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]
Kevin Trudeau, a diet and disease cure-all peddler who has a rich history with the FTC, just earned himself a fat 30 days in jail for encouraging his fans and followers to email a U.S. District Judge. Last Wednesday, Trudeau posted a request on his website asking supporters to email the judge who is presiding over an FTC civil suit against him. The idea, apparently, was for Trudeau’s happy customers to convince Judge Robert Gettleman to go easy on the pitchman. Instead, it had the opposite effect. [More]
A judicial commission for California judges censured and barred the recently retired judge Brett C. Klein for showing bias, abusing authority, and grandstanding to the press. At issue was his January 2009 alteration of a class action settlement, where he ordered everyone, including the attorneys, to be paid the same way: via $10 gift vouchers from a woman’s clothing store. [More]
Last week, a Brooklyn judge
ordered strongly suggested that the law firm of Pressler & Pressler, “one of the biggest in the collection industry,” pay a day’s worth of income to the man they falsely accused of owing an unpaid debt. To encourage the firm to do the right thing, Judge Noach Dear scheduled a sanctions hearing but told the firm’s lawyer, T. Andy Wang, that he might drop it if they pay up. [More]
Sorry, Mac OS lovers who don’t love the price tags on Apple hardware. Apple has emerged victorious in their copyright lawsuit against Mac clone manufacturer Psystar. U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup ruled that Psystar is violating Apple’s copyright as well as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act by selling computers with a modified version of OS X pre-installed.
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.
Yesterday, the New York Times wrote about a judge in Arizona who forced Wells Fargo to explain why it keeps stalling and being uncooperative with a customer who has been trying to get a loan modification request approved. Sadly, in the past week we’ve gotten two separate emails from homeowners who are also having trouble with getting banks to approve their requests for the government-sponsored loan modifications. “Who can we contact to complain?” asks one frustrated customer.
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.
“Oh hell no!” Federal District Judge John F. Grady told a marauding group of car warranty robocallers who managed to annoy pretty much everyone over the past few months. The judge slapped two Florida companies with an immediate restraining order and froze their assets, which should be enough to finally end those maddening robocalls.
Great news, 17-year-olds! A federal judge has ruled that you can now avoid accidental babies by partaking in the emergency contraceptive wonder that is Plan B. Back in 2006, the Food and Drug Administration limited the contraceptive to women 18 and over, and ordered pharmacists to hide the drug behind their counters away from other common contraceptives. Judge Edward Korman ruled this week that the agency’s decision was based on politics not science, and that it constituted an unacceptable public health buzzkill.
Finally, you can nosh on delicious almonds safe in the knowledge that they’re pasteurized and salmonella free. A federal judge this week tossed out a lawsuit aimed at blocking new rules from the Department of Agriculture requiring growers to pasteurize their almonds. Growers are now whining that U.S. consumers area about to get hooked on raw yet dangerously delicious European almonds.
Two Pennsylvania judges were sued in federal court this past week for allegedly taking $2.6 million in kickbacks from private juvenile detention facilities. In exchange, they sentenced hundreds of youths to the centers over the past 5 years. One of the judges, Mark Ciavarella, sent 1 out of 4 defendants to the centers, compared to a statewide rate of 1 in 10.
Tsk tsk, Wells Fargo. You should’ve known that stealing Citibank’s unspoiled bride at the alter was going to draw a bitter legal challenge. Late last night, Citibank’s team of repo-lawyers claimed a partial victory, announcing that a New York judge has agreed to block Wachovia’s sale. Citibank is also demanding $60 billion from Wells Fargo for interfering with the deal.
A Vermont judge sent his sheriff to the mall to round up a jury that could fairly try a child molester.
They stopped passers-by and asked if they were residents of Caledonia County; a “yes” answer won a summons to appear at the courthouse for jury duty immediately, right now, this minute. They rounded up 45 people that way in all, to join the 34 already at the courthouse.
“Never before in recorded history have a group of defendants engaged in such misleading and unfair business practices,” Pearson said in his opening statement. You don’t get a lot of firsts in recorded history in D.C. Superior Court, though I should add that Marion Barry was in the building for his day in traffic court, and the pants suit easily outdrew the ex-mayor-for-life.
It gets better. One of Fancy Pants Pearson’s witnesses testified, comparing the Mom and Pop dry cleaner to Nazi Germany:
“At 89, I’m not ready to be chased,” she said. “But I was in World War II as a WAC, so I think I can take care of myself. Having lived in Germany and knowing the people who were victims of the Nazis, I thought he was going to beat me up. I thought of what Hitler had done to thousands of Jews.”
Wait. It gets better.