The Sony cyberattack - apparently state-sponsored - obviously raises solemn concerns, including national…
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Google Seeks to Exploit Sony Cyberattack for Its Own Self-Interest

The Sony cyberattack - apparently state-sponsored - obviously raises solemn concerns, including national security and the very safety of American citizens.

Accordingly, immediate public discussion should focus primarily upon the gravity of the attack and how the Internet, one of the most transformative and beneficial innovations in human history, can sometimes become a tool for those with destructive and even deadly intent.  While Sony Pictures, its employees, and its customers were the immediate victims this time, the reality is that this could happen to anyone and any enterprise.  In fact, such attacks on other companies and individuals occur at an alarmingly accelerating pace.

Leave it to Google, however, to attempt to profit from the attack and leverage it on behalf of its own…[more]

December 19, 2014 • 03:09 pm

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Jester's CourtroomLegal tales stranger than stranger than fiction: Ridiculous and sometimes funny lawsuits plaguing our courts.
Jester’s Courtroom
Some Lawsuits Smell Funny
Thursday, December 18 2014

A Pennsylvania woman is suing her employer, Heritage Valley Beaver Hospital, claiming the hospital failed to make reasonable accommodations to protect her from perfume fragrances.

Amy Feezle was hired by the hospital in September 2003. Feezle says she has a disability that causes her to become ill in the presence of perfume, and she has tried for years to get the hospital to recognize her disability and comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act. Heritage Valley counters that it provided scent-free cleaning products to be used in rooms to accommodate her disability. Yet, Feezle alleges the facility failed to properly instruct its employees to use the special cleaners and failed to post "no perfume" signs to warn other employees of her disability.

Amy Feezle is seeking injunctive relief compelling Heritage Valley to accommodate her perfume disability, actual losses in wages and benefits, punitive damages for the facility’s “willful, deliberate, malicious, and outrageous conduct,” along with legal fees.


No Monkey Business
Thursday, December 11 2014

A chimpanzee in upstate New York lost its bid for habeas corpus.

Lawyers for "Tommy the Chimp" sought habeas corpus -- protection against illegal imprisonment -- in an attempt to have the chimpanzee freed from the cage in which it is kept at Circle L. Trailer Sales in upstate New York. Lawyers had argued that Tommy be regarded as a "complex autonomous legal person with the fundamental legal right not to be imprisoned."

In a unanimous ruling, five judges of the state's Supreme Court Appellate Division declined the request. Judge Karen Peters wrote that an "incapability to bear any legal responsibilities and societal duties...renders it inappropriate to confer upon chimpanzees the legal rights -- such as the fundamental right to liberty protected by writ of habeas corpus -- that have been afforded to human beings."

The Nonhuman Rights Project, which represented Tommy, disagrees with the decision, stating that the court "ignores the fact that the common law is supposed to change in light of new scientific discoveries, changing experiences, and changing ideas of what is right or wrong."

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Lawsuit Seeks to Wipeout Teen Entrepreneurs
Wednesday, December 03 2014

Two young girls in Connecticut are being sued and risk a $1 million judgment if they don't shut down their bright idea business.

Sophia Forino, 14-years-old, and her younger sister, Marissa, developed a crude prototype cloth that is a simple way to keep a smartphone or tablet clean.  “It's basically just like a microfiber cloth that I cut out and you turn it over. I put double-sided tape on it." Before filing with and receiving a trademark from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for their product "HypeWipes", the family conducted a Google search and paid to have an exhaustive third-party search done on domain names.

“So we're going through all the names, checking them off, and they were like, 'HypeWipes.' It was not taken; different variations of it weren't taken," Forino said.

Shortly thereafter, the girls received a threatening notice from Current Technologies Corporation of Crawfordsville, Indiana, the maker of the Hype-Wipe.

