"arbitration"

Texas cop fired for giving excrement sandwich to homeless man wins appeal

Matthew Luckhurst, the San Antonio police officer fired after giving a homeless man a shit sandwich, has won his appeal. KSAT reports that he won the appeal because of a government rule that "prevents law enforcement from disciplining an officer for conduct that occurred more than 180 days before they are disciplined."

The arbitrator's report (which you can read online) says the firing was reasonable whether Luckhurst's actions were "intentionally or grossly inappropriate" – Luckhurst claims he was was helping homeless people clean up their camp and handed the man the bread-and-shit to be disposed of, not eaten – but didn't come soon enough.

Luckhurst was subsequently notified of his dismissal on Oct. 28, 2016 -- within the 180-day window if the incident occurred May 6, 2016, as initially thought.

Arbitration documents state that later, Luckhurst reviewed his medical records and found that the incident could not have occurred on May 6, 2016, because he had injured himself during a martial arts class and was on light duty from April 6, 2016, to June 14, 2016, preventing him from riding a bike, as his peers had testified.

The paperwork states that after interviewing witnesses and others who had heard about the incident -- all of whom gave varying dates -- it was determined that the incident may have occurred outside the 180-day window to discipline Luckhurst, effectively voiding his dismissal.

Luckhurst isn't back on the beat, though, as he was also fired over another incident and an arbitration hearing on that is yet to be held. Read the rest

Gretchen Carlson to Fox: release employees from NDAs, 'buying silence instead of stopping harassment is immoral and unjust'

“I still can't talk about what happened to me because of a non-disclosure agreement,” says Gretchen Carlson. Read the rest

A new court battle over the Ramones' legacy goes back to a song about the KKK

The Ramones were never a happy family. They never gave much of a crap for the political idealism that would come to be associated with the sound that they defined, either. This is especially of guitarist Johnny Ramone, a notorious conservative who celebrated the bands' induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame by declaring, "God bless President Bush."

That was in 2002, but frankly, no one was surprised. Because the Ramones had already been singing about Johnny's brand of conservatism for more than 20 years at that point. Joey Ramone allegedly wrote the lyrics to "The KKK Took My Baby Away" after his then-girlfriend, Linda Daniele, cheated on him with Johnny.

This is relevant not only because of my personal passion for weird underground rock trivia. But also because Linda Daniele went on to marry Johnny, and the woman now known as Linda Ramone is now embroiled in a lawsuit with Joey's brother, Mickey Hyman, over the rights to the Ramone legacy.

Joey and Johnny are both dead now, of course. But Mickey has taken issue with the fact that Linda named her sprawling LA home "The Ramones Ranch," as if claiming it to be the official commemorative estate for a band that was quite famously from Queens. From Page Six:

Under [private arbitrator Bob] Donnelly’s decision, Linda must use a less band-specific name for her home, such as “The Johnny Ramone Ranch” or “The Linda Ramone Ranch,” according to the filings.

She must also go by Linda Cummings-Ramone, as opposed to Linda Ramone, in promoting future iterations of the tribute show if she wants it to include the work of the whole band.

Read the rest

Donotpay adds tool to automatically analyze lengthy, terrible terms of service

Do Not Pay, the "robot lawyer" that can help you do everything from beat a traffic ticket to getting access to services for poor and homeless people, has rolled out a new service: "Do Not Sign," a tool to analyze terms of service agreements. Read the rest

Want a ride in a Lyft? Just sign away your right to sue if they kill, maim, rape or cheat you

Spotted today in my Lyft app: a new set of terms and conditions that require you to "agree" to binding arbitration (an onerous condition heretofore reserved for downtrodden drivers), through which you agree to waive your right to join class action suits or pursue legal redress through the courts should Lyft, through its deliberate actions or negligence, cause you to be killed, maimed, raped or cheated -- something that, not coincidentally, Lyft is in a lot of trouble over at the moment. Read the rest

Google continues to funnel vast sums to notorious climate deniers

Google and the other big tech companies are some of the most lavish funders of climate denial "think tanks" and lobbying groups, something they've been at continuously for more than six years, without interruption. Read the rest

Propublica finds millions of Americans' medical images and data sitting on unprotected, publicly accessible servers

