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Teen charged with starting 2 California wildfires
Legal Watch | 2009/12/25 05:03
A 16-year-old Southern California boy was charged Wednesday as an adult for allegedly starting two arson wildfires in San Bernardino County earlier this year.

Ricky Sean Lukacs will be arraigned in adult court on Dec. 28 and is being held in juvenile hall, said Deputy District Attorney Karen Khim.

He is charged with two counts of arson of an inhabited structure for fires on Aug. 30 and 31 in the Yucaipa area, 65 miles east of Los Angeles.

Lukacs was originally arrested and charged as a juvenile, but the charges were refiled in adult court, said Susan Mickey, district attorney spokeswoman.

The fires did not cause serious injury or death, but one burned about 1 1/2 square miles in the community of Oak Glen, and the other threatened about 400 homes in Yucaipa before it was contained.



Judge denies jury strikes motion in abortion case
Legal Watch | 2009/12/23 04:59
A judge says a motion to prohibit the use of pre-emptory jury strikes in the trial of a man accused of killing a Kansas abortion provider is premature.

Sedgwick County District Judge Warren Wilbert on Tuesday denied a defense motion to prohibit the strikes but said he would deal with such issues on a person-by-person basis during trial.

Fifty-one-year-old Scott Roeder is charged with shooting Dr. George Tiller on May 31 at the abortion doctor's Wichita church. Roeder has confessed to shooting Tiller, which he says was necessary to save unborn children.

Earlier Tuesday, Wilbert denied a defense motion for a change of venue for the trial.



La Salle settles injured player's lawsuit
Legal Watch | 2009/11/30 16:44
La Salle University will pay $7.5 million to settle a lawsuit brought on behalf of a football player who was cleared to play after sustaining a concussion at practice and later suffered a severe brain injury in a game, the attorney for the player's family said Monday.

Preston Plevretes, who was 19 at the time, was rendered severely brain damaged in 2005 because an initial concussion had not fully resolved, thereby worsening the injury from the second impact.

Plevretes, a linebacker, was covering a punt during a 56-14 loss to Duquesne in November 2005 when he sustained a hit that prompted emergency surgery at Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh to relieve pressure on his brain. The injury halted the game with 2:24 left in the fourth quarter.

Following surgery, Plevretes was limited to movement of his eyes and some movement of his hands and fingers.

In its lawsuit, Plevretes' family claimed that substandard testing and medical attention by La Salle personnel were responsible for allowing Plevretes to play despite his earlier concussion.

A trial was to have begun Monday in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court. The settlement was announced in a statement released by attorney Shannin Specter.


Domain Auction Site Faces Shill Bidding Lawsuit
Legal Watch | 2009/11/09 21:10

A Miami lawyer has filed a class-action lawsuit against domain nameauction site SnapNames.com, after the company announced that a formeremployee was bidding against potential customers in domain nameauctions.

Attorney Santiago Cueto filed the lawsuit Monday inMiami-Dade County Circuit Court on behalf of his brother, Carlos Cueto,and others who participated in SnapNames.com's online auctions. Thelawsuit alleges that a former vice president at SnapNames.com secretlybid on tens of thousands of domain name auctions over the past fouryears, leading to falsely inflated prices.

Some of the SnapNamesauctions run into the tens of thousands of dollars, Santiago Cuetosaid. His brother, who owns about 3,000 domain names, has longsuspected shill bidding in some domain name auctions, he said.

"He's been frustrated by the process for years," Santiago Cueto said. "I think the entire industry needs to be cleaned up."

SnapNames.com,a subsidiary of Oversee.net, sent out notices last week that it haddiscovered the employee bidding on domain name auctions. SnapNames,which resells expired domain names, calls itself the largest resalemarketplace for domain names. The company runs hundreds of auctions aday, it says on its Web sites.



Securities Class Action Trial Starts This Week Against Vivendi
Legal Watch | 2009/10/05 22:29
The litigation equivalent of Halley's comet is about to streak into view in Manhattan federal district court. Yes, folks, when trial in the shareholder suit against Vivendi and two of its former executives begins this week before Judge Richard Holwell, it may be your once-in-a-lifetime chance to witness a so-called f-cubed securities class action trial, involving foreign investors who bought shares of foreign companies on foreign exchanges. Paul Saunders of Cravath, Swaine & Moore giving the opening statement for the defendants and Arthur Abbey of Abbey Spanier Rodd & Abrams is appearing as lead counsel for the plaintiffs. James Quinn of Weil, Gotshal & Manges, our most recent Litigator of the Week, is cocounsel for the defense.

Plaintiffs in the case, which has been around since 2002, are shareholders across the U.S. and Europe who allege that Vivendi--then known as Vivendi Universal--made false and misleading statements in 2001 and 2002, when Vivendi's former CEO, Jean-Marie Messier, was transforming the French water company into a media conglomerate through a mad dash of acquisitions. Plaintiffs claim that Vivendi, Messier, and former chief financial officer Guillaume Hannezo concealed a liquidity crisis, whose revelation ultimately caused the stock to drop.

Read more...


Dannon Settles Activia Lawsuit
Legal Watch | 2009/09/21 18:56

Last year we wrote that Dannon Co.was being sued for claiming that some of its yogurts provide a healthbenefit that other yogurts do not. A class action suit filed inCalifornia’s Los Angeles federal court accused Dannon of falselyadvertising its Activia, Activia Lite, and DanActive products andclaimed Dannon initiated a massive false advertising campaign toconvince consumers to pay more for yogurt containing probiotic bacteria.

Now, reports the LA Times, Dannon just settled the false-advertising lawsuit.The yogurt giant also agreed to create a $35-million fund meant toreimburse those consumers who bought Dannon’s Activia and DanActiveyogurts. Dannon denied the claims and did not admit to any wrongdoing,said the LA Times, but stated that it settled because it wished “toavoid the distraction and expense of litigation,” quoting spokesmanMichael Neuwirth.

Probiotic is a term that means “for life.” The human intestinaltract is filled with a huge amount of helpful, probiotic bacteria,which is a good thing since the human body is designed to havesymbiotic relationships with probiotic bacteria that assist indigestion and destroy harmful microorganisms. Science indicates that asthe body ages, the intestinal tract becomes more rigid at onlyaccepting intestinal flora it recognizes; it is difficult for the bodyto recognize or tolerate new good bacteria. Also, good bacteriadecrease; therefore, it is important to supplement with probiotics,initiating this process early on in life.

Anecdotal evidence suggests friendly bacteria help a variety ofdigestive problems; however, in the United States, no health claims forprobiotics have been approved. The United Nation’s Food and AgricultureOrganization defines probiotics as live microorganisms … which confer abeneficial health effect on the host. In other words, for bacteria tobe considered a probiotic, it must be beneficial to humans. As aresult, if food manufacturers label a food as containing probiotics,the benefits must be proven by research.

Read more...



Demjanjuk appeals German court decision
Legal Watch | 2009/05/07 17:46
Suspected Nazi guard John Demjanjuk's attorney says he has appealed a Berlin court ruling that stymied an attempt to stop his client's deportation from the United States.


Lawyer Ulrich Busch told The Associated Press late Thursday he is asking for the German government to retract its agreement to take Demjanjuk on humanitarian grounds.

He says it might take two weeks for the appeal filed with a Berlin administrative court to be ruled upon. And he says even if the ruling is in Demjanjuk's favor, American authorities still could deport him.

Demjanjuk (dem-YAHN'-yuk) is wanted in Germany on an arrest warrant accusing him of being an accessory to 29,000 murders at the Nazis' Sobibor death camp in occupied Poland. He denies the charges.



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