Rep. Katie Porter calls out Johnson & Johnson over trying to split company during baby powder lawsuits

Johnson & Johnson logo
  • Rep. Katie Porter blasted Johnson & Johnson for trying to separate its company.
  • She said that the company is trying to “shield its assets” during lawsuits.
  • The lawsuits allege that the company knew their baby powder had asbestos in it for decades.

Rep. Katie Porter called out Johnson & Johnson on Twitter for moving to separate the Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder portions from the company as it faces lawsuits from tens of thousands of women alleging the Baby Powder and other talc products from the company were contaminated with asbestos.

“Johnson & Johnson filed in court last week to split its Baby Powder from the rest of the company,” the congresswoman tweeted. “Why? J&J knew asbestos laced some bottles but kept it a secret for decades. Tens of thousands of women with ovarian cancer are suing, and the company wants to shield its assets.”

“J&J sold the powder for 60 years, and now that it has to pay for these women’s medical bills, it wants the courts to treat ‘Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder’ as a separate company,” California congresswoman continued.

A 2018 investigation by Reuters reported that small amounts of asbestos were found in the company’s baby powder between the early 1970s and the early 2000s. The investigation found through documents that the company failed to disclose that information.

The company has repeatedly denied the claims.

Reuters reported last week that cases against Johnson & Johnson cost to company about $1 billion to defend, and settlements and verdicts have been an additional $3.5 billion.

In June, J&J had to pay out $2 billion to women who claim their products caused ovarian cancer.

Nearly 40,000 plaintiffs are suing Johnson & Johnson, alleging that their talc-based products caused cancer and mesothelioma.

In one suit, the plaintiffs allege “Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder was aggressively marketed to Black women as a product that would ‘maintain freshness and cleanliness,'” Insider’s Aleeya Mayo previously reported. “But, the group says, internal documents from a study conducted in 1968 suggest that the powder contained talc which may have been contaminated with asbestos and that the company knew there was a ‘carcinogenic nature of talc and the effects of talc use.'”

The company put these claims into a company called LTL Management LLC, which filed for bankruptcy last Thursday, October 14, halting the cases, according to Reuters. The lawsuits are currently paused while the bankruptcy is negotiated. J&J said will fund the company’s legal costs, but the amount is under review, Reuters reported.

Court paperwork by the newly filed company said that the case was “necessitated by an unrelenting assault by the plaintiff trial bar, premised on the false allegations that the … talc products contain asbestos and cause cancer,” according to Reuters.

“There are countless Americans suffering from cancer, or mourning the death of a loved one, because of the toxic baby powder that Johnson & Johnson put on the market that has made it one of the most profitable pharmaceutical corporations in the world. Their conduct and now bankruptcy gimmick is as despicable as it is brazen,” Linda Lipsen, who is a part of the American Association for Justice, said in a statement, according to ABC News.

The company did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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California judge throws out a lawsuit against Subway, which accused the chain of using fake tuna in its sandwiches

tuna sandwich with lettuce and tomato on wrapper paper
Subway’s tuna sandwiches have come under intense scrutiny.

  • A lawsuit alleging that Subway mislabeled its tuna has been dismissed by a judge, per reports.
  • A California court found the claimants did not meet a legal standard to sue the sandwich giant.
  • Subway called the suit, which was filed earlier this year, “reckless and improper.”

A federal judge in California dismissed a case against Subway on Thursday, which had been brought by consumers who alleged that the tuna used in its sandwiches was not authentic.

Judge Jon S. Tigar, of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, said he read the complaint and struggled to find any reliance claims, Bloomberg reported.

The lawsuit, which accused Subway of mislabeling the contents of its tuna sandwiches, made headlines when it was filed earlier this year.

Karen Dhanowa and Nilima Amin, the plaintiffs, filed a class-action complaint against Subway in the US District Court for the Northern District of California. It claimed that “independent testing repeatedly affirmed” Subway made the tuna product with no actual tuna fish, but did not identify the agencies that conducted such tests, Insider’s Allana Akhtar reported.

The suit also alleged that Subway profited from mislabeling the tuna products by using cheaper ingredients. “The products are made from a mixture of various concoctions,” the suit claimed.

Subway defended itself from the claims, saying they were “meritless.”

In a previous statement to Insider, Subway said: “Tuna is one of our most popular sandwiches. Our restaurants receive 100% wild-caught tuna, mix it with mayonnaise and serve on a freshly made sandwich to our guests.”

The Washington Post reported that the judge’s dismissal was not based on any findings about the content of the tuna, but instead centered on the fact that the plaintiffs didn’t meet a legal standard to sue.

“To meet the heightened pleading standard, plaintiffs still need to describe the specific statements they saw and relied upon, when they saw the statements, and where the statements appeared. Because they fail to do so, the complaint does not satisfy the … standard,” Tigar said in his ruling.

Subway did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

In a statement to The Washington Post, Subway said. “We commend the court for dismissing the reckless and improper lawsuit surrounding Subway’s tuna.”

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Rudy Giuliani testified that he represented Trump’s 2020 campaign for free because the former president ‘ordered me to do it’

Rudy Giuliani
Rudy Giuliani.

  • Rudy Giuliani said former President Donald Trump ordered him to represent his campaign for free, according to court documents.
  • Giuliani had been called to testify in a defamation lawsuit brought by a former Dominion Voting Systems employee.
  • Giuliani said in the deposition that Trump told him to “go over and take over the campaign, tell them you’re in charge.”

Rudy Giuliani testified that he represented former President Donald Trump for free after the 2020 election because Trump “ordered me to do it,” newly released court documents show.

Giuliani had led the Trump campaign’s effort to contest the 2020 election results by filing dozens of lawsuits that claimed there was widespread election fraud, all of which were thrown out by federal judges. An executive for Dominion Voting Systems, Eric Coomer, subsequently brought defamation lawsuits against Giuliani, former federal prosecutor Sydney Powell, and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, alleging that they knowingly spread false information about his involvement in election fraud.

In a newly released deposition transcript, Coomer’s attorney, Charles Cain, asked Giuliani if he was ever paid to represent the Trump campaign. Cain noted that Giuliani said in a sweaty, conspiracy-theory-filled November 19 press conference that he was representing both Trump personally and the Trump campaign.

Giuliani replied that he was not paid to represent the campaign and had only been reimbursed for his expenses, according to the transcript. Cain then asked Giuliani why he would represent the Trump campaign without compensation.

“The president – the president ordered me to do it,” Giuliani replied.

Trump had previously cut off Giuliani and was refusing to pay his legal bills, according to Michael Wolff’s book, “Landslide: The Final Days of the Trump Presidency.” The amount that Trump may owe Giuliani is unclear, but Maria Ryan, a Giuliani associate, told The New York Times that Giuliani gave a rate of $20,000-per-day to the Trump campaign for his work on the election lawsuits.

In the deposition transcript, Giuliani told Cain that Trump called him into the Oval Office on “either the 4th or the 5th” of November 2020 – after the presidential election – and told him to “go over and take over the campaign, tell them you’re in charge.”

Giuliani’s attorney, Joe Sibley, immediately reminded the former New York City mayor not to disclose information about his conversation with Trump that could be protected by attorney-client privilege, according to the transcript.

“It doesn’t matter if he made the statement. Don’t disclose it if it’s attorney/client privilege,” Sibley said, to which Giuliani replied that he would be “very careful” not to disclose any privileged information.

“He said go over and tell them you’re in charge, it’s got to be straightened out,” Giuliani said, noting that he wasn’t sure if Trump wanted him to take over the entire campaign or only the campaign’s legal representation.

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Texas cops are suing Tesla after a car that was allegedly on Autopilot plowed through 5 officers at a traffic stop

Tesla CEO Elon Musk next to a picture of the vehicle damaged by a Tesla on Autopilot
Tesla CEO Elon Musk versus the deputy’s patrol vehicle damaged by the Tesla on Autopilot

  • Five Texas cops are suing Tesla after a Model X allegedly on Autopilot slammed into the policemen.
  • The suit alleges Tesla falsely advertised that its Autopilot software is safer than a human driver.
  • The NHTSA is investigating the Autopilot feature after it was involved in 11 crashes with emergency vehicles.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Five Texas cops are suing Tesla after a car that was allegedly on Autopilot injured the policemen during a traffic stop.

