TIME Companies

Dov Charney, Bruised Ex-CEO of American Apparel, Down to Last $100,000

American Apparel ousted its CEO, Dov Charney, who has been the target of lawsuits alleging inappropriate sexual conduct with female employees in Los Angeles, California on June 19, 2014
American Apparel ousted its CEO, Dov Charney, who has been the target of lawsuits alleging inappropriate sexual conduct with female employees in Los Angeles, California on June 19, 2014 Ringo Chiu—Zuma Press/Corbis

From CEO to ... a couch. Times are tough for American Apparel's controversial ex-CEO

Dov Charney, the ousted chief executive of American Apparel, is down to his last $100,000. He is also apparently sleeping on a friend’s couch in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. And he is “suing everyone, by the way,” as a Bloomberg reporter puts it.

Charney tells Bloomberg that he took a loan from hedge fund Standard General to boost his shares in American Apparel on the understanding that the investment firm would help him get back into the company, from which he had been suspended for six months.

But the investment firm hoodwinked him, he claims: Standard General controls Charney’s shares in American Apparel as collateral and added new members to the retailer’s board. That board last week fired Charney, whose blustery reign over American Apparel was marred by piles of lawsuits alleging sexual harassment and discrimination.

Standard General said in an emailed statement that it had “supported the independent, third-party and very thorough investigation into the allegations” against Charney that led to his firing by American Apparel’s board. The firm said its “objective is to help American Apparel grow and succeed.”

Now, this ex-CEO is penniless, in relative terms: American Apparel paid Charney, its founder, an annual salary of $800,000. The clothing purveyor is also worth about $226 million to $243 million.

Still, it’s not all bad news for Charney — he’s been linked with a possible takeover bid.

[Bloomberg]

READ NEXT China’s Xiaomi is Now Worth More Than Uber

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Music

YouTube Faces $1 Billion Lawsuit From Pharrell Williams, the Eagles and Others

Lawyers demand removal of around 20,000 videos

A representative for dozens of music superstars, including Pharrell Williams, is telling YouTube that it had better remove about 20,000 videos or face a $1 billion lawsuit.

Music-business heavyweight Irving Azoff, who founded the new legal group Global Music Rights, has told the video juggernaut that it does not have performance rights to thousands of songs by about 40 of his clients, including the Eagles, Chris Cornell and John Lennon, the Hollywood Reporter says.

Meanwhile Google, which is planning to launch Music Key — its own subscription music service to compete with Spotify and Pandora — has said it does have the rights, prompting concerns of a music-industry showdown.

The threat of a lawsuit against YouTube comes amid a broader debate about the rights of musicians in a freewheeling era of digital access to songs. In December, Consequence of Sound reported that Williams’ megahit, “Happy,” generated just $2,700 for 43 million plays on Pandora.

[THR]

READ NEXT Watch the 10 Best Unaired Saturday Night Live Sketches of 2014

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME lawsuits

U.S. Food Supplier Accused of Falsely Marketing Meat as Halal to Muslims

Wholesale Price Of Beef Rises to New High
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

The food supplier has said it will fight the charges, calling them a violation of the separation of church and state

An Iowa-based food supplier is accused of marketing its products as halal to Muslims worldwide, when its meats were in fact not produced in accordance with strict Islamic standards.

Federal prosecutors allege that Midamar Corp. sold about $4.9 million in beef to customers in Malaysia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates under the false pretense that its cattle were slaughtered in accordance with Islamic law, the Associated Press reports. The corporation has strongly refuted the allegations and called them a “religious matter” that the U.S. government has no right to regulate.

The lawsuit contends that Midamar told customers that Muslim slaughtermen killed its cattle by hand. Yet Midamar’s primary beef supplier was a Minnesota-based meatpacking plant that uses bolt stunning, which involves shooting a steel-rod through the cow’s brain, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit says that Midamar employees would remove the label from the Minnesota-based plant and exchange it for a label from a Nebraska plant where kill practices are certified as halal.

