Woman stuck by needle in Target in parking lot awarded $4.6 million

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In May 2014, Carla Denise Garrison's 8-year-old daughter picked up a hypodermic needle in the parking lot of a Target in Anderson, South Carolina. When Garrison swatted the needle away from her daughter, she accidentally jabbed herself with the needle. Garrison was prescribed medication to prevent contracting diseases from the needle, which made her bedridden. She asked Target to pay $12,000 to cover her medical bills. Target said no, so she sued Target and was awarded $4.6 million.

From USA Today:

According to court documents, the HIV drugs made Garrison sick and caused her to be bedridden. Garrison’s husband, Clint, had to take time off work to care for her, according to her attorney.

“When we started this, we were just trying to get Target to make my client whole, to pay for her medical bills and the time that her husband had to take off work,” said Garrison's attorney, Joshua Hawkins of Greenville. “We tried to be reasonable and not take this to trial. But Target took a really hard stance on it ... and I think the jury sent a message.”

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Former Fox host Gretchen Carlson sues over sexual harassment

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Fox News chief Roger Ailes sexually harassed Gretchen Carlson and ended her career after being rebuffed, according to a lawsuit filed by the former Fox & Friends co-anchor.

Carlson alleged she was fired after rebuking sexual advances by Ailes and after trying to challenge the way that male colleagues treated her. She alleged that Ailes propositioned her sexually after she met with him last September to discuss discriminatory treatment. In one of the most inflammatory accusations, Carlson alleged Ailes told her, “I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago and then you’d be good and better and I’d be good and better,” adding that “sometimes problems are easier to solve” that way. The lawsuit contends that in retaliation for Carlson’s complaints about the alleged harassment and discrimination, Ailes denied her “fair compensation, desirable assignments and other career-enhancing opportunities,” before eventually terminating her employment.

The Daily Beast openly suggests (albeit with a "Betteridge" headline) that Ailes is the "next Bill Cosby." The impression that presenters are hired at Fox to someone's tastes has long been in play; there's no mystery regarding whose.

In response to learning of Carlson’s complaints, Carlson’s lawsuit alleges, Ailes purportedly responded by calling Carlson a “man hater” and telling her she needed to learn to “get along with the boys.” The lawsuit cites examples of Ailes’ alleged sexual and sexist comments, including claims that Ailes engaged in “ogling Carlson in his office and asking her to turn around so he could view her posterior,” “commenting repeatedly about Carlson’s legs,” and “claiming that Carlson saw everything as if it ‘only rains on women’ and admonishing her to stop worrying about being treated equally and ‘getting offended so God damn easy about everything.'”

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AMC threatens to sue fansite over Walking Dead spoilers

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AMC claims that spoilers (and even predictions) of its show, The Walking Dead, infringe copyright. As spoilers are other people's descriptions of something they've seen, in their own words, this would put all unauthorized reviews and commentary in the same boat. But that hasn't stopped it issuing legal threats to fans.

AMC finally reached out to us! But it wasn’t a request not to post any info about the Lucille Victim or any type of friendly attempt at compromise, it was a cease and desist and a threat of a lawsuit by AMC Holdings, LLC’s attorney, Dennis Wilson. They say we can’t make any type of prediction about the Lucille Victim. Their stance is that making such a prediction would be considered copyright infringement. AMC tells us that we made some claim somewhere that says we received “copyright protected, trade secret information about the most critical plot information in the unreleased next season of The Walking Dead” and that we announced we were going to disclose this protected information. We still aren't sure where we supposedly made this claim because they did not identify where it was. ...

Basically what it all comes down to is if we post our Lucille Victim prediction and we're right, AMC says they will sue us. Whether there are grounds for it or not is not the issue, it still costs money to defend. That is the way our justice system works. Would we have defenses? Sure. But it also costs money to mount that defense.

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With 3,500 U.S. legal actions, Trump is most litigious presidential nominee ever

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An analysis from USA Today finds that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is currently involved in 3,500 legal actions. Who else is involved? Everyone from the government to vodka makers. This number is unprecedented in scope for any presidential candidate in U.S. history, and likely far too many for the entire American press corps to really get down to the bottom of, in time for voters to determine what that means for their choice in November.

