Entries in Law (3)


What’s Next After Nevada Legalizes Online Interstate Gaming

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(CARSON CITY, Nev.) -- Now that Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval has signed legislation legalizing online interstate gaming, what’s next for online poker fans in the United States?

The state’s legislators and Sandoval rushed to pass and sign AB114 on Thursday, authorizing Nevada to enter into compacts with other states to offer Internet poker, ahead of New Jersey’s similar efforts.

On Feb. 7, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie had vetoed an online gambling bill but could sign another version next week.

U.S. online gambling nearly halted after the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 was implemented.

But the Department of Justice issued a letter in 2011 stating that the federal Wire Act of 1961 only applies to sports betting.

With passage of Nevada’s new legislation, “the U.S. online gambling industry has been reborn,” said Ken LaMance, attorney and managing editor for the LegalMatch Law Library.

Nevada’s bill removes a state provision that requires federal legislation or approval from the Department of Justice before online gaming licenses are made active. The legislation requires the Nevada Gaming Commission to adopt regulations authorizing Gov. Sandoval to make the agreements with other states.

LaMance said he expects New Jersey to pass similar legislation in the coming weeks.

“The only question now is how many other U.S. states will pass similar online gambling legislation allowing online gambling companies to operate in their state, or allow their citizens to participate in this online gambling in Nevada or New Jersey,” LaMance said.

What does this all mean for poker fans and other states?

“We’re currently in unchartered waters,” LaMance said.

A few states have passed legislation prohibiting residents from engaging in online gambling, like Illinois and Louisiana but, LaMance said, that could change. However, the federal government can pass its own regulations that would preempt state law, including that of Nevada.

“But this seems unlikely since the federal government has traditionally left gambling regulation to the individual states,” he said.

LaMance said legislation and enforcement have previously only targeted online companies, not individuals, from engaging in online gambling.

“With the large number of online companies likely sprouting up in Nevada, online gambling players are going to have abundant options, with the added security of knowing their money is stored domestically and not in some questionable offshore account,” he said.

The Nevada law authorizes private companies to operate online gambling sites in Nevada after they pay the state a fee. Certain companies that have been operating illegal online gambling companies will be barred from participation for five years, after which they can apply for a license.

“There is so much money at stake that I anticipate there will be a tidal wave of new companies entering this very lucrative market,” LaMance said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


New Law Would Block Rental of Recalled Cars

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A new bill that would keep rental car companies from renting out vehicles that have been recalled because of safety risks was introduced today in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act of 2012, named after two girls who died in a recalled car rented to them by Enterprise, would require companies to ground vehicles in their fleet that are under safety recall until they are repaired.

"If a recall notice has been issued for a rented car, that car should be taken off the road until it's fixed – it's that simple," said Rep. Lois Capps, D.-California, one of the sponsors of the bill. "Passing this straightforward bill will protect the public's safety and ensure that what happened to Raechel and Jacquie Houck will never happen again."

Cally Houck, the mother of Raechel and Jacquie Houck, began pushing for changes to the law after her two daughters, aged 24 and 20, were killed in 2004 when the Chrysler PT Cruiser they rented from Enterprise apparently began leaking steering fluid and suddenly caught fire before crashing into an oncoming semi-tractor trailer.

As reported in a 2010 ABC News investigation, the car had been under a safety recall for the potential fire hazard, but was still rented to the sisters.

The Houck family sued Enterprise, and after a lengthy legal fight, the company admitted negligence and was required to pay $15 million in damages.

After the ABC News report, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration launched an investigation to see how quickly rental car companies repair vehicles that have been recalled.

In February, Houck started a petition on calling on Enterprise, the nation's largest rental car company, to drop its opposition to an earlier version of the bill that was introduced in the Senate last year by Sens. Barbara Boxer, D.-California, and Chuck Schumer, D.-New York.

The petition garnered signatures from over 100,000 people, and within days, Enterprise had changed its stance and announced it would be supporting the law.

But last month, Sen. Boxer, joined by Houck, announced that three of the nation's four major rental car companies had declined to sign a pledge promising not to rent or sell cars under safety recall until those cars are fixed.

Boxer said that only Hertz had agreed to the pledge, but that Enterprise, Avis and Dollar Thrifty had not. "I want to say to America's families: You demand that all these companies sign this simple pledge. . . Tell your families that Hertz is the only one that signed this pledge."

There, Houck said that a law is necessary because "we cannot depend on the industry to do the right thing."

The three companies that declined to sign a pledge still maintained that they support federal legislation to ensure rental car safety, but they believe that any legislation should also cover other business that transport passengers, like limousine and taxi companies.

Representatives of Enterprise, Avis and Dollar Thrifty all responded to Boxer's press conference by saying their companies address safety recalls in a timely fashion. An Enterprise spokesperson said categorically that the company "does NOT rent any vehicles under recall that have not been repaired first." An Avis spokesperson said the company "[does] not and will not rent a vehicle" under recall, while Dollar Thrifty released a June 5 letter to Boxer in which the company asserted that "Dollar Thrifty has an outstanding safety record . . . specifically with respect to the timely repair of safety recalls."

An aide to Sen. Boxer told ABC News that Boxer and Sen. Schumer are now "putting the finishing touches" on a Senate version of the new House bill.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Herman Cain May Be Breaking Confidentiality Agreement, Say Experts

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Herman Cain might be breaching the confidentiality agreement reportedly muzzling his alleged sexual harassment accuser when he speaks publicly about the incident, legal experts say.

The Republican front-runner has downplayed accusations of inappropriate conduct from two female employees when he was CEO of the National Restaurant Association from 1996 to 1999.

Cain has said he was not aware of reported settlements that gave the women money to leave the National Restaurant Association after the incidents, as first reported by Politico Sunday, or that they were bound by confidentiality agreements.

Questions remain regarding the timing of the reported agreement and whether it binds the association or Cain, who left the association over a decade ago. But Alan Dershowitz, Harvard law professor, said it would be unusual for any such agreement to prohibit only the accuser from speaking about the incident, and not the accused.

"He has spoken to the media and very well may have waived a confidentiality agreement," Dershowitz said. "It can't be the case that he can present his perspective and she can't. She is certainly entitled to answer what he has put forward in the media."

Dershowitz said he doubts the agreement contained a specific provision that prohibited the employee from speaking, even if Cain spoke publicly.

"I doubt that would be in there," Dershowitz opined. "It would be very unusual and something that most lawyers would not agree to."

Joel Bennett, attorney for the former female staff member reportedly at the center of the anonymous story, had no comment.

"In all my over 40 years of business experience...I have never sexually harassed anyone," Cain said Monday at the National Press Club. "While at the Restaurant Association, I was accused of sexual harassment -- falsely accused, I might add."

One accuser reportedly received a severance package worth one year's salary, $35,000, from the National Restaurant Association, The New York Times reported.

Bennett and his client have yet to contact the National Restaurant Association to see whether it will waive the confidentiality agreement from 12 years ago when the case was settled. Although she would like to address the situation, until they waive the agreement, she will be keeping quiet, he has told the media.

Cain said he had difficulty recalling details connected to allegations against him and that his opponents have created a "smear campaign." His supporters and conservative pundits say the timing of the story -- during Cain's unexpected acendancy -- and Politico's unwillingness to divulge more details about the anonymously sourced story, are meant to derail Cain's momentum.

Cain's campaign could not be immediately reached for comment, but previously admitted the day the story broke was one of the campaign's most successful days for online fundraising.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio