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Abortion ban challenges, SAS bankruptcy, Theranos trial: 3 legal stories to watch

·Reporter
·3-min read

During this holiday-abbreviated week, we’re watching challenges to U.S. state laws restricting abortion, SAS AB's Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, and ongoing jury deliberations in the criminal fraud trial of former Theranos COO Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani.

Abortion ban challenges

Judges across the country are being asked to put newly-enacted abortion ban laws on hold after the U.S. Supreme Court made those restrictions possible by overturning Roe v. Wade.

State Supreme Court judges in Texas and Ohio authorized enforcement of abortion bans on Friday, denying challenges requesting that the laws be put on hold. In Texas, the state's highest court overruled the decision of a Texas district court that had on Tuesday temporarily blocked one of the states legal bans on abortion from taking effect — a pre-Roe law adopted in 1925 that targets providers who perform abortions. Another Texas law signed by Gov. Greg Abbott last year blocks abortions after approximately six weeks and is scheduled take effect in September.

The decisions followed similar legal opposition by abortion rights groups to bans in Louisiana, Utah, Idaho, Kentucky, and Mississippi that went into effect following the Supreme Court’s ruling. In those states, judges granted requests to temporarily block enforcement of the bans. Lawsuits have also been filed to challenge laws limiting abortion in Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Oklahoma.

A small group of abortion-rights supporters gather in front of the Supreme Court on June 28, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Nathan Howard/Getty Images)
A small group of abortion-rights supporters gather in front of the Supreme Court on June 28, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

SAS files for U.S. bankruptcy protection

Sweden-based commercial airline SAS AB (SAS.ST), formally known as Scandinavian Airlines System Denmark-Norway-Sweden, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Tuesday.

The company is requesting the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York authorize court-supervised reorganization so that it can move forward with a plan to financially stabilize the company.

In a Tuesday press release, the company stated that an ongoing pilot strike was exerting “negative impact on the liquidity and financial position of the company” that accelerated the need to initiate plans to shed debt and secure new financing.

The airline plans to continue operations should its restructuring plans be approved. However, as of Tuesday afternoon local time, Flightaware data showed that the airline had cancelled approximately 75% of its scheduled flights. Those cancellations come at an inconvenient time for the industry already grappling with reduced service due to worker shortages and walkouts.

DUSSELDORF, GERMANY - DEC 16, 2016: Airbus A319 from SAS Scandinavian Airlines taking off from Dusseldorf airport.
DUSSELDORF, GERMANY - DEC 16, 2016: Airbus A319 from SAS Scandinavian Airlines taking off from Dusseldorf airport.

Theranos trial

A verdict could come this week in the federal criminal fraud case against Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, the former boyfriend of Theranos Founder Elizabeth Holmes who served as the company's COO. Balwani’s lawyers rested their case more than a week ago, following closing arguments in the trial stemming from the collapse of the blood-testing startup.

Further jury deliberations are scheduled to continue Tuesday at 9:00 a.m Pacific Time for 12 jurors tasked with deciding Balwani’s fate on 12 combined counts of wire fraud and conspiracy brought by the U.S. Justice Department back in 2018. Jurors submitted a question to the judge last week, asking what happens if they cannot unanimously agree on a specific count.

Balwani and Holmes once stood at the helm of the now-shuttered, infamous company that promised to overhaul the blood testing industry by processing hundreds of individual patient diagnostic tests using just a drop or two of finger stick blood. Prosecutors say Balwani and Holmes defrauded investors and customers by misrepresenting the capability and reliability of the company’s tests.

In January, a separate jury that weighed nearly identical charges against Holmes returned guilty verdicts on three counts of criminal wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud against investors.

Alexis Keenan is a legal reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow Alexis on Twitter @alexiskweed.

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