Tagged: lawsuit Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Geebo 9:01 am on October 4, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , lawsuit   

    Backpage settles child sex trafficking lawsuit 

    Backpage settles child sex trafficking lawsuit

    Back in 2012, three women filed a lawsuit against Backpage in the state of Washington. They claimed they were underage when they were forcibly trafficked for sex on the website. Previous lawsuits like this filed against Backpage have failed, however, in 2015, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled the lawsuit could proceed.

    Yesterday, it was reported Backpage settled the lawsuit with these women, although the details of the settlement have remain undisclosed.

    This story has huge implications when it comes to the future of trafficking on Backpage. The first is, you probably shouldn’t think this is some magnanimous move on Backpage’s part. This is more than likely an attempt to try to get into the good graces of Congress, who supposedly has evidence of criminal activity in the way Backpage edits their ‘adult’ ads. Secondly, this could pave the way either for future settlements or for similar lawsuits pending against Backpage to proceed in states like Texas, California and Alabama. This and future settlements could cost Backpage a pretty penny which could turn Backpage into a company that is no longer profitable.

    Could this be the heads of Backpage trying to ‘donate’ their way out of criminal prosecution? That remains to be seen.

     
  • Geebo 8:54 am on August 28, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: lawsuit, , ,   

    Zillow has Zestimate lawsuit thrown out 

    Zillow has Zestimate lawsuit thrown out

    Back in May, we posted how real estate site Zillow was being sued over their ‘Zestimate’ feature. The lawsuit claimed Zillow’s estimates were undervaluing the homes which were being sold on Zillow and that Zestimates were a de facto appraisal. In Illinois, where the suit was filed, all real estate appraisers have to be licensed in the state.

    Zillow can breathe a zigh of relief for now, as the lawsuit has been dismissed by a U.S. District Judge in Chicago. The judge ruled the portmanteau of Zillow and estimate, creating Zestimate, clearly shows consumers it is an estimate and not an appraisal and Zestimates were just a starting point for people looking to buy a home. The judge also ruled Zillow did not violate Illinois’ Real Estate Appraiser Licensing Act.

    The plaintiffs will no doubt try to file an amended lawsuit since they still claim Zestimates are affecting property values negatively.

     
  • Geebo 10:45 am on February 27, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , lawsuit,   

    Could you be violating your lease by using Airbnb? 

    Could you be violating your lease by using Airbnb?

    As you may know, Airbnb is a service that allows you to rent out your house or apartment on a short-term basis. The problem is that if you currently rent your home you could be violating your lease by renting the property out on Airbnb. Many leases include clauses that prohibit subletting or subleasing which could cause the breaking of the lease by renting out the residence on even a short-term basis.

    It’s gotten so bad for one property management company in California that they’re suing Airbnb. The company says that by having their tenants sublease their apartments it’s caused security and safety issues for their residents. The rental company states that Airbnb is complicit in encouraging their tenants to break their leases. Airbnb has largely stayed silent about the suit with many stating that it’s the users fault for violating their own leases.

    Airbnb renters have been seen as a nuisance in a number of jurisdictions that local governments have heavily regulated the service.

    Is Airbnb largely ignoring a problem that they consider out of their hands or are they encouraging renters to willingly break their leases? Only time and the courts will tell.

     
  • Geebo 10:56 am on January 26, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , lawsuit   

    Backpage sued by underage trafficking victims and why these suits are different 

    Backpage sued by underage trafficking victims and why these suits are different

    Yesterday, multiple lawsuits were filed against Backpage in four different states by victims who were trafficked on Backpage for sex while they were underage. At the times these victims were being trafficked they ranged in ages from 14 to 17. The suits, filed in California, Alabama, Texas, and Washington, claim that Backpage knowingly profited from the trade of underage girls on its website.

