February, 2007: The Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed a lower Courts decision to terminate the parental rights of a Father due in large part to the fact that the Father had not seen the child in over 1 year. The Court cited the law in Mississippi as follows;
“The grounds for involuntary termination of parental rights are statutory and found in Mississippi Code § 93-15-103. Mississippi Code § 93-15-103 states in part, “(3) Grounds for termination of parental rights shall be based on one or more of the following factors: (b) A parent has made no contact with a child under the age of three (3) for six (6) months or a child three (3) years of age or older for a period of one (1) year or (f) When there is an extreme and deep-seated antipathy by the child toward the parent or when there is some other substantial erosion of the relationship between the parent and child which was caused at least in part by the parent’s serious neglect, abuse, prolonged and unreasonable absence, unreasonable failure to visit or communicate, or prolonged imprisonment.”
2/23/07- Universal Communication Systems, claiming it had been defamed by comments on a message board regarding the value of its stock, sued message board operator Lycos. Dismissal in favor of Internet message board operator Lycos was upheld in 1st Circuit Court, reasoning that 1) Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act grants broad immunity to entities that facilitate the speech of others on the Internet; 2) defendant was a provider of an interactive computer service; 3) the “construct and operation” of the web site which may influence the content of the postings do not remove message board postings from category of “information provided by another information content provider” ; 4) immunity extends beyond publisher liability in defamation law to cover any claim that would treat Lycos “as the publisher;” and 5) Florida anti-dilution statute inapplicable merely by using a company’s trade name to label a message board on which the company is discussed.
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act provides that “[no] provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider,” and that “[n]o cause of action may be brought and no liability may be imposed under any State or local law that is inconsistent with this section.”
See: UNIVERSAL COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS v. LYCOS, INC.
On February 20, 2007, the US Supreme Court remanded to the Oregon Courts a case where the jury awarded 79.5 million in punitive damages to the estate of a deceased smoker. The Court stated that such an award amounted to taking of property without due process of law. See Phillip Morris, USA v. Williams. http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/06pdf/05-1256.pdf
Welcome to the USLegal Reporter. Posts will begin March 1, 2007.