TIME celebrities

Bill Cosby Accuser Tamara Green Files Defamation Lawsuit

Tamara Green, the plaintiff in a defamation lawsuit claiming that she was "sexually assaulted by comedian Bill Cosby in the 1970s" watches by video link from California as her attorney Joseph Cammarata (L) speaks about the suit that they have filed to a news conference in Washington on Dec. 10, 2014.
Tamara Green, the plaintiff in a defamation lawsuit claiming that she was "sexually assaulted by comedian Bill Cosby in the 1970s" watches by video link from California as her attorney Joseph Cammarata (L) speaks about the suit that they have filed to a news conference in Washington on Dec. 10, 2014. Jim Bourg—Reuters

The retired attorney says the comedian damaged her reputation after she accused him of drugging and groping her more than 40 years ago

Tamara Green, a retired California attorney who says Bill Cosby drugged and groped her in 1969 or 1970, filed a defamation lawsuit against the entertainer Wednesday.

In the suit, filed in Springfield, Massachusetts, not far from where Cosby has a home, Green says comments made by Cosby’s representatives to The Washington Post and Newsweek this year “impugned” her reputation and exposed her to “public contempt, ridicule, aversion or disgrace.”

She filed the suit to “restore her good name and reputation” her attorney, Joseph Cammarata, tells PEOPLE exclusively.

“That’s all we’ve got in life at the end of the day,” he says. “It’s the most important thing we have.”

Other women Cosby has made public comments about are welcome to join the lawsuit, he says.

Representatives for Cosby could not immediately be reached for comment, but have repeatedly denied Green’s accusations through the years.

Walter Phillips Jr., one of Cosby’s attorneys, told the Post Cosby didn’t know Green and the allegations were untrue.

A person identified only as Cosby’s publicist, who is named in the court papers as David Brokaw, told Newsweek in February, “This is a 10-year discredited accusation that proved to be nothing at the time, and is still nothing.”

Her Lawyer Speaks Out

Because the statute of limitations is one year for defamation, Green is only suing him for those statements to those two publications, Cammarata says.

“She says that because of their pubic branding of her as a liar, it’s called into question her good name and reputation,” Cammarata says.

“At the core of whether or not she’s a liar is if what she says happened, happened,” he says. “If it happened and Bill Cosby said she was a liar, then my client wins. If it’s the other way around, Mr. Cosby wins.”

Green, 66, first came forward in February 2005, after former Temple employee Andrea Constand, 32, went to authorities saying Cosby had drugged and sexually assaulted her at his Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, mansion.

Green, who now lives in southern California, recently told PEOPLE coming forward ten years ago had repercussions for her.

“People I knew looked me right in the face and told me they didn’t believe me,” she says. “It’s crushing to be dismissed like that.”

“It has ended some relationships for me,” she says. “When the smoke cleared and the blood dried, I moved to a piece of land that had about an acre between me and the front gate. No bell either.”

“In their opinion, you’re a liar and it doesn’t bother them at all that they have no idea what they’re talking about,” she added.

This article originally appeared on People.com

MONEY groceries

Lawsuit Could Force Upstart Condiment Brand to Hold the ‘Mayo’

141111_EM_JustMayo
In a lawsuit, food giant Unilever says that Just Mayo must change its labeling because it is not real mayonnaise. Jim Wilson—The New York Times/Redux

In a David vs. Goliath battle over sandwich spread labeling, things could get messy.

Unilever, the food giant that owns the Hellmann’s brand of Real Mayonnaise, recently filed a lawsuit against Hampton Creek, a well-funded startup backed by the likes of Bill Gates. The upstart company is being accused of false advertising because its sandwich spread brand Just Mayo contains no eggs and is therefore not real mayonnaise.

The Food & Drug Administration stipulates that any product calling itself mayonnaise must contain one or more “egg yolk-containing ingredients,” and Just Mayo is made with yellow peas instead of eggs. The rules also require genuine mayonnaise to be at least 65% vegetable oil—which is why Kraft’s Miracle Whip, which doesn’t meet that standard, is not a mayonnaise and is technically classified as a salad dressing.