    Lawsuits like these are nothing new for Backpage. Two of the more newsworthy lawsuits were filed in Massachusetts and Washington, but unfortunately those lawsuits were defeated in the courts. These new lawsuits are different that their predecessors for two reasons. The first is the fact that Backpage heads Carl Ferrer, Michael Lacey and James Larkin are being named in the suit. The second reason is that these are the first suits being filed after the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations found that Backpage allegedly edits their ads to make the victims appear of age. Previously the Communications Decency Act of 1996 protected Backpage in these suits because the CDA states that a website’s owner is not criminally responsible for the content that their users post. However, if Backpage is editing the ads that their users post, that could render their CDA defense null and void.

    Much has been made in the news about how Backpage shut down their adult section only to have it turn out that the trafficking ads have migrated to the personals section where Backpage is still making money from them. Since Backpage only cares about the money they make, maybe these lawsuits will finally strike a blow against them that will finally make them reconsider their business model of slavery.

     
  • Geebo 11:14 am on January 12, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , lawsuit, Shiva Ayyadurai, Techdirt   

    Is Techdirt about to meet the same fate as Gawker? 

    Is Techdirt about to meet the same fate as Gawker?

    As followers of industry news may remember news blog Gawker and its parent company Gawker Media were sued into bankruptcy. Pro wrestler Hulk Hogan sued them for posting his now infamous tape of his indiscretions with his best friend’s wife. Then it turned out that the lawsuit was bankrolled by venture capitalist Peter Thiel who had a personal grudge against Gawker. Now tech news blog Techdirt may be meeting a similar fate.

    Techdirt is currently being sued by Shiva Ayyadurai. Mr. Ayyadurai claims to be the inventor of email stating that he invented it while working at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey at the age of 14. He has even trademarked the phrase ‘The Inventor of Email’ and his website is inventorofemail.com. Techdirt has maintained that Mr. Ayyadurai is hardly the inventor of email and has posted stories to that effect.

    The reason that this lawsuit smacks of the Gawker suit is because Mr. Ayyadurai has employed the same law firm used by Peter Thiel and Hulk Hogan against Gawker. Unlike Gawker, Techdirt does not have the financial backing that Gawker did and even if Techdirt is found to be not guilty of libel, the financial aspect of the lawsuit could potentially bankrupt the news site.

    This is just another chapter in the recent history of those with deep pockets trying to silent the media who have opposing viewpoints against them. While Peter Thiel was not the first he sure seemed to make it more acceptable to do so.

     
  • Geebo 9:55 am on September 27, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , lawsuit, Palantir,   

    Company founded by Peter Thiel sued for discrimination 

    Company founded by Peter Thiel sued for discrimination

    In what some may call a bit of irony, a company co-founded by Peter Thiel is being sued by the US Department of Labor over discrimination allegations. Security company Palantir is being accused of allegedly discriminating against Asian applicants. The lawsuit claims that Palantir routinely denied Asian applicants either at the resume stage or after phone interviews.

    Palantir is no mere tech start-up either. They specialize in tracking down terrorist activity and financial fraud with their software. They’ve been credited with assisting the government in finding Osama Bin Laden and have several government contracts with many military and investigative branches of the government. These contracts are said to be valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars and Palantir itself is valued at $20 billion.

    The reason some may find this bit of news ironic is because of Peter Thiel’s financially backed lawsuits against the former Gawker Media, most famously the Hulk Hogan lawsuit that drove Gawker into bankruptcy. It’s been alleged that Thiel backed these lawsuits as a form of payback against Gawker who outed Thiel as gay on their website. Some may even say that Gawker’s story could be considered discriminatory. So, on the surface it could appear that there could be double standards at play. However, if the lawsuit does have merit and is successful, it’s very doubtful that the government would order a settlement that would bankrupt Palantir.

     
  • Geebo 11:30 am on June 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , lawsuit, ,   

    Is Peter Thiel suing Gawker over Donald Trump’s hair? 

    Is Peter Thiel suing Gawker over Donald Trump's hair?

    From the ridiculous to the sublime.

