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Investment review could be in order as health care-related taxes loom (access required)

When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the Affordable Care Act law in late June, the decision upholding the individual health insurance mandate made headlines. But lost in the details and unknown to many was the 3.8 percent surcharge tax on net investment income set to take effect Jan. 1, 2013. “The only people I have been having conversations about this with are accountants,” said Bernard A. Krooks, a partner with an estate planning practice at Littman Krooks in Manhattan and White Plains, N.Y. “Clients have no idea.”

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Wrong claim on wrongful computer use (access required)

locked-notebook

Authorized access to a computer for an alleged unlawful purpose does not give rise to liability under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held on July 26, joining the Ninth Circuit in a growing split among the circuits and a possible showdown before the U.S. Supreme Court next term.

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Close to car is good enough for high court (access required)

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After almost ten years, a South Carolina man who was hit by a truck and pinned against his company’s manure truck will be able to collect damages from the employer’s insurance company. The South Carolina Supreme Court has ordered the company to pay up, saying that the man was still “upon” the vehicle even though he tried to flee the path of the oncoming truck.

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Priest’s victim still trying to collect $100M judgment (access required)

After more than two years of trying to get what a South Carolina trial court judge says he’s owed for his suffering, Allan C. Ranta still hasn’t collected one dime of a whopping $100 million civil judgment against the priest who raped him as a boy. And chances are he won’t ever see that money, unless he and his attorneys can convince the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse itself and do something that it has never done before: rule that a liability insurance policy covers acts of sexual abuse. Ranta’s argument has fallen flat so far at the 4th Circuit, which on July 24 upheld a lower court’s ruling that the Catholic Mutual insurance company was not on the hook for the actions of defrocked and disgraced priest Wayland Y. Brown (pictured).

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Sued but not silent (access required)

Before she was sued in a state that she had never visited by people from as far away as South Wales for making defamatory online comments about an animal rescue group, Susan Barrett didn’t know much of anything about strategic lawsuits against public participation. Now, though, the Winston-Salem woman’s bank account is hurting, her blood pressure is up and she is encouraging lawmakers to renew stalled efforts to enact anti-SLAPP regulations that would make it more difficult for corporations and other well-heeled litigants to silence their critics with the threat of costly litigation.

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Columbia law firm opens office in Kentucky (access required)

Columbia-based McNair Law Firm has set up shop in Kentucky’s second-largest city, where it hopes to woo clients from the state’s public finance sector. David J. Tigges, the firm’s CEO and managing shareholder, said McNair’s decision to open an office in Lexington, Ky., was influenced by “the availability of referral sources and attorneys coming together, and that rarely comes together.” The office opened July 9.

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GOP leader overturns House primary results (access required)

Columbia (AP) — A Republican primary winner ousted from the November ballot wants party leaders to undo a decision by the party's state chairman. An attorney for Ed Harris said Tuesday that GOP Chairman Chad Connelly lacks the authority to disqualify Harris as the party nominee for a House seat. Attorney Stephen Brown says Harris will sue unless the party's executive committee overturns Connelly's actions.

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More schools, fewer students (access required)

The laws of supply and demand may apply to legal education after all. Eight years ago, over 100,000 students applied to law school nationally, but this year, in the face of relentlessly downbeat news about the employment prospects for lawyers, applications have cratered. Only about 67,000 applicants are expected—but the number of accredited law schools is higher than ever.

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Hospital’s effort to block suit fails (access required)

In its tort reform act of 2005, the South Carolina legislature created new procedural hurdles for patients to clear before they could file suit for medical malpractice. On May 7, the South Carolina Supreme Court declined an opportunity to erect an additional one. After Willie James Fee died in the care of Piedmont Medical Center in 2009, his estate brought a medical malpractice claim against the hospital, alleging that its failure to monitor and treat Fee for bedsores and sepsis contributed to his death.

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