The policemen are filing the lawsuit seven months after the accident occurred on February 27 in Splendora, a suburb in Houston, Texas. At the time, the officers had pulled over another car into the right-hand lane of the expressway and were in the process of conducting a drug search with a canine when the Model X slammed into the two police cars at 70 miles per hour. The Tesla pushed the cars into the officers and the driver that had been pulled over, the lawsuit said. The court document did not detail the nature of the injuries.

The suit alleges that Tesla has falsely advertised that its Autopilot software can execute driving functions better than a human. Tesla did not respond to a request for comment.

“You’ve probably seen that Elon Musk and Tesla have proudly touted Teslas on autopilot are safer than your everyday driver, that Tesla’s on autopilot there are fewer accidents than they are otherwise,” attorney Tony Buzbee said in an interview with local channel KPRC 2. “But what we’ve learned is that this information is misleading.”

The lawsuit alleges that Tesla’s Autopilot mode was “completely unable to detect the existence of at least four vehicles, six people and a German Shepherd fully stopped in the lane of traffic” because it does not recognize cars and pedestrians when lights are flashing. The suit said Tesla has not fixed the issue, despite multiple crashes with first responders.

Tesla’s Autopilot – which enables the cars to steer, accelerate, and brake within the lane – has been under increased scrutiny in recent months. The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is currently investigating Tesla’s driver-assist Autopilot feature after it identified over 11 crashes since 2018 in which a Tesla in Autopilot or “Traffic Aware Cruise Control” mode has struck vehicles at first-responder scenes. The majority of the accidents have taken place at night and have included emergency vehicles with flashing lights, flares, and traffic cones.

“The officers want to hold Tesla accountable, and force Tesla to publicly acknowledge and immediately correct the known defects inherent in its Autopilot and collision avoidance systems, particularly as those impact the ongoing safety of our nation’s first responders,” the lawsuit said.

The policemen are seeking damages for multiple injuries and permanent disabilities in a range of $1 million to as much as $20 million. The officers are also suing Pappas Restaurants for allegedly overserving alcohol to the Tesla driver before the accident. Police reports from February show the driver was taken into custody due to suspicions the individual was driving under the influence.

Pappas Restaurant did not respond to a request for comment from Insider, but told local news that the restaurant will be conducting an investigation into the allegations.

Earlier this month, Tesla’s Autopilot mode was involved with another suspected DUI case as police trailed a Tesla in California that was driving on Autopilot while its driver was reportedly passed out behind the wheel. At the time, news channels noted the Autopilot feature likely saved the driver’s life.

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The US and 23 other countries enacted laws to try and control content on the internet, study finds

A person holds a smartphone with the Twitter app open
Twitter

  • 24 different countries created new laws or rules determining how online platforms can treat content, a study by Freedom House found.
  • Internet freedom has declined for the past 11 years globally, according to the report.
  • The trend can be attributed to problems like extremism, fraud, and criminal activity in the internet.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Authorities in at least 24 different countries, including the US, created new laws or rules determining how online platforms can treat content, a study finds.

Freedom House, a Washington DC-based democracy advocacy group, reported that global internet freedom has been on the decline for 11 consecutive years.

Freedom House, which publishes its Freedom on the Net report annually, found that at least 48 countries pursued new rules for tech companies on content, data, and competition in 2020, and 24 countries created new rulings specifically on how content is treated on the internet. Some of the rulings include requirements to take down illegal content, stronger transparency, and extremes like political and journalistic censorship, according to the study.

Freedom House says the trend can be attributed to problems within society like extremism, exploitative business practices, and criminal activity.

The report said there were “few positive exceptions” to the worldwide push to regulate the big tech companies, such as dismantling harmful online harassment and manipulative market practices.

“While a few measures introduced this year have the potential to hold tech giants more accountable for their performance, most simply impose state and even political responsibilities on private firms without securing greater rights for users,” the report said.

