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Weekly Issues In the News

By Geisa Balla

American Apparel

New York Supreme Court Justice Bernadette Bayne dismissed the Irene Morales lawsuit against Dov Charney, CEO of American Apparel, on March 22, 2012. Morales, a former American Apparel employee, filed the lawsuit against Charney in March 2011, alleging that Charney began sexually harassing her when she was 17 years old. Her lawsuit alleged that on her 18th birthday, Charney invited her to his apartment, held her prisoner and sexually abused her for hours. Morales eventually quit her job and suffered psychological trauma. Her lawsuit sought damages of $260 million. Charney's defense in this lawsuit was that when Morales left the company, she signed an agreement stating that she had no claims against the company, and that any future claims would be arbitrated. The court agreed with the defense, dismissing the case after a California court had ordered the same case into arbitration. Morales' attorney said that he would appeal the decision. "The California case and the New York case are separate," he said. "The California case involves a blog impersonation and the New York case involves sexual harassment."


A class action complaint was filed against Google Inc. in the Southern District of New York on March 20, 2012, alleging that Google's new privacy policy is deceptive and violates the privacy of consumers. At issue is Google's new privacy policy, whereby Google collects consumer information through each of its services, but does not allow consumers to keep such information separate. The causes of action alleged are violations of the Federal Wiretap Act, Violations of the Stored Electronic Communications Act, Violations of the Computer Fraud Abuse Act, Common Law Intrusion Upon Seclusion, Common Law Trespass to Chattels, Unjust Enrichment, Common Law Commercial Misappropriation, and Violation of Section 349 of New York General Business Law.
The class is defined as "All persons and entities in the United States that maintained a Google account from August 19, 2004 to February 29, 2012, and continued to maintain that Google account on or after March 1, 2012, when Google's current privacy policy became effective."


Former users of the file-sharing site Megaupload have received fake settlement letters asking for monetary settlement. Megaupload was shut down by the Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigations in January 2012. Now, former users are receiving settlement offers from a fake German firm "Dr. Kroner & Kollegen of Munich," claiming to act on behalf of Universal, Sony, EMI Paramount, Warner Brothers and Dreamworks. The letters do not list the actual downloaded files, and do not contain the typical "cease and desist" language. The letters inform the infringers that they are now liable for fines of 10,000 Euros, but they can settle the claim for 147 Euros. The infringers are instructed to wire the money to an address in Slovakia, not Germany.

Alexander Wang

The sweatshop allegation lawsuit against Alexander Wang has been temporarily discontinued. Earlier this year, a lawsuit was filed against Wang by a former employee of Wang, claiming that employees were forced to work in sweatshop conditions in Chinatown. The plaintiff's attorney, Ming Hai, filed a motion to discontinue the case without prejudice, claiming that he has relinquished the case to another attorney who will re-file the case in federal court. Wang's attorney, Hugh Mo, says the case is so flawed that it should be dismissed with prejudice. The change in attorneys might have something to do with an unrelated dispute between attorneys Hai and Mo. Hai issued a $5,000 fine and a court-ordered apology letter to Mo for misconduct in an entirely different case. Once Hai filed his motion for discontinuance on the Wang case, Mo sent Hai a letter threatening to take legal action against him unless he discontinued the case with prejudice. Yet Hai claims he was not fired, but recommended that the plaintiffs move the case to federal court and hire attorneys who specialize in federal labor laws.

Desperate Housewives v ABC

Nicollete Sheridan's lawsuit against ABC has resulted in a mistrial. Sheridan, who starred on the show, filed a lawsuit against ABC and the show's creator Marc Cherry, claiming that she argued with Cherry over a script, and he allegedly hit Sheridan in the head, then killed her character, eliminating her acting job. Sheridan sought $5.7 million in back pay from ABC. The jury was deadlocked at 8-4 in favor of the actress, and nine jurors needed to agree on a verdict. The jurors deliberated for three days, citing credibility of witnesses as the reason for their prolonged deliberations.


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 23, 2012 8:59 PM.

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