Minimum Competence - Daily Legal News Podcast
Minimum Competence
Weds 4/5 - Texas Libraries, J&J ~$9b Settlement, IRS $80b, Online LSAT and Trump Indictment

Weds 4/5 - Texas Libraries, J&J ~$9b Settlement, IRS $80b, Online LSAT and Trump Indictment

Texas public libraries getting a few books put back on the shelves, J&J pays $8.9 billion to settle talc lawsuits, a coming plan for the IRS’ $80 billion infusion, online LSAT and more Trump nonsense.

A federal court in Texas has ordered a public library system to put back into circulation over a dozen books that were removed from the shelves. The books, which covered issues relating to LGBTQ+ and racism, had been pulled by the library. Library patrons sued, alleging that the books had been removed due to disagreement with their viewpoint. The patrons also claimed that the library had closed board meetings to the public and replaced its advisory board with community members who supported censorship. The judge granted the patrons' request for a preliminary injunction, which also stops the library from removing any more books while the lawsuit is pending. The case comes at a time of increasing school book bans. PEN America has documented nearly 2,532 school book bans affecting 1,648 titles from July 2021 to June 2022, with most of the challenged books addressing LGBTQ+ issues or systemic racism. The books in question include "Caste: The Origins of Our Discontent" by Pulitzer winner Isabel Wilkerson and "Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen" by Jazz Jennings.

Texas Library System Must Return Removed Books to Circulation

Johnson & Johnson has agreed to pay $8.9bn to settle all the lawsuits relating to its talc-based powders causing cancer. The payment is aimed at settling claims from about 60,000 claimants, and the company has withdrawn its talc-based baby powder, Shower to Shower and other such products from the market. The world's largest healthcare products company hopes to fund a trust set up in US bankruptcy court in Trenton, New Jersey, to cover future claims. Monies in the settlement will be paid out over 25 years. Traces of asbestos have been blamed for causing ovarian cancer and mesothelioma, specifically tied to asbestos exposure. Women and men have been blaming the company for causing these diseases, and internal J&J documents dating back to the early 1970s show workers warning managers about traces of asbestos found in talc bottled for baby powder.

J&J to Pay $8.9 Billion to Settle Talc-Cancer Lawsuits (2)

The IRS will release its plan for spending its $80 billion in multiyear funds later this week, according to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel. The plan will focus on improving online interactions between taxpayers and the agency, shortening lengthy phone wait times, and providing in-person assistance to taxpayers. The IRS also plans to hire and train employees to audit returns of high-income taxpayers, large corporations, and partnerships. The goal is to make real-world improvements and investments in technology that can digitize IRS processes and strengthen enforcement against corporations and high-income individuals.

IRS Plan for $80 Billion Coming This Week, Yellen Says (1)

The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) will be available for test takers to take at home or at a testing center starting from August. The LSAT was moved exclusively online in May 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions on in-person gatherings. The Law School Admission Council, which designs and administers the LSAT, partnered with Prometric Testing to provide test sites around the globe. Although most test takers will have a choice, some prefer the in-person experience to the challenges of at-home testing, including unreliable internet connections, multiple roommates, and noisy conditions.

Online? In-person? LSAT takers will soon have a choice | Reuters

And, finally, giving you ample opportunity to completely bail on this last story if you’ve had about enough Donald Trump news. 

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's indictment of former President Donald Trump on hush money charges related to a 2016 election scandal brought few new details about the case. Bragg accused Trump of falsifying records in his real estate company's books to conceal reimbursing his personal lawyer Michael Cohen for a $130,000 hush money payment. The payment was made to a woman who alleged she had an affair with Trump. Although it is the first time a former US president has faced criminal charges, legal experts not involved with the case say its strength will likely depend on evidence that has not been made public. The indictment did not specify the crimes that were allegedly being concealed. Meanwhile, prosecutors detailed similar schemes Trump allegedly orchestrated to silence two other people who had damaging information about him in a separate filing. Experts said this could help Bragg's office demonstrate to a jury that Trump intended to commit a crime. Cohen, who testified before the grand jury that indicted the former president, has previously pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations for the Daniels payment, which could leave him open to attacks on his credibility by Trump's defense at trial.

Analysis: Trump indictment on hush money charges brings few new facts | Reuters

The People of New York v. Donald J. Trump (documents explained and questions answered)

Minimum Competence - Daily Legal News Podcast
Minimum Competence
The idea is that this podcast can accompany you on your commute home and will render you minimally competent on the major legal news stories of the day. The transcript is available in the form of a newsletter at