National Roundup

 Alabama

Lawsuit tos­sed against Nick Saban’s daughter 
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — A judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed against Alabama football coach Nick Saban’s daughter by her sorority sister after a fight.
Tuscaloosa County Circuit Judge James H. Roberts Jr. ruled Thursday that Kristen Saban was justified in using force to defend herself during a 2010 scuffle with Sarah Grimes.
Grimes claimed Kristen Saban injured her during a brawl that followed a night of drinking.
The judge says evidence shows Grimes initiated the confrontation. And he says Kristen Saban was allowed to defend herself under Alabama’s “stand your ground” law.
Grimes sued in state court in 2012, seeking an unspecified amount of money for injuries.
A lawyer for Kristen Saban says the family refused to pay “hush money” to avoid bad publicity over the fight.
 
South Dakota
FBI confirms activist was killed in 1973 
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — The FBI says a black civil rights activist was killed during the 1973 occupation of Wounded Knee, and it suspects militant members of the American Indian Movement are responsible.
Documents recently released by the FBI to a Buffalo, N.Y., lawyer shed new light on the 40-year-old case of Ray Robinson, an activist and follower of Martin Luther King Jr.
The father of three from Bogue Chitto, Ala., traveled to South Dakota in April 1973 to stand alongside Native Americans in their fight against social injustice. He never returned and his body was never found.
His widow, Cheryl Buswell-Robinson, of Detroit, has said the family wants to bring his remains home for a proper burial.
AIM was founded in the late 1960s to protest the government’s treatment of Indians.
 
Alabama
‘Mockingbird’ author settles museum lawsuit 
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — “To Kill a Mockingbird” author Harper Lee has settled the federal lawsuit she filed against a museum in her south Alabama hometown over its sale of souvenirs featuring her name and the title of her book, court documents show.
An attorney for the Alabama native filed a motion Tuesday in federal court in Mobile saying Lee had reached an agreement with the Monroe County Heritage Museum in Monroeville.
The settlement notice came days after a judge refused to dismiss the lawsuit, filed last fall, that said the museum uses Lee’s name and the title of her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel without compensating her.
The document did not provide details on the settlement, and a lawyer for the museum, Matthew Goforth, declined to comment Wednesday. He cited the terms of settlement negotiations.
An attorney for Lee did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
A judge would have to approve any settlement.
Lee, 87, has had a stroke and lives in Monroeville after years of splitting time between the town of 28,000 and New York.
Lee’s lone published novel, released in 1960, tells the story of small-town lawyer Atticus Finch, his two children and the struggle against racial prejudice and injustice in the Jim Crow South. Considered a modern classic, the book was turned into a movie of the same name starring Gregory Peck.
The set for the movie’s climactic courtroom scene recreated the Monroe County Courthouse, where the museum is located. The museum includes a gift shop that has sold book-related souvenirs including clothing.
The lawsuit said the museum took advantage of Lee’s trademarks to sell souvenirs and wrongly used the title of the book as a website address without any compensation. The museum took in more than $500,000 in 2012, the lawsuit said. Goforth previously said the museum earned $28,566 from merchandise sales that year.
Lee filed the lawsuit after seeking a federal trademark for the title of her book when it is used on clothing. The museum opposed the application, saying souvenir sales were vital to its continued operation.
Now, the museum has changed its website name to www.monroecountymuseum.org . Items aren’t offered for sale online. The site says the gift shop “offers dozens of custom items available ONLY in Monroeville.”
The website says the shop has “a great selection of books and memorabilia about Harper Lee” and Truman Capote, a childhood friend of Lee who also lived in Monroeville and went on to write “In Cold Blood.”
 
New Jersey
Bed scene film clip costs actor-teacher day job 
RIVER EDGE, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey teacher with a second career as an actor is losing his day job after an arbitrator concluded that he showed middle-school students a film clip of himself in bed with an actress.
Technology teacher Richard Graffanino denied showing the clip to six eighth-grade girls at River Dell Middle School in River Edge. In a ruling made public Tuesday, a tenure arbitrator said the evidence showed otherwise.
The arbitrator said the scene conveyed the impression that the characters were waking up after having sex and was “clearly inappropriate” for middle school students. A sheet covers the woman just below her bare shoulders and the shirtless Graffanino up to his waist.
“As explained by district officials, eighth-grade students are discovering their sexuality, and they view teachers as role models,” the arbitrator wrote. “Seeing their teacher as an actor in a sexual situation would be confusing and disturbing to the students and would raise many questions.”
Graffanino, who is 39 and who has been a teacher since 2002, told The Record newspaper the girls gave conflicting testimony and the investigation was unfair.
The film “wasn’t pornography or anything,” he said. “It was video on the Internet of me acting.”
Although the evidence showed the students pressured their teacher to show them the clip in February 2013, he should have ended all discussion of the video and referred it to the school administration, the arbitrator said.
Graffanino also was brought up on other tenure charges, one involving comments he made about another teacher.
Graffanino has played a number of roles in film and TV, including small parts on “Law & Order” and “30 Rock,” according to his resume. The clip seen by the students was from a New York University graduate student’s film.

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