Monday, February 14, 2011

Voters to narrow Supreme Court candidate field

Wisconsin has focused on the Green Bay Packers and Gov. Scott Walker for the last month, but another fight with perhaps just as much impact on the state is about to take center stage -- the state Supreme Court primary.

Justice David Prosser faces three challengers. Voters on Tuesday will choose two survivors who will face off in April's general election. The winner gets a 10-year term on the court.

The primary has played out in the background as the Packers charged to a Super Bowl title and Walker proposed doing away with state workers' unions. But the general election could ultimately tilt the ideological balance of the court for years to come.

State election officials expect about 10 percent of the state's voters will venture to the polls Tuesday.

Man expected to plead guilty in Iowa asbestos case

Court records say the supervisor of a renovation project in Des Moines' Equitable Building has agreed to plead guilty to asbestos-removal charges.

The Des Moines Register says Russell Coco's lawyer confirmed Tuesday that Coco will plead guilty to violating the Clean Air Act and conspiracy to impede and impair EPA asbestos-removal procedures.

Coco and his boss, developer Bob Knapp, are accused of illegally removing asbestos from 2005 to 2008.

The indictment says asbestos from the building was put in open bins, then dumped in a landfill. Asbestos can cause lung illnesses and cancer. Coco and Knapp were scheduled to begin trial on Feb. 28.

Judge affirms $7.3M verdict against law firm

A Maine judge has upheld a jury verdict that awarded $7.3 million in damages for emotional distress to a businessman who contended he was double-crossed by a law firm he hired.

A Cumberland County jury last summer said the Portland law firm of Bernstein, Shur, Sawyer and Nelson worked against Peter Redman's interests in a dispute with his brother over control of the now-defunct Northern Mattress and Furniture Co. In a 37-page ruling, Superior Court Justice Thomas Humphrey denied the law firm's motion seeking a new trial.

Redman, of Old Orchard Beach, was banned from the family business' headquarters over a sexual harassment claim he contended was orchestrated by his brother to wrest control of the business. Redman said the firm failed to defend him against the accusations.