Cultivated Compendium is my personal website with the occasional link to my reporting and to important, cutting-edge or interesting legal news.


News and Reporting

May 24th, 2016
A federal judge has ruled that the city legislative districts in Cranston, Rhode Island, are unconstitutional because 3,433 inmates housed in the state's only prison are counted as city residents and allocated to a city ward, The Huffington Post's Cristian Farias reports. Each of the city's wards are divided into 13,500 residents each, but one ward includes the 3,433 inmates. U.S. District Judge Ronald Lagueux... Continue Reading
May 23rd, 2016
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has signed a bill making the state's nominating commission for Supreme Court justices subject to open records and open meetings laws, the Wichita Eagle's Bryan Lowry reports. The bill also requires the governor to disclose the names of applicants for the intermediate appellate court, the Kansas Court of Appeals, and will require the clerk of the Kansas Supreme Court to submit a list of lawyers eligible... Continue Reading
April 25th, 2016
The expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act has lowered the burden of medical debt for some low-income consumers, according to a study from the National Bureau of Economic Research. The study looked at the medical-debt collection balances referred out to debt collectors in areas with high populations of low-income patients. The study's authors' estimates "'imply a reduction in collection balances of... Continue Reading
April 24th, 2016
A showdown between bitter opponents of the Affordable Care Act and Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson has resulted in the state preserving its expansion of Medicaid, AJMC's Mary Caffrey reports. As a result, Medicaid will continue for 267,000 residents who earn up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. The expansion includes a waiver from the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services with provisions to require... Continue Reading
April 3rd, 2016
The Kansas Supreme Court is under attack by conservatives, including Governor Sam Brownback, for its rulings overturning death penalty verdicts, blocking anti-abortion laws, and ruling in favor of public-school funding, The New York Times' Erik Eckholm reports. Those efforts include: A bill was passed by the Republican-controlled Senate to authorize the impeachment of justices if the court's opinions allegedly usurp the... Continue Reading
April 3rd, 2016
The New York Court of Appeals has ruled that a patient's family can continue their privacy lawsuit because the patient's death was filmed without their permission and aired on medical show, ProPublica's Charles Ornstein reports. The court greenlighted the plaintiffs' claim that doctor-patient confidentiality was breached, but the court rejected the plaintiffs' intentional infliction of emotional distress claim. “... Continue Reading
March 20th, 2016
The Montana Supreme Court has ruled that a plaintiff can pursue a lawsuit against the company that promised to help her with credit-card debt relief, the Montana Standard's Kathleen J. Bryan reports. The plaintiff alleges that Global Client Solutions used '“deceptive and fraudulent representations to solicit her participation in an illegal debt settlement plan.”' The Supreme Court held that the plaintiff's... Continue Reading
March 20th, 2016
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has proposed several changes to that state's Freedom of Information Law in the state budget. Open access advocates are criticizing the changes, saying that one would make it "harder for litigants to win court awards of attorney's fees in cases where agencies disregard valid FOIL requests or had no valid reason for delaying compliance with the law" and the other would reject FOIL requests... Continue Reading
March 20th, 2016
Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice J. Michael Eakin has resigned from the court amid an ethics probe into a multitude of sexist, racist and pornographic emails he received. However, his resignation has deepened the skepticism about Pennsylvania's judicial discipline system. The Philadelphia Inquirer's Craig R. McCoy, Angela Couloumbis and Mark Fazlollah report. After Eakin resigned, the Pennsylvania Judicial Conduct Board asked... Continue Reading
March 20th, 2016
The Oregon Supreme Court has ruled that a negative review of a wedding venue is protected by the First Amendment. In doing so, the court also set precedent for how to distinguish whether speech is protected opinion or a defamatory assertion of fact. Justice Richard C. Baldwin, writing for the court, applied a Ninth Circuit test in Unelko Corp v. Rooney: "whether a reasonable factfinder could conclude that an allegedly... Continue Reading
March 19th, 2016
The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled this week that a private prison company can be held liable for three female inmates who were raped by a guard, The Associated Press' Morgan Lee reports. The Corrections Corporation of America was found liable for $3 million in damages. That award is on appeal to the Tenth Circuit. The federal circuit court certified a legal issue to the New Mexico Supreme Court on whether the prison operator could... Continue Reading
March 19th, 2016
Corporate giving to super PACs, including by "ghost" corporations, is breaking records this presidential election cycle, The Washington Post's Matea Gold and Anu Narayanswamy report. More and more legal entities are being formed right before they make six- and seven-figure contributions to super PACs: "Many corporate givers this cycle are well-established hedge funds, energy companies and real estate firms.... Continue Reading
March 18th, 2016
Kentucky Democratic legislators have passed legislation to try to maintain that state's Kynect health care exchange and its Medicaid expansion, the Courier-Journal's Tom Loftus reports. However, the legislation doesn't have a chance of passing the Republican-controlled state Senate. Republican Governor Matt Bevin is doing away with Kynect and shifting to the federal healthcare insurance exchange. Bevin is also asking for a... Continue Reading
March 17th, 2016
No surprise that the biggest news in the legal world is Merrick Garland's nomination by President Barack Obama to the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday. The Republicans in U.S. Senate are refusing to even give a hearing to Garland, who is the chief judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. But in the unlikely event that Garland gets confirmed to the Supreme Court, Robert Barnes, writing for the Washington Post, observes... Continue Reading
March 16th, 2016
Three former immigration judges have challenged the assertion by a Justice Department official that 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds can represent themselves in court and don't have a right to a lawyer in deportation proceedings, The Washington Post's Jerry Markon reports. The judges made their argument in a brief filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which is hearing an appeal on whether immigrant children are... Continue Reading


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