Friday, 29 April 2011

Concord Police Department Slapped with yet Another Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

A succession of sexual harassment lawsuits at the Concord Police Department, has caught the attention of Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyers. In the latest lawsuit to be filed against officers of the police department, a female officer has filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the department, as well as a high ranking female officer, alleging that the officer made inappropriate sexual advances towards her.

According to the sexual harassment lawsuit filed by Wendy Schwartzenberger, she was the victim of unwelcome sexual advances made by Lieut. Robin Heinemann. The lawsuit claims that Heinemann made inappropriate sexual comments to Schwartzenberger, fondled her and kissed her on several occasions. Heinemann also alledgedly made inappropriate sexual comments about Schwartzenberger’s relationship with her partner as well as her sexual orientation.

By this time, the legal team at the Concord Police Department is probably quite used to issuing defense statements. Already, the police department’s lawyers have said that allegations contained in the complaint are completely false, and that the lawsuit is without merit.

This lawsuit is the fifth alleging defamation, sexual harassment or retribution by the Concord Police Department over the past four years. All of these lawsuits ultimately settled. The settlement amounts ranged from just over $47,000 to $750,000.

What makes this a sexual harassment lawsuit with a twist is that Heinemann, the defendant in this particular lawsuit, was named as a plaintiff in an earlier sexual harassment lawsuit filed against the Concord Police Department. That lawsuit was filed by a group of eight women, who alleged that they were victims of sexual harassment by the Concord police. That lawsuit settled for a sum of $1.5 million, which was distributed among the plaintiffs. In January, Heinemann received her share of that settlement which amounted to $100,000.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Supreme Court Hears Wal-Mart Gender Discrimination Case

It’s not just the largest gender discrimination lawsuit that California employment lawyers have come across, but also marks the very first time that the nation's highest court has had three female justices presiding over a gender discrimination case. As the Supreme Court continues hearing arguments related to the Wal-Mart sexual harassment class action, California employment lawyers are already finding some differences of opinion between the genders on the bench.

This Supreme Court is hearing whether female employees at Wal-Mart have sufficient basis to allege that the company had a common discriminatory policy in pay and promotions. The lawsuit is headed by Betty Duke, a former greeter at Wal-Mart, and if the Supreme Court chooses to allow the case go to trial, it would be the largest gender discrimination lawsuit in American history. The justices, especially Justice Anthony Kennedy are questioning specifically whether the company had a corporate policy in place that violated the rights of female employees under the federal law known as Title VII. The justices are looking at whether more than 1 million female employees at Wal-Mart have strong enough allegations of systematic discrimination at Wal-Mart for the case to go to trial.

Already, initial questioning seems to suggest some divisions on the bench based on gender. All the three female justices including Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan have expressed their support for the class-action lawsuit. The only male justice showing support with his female colleagues was Justice Stephen Breyer.

A decision by the Supreme Court can be expected anytime before June, when the court adjourns. Whatever the decision of the court, it could affect other class-action lawsuits, especially those related to employment law issues. In fact, it's hard to think of any other case that would have as significant an impact on women's employment issues than the Wal-Mart case. Not only are 1.5 million employees of the company likely to join the lawsuit if the Supreme Court gives the go-ahead, but because Wal-Mart is such a huge employer, any decision is likely to significantly impact pay and promotion policies at companies across the country.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Nutritious Diet Could Help Treat TBI

Patients who have suffered a traumatic brain injury should be given an infusion of protein and vitamins as soon as possible after the injury has occurred. This nutrition therapy should be given within 24 hours of the injury, to accelerate the recovery process. That information comes from a new study by the Institute of Medicine, which was commissioned by the U.S. military to look into emergency treatment for TBI.

The U.S. military specifically asked the Institute of Medicine look at literature that linked nutritious diet to treatment of brain injury. The panel looked at several studies into the use of nutrition to treat brain injury. None of the studies were more than 20 years old. The panel ultimately concluded that infusions of calories and proteins should begin within 24 hours after a traumatic brain injury, and extended over a period of two weeks after the injury, to help treat the injury. Specifically, this combination of calories and protein helps to reduce inflammation in the brain after the injury.

According to the researchers, the right diet can minimize the effects of head injury, and reduce the risk of fatality in patients with critical brain injury, by as much as 25% to 50%. Several nutrients including choline, creatine and omega-three fatty acids have been found to be very beneficial in helping minimize the impact of the injury.

The Institute of Medicine has been so impressed with the results, that it has asked the military to probe the role of nutrition and diet in minimizing the risk of a traumatic brain injury. The diet of service members should be analyzed, to assess the types of nutrients they are receiving and determine whether a high calorie diet helps the service members resist a brain injury better.

Although the study was done for the military, California brain injury lawyers will find that any results will have an impact on the treatment of brain injury in the civilian population too. For the more than 1.5 million patients who are rushed to emergency rooms after a brain injury every year, these results could mean an emergency treatment that restricts the extent of the damage.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Walker Digital Patent Infringement Lawsuits Target Tech Majors

It is the most recent patent infringement lawsuit in a highly litigious industry. Walker Digital, the company behind Priceline.com, has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against a number of companies, including Apple, Google, and Amazon alleging infringement on key aspects of its patents.

