Articles Tagged with “business lawsuits”

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General Motors seems to be doing well for itself as far as recent business litigation goes. The well-known automaker recently won a lawsuit brought against it by the foreign university which owns the publicity rights for the late scientific genius Albert Einstein. California readers may be familiar with the business litigation suit, which dealt with GM’s use of Einstein’s image in an ad published in People magazine back in 2009.

GM’s use of the famous scientist’s image was vindicated by a U.S. District Court judge, who ruled that Einstein numbers among those ultimate public figures that should be freely available for the public to use in personal expression. The judge said that this should be the case even when the personal expression runs in the form of “tasteless” advertisements. According to him, Einstein embodies genius, and his image has been imprinted upon the cultural heritage of our country.
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A real estate developer has filed a $106 million breach of contract lawsuit against the California city with which it had a 2006 commercial development agreement. Samuelson & Fetter is alleging that the city violated the terms of the contract which supposedly gave the developer the rights for developing a massive transit village next to the site of an upcoming extension to the Gold Line. The developer claims that the breach of contract stems from the fact that the city and the Gold Line Construction Authority’s plans to put a parking structure on some of the property, originally intended for development by Samuelson & Fetter, would interfere with the developer’s commercial development plans for the area.

The real estate developer filed suit in California court seeking damages in excess of $106 million. That significant amount represents alleged lost damages, lost entitlement value and lost profits. This breach of contract lawsuit could put the Station Square transit development on indefinite hold.
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Readers may remember reading earlier this summer about a contract dispute between HP and Oracle which was winding its way through the judicial system. A California judge has now ruled in HP’s favor, finding that Oracle did engage in a breach of contract after deciding to drop its support of HP Itanium servers. According to the judge’s ruling, Oracle must now continue to make database software that support Itanium until HP actually discontinues selling its Itanium servers.

HP announced its satisfaction with the court’s decision. The company issued a statement indicating that this courtroom victory was not just a win for them but also for HP customers. The statement also declared that HP now expected Oracle to fulfill its end of the contract in the wake of the judge’s ruling.
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In most work-related breach of contract lawsuits involving alleged trade secrets violations, we typically see companies involved that manufacture things like computer chips, cars or other sophisticated technology. One recent trade secrets case filed in U.S. district court may interest California readers as it involves something that doesn’t seem to fall into the high-tech world at all; the two companies involved in this lawsuit sell organic milk.

Horizon Organic, which is owned by Dean Foods, is one of the largest organic milk suppliers in our country. They recently filed suit against Organic Valley, which is the second biggest supplier of organic milk in the U.S.
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Licensing disputes between companies are more common these days, especially with the proliferation of technology and increased computer software usage. Progressive Casualty Insurance Company (Progressive), a well-known provider of auto insurance, recently sued Pitney Bowes (Pitney), which had acquired a company that previously signed a site license agreement with Progressive. California businesses that are embroiled in licensing disputes of their own may find this case interesting. The claim was filed in a U.S. District Court in the Midwest.

The software license in dispute was reportedly first reached in 1991, back before use of the Internet became widespread. The license covered applications then sold by LPC (the company Pitney later acquired); applications which were used to assist in functions associated with finalizing mailing addresses for current and potential customers, along with other tasks.
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Many smaller community banks have been accusing larger financial institutions of walking all over them, especially over the past few years. Some of them appear to be using the latest Wall Street scandal as an opportunity to level the playing field between community banks and larger chains. One of the big sticking points between the two groups has been allegations that the larger banks have manipulated interest rates to an artificially set low. Now, at least one community bank is striking back against several larger banks in a business litigation suit. California bankers may want to keep an eye on this case as it unfolds.

The community bank in question recently filed a lawsuit against J.P. Morgan Chase and Company, Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc. and other major banks. It accuses them of engaging in collusion to set those artificially low rates. The community bank claims that larger banks manipulated the benchmark London interbank offered rate, also known as Libor. The Libor is reportedly decided in London by the world’s biggest banks. It has a far-reaching impact on the world, since it is used to set interest rates for consumer debt — including things like credit cards, student loans and home mortgages.
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A federal court judge in California has halted sales of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 so the court can decide whether that device infringes upon Apple’s patent for the iPad. Not surprisingly, Samsung is already appealing the court’s injunction in this patent infringement case. Ironically, the U.S. district judge had actually declined to halt Galaxy 10.1 sales initially until the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ordered her to reconsider her prior decision.

After reconsidering, the U.S. district judge changed her ruling, stating that Samsung may not compete ‘unfairly’ with Apple, and that Samsung may not ‘flood’ the market with infringing products. One technology expert warns that this patent infringement battle is far from over. According to him, both companies are likely in this for the long haul, and the fight could drag on for some time.
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An interesting business litigation suit alleging cybercrime fraud has been settled for a reported $600,000 before the case could proceed to trial. In this California business litigation case, the California small business Village View Escrow alleged that their banking institution failed to enact appropriate levels of security to protect their online banking system. According to Village View Escrow, Professional Business Bank was thus liable for the alleged electronic siphoning of approximately $466,000 from Village View’s bank accounts which then ensued.

Unfortunately, cybercrime fraud like this appears to be a booming industry. It can be difficult, though by no means impossible, for small businesses like Village View Escrow to hold larger financial institutions liable for damages in alleged cybercrime cases like this one. Typically, it seems that laws are written to favor financial institutions, however as this case appears to demonstrate, small businesses can prevail in business litigation suits and gain settlements that reimburse them for damages suffered due to electronic fraud.
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California-based Google is finally ending several business disputes over the scanning of books that have copyright protection. The company has been involved in legal spats with several foreign companies including Syndicat National de l’Edition, Hachette Livre and La Martiniere Group. The business disputes occurred after the companies accused Google of scanning out-of-print books that still were under copyright.

There were also disputes between them over access to content that was copyrighted, as well as privacy issues. The settlement between the companies has no specific financial awards but does include sponsorship of a school-reading program. Google also plans to sell some of the copyrighted works they’ve scanned as e-books and will share any proceeds made with the publishers.
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The Americans Disabilities Act, or ADA for short, has been in effect for decades. While it was created to ensure that those with disabilities are able to visit businesses with ease and in comfort, it has cast a much wider net as the years have passed. The use of lawsuits to force compliance even after a small business has done its best to fulfill all requirements often leads to a need for business litigation in California and across the county.

In 2008, the owner of an auto center in Roseville was provided with a letter stating that he was not compliant with current ADA laws. He immediately sought legal advice. It turns out he was not compliant, but made the necessary changes so that he was — special outside table, proper signage and a parking space. With the changes made, the owner figured this was the end of the issue.
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