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]

Infomercial Pest Kevin Trudeau Jailed For 30 Days For Urging Followers To Annoy Judge

Infomercial Pest Kevin Trudeau Jailed For 30 Days For Urging Followers To Annoy Judge

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]

Judge Censured, Barred For Ordering Lawyer To Be Paid In Gift Certificates

Judge Censured, Barred For Ordering Lawyer To Be Paid In Gift Certificates

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]

Judge Tells Debt Collection Firm To Pay Stranger $115 For Dragging Him To Court

Judge Tells Debt Collection Firm To Pay Stranger $115 For Dragging Him To Court

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]

Federal Judge Rules Against Scrappy Mac Clone Manufacturer Psystar

Federal Judge Rules Against Scrappy Mac Clone Manufacturer Psystar

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.

Chicago Judges Not Impressed By Laser Gun Speeding Tickets

Chicago Judges Not Impressed By Laser Gun Speeding Tickets

Good news if you live in Chicago and enjoy driving too fast: traffic court judges in Cook County are throwing out speeding tickets issued by laser gun-wielding cops because the LIDAR technology is apparently not “scientifically reliable.”

$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.

"What Do I Do When My Lender Isn't Playing Fair With Loan Modification?"

"What Do I Do When My Lender Isn't Playing Fair With Loan Modification?"

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.

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.

Federal Judge Shuts Down Car Warranty Robocallers

Federal Judge Shuts Down Car Warranty Robocallers

“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.

Judge Orders F.D.A. To Make Plan B Available To 17-Year-Olds

Judge Orders F.D.A. To Make Plan B Available To 17-Year-Olds

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.

Judge To Growers: Pasteurize Your Almonds

Judge To Growers: Pasteurize Your Almonds

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.

Judges Sent Hundreds Of Teens To Private Detention Centers In Exchange For Millions

Judges Sent Hundreds Of Teens To Private Detention Centers In Exchange For Millions

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.

Not So Fast: Judge Blocks Wachovia Sale To Wells Fargo, Citibank Rejoices

Not So Fast: Judge Blocks Wachovia Sale To Wells Fargo, Citibank Rejoices

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.

Attention Shoppers: Please Report For Jury Duty

Attention Shoppers: Please Report For Jury Duty

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.

Judge Tosses NYC Menu Labeling Regulation

Judge Tosses NYC Menu Labeling Regulation

UPDATE: Menu labeling isn’t dead yet, the CSPI says the judge objected to an easily fixable condition of the NYC regulation.

Judge Suing Dry Cleaner For $54 Million Cries In Court

Judge Suing Dry Cleaner For $54 Million Cries In Court

“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.