News Roundup


Image from

Bar says lawyer should attend professionalism class after brush with raccoon

A Florida lawyer who posted a video of himself shooing a raccoon off his boat and into open water shouldn’t face discipline if he completes a professionalism course, according to a recommendation by the Florida Bar. The bar is recommending diversion for lawyer Thomas Cope of Clearwater. The cost of the course is $750. Cope had said the raccoon was a stowaway, and he feared that the animal could be rabid. (The Tampa Bay Times)

Man born in Ontario to Russian spies is deemed a Canadian citizen

Having Russian spies as parents didn’t negate Canadian citizenship for a man born in Ontario, according to Canadian courts. Canada’s Supreme Court on Thursday let stand an appellate decision in favor of Alexander Foley, who said he didn’t know his parents were working for the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service. The parents were charged as Russian spies in 2010, 15 years after they moved to the United States with Foley and their other son. The parents and their children were deported to Russia. Foley plans to return to Canada. (The Washington Post, the New York Times)

States sue to block ratification of Equal Rights Amendment

Alabama, Louisiana and South Dakota have filed a federal lawsuit that contends that it’s too late to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. The suit filed in federal court in Alabama says the archivist for the United States must recognize the 1982 deadline for 38 states to ratify the amendment. The archivist should also recognize that five of the 35 states that ratified the amendment by the deadline have rescinded their decisions, the lawsuit says. Nevada and Illinois have since ratified the amendment. The ABA urged South Carolina lawmakers to ratify the amendment in a Dec. 18 letter. (The Associated Press,

Judge approves PG&E wildfire settlements

A federal bankruptcy judge in San Francisco has approved two settlements resolving wildfire claims against Pacific Gas & Electric Co. A settlement valued at $13.5 billion would pay claims by California wildfire victims. An $11 billion settlement covers insurers seeking compensation for payouts to victims. California Gov. Gavin Newsom had rejected the $13.5 billion settlement. In response, PG&E and the committee representing fire victims eliminated a settlement condition requiring the governor’s approval. (Courthouse News Service, NPR)