TIME celebrities

Hulk Hogan Sex Tape Trial Delayed After Appeals Court Intervenes

2015 Susan G. Komen D.C. Race For The Cure
Kris Connor—WireImage/Getty Images WWE Legend Hulk Hogan attends the 2015 Susan G. Komen D.C. Race for the Cure at The National Mall on May 9, 2015 in Washington DC.

Amid a flurry of motions, a Florida appeals court orders a slowdown on a trial that was previously scheduled to begin on July 6

A Florida appeals court has halted a trial that was scheduled to begin on Monday between Hulk Hogan and Gawker Media over the publishing of the celebrity’s sex tape.

Responding to an emergency motion by Gawker on Thursday, three judges at the Florida Second District Court of Appeal ruled the trial judge had violated a rule of civil procedure by moving ahead with the trial too soon after pleadings in the case.

“Although we easily understand why [Terry] Bollea [Hogan’s real name] and the circuit court went to lengths to preserve the July 6 trial date, their efforts were futile from the outset — by the time the court entered its June 19 order scheduling the trial for July 6, the window for doing so had been closed for weeks,” states a 14-page opinion.

This is the second time that the Florida appeals court has thrown some cold water on the rulings of County Judge Pamela Campbell. Earlier in the case, an injunction order that required Gawker to remove its post was overturned as an unconstitutional prior restraint.

Nevertheless, Hogan has been allowed to move ahead on claims his privacy and publicity rights were violated through the posting of an excerpt of a 30-minute sex tape involving the professional wrestler. The judge has allowed him to amend his claims to add punitive damages. Hogan has demanded as much as $100 million.

Gawker looks to raise a defense that its post was newsworthy given discussion of a possible affair and Hogan’s own comments in the media. It’s not altogether clear how much the First Amendment will factor into the actual trial. The media company’s constitutional arguments that Hogan’s claims are precluded by free speech may have to await appellate review once a jury issues its verdict. The trial would likely examine how Gawker got the tape, what it knew about it, how it used it to its advantage, and Hogan’s injuries. More clarification about what Hogan will have to prove should come once the judge resolves jury instructions.

In the meantime, the trial will be delayed, and once it gets going, the sex tape will be aired in court. But thanks to a decision by Campbell on Wednesday, the sex tape will only be shown to the jury, judge and attorneys in the case. Over the objections of Gawker and intervening media companies, the monitor will be turned away from the public gallery in the courtroom.

No new trial date has been set yet.

This article originally appeared on HollywoodReporter.com

TIME Companies

Court Ruling Finds Apple Guilty of Fixing Book Prices

A customer is reading on an iPad at an Apple store Barcelona on May 28, 2010.
Manu Fernandez—AP A customer is reading on an iPad at an Apple store Barcelona on May 28, 2010.

The ruling ends a long-running fight

An appeals court in New York on Tuesday upheld a 2013 verdict that Apple organized an illegal conspiracy with five book publishers to raise the price of ebooks, noting that so-called horizontal price-fixing is “the supreme evil of antitrust.”

The ruling ends a long-running legal fight between Apple and the U.S. Justice Department, and paves the way for Apple to start issuing payouts to consumers in a related class-action settlement.

The high-profile case involved a scheme in which Apple’s late CEO Steve Jobs invited five book publishers to change their pricing arrangements as part of a plan to promote Apple’s newly-introduced iPad in 2010. The publishers went along with the plan in order to stymie industry powerhouse Amazon—an arrangement that U.S. District Judge Denise Cote said amounted to blatant price-fixing.

The book publishers in the case–Harper Collins, Penguin, Simon & Schuster, Hachette and Macmillan–elected to settle before the case went to trial but Apple, adamant that it did nothing wrong, chose to fight on alone.

On Tuesday, however, the U.S. Second Circuit effectively ended Apple’s efforts, by upholding Cote’s ruling:

“Because we conclude that the district court did not err in deciding that Apple violated § 1 of the Sherman Act, and because we also conclude that the 6 district court’s injunction was lawful and consistent with preventing future anticompetitive harms, we affirm,” wrote Judge Debra Ann Livingston for a 2-1 majority. Judge Dennis Jacobs wrote a dissenting opinion.

The ruling means that Apple will soon begin disbursing payments to consumers that it agreed to last year under the terms of a conditional class action settlement. That arrangement called for Apple to pay $450 million if the Second Circuit upheld Cote’s ruling.

