WBEZ | lawsuit http://www.wbez.org/tags/lawsuit Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Gay journalist battles Boy Scouts in court for 18 years http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/gay-journalist-battles-boy-scouts-court-18-years-110793 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/StoryCorps 140905 Noel Tim bh.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Growing up in Berkeley, California in the 1970s, Tim Curran loved camping. When his best friend joined the Boy Scouts, Curran signed up too. He rose up through the ranks, achieving scouting&rsquo;s highest honor, Eagle Scout, during high school.</p><p>Curran, who is gay, came out when he was a teenager. His troop was supportive of him. But after his senior year, he was featured in a newspaper story with his prom date, who was also male. And the newspaper found its way into the hands of some higher-ups within the Boy Scouts, who decided to take action against Curran.</p><p>These days Curran works as a journalist with CNN, but three decades ago, he found himself in a very different position, as the plaintiff in a lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America. Curran was in Chicago recently for a convention of the National Gay and Lesbian Journalists Association, when he stopped by the StoryCorps booth with his partner, Noel Parks.</p><p>Curran was a freshman at UCLA, when he got a letter at his dorm. &ldquo;I opened it up and it was from the council executive, the head guy of the local scout council, the Mt. Diablo Council. And it said, &lsquo;Your application to attend the national jamboree is rejected. And we need to have a conversation about your future participation with scouting.&rsquo;</p><p>So I called the council executive from my dorm room and I said does this have something to do with the article in the [Oakland] Tribune? Does this have something to do with the fact that I&rsquo;m gay?&rdquo;</p><p>And he sort of hemmed and hawed and said &ldquo;Well, yes, and we can talk about it at Thanksgiving.&rdquo;</p><p>So that&rsquo;s what happened. My mother and my stepfather [and my troop leader] and I met with this council executive guy over Thanksgiving vacation and we had this lengthy conversation the gist of which was, &ldquo;Do you still espouse homosexuality?&rdquo; And I said: &ldquo;If by that are you asking whether I&rsquo;m still gay, the answer is yes.&rdquo;</p><p>And he said, &ldquo;Scouting does not believe that you have the moral qualifications to be a leader. And so we are revoking your registration in scouting, we&rsquo;re revoking your registration in your troop.&rdquo; And he said knowing that my troop knew that I was gay and was perfectly happy to have me. So that was the end of that.</p><p>I just remember shaking with anger at the injustice of it, but also sort of impotent to do anything about it. But also knowing that you&rsquo;re talking with this guy, it&rsquo;s a civilized conversation and you just have to keep cool and act like a scout would act.</p><p>And so in April of 1981, we filed suit against the Boy Scouts of America. We meaning myself and the ACLU of Southern California.<br />It was a trial with testimony, and both sides, my friends in scouting getting on the stand and me getting on the stand, and the council executive, all testifying.</p><p>And the judge at the trial ruled against us, so we appealed. And 18 years almost to the day after we filed that suit, I lost.</p><p>But I have to say that I think it&rsquo;s very much made me a better journalist.</p><p>Because unlike nearly all of the people I&rsquo;ve ever worked with in journalism, I know what it&rsquo;s like to be on the other side of the mic.<br />I volunteered for that. But it has very much informed the way that I treat others and the way that I concern myself with accuracy. Because I heard my story misreported a million times, and knew how the little details could be gotten wrong. And so I really struggled &ndash; much to the annoyance of my editors - to get those details, the nuances right, even though sometimes it takes more time to tell a story that way.&rdquo;</p></p> Fri, 12 Sep 2014 15:12:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/gay-journalist-battles-boy-scouts-court-18-years-110793 CTA facing lawsuits over Blue Line crash http://www.wbez.org/news/cta-facing-lawsuits-over-blue-line-crash-109923 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP661422106797(1)_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-4d56c266-0058-d3dc-b02d-129942eb4a5c">Two women who say they were hurt in Monday&rsquo;s O&rsquo;Hare station train crash have filed lawsuits against the Chicago Transit Authority. Attorneys say there are more lawsuits to come.