Tag Archives | Lawsuits

Man Forced To Do Prison Labor While Awaiting Trial Sues For ‘Slavery’

It’s always good to see someone pushing back against the grotesqueries of the prison-industrial complex. Via Boing Boing:

In 2008, Finbar McGarry, a grad student at the University of Vermont, was arrested on gun charges. McGarry’s charges were ultimately dropped, and he was released. But while he was awaiting trial, his jailers ordered him to work for $0.25 in the jail laundry or be condemned to solitary confinement. He’s now suing, saying that this amounted to slavery.  If he wins, it will have huge repercussions for America’s jails, where pre-trial prisoners who have not been convicted of any charge are forced into hard labor.

During the course of his work, McGarry says he contracted a serious MRSA lesion on his neck—a potentially deadly bacterial infection. In 2009, he pressed a suit in federal court for $11 million—claiming he was made a slave in violation of his 13th Amendment rights. The judge ruled that McGarry’s constitutional rights had not been violated, but that finding was overturned on appeal last week.

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Not Letting The Facts Get In The Way of Attacks on Candidates and Whistleblowers

ObamaIncreasingly, politics is a game driven by often-invented beliefs and myths that are firmly detached from facts and their interpretation.

The parties and their factions live not only in parallel universes but worlds of information that are driven mostly but what they think will work in pandering to their bases and the public.

Even as progressives complain that Barack Obama has moved right even if he occasionally talks left, the hard-core right-wing see him a black revolutionary shaped by Reverend Wright’s black liberation theology with allusions to Malcolm X and Kenyan communists thrown into the mix to “prove” their case.

Never mind that Obama threw his one time mentor Wright under the bus in 2008, or that his policies rarely speak of the needs of a black community suffering under the burden of high joblessness, foreclosures and growing poverty.

In fact, real black revolutionaries like Cornel West and so many others find the president a sell-out and embarrassment even if their community embraces him more as an identity issue or on the basis of shared pigmentation,

The recent plan by Wall Street trader Ed Ricketts to recycle the alleged Obama-Wright conspiracy into an defamatory political ad campaign spoke more to his ignorance and fears than any truth-based assessment.… Read the rest

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Supreme Court Lets Stand Student’s $675,000 Penalty For Downloading 30 Songs

Joel Tenenbaum

Photo: Joel Tenenbaum (CC)

That’s a penalty of $22,500 per song. Reports Mark Memmott on NPR:

the Supreme Court this morning let stand a $675,000 jury verdict against a 25-year-old Boston University student who downloaded 30 songs nearly a decade ago and then shared them with others on a peer-to-peer network.

The court denied Joel Tenenbaum’s “write of certiorari,” which means his appeal of a lower court’s ruling and the judgment were turned down.

Bloomberg News reminds us that: “The Recording Industry Association of America, acting on behalf of major record labels, sued more than 12,000 people and sent notices to thousands of others it claimed were illegally sharing music … Tenenbaum and a woman from Minnesota took their cases to trial, and both lost.”

Tenenbaum tells his side of the story at his Joel Fights Back website. He says he’s part of an effort to defend “the average Davids against the corporate Goliath.”

Wired says, “the significance of Monday’s action by the Supreme Court … appears to be minimal in the music-sharing context.

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Bank Of America Now Suing Itself In Foreclosure Cases

4501651351_6540d48316_nIn the latest phase of the foreclosure crisis, our nation’s biggest banks have reached a Zen-like state in which they resemble snakes eating their own tails, reports Forbes:

Here’s a sign of just how big and messy the foreclosure problem is: Bank of America has sued itself at least nine times in April.

That’s what lawyer and fraud expert Lynn Szymoniak discovered recently during a search for foreclosure filings in Palm Beach county Florida.”There are likely at least 100 examples of the same thing happening across the state,” Szymoniak says. “The company is literally seeking damages from itself in order to foreclose on the condo owner.”

“We are servicing the first mortgage on behalf of an investor and we own the second mortgage,” said Bank of America spokeswoman Jumana Bauwens [in regards to one case].

bankofamerica

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EPA Collusion in Monsanto Coverup

EPAAlexis Baden-Mayer writes on the Organic Consumers Association:

2,4-D and the dioxin pollution it creates are too dangerous to allow, period, but in the hands of bad actors like Monsanto and Dow Chemical the dangers increase exponentially. What’s the Environmental Protection Agency doing? Helping coverup the chemical companies’ crimes!

In February, Monsanto agreed to pay up to $93 million in a class-action lawsuit brought by the residents of Nitro, West Virginia, for dioxin exposure from accidents and pollution at an herbicide plant that operated in their town from 1929 to 2004.

