Supreme Court Notebook

Court lets stand telecom immunity in wiretap and email spying cases

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is leaving in place a federal law that gives telecommunications companies legal immunity for helping the government with its email and telephone eavesdropping program.
The justices said Tuesday they will not review a court ruling that upheld the 2008 law against challenges brought by privacy and civil liberties advocates on behalf of the companies’ customers. The companies include AT&T, Inc., Sprint Nextel Corp. and Verizon Communications Inc.
Lawsuits filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and Electronic Frontier Foundation accused the companies of violating the law and customers’ privacy through collaboration with the National Security Agency on intelligence gathering.
The case stemmed from surveillance rules passed by Congress that included protection from legal liability for telecommunications companies that allegedly helped the U.S. spy on Americans without warrants.

U.S. high court won’t hear case against Halliburton over ambushes

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled out reviving lawsuits against Halliburton Corp. over insurgent ambushes that killed civilian truck drivers in Iraq.
In its order Tuesday, the court said it will not review a federal appeals court ruling that threw out suits filed by truckers and their families claiming that Halliburton and its former KBR Inc. subsidiary knowingly sent military supply convoys into danger on roads in the Baghdad area.
The attacks killed seven KBR drivers and injured at least 10 others in April 2004.
The appeals court said a federal law prohibits the lawsuits because it provides workers’ compensation to civilian employees injured while under contract with defense agencies.

Court won’t hear Chevron appeal concerning Ecuador rainforests
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is staying out of the fight over efforts by Amazon rain forest residents to collect more than $18 billion from Chevron Corp. for environmental damage in Ecuador.
The court said Tuesday it will not consider Chevron’s request to prevent the plaintiffs from trying to collect the judgment they won in an Ecuadorean court in February 2011. Chevron says there was massive fraud in the legal proceedings in Ecuador.
The justices’ order, issued without comment, is the latest step in nearly two decades of litigation that stemmed from the poisoning of land in the Ecuadorean rainforest while the oil company Texaco was operating an oil consortium from 1972 to 1990 in the Amazon. Texaco became a wholly owned subsidiary of Chevron in 2001.

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