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Woman Files Lawsuit to Prove She is Alive

A St. Louis woman has spent months trying to convince people that she's alive. Now she has filed suit to say reports of her death are greatly exaggerated.

In a peculiar federal lawsuit (attached below), Kimberly Haman has sued her local bank and a major credit reporting company to prove she is not among the deceased.

She has been turned down for a credit card and twice denied refinancing on her mortgage due to her "deceased" status, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

Haman alleges the problem began when Heartland Bank reported her death to Equifax. She says she has repeatedly asked Heartland and Equifax to fix the error, to no avail.

The suit claims a violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which allows recovery of compensatory and punitive damages, lawsuit costs and statutory penalties of up to $1,000 per violation.

Google Books Lawsuit Defeated: Book Scanning Deemed 'Fair Use'

Google has defeated an 8-year-old lawsuit by authors who accused the Internet company of digitally copying millions of books for an online library without permission.

U.S. Circuit Judge Denny Chin’s ruling (attached below) states that Google’s scanning of more than 20 million books, and making “snippets” of text available online, constituted “fair use” under U.S. copyright law.

Thursday’s ruling, which the Author’s Guild has vowed to appeal, ostensibly permits Google to continue expanding the library.

Judge Chin wrote that the scanning makes it easier for students, teachers, researchers and the public to find books, while maintaining “respectful consideration” for authors’ rights.

“This is a big win for Google, and it blesses other search results that Google displays, such as news or images,” University of Maryland intellectual property law professor James Grimmelmann told Reuters.

The Authors Guild expressed disappointment over the ruling.

“Google made unauthorized digital editions of nearly all of the world’s valuable copyright-protected literature and profits from displaying those works,” Paul Aiken, executive director of the Authors Guild, told Reuters. “Such mass digitization and exploitation far exceeds the bounds of the fair use defense.”

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."

The National Football League has agreed to a landmark, global settlement of lawsuits filed by more than 4,000 ex-players with alleged injuries ranging from advanced dementia to head trauma.

Dozens of lawsuits have accused the League of glorifying NFL violence while ignoring health risks and failing to warn players that repeated concussions could lead to brain damage, suicide or depression.

The settlement details came via court-ordered mediation with mediator Layn Phillips, according to the attached press release. The settlement must be approved by U.S. District Court Judge Anita Brody, of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania before the deal is final. The text of Judge Brody's order was released Thursday.

The $765 million settlement would be used for medical exams, concussion-related compensation, and a program of medical research for retired players and their families, according to the announcement. The NFL also agreed to pay legal fees.

Apple E-Book Ruling: Company Will Appeal Price Fixing Decision

Apple "conspired to raise the retail price of e-books," a federal judge held in the ruling attached below.

Apple and five major U.S. publishers artificially drove up the prices of e-books in 2010, Judge Denise Cote ruled Wednesday.

"[T]he evidence is overwhelming that Apple knew of the unlawful aims of the conspiracy and joined the conspiracy with the specific intent to help it succeed," Judge Cote wrote.

Apple says it plans to appeal the ruling, according to company spokesman Tom Neumayr, claiming it brought much needed innovation and competition into the e-book market.

NBC is going to have some explaining to do after it was slapped with a proposed class action lawsuit by former unpaid interns, claiming the broadcast company violated federal labor laws.

The suit includes former interns from NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” as well as the booking department for MSNBC, and seeks more than $5 million in damages, reports The Hollywood Reporter.

NBC joins Fox Searchlight Pictures in the growing list of media companies being sued in federal court for allegedly stiffing their interns, with plaintiffs claiming these companies violated the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The complaint asserts that NBCUniversal’s unpaid interns essentially substituted for normal workers, a violation of federal and state standards for minimum wage and overtime.

The New York-based media giant was also accused of failing to provide any academic or vocational training for its unpaid interns, making its internship program little more than a portal for free workers.

If this suit is successful, a court ordered injunction may force NBC to reform their internship policies.

Fox Searchlight Pictures violated federal and New York minimum wage laws by not paying its “Black Swan” interns, a federal judge ruled Tuesday in a case that could affect American businesses that rely heavily on unpaid internships.

Fox Searchlight should have paid two unpaid interns on the movie “Black Swan,” because they were essentially regular employees, ruled U.S. District Judge William Pauley.

Tuesday’s ruling may serve as a cautionary tale to employers nationwide that misclassifying unpaid interns can be costly.

Two interns — Alex Footman and Eric Glatt — both worked on Fox Searchlight’s “Black Swan” and sued in 2011, claiming that the company’s unpaid internship program violated minimum wage and overtime laws.

The internships did not foster an educational environment and the studio received the benefits of the work.

The case could have broad implications beyond Hollywood.

“Employers have already started to take a hard look at their internship programs,” Rachel Bien, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, told The New York Times. “I think this decision will go far to discourage private companies from having unpaid internship programs.”

Google Must Give Private User Data to FBI: Fed. Judge

A federal judge ordered Google to release private customer data to the FBI, despite the fact that the FBI has no warrant for the information.

Google must comply with the FBI’s secret “National Security Letter” demands for customer data, U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston held in the attached ruling.

Every year the FBI sends thousands of NSLs to banks, telecommunication companies and other businesses, the AP reports.

NSLs are controversial because they allow FBI officials to send secret requests for “name, address, length of service,” and other account information about users as long as it’s relevant to a national security investigation, CNET reports.

After receiving sworn statements from two top-ranking FBI officials, Illston said she was satisfied that 17 of the 19 letters were issued properly. She wanted more information on two other letters.

Illston’s order omits any mention of Google. But the judge said “the petitioner” was involved in a similar case filed on April 22 in New York federal court.

Public records show that on that day, the federal government filed a “petition to enforce National Security Letter” against Google after the company declined to cooperate with government demands, according to the AP.

Dr. Phil’s production company has filed suit against Gawker Media for posting footage of the TV therapist’s interview with Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, the man behind the Manti Te’o girlfriend hoax, on Deadspin.com.

The suit was filed Monday in a Texas federal court by Peteski Productions, one of the producers of the Dr. Phil show.

The complaint alleges the sports gossip website posted the juiciest parts of the interview online before it had aired in the majority of Dr. Phil markets.

In its copyright infringement lawsuit, Dr. Phil’s producers also include an artful “suckerfish” reference:

“A remora is a fish, sometimes called a suckerfish, which attaches itself to other fish like sharks,” the complaint states. “The host fish gains nothing from the relationship but the remora is enriched by obtaining benefits (usually food and transportation) from the host… Gawker received substantial benefits from its infringement but Pateski received nothing…”

Samsung Didn't Willfully Infringe Apple Patents, Judge Rules

Samsung had reason to celebrate this week after a federal judge declared that its infringement of Apple iPhone design and utility patents was not a willful scheme.

Still Samsung, the world’s largest device maker, still owes a mammoth fine for violating some Apple intellectual property. But it could have been much worse.

U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh ruled Tuesday that she predominantly agreed with the jury’s decision that Samsung infringed on seven of Apple’s design and utility patents. However, she disagreed with one finding — that Samsung “willfully” infringed on Apple’s patents.

This means is that Apple will not be able to triple its damage awards. If Koh had agreed with the jury on this decision, Apple could have collected up to as much as three times in damages from Samsung.

The trial between the two tech giants wrapped up in August after the jury awarded Apple $1.05 billion in damages. However, the two sides have been slugging it out over a final judgment on damages.