Judge Rules BP Grossly Negligent In 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

Judge Rules BP Grossly Negligent In 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

It might be an understatement to say that BP hasn’t had the best go of it the last four years. You know – that huge oil spill, the deaths of dozens of workers and, of course, being named the 2011 Worst Company in America by Consumerist readers. Well, things aren’t looking much better, as the company was found negligent in that 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil well blowout. [More]

Vitaminwater Isn't Healthy, Rules Federal Judge

Vitaminwater Isn't Healthy, Rules Federal Judge

A federal judge ruled this week that Vitaminwater will not, as its labels promise, keep you “healthy as a horse.” Nor will it bring about a “healthy state of physical or mental being”. Instead, Vitaminwater is really just a sugary snack food; non-carbonated fruit coke disguised as a sports drink. Because it’s composed mostly of sugar and not vitamin-laden water, judge John Gleeson held that Vitaminwater’s absurd marketing claims were likely to mislead consumers. [More]

Judge Slashes RIAA's $675,000 File Sharing Award To $67,500

Judge Slashes RIAA's $675,000 File Sharing Award To $67,500

A federal judge yesterday bench slapped the Recording Industry of America, calling a jury’s $675,000 verdict against file sharer Joel Tenenbaum both eye-popping and unconstitutional. The judge struck a strikingly populist tone in reducing the verdict to $67,500, arguing that the same legal reasoning that protects large corporations from excessive punitive damages also protects “ordinary people” like Tenenbaum. [More]

Supreme Court Makes It Easier To Sue Debt Collectors

Supreme Court Makes It Easier To Sue Debt Collectors

Last week, the Supreme Court ruled that debt collectors can’t use a “bona fide error” defense to avoid being sued for misinterpreting the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA). In other words, if a debt collection agency makes a demand that’s in violation of the Act, it can’t say it didn’t know any better. Well, it can, but you can go right ahead and sue. [More]

Don't Let Dad Saw The Legs Off Corpses Or Your Funeral Home Might Get Shut Down

Don't Let Dad Saw The Legs Off Corpses Or Your Funeral Home Might Get Shut Down

It’s all well and good to let your father help out around the family funeral home, but if he doesn’t have an embalming license—and is maybe too handy with an electric saw—keep him away from the important duties. A South Carolina funeral home just had its license revoked because four years ago the owner’s father sawed the legs off a 6′ 7″ body to make it fit in the casket. The owner didn’t tell the family at the time, and they only found out about it recently when an ex-employee told them. (See below for links to cool funk music—yes, it’s related to this post!)

Yes, Pringles Are Potato Chips

Yes, Pringles Are Potato Chips

Reversing an earlier decision, Britain’s Lord Justice Robin Jacob has ruled that Pringles are, indeed, potato chips. The decision means Pringles parent Procter & Gamble will be stuck paying $160 million in back taxes. P&G had insisted that the chips lack enough “potatoness” to qualify as a potato-based product (and be taxed as such), but the Judge disagreed, leaving it to philosophers and nutritionists to determine what exactly qualifies as the “essence of potato.” We kind of feel for P&G on this one. We love that crunch, and the way they stack so neatly in the can, but if we want real potatoes, a Pringle isn’t likely to be our first choice.

Federal Court:  Cigarette Makers Are Liars And "Low-Tar," "Light" Cigarettes Are Dangerous

Federal Court: Cigarette Makers Are Liars And "Low-Tar," "Light" Cigarettes Are Dangerous

Cigarette companies have conspired for decades to defraud and mislead the public about the health risks of “light” and “low-tar” cigarettes, a federal appeals court said yesterday. The DC Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that a federal district judge was right to ban the terms from appearing on cigarette packages. Under the ruling, cigarette companies may soon be required to issue a public mea culpa admitting that they were killing people when they said cigarettes were safe and non-addictive.

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.

Microsoft "Vista Capable" Lawsuit Won't Be Class Action

Microsoft "Vista Capable" Lawsuit Won't Be Class Action

Last week, a U.S. federal court judge denied class action status to the Microsoft “Vista Capable” lawsuit, on the grounds that “the plaintiffs could not demonstrate that their claims were common to the entire class of consumers who bought computers marked with the ‘Windows Vista Capable’ but without the ‘Premium Ready’ label.”

California's Anti-Violence Video Game Law Thrown Out

California's Anti-Violence Video Game Law Thrown Out

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a 2005 California law that prohibited the sale or rental of violent video games to minors is unconstitutional, saying that the “lawmakers failed to produce evidence that violent video games cause psychological or neurological harm to children,” and that there were other ways to deal with access to violent games, including the current voluntary rating system, public campaigns to educate parents, and parental controls.

Ohio Lets Bell Axe The White Pages

Ohio Lets Bell Axe The White Pages

Cincinnati Bell hates phone books and recently asked Ohio to let them kill their White Pages. Ohio’s Public Utilities Commission, also haters of the ever-wasteful and often useless White Pages, agreed. Now Cincinnati residents won’t get a phone book unless they specially request one. We’re no fans of the White Pages, but the deal isn’t as consumer-friendly as it looks.

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.

Judge Tells Tiffany To Police Their Own Merchandise On EBay

Judge Tells Tiffany To Police Their Own Merchandise On EBay

Remember the French lawsuit that Louis Vuitton won against eBay earlier this month? A French court said eBay was responsible for policing their auctions for counterfeit items—at least that was the official language. It also, unfortunately, helped solidify LVMH’s tight control over who sells its luxury merchandise. This week a judge in New York ruled the opposite direction against Tiffany & Co., telling them, “Tiffany must ultimately bear the burden of protecting its trademark.” It’s a win for eBay. Is it for the consumer?

Energy Companies Win Permission To Steal $3 Billion From Customers

Energy Companies Win Permission To Steal $3 Billion From Customers

Westerners are stuck paying $3 billion to energy companies that colluded to gang-rape the free market. California, Washington, and Nevada were planning to return the money to customers, but the Supreme Court recently ruled that the industry manipulated the market, fair and square.

Arizona Judge Rejects RIAA's "Shared Directory = Piracy" Argument

Arizona Judge Rejects RIAA's "Shared Directory = Piracy" Argument

Although it won’t affect other cases, the RIAA was handed a small smackdown this week when a U.S. district judge rejected their request for a summary judgement, and ruled that putting song files in a shared directory was not enough proof that infringement had occurred.

Tax Runner Wesley Snipes Sentenced To Three Years In The Slammer

Gather round, tax kooks, and listen to the tale of Wesley Snipes. He’s the guy who didn’t pay his taxes while raking in millions, and then tried to collect $7.4 million in tax refunds. Now he’s going to jail for three years thanks to a federal District Judge who doesn’t care much for tax protesters and their zany theories.

Class Actions: T-Mobile's Mandatory Arbitration Clause Ruled "Unconscionable"

Class Actions: T-Mobile's Mandatory Arbitration Clause Ruled "Unconscionable"

A class action lawsuit can proceed in Washington after the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled T-Mobile’s mandatory binding arbitration clause “unconscionable and unenforceable under Washington state law.”