Lawsuit puts Lake Tahoe boating facilities on hold
Areas of Focus | 2009/09/28 17:21
A federal judge is blocking construction of boating facilities on Lake Tahoe while he resolves an environmental lawsuit.

The lawsuit, filed by the League to Save Lake Tahoe and the SierraClub, challenges new regulations that would allow more than 100 newprivate piers, 10 new public piers, new boat ramps, mooring buoys andhundreds of slips.

The regulations were adopted last year by the Tahoe Regional PlanningAgency after years of controversy. Environmentalists argue that newpiers and ramps would increase motorized boating and the pollution thatgoes with it.

In a recent ruling, U.S. District Judge Lawrence K. Karlton issued apreliminary injunction. It bars construction of the piers and ramps butallows the planning agency to move ahead with processing permits forthe facilities.

Still, boaters might want to hold off.

"The court notes that its independent review indicates that plaintiffs have shown some likelihood of success," Karlton wrote.

Read more...


Microsoft Lawsuit Shows Malicious Advertising a Growing Issue
Legal Business | 2009/09/21 19:37
Microsoft announced on Sept. 18 that it has filed lawsuits against five entities that it claims have been spreading "malvertising," or online advertising used to port malware onto end users' machines. Microsoft is asking the court to shut down those entities, saying that they used Microsoft’s AdManager service, which lets Website owners manage their own advertising inventory, to launch their attacks.

The lawsuits are just the latest leveled by Microsoft against spreaders of malicious code. Earlier in the summer, Microsoft’s Internet Safety Enforcement Team filed a civil lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for Western Washington against what they described as a massive click-fraud scheme. In that case, the accused individuals had developed click-fraud attacks against online advertisements for auto insurance and World of Warcraft.

In 2009, Microsoft also targeted legal action against a party, Funmobile, which it accused of "spimming," or spreading links to possibly malicious software through instant messaging. Hong Kong-based Funmobile had apparently been sending instant messages to thousands of Windows Live Messenger users since March 2009.

The Sept. 18 filings represent yet another front in the battle.

"Our filings in King County Superior Court in Seattle outline how we believe the defendants operated," Tim Cranton, Microsoft’s associate general counsel, wrote in an official Microsoft blog posting on Sept. 1. "In general, malvertising works by camouflaging malicious code as harmless online advertisements. These ads then lead to harmful or deceptive content."

Microsoft’s court filings aim at entities using the business names "Soft Solutions," "Direct Ad," "qiweroqw.com," "ITmeter INC" and "ote2008.info," which Redmond says used malvertising to spread malware and scareware.


Pulman, Cappuccio, Pullen & Benson, LLP Files $80 Million Lawsuit
Areas of Focus | 2009/09/15 16:39
SAN ANTONIO--(Business Wire)--
Pulman, Cappuccio, Pullen & Benson, LLP filed a lawsuit today in a San Antonio,
Texas state court on behalf of 97 former investors at Stanford International
Bank. The lawsuit, styled Rupert, et al. v. Winter, et al., seeks almost $80
million in damages from insurance brokers Willis Group Holdings, Ltd. and Bowen,
Miclette & Britt, Inc. and from a trust company, Aleman, Cordero, Galindo & Lee,
affiliated with a Panamanian law firm.

"Allen Stanford didn`t build this bank all by himself," said lead attorney and
firm managing partner Randy Pulman. "He had help. Companies like Willis, Bowen
Miclette, and the Aleman firm and trust company were too close to the action at
Stanford International Bank to avoid responsibility for this debacle."

Stanford International Bank took in $7.2 billion in deposits from all over the
United States and Latin America until it was shut down this February by the
Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC claims that the bank was a "massive
Ponzi scheme" whose founder, Allen Stanford, is in jail outside of Houston,
Texas awaiting trial.

