Tag Archives: lawsuits

Los Angeles County Sues State Over Political Boundaries Law

Los Angeles County is suing over a new state law it says discriminates against more than 1 million voters while taking away the power of the Board of Supervisors to draw its own political boundaries

By DON THOMPSON, Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Los Angeles County is suing over a new state law it says discriminates against more than 1 million voters while taking away the power of the Board of Supervisors to draw its own political boundaries.

The lawsuit aims to block the 2016 law that creates a 14-member commission to draw boundaries for county supervisor districts after the 2020 census.

Commission members would be chosen from political parties, the lawsuit says, unfairly excluding about a quarter of county voters who register with no party preference and comprise the fastest-growing portion of newly registered voters.

Aides to state Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Los Angeles, who wrote the law, said Tuesday that the intent of SB958 is to include those independent voters on the commission.

“If the citizens redistricting commission is good enough for the state Legislature and Congress, it should be good enough for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors,” Lara said in a statement.

The lawsuit filed Monday in Los Angeles County Superior Court says the law illegally takes away local control, unfairly applies only to Los Angeles County and makes the process more political. Based on current registration, 70 percent of commissioners would be Democrats, 25 percent Republicans and 5 percent from smaller political parties, the lawsuit states.

“I think that’s a valid concern, but it’s also a valid concern that politicians shouldn’t be drawing their own district lines. So there are competing benefits on both sides,” said Kim Alexander, president of the nonprofit California Voter Foundation. She was not involved in passing the law.

Read Full – https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/california/articles/2017-02-28/los-angeles-county-sues-state-says-1-million-voters-harmed

Parents of two men on Jose Fernandez’s boat sue pitcher’s estate for $2 million each

The parents of two men on the boat with Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez when it crashed, killing all on board, are suing his estate, according to the Sun Sentinel.

Investigators haven’t said who was driving Fernandez’s boat in the early morning crash on Sept. 25, but when the “Kaught Looking” smashed into the stone jetty that protects the channel between the PortMiami and the sea, it took Fernandez, 24, his friend Eduardo Rivero and acquaintance Emilio Jesus Macias with it.

READ MORE: Everything seemed right in Jose Fernandez’s life. Then it all went wrong.

Families of Rivero, 25, and Macias, 27, are filing negligence and personal injury lawsuits in Miami for $2 million each, the Sentinel reported. Late last month, Fernandez’s mother petitioned to take over his estate, which is valued between $2 million and $3 million.

Their joint attorney, Christopher Royer, told the paper that Rivero’s family’s claim was filed Friday and Macias’ will be filed Monday.

“The Rivero and Macias families are deeply scarred by the loss of their sons,” Royer said in a news release on Friday. “We remain open to a settlement and are hopeful a prompt resolution can be achieved to spare these families, and that of Jose Fernandez too, from any additional suffering.”

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/article132107764.html#storylink=cpy

Gawker Case Calls Attention to a Go-To Hollywood Lawyer

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Sourced From – http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/30/business/media/gawker-case-calls-attention-to-a-go-to-hollywood-lawyer.html?_r=0

LOS ANGELES — In Hollywood, everyone knows the go-to lawyers.

For divorce, there’s Laura Wasser, now representing Johnny Depp in his split with Amber Heard.

For a potential criminal charge, think Blair Berk, who helped Caitlyn Jenner avoid one after a traffic accident in which one person died, or Thomas Mesereau, who got Michael Jackson acquitted.

And if it just seems to be a workaday violation of a famous person’s rights, like slapping Reese Witherspoon’s name on jewelry without her permission? That was the sort of case Charles J. Harder was known for — until now.

Mr. Harder and his boutique Hollywood firm, Harder, Mirell & Abrams, are suddenly in the limelight. Last week it was revealed that their legal victory for the former professional wrestler Hulk Hogan, in his suit against Gawker Media over publication of a sex video, was secretly underwritten by the Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel. Hulk Hogan, whose real name is Terry Gene Bollea, was awarded $140 million.

Mr. Thiel, a PayPal founder, had a longstanding dispute with Gawker, which published an article in 2007 saying he was gay.

The case, and Mr. Thiel’s place in it, have sent a shudder through many in the news media. At issue is whether Mr. Thiel’s role in the case will motivate other wealthy and powerful people to settle scores by giving money to litigants whose causes they support.

(The Gawker case is likely to continue with appeals, and a June 10 hearing into matters that are still pending.)

A smaller question, but almost as fascinating in Los Angeles legal circles, is this: How did Mr. Harder, a 46-year-old Beverly Hills lawyer who has specialized in protecting stars from having their rights infringed upon by retailers and marketers, wind up in the middle of this free speech fight?

Mr. Harder would not comment for this article. But a close look at his résumé, and conversations with people familiar with his background, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of confidentiality strictures, suggest that Mr. Harder’s emergence as a power player happened as most things do in Hollywood. That is, through a combination of grit, talent, shrewd calculation — and knowing the right people.