Unilever is demanding that Just Mayo change its labels, and it is seeking unspecified compensatory damages. The “harm is impossible to quantify because of the difficulty of measuring lost good will and sales” for Hellmann’s and other mayonnaise makers, the suit states. The suit claims that the “Just Mayo false name” has “caused consumer deception and serious, irreparable harm to Unilever,” and that it’s “part of a larger campaign and pattern of unfair competition by Hampton Creek to falsely promote Just Mayo spread as tasting better than, and being superior to, Best Foods and Hellmann’s mayonnaise.”

On its website, Just Mayo states its spread is “outrageously delicious, better for your body, for your wallet, and for the planet.” In recent months, the product—which is vegan but isn’t marketed overtly as such—has appeared on the shelves of national retailers such as Whole Foods, Costco, and Walmart.

Putting taste aside because that’s a subjective matter, how can Just Mayo label itself mayonnaise when it’s not mayonnaise? Well, actually Just Mayo never says that it is mayonnaise. The product is always referred to as “mayo,” not “mayonnaise.” Hampton Creek maintains that there’s a difference, that it never claimed the product was genuine mayonnaise, and that the lawsuit is the result of Unilever and Hellmann’s feeling threatened in the marketplace. “We’re competing directly with a company that hasn’t had real competition in decades,” Hampton Creek CEO Josh Tetrick told the Wall Street Journal. “These things happen.”

Andrew Zimmern, the celebrity chef and Travel Channel personality who is quoted calling Just Mayo a “must have” on the Hampton Creek website, has created a Change.org petition against Big Mayo, asking others to join his effort to get Unilever to “Stop Bullying Sustainable Food Companies.” The online petition, which urges Unilever to drop the lawsuit and “focus more on creating a better world rather than preventing others from trying to do so,” has already registered more than 15,000 signatures. Look for the movement to spread.

TIME Music

Led Zeppelin Loses First Round in ‘Stairway to Heaven’ Lawsuit

Led Zeppelin File Photos
Led Zeppelin (Jimmy Page, John Bonham, John Paul Jones, Robert Plant) in 1969. Chris Walter—WireImage / Getty Images

The British rockers must confront allegations that it ripped off the rock group Spirit

For decades, Led Zeppelin has faced claims that they plagiarized their iconic 1971 hit “Stairway to Heaven” from the rock band Spirit. Now it looks like Zeppelin is headed for a difficult legal battle.

Back in May, family members of Spirit frontman Randy Craig Wolfe (a.k.a Randy California) filed the suit against Zeppelin, seeking monetary damages and a writing credit for the now-deceased Wolfe, NBC Philadelphia reports. Wolfe’s family claims that Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page ripped off the chords for “Stairway to Heaven” from Spirit’s 1968 tune “Taurus.” (The two bands at one point toured together and had thus become familiar with each other’s music.)

Now, Zeppelin and their music companies have requested that the case be dismissed, as the “individual defendants are British citizens residing in England, own no property in Pennsylvania and have no contacts with Pennsylvania, let alone ties sufficient to render them essentially at home here,” according to the Hollywood Reporter.

The judge, however, said no to that request — so the band will now be forced to move forward with the suit.

In the meantime, if you’ve never heard the song that Zeppelin allegedly ripped off, listen to it here, followed by “Stairway to Heaven” for comparison’s sake:

Read next: Led Zeppelin Is Getting Sued Over ‘Stairway to Heaven’

TIME legal

Facebook Suing Attorneys Who Pushed Allegedly Fraudulent Case

Though an old lawsuit against it was dismissed, Facebook is going after the lawyers behind it

Facebook and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg are suing the lawyers of man who claimed in 2010 that he and Zuckerberg had an agreement that granted him a major stake in the company.

Though a judge previously dismissed the claims of Paul Ceglia, a lawsuit filed in the New York State Supreme Court on Monday alleges that Ceglia’s lawyers continued their lawsuit in order to win a settlement despite knowing that Ceglia’s claims were false, the New York Times reports.

“We said from the beginning that Paul Ceglia’s claim was a fraud and that we would seek to hold those responsible accountable,” said Colin Stretch, Facebook’s general counsel, in a statement. “DLA Piper and the other named law firms knew the case was based on forged documents yet they pursued it anyway, and they should be held to account.”