Walker Digital has filed a total of 15 lawsuits in the U.S. federal court in Delaware. According to the lawsuits, companies like Facebook are infringing patents owned by Walker Digital. The company alleges that these patents cover everything from e-commerce and online options to social networking communications.

According to Walker Digital, the great tech companies of today can trace their success to patents developed by Walker Digital during the mid-to-late 1990s. The company says it had no choice but to file lawsuits against these companies, because the companies had failed to establish a licensing system that could have avoided litigation. Earlier this year, Digital had sued gaming company Zynga for infringing on a database driven online distributed tournament system. The company has also in the past sued Facebook for using a feature that it claims infringed on a Walker Digital patent for establishing and maintaining user control.

San Diego intellectual property litigation lawyers have expected that the explosion in patent infringement litigation in the tech industry would lead to more companies grabbing patent portfolios in order to boost their intellectual property holdings. That seems to be happening now. Last week, Google announced that it had bid $900 million to acquire a Nortel portfolio of 6000 patents. The company has reason to think big. Over the past year alone, its Android operating system-based Smartphone has been the target of 37 patent infringement lawsuits. In another patent portfolio grab, Microsoft, Oracle, Apple, EMC and Novell’s parent company, Attachmate agreed to split up Novell’s 882 patents, boosting the patent portfolio of these companies.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

FAO Schwarz & Boston Properties in Landlord Dispute

FAO Schwarz in New York is engaged in a landlord dispute with Boston Properties, which owns the General Motors Building housing the iconic toy store. FAO Schwarz is trying to extend the term of the lease for the store, while Boston Properties has hinted that the toy store will likely have to relocate.

In January, FAO Schwarz’s parent company, Toys "R" Us, exercised the five-year option in its lease, which had been originally set to expire in 2012. The lease option allows the tenant, Toys "R" Us, to extend the lease for a fair market value. However in June 2008, Boston Properties President Douglas Linde, admitted at a press conference that FAO Schwarz would likely not be the most ”economically viable tenant” for the company. That announcement came just a few days after Boston Properties announced that it would be buying the 59-story building.

Both Boston Properties and FAO Schwarz are now in arbitration over the rent for the store which is located at Fifth Avenue and E. 58th St. At the center of the dispute for Boston Properties is the fact that this is one of the priciest pieces of commercial real estate in the world. Some stretches of Fifth Avenue boast of an average asking rent of about $1,850 per square foot, making this the most expensive stretch of office space in the world.

California real estate lawyers
find this dispute tilting a little in Boston Properties’ favor. FAO Schwartz will find that its relocation options are extremely limited. For one, the retailer would probably not find the kind of massive space it requires for its store elsewhere on Fifth Avenue. Besides, the current location is a New York landmark, and the store would not want to lose out on that kind of neighborhood. Even if it did, there are exorbitant moving costs linked to the relocation. The company could move the store to Times Square, but there, FAO Schwarz would be competing with the flagship Toys "R" Us store.

If you are involved in any kind of real estate dispute, related to commercial/residential leases, landlord/tenant disputes, condominium laws, zoning laws and other real estate-related issues, a California real estate litigation attorney can help you obtain a favorable outcome.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Motorcycle Safety Tips for Spring

Statistics show that the number of motorcycles sharing the roads with you has increased over the past decade. The year’s peak motorcycling season has already begun, and across California, motorists can expect to find more motorcyclists sharing the roads.

Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyers find most motorcycle accidents to be the result of drivers’ failure to look out for motorcycles. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation has a few tips for motorists to avoid collisions with motorcycles this season:

  • Look out especially closely for motorcyclists at an intersection.
  • Motorcyclists often seem to be much further away than they are because of their smaller frame. It is sometimes also difficult to judge a motorcyclist’s speed for the same reason. Always assume that the motorcycle is much closer than it appears.
  • Motorcycles can easily be hidden in the blind spots of the vehicle. They can also easily be concealed behind bushes and pillars.
  • Don't depend heavily on motorcycle signals. Motorcycle signals are usually not self canceling, and many motorcyclists fail to switch off the signal after they make a lane change.
  • Motorcycles are maneuverable, and can squeeze between vehicles, but that doesn't mean that they can maneuver them out of any situation.
  • Motorcycles have the same amount of stopping distance as cars, but a slippery pavement makes it harder for them to stop in time to avoid a car. Never follow too closely behind a motorcycle.

As the Motorcycle Safety Foundation advises, when you look at a motorcycle, look at it not as a two-wheeler, but as a person. That person is at a serious risk of injuries when you fail to look out for him. In any accident involving a motorcycle and a motor vehicle, it is the motorcyclist who has a higher risk of suffering spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries, than the occupants of the car.