</p><p>The women both work in O&rsquo;Hare International Airport and were passengers on the CTA Blue Line train that jumped the tracks and plowed up an escalator at the airport station. Both claim they suffered debilitating injuries in the accident, which occurred early Monday morning.<br /><br />Both suits were filed in Cook County court and the plaintiffs demand more than $50,000 in damages.</p><blockquote><p><strong>Related:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/leaked-video-appears-show-blue-line-train-derailment-109917">Leaked video appears to show Blue Line train derailment</a></strong></p></blockquote><p dir="ltr">Jerry Latherow, the attorney for plaintiff Niakesha Thomas, said Thomas was on her way to work at Hudson&rsquo;s News Stand in the airport when the train crashed.</p><p>The lawyer said Thomas cannot walk right now because of her injuries.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;She&rsquo;s a sole bread-winner, she has a 1-year-old baby. She is not going to be able to work, we don&rsquo;t know how long it&rsquo;s going to be before she gets back to work. But she needs to do what she can to protect herself and her baby,&rdquo; Latherow said.</p><p>He said Thomas suffered injuries to her hips and back.</p><p dir="ltr">The lawsuit alleges the crash was caused by a combination of operator error and failures by the CTA to maintain the tracks and train equipment.</p><p>Federal officials say the train operator admitted that she &ldquo;dozed off&quot; before the accident.</p><p dir="ltr">National Transportation Safety Board investigator Ted Turpin said the woman had been working as an operator for about two months and acknowledged she had previously fallen asleep on the job in February, when her train partially missed a station.</p><p>&quot;She did admit that she dozed off prior to entering the station,&quot; Turpin said of the operator during a briefing Wednesday. &quot;She did not awake until the train hit.&quot;</p><p dir="ltr">He said the woman, who was cooperating with the investigation, often worked an erratic schedule, filling in for other CTA employees.</p><p>&quot;Her hours would vary every day,&quot; he said.</p><p dir="ltr">Turpin said the NTSB is investigating the woman&#39;s training, scheduling, and disciplinary history.</p><p>Latherow said it is &ldquo;very alarming&rdquo; that the transit agency allowed someone who had fallen asleep at the helm before to operate another train.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;She&rsquo;d only been working as an &hellip; operator for 60 days &hellip; and here she&rsquo;s fallen asleep what comes out to once a month now,&rdquo; Latherow said. &ldquo;And this is very alarming, and you wonder who is calling the shots? Who is letting somebody like this continue to operate a train, which is deadly?&rdquo;</p><p>Latherow said an aim of the suit is to force change at the CTA -- including altering the agency&rsquo;s hiring policies and fixing the train&rsquo;s braking system.</p><p dir="ltr">A CTA spokeswoman said the agency does not comment on pending litigation.</p><p>The second lawsuit was filed by 23-year-old Dalila Jefferson, a security officer who also was on her way to work at the airport.</p><p dir="ltr">Her attorneys said she was preparing to get off the first car of the train when she was &quot;catapulted forward&quot; as the car jumped the track and came to rest partway up an escalator.</p><p>Attorneys said Jefferson broke her foot and suffered neck and back injuries.</p><p dir="ltr">More than 30 people were hurt during the crash, which occurred around 3 a.m. Monday. None of the injuries was life-threatening.</p><p>Nonetheless, Latherow predicts many more lawsuits. He said his firm is already preparing another suit against the CTA, this one brought by a Transportation Security Administration worker who was hurt on her way to work.</p><p dir="ltr">Turpin said the crash caused about $6 million worth of damage.</p><p><em>Patrick Smith is a WBEZ reporter and producer. Follow him <a href="http://twitter.com/pksmid" target="_blank">@pksmid</a></em></p></p> Wed, 26 Mar 2014 16:42:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/cta-facing-lawsuits-over-blue-line-crash-109923 Matteson officials sues Lincoln Mall over safety violations http://www.wbez.org/news/matteson-officials-sues-lincoln-mall-over-safety-violations-108335 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Matteson Mall_130807_AYC.