Peter Pantaleo, general counsel for DLA Piper, one of the firms named in the suit, denied the allegations.

“This is an entirely baseless lawsuit that has been filed as a tactic to intimidate lawyers from bringing litigation against Facebook,” he said in a statement.

[NYT]

TIME advice

7 Tips for Handling Your First Lawsuit

Lawsuit
Courtney Keating—Getty Images

Step 1: stay calm

startupcollective

This story was originally published on StartupCollective.

It was January 26, 2012 and I was having a great morning — until I was abruptly confronted by a joint lawsuit filed by Facebook and the Washington Attorney General for several serious claims against our company. Before I even learned the details of the suit, they hosted an elaborate press conference that was all over the news. My first reaction was an adrenaline rush akin to being cornered by the king of the jungle at the end of a cliff. I did not sleep that night. Or the next.

This was my first lawsuit, and the gravity of the suit and its consequences left me nearly paralyzed. I knew none of the allegations were true, but I didn’t know what was going to happen next. The coming months were an insane roller coaster teetering between stress, anxiety and fear over the rising costs and uncertainty of it all. I just did not understand how it worked. Fortunately, by May 2012, we had wrapped up both lawsuits with very favorable outcomes. The Attorney General withdrew two-thirds of their claims after we threatened to dismiss the complaint, and the settlement shortly thereafter only served to cover their attorney fees and reinforce compliance steps we had taken long before the lawsuit.

Although it felt crazy at the time, I made it out of my first lawsuit alive and we came back stronger than ever. If you’re up against your first lawsuit, here are a few tips that will hopefully make life easier:

  1. Get a competent lawyer NOW. If you don’t already have a lawyer on retainer, this is what you need to work on immediately. Do not do anything before you hire a lawyer. And do not compromise on the lawyer you pick. It goes without saying that a great, experienced lawyer will greatly affect the outcome of a suit. In my opinion, you can find the best lawyers from referrals.
  2. Go crazy (but not too crazy). Give yourself a few days to feel everything you have to feel. It’s going to feel like a punch in the stomach at best and like the world is ending at worst. But the only way out is through. By dealing with your fear and emotions upfront, you will be able to remain productive and continue to manage your company while dealing with your lawsuit.
  3. Turn to your support system. Stay balanced by turning to your support system of friends and family who will be able to help you get through this mentally. To know that you have the support of your loved ones and can, to some extent, share this burden makes life so much easier.
  4. Learn how lawsuits work. Chances are, no one has told you that lawsuits don’t work exactly as you might think. It’s not necessarily about right and wrong, and the system doesn’t really care. It is unaffordable to fight right and wrong unless you have an unlimited cash reserve. Instead, it’s about finding an outcome that makes the most business sense for you. It is generally agreed that 95 percent of lawsuits settle prior to trial. In a lawsuit, there are usually multiple options for you to explore that will resolve or settle the case.
  5. Remain calm. During the lawsuit, the plaintiff may try to strong-arm you into a tight spot with fancy legalese. It has happened to me, and it throws me off every time. That is, until my lawyer told me they were blowing smoke. Expect to be thrown off and do your best to remain calm and stand your ground so you don’t make any hasty decisions.
  6. Be extra frugal. Unfortunately, a very painful part of a lawsuit is the cost. It is important to hope for the best but plan for the worst. That means if you don’t already have a significant cash reserve, start building one immediately and find ways you might be able to cut unnecessary expenses in the business.
  7. Don’t forget to rebuild. Once your first lawsuit is over, another difficult part of the journey begins. For me, it was rebuilding my brand and myself. I took a step back and reevaluated what I was building towards until I was happy with the answer. Fortunately, nothing changed aside from an increased level of determination and a passion to take my company to new heights. We also thanked those clients who stood by us during the lawsuit, who had helped further strengthen our position in the industry even while facing these serious charges.

At the end of the day, unyielding perseverance and determination will allow you to overcome whatever you’re up against. The first lawsuit will make you feel like the world is set against you; however, once you’re done with this battle you’ll realize it’s just a normal part of business. Welcome to the big leagues — you’ve been noticed.

