and other players who contracted staph.

The team argued that state and federal laws support arbitration over litigation.

Justices refuse

to hear appeal over ministerial exception

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court won't let a woman sue a Maryland church for retaliation after she complained of sexual harassment from its pastor.

The high court refused to hear an appeal from Mary Linklater, who had sued the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, in Gaithersburg, Md., for sexual harassment and retaliation after allegedly being harassed by its pastor, Rufus Lusk III.

The Court of Appeals of Maryland threw out her retaliation complaint under the ministerial exception clause because she was the church's minister of music. The First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of religion shields churches and their operations from the reach of some protective laws when religious employees are involved.

The church also appealed hoping to get Linklater's sexual harassment claims dismissed. The court refused to hear that claim as well.

Published: Wed, Apr 18, 2012

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