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The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has filed a lawsuit against Sprint, alleging the company illegally billed wireless customers for millions of dollars in unauthorized charges through a practice known as "cramming."

The lawsuit is the third such action the government has taken to combat "cramming" charges on cellphone bills this year, Reuters reports. In October, the Federal Trade Commission reached a $105 million settlement with AT&T over its cramming practices after earlier filing a lawsuit against T-Mobile.

What does the government allege in its latest lawsuit against Sprint?

A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction Monday that will prevent police in Ferguson, Missouri, from enforcing a "keep moving" rule on protesters.

This unofficial rule, also known as the "five second rule," has been used to keep protesters in Ferguson from standing still for too long. Tony Rothert, legal director of the ACLU of Missouri, believes that this practice has been applied "haphazardly" and tended to increase tension among protesters, reports MSNBC. U.S. District Court Judge Catherine Perry found these rules to be unconstitutional, as they infringed on protesters' constitutional rights.

What was Judge Perry's reasoning behind finding the "keep moving" rule unconstitutional?

Six federal trademark registrations owned by the Washington Redskins were cancelled by an appeal board of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The board ruled the term "Redskins" is disparaging to a "substantial composite" of Native Americans.

The immediate legal impact of the ruling, which can be appealed to federal court, could be limited, however. The Washington Redskins football team is not required to stop using the name.

But Wednesday's 2-1 board ruling (attached below) could give critics of the term another shot to urge Redskins owner Daniel M. Snyder to change it.

"[W]e decide, based on the evidence properly before us, that these registrations must be canceled because they were disparaging to Native Americans at the respective times they were registered," said the 2-1 ruling by a panel of three administrative trademark judges at the patent agency, also known as the PTO.

If the trademark ruling survives any potential appeals, the Redskins would lose certain rights and find it harder to crack down on unauthorized sales of merchandise with the team's name and logo.

"This probably isn't going to affect the team's ability to run the business or enforce its rights," Marc Reiner, an intellectual-property lawyer at Moss & Kalish PLLC, in New York, told The Wall Street Journal. "This is just a government body saying that it's inappropriate to have this as a registered trademark."

Bob McDonnell Indictment: Ex VA Gov., Wife Charged With Corruption

The former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife have been indicted on corruption charges shortly after the Republican left office earlier this month.

The 14-count indictment (attached below) details the vast array of favors political donor Jonnie Williams lavished upon the McDonnell family, including:

  • the use of Williams' private aircraft and vacation home, 
  • a nearly $20,000 shopping spree for Maureen McDonnell, 
  • a Rolex watch for the governor; and 
  • catering fees for the wedding of the McDonnells' daughter.

A federal investigation hung over the final months in office for the once-rising star of the Republican Party.

In July, McDonnell apologized and said he had returned more than $120,000 in loans and other gifts from Johnnie Williams, the CEO of pharmaceutical company Star Scientific. On Tuesday he again told The Associated Press reports that he had done nothing illegal on behalf of Star Scientific.

FCC's Net Neutrality Rules Struck Down by D.C. Circuit

A federal appeals court on Tuesday struck down the FCC’s open Internet rules, in a ruling that could give broadband providers more room to charge content companies for faster speeds.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled (see full opinion below) that the FCC lacked the authority to impose anti-discrimination rules because it had failed to classify broadband Internet as a common-carrier service.

The ruling is a blow to the concept of net neutrality, and opens the door for Verizon (and other Internet service providers) to offer managed services or other arrangements where content providers could pay to increase the speed to their content. The Wall Street Journal reports that Verizon (the plaintiff in this case) has indicated it would pursue such an arrangement if it was permitted to do so.

The FCC rules were designed to ensure Internet service providers treat similar content on broadband pipes equally. By enforcing net neutrality, the court found, the agency was imposing rules that didn’t apply to carriers.

Two Texas couples are fighting to prevent Texas' gay marriage ban from being enforced, and filed a motion to block the law in federal court on Friday.

In their motion for preliminary injunction (embedded below), the couples argue that Texas' constitutional amendment which bars same-sex marriages is unconstitutional and should not stop either couple from legal marriage recognition.

The ban has been in place since 2005. But with the recent swell of support for marriage equality and the U.S. Supreme Court striking down part of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the legal fight for gay marriage in Texas is closer than ever.

Cleopatra De Leon and Nicole Dimetman joined Victor Holmes and Mark Phariss in filing the federal suit challenging Texas' ban on gay marriage in late October. Both couples argue that the ban deprives them of equal protection and the fundamental right to marry.

In the plaintiffs' latest motion to block the marriage ban, they challenge that if the state of Texas is urging morality as a legal guide, the court should honor the moral ethos of the Constitution "which requires that treat all citizens with equal dignity and respect under the law."

Facebook will pay $20 million for putting users’ names and faces in its “Sponsored Stories” advertising program without their permission.

A federal judge granted final approval (see the full order below) to settle the lawsuit over targeted advertising.

Qualified users who joined the class action by the May 3, 2013 deadline will receive $15 from Facebook for having their photos and names featured in “Sponsored Stories.” Five plaintiffs originally filed suit in 2011 because the site shared users’ “likes” of certain advertisers with friends without paying them or allowing them to opt out.

A “Sponsored Story” is an advertisement that appears on a member’s Facebook page and generally consists of a friend’s name, profile picture and an assertion that the person “likes” the advertiser.

The case has highlighted tension between privacy concerns and Facebook’s drive to monetize user content.

American-US Airways Merger Blocked by DOJ Antitrust Lawsuit

The American Airlines-US Airways merger should be blocked to protect consumers from higher fares and fees, the U.S. Justice Department argues in an antitrust lawsuit filed Tuesday.

The antitrust lawsuit (attached below) upends American’s plans to exit bankruptcy via a deal that would create the world’s biggest airline. United Airlines and Delta Air Lines, which both grew through mergers of their own in recent years, are currently the two largest domestic carriers.

The DOJ, along with the attorneys general of six states and the District of Columbia, argue the proposed American-US Airways merger would lead to less competition in the industry, higher fares and cut flight service. The Department the merger would result in four airlines controlling more than 80 percent of the U.S. commercial air travel market.

“This merger will leave three very similar legacy airlines—Delta, United and the new American—that past experience shows increasingly prefer tacit coordination over full-throated competition,” says the lawsuit, filed in Washington, D.C., federal court. “Competition at [Washington’s] Reagan National [Airport] cannot flourish where one airline increasingly controls an essential ingredient to competition.”

US Airways CEO Doug Parker vowed to fight the lawsuit in a letter Tuesday to airline workers.

“We are extremely disappointed in this action and believe the DOJ is wrong in its assessment,” Parker said. “We will fight them.”

Electronic Arts used the images of several ex-NCAA athletes without their permission in its video games, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.

EA's use of the likenesses of former college players in its video games did not deserve First Amendment protection, the court held in a 2-1 ruling (attached below). Ex-UCLA basketball star Ed O'Bannon and former Arizona State quarterback Sam Keller were among the group of ex-players who filled suit over the use of their likenesses in the NCAA football and basketball games.

EA "literally recreates Keller in the very setting in which he has achieved renown," and lacked "significant transformative elements" to defeat a right-of-publicity claim, Circuit Judge Jay Bybee wrote for the majority.

Bybee pointed out that in the 2005 edition of NCAA Football, the virtual starting quarterback for Arizona State had the same facial features, hair color, skin tone, throwing arm, weight, height, home state, and visor preference as Keller.

It has been a rough summer for Electronic Arts. Two weeks ago EA lost the rights to put the NCAA logo and name on its games beyond this year. In May the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals revived a similar lawsuit by former Rutgers University quarterback Ryan Hart. That court said Hart's right of publicity outweighed EA's right of expression.

Detroit Bankruptcy is Largest Ch. 9 Filing in US History

The city of Detroit’s recent bankruptcy filing made it the the largest U.S. city in history to seek Chapter 9 protection.

The filing (attached below) came in the face of $18.5 billion in debt to creditors and unions.

Detroit has seemingly tapped out its tax base, with no further ability to tax its population of 700,000, which is down 60% from its peak of 1.8 million in the 1950s.

The Motor City’s bankruptcy filing lays the groundwork for a historic effort to bail out a major U.S. city.

Kevyn Orr, a bankruptcy expert, was hired by the state as emergency manager. He made the filing Thursday in federal bankruptcy court.