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Village of Matteson today asked a Cook County judge to immediately close Lincoln Mall because of conditions officials said put patrons and employees in danger.</p><p>The 40-year-old mall was sold to New York-based businessman Michael Kohan. He paid $150,000 in a judicial sale last June. At the time, Kohan promised to fix the violations.</p><p>Village officials said they&rsquo;ve since approached Kohan with complaints about violations like blocked fire exits and exposed electrical wires.</p><p>They said they have filed 24 safety citations, but Kohan has done nothing to improve conditions.</p><p>Village Administrator Brian Mitchell said enough is enough.</p><p>&ldquo;Safety is first and foremost,&rdquo; Mitchell said. &ldquo;You know, to make this decision is hard, but we can&rsquo;t look at economic development and being pro-business when we have a building that is not safe.&rdquo;</p><p>The mall declined to comment.</p><p>A hearing is scheduled Thursday to decide on the mall&rsquo;s closure.</p><p><em>Aimee Chen is a WBEZ business reporting intern. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/AimeeYuyiChen" target="_blank">@AimeeYuyiChen</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 08 Aug 2013 10:16:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/matteson-officials-sues-lincoln-mall-over-safety-violations-108335 Case over lawmaker pay could be 'landmark' http://www.wbez.org/news/case-over-lawmaker-pay-could-be-landmark-108299 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP917659587334.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>CHICAGO &mdash; Gov. Pat Quinn says a lawsuit over his decision to suspend lawmaker pay for failing to act on the state pension crisis will be a &quot;landmark&quot; case.</p><p>Quinn attended a court hearing Tuesday involving a lawsuit filed by Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton to force Quinn and Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka to issue paychecks.</p><p>A Cook County Circuit Court judge set oral arguments for Sept. 18.</p><p>Last month, Quinn cut $13.8 million for legislators&#39; pay from the state budget after threatening consequences if they didn&#39;t act on pensions.</p><p>The lawsuit asks the court to decide if Quinn&#39;s line-item veto fully eliminated lawmakers&#39; salaries. If the court upholds Quinn&#39;s amendatory veto, plaintiffs want the court to declare Quinn&#39;s action unconstitutional.</p><p>Quinn says his move is constitutional.<br />&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 06 Aug 2013 11:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/case-over-lawmaker-pay-could-be-landmark-108299 Lawsuit targets planned Illiana Tollway http://www.wbez.org/news/lawsuit-targets-planned-illiana-tollway-108038 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Tollway 1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The long-awaited and much-touted Illiana Tollway proposed for Chicago&rsquo;s southernmost reaches could face delays now that the first federal lawsuit challenging it has been filed.</p><p>Three groups, Openlands, Sierra Club and Midewin Heritage Associated filed a complaint at the Dirksen Federal Courts Building in Chicago on Thursday.</p><p>The trio targets the Federal Highway Administration, claiming it violated federal law by approving an environmental study by the Illinois and Indiana Departments of Transportation. That study, according to the complaint, failed to establish the need for the road and come up with alternatives.</p><p>The groups say the FHA&rsquo;s approval of the study &ldquo;undermines&rdquo; long-established land use and transportation plans and threatens wildlife habitats such as the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie in Wilmington, Ill., just east of Interstate 55.</p><p>&ldquo;We feel that they have not adequately studied, reviewed and really considered everything appropriately, especially the environmental impacts,&rdquo; said Lenor Beyer-Clow, policy director for the Chicago-based Openlands. &ldquo;All through the corridor there&rsquo;s significant protected natural areas and globally significant species.&rdquo;</p><p>A spokesperson for the Federal Highway Administration declined comment on the issue.</p><p>FHA public affairs specialist Doug Hecox says it&rsquo;s a matter of policy that the agency does not comment on pending litigation, but it was aware of the lawsuit.</p><p>&ldquo;It was brought up in a meeting this morning,&rdquo; Hecox told WBEZ on Friday.</p><p>The Illinois Tollway is a joint project between the states of Illinois and Indiana.