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Poster for the inevitable Hulk Hogan and Peter Thiel vs Nick Denton and Pierre Omidyar movie

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Billionaire Pierre Omidyar "steps into the ring" in the long-running legal fight over privacy and journalistic freedom, fought lately between Hulk Hogan and Gawker Media. The intervention, on Gawker's side--Omidyar is himself a media man, now--came after it turned out billionaire Peter Thiel was secretly funding Hulk's suit.

Alternative subtitle: "No matter who wins, we news."

Cast it in the comments. I'm thinking Kenneth Branagh as Denton, Michael C. Hall as Thiel, Christopher Lambert as Omidyar, Hulk Hogan as Terry Bollea, and any random carnie as Hulk Hogan. Read the rest

Billionaire Peter Thiel secretly funded Hulk Hogan lawsuit against Gawker (Report)

Peter Thiel [Reuters]
Why would billionaire Peter Thiel want to bankrupt Gawker? That's the question circulating today, after Forbes reported that Thiel secretly backed Hulk Hogan's high-profile lawsuit against Nick Denton's publishing empire.

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Verbatim dramatization of deposition in bizarre chicken lawsuit

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In 2001, a Mississippi chicken breeder claimed a lumber company inflicted $300,000 worth of damage to his pasture. The New York Times' Brett Weiner dramatized a bizarre deposition from the lawsuit, using dialogue completely verbatim to the official transcripts.

From the original story:

As I research legal transcripts for the Op-Doc video series “Verbatim,” I search for unusually worded arguments and objections that tell us something about our judicial process. The transcript dramatized for this latest episode hooked me when I read how a plaintiff explained himself to a roomful of captive lawyers, telling them simply: “Because I follow the chicken.”

The case involves a plaintiff suing a lumber company for damaging his land and chicken coop. As the deposition goes on, the plaintiff answers simple questions with increasingly absurd non sequiturs, which become immortalized in the legal record.

Because the “Verbatim” series is about reinterpretation, I don’t try to recreate the body language and tone of voice used during the actual deposition. Instead, I use the transcripts as the basis for a heightened atmosphere — and a film that expresses a point of view about our legal system.

Fortunately, these “Follow the Chicken” transcripts are a wonderful starting point for my approach

See also "Photocopier," wherein the Cuyahoga County Records department was sued for charging $2 per page and a staffer played dumb over whether or not he knew what a photocopier was.

(The county lost) Read the rest

New York Times threatens to sue publisher of an art book critical of the paper's war coverage

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The critically acclaimed War Is Beautiful: The New York Times Pictorial Guide to the Glamour of Armed Conflict examines the ways in which the newspaper happily propagated the Bush Administration's lies about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq that resulted in a senseless war that hurt millions of people and immensely enriched Halliburton, Blackwater, the Carlyle Group and other companies with close ties to the Bush and the Cheney families.

As Ben Collins of the Daily Beast writes, "The book makes an artful, journalistic point: Photography on the front page of the paper of record depicted the conflict in rosy, gorgeous, cinematic ways, like the first scene in Apocalypse Now." And the book's author, David Shields bought the rights to use all the photos in the book. Why then, is the The New York Times suing the publisher for $19,000? Because the inside back cover of the book is decorated with 64 thumbnail photos from the front pages of the NYT.

“We didn’t expect we’d have a First Amendment fight,” Daniel Power, owner of Powerhouse Books told The Daily Beast. “Plus, we licensed the damn images and compensated these photographers for their work.”

Now, the paper contends, they’re just trying to collect an invoice for $19,000, even though this is almost definitively a textbook case of fair use. Thumbnails of copyrighted materials were protected speech, dating back to a very specific case just like this one about Grateful Dead posters ten years ago.

“Licensing content is not ‘quelling speech,’” said Rhoades Ha.

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Wolf of Wall Street production assistants say they were forced to pee in bottles, sue studio

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Four production assistants are suing Paramount because they say the studio did not pay them minimum wage, forced them to work "round-the-clock," and didn't provide a toilet during the shooting of big budget movies like Wolf of Wall Street, so they had to use bottles instead.