Fehzan Ali is the co-founder & CEO of Adscend Media and is responsible for driving and implementing the strategic vision of the Company. He is an industry thought leader, providing editorial content about innovative ad-based solutions.

TIME legal

Marriott Fined $600K for Jamming Guest’s Personal Wi-Fi Hotspots

Wifi Cloud Tablet
Getty Images

My smartphone is indispensable whenever I travel for work. It’s a great tool for keeping in contact. And thanks to its mobile hotspot feature, it’s become indispensable for filing stories when Wi-Fi is either unavailable or – as is often the case at many major hotels – prohibitively expensive.

But as much as I love my mobile hotspot, it would appear hotel operators feel differently about the technology. This past week, the Marriott International corporation was fined a whopping $600,000 by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for using a jamming system to prevent its customers from using their own mobile hotspots. It then charged these frustrated customers as much as $1,000 per day per device for Internet access – a price that borders on extortion.

According to the FCC, Marriott admitted to using a jammer in at least one of its hotels, the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, Tennessee. Employees there reportedly used a Wi-Fi monitoring system to locate guest-created hotspots and send them de-authentication packets, forcibly disconnecting and disrupting Internet service. Those visiting the hotel’s conference space were especially frequent targets of the scheme, forcing those who needed to connect to agree to the hotel’s exorbitant $250 to $1,000 per device hotel Wi-Fi prices.

“Consumers who purchase cellular data plans should be able to use them without fear that their personal Internet connection will be blocked by their hotel or conference center,” stated FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief Travis LeBlanc. “It is unacceptable for any hotel to intentionally disable personal hotspots while also charging customers and small businesses high fees to use the hotel’s own Wi-Fi network. This practice puts consumers in the untenable position of either paying twice for the same service or forgoing Internet access altogether.”

Marriott, for its part, attempted to defend its actions with the laughable notion it was done in the interest of its guests’ safety. “Marriott has a strong interest in ensuring when our guests use our Wi-Fi service, they will be protected from rogue wireless hotspots that can cause degraded service, insidious cyber-attacks and identity theft,” the company wrote in a statement. “We believe that the Gaylord Opryland’s actions were lawful.”

While public Wi-Fi hotspots can be home to various threats, creating and connecting to your own password-protected mobile hotspot is absolutely safe. You can turn your iPhone into a mobile hotspot by entering the Settings app, tapping Personal Hotspot and turning the toggle on. You can activate your Android phone as a mobile hotspot by opening its App Tray, selecting Mobile Hotspot and checking the box. Note that you’ll need a compatible cellular data plan to get this to work – those on current AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile plans have hotspot functionality included for free; those with older unlimited data plans are blocked from using it. Also note that using your phone as a hotspot will eat into your data plan allowance. Other carriers, like Sprint, will let you activate your phone as a mobile hotspot for an additional monthly fee.

This article was written by Fox Van Allen and originally appeared on Techlicious.

More from Techlicious:

TIME Law

Pet Owners Look to Muzzle Police Who Shoot Dogs

Brittany Preston

Bereaved owners argue that when police shoot dogs it a violates their Fourth Amendment rights

Correction appended, Sept. 26

Lexie, a Labrador mix, was barking in fear when the police arrived at her owner’s suburban Detroit house early in the morning last November. The officers, responding to a call about a dog roaming the area, arrived with dog-catching gear. Yet they didn’t help the one-year-old dog, who had been left outside the house, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court: Instead, they pulled out their guns and shot Lexie eight times.

“The only thing I’m gonna do is shoot it anyway,” the lawsuit quotes an officer saying. “I do not like dogs.”

Such a response, animal advocates say, is not uncommon among law enforcement officers in America who are often ill-equipped to deal with animals in the line of duty. And now bereaved owners like Brittany Preston, Lexie’s owner, are suing cities and police departments, expressing outrage at what they see as an abuse of power by police. Animal activists, meanwhile, are turning to state legislatures to combat the problem, with demands for better police training in dealing with pets.