</p><p>The 47-mile, multi-million dollar east-west roadway is expected to connect I-55 in Will County to I-65 in Lake County, Ind.</p><p>Proponents say the highway has been on the drawing board for nearly a century, and was even proposed by Chicago&rsquo;s famed urban planner Daniel Burnham.</p><p>Just last month, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence shared a stage in Rosemont, Ill. to tout the importance of both states working together to complete the project by decade&rsquo;s end.</p><p>They say the highway will create thousands of jobs while relieving congestion on existing roadways, including I-80/94, which travels east-west from Chicago&rsquo;s closer south suburbs into the Northwest Indiana cities of Hammond and Gary.</p><p>The Illiana would be located much farther south, connecting the areas of Peotone, Ill. and Cedar Lake, Ind.</p><p>The tollway is expected to serve a growing intermodal transportation hub near Joliet and possibly a third major regional airport in Peotone.</p><p>For more than a year, both states&rsquo; departments of transportation have held joint open houses to discuss routes and other issues with residents on both sides of the state lines.</p><p>At recent forums in Peotone and Lowell, Ind., dozens of opponents - most of them residents - have expressed anger over the proposed route and loss of land.</p><p>Those concerns are now being echoed in the lawsuit filed yesterday.</p><p>&ldquo;Building an astronomically expensive tollway with no demonstrated need and with extreme environmental and cultural impact is foolhardy,&rdquo; said Openlands President and CEO Jerry Adelmann. &ldquo;Openlands does not enter into lawsuits without extensive research and contemplation. We feel an obligation to raise concerns about this project, which is poorly planned and being pushed forward too quickly. The region has real transportation needs that are being addressed by the thoughtful, inclusive work of regional planning agencies, but this proposed tollway conflicts with these plans.&rdquo;</p><p>The complaint alleges that federal highway officials violated the National Environmental Policy Act and other federal laws by approving an inadequate environmental study.</p><p>The complaint states the study is based on &ldquo;inflated and displaced population and employment projections and failed to thoroughly evaluate how the tollway would create regional impacts to state and federally protected natural resources.&rdquo;</p><p>The groups also claim the Illiana Tollway conflict with the core land use plans and principles of planning agencies in both states &mdash; the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) and the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC) &mdash; the two agencies that are charged with developing regional transportation plans.</p><p>However, NIRPC has yet to take a stand on whether the Illiana is needed in Northwest Indiana&rsquo;s long-range transportation plans. Approval is needed to move the project along in Indiana.</p><p>To support creation of the Illiana Tollway, a massive quarry will be built near Lowell, Ind., which could change the landscape of the rural area for years to come.</p><p>Meanwhile, CMAP appears to be on the road to approving Illiana in its long-range transportation needs for Will County, although there has been some disagreement recently by board members on the exact route for the tollway.&nbsp;</p><p>Regardless, challengers to the project say the Illiana is bad for the region.</p><p>&ldquo;The proposed Illiana Tollway route would harm important Will County treasures including the Midewin grassland, Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, and the high-quality Kankakee River,&rdquo; said Cindy Skrukrud, clean water advocate for the Illinois Chapter of the Sierra Club. &ldquo;Instead we need a transportation plan that meets the population forecasts and principles of our region&rsquo;s award-winning Go to 2040 plan.&rdquo;</p><p><br /><em>Follow WBEZ reporter Michael Puente on Twitter <a href="http://twitter.com/MikePuenteNews" target="_blank">@MikePuenteNews</a>.&nbsp;</em></p></p> Fri, 12 Jul 2013 11:18:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/lawsuit-targets-planned-illiana-tollway-108038 Chicago mayor reportedly encouraged Northwestern to do a PR blitz to tear down Prentice http://www.wbez.org/sections/architecture/chicago-mayor-reportedly-encouraged-northwestern-do-pr-blitz-tear-down <p><div><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/8181153316_e16ba716c2_z.jpg" style="height: 193px; width: 300px; float: left;" title="(Flickr/Chicagogeek)" />Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel reportedly encouraged Northwestern University to start a PR campaign in support of demolishing the old Prentice Women&rsquo;s Hospital&nbsp; &ndash; long before he announced his public support for tearing it down.