That may seem like justice, but it is actually the result of Monsanto’s extraordinary efforts to hide the truth, evade criminal prosecution and avoid legal responsibility. A brief criminal fraud investigation conducted (and quickly aborted) by the EPA revealed that Monsanto used a disaster at their Nitro, WV, plant to manufacture “evidence” that dioxin exposure produced a skin condition called chloracne, but was not responsible for neurological health effects or cancers such as Non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

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Spanish Court: You Do Not Have The Right To Be Forgotten

ssurgericDo you have the right to be forgotten? No — the internet has no escape hatch. Via ISP Liability:

A civil court in Spain handed down last Thursday a ruling dismissing plaintiff’s claims against Google Spain over the so called “right to be forgotten”. The case is Alfacs Vacances SL v. Google Spain SL.

While the right to be forgotten is being the subject of heavy litigation in Spain, this is one of few judicial rulings on the matter. Indeed, most claims have been brought before the Spanish Data Protection Authority. About 130 cases are thus pending.

The plaintiff in this case runs a campsite near Tarragona. In 1978, the campsite was hit by a terrible accident with more than 200 people killed and many others severely burned when a tanker truck loaded with flammable liquid got on fire on the highway just in front of the campsite. While the accident happened more than 30 years ago – and the campsite was acquitted of any liability – it still springs out as the first search result when you search for Alfacs on Google, including horrifying thumbnails of burned corpses.

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California Court To Rule Whether SeaWorld Whales Are Illegal ‘Slaves’

killerwhaletRegardless of the slim odds of a favorable ruling, it’s a groundbreaking case in its use of the Constitution to fight for intelligent animals’ freedom. Via PhysOrg:

A California federal court is to decide for the first time in US history whether amusement park animals are protected by the same constitutional rights as humans.

The issue arises from a lawsuit filed by rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in a San Diego court on behalf of five orcas named Tilikum, Katina, Corky, Kasatka and Ulises. The whales perform water acrobatics at the SeaWorld amusement parks in San Diego and in Orlando, Florida.

PETA argues that continuing the whales’ “employment” at SeaWorld violates the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution, which prohibits slavery. District Judge Jeffrey Miller heard arguments in the complaint Monday and reviewed the response from SeaWorld, which asked that the lawsuit be dismissed. His ruling is expected to come later.

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Mountain Dew Will Dissolve Rats On Contact

Mountain DewIf you like soft drinks the way I do, that is, looking like my conception of nuclear waste, this is really good news. From the Smoking Gun:

Defending itself from a lawsuit claiming that an Illinois man found a dead mouse inside a can of Mountain Dew, PepsiCo contends that a rodent would have disintegrated and been transformed into a “jelly-like” substance between the time of the soft drink’s bottling and the day the plaintiff reportedly purchased the soda from a vending machine at his office.

In a court response to a motion filed by Ronald Ball–who claims to have found the dead mouse in a Mountain Dew can about three years ago–PepsiCo filed a fascinating/revolting affidavit from Lawrence McGill, a veterinarian who noted that he was “familiar with the effects an acidic fluid, such as common soda drinks including Mountain Dew, will have on mice and other animals.”

According to McGill, if a mouse is submerged in Mountain Dew between four and seven days, the rodent “will have no calcium in its bones and bony structures.” During those days of soft drink immersion, “the mouse’s abdominal structure will rupture.” Additionally, “its cranial cavity (head) is also likely to rupture within that time period,” McGill noted.

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BP Accuses Halliburton of Destroying Evidence in Gulf Oil Spill Case

Oil BurnLaurel Brubaker Calkins reports in the Washington Post:

BP Plc accused a unit of Halliburton Co. of intentionally destroying evidence that could be used to prove the oilfield services firm shares blame for the blowout that caused the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Halliburton Energy Services Inc. destroyed test results that showed samples of the cement used to seal London-based BP’s Macondo well, which exploded off the Louisiana coast last year, were unstable, BP said in a filing in federal court in New Orleans.

The oilfield services provider also suppressed computer models that might prove Halliburton was at fault “because it wanted to eliminate any risk that this evidence would be used against it at trial,” BP said in the filing. BP asked the court to find that Halliburton destroyed evidence on purpose and to compel the company to turn over for third-party examination the computer used for the modeling.

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Stop Atos From Censoring the Web!

AtosCall for solidarity from the UK! Poverty pimps and well known corporate slime Atos Origin have taken their harassment of disabled people one step further by using flaky legal threats to censor and close down websites in the UK which have been critical of them. At least three websites have now been hit by legal threats attempting to censor online criticism of the company.

The Carer Watch forum, which is an online meeting place for hundreds of disabled people and carers has been taken offline by the hosting company after legal threats made by Atos Origin regarding unspecified comments made on the forum. Atos Origin’s involvement in the condemn Government’s notorious health and disability testing has made them a target of fury amongst many disabled people, which has led to a fierce campaigning against them both on and offline. Atos are fighting back with the CarerWatch forum being only the latest website hit by Atos legal threats.… Read the rest

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