The lawsuit against the insurance brokers seeks to hold them responsible for
"Safety and Security" letters they sent to the plaintiffs saying that deposits
at Stanford International Bank were protected by insurance and that the bank was
made up of "first class business people." "Allen Stanford counted on these
insurance companies to help him separate our clients from their money - now,
we`re counting on them to put it back. It is against the law in Texas for an
insurance broker to tell someone something is insured when it`s not," explained
Pulman.

Many of the plaintiffs` Stanford deposits were held in trust accounts served by
Stanford Trust Company Limited and Aleman, Cordero, Galindo & Lee Trust (BVI)
Limited as trustees. The lawsuit alleges that the trust company, the firm, and
its principals breached fiduciary duties to the trusts.

The lawsuit also seeks damages from several individual employees of those
companies, and several former employees at Stanford Fiduciary Investor Services
and Stanford Trust Company. The suit alleges that all the defendants are also
liable for securities fraud.

Randy Pulman has already filed suit on behalf of five Stanford depositors
against Lloyd`s of London and the Stanford Receiver in a Dallas, Texas federal
court. The lawsuit, styled De Leon v. Lloyd's of Lond, seeks damages and a
declaration from the court that the proceeds of Stanford International Bank`s
"Bankers Blanket Bond" insurance policies should be held for the depositors.

Pulman, Cappuccio, Pullen & Benson, LLP is a fifteen-lawyer firm in San Antonio,
Texas that specializes in representing investors and businesses in litigation
and transactions. The firm is also home to San Antonio`s second largest
bankruptcy practice. For more information, visit the firm website at
http://www.pulmanlaw.com.


Justices Meet Early for Campaign-Finance Case
Legal Topics | 2009/09/08 16:17
According to Courthouse News, the Supreme Court ended its summer recess early this year to consider a case that could decide the future of campaign-finance law. The justices will decide whether a conservative nonprofit group should have been blocked from showing a scathing political documentary called "Hillary:The Movie" before the 2008 primary elections.

The Supreme Court will hear arguments in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, in which the corporate nonprofit appeals the commission's decision to block the film from pay-per-view TV before the 2008 campaign.

The film's makers called the commission's decision a violation of their free speech. The movie features various pundits and politicos discussing Clinton's bid for the presidency.

"We must never underestimate this woman," one commentator says. "We must never understate her chances of winning. And we must never forget the fundamental danger that this woman poses to every value that we hold dear."


Former Miss California Sues For Religious Discrimination
Legal Topics | 2009/09/01 16:13
The Courthouse News Service is reporting that Former Miss California USA Carrie Prejean sued pageant officials for libel and religious discrimination, claiming she was told to not mention God long before she made her controversial remarks against gay marriage on national TV last April.

The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, claims California pageant Executive Director Keith Lewis and former Miss USA Shanna Moakler told Prejean not to mention God on her application or in speeches at least two months before the Miss USA contest, in which Prejean was the first runner-up.

Prejean was stripped of her crown in June for allegedly failing to make required appearances and for making unapproved appearances.


Disney Will Buy Marvel Comics
Legal Topics | 2009/08/31 16:13
Courthouse News reports that Walt Disney Co. announced today that it would buy Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion, giving Disney ownership of a huge stable of comic book characters, including Spiderman, the Incredible Hulk, the X-Men, the Silver Surfer and others.

The stock-and-cash deal is valued at about $50 per Marvel share - $30 a share plus just under 0.75 Disney shares for each Marvel share - a 29 percent premium on Marvel stock.


ACLU Demands Info On DHS Computer Searches At Borders
Headline Legal News | 2009/08/28 17:36
According to Courthouse News, the ACLU demands information on the Department of Homeland Security's policy on searching laptop computers at international borders. The DHS' Customs and Border Protection office announced in July that it can search electronic devices and any printed material carried by travelers regardless of whether they are suspected of anything - a statement one senator called "truly alarming."

Such searches, made without suspicion of any legal infraction, violate civil rights, according to the complaint, which quotes Senator Russell Feingold as calling the practice "truly alarming."

A bill pending in Congress would require DHS to base such searches on reasonable suspicion.

The ACLU says the DHS blew off its Freedom of Information Act request for information about the policy.


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