While Apple could technically appeal to the Supreme Court, it appears unlikely it will do so given the class action settlement arrangement. An Apple spokesperson the following statement:

“Apple did not conspire to fix ebook pricing and this ruling does nothing to change the facts. We are disappointed the Court does not recognize the innovation and choice the iBooks Store brought for consumers. While we want to put this behind us, the case is about principles and values. We know we did nothing wrong back in 2010 and are assessing next steps.”

The Justice Department’s case, including the appeals court ruling, is just one part of a sprawling set of court proceedings related to the ebook controversy. It resulted in the Justice Department obtaining an injunction, which governed how Apple and the publishers are allowed to interact and set prices for ebooks. But the Justice Department victory also paved the way for a joint effort by state attorneys general and class action lawyers to put the squeeze on Apple and publishers in the form of cash damages; the publishers bowed out early in settlements worth tens of millions – Apple’s decision to fight on in part explains the higher $450 million settlement.

“Gloves-off competition”

This final outcome is a bitter pill for Apple and, especially, for many in the book industry who feel it was misguided for the Justice Department to have targeted Apple, which remains a bit player in the e-book industry, even as industry giant Amazon remains dominant.

That argument, however, appears to have carried little sway with Judge Livingston who argued that Apple and the publishers could not rationalize their behavior on the grounds they were challenging Amazon:

“Plainly, competition is not served by permitting a market entrant to eliminate price competition as a condition of entry, and it is cold comfort to consumers that they gained a new ebook retailer at the expense of passing control over all ebook prices to a cartel of book publishers,” Livingston wrote.

In his dissent, Judge Jacobs argued the lower court had made a basic error of law, but characterizing Apple’s behavior as an automatic (or “per se”) antitrust violation, rather than examining the larger competitive context. He also claimed the lower court, and Livingston, failed to acknowledge that Amazon’s below-cost pricing for some books was not just intended to spur Kindle sale, but served as a tool to entrench a monopoly. The dissent also suggested his colleagues took an idealized approach to business:

“A further and pervasive error (by the district court and by my colleagues on this appeal) is the implicit assumption that competition should be genteel, lawyer designed, and fair under sporting rules, and that antitrust law is offended by gloves-off competition.”

You can read the ruling for yourself below:

 

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

TIME Courts

Anesthetized Patient Accidentally Records Doctors Insulting Him During Surgery

His phone's voice recorder was inadvertently left on during the entire procedure

A Virginia man has been awarded $500,000 in medical malpractice and punitive damages by a jury after his phone’s voice recorder, accidentally left on during a procedure, captured cruel and mocking comments his doctors made about him while he was under anesthesia.

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Robert Daly—Caiaimage/Getty Images

In the recording, which jurors heard as part of the three-day trial that took place in mid June, anesthesiologist Tiffany Ingham can be heard with other doctors and assistants calling the man (who remained anonymous in the case) a “wuss” and a “retard,” the Washington Post reports. “After five minutes of talking to you in pre-op, I wanted to punch you in the face,” Ingham says.

The recording also caught the doctors calling the man names, mocking his health, and planning how to avoid him after the surgery. At one point, Ingham calls the patient “annoying” and suggests that the gastroenterologist performing the surgery fake an urgent summons in order to escape a post-op discussion.

Farid Khairzada, one of the jurors in the case, told the Post that the man had asked for $1.75 million and that the $500,000 was a compromise between a juror who did not believe the man deserved to win any money and at least one who felt he should receive more.

“We finally came to a conclusion that we have to give him something, just to make sure that this doesn’t happen again,” Khairzada said.

[Washington Post]

TIME Retail

Ex-Employees Accuse CVS of Racially Profiling Shoppers

CVS employees looking for shoplifters were told to track Hispanic and Black shoppers

Four former CVS employees in New York claim their managers directed them to profile black and Hispanic shoppers, according to a lawsuit filed in federal district court.

The plaintiffs—Lacole Simpson, Sheree Steele, Delbert Sorhaindo and Kerth Pollack—worked as detectives in the Loss Prevention Department at CVS, tasked with preventing shoplifting at CVS stores throughout New York City.

“CVS intentionally targets and racially profiles its Black and Hispanic shoppers based on the highly offensive, discriminatory and ill-founded institutional belief that these minority customers are criminals and thieves,” reads the complaint. The detectives are represented by David Gottlieb, a partner at Wigdor LLP in New York. Three of them worked at CVS for four years, while the fourth was employed there for just a few months.

