Archive for May, 2009

Diet pills called “snake oil” in class action

May 28, 2009

“A federal class action claims Dynakor Pharmacal defrauds consumers by claiming its “Akavar” diet pill enables you to “eat all you want and still lose weight. We couldn’t say it in print if it wasn’t true.” It isn’t true, the class says, nor is the claim that the drug produces “clinically proven weight loss of 1,603% without changing eating or exercise habits.”
     Defendants include Dynakor Pharmacal LLC, The Carter-Reed Co. LLC, PC Mgmt Inc., Basic Research LLC, Joseph Bode, Sheila Erickson, Walgreen Co., General Nutrition Corp., dba GNC, Drugstore.com, Western Holdings LLC, Dennis Gay, Daniel Mowrey, dba American Phytotherapy Research Laboratory, and Mitchell Friedlander.”

Courthouse News

FTC targets scams aimed at Spanish speakers

May 28, 2009

“The Federal Trade Commission has charged a mortgage foreclosure “rescue” operation with falsely promising Spanish-speaking consumers who are behind on their mortgage payments that it would stop foreclosure. Many people who paid the defendants ultimately lost their homes, and others avoided foreclosure only through their own efforts. At the FTC’s request, a federal court temporarily halted the defendants’ practices and froze their assets. The FTC seeks to stop the deceptive claims and obtain consumer redress from the defendants, whom consumers have paid at least $3.3 million.”

Article:

Auto suppliers in bankruptcy

May 28, 2009

“Auto supplier Visteon Corp., a former unit of Ford Motor Co., put its U.S. operations into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Thursday, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Fellow auto supplier Metaldyne Corp. also sought Chapter 11 protection Thursday.”

Article:

Court rules against LifeLock’s fraud alert service

May 28, 2009

“With a fraud alert on a consumer’s credit profile, banks and other businesses are required to make a reasonable effort to check with a consumer before opening a new line of credit in his or her name.

The consumer normally has to contact a credit reporting bureau directly to place the alert, and then repeat the process every 90 days for as long as the risk remains — a minor hassle that LifeLock and other companies have been happy to help consumers avoid, for a fee. On its face, the business model appeared consistent with FACTA, which allows fraud alerts to be placed by third parties acting on behalf of the consumer.

But in its lawsuit, Experian complained that LifeLock (.pdf) “surreptitiously placed hundreds of thousands” of alerts on Experian files “by posing as the consumer,” even when there was no suspicion of identity theft. LifeLock then renewed the alerts every 90 days.

 Claiming it was losing “millions of dollars every year” processing such requests, Experian asked a judge to rule that LifeLock was engaging in unlawful and unfair business practices under California’s Unfair Competition Law.

U. S. District Judge Andrew Guilford granted the motion (.pdf) last week, finding that federal lawmakers, in writing FACTA, did not intend for consumers to be able to contract with a business to place fraud alerts.”

Alert:

Delta and competitor colluded over bag fee: suit

May 27, 2009

“A federal class action claims Delta Air Lines and AirTran Airways colluded to charge first-bag fees. Both airlines, which are each other’s principal competitors, began charging a $15 first bag fee in fall 2008.
     Before then, “competition between Delta and AirTran prevented either airline from charging a first-bag fee for fear of losing sales to the other,” say named plaintiffs Brent Avery and David Watson.
     Earlier that year, Delta Air Lines acquired Northwest Airlines, which charges a $15 first-bag fee. Delta then was asked whether it would charge a fee as well to match Northwest’s practices. “Considering that AirTran did not impose a similar fee on consumers, Delta stated that it had ‘no plans’ to charge consumers a first bag fee,’” according to the complaint. “

Courthouse News

Job description: drink wine and Twitter

May 27, 2009

“A US winery is looking for a suitably web savvy alcoholic wine-lover to become their ‘Lifestyle Correspondent’ where duties will include tasting hundreds of wines and then writing about it online.

Other responsibilities of the $10,000 per month job are learning about the wine making process and finding good picnic spots for tourists visiting the California winery.

If that wasn’t enough for you the bosses at Murphy-Goode Winery are also offering free accommodation in a picturesque house in sunny Healdsburg.”

Article:

School punishes student for Facebook comment

May 27, 2009

“In 2007, a girl was suspended and placed into a lower level class after creating a Facebook group that declared that her teacher was “the worst person ever.” The school viewed the group as a personal attack against the teacher and labeled it as cyber-bullying despite the lack of threats or profanity used on the group’s page. The student sued the school claiming that she was expressing her freedom of speech and that she created the group off school property and not during school hours.

This raises the issue, what is the extent of a school system’s control over student free speech? Currently, there are no Supreme Court cases declaring the boundaries of schools’ control over free speech on the internet, which historically speaking is a relatively new form of communication and expression. In Morse v. Frederick, the students were blatantly promoting the use of illegal drugs, but in the 2007 case no such proclamations were made and nor were any proclamations made during school hours or a school sponsored event.

A school’s ability to limit their students’ freedom of speech should be very restricted. Students have a right to express their feelings about the school, and the school should not interfere or punish the students for such expression. It is not possible for a school to have a vast and omnipotent control of what students post on the internet about themselves or others, and rightly so. The boundaries of school control should be limited to and only to that of the school. There is no reason for schools to attempt to regulate what is clearly out of their scope of practice unless material posted online poses a direct threat to students or occurs on school property.

A school does not have jurisdiction about what goes on outside of school. Schools are not agents of the law. If a teacher does not like what someone posts online, they should go through legal channels to easily solve an often all too over complicated problem. Allow for the legal system to do what it does best –judge- which at the same time removes the biased and unbalanced enforcement of school policies and the issue of where the school’s boundaries of enforcement lie.”

Article:

Most litigious man sues Guiness world records

May 27, 2009

“The hyper-litigious Jonathan Lee Riches has sued Michael Vick, Barry Bonds, Martha Stewart, Somali pirates and just about everybody else. Now he’s suing Guinness World Records for allegedly dubbing him “the world’s most litigious man.”

Please don’t laugh just yet, because here’s the funny part: A Guinness spokeswoman told me this morning that the company never had any intention to honor him with inclusion in their next book, and has not been tracking his dubious achievements.”

Article:

Housing law protects tenant nationwide

May 26, 2009

“The Associated Press Reports:

  • Buried in a housing law signed [last] week by President Barack Obama are protections that will help thousands of renters stay in their homes — at least for awhile — after their landlord has been foreclosed on.
  • The law allows tenants to remain in their foreclosed rentals through the end of their lease and then 90 days after that before being forced to vacate by the lender. Renters without leases will have 90 days, a significant improvement over what most received before: almost no notice at all. “Until this law was enacted, there had been no national protections for any of these households,” said Linda Couch, deputy director at the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “This gives renters time to adjust their lives.”

Article:

CircuitCity.com: alive and well and better than ever!

May 26, 2009

“A New York company has completed its acquisition of defunct retailer Circuit City Stores Inc.’s e-commerce business and relaunched what it calls a “new and improved” CircuitCity.com Web site.

Port Washington, N.Y.-based Systemax Inc. (NYSE: SYX) said in a statement that it plans to compete with other online retailers by offering discounted prices, fast shipping and a wide selection of products, as well as offering photo galleries and videos of thousands of consumer electronics and computer products. The company paid $14 million in cash for the site and related assets, plus a share of revenue over 30 months generated using assets it picked up from the former Richmond, Va.-based company.”


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