An investigation by Propublica and Bayerischer Rundfunk found 187 servers hosting more than 5,000,000 patients' confidential medical records and scans (including a mix of Social Security numbers, home addresses and phone numbers, scans and images, and medical files) that were accessible by the public, "available to anyone with basic computer expertise." Read the rest

Rideshare companies' effort to kill California employment bill is failing miserably

California's Assembly Bill 5 isn't radical: it merely affirms the obvious fact that Uber and Lyft drivers (and other "gig economy" workers) are employees, something that the California Supreme Court already made obvious in the Dynamex decision. Read the rest

Chase customers have ONE MONTH left to opt out of binding arbitration

Ten years ago, Chase was forced to withdraw the binding arbitration clauses in its credit card agreements as part of a settlement in a class-action suit (the company was accused of conspiring with other banks to force all credit-card customers to accept binding arbitration) (one of the things binding arbitration does is deprive you of your right to join class-action suits!). Last May, the company stealthily reintroduced the clauses, and gave customers until August 7 to notify the company in writing if they do not agree to binding arbitration. You have ONE MONTH LEFT to opt out. Read the rest

Public outcry has killed an attempt turn clickthrough terms of service into legally binding obligations (for now)

On May 21, the American Law Institute -- a kind of star chamber of 4,000 judges, law professors, and lawyers -- was scheduled to pass a "restatement" of the law of consumer contracts, with the plan being to codify case-law to ensure that terms of service would be treated as enforceable obligations by US courts. Read the rest

Chase credit cards quietly reintroduce the binding arbitration clauses they were forced to eliminate a decade ago

Binding arbitration is a way for corporations to force you to surrender your legal rights as a condition of doing business, relegating you to seeking redress for breaches and harms by going before a paid arbitrator who is in the employ of the company that harmed you, and who almost always sides with their employer. Read the rest

Supreme Court of Canada to rule on the enforceability of arbitration clauses

Back in January, an Ontario court ruled that Uber's arbitration clause couldn't keep its drivers from suing it; Uber has appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada, which has taken up the case and will hear arguments about whether arbitration clauses (through which the parties surrender the right to sue in court) are enforceable in "adhesion contracts" (contracts that are not negotiated, where one party has much less power than the other, such as in click-through agreements). Read the rest

A self-appointed wing of the American judicial system is about to make it much harder to fight terms of service

The American Law Institute is a group of 4,000 judges, law profs and lawyers that issues incredibly influential "restatements" of precedents and trends in law, which are then heavily relied upon by judges in future rulings; for seven years they have been working on a restatement of the law of consumer contracts (including terms of service) and now they're ready to publish. Read the rest

A deep dive into the internal politics, personalities and social significance of the Googler Uprising

Writing in Fortune, Beth Kowitt gives us a look inside the Googler Uprising, wherein Google staff launched a string of internal reform movements, triggered first by the company's secret participation in an AI/drone warfare project for the Pentagon, then a secret attempt to build a censored/surveilling search engine for use in China, then the revelation that the company had secretly paid off an exec accused of sexual assault, to tune of $150m. Read the rest

Riot Games employees walk out to protest forced arbitration for sexual harassment lawsuits

'League of Legends' developers and others at Riot Games walked out of work en masse on Monday, protesting the company's use of forced arbitration to settle sexual harassment lawsuits. Read the rest

The FAIR Act will end forced arbitration for employment, consumer, antitrust and civil rights disputes

Forced arbitration "agreements" are how corporate America gets workers, tenants and customers to sign away their legal rights, substituting kangaroo courts where the "judge" is a lawyer paid by the corporation that abused you, and where the rules are whatever the corporation says they should be; The FAIR Act invalidates the use of arbitration to settle disputes over employment, consumer rights, antitrust and civil rights; it has 147 co-sponsors in the House and 34 in the Senate (all Democrats -- Republicans love forced arbitration!), and its only hope of passing is if Democrats nuke the filibuster rule the next time they control the House, Senate and Presidency (that is, in 2020). Read the rest

Fox hit with $179m (including $128m in punitive damages) judgment over shady bookkeeping on "Bones"

Fox has been ordered to pay $179m to profit participants on the longrunning TV show Bones; the judgment includes $128m in punitive damages because the aribitrator that heard the case found that Fox had concealed the show's true earnings and its execs had lied under oath to keep the profit participants from getting their share of the take. Read the rest

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