Mr. Harder’s growing connections with celebrities, their representatives and well-heeled entrepreneurs was clearly rooted in a legal action filed in 2009 in state and federal courts here.

In those interrelated cases, Mr. Harder represented six famous actresses — Sandra Bullock, Michelle Pfeiffer, Cameron Diaz, Mandy Moore, Kate Hudson and Diane Keaton — against a group of computer retailers and other companies accused of a somewhat mundane violation. The actresses’ images appeared in catalogs and on websites, on the screens of various devices offered for sale.

After working its way through the courts and mediation, that dispute ended in confidential settlements and dismissal. For Mr. Harder, the outcome was successful enough to set a pattern for succeeding cases that found him and his colleagues, in quick succession, filing various privacy rights claims for a growing client list that included George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Bradley Cooper, Liam Neeson, Jude Law, Halle Berry, Tyra Banks, Clint Eastwood and Ms. Witherspoon.

The claims and the outcomes — settlements, rather than trials — were often similar. In one departure, Mr. Harder in 2011 fought all the way through trial to a $15 million verdict for the producer Vittorio Cecchi Gori in a complicated dispute with a former colleague, Gianni Nunnari, over rights in films that included “300,” “The Departed” and “Shutter Island.”

At least once before, Mr. Harder has tangled with Gawker, in 2012 on behalf of Lena Dunham. He demanded that the site take down a posting of Ms. Dunham’s book proposal, which it largely did, though it continued to display fragments and commentary.

In early October 2012, Gawker refused a demand by Mr. Bollea’s longtime lawyer, David Houston, that it remove the sex video from its site. Mr. Harder — then at the firm Wolf, Rifkin, Shapiro, Schulman & Rabkin — was retained and quickly filed suit.

Whether Mr. Thiel had assured funding at that point is unclear. But Mr. Harder and his colleagues were confident enough of their footing to start their own firm the following January, taking Mr. Bollea and other clients with them.

During the Gawker trial, Mr. Harder, though lead counsel, played a relatively small role in the handling of witnesses, who were often questioned by others. But he currently represents clients in two additional suits against Gawker. One was filed this month in a Boston federal court by Shiva Ayyadurai, who claims he invented email, and another was filed in January in a Manhattan federal court by Ashley Terrill, a journalist. It is not known if Mr. Thiel has played any role in supporting those suits.

Harder, Mirell & Abrams currently has its offices in a small, fashionable building adjoining the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on Rodeo Drive. It is near the Century City quarters of much larger law firms like Ziffren Brittenham and Jackoway Tyerman, and talent representatives like the Creative Artists Agency.

It is also a short drive from the San Fernando Valley, where Mr. Harder grew up. He attended Montclair College Preparatory School, now closed, in Van Nuys, and did his undergraduate work at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

After receiving a law degree from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, Mr. Harder clerked briefly for Judge A. Andrew Hauk, who was then at the United States District Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles.

Mr. Harder then spent about a year with the Lavely & Singer law firm. The firm and its principal partners, John H. Lavely Jr. and Martin D. Singer, are known as fierce defenders of prominent celebrities like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone.

But Mr. Harder did little trial work for the firm, either then or during a second stint at Lavely & Singer. In between, he worked for a web company, Load Media Network.

In 2001, a case he was working on received attention in The New York Times. His client, Wendy Withers, was told not to report to work at a financially troubled New York ad agency after having left her previous job.

It was a modest claim, and — unlike the Hulk Hogan case, with its huge award — it was settled. Ms. Withers collected two months’ pay.

Google faces record three billion euro EU antitrust fine: Telegraph

Google (GOOGL.O) faces a record antitrust fine of around 3 billion euros ($3.4 billion) from the European Commission in the coming weeks, British newspaper The Sunday Telegraph said.

The European Union has accused Google of promoting its shopping service in Internet searches at the expense of rival services in a case that has dragged on since late 2010.

Several people familiar with the matter told Reuters last month they believed that after three failed attempts at a compromise in the past six years Google now had no plans to try to settle the allegations unless the EU watchdog changed its stance.

The Telegraph cited sources close to the situation as saying officials planned to announce the fine as early as next month, but that the bill had not yet been finalised.

Google will also be banned from continuing to manipulate search results to favour itself and harm rivals, the newspaper said.

The Commission can fine firms up to 10 percent of their annual sales, which in Google’s case would be a maximum possible sanction of more than 6 billion euros. The biggest antitrust fine to date was a 1.1 billion-euro fine imposed on chip-maker Intel (INTC.O) in 2009.

The Commission and Google both declined to comment.

($1 = 0.8841 euros)

Full Article – http://www.reuters.com/article/us-google-eu-idUSKCN0Y60J4