National Roundup

Ohio

Civil lawsuit seeks to block man's execution

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Attorneys for an Ohio man scheduled to die next week are trying a civil lawsuit in an effort to save him from execution.

Sixty-three-year-old Daniel Bedford was sentenced to death for the 1984 murders of his ex-girlfriend and a man.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports the civil suit filed Monday is a rare step. The lawsuit contends Bedford has dementia that leaves him without the mental capacity to understand why he is being executed.

Bedford's attorneys are asking a Hamilton County judge to block the May 17 execution. A prosecutor says they have been making the same claim for years.

The Ohio Parole Board has denied a bid to commute Bedford's sentence because of his alleged mental health problems.

Pennsylvania

Suit blames stop-smoking drug for killings

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- The fathers of two people killed in a western Pennsylvania murder-suicide say a smoking cessation drug is to blame.

Thirty-four-year-old Sean Wain fatally shot his 33-year-old wife, Natalie, before shooting himself in Economy, Beaver County, in May 2009. A lawsuit filed by their fathers on behalf of the couple's four surviving children says Sean Wain's hostility and rage was prompted by the drug Chantix, marketed by Pfizer Inc.

The drug company did not immediately comment on the lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh. But a web site for the drug warns it can cause "hostility, agitation, depressed mood, suicidal thoughts or actions" in some people.

The lawsuit says New York-based Pfizer didn't sufficiently warn consumers until after the murder-suicide, even though those side effects were allegedly revealed during clinical trials of the drug.

New York

Yankee food workers file lawsuit over tips

NEW YORK (AP) -- Waiters who serve the higher-priced seats at Yankee Stadium claim in a lawsuit that their tips are being withheld.

The suit names Volume Services America, which ran food services in the old stadium, and Legends Hospitality, which runs them in the new stadium. It was filed in Manhattan federal court on Monday. It seeks unpaid wages and other damages.

Menus in the seats' cup holders say "a 20 percent service charge will be added to the listed prices. Additional gratuity is at your discretion."

The lawsuit says the workers did not receive any of the 20 percent service charges.

A spokeswoman for the Yankees told the Daily News it hasn't seen the lawsuit but that all its employees are paid in strict accordance with their union contract.

Kansas

Lawsuit dismiss ed in KU student drinking case

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) -- A Douglas County judge has officially dismissed a lawsuit filed when a University of Kansas student died after a night of drinking.

The dismissal was a formality, after parties in the 2009 lawsuit against Sigma Alpha Epsilon reached a confidential settlement last month.

The Lawrence Journal-World reported Monday that District Judge Michael Malone dismissed Jay Wren's lawsuit against the Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter, its national association, the local housing corporation and other individuals.

Wren's 19-year-old son, Jason, a freshman from Littleton, Colo., was found dead in March 2009 at the Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter house.

Florida

New Tribes Miss ion sued by wo m an alleging abuse

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- A woman has filed a lawsuit against a Florida-based missionary group alleging it mishandled an investigation into child sex abuse by a worker at its mission in the Philippines.

The lawsuit filed Monday in Seminole County, outside Orlando, says the woman was raped repeatedly by the man when she was a child living in a dormitory for the children of missionaries. The lawsuit says New Tribes investigated the rapes and attacks on other children without notifying Philippine police. The lawsuit is seeking at least $5 million in damages for the woman, who is now 35 years old.

New Tribes didn't immediately comment on the lawsuit.

Last year, a review found evidence of sexual abuse of New Tribes missionaries' children at a boarding school in Senegal.

Maryland

Arguments set in prison strip search appeal

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) -- A federal appeals court is hearing oral arguments about the strip searches of eight workers at a Maryland state prison near Hagerstown.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., is set to hear Tuesday from lawyers for both sides.

The workers claim their civil rights were violated when they were searched in August 2008 after a drug-sniffing machine falsely signaled they were carrying drugs at the Maryland Correctional Training Center.

A federal judge in Baltimore dismissed the lawsuit last year. The judge ruled the state was entitled to qualified immunity because the machines are widely used in law enforcement and considered reliable.

The workers say that prison security officers should have investigated further before subjecting them to a humiliating strip search.

Oregon

State could execute death row inmate this summer

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Oregon could execute its first death row inmate in 14 years this summer.

The Oregonian reports 49-year-old Gary Haugen has written officials that he wants to drop any appeals of his death sentence. A death warrant hearing is scheduled Friday in Marion County Circuit Court.

Department of Corrections spokeswoman Jeanine Hohn says it has been notified and has obtained the drugs necessary for a lethal injection at the Oregon State Penitentiary.

Haugen was already in prison for a 1981 murder when he was convicted in 2003 of killing another prisoner.

Oregon's last execution was in 1997.

Published: Wed, May 11, 2011

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