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://dailynorthwestern.com/2012/11/14/city/emanuel-nudged-northwestern-officials-on-public-prentice-campaign/"><em>The Daily Northwestern </em>reports </a>the mayor&#39;s push for PR came in response to an orchestrated campaign by preservationists to preserve and reuse the structure by noted Chicago architect Bertrand Goldberg.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The mayor asked, &lsquo;What are you guys going to do, are you going to have an offensive?&rsquo;&rdquo; University President Morton Schapiro told <em>The Daily</em> ... &ldquo;He said he was getting inundated with letters. He was just saying these guys are very aggressive and spending a lot of money.&rdquo;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The college newspaper reports it was one of several face-to-face meetings between Emanuel and university officials.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&ldquo;We were as surprised as anyone as anyone reading about the alleged conversations that occurred,&rdquo; said Michael Rachlis, the lawyer representing the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois (now called Landmarks Illinois).</div><p>The preservationists are suing the Chicago Landmarks Commission on the grounds that it violated its own ordinance when it voted to demolish Prentice just a few hours after approving preliminary landmark designation &ndash; in the same meeting.</p><p>Preservationists argue the building is iconic and should be reused, while Northwestern argues it cannot build the kind of medical research facility it needs.</p><p>Calls to President Schapiro&rsquo;s office to verify the mayor&rsquo;s comments went unanswered.</p><p>The mayor&rsquo;s spokesperson, Tom Alexander, said the mayor was involved in discussions with all parties involved, preservationists included.</p><p>&ldquo;That was the sole focus of his effort throughout,&rdquo; Alexander said in an e-mail. &ldquo;At the end of the process, after hearing from all groups, he made his viewpoint known.&rdquo;</p><p>Rachlis said the preservationists are more focused on the lawsuit than the mayor&rsquo;s alleged comments.</p><p>&ldquo;We don&rsquo;t know, and all that we&rsquo;re prepared to deal with here are the allegations in the lawsuit. And those we have confidence in and believe that those stand on their own,&quot; Rachlis said.</p><p>The status hearing for the lawsuit is Dec. 7.</p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 06 Dec 2012 16:57:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/sections/architecture/chicago-mayor-reportedly-encouraged-northwestern-do-pr-blitz-tear-down Chicago-area Boy Scouts 'deeply regret' abuse http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-area-boy-scouts-deeply-regret-abuse-104177 <p><p>The head of the Chicago-area Boy Scouts of America council is apologizing for the sexual abuse of scouts.</p><p>CEO Charles Dobbins says he hasn&#39;t seen a lawsuit filed Tuesday accusing his group and the national organization of failing to protect children from a convicted pedophile.</p><p>The suit was filed in Cook County on behalf of a former scout who said he was molested by Thomas Hacker in 1985.</p><p>New documents show Hacker was banned from scouting in Indiana in 1970 for sexually assaulting boys but later became an Illinois scoutmaster and went on to molest more boys.</p><p>Attorney Christopher Hurley, who represents the anonymous scout, said the Boy Scout organization needs a better system to protect children.</p><p>&ldquo;[Hacker] was able to move from one boy scout local to another without detection,&rdquo; Hurley said. &ldquo;The method the Boy Scouts set up to prevent this type of movement was completely inadequate.&rdquo;</p><p>The 75-year-old Hacker was convicted in 1989 and is serving concurrent 50-year prison terms.</p><p>Dobbins said the Boy Scouts now routinely conduct background checks and members must report suspected abuse to law enforcement.</p><p>The Boy Scouts of Chicago said they can&rsquo;t comment on the lawsuit but released a statement:</p><p>&ldquo;Any instance of child abuse is intolerable and unacceptable. While we have not seen this lawsuit, we deeply regret that there have been times when Scouts were abused, and for that we are very sorry and extend our deepest sympathies to victims.