This past year, officials in India pressured Twitter to remove protest-related commentary and to stop flagging manipulated content shared by the ruling party. In Nigeria, authorities blocked access to Twitter across the country after the social media platform removed incendiary posts by the country’s president.

In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill to stop social media companies like Facebook and Twitter from censoring users based on their politics and allows private citizens and the Texas attorney general to sue tech companies who they believe have unfairly kicked someone off a platform, Insider reported.

Two major trade groups have sued Abbott and Texas over the bill, saying in the lawsuit it will “unconstitutionally require platforms like YouTube and Facebook to disseminate, for example, pro-Nazi speech, terrorist propaganda, foreign government disinformation, and medical misinformation.”

Currently, Twitter does not screen content or remove potentially offensive content, according to the company’s policy. But targeted abuse or harassment can violate Twitter rules.

Facebook, in a white paper released by the company last year, said it wants regulators to create legal standards for content moderation. Earlier this month, a meeting of Facebook leaders focused on “whether Facebook has gotten too big,” Insider reported. Facebook, the world’s largest social network, with nearly 3 billion users, disagreed with the report.

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Marvel is suing former comic-book artists to keep full control over characters including Iron Man, Thor, and Spider-Man

Marvel Avengers Iron Man Repulsor blast
Iron Man is one of the characters at the centre of the lawsuit.

  • Marvel is suing ex-comic book artists or their estates to keep full control over several characters.
  • It follows complaints from the artists’ heirs, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
  • Their creations were made “for hire” and Marvel claims that this means it fully owns the rights.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Disney’s Marvel division is suing former comic-book artists to keep full control of classic characters.

It filed suit against Larry Lieber, and the estates of Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, Don Heck, Don Rico, and Gene Colan.

The lawsuit, which was viewed by The Hollywood Reporter, claims that Marvel holds full ownership over characters including Iron Man, Spider-Man, and Thor.

The development came after the artists’ relatives sent termination notices to try and reclaim part of the rights to several characters.

The artists all co-created the characters in question between the 1950s and 1970s. Their creations, however, were made when they were working on a “for hire,” basis.

This arrangement means the artists cannot reclaim rights to them under the Copyright Act, Marvel argued in the filing.

In reference to Lieber, who is Lee’s brother, Marvel said in the lawsuit: “Marvel assigned Lieber stories to write, had the right to exercise creative control over Lieber’s contributions, and paid Lieber a per-page rate for his contributions.”

Marc Toberoff, who represents the artists, the lawsuits were based on “an anachronistic and highly criticized interpretation of ‘work-made-for-hire’ under the 1909 Copyright Act that needs to be rectified,” Reuters reported.

But Marvel attorney, Dan Petrocelli told Reuters in a statement: “Since these were works made for hire and thus owned by Marvel, we filed these lawsuits to confirm that the termination notices are invalid and of no legal effect.”

This is not the only recent legal battle that Marvel and Disney have been involved in. “Black Widow” actor Scarlett Johansson is suing Disney over the movie’s dual-release. The lawsuit argues that Disney violated her contract by debuting the film online and in theaters.

According to court documents shared with Insider, Johansson’s representatives contacted Marvel to ensure that the movie would solely be released in theatres.

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Twitch hits back at its ‘hate raid’ trolls with a federal lawsuit

Twitch logos are seen displayed on a phone and a laptop screens in this illustration photo.
Twitch logos on a phone and a laptop screen.

  • Twitch sued two of its users for targeting its streamers with hateful and racist speech.
  • The company accused the users of conducting “hate raids” against marginalized streamers.
  • “Hate raids” are when users use bots to harass streamers by flooding them with hateful comments.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Popular live streaming platform Twitch filed a lawsuit against two of its users this week for targeting Twitch streamers with hateful and racist speech.

The lawsuit targeted two specific users, “Cruzzcontrol” and “CreatineOverdose,” who, according to Twitch, are organizing “hate raids” against certain users of the platform.

“Hate raids,” a now popular phenomenon on the site, are when anonymous users use bots to harass streamers, typically by flooding the comment section of their live streams with harmful and inappropriate comments. Twitch alleged Cruzzcontrol and CreatineOverdose specifically targeted “streamers from marginalized groups” with “racist, sexist, and homophobic language and content,” the lawsuit said.