From Los Angeles Times:

The workers acted as parking production assistants to keep filming sites clear of pedestrians and cars, and to protect the production vehicles and equipment on set, according to the suit.

Paramount and the other defendants paid the workers $140 to $160 for each 12-hour shift, the suit says. However, the plaintiffs routinely worked 60 to 100 hours a week without receiving overtime compensation, according to the complaint.

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Gentleman is suing a lot of people because a 16-pound pine cone fell on his head

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A 16-pound pine cone fell on Sean Mace's head in San Francisco, and crushed his skull.

He is suing the U.S. government, the National Park Service, the Department of the Interior, and the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park for $5 million.

(Image: Rodmunch99/Wikimedia. Bunya cone from Cumberland State Forest, Sydney, NSW, Australia on 28th January 2012)

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Monster Cable founder sad about getting $0 from Apple's $3 billion purchase of Beats By Dr. Dre

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Noel Lee says he invented the headphones that are marketed by Beats by Dr. Dre. In May 2014, Apple paid $3 billion to buy Beats by Dr. Dre.

Dr. Dre and music producer Jimmy Iovine got most of the proceeds of the sale and Lee got $0

. Now Lee is suing for at least $150 million. Lee is the founder of Monster Cable, a company with an obnoxious reputation for threatening to sue any company that uses the word "Monster." I can't help feeling a bit of schadenfreude towards Lee, who has made many people miserable by hitting them with time- and money-wasting legal threats. Read the rest

Toy company that made beads coated with date-rape drug loses lawsuit

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In 2007 a 16-month-old toddler swallowed candy-colored Aqua Dots beads and lapsed into a coma. It turned out the beads were manufactured with a coating that dissolves into GHB, an illegal drug in many countries. The child's family sued the companies that designed distributed the toys, and was awarded $435,000.

Spin Master and Moose’s lawyers blamed a Chinese company that made the toy on an outsource basis for secretly spraying the beads with a chemical that metabolizes into GHB. That Hong Kong-based manufacturer wasn’t named as a defendant in the case because it doesn’t do business in the U.S.

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Anti-gadget flight attendants lose in court

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A lawsuit, filed by the Association of Flight Attendants claiming that the Federal Aviation Administration acted improperly in allowing passengers to use gadgets during takeoff and landing, was killed by a DC appeals court.

If it seems odd that flight attendants would hate passenger-mollifying entertainment boxes, Ars Technica's Cyrus Farivar explains that it was really about how much leeway the FAA has to change fight rules without consultation. From the AFA's filing:

"When an agency proposes a controversial change in a rule that affects public safety, it must be made through the proper rule-making process, with the opportunity for public notice and comment. In this instance, Respondent circumvented the rule-making process and in doing so, failed to provide clear policyor guidance for securing and stowing [personal electronic devices] and failed to provide a study showing that PEDs held in hand or held in a seat back pocket would remain secure." Read the rest

More in US die from prescription narcotics than car crashes, guns, suicide

More than 100 Americans die each day from prescription drug overdoses, mostly painkillers. That's more daily deaths than from car accidents, gunshot wounds, or suicides. In California, two county District Attorneys are suing five of the biggest drug companies in the world, and the lawsuits include the same kind of arguments once used against big tobacco industry, demanding "public protection."

Warren Olney's "To the Point" radio show has a segment on the topic today:

The companies are accused of a "campaign of deception" to persuade doctors that narcotic painkillers are safer than they really are. But the narcotic painkillers involved have been approved by the FDA. Is a government agency helping create a "population of addicts?" What's the role of physicians who write the prescriptions? Are they ill-informed, poorly trained or trying to make money?
More on the case at advocacy group harmreduction.org, and there's a Los Angeles Times writeup here. Read the rest

Police sued after horse drools on protestor

So goes the story, as Australia's tabloids have it, in their outrage-fueled denunciation of a frivolous lawsuit. Turns out, though, that the horse also crushed the guy's foot and kept him out of work for six weeks. How about that! [Adelaide Now] Read the rest

Three Friends, a Breakdown, and a Lawsuit

Two and a half years ago, James Siddle moved to London for a new job; in two weeks time, he'll be moving out to a small town in the country, defeated.