&rdquo;</p></p> Tue, 04 Dec 2012 11:16:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-area-boy-scouts-deeply-regret-abuse-104177 More families join hazing lawsuit against suburban school district http://www.wbez.org/news/more-families-join-hazing-lawsuit-against-suburban-school-district-104097 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/mother.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Three plaintiffs have joined a civil lawsuit involving alleged hazing at Maine West High School in suburban Des Plaines.<br /><br />The four students are accusing coaches and school officials of allowing some students from the baseball and soccer teams to subject other players to physical and sexual abuse. The three students who joined the suit yesterday are members of the baseball and soccer teams.</p><p>The lawsuit was filed last week against Maine Township High School District 207 on behalf of a 14-year-old student who said last September older members of the team ripped off his clothes, grabbed his genitals and sodomized him with objects.&nbsp;</p><p>Attorney Tony Romanucci said he believes such incidents have been going on for some time at Maine Township.</p><p>&ldquo;I can tell you &hellip;we may be able to bring this back now to 2006,&rdquo; Romanucci said. &ldquo;So many people have come forward based upon what we have so far. I am having a hard time keeping up with all the phone calls.&rdquo;</p><p>He also said that he received information about so-called hazing in the swimming and water polo programs.&nbsp;</p><p>One of the alleged victims&#39; mothers appeared at a press conference on Wednesday wearing sunglasses and a baseball hat.&nbsp; She refused to give her identity and said that she gave a letter to the school complaining about abuse of her son in 2008. &nbsp;A copy of the letter was presented at the press conference. According to her, the Maine West High School principal, Audrey Haugan, did not investigate the incident at the time.<br /><br />She said this year she also talked to school district Superintendent Kenneth Wallace after she learned about the allegations from last September.<br /><br />&ldquo;He told me that in order to be sexual assault there needed to be sexual gratification and I was wrong,&rdquo; the mother said. &ldquo;I told him that my son was pinned down, pants ripped off exposed, boxers completely ripped off, in my opinion that&rsquo;s a sexual assault.&rdquo;<br /><br />In a statement, Maine Township School District said it first heard of the 2008 incident this month. That&rsquo;s shortly after allegations involving hazing this year caused uproar.</p><p>The district said it was not aware of the correspondence between the mother and the school four years ago.</p><p>&ldquo;That incident, involving members of West&rsquo;s freshman baseball team, came to the attention of Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Wallace on November 16, 2012, at which time it was reported to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services,&rdquo; according to the statement from Maine Township High School District 207.<br /><br />The district said it already made a report with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and that it&rsquo;s working with the Des Plaines police, who are investigating<br /><br />Six students were charged as juveniles with misdemeanor battery and hazing after the September attack, and 10 students were disciplined.</p></p> Thu, 29 Nov 2012 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/more-families-join-hazing-lawsuit-against-suburban-school-district-104097 Gingrich asks judge to dismiss song lawsuit http://www.wbez.org/story/gingrich-asks-judge-dismiss-song-lawsuit-97002 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2012-March/2012-03-06/AP120305149813.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has asked a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed against him for allegedly violating copyrights by playing "Eye of the Tiger" at campaign events.</p><p>A defense filing in U.S. District Court in Chicago denies any wrongdoing and says recordings played of the <em>Rocky III</em> anthem constituted fair use. Monday's filing also raises jurisdictional issues.</p><p>The federal lawsuit filed recently by Rude Music Inc. contends Gingrich has used the song since 2009 to herald his arrival at public events.</p><div class="inset"><div class="insetContent"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/content-categories/99831"><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-19/election2012promo.jpg" style="width: 270px; height: 50px; " title=""></a></div><div class="insetContent">&nbsp;</div></div><p>It accuses Gingrich of using the song without permission from Frank Sullivan, who with Jim Peterik, composed the song and copyrighted it in 1982.