    Just when you thought the feud between venture capitalist Peter Thiel and Gawker Media couldn’t get anymore strange comes the news that Thiel’s team of legal attack dogs of Harder Mirell & Abrams are threatening more legal action against Gawker over Donald Trump’s hair.

    One of Gawker’s reporters, Ashley Feinberg, has claimed that she has solved the mystery of Donald Trump’s infamous coiffure. In a Gawker blog post she claims that The Donald’s hair is actually an expensive hairpiece produced by a company named Ivari International. Ivari, while being represented by Charles J. Harder, of the above named legal firm, sent a letter to Gawker…

    Thiel’s lawyer-for-hire, Charles J. Harder, sent Gawker a letter on behalf of Ivari International’s owner and namesake, Edward Ivari, in which Harder claims that Feinberg’s story was “false and defamatory,” invaded Ivari’s privacy, intentionally inflicted emotional distress, and committed “tortious interference” with Ivari’s business relations.

    As it currently stands, Thiel backed lawsuits are already draining Gawker of all available capital. How much more money does he think that his paid proxies can bleed from an already drained stone and is Donald Trump’s hair really the hill that he wants to die on?

    In this blogger’s opinion this recent threat of legal action shows not only how petty Thiel has become and not only how much he’s abusing the legal system but also shows how much he’s willing to strong-arm a media outlet into non-existence. What happens when a media giant like the Washington Post or the New York Times reports something about Thiel that he doesn’t like? Will he back lawsuits against them too and if so where does it end? What’s stopping other billionaires from funding lawsuits by proxy against the media? Will they all try to sue the media out of existence? Granted, that’s an extreme scenario that is unlikely to come to pass but how many journalistic voices could fall in the meantime?

     
  • Geebo 9:59 am on June 14, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , lawsuit, ,   

    Gawker Bankruptcy: A defeat for a free press 

    Gawker Bankruptcy: A defeat for a free press

    This past weekend it was announced that Gawker has filed for bankruptcy in the wake of the $140 million settlement awarded to Hulk Hogan in a lawsuit funded by venture capitalist Peter Thiel. However, while Gawker may have lost the battle the war rages on.

    While Gawker has declared bankruptcy to protect itself against creditors it’s not yet officially out of business. Not only is media publishing company Ziff Davis looking to buy Gawker but Gawker is exploring legal options against Peter Thiel to see if his funding of lawsuits against them violated any laws.

    As has been mentioned before on this blog, Peter Thiel’s and Hulk Hogan’s win over Gawker sets a dangerous precedent of billionaires being able to squelch the press if they don’t agree with or even like the content. It’s reminiscent of old gangster movies where a heavy would threaten a store owner. It’s almost like Peter Thiel told Gawker media “You have a nice network here, it would be a shame if something happened to it.”

     
  • Geebo 9:59 am on June 9, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Gersh Zavodnik, lawsuit,   

    Overly abusive litigant sues man for $30K over $40 printer 

    Overly litigious litigant sues man for $30K over $40 printer

    In case you needed another reason to only do online transactions locally, comes this story out of Massachusetts, and Indiana.

    in 2009 a Massachusetts man sold a used printer to a man from Indiana for $40. This was done through an online classifieds site that has a reputation for attracting people who may be, to put it politely, not all there. The man from Indiana is said to allegedly be one of those people. He is 54-year-old Gersh Zavodnik of Indianapolis who makes his living off of what some may describe as frivolous lawsuits. The Indiana Supreme Court is so familiar with him that he is sometimes called a “prolific, abusive litigant.”

    Mr. Zavodnik is suing the Massachusetts man for $30,000 claiming breach of contract because the printer allegedly did not work. This case has bounced around in courts for so long that the seller of the printer has racked up $12,000 in legal fees from fending off Mr. Zavodnik’s legal attacks. The case could be dismissed later this year, then again with some of the stranger lawsuits that have happened in the past, it might not be.

    If you’re selling something relatively inexpensive and innocuous and someone from halfway across the country offers to buy it, when it’s obviously something that they could buy in their own region, you may want to question their reasons before ending up in a mess like this.

     
  • Geebo 10:06 am on June 1, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , lawsuit,   

    Gawker needs to beat Hulk Hogan and Peter Thiel for all of journalism 

    Gawker needs to beat Hulk Hogan and Peter Thiel for all of journalism

    Everyone wants to root for the good guy. Even more, everyone wants to be the good guy.

    Take Terry Gene Bollea, more famously known as Hulk Hogan, for example. For the better part of his professional wrestling career Hulk Hogan played the good guy against the series of villains who always fell to the power of Hulkamania. Behind the scenes Hogan wasn’t all that much of a good guy. Due to his success he had massive political pull within the World wrestling Federation. He often used his clout to not only protect and promote his friends but he would often also refuse to work with up and coming stars who he felt threatened his position at the top of the company.  As most of you may know Gawker.com leaked a sex tape of Hogan and his best friend’s wife that was recorded without Hogan’s knowledge. A second leak of the tape showed Hogan talking to his bedmate about his daughter’s singing career and during that conversation Hogan let a few racial epithets fly. Because of the second leak Hogan lost a very lucrative ‘legends’ deal he had with World Wrestling Entertainment and has been persona non grata in the pro wrestling business. In interviews Hogan still tries to portray himself as the good guy who was victimized. Hogan sued Gawker on the grounds of privacy invasion and was awarded a $140 million settlement. That amount is being appealed by Gawker since if they have to pay that amount to Hogan they’ll essentially be out of business.

    Recently it was made public that Silicon Valley investor and big-wig Peter Thiel bankrolled Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit to the tune of $10 million. Thiel feels like Gawker’s sister blog Valleywag outed him as being gay in 2007. By most accounts Mr. Thiel had only told a number of close business confidants and friends but didn’t advertise his sexual preference, although it was said to be known to most movers and shakers in the alley.  SInce then he’s been allegedly ‘helping’ people who have been supposedly wronged by Gawker Media. Thiel seems to think that he is the good guy by trying to shut down this supposed media menace in Gawker Media.

    In reality neither of the above mentioned entities are the good guy. So who is? Much like in pro-wrestling storylines the good guy has to face what seems like insurmountable odds before triumphing over the man or men that wronged him. The underdog good guy in this scenario is the First Amendment.

    While what Gawker did may seem distasteful, Thiel is continuing a dangerous tradition that harkens back to WIlliam Randolph Hearst. Thiel is using his money and influence to strong-arm Gawker Media out of existence simply because he doesn’t like them. You may say that Gawker deserves it but where does it end? Say that there’s a strangely coiffed billionaire running for federal office and a large media outlet that has a large influence in the country decides to endorse his opponent. In theory that billionaire could buy that media outlet and heavily influence what stories they report about him. Before you know it other billionaires get into the game and have the news skewed in their favor. If you don’t think that will happen you may already be too late. While he has yet to commit any egregious overreaches of journalism Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos owns the Washington Post. A better example might be Las Vegas business magnate, Sheldon Adelson, who bought an entire newspaper that was often critical of him in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Reports have said that Adelson is squashing any story that may be critical of him. Before you know it most media will be skewed one way or another, not necessarily by political view but by how it can benefit their billionaire owners.

    For those reasons the $140 million settlement awarded to Hogan should be denied on appeal. If not it will set a dangerous precedent where those with the money can buy any kind of news coverage they want. While some of us were worried about the government possibly curtailing the free speech of journalists we should have been paying more attention to the financially elite. Sometimes a bad guy needs to win so the good guy’s triumph is more impactful.

     
c
Compose new post
j
Next post/Next comment
k
Previous post/Previous comment
r
Reply
e
Edit
o
Show/Hide comments
t
Go to top
l
Go to login
h
Show/Hide help
shift + esc
Cancel