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Utilities cannot charge customers who produce some of their own energy more than other customers, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled Friday in a decision that strikes down proposed rates from two companies.

The state's highest court found the proposals by Westar and Kansas Gas and Electric constitute price discrimination against residential customers who use solar panels or windmills to generate some or all of their electricity.

The opinion, written by Justice Caleb Stegall, said such price discrimination undermines the policy preferences of the Legislature. It notes lawmakers codified into state law the goal of incentivizing renewable energy production by private parties.

Calling the utility companies' proposal unlawful, the state Supreme Court reversed a lower appeals court ruling that had upheld it and ruled the Kansas Corporation Commission erred in approving the discriminatory rate. It sent the matter back to the commission for further proceedings.




Juul Labs, the nation’s largest electronic-cigarette company, donated tens of thousands of dollars to the campaigns of state attorneys general in an effort to build relationships with these powerful officials and potentially head off legal challenges over how it promoted and sold its vaping products.

But the company’s approach hasn't stopped officials from taking action. Thirty-nine states announced late last month that they will investigate whether Juul’s early viral marketing efforts illegally targeted teens and made misleading claims about the nicotine levels in its devices.

Health officials have declared underage vaping an epidemic, largely driven by the discrete, high-nicotine, fruity flavored pods that Juul sold until late last year.


The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 Tuesday to close the courthouse door on the parents of a Mexican teenager who was shot dead over the border by an American agent.

The court’s five conservative justices held that the parents could not use American courts to sue Border Patrol Agent Jesus Mesa Jr., who killed their unarmed 15-year-old son in 2010.

Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the court that the case is tragic, but that strong border security and international relations issues led to the ruling against the parents of Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca.

“Since regulating the conduct of agents at the border unquestionably has national security implications, the risk of undermining border security provides reasons to hesitate” about allowing the parents to sue in American courts, Alito wrote.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, writing for her liberal colleagues, disagreed, saying the parents’ lawsuit does not endanger border security or U.S. foreign policy.

Tuesday’s outcome also is certain to doom a lawsuit filed by the parents of a teenager killed in Nogales, Mexico, from gunshots fired across the border by a U.S. agent. That case has been on hold.



An Arizona judge has ordered one part of state government to reimburse another part for over $982,000 in attorney fees and other legal costs in a court case stemming from a real estate development.

The ruling Wednesday by Tax Court Judge Judge Christopher Whitten in favor of the state Board of Regents follows a November ruling against Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s lawsuit challenging a deal between Arizona State University and hotel developers.

The Board of Regents, which oversees the state university system, prevailed in the court case in November when Whitten ruled that Brnovich’s office filed the lawsuit after the one-year statute of limitations expired.

Brnovich argued the deal was an unconstitutional gift to developers. Building the hotel on university land would make it exempt from property taxes. The regents said the transaction wasn’t one-sided because it benefited the university by providing rental payments and a needed conference center and hotel.

Brnovich plans to appeal Whitten’s November decision granting summary judgment to the Board of Regents and the ruling on legal costs.

In Wednesday’s ruling, Whitten rejected Brnovich’s arguments that the legal fees paid by the regents for their defense from the lawsuit were excessive.

The lawyers defending the regents were highly skilled and experienced and the case had to be handled quickly, Whitten wrote.


Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich has asked the Supreme Court to keep in place an Arizona law that prohibits voters from delivering other people’s mail ballots to the polls.

Political organizations and Native American tribes would previously collect mail-in ballots and drop them off at precincts before or on election day, but state lawmakers banned the practice in 2016, groups said.

Brnovich’s request comes less than a week after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the policy is illegal and violates the Voting Rights Act, officials said.

Some Democrats have argued the policy disproportionately affected Native American, Hispanic, African American and other voters in Arizona who have poor mail service.

Some Republican legislators have argued that the practice of ballot harvesting leaves elections vulnerable to fraud.



President Donald Trump asked the Supreme Court on Thursday to void a subpoena from the House of Representatives that seeks the president’s financial records from his accounting firm.

The justices already have shielded the documents from being turned over while they consider whether to hear Trump’s case and his separate appeal of a court order that requires the same accounting firm, Mazars USA, to give his tax returns to the Manhattan District Attorney. The court could say as early as mid-December whether it will hear and decide the cases by the end of June.

Yet another case involving House subpoenas for Trump’s records from New York banks also is headed for the Supreme Court, and the justices are likely to prevent the handover of any documents for the time being.



A French court has postponed until Nov. 7 a decision on whether to uphold preliminary charges against French cement manufacturer Lafarge, including "complicity in crimes against humanity."

The decision comes as the Paris appeal court on Thursday ruled in favor of Lafarge's request that some NGOs that had filed legal complaints could no longer be plaintiffs in the case.

Lafarge has acknowledged funneling money to Syrian armed organizations in 2013 and 2014 —allegedly including the Islamic State group— to guarantee safe passage for employees and supply its plant in the war-torn country.

The company appealed the charges, which also include financing a terrorist enterprise, violation of an embargo and endangering others.

The wrongdoing preceded Lafarge's merger with Swiss company Holcim in 2015 to create LafargeHolcim, the world's largest cement maker.



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