</p><p>The lawsuit asks for an injunction to prevent Gingrich from using the song, as well as damages and attorneys' fees.</p></p> Tue, 06 Mar 2012 15:25:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/gingrich-asks-judge-dismiss-song-lawsuit-97002 Catholic Charities of Peoria withdraws from lawsuit against Illinois http://www.wbez.org/story/catholic-charities-peoria-withdraws-lawsuit-against-illinois-92934 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-October/2011-10-07/AP110712151064.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Three Catholic dioceses in Illinois are continuing a court fight over Illinois' new civil unions law, while another is withdrawing from the litigation.</p><p>The Catholic Diocese of Peoria announced Thursday it plans to stop providing state-funded services and withdraw from the court battle.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.pjstar.com/news/x2075437708/Catholic-Charities-of-Peoria-withdrawing-from-state-foster-care-contracts">According to the Peoria Star-Journal</a>, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) plans to transfer more than 1,000 from Catholic Charities of Peoria to a new organization, The Center for Youth and Family Services, by January 31st.&nbsp; However, that organization currently has no director and no state license to handle foster care cases.</p><p>Catholic Charities of Peoria isn't the first local arm of the organization to end its contract with DCFS.&nbsp; In May, Catholic Charities of the Dicocese of Rockford terminated its foster care and adoption services contracts due to the threat of potential litigation.</p><p>The litigation stems from the passage of the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act, which provides many of the same marital rights and protections to those couples who seek to enter into civil unions, including same sex couples.</p><p>Catholic Charities affiliated with the Joliet, Springfield and Belleville dioceses were among the organizations who filed suit asking a judge to determine whether they could refuse to serve same sex couples and unmarried parents seeking adoptions if the agencies continued to receive state funding.</p><p>The state claims that's discriminatory and amounts to a violation of the civil unions law.&nbsp; But the charities argue that religious organizations are except from the provisions of the Illinois Religious Freedom Proteciton and Civil Union Act.</p><p>In August, a Sangamon Circuit County Court Judge ruled in favor of the state, but lawyers for the plaintiffs filed an appeal earlier this week.</p><p>Bishop Daniel Jenky of the Peoria Diocese says the decision to withdraw from the litigation and from providing state-funded social services was not made lightly.</p><p>Bishop Daniel Jenky of the Peoria Diocese said in a statement that the decision to withdraw from the litigation and from providing state-funded social services was not made lightly.</p><p>"Public policy and state law, however, have increasingly clashed with church teachings in such a way that we no longer can maintain this partnership as a viable option," Jenky said.</p><p>Peoria Catholic Charities' foster care contracts with the state total $15 million to $17 million annually, more than half the budget of the charity, said Patricia Gibson, general counsel for the Peoria Diocese and its charity.</p><p>"That's a big hit," Gibson said, and finances didn't play into the decision, Gibson said. Leaders in the diocese saw the opportunity to move all its foster care cases to one new nonprofit group would "minimize disruption in lives, particularly of the children that we serve," Gibson said.</p><p>Illinois ended contracts with Catholic Charities in the four dioceses in July because of the organizations' practice of referring unmarried couples to other agencies.</p><p>Diocese of Joliet spokesman Doug Delaney issued a statement about the Peoria decision.</p><p>"We understand the Diocese of Peoria's frustration with the state of Illinois' stance on foster-care contracts," the statement said. "Each diocese is making its decisions regarding this lawsuit that it finds appropriate to its operations and needs. Due to its own particular circumstances, the Diocese of Peoria has determined not to continue as a party to this appeal. We continue to believe in the merits of our case and remain hopeful that we will prevail on appeal."</p></p> Fri, 07 Oct 2011 15:36:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/catholic-charities-peoria-withdraws-lawsuit-against-illinois-92934