The lawsuit comes on the heels of other claims against retailers in New York for racially biased treatment of customers. Macy’s and Barneys have both settled allegations of racial profiling from customers in the past year. This case differs from those in that the suit against CVS was filed by employees, not shoppers.

According to the complaint, two managers in the Loss Prevention Department, Anthony Salvatore and Abdul Selene, asked subordinate detectives to “track and follow Black customers, even when there was no indication whatsoever that they were intending to steal.” The managers also allegedly made racist comments about minority shoppers. For example, Salvatore used racist epithets when talking about black customers and told Simpson: “These Black people are always the ones that are the thieves,” according to the complaint.

Selene is accused of telling Steele to follow only black and Hispanic shoppers, saying: “Watch the Black and Hispanic people to catch more cases,” according to the complaint.

The detectives who filed the complaint also say they experienced a “discriminatory environment” created by Salvatore, Steele and managers at CVS stores throughout New York City. Managers used racist language to describe minority employees, such as one manager who told one of the plaintiffs to “hide like a monkey” while trying to avoid detection from customers.

The detectives say they complained to Human Resources and to a CVS manager in charge of New York City’s Loss Prevention Department, but their complaints “went virtually unanswered,” according to the complaint. The complaint also alleges that the detectives were subjected to unlawful retaliation as a result of their complaints to management, including “increased scrutiny, micromanagement, and fabricated performance criticisms.” Three of the plaintiffs were forced to resign from CVS because of the strain of working in the discriminatory environment, they said in the complaint. The fourth was not allowed to return to work after an approved leave.

“CVS Health has firm nondiscrimination policies that it rigorously enforces,” CVS spokeswoman Carolyn Castel wrote in a statement, which did not address the allegations against specific CVS managers. “We serve all communities and we do not tolerate any policy or practice that discriminates against any group. We are shocked by the allegations in this Complaint and we intend to defend against them vigorously.”

Attorney David Gottlieb, who represents the detectives, wrote in an email that he expects the class action lawsuit against CVS to grow. “We expect additional employees and witnesses to come forward as well,” he wrote.

TIME KFC

KFC: Our Chickens Don’t Have Eight Legs

CHINA-FOOD-SAFETY-CRIME-POLICE
Johannes Eisele—AFP/Getty Images Two people walk past a KFC fast food restaurant in Shanghai on July 23, 2014.

The fried chicken chain has sued three Chinese companies for allegedly spreading false rumors about its poultry

KFC wants everyone to know that its chickens look nothing like flying spiders.

The fried chicken chain has sued three Chinese companies for allegedly spreading a false rumor that its poultry has six wings and eight legs, according to the Wall Street Journal. The lawsuit accuses the companies of “misleading the consumer” by posting the inaccurate information on social media, in photos and in articles.

The companies targeted by the lawsuit are Ying Chen An Zhi Chenggong Culture Communications, Wei Lu Kuang Technology, and Ling Dian Technology, the article said. The three companies couldn’t be reached for comment.

KFC, owned by Yum Brands [fortune-stock symbol=”YUM”], is trying to recover from a public relations nightmare in China after news last year that one of its suppliers used sold it and McDonald’s old meat. Customers reacted by avoiding KFC, causing sales and profits to sharply decline. Previously, in 2012, a Chinese media report alleged that another supplier had used growth hormones and antibiotics to fatten chickens. KFC ultimately apologized for failing to tell Chinese regulators about high levels of certain drugs and hormones for accelerating the growth of some of its poultry.

TIME Blackberry

How BlackBerry Beat Ryan Seacrest

Ryan Seacrest nbc blackberry
NBC NewsWire—Getty Images Ryan Seacrest appears on NBC News' "Today" show

It took two lawsuits

BlackBerry can savor at least one iPhone-related victory.

The mobile device company, which has struggled to compete with Apple’s rival smartphone, said on Monday that it settled “outstanding legal disputes” related to Typo Products, the Ryan Seacrest-backed company behind an iPhone case with a physical QWERTY keyboard resembling a BlackBerry desgin.

BlackBerry previously sued Typo and founder Laurence Hallier over two separate iterations of the iPhone accessory, claiming both versions copied the company’s designs and patents. Typo remodeled its product after getting sued by BlackBerry last year, but BlackBerry followed up with a second lawsuit earlier this year regarding the Typo 2, which Typo had tweaked somewhat in order to avoid further legal claims.

Now, the various sides seem to have settled their legal battle. Typo will now only sell keyboards for mobile devices with display sizes larger than those of any BlackBerry product.

From BlackBerry’s press release:

As part of the settlement, Typo Products LLC, Typo Innovations LLC, Show Media LLC, Hallier Investments LLC, and Laurence Hallier have agreed to permanently discontinue selling anywhere in the world keyboards for smartphones and mobile devices with a screen size of less than 7.9 inches. Typo Products LLC, Typo Innovations LLC, Show Media LLC, Hallier Investments LLC, and Laurence Hallier may continue to sell keyboards for devices with a screen size of 7.9 inches or larger.

Earlier this year, Typo announced an iPad keyboard accessory that should be safe under the terms of the agreement with BlackBerry.

TIME Soccer

Women’s Teams Now Feature in Soccer Game FIFA 16 but in Real Life Have Second-Class Status

What happens on screen is a far cry from real life

For the first time, EA Sports will feature women soccer players in its hugely popular FIFA video-game series.

FIFA 16, which launches in September, includes 12 of the top women’s international teams — USA, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, England, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Spain and Sweden.

The video game has only featured men’s teams since it was first released in 1993.

However, as welcome as EA Sports’ announcement is, Mashable points out that while the women’s teams are “in the game” on screen, in real life they fall far behind the men’s teams in the way they are treated by soccer’s governing body.

In the upcoming Women’s World Cup, beginning June 6 in Canada, the women’s teams will have to play on artificial turf fields, instead of actual grass.

No men’s World Cup has ever been played on synthetic surfaces and many of the women’s teams feel it is gender discrimination. Playing on the fake turf puts them at a higher risk of injury.

A group of the sport’s top female players filed legal action against FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association last year but had to end their challenge in January because FIFA stalled for so long that it was too late to potentially change the pitches in time for the championship.

“This being the pinnacle of our sport, we feel like we should be treated just like the men,” U.S. forward Abby Wambach told the New York Times last year.

EA Sports’ announcement comes as FIFA finds itself snared in a huge corruption scandal that has seen 14 senior officials arrested on charges of bribery, fraud, and money laundering.

TIME legal

Jawbone: Fitbit Employees Stole Company Secrets

Day Two Of Mobile World Congress 2014
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images Fitbit Flex wearable electronic fitness devices sit on display at the Fitbit Inc. pavilion on day two of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014.

New lawsuit comes as Fitbit readies IPO

Fitbit is prepping for its upcoming market debut, but its road to going public just got a lot bumpier.

Jawbone, Fitbit’s biggest competitor in the wearable health-tracking industry, alleges in a new lawsuit that Fitbit has “systematically” plundered confidential information by luring employees who brought along sensitive materials. Jawbone says Fitbit put into place “clandestine efforts” in order “to steal talent, trade secrets and intellectual property,” according to the complaint, filed Wednesday in California State Court.

Fitbit is the leader in health tracking devices. According to its initial public offering prospectus filed this month, Fitbit’s market share is nearly 85%. Jawbone, Apple and Nike are all competing for the No. 2 spot.

Jawbone’s complaint says that a number of former employees downloaded company information, like business plans and strategy documents, and took that data with them to a new position within Fitbit using thumb drives. It quotes an unnamed executive search consultant saying, “Fitbit’s objective is to decimate Jawbone.”

Jawbone is asking for both financial damages and the court’s intervention to prevent former employees from using any more information they may take.

TIME Walmart

Walmart Settles Accident Lawsuit with Actor Tracy Morgan

Tired Truck Drivers
Will Vaultz—AP In this image from video the limousine bus carrying Tracy Morgan and six other people lies on it's side early Saturday morning, June 7, 2014, on the New Jersey Turnpike.

The "30 Rock" star filed the lawsuit after a truck for the retailing giant crashed into his limo

Walmart has reached an undisclosed settlement with actor Tracy Morgan, ending a lawsuit against the retailer after one of its truck drivers crashed into the actor’s limousine last year.

Terms of the agreement with the “30 Rock” TV star and other plaintiffs in the case were confidential.

“I am grateful that the case was resolved amicably,” Morgan said in a statement.

