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Legal News Roundup: November 24

Here’s a roundup of recent legal stories in the news.

Ohio likely to require nuclear reactor audit before renewing bailout

Reuters – Ohio’s legislature will likely require the owner of two nuclear power reactors to prove they need financial assistance to remain in service. This follows a bribery scandal related to the passage of the state’s 2019 nuclear bailout.

FirstEnergy Corp lobbied state officials to provide more than $1 billion to fund the continued operation of its Davis-Besse and Perry reactors.

In July, the FBI arrested Larry Householder, Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives, alleging bribery related to the passage of the state’s nuclear subsidy law, known as House Bill 6 (HB6).

In an effort to undo the damage done by the scandal, Ohio politicians have proposed new legislation that could remove or reduce the nuclear subsidies in HB6.

“Ultimately, the subsidies may be reduced following the audit but we are skeptical they’ll go to zero when all is said and done,” said Josh Price, senior analyst at Height Capital Markets.

Last week, the FBI raided a home owned by Sam Randazzo, chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. Randazzo resigned on Friday, according to the state governor’s office.

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Many People Saying No to Jury Duty

Associated Press – With many potential jurors concerned about the resurgence of COVID-19, plans to resume jury trials in many courthouses around the country have been derailed.

Within the past month, courts in Hartford, San Diego and Norfolk have delayed jury selection for trials because too few people responded to jury duty summonses. The non-response rates are much higher now than they were before the pandemic, court officials say.

Judges in New York City, Indiana, Colorado and Missouri declared mistrials recently because people connected to the trials either tested positive for the virus or had symptoms. Moreover, some state court systems suspended all jury trials because of rising virus rates.

Courts are under pressure to resume trials because of the case backlogs piling up during the pandemic.

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Federal judge dismisses Trump campaign Pennsylvania lawsuit

Fox News – On Saturday, U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann dismissed Donald Trump’s campaign lawsuit that accused Pennsylvania officials of enabling voter fraud. The decision provides a path for the state to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

In his ruling, Judge Brann concluded the lawsuit was marred by “strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations…unsupported by evidence.”

President Trump’s legal team filed an appeal to the judge’s decision.

Even if he eventually does win the Pennsylvania case, Trump would still need to win lawsuits in other states then ask to delay certification.

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Big Tax Bill for Coca-Cola

Jurist – The United States Tax Court ruled Coca-Cola improperly moved profits internationally and ordered the beverage giant to pay $3 billion in taxes.

The court found that Coca-Cola improperly shifted funds to foreign operating plants in places like Costa Rica, Chile, Ireland, Brazil, Egypt, Swaziland and Mexico.

The case concerned methodology for reallocating profits between Coca-Cola and its subsidiaries that sold syrup, flavorings, powder and other ingredients.

Coca-Cola said in a statement: “We are disappointed with the outcome of the U.S. Tax Court opinion, which we are reviewing in detail to consider its impact and potential grounds for its appeal. We intend to continue to vigorously defend our position.”

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