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Man Who Spent 30 Minutes Trapped In ‘It’s A Small World’ At Disneyland Awarded $8K For Pain And Suffering

To be strictly accurate, the $8,000 award a man received last week was only half for pain and suffering. The other $4,000 was for a disability violation. In 2009, the ride “It’s a Small World” at Disneyland broke down, but the music didn’t stop. Most of the guests were able to escape this horror, except for one man, who is paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. [More]

Court Says California Mall Can't Ban Customers From Talking To Each Other

Court Says California Mall Can't Ban Customers From Talking To Each Other

The Westfield Galleria in Roseville, California takes the comfort of its patrons seriously–so seriously, in fact, that it wants them to shut up and focus on shopping, or else ask for permission first if they want to talk about any topic that’s not mall related. Last week, the state’s 3rd District Court of Appeal found that the rule violated the state’s constitution, so now mall shoppers can gab as much as they want to each other. [More]

Judge Says You Can't Patent Human Genes

Judge Says You Can't Patent Human Genes

A judge just invalidated the patents on two human genes whose mutations have been linked to breast and ovarian cancer. The genes were isolated by a biotech firm called Myriad Genetics, which argued that because it figured out how to isolate the genes outside of the human body then they were patentable. The judge called that “a ‘lawyer’s trick’ that circumvents the prohibition on the direct patenting of the DNA in our bodies.” The company sells a $3,000 cancer screening kit and has maintained a monopoly on the test because of the patents. [More]

Woman Who Lost Home Over $68 Dental Bill Might Get Another Chance

Woman Who Lost Home Over $68 Dental Bill Might Get Another Chance

Almost a year ago, Sonya Capri Ramos was in the news because she’d lost her home over a $68 dental bill. Last week, the Utah Court of Appeals gave her some hope that she might be able to get it back from the title company that bought it at auction for $1,550. [More]

$1.26 Billion Glorified Tap Water Judgment Against Pepsi Thrown Out

$1.26 Billion Glorified Tap Water Judgment Against Pepsi Thrown Out

Good news for Pepsico: the lawsuit two Wisconsin men filed, accusing the company of stealing from them the idea that eventually became Aquafina, will have to be judged on its actual merits. The default judgment of $1.26 billion that they received when Pepsi failed to acknowledge the suit has been vacated.

Gmail Account Shut Down For Receiving Errant Bank Spreadsheet

Gmail Account Shut Down For Receiving Errant Bank Spreadsheet

The judicial system has spoken in the case of the spreadsheet full of personal data accidentally e-mailed to a random Gmail user by an employee of Rocky Mountain Bank. Google must reveal the account holder’s identity, and the account has been deactivated.

No Arbitration For Halliburton Sexual Assault Case, Court Holds

No Arbitration For Halliburton Sexual Assault Case, Court Holds

A woman who was allegedly raped while working for Halliburton/Kellogg Brown & Root in Iraq will have her civil claims heard in court, not by a company-selected arbitrator, thanks to a ruling by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Brooklyn Judge Rejects Improperly Documented Foreclosure Motions, Shocks Banking Industry

Brooklyn Judge Rejects Improperly Documented Foreclosure Motions, Shocks Banking Industry

There’s a judge in Brooklyn, NY, who has tossed out nearly half of the foreclosure cases brought before him over the past year, because the lenders have such messy paper trails that they can’t prove ownership anymore.

Judge Tells Microsoft It Can't Sell Word In U.S.

Judge Tells Microsoft It Can't Sell Word In U.S.

Thanks to a Texas judge’s ruling earlier this week, Microsoft has been prohibited from selling or supporting any more copies of Word that can edit XML-based documents. A Toronto-based company, i4i, sued Microsoft in 2007 over its XML editing patent, and the judge ruled in i4i’s favor. The ruling kicks in 60 days from now, unless Microsoft decides to appeal. We have a feeling it will.

Arbitration May Be Dead, But Courts Offer Imperfect Alternative

Arbitration May Be Dead, But Courts Offer Imperfect Alternative

Last month, the Minnesota Attorney General brought an oppressive arbitration regime to its knees. Nation Arbitration Forum handled over 200,000 arbitrations per year. But many of those cases will end up in the 50 states’ district courts, where consumers may fare no better.

Arbitration Fairness Act On "All Things Considered"

Arbitration Fairness Act On "All Things Considered"

The perils of forced arbitration and the need for the Arbitration Fairness Act were recently featured on an NPR piece. The story discusses the case of Jamie Leigh Jones, the former Halliburton employee who was gang raped in Iraq by her coworkers, then was sent to arbitration when she tried to sue her employer.

"We Build In Middle Class Neighborhoods Because You Can't Afford To Fight Us"

"We Build In Middle Class Neighborhoods Because You Can't Afford To Fight Us"

Meet Michelle. We met Michelle at Arbitration Fairness Day and she told us about being forced into arbitration when she tried to get her poorly constructed home repaired. Now she’d like to share her story with you.

End Pre-Emption, Support The Medical Device Safety Act

End Pre-Emption, Support The Medical Device Safety Act

Two recent Supreme Court cases on federal pre-emption have made a mess of tort law, confusing and endangering consumers by holding that a patient who is injured by a dangerous drug can sue the manufacturer, but a patient injured by a dangerous medical device cannot. How this happened, and what to do about it, inside.

Mandatory Binding Arbitration Isn't Just Bad For Consumers, It's Bad For Small Businesses

Mandatory Binding Arbitration Isn't Just Bad For Consumers, It's Bad For Small Businesses

Mother Jones has an excellent writeup of Deborah Williams and Richard Welshans, the Maryland couple whose horrific experience with franchising a Coffee Beanery we’ve covered before. Inside, MoJo breaks down the arbitration award to show just how much more expensive arbitration is than litigation.

Korbel Sues To Force Comcast To Reveal Identities Of Anonymous Critics

Korbel Sues To Force Comcast To Reveal Identities Of Anonymous Critics

The Santa Rosa, California Press Democrat says that Korbel Champagne Cellars will ask a Sonoma County judge to force Comcast to reveal the names of anonymous Craigslist posters who criticized the company.

The Arbitration Fairness Act Is In The House

The Arbitration Fairness Act Is In The House

The Arbitration Fairness Act, which will ban binding mandatory arbitration clauses from consumer, employment, and franchise contracts, was reintroduced in the House yesterday.

Mandatory Binding Arbitration: The Worst Choose Your Own Adventure Ever

Mandatory Binding Arbitration: The Worst Choose Your Own Adventure Ever

Mandatory binding arbitration agreements are bad for consumers for so many reasons that, unless you’re the victim of one, it’s hard to keep track of the various ways you can be screwed. So we’ve come up with this helpful illustration: a choose-your-own-adventure-styled trip through the arbitration process.

Court Strikes Arbitration Clause In Case Against Nursing Home That Let Resident Freeze To Death

Court Strikes Arbitration Clause In Case Against Nursing Home That Let Resident Freeze To Death

A Michigan court has struck an arbitration clause in a wrongful death case against a nursing home that allegedly allowed one of its senile residents to wander outside and freeze to death.