There are no official tallies of dog killings by police, but media reports suggest there are, at minimum, dozens every year, and possibly many more. When it comes to Preston’s dog, officials from the city of St. Clair Shores and the dog owner agree on little. City police say the dog attacked, prompting officers to open fire in self-defense. But the lawsuit filed by Preston cites police audio recordings to argue that the November 2013 shooting was premeditated, prompted by officers eager to kill a dog. Preston is suing the city for violating her Fourth Amendment right to protection from unreasonable search and seizure.

“We want whatever it takes to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” said Christopher Olson, Preston’s lawyer. “Before this case I wasn’t a dog shooting lawyer, but I am now.”

St. Clair Shores defended the officers’ actions.

“The animal was only put down after a decision was made that it was in the best interest of the residents,” said city attorney Robert Ihrie, who is defending the city in the lawsuit. “Sometimes police officers are in a position where they need to make very quick decisions for the protection of themselves and others.”

The Fourth Amendment argument gained traction in 2005, when the San Jose chapter of the Hells Angels sued the city and the police department because officers had killed dogs during a gang raid in 1998. A federal appeals judge found that “the Fourth Amendment forbids the killing of a person’s dog… when that destruction is unnecessary,” and the Hells Angels ultimately won $1.8 million in damages. In addition to the St. Clair lawsuit, other lawsuits stemming from police shootings of dogs are being planned or filed in Idaho, California, and Nevada.

At the same time, animal-rights activists are lobbying police departments to implement pet training for all officers. Several states including Illinois and Colorado have enacted measures to reduce dog shootings, and others states are considering legislation. In 2011, the Department of Justice published a report on dog-related police incidents, which included advice on how to handle dogs without killing them.

“It’s much more likely that a cop is going to encounter a dog than a terrorist, yet there’s no training,” said Ledy Van Kavage, an attorney for the advocacy group Best Friends Animal Society. “If you have a fear or hatred of dogs, then you shouldn’t be a police officer, just like if you have a hatred of different social groups.”

Brian Kilcommons, a professional dog-trainer who has trained more than 40,000 dogs and published books on the subject, said some police officers accidentally antagonize dogs right from the start, without even trying. “Police officers go into a situation with full testosterone body language, trying to control the situation,” he said. “That’s exactly what will set a dog off.” Kilcommons is developing an app that could help police officers evaluate the best way to handle a dog, including tips on reading body language and non-lethal strategies for containing them. “A bag of treats goes a long way,” he said.

But Jim Crosby, a retired Lieutenant with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office in Florida who now works in dog training, said there are sometimes cases that require police force.

If you’re executing a high-risk, hard-going entry with an armed suspect, the officers don’t have time to play nice and throw cookies at the dog,” said Crosby, who was commenting on police handling of dogs in general and not any specific case. But he emphasized that such situations are few and far between: “Police absolutely have the right to protect themselves against a reasonable and viable threat—but the presence of a dog is not necessarily a reasonable or viable threat.”

Ronald Janota, a retired Lieutenant Colonel with the Illinois State Police who now serves as an expert witness on use of force, acknowledged that officers are often at “heightened awareness” when confronting dogs. “If you’re the first or second through the door, you don’t have time to put a collar on the dog if the dog is literally lunging at you,” he said. “If you’re entering the house legally, you have the right to protect yourself.”

Regardless of the circumstances, a dog’s death at the hands of police can be devastating to owners.

“People are getting married later, if at all, people are having children later, if at all, and pets are filling an emotional niche,” Kilcommons said. “Before, if you had a dog and it got killed, you got another one. Now dogs are in our homes and in our hearts. They’re not replaceable. So when they’re injured or killed, people are retaliating.”

In St. Clair Shores, where Lexie died, the city is fighting the lawsuit but the police department now requires its officers to undergo animal control training.

Van Kavage said that kind of training is crucial, even if just to instill a sense of trust in the police.

“If a cop shoots your pet, do you think you’re ever going to trust a cop again?” she said. “To control a dog, 99% of the time you don’t need a gun. You just need to yell ‘sit!’ ‘stay!’”

Correction: The original version of this story misidentified the person who said, “To control a dog, 99% of the time you don’t need a gun. You just need to yell ‘sit!’ ‘stay!’” It was Ledy Van Kavage.

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser