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Top 5: ‘It is what it is’

City Solicitor George Nilson

A tip-pooling case involving a South Baltimore tavern owner has settled, and the city takes steps to prevent more misconduct in its police department. Those stories and more in this week’s legal affairs top 5.

1. Baltimore tavern owner settles with former employees in tip-pooling case – by Brendan Kearney

South Baltimore bar owner Jason Zink has agreed to pay $115,000 to settle litigation brought by five of his former employees, according to settlement papers filed Tuesday in federal court.

The fact of a pretrial resolution was known a month and a half ago when U.S. District Court Judge Richard D. Bennett dismissed the tip-pooling case by form order, but the details only became public this week when the attorneys submitted the deal for judicial approval in keeping with the Federal Labor Standards Act.

2. 9 on short list for 2 judicial vacancies – by Danielle Ulman

A Maryland judicial commission has released the pared list of candidates Gov. Martin O’Malley will consider for two vacancies on the Baltimore City Circuit Court.

The Trial Courts Judicial Nominating Commission for Commission District 14 met on June 27 to discuss the candidates and vote on the individuals by secret ballot. Of the original list of 16 candidates released in May, nine potential candidates remain.

3. Settling into a teachable moment with Baltimore police – by Brendan Kearney

George Nilson had had enough.

Enough of the same kinds of police misconduct allegations year after year, enough fix-it talk without follow-up within his Baltimore City Law Department, and perhaps enough calls from the media and City Council members about the steady stream of suits and how much they cost the city.

According to a report he released in May, a low-end estimate of payouts between July 2004 and March 2011 was $16.8 million. More than $1 million in judgments or settlements have piled up in the months since.

4. Unsealed suit: KBR truck drivers padded timesheets – by Barbara Grzincic

Four years after he filed it, a former convoy commander’s False Claims Act complaint against KBR Inc. and its parent company, Halliburton Inc., has been unsealed in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt.

The move follows the Justice Department’s decision not to intervene in the litigation Peter J. Duprey filed under seal in June 2007, in which he says KBR not only allowed but encouraged timesheet fraud by truck drivers at its Theater Transportation Mission division in Iraq.

5. Live Nation sued over service fees on tickets in Baltimore – by Chelsea Feinstein

A class action lawsuit has been filed against Live Nation Entertainment Inc. and its local licensee alleging that the ticket agencies have been illegally charging customers high service fees despite not being licensed to sell tickets in Baltimore City.

“Among other things, Defendants used their dominating market position in the business of ticket sales to impose service charges on top of the face value of tickets in violation of Baltimore City law, and to represent that those ‘service charges’ were legitimate and collectible, to enrich themselves at the expense of the Plaintiff and other class members,” the complaint states.