"We received an email addressed to Sophia and Marissa stating that 'We appreciate your ingenious idea and it's great to be an entrepreneur and all, but you're infringing on our product and we'd like you to stop selling it and remove it from the stores immediately, '" the girls' father, Rocco Forino, explained.

Current Technologies' product is a sealed bleach towelette called a Hype-Wipe, which is sold mainly to hospitals and companies for use as a disinfectant and cleaner.

In addition to the $1 million-dollar lawsuit, Current Technologies is demanding that HypeWipes take down its website, hand over its inventory, and it has sent letters to the girls' schools threatening to sue them if they sell HypeWipes as part of a fundraiser. Forino said he is willing to drop the name, and has already shut down the HypeWipes website, but he wants the company to sell off the $40,000 worth of remaining HypeWipes that all have the name printed on them.

“It's pretty aggressive, pretty tasteless, for a company that's not even in the same industry to attack a kid-owned company in that manner," said Forino. “It is very heavy handed. They didn't have to be as heavy handed."

According to news reports, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office would not comment on the situation.


A Confused Plaintiff
Tuesday, November 25 2014

A Houston, Texas, area woman is suing her neighbors after the plaintiff's four dogs - three pit pulls and a pit bull mix - broke into the neighbor's yard and killed their beagle.

Emerald White, the owner of the four dogs, is suing the Baker Family, owner of the deceased beagle, for $1 million, claiming that the beagle attacked White while she was trying to get her four dogs out of the yard.

"When I looked out the window, I saw my dog on her back, whimpering, and I saw two pit bulls attacking her," Tiffany Baker told news sources.

Her dog eventually gave up the fight, walked over to the side of their home and died.

White's dogs were not hurt, but her attorney says the beagle attacked White.

"The dog at that house attacked her, bit her, scratched her, injured her," said White's attorney Paul Houston Lavelle. "Her dogs attacked the beagle, when the dog started attacking her."

Steve Baker believes his dog never went on the offense and that she was only trying to stay alive. He believes White sued them because she received 16 citations after the attack.


Lawsuit in Aspen Over the Aspens
Thursday, November 20 2014

Two high-profile attorneys are engaged in a legal dispute over the removal of aspen trees in Aspen, Colorado.

Attorney Gerald Hosier is suing his neighbor, attorney Walter Stuart, after Stuart had trees cut down near the two men's property line so he could have a better view of Mount Sopris. According to court filings, Hosier contends the landscaper hired by Stuart removed 30 to 50 aspen trees, some of which were 90 feet tall and up to 70 years old. Hosier is seeking at least $1 million in damages -- the amount equal to the increase in land value as a result of the tree loss.

After the trees were cut, Hosier had PVC poles put in place to mark where the original trees stood.  Now, Stuart is fighting to remove the poles. “This case boils down to one primary question: what damage was done to the plaintiff’s property,” Stuart's attorney, Daniel Bristol, wrote in a filing in support of the bid to have the poles removed. “In order to answer this question, the defendants and the jury should see what the property actually looks like.”

Responding to Stuart’s motion, Hosier's attorney, Matthew Ferguson, wrote that the defendants “simply do not want to be reminded of what they have done. They want to remove any reminder of the scarring to plaintiff’s land — they want to argue we cut down your forest — but, ‘Hey, we gave you a meadow.’”

Judge Gail Nichols of Pitkin County District Court has not yet ruled on the matter.


Question of the Week   
Which one of the following Americans was the first to successfully fly a self-propelled, heavier-than-air aircraft?
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Quote of the Day   
"Obama is hardly the first president to seek rapprochement with our adversaries and reconciliation with our enemies, of course. But his determination to make nice -- even in the face of clear and repeated rejection from the other side -- is unparalleled. For Obama and his team, diplomacy with rogue regimes is an end in itself, and any deal, however one-sided, is a win, especially one that the White…[more]
—Stephen F. Hayes, The Weekly Standard
— Stephen F. Hayes, The Weekly Standard
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