Despite suspending the users’ accounts, the defendants were “undeterred” and “evaded Twitch’s bans by creating new, alternate Twitch accounts, and continually altering their self-described ‘hate raid code’ to avoid detection and suspension by Twitch,” the company said in the lawsuit.

According to Twitch’s community guidelines and terms of service, users are prohibited from creating, uploading, transmitting, or distributing “any content that is inaccurate, unlawful, infringing, defamatory, obscene, pornographic, invasive of privacy or publicity rights, harassing, threatening, abusive, inflammatory, or otherwise objectionable.” Twitch said both Cruzzcontrol and CreatineOverdose violated these terms.

“CruzzControl is responsible for nearly 3,000 bot accounts associated with hate raids,” the lawsuit alleged. “Bots developed and deployed by CruzzControl have been linked to various hate raid events, including those targeting black and LGBTQIA+ streamers with racist, homophobic, sexist, and other harassing content.”

Twitch accused CreatineOverdose of similar infractions. Although both users were banned from the platform, Twitch alleged that CreatineOverdose continually returned under new aliases with different usernames to execute the raids and stop Twitch from permanently banning them.

Although the identities of Cruzzcontrol and CreatineOverdose are unknown, Twitch suspects the trolls are from Austria and the Netherlands, according to the lawsuit.

Twitch told Insider in a statement that the company hopes the lawsuit “will shed light on the identity of the individuals behind these attacks and the tools that they exploit, dissuade them from taking similar behaviors to other services, and help put an end to these vile attacks against members of our community.”

Earlier this year, Twitch changed its user policies to the platform to monitor users offline to watch for deadly, violent, and extreme internet activity. The policy change was intended to be a more thorough, codified version of actions Twitch has taken in the past, Insider reported.

In early September, many Black streamers boycotted the platform and used the hashtag #TwitchDoBetter to urge Twitch to do more to combat hate raids on the site.

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‘Dog Whisperer’ Cesar Millan sued for allegedly covering up his pitbull’s deadly attack on Queen Latifah’s dog, report says

Cesar Millan and his dog Junior
Dog behaviorist Cesar Millan and dog Junior attend the Premiere of Nat Geo Wild’s “Cesar 911” Season 2 on March 13, 2015 in West Hollywood, California.

  • “Dog Whisperer” Cesar Millan is in the middle of a lawsuit alleging his dog attacked and killed Queen Latifah’s dog.
  • Millan asked his staff to cover up the attack and were told to tell Latifah her dog got struck by a car and killed, TMZ reported.
  • The lawsuit claims Millan’s dog also attacked Lidia Matiss in 2017, a young gymnast, who can no longer compete in the sport because of her injuries.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Caesar Millan, also known as the “Dog Whisperer,” is in the middle of a lawsuit claiming his dog attacked one of Queen Latifah‘s dogs and injured several others, TMZ reported.

The lawsuit was filed by Lidia Matiss, a young gymnast who claims Millan’s dog Junior attacked and severely injured her legs in 2017 after the dog had been walking around Millan’s office unsupervised. According to Matiss’ lawsuit, which was obtained by TMZ, Matiss says Junior has a history of attacking other people and pets, including one of Latifah’s dogs.

After Latifah brought two of her dogs to Millan’s center in Santa Clarita, California, one was attacked and killed by Junior, the lawsuit says. Staff at the center were allegedly asked by Millan to cover up the attack and were told to tell Latifah her dog got struck by a car and killed.

Matiss, whose mother works for Millan, claims that Millan was aware that Junior has a history of violence.

Before the attack, Matiss was an excellent gymnast at the highest level of the USA Gymnastics Junior Olympics Programs, TMZ reported. She was actively being recruited by the University of Pennsylvania and claims she had to leave the sport because of her injuries from the attack.

According to TMZ, Millan answered the lawsuit and claims Matiss knew of the danger related to the dog. He also claims negligence on the part of Matiss but does not specify how, TMZ reported.

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Oregon Governor Kate Brown is being sued by police officers and firefighters over the state’s vaccine mandate

Kate Brown oregon
Governor Kate Brown.

  • Police officers and firefighters are suing Oregon Gov. Kate Brown over the state’s vaccine mandate.
  • The suit claims that Brown’s order is “unenforceable” and conflicts with free expression statutes.
  • The order requires all employees of the state to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A group of police officers and firefighters are suing Oregon Gov. Kate Brown over the state’s vaccine mandate, KOIN-TV reported.

The lawsuit, filed in Jefferson County Circuit Court, seeks to deter the state from mandating all employees of the executive branch to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The group is asking a judge to declare Brown’s order as “unenforceable.” They claim the executive order clashes with existing Oregon statutes of free expression and could result in the wrongful termination of employees.

“Forcing them to decide between their livelihoods and vindicating their statutory and constitutional rights is unconscionable and wrong,” the suit said.

The order, which was announced in August, requires all employees of the executive branch to be fully vaccinated on or before October 18 or six weeks after a vaccine receives full approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

It can excuse people with disabilities, qualifying medical conditions, or truly held religious beliefs, however. Employees who failed to act in accordance with the directive will face “personnel consequences up to and including separation from employment.”

Among those suing Brown are the Oregon Fraternal Order of Police, along with troopers from around the state and several firefighters in Klamath County, per KOIN-TV.

Liz Merah, a spokesperson for Brown, told the outlet that the governor was “responding to a public health crisis” by issuing the mandate.

Vaccine mandates are “critical to protect state workers, workplaces and facilities, as well as members of the public who use state services,” Merah added.

In August, Oregon became the first state to reintroduce statewide outdoor masking requirements as the Delta variant drives a sharp new surge in cases.

Masks will be required in public outdoor settings “where physical distancing is not possible, regardless of vaccination status,” Brown said in an announcement.

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Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett rejects bid to halt construction of Obama presidential library

amy coney barrett
Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett stands during a group photo of the Justices at the Supreme Court in Washington, DC on April 23, 2021.

  • Amy Coney Barrett rejected a bid to halt construction of the Obama Presidential Center in Chicago.
  • The petition was brought by Save Our Parks, which disagrees with Jackson Park as the library site.
  • Plans for the Obama center went through a four-year federal review process.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett on Friday rejected a bid to halt construction of the Barack Obama Presidential Center in Chicago’s historic Jackson Park.

A nonprofit organization called Protect Our Parks, which has long opposed the library being built on the site, asked the Supreme Court to temporarily bar construction.

The library’s opponents filed an emergency motion directed at Barrett, who is assigned to such handle matters for much of the Midwest.

Barrett, who was appointed to the court by former President Donald Trump in 2020, denied the motion without comment.

The suit asked that a writ of injunction be issued to block any additional groundbreaking for the center, as well as preventing trees from being cut in Jackson Park for the facility.

The organization’s website states that they support an Obama Presidential Center on the city’s South Side, preferably in the Washington Park neighborhood located west of the Jackson Park, but stress that the site should be “outside of a dedicated public park.”

Read more: We’ve got your guidebook to the wealth – and potential ethical conflicts -of 31 top Biden appointees

The applicants argued that the groundbreaking should be stopped because the trees in Jackson Park, which was designed in 1871 by the famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, are important for migratory birds, in addition to raising concerns about noise and air pollution.

With Barrett’s decision, the Supreme Court will let construction of the presidential center proceed as planned.

After a four-year federal review process, the Obama Presidential Center released their plans to break ground at the site earlier this year.

“The project serves as a catalyst for long-overdue investment in and around historic Jackson Park – creating a new destination to move visitors from hope to action, breathing new life into the park, and delivering amenities and economic benefits to the community the Obamas called home,” the Obama Foundation said in a February release.

Obama, who lived in the nearby Kenwood neighborhood of Chicago when he served as a US Senator, praised the progress of his library in a videotaped statement at the time.

“Michelle and I want to thank you for making this project even better – a space for the community, built in partnership with the community,” he said. “We know that by working together, we can unlock the South Side’s fullest potential – and help set up our city, our country, and our world for even better years still to come.”

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