Morgan filed a lawsuit against Walmart in a U.S. District Court in July 2014, roughly a month after an accident on the New Jersey Turnpike involving a Walmart truck driver. Morgan was seriously hurt in the accident, which resulted in one death and three injuries. Earlier this year, Walmart settled a wrongful death lawsuit with the family of a comedian, James McNair, who was killed in the accident.

The lawsuit filed by Morgan claimed that the driver of a Walmart truck was speeding when he fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into the entertainer’s vehicle. It was also alleged that the driver was fatigued from working long hours.

“We are pleased to have reached an amicable settlement that ends this litigation,” said Greg Foran, Walmart U.S. president and CEO. “We are deeply sorry that one of our trucks was involved.”

Morgan, who suffered a severe brain injury in the highway crash, has slowly recovered and was seen walking with a cane last month.

TIME Uber

Why the Disabled are Suing Uber and Lyft

Uber
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images Uber

The ride-sharing services are being sued for allegedly denying service to passengers with wheelchairs and guide dogs.

Ride hailing services Uber and Lyft are on the same side for once: They both deny accusations they discriminate against disabled passengers.

The two companies are named as defendants in a smattering lawsuits from California to Texas alleging they violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by failing to make their cars handicapped accessible. In some courts, Uber and Lyft are even named as co-defendants in a single case—putting the rivals, awkwardly, in the same boat.

The complaints paint the car service companies—or at least their drivers—as callous to the disabled. One lawsuit by the National Federation of the Blind of California, for example, says an UberX driver stuffed a blind passenger’s guide dog in the trunk, and refused to stop the car to let the animal out. Other drivers allegedly refused to pick up blind customers accompanied by dogs.

Another physically disabled woman, Jennifer McPhail of Austin, says in a lawsuit that a Lyft driver left her on the curb because her wheelchair couldn’t fit in the car. The driver then failed to provide alternative transportation.

Meanwhile, other disabled app users are airing their own grievances outside of court. Kristen Parisi, 30-year-old Boston woman who uses a wheelchair, told The Daily Beast that an Uber driver refused to pack her chair into the trunk, for example. So Parisi had to maneuver herself and the chair into the back seat with no assistance, while the driver berated her as an “invalid.”

Uber denies any responsibility by saying it doesn’t discriminate against the disabled and that it can transport blind and wheelchair-bound passengers. It told The Daily Beast that drivers accused of discrimination are usually suspended or fired. Lyft has a similar policy:

It is Lyft’s policy that passengers that use wheelchairs that can safely and securely fit in the trunk of the vehicle or backseat of the car without obstructing the view of the driver should be reasonably accommodated by drivers on the Lyft platform, and drivers should make every reasonable effort to transport the passenger and his or her wheelchair.

Lyft says it is also willing to accommodate service animals. But it recommends that passengers who need them call the driver in advance and let them know–and has a hotline for drivers to call if they have a “medically documented reason” that would prevent them from taking the animal.

Still, the heart of Uber’s defense against the discrimination allegations could not only define its identity as a firm, but set a new precedent for how it and other disruptive tech-based businesses are viewed in the eyes of the law.

Uber argues that as a technology company, it is not subject to laws regulating public transit and other transportation providers, such as the ADA, or “required to provide accessible vehicles or accommodations.”

Still, the U.S. Justice Department recently intervened in the blind plaintiffs’ case to urge that the discrimination accusations be taken seriously. It also requested that the court interpret whether the laws governing other transportation providers should apply to Uber as well.

A decision against Uber could be costly to it and other upstart tech firms that may find themselves classified as belonging to a more traditional industry.

In a Texas case, Uber has already indicated that the cost of making the necessary modifications would be “extraordinary.” The plaintiff in that lawsuit said a driver refused him service and that he could not order an accessible vehicle through the app.

“It would have to modify the Uber App, modify its policies and procedures, and provide wheelchair accessible vehicles in numerous cities,” according to an October court filing.

Indeed, Uber has recently added the ability to order a wheelchair-accessible vehicle using its app in certain major cities like New York and San Francisco. But it’s unclear if or when the option will be available elsewhere.

In the meantime, Eric Lipp, executive director of the Open Doors Organization, which advocates for accessible transportation for disabled passengers, offered this advice in The Daily Beast:

“I think that many in the community do not understand that Uber has nothing against access and the ADA,” says Lipp. “The big problem is that until the courts settle whether Uber is a software company or transportation company the disability community will just have to be patient and try to work with Uber, not against them.”

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