A lot of news articles come into this site’s e-mail address. Most of them I delete as they are not pertinent to the site or the local. Recently the site received a link to a court opinion written by the Honorable Amy J. St. Eve on 11/22/2011. The opinion was written in response to a lawsuit which isn’t very interesting or has anything to do with the local.

What is interesting in the short, 3 page document is a two sentence paragraph towards the bottom of the second page which reads:

Plaintiff is also advised that the Eleventh Amendment bars suit against the State and state agencies. See, e.g., Joseph v. Board of Regents of University of Wisconsin System, 432 F.3d 746, 748 (7th Cir. 2005). Therefore, the Illinois Department of Corrections is not a suable entity.

Basically, what this is saying is that because of the 11th amendment to the US constitution any state or state agency in the nation cannot be sued. So if the state violates a contract, it cannot be sued for breach of contract. If you are walking down the street and are run over by a state vehicle, the state cannot be sued. If you feel you are wronged by the state or any state agency then you are out of luck because you cannot file a lawsuit against that state or state agency. Read more of this >>

The Lessons of Triangle Shirtwaist Fire May Be Lost 100 Years Later

Read the full article here: The Lessons of Triangle Shirtwaist Fire May Be Lost 100 Years Later.

Screams of “Don’t jump!” echoed through the canyons of tall buildings. More than 50 bodies littered the streets surrounding 23 Washington Place, so many that New York City’s firetrucks were unable to get close enough to raise their ladders. Even if they had, the ladders from nearby Company 20 were too short to reach the eighth, ninth or 10th floors of the burning Triangle Shirtwaist Co. factory.

New York Fire Department reports say the flames, which were probably sparked by a cigarette tossed into a pile of cotton scraps on the eighth floor, rapidly spread to the floors above. The maelstrom of fire was knocked down in 18 minutes — brief, but long enough to snuff out the lives of 146 workers who were just minutes from heading home from their 52-hour workweek that sunny Saturday afternoon on March 25, 1911.

The victims of that inferno 100 years ago today were almost all new immigrants, mostly women and girls — Italians, Russians, Hungarians and Germans. Few spoke English.

The youngest victim was only 11, according to the death reports. Most were in their teens, and a few in their early 20s. There were 500 seamstresses and tailors working in the factory. Many on the eighth and tenth floors escaped. Few on the ninth floor had much chance of surviving.

Some stood on the narrow window ledges, alone or clutching friends, waiting for rescue that never came, then jumped or lost their balance and fell to their deaths. The height of the fall was so great that the jumpers tore through the safety nets that a circle of firefighters were frantically moving up and down the street to catch them.

The 146 lives lost in the fire ignited a passion for worker safety laws and indirectly led to the creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Yet a century later, the laws that could have saved lives had they been in place on March 25, 1911, are being threatened by budget cuts proposed by a Republican-controlled Congress.

Read the full article here: The Lessons of Triangle Shirtwaist Fire May Be Lost 100 Years Later.