On Monday, October 5th, Californian resident Carol P Sachs tried to sue a European railroad in American court. The woman lost both of her legs in a rail accident in Innsbruck, Austria as she tried to board a moving train. Although the accident clearly took place in Europe, Sachs claims that because she purchased the ticket for the journey over the internet in America, she is within her rights to start court proceedings in the US as well.
Supreme Court Not Impressed
The seeming consensus by the Supreme Court is that the case does not hold enough weight to be tried in the United States. Sachs only purchased her ticket in the United States via a Massachusetts based travel agent. The accident itself happened in Austria. With the only tie to the US being the ticket purchase, the case has little to no weight in the US judicial system.
Justice Elena Kagan queried whether buying a ticket to an opera performance in Vienna via a website in the United States would allow Sachs to sue the website if she slipped on a puddle there. The notion, her tone suggested, is absurd and a waste of the US courts time.
Justice Stephen Breyer, who has in fact published a book on the role of American courts and the global economy, has openly stated that he is unaware of any nation that would allow its courts to be used for lawsuits against companies that are blamed for injuries its citizens have received abroad.
The Legal Question
The legal question in this case is whether the Austrian government owned railroad is entitled to sovereign immunity or not. The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act usually protects Foreign States, however the law does make exception for some claims, if a commercial activity has been carried out in the United States, as it had in this case.
The Austrian Railroad’s Lawyers Fight Back
The lawyers representing the Austrian railroad have stated that it would be near impossible for them to warn ticket purchasers about every single type of accident that could occur should they choose to travel by train in their country. The federal government also backed the defendant’s lawyers, urging the judge to avoid drawing US courts into what could lead to US courts making a judgement on what happens in a foreign country – something that could be a quite sensitive matter.
Since the case has come to light, all transport ticket passes now routinely specify where lawsuits must be brought if at all. This has been put in place to prevent another case like this from being tried in a foreign country to where the original accident happened. On the other hand, the ruling in this case could then be applied to other foreign cases in the future in reference to employment agreements and financial transactions.
It will be interesting to see how this case pans out, and whether United States law will be altered based on the outcome.
When 81 year old Terrence Kunky died in August 2014, it is hard to say whether he anticipated the long legal struggle that would be caused by his decision to disinherit his two daughters and leave animal charities as beneficiaries in his will. Now, over a year after his passing, the Panhandle Animal Welfare Society, better known as PAWS, and Save Our Cats and Kittens, AKA SOCKS, have come together in court with the help of attorney Jill Crew, to try and break the deadlock in the release of funds bequeathed to them by Kunky.
A Lengthy Battle for Kunky’s Estate
Terrence Kunky had two daughters, Kimberley Huggins and Kelli Lee Brown (who has also been known as Kelli Lee Lowery). Both daughters were specifically excluded from Kunky’s inheritance in his will, with his money instead being divided between PAWS, Socks, and another charity called Covenant Hospice. Kimberley Huggins has been fighting to gain control of the estate, reasoning that Kunky was suffering from dementia when the will was created. However, both the attorney who oversaw the will and Terrence Kunky’s physician rejected this, stating that Kunky did not suffer from dementia.
Under pressure from the lawyers representing SOCKS and PAWS following this, the family of the late Terrence Kunky agreed to hand over the money that was left to the two charities in the form of US savings bonds, however this transaction never took place. The family and their attorney Richard Sherrill have since attempted to exclude PAWs and SOCKS as beneficiaries.
Emergency Cat Rescue
What PAWS and SOCKS Are Trying To Achieve
Given that this case is still in progress, the attorney for the children of Terrence Kunky has declined to talk about the details of the case. Jill Crew, who is representing SOCKS and PAWS has also been unavailable for press comments however is currently trying to get the bonds in question turned over to the animal charities immediately, as well as have sanctions issued against Huggins and the rest of the family, who she seeks to have cover her own costs and the fees that the charities have had to pay to a certified public accountant.
While the sum in question is a large one – $440,000 – the charities and their attorney believe they are very much entitled to receive the money as it was legitimately and knowingly left to them in Kunky’s will.
Even though a lot of people are able to distinguish right from wrong, they are not motivated or interested enough, in order to fund their energy into bringing the wrongdoings into the light of day. Some people just lack the courage needed to blow the whistle and call the justice.
There are many reasons why you should blow the whistle, but there are also many reasons why a lot of people choose not to. Even though this cowardly act is the easy way out, a lot of people choose to look the other way. Here are just some of many pros, as well as cons, to whistleblowing.
Doing The Right Thing
As it has been previously mentioned, a lot of people are able to distinguish right from wrong. When presented with a wrongdoing, a lot of people choose to remain silent. However one of the main reasons why you should contact a whistleblower lawyers and blow a whistle on a wrongdoing is precisely because you are aware that you are doing the right thing.
Being Proud Of Yourself
You don’t need your friends or society to be proud of your actions. Calling out on criminal or suspicious activities when you see them, will make you feel good about yourself, as it often happens when you do the right thing. This sense of accomplishment stems from being able to restore justice in this world.
Improving Society – Making the World A Better Place
A lot of people do not realize that when they call out the wrongdoings and bring them to the face of justice, they are improving this world bit by bit, step by step. If you want to improve the society you live in, and make the world a better place, this is the right place to start. Even though your battles might seem small, insignificant; they are probably only a tiny piece of the puzzle of what makes the world a better place.
What Really Happens To Whistleblowers?
Failing To Bring The Wrongdoings To Justice
Some people simply choose not to report and the wrongdoings and bring them to the face some justice because they are afraid that and the legal system will fail them. Failing to achieve justice can be devastating for anyone who believes in it.
Losing Your Job
Furthermore, many whistleblowers have been faced with not so pleasant consequences which were a result of bringing suspicious activities to justice. Many whistleblowers have lost their jobs. This is one of the main reasons why people choose not to report wrongdoings.
Having To Live With Negative Comments
Unfortunately, sometimes the whistleblowers are not complimented for their achievements; but rather, they must face negative comments, and sometimes are even prevented from developing their future careers.
Disclaimer: Any given information in this article is relevant in the subject concerning legal matters. Nonetheless, this article cannot be considered a substitution for proper legal advice given by a professional lawyer or attorney. Seek professional advice if you are in need of a legal advice.