National Roundup

California: Buzz Aldrin sues trading-card company Topps
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Former lunar astronaut Buzz Aldrin is not over the moon about the use of his photo on a series of trading cards.

The 80-year-old Aldrin sued Topps Inc. this week in federal court in Los Angeles, saying the company had unfairly profited from his historic achievement when they used an iconic photograph of Aldrin standing on the moon in a series of "American Heroes" trading cards.

Topps attorney Michael Kahn told the Los Angeles Times that the firm has a First Amendment right to include a factual description of the Apollo 11 mission and it included an image of Aldrin in his lunar suit because he is "an American hero."

The lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages and an order prohibiting Topps from marketing the cards.

Alabama: Russell County rights complaint dismissed
PHENIX CITY, Ala. (AP) — A federal judge has dismissed a civil rights lawsuit filed by two Russell County highway department employees who claimed they were harassed and later fired because of race discrimination.

Jimmie Lee Long and Hovet Dixon filed suit in February 2009, claiming the Russell County Commission condoned a scheme involving several county engineers and mid-level supervisors to terminate them on the basis of race.

Both men had worked for the county since 1990 and held supervisory positions. They were fired after disciplinary write-ups.

U.S. District Judge Keith Watkins on Monday granted summary judgment, ruling Long and Dixon had not presented enough evidence to proceed to trial.

County Attorney Kenneth Funderburk said the outcome was what county officials expected.

Plaintiffs’ attorney Thomas F. Worthy says his clients are considering an appeal.

Minnesota: Woman says neighbor’s arrow injured her leg
WHITE BEAR TOWNSHIP, Minn. (AP) — A Minnesota woman claims she suffered permanent leg injuries after being hit by a neighbor’s wayward hunting arrow.

A lawsuit was filed Wednesday on behalf of Donna and John Rotschafer of White Bear Township.

The lawsuit says Donna Rotschafer was mowing her lawn in October 2009 when the arrow pierced her leg. It says the arrow didn’t have just a single point, but had four “bleeder blades” that are used to take down large game animals.

Rotschafer and her husband are suing Leemichael J. Roe, their 36-year-old neighbor. The Minneapolis Star Tribune says they’re seeking more than $50,000.

No listing for the Rotschafers could be found. A listing for Roe was disconnected.

Iowa: Bar owner drops federal lawsuit against Iowa City
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The owner of an Iowa City bar has decided to drop his federal lawsuit against the city.

Mike Porter filed the lawsuit a year ago, targeting a city policy on liquor licenses for bars that allowed underage customers. Among other provisions, the policy denied liquor licenses to bars with underage patrons ticketed for possessing alcohol at a rate higher than one citation per visit by an officer.

Porter’s bar The Summit was one that the city recommended for denial of a liquor license. An administrative law judge and the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division later said the policy didn’t follow state law.

The council subsequently adopted an ordinance forbidding underage people in bars.

Porter’s attorney, Steven Havercamp, says Porter was making a business decision to drop the lawsuit.

Pennsylvania: Epileptic woman sues jail over treatment, slur
PITTSBURGH (AP) — A black epileptic woman says in a federal lawsuit that Allegheny County Jail guards denied her medicine which caused her to have seizures, including one during which a guard allegedly assaulted her and broke her shoulder, and used a racial slur that referenced President Obama.

Tonja Jackson says in the lawsuit filed late Wednesday that one guard told her, “Just because Obama is president, don’t mean you’re still not a (slur).”

Allegheny County officials say they don’t comment on pending litigation.

Jackson contends she was handcuffed to a hospital bed by a guard who wouldn’t let medical officials contact her family during her six days in the hospital in February 2009.

Minnesota: About 120 file claims against Strike Force unit
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A plaintiffs’ lawyer says about 120 people have filed claims in a $3 million settlement of a federal lawsuit involving a now-disbanded Minneapolis gang unit.

Attorney Randy Hopper says Thursday is the deadline to file a claim.

The August settlement was for a lawsuit against the Metro Gang Strike Force. The lawsuit claimed the strike forces’ police officers abused their authority by extorting cash and property, particularly from people of vulnerable immigration status.

The settlement allows people to file claims if they had property taken without notification or a receipt.

One plaintiff says strike force officers took his wallet and returned it with $100 missing.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press quotes the strike forces’ attorney as saying in August the civil settlement was not an admission of guilt.

North Dakota: School district settles lawsuit over bullying
FARGO, N.D. (AP) — The Fargo School District has reached a $300,000 out-of-court settlement with a former student over allegations that he was repeatedly bullied by classmates.

School district attorney Tiffany L. Johnson told The Forum newspaper Wednesday that terms of the settlement include payments to the former student of $190,600 and $109,400 to his lawyer.

Johnson says the district’s insurance company has paid the claim.

The lawsuit said the school district didn’t properly respond to repeated complaints about the bullying and didn’t do enough to punish the perpetrators. It sought unspecified damages in excess of $50,000.

The lawsuit claimed that the bullying of the unidentified student, now 21, began in grade school.


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