CourtSide - The FindLaw Breaking Legal News Blog

October 2013 Archives

Disgruntled Yelp reviewers have filed a class-action lawsuit demanding compensation for the reviews they post on the site. We are not making this up, this is an actual lawsuit (attached below).

The reviewers claim they are actually unpaid employees and legally deserve pay for their contributions, given the importance of the reviews to Yelp's business model.

"Yelp earns its income by selling advertising on its site, the content of which is created free-of-wages by hordes of solicited posters, in violation of the Federal Labor Standard Act," the lawsuit alleges.

The over-zealous California attorney who filed the complaint doesn't stop there. He proceeds to compare Yelp to slave owners.

"Business journal commentators have compared said business practices to a 21st-century galley slave ship with pirates banging the drum to keep up the fast pace and to fill the pockets of their stockholders with treasure... and with 'overhead that would shame an antebellum plantation."

Yelp doesn't appear concerned about the lawsuit dismissing it as "frivolous" to Fast Company.

Texas Abortion Law is Unconstitutional, Federal Judge Rules

Key parts of Texas' new abortion law have been ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge. The stunning legal ruling (attached below) came Monday, a day before dozens of abortion clinics were set to halt operations.

U.S. District Court Judge Lee Yeakel barred Texas from enforcing two key provisions of abortion restrictions contained in the controversial new law.

Judge Yeakel held that requiring abortion doctors to gain admitting privileges at a nearby hospital was unconstitutional. The provision "does not bear a rational relationship to the legitimate right of the state in preserving and promoting fetal life or a woman's health."

Judge Yeakel also barred Texas from enforcing a provision regulating the dispensing of abortion-inducing drugs for "women for whom surgical abortion is, in the sound medical opinion of their treating physician, a significant health risk."

The judge did, however, allow other parts of the law to stand, including a requirement for one extra office visit.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry promptly announced that state officials will continue efforts to enact the abortion law.

"Today's decision will not stop our ongoing efforts to protect life..." Perry said in a statement. "We will continue fighting to implement the laws passed by the duly-elected officials of our state, laws that reflect the will and values of Texans."

Harper Lee, reclusive author the classic novel "To Kill a Mockingbird," has sued her hometown museum claiming improper use of her name and the novel's title.

The author is seeking damages and an injunction against the Monroe County Heritage Museum in Monroeville, Ala., which uses the website ToKillaMockingBird.com.

Nelle Harper Lee, 87, won the Pulitzer Prize for her only book, which continues to sell around one million copies a year. It was made into a movie of the same name in 1962, and the lead role of Atticus Finch earned Gregory Peck a "Best Actor" Oscar.

In the lawsuit (attached below), Lee's lawyers claim the museum seeks to profit from the "unauthorized use of protected names and trademarks" of the author and the book's title.

Lee claims Monroeville's "desire to capitalize upon the fame of 'To Kill a Mockingbird' is unmistakable." The town logo for Monroeville also features an image of a mockingbird, her lawsuit points out.

Star baseball player Albert Pujols recently sued ex-player Jack Clark for telling radio listeners Pujols took steroids. Clark responded on Monday by challenging Pujols to take a dual lie detector tests to clear his name.

The lie-detector challenge is laid out in one of the snarkiest settlement letters you will ever read (attached below in all its glory).

St. Louis lawyer Al Watkins (representing Clark) pulls no punches in his 5-page diatribe that reads more like a Reddit forum post than a legal document.

Watkins includes a Jack LaLanne juice reference, a recommendation for the best Italian restaurant in the Dominican Republic and some intensely depressing life philosophy from his father.

So will Albert Pujols and Jack Clark actually settle this litigation over a polygraph machine? Pujols apparently has 10 days to respond before the offer is withdrawn, per Watkins' letter. 

Alex Rodriguez Sues Major League Baseball Over 'Witch Hunt'

Alex Rodriguez has sued Major League Baseball claiming the league is trying to force him from the sport and potentially cost him tens of millions of dollars.

Rodriguez's lawyers accuse MLB of buying the cooperation of the head of an anti-aging clinic at the center of a doping scandal. Rodriguez's complaint (attached below) alleges a "witch hunt" and claims an investigator paid $150,000 in cash for records related to Rodriguez, which were allegedly stolen.

"We vehemently deny the allegations in the complaint," Major League Baseball said in a statement Friday.

Rodriguez's lawsuit, which alleges "tortious interference," comes a few days after Rodriguez's lawyers began appealing MLB's 211-game ban for his alleged role in the Biogenesis performance-enhancing drug scandal.

"The entire legal dynamic is very complex, and my legal team is doing what they need to in order to vindicate me and pursue all of my rights," Rodriguez said in a statement of his own.

California passed a first-of-its-kind state law outlawing "revenge porn," the distribution of private, explicit photos or video of other people on the Internet to humiliate them.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed the law (attached below) that makes it a misdemeanor to post images online after breakups. Offenders may face up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine for a first offense.

Senate Bill 255, which takes effect immediately, makes it a misdemeanor to post identifiable nude pictures of someone else online without permission with the intent to cause emotional distress or humiliation.

"Until now, there was no tool for law enforcement to protect victims," the bill's author, Sen. Anthony Cannella, said in a statement. "Too many have had their lives upended because of an action of another that they trusted."