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Hotels Accuse Expedia, Orbitz of Deceit, 'Bait and Switch'

A small hotel has brought a suit against travel company Expedia alleging that it used underhanded tactics in order to siphon booking business to its partner hotels instead.

The case is currently in the courts being reviewed for class action certification. Causes of action include false advertising, unfair competition and -- of course -- "bait and switch" business tactics.

Univision, the Spanish-language broadcast company, won the auction to buy Gawker Media yesterday, for an offer of $135 million. Univision will take over Gawker after outbidding the digital media company Ziff Davis, by $45 million, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Gawker Media, whose network of websites pioneered the gossipy, confessional medium of blogging, declared bankruptcy last month, after the former professional wrestler Hulk Hogan won a $140 million invasion of privacy lawsuit against them. The sale should be approved by a bankruptcy judge sometime this week.

Verizon to Buy Yahoo! for $4.8 Billion

Netscape, Yahoo, Google. Each of these names were iconic during their times -- some of them still are.

But Yahoo's time as a stand-alone company is finished. This new development was announced this week. Now, with $4.83B less in its coffers, Verizon is walking away with the spoils of acquisition war: Yahoo's one-billion monthly subscribers.

It took jurors less than an hour of deliberations to find Michael Coscia guilty of illegal "spoofing" and commodities fraud last November. Coscia was the first person convicted under the Dodd-Frank Act's anti-spoofing laws, for making $1.4 million off a bait-and-switch scheme.

His prosecution was widely watched and the ease the jury had in convicting him was taken as a sign of greater prosecutions to come. Last week, a little over eight months since his conviction, Coscia was sentenced to three years in federal prison and two years of supervised release.

Tesla Investigated by SEC for Possible Securities Laws Violations

Not that there's ever a convenient time for someone to die in a car crash, but the recent fatality associated with Tesla's Autopilot feature that killed Joshua Brown was decidedly timed badly for the electric car company. Now Tesla is being investigated by the SEC amidst allegations that it breached securities laws in connection with that crash.

On top of being a phenomenally bad crash for the company, it could potentially cast a long and dark shadow over the technology for a while yet.

Running a massive corporation is a stressful thing. And sometimes, that stress can push executives to substance abuse. Imagine, for example, you're an executive at an American fast food chain specializing in build-it-yourself burritos, a chain that just can't seem to stop selling E. coli- and norovirus-contaminated wraps. Would anyone really be all that shocked if you turned to blow to get through the hump?

That may be what happened to Mark Crumpacker, Chipotle's chief creative and development executive, who was leading the fast food chain's post-health scandal rebranding -- until he was arrested for repeatedly buying cocaine from a New York delivery service.

There's been a lot of talk about general counsel becoming a more integral part of the corporate leadership team. But nothing pushes in-house counsel into a position of influence like a significant legal crisis.

Case in point: Heather Dietrick, Gawker Media's president and general counsel. After joining the company three years ago, Dietrick has shepherded the online blog network through a series of legal defeats, as best as one can, and has found herself in a leadership position that's fairly unique among general counsel.

DropBox GC Ramsey Homsany Is Leaving

The latest in news on the in-house counsel front is that Ramsey Homsany will be leaving the GC seat of file-sharing company DropBox. He will be replaced by the company's head of regulatory and litigation affairs, Bart Volkmer.

Homsany apparently leaves DropBox behind without having another job immediately in the pipeline. But seeing as he is one of the most recognizable names in Silicon Valley, we're sure he'll land on his feet wherever he ends up.

Oracle Is in Court Again, Now as Defendant Against HP

It has not been a good recent set of weeks for Silicon Valley fixture Oracle. Only after a few weeks since Ellison's company lost a $9 billion API appeal (for now) against Google over allegations of copyright infringement, it now finds itself on the defense from a suit by HP.

Actually, that's a bit of a misnomer. The roots of the suit were kind of on the wall back when the two companies signed up to do business with each other back in 2010.

God bless the corporate scandal. Not only does it provide a bit of voyeuristic schadenfreude, it's a valuable teaching moment. "See kids, don't do what that white collar criminal did." And whether it's a Bank of America executive's claims that the bank has become a sexist "bro's club" or the continued fallout from Volkswagen's emissions fraud, there's plenty of lessons to be learned these days.

Here are some of our top corporate scandal takeaways for GC's and in-house counsel, from the FindLaw archives.