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Mark Zuckerberg’s In A Lawsuit Over Facial Recognition Tags

Facebook faces a lawsuit in regard to their facial recognition “suggested tags” feature with the state of Illinois. When a Facebook user uploads a group photo, Facebook tries to guess the names of the people in the photo and will provide a name suggestion as you hover your cursor over faces. The lawsuit alleges that Facebook violated Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act for this facial recognition feature. The Biometric Information Privacy Act protects personal information like fingerprints, retinal scans, and facial recognition data.

Facebook is able to recognize faces by referring to a user’s archive, so it tends to identify friends who you’ve been in several pictures with before. (People you tagged so many times that Facebook can guess from a few standard features which friend it is.) If you have a photo with new friends who you’ve never previously tagged, Facebook cannot make a suggestion or they’ll make incorrect suggestions. The Illinois users who sued Facebook claim Facebook needs to obtain written consent from users before creating templates of their faces from photos. Facebook maintains that there’s no violation of privacy and that users have to be “aggrieved” or suffering a serious injury or harm as a result.

Why Illinois users only? Isn’t this a feature across the nation? Because it’s Illinois user, Nimesh Patel, who pursued the lawsuit and focused on Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act. Patel thinks that Facebook collects intricate details of facial features that could be used against us if they got into the wrong hands. Knowing facial details could be recreated for crimes or framing or all sorts of wrongdoing. The problem in Patel’s case is that he’s posing what-if consequences and despite their merit, may not be enough to show potential harm.

The lawsuit notifications go to Facebook users who lived in Illinois for at least 60 consecutive days from June 2011 to April 2018. Illinois users who receive lawsuit information can press charges or not. But if this Illinois case ends up nabbing Facebook, then other states and ultimately other countries could also take Facebook to court, resulting in Facebook losing billions of dollars. The class action case goes to court in July and Facebook continues fighting it vigorously.

N.J. Schools Among U.S.’ Most Segregated Schools. Lawsuit Filed

New Jersey has a legal matter that’s creating a lot of attention. The state is being challenged for the statewide desegregation of its public schools.

The lawsuit, which was filed on Thursday, wants to challenge New Jersey’s school system as “unconstitutional” and that the school should take immediate action to end segregation. Thursday was also the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education section that banned racial segregation in schools.

Currently, New Jersey is the sixth most segregated state for black students, and seventh for students who are Latino, according to a 2017 analysis that was conducted by the Civil Rights Project at UCLA.

“The fight to integrate New Jersey’s schools is the great unfinished civil rights struggle of our time,” said Christian Estevez, president of the Latino Action Network, one of the plaintiffs in this suit. “This lawsuit is the next step in building a future where all children get the chance to succeed.

Mercer County, who filed the complaint, is asking that the court remove two key parts of state law: that students are required to attend the school district they live in, with a few exceptions. The other is the requirement that charter schools give priority to students in the school’s district.

The New Jersey Coalition for Diverse and Inclusive Schools, a new nonprofit organization chaired by former state Supreme Court Justice Gary Stein is spearheading this lawsuit. Stein’s son, Michael and Lawrence Lustberg are representing the plaintiffs. Plaintiffs in the case also include nine children and the United Methodist Church of Greater New Jersey.

The suit is asking that the state education commissioner create a desegregation plan that includes a large variety of tactics currently used in different communities. Some of these options could include the consolidation of school districts, voluntary transfer programs so students in minority districts can attend other schools, according to the lawsuit.

“It is brought in the state’s own interest to require New Jersey to deal with its unfinished business – ending segregation by race and poverty in its public schools,” Gary Stein said.


Female Law School Faculty in Denver Win a $2.66 Million Pay Equity Lawsuit

As a professor at the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law, Lucy Marsh has an impressive record as a teacher and researcher. Her advocacy for student leadership in the field of law began in the mid-1960s when she attended the University of Michigan and helped to create the first clinical program at that institution’s law school. Marsh joined the University of Denver (DU) faculty in 1973 and earned promotion to full professor in 1982. She has won awards for teaching excellence and many community honors as a member of the DU faculty.

In early 2012, a female colleague named Ann Scales challenged the law school to address pay inequalities for female faculty. Despite additional funding, pay gaps persisted. Full-time male faculty in the DU law school earned nearly $16,000 more than their female colleagues. After Scales passed away in June 2012, Marsh took up this cause.

Marsh discovered that she had also received substantially less pay than her male peers in the Sturm College of Law. Despite her impressive record of scholarship and teaching, she earned $40,000 less than the college’s median salary. Even though she served for four decades on the faculty, Marsh was the lowest-paid full-time professor in DU’s law school. She launched a lawsuit in 2013 seeking redress for this salary disparity. Six female peers on the DU Sturm College of Law’s faculty joined her as plaintiffs.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission joined the suit in 2015, largely due to the strength of Marsh’s claim. On May 17, 2018, news reports announced that DU has agreed to settle with the seven Sturm College of Law faculty by paying $2.66 million and awarding them salary increases that will ultimately eliminate the gender pay gap. In announcing the settlement, DU officials claimed they had a strong case but decided to offer a settlement to “heal our community and move forward together.”

This settlement moves DU’s law school forward in offering pay transparency for faculty. Salary information will be available for Sturm faculty through an intranet site that they can access. In addition, the settlement calls for annual pay studies to assure equity, as well as the presence of an external consultant for six years to assure that retaliation against the female faculty members does not occur.


Lawsuit Claims First Responders Delayed Rescue of Fallen Mount Hood Climber

John Thornton Jenkins ascended Mount Hood on May 7, 2017. Located approximately 50 miles east of Portland, Mount Hood rises 11,249 above sea level as one of the prominent summits of the Cascade Range in Oregon. As Jenkins, a 32-year-old experienced mountain climber approached the Pearly Gates area near the summit around 10:40 a.m. he lost his footing and fell nearly 600 feet along the snow-covered terrain. He came to a rest in an area known as Devil’s Kitchen, a high, remote, and cold area on the mountain face.

Jenkins landed in an area difficult to reach. In intense pain, he immediately needed emergency services. Another climber came to his side within eight minutes and called 911. They awaited the arrival of a rescue team. With Jenkins suffering and in terrible pain, every moment lost made the situation worse.

In a $10 million lawsuit filed by members of his family, they claim that emergency personnel mishandled the 911 call. The delay that resulted from these missteps contributed to Jenkins’s death. A 911 dispatcher routed the call to the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office. An employee there mistakenly told the person who made the call to contact the ski patrol teams at Timberline Ski Resort, even though Jenkins was a climber, not a skier, and on a different part of the mountain far above and away from any ski areas

Nearly 45 minutes after Jenkins first fell, a staff member at Timberline called 911 and they were directed back to the Sheriff’s Office. This series of delays kept first responders from requesting a rescue helicopter from the Oregon Army National Guard until 12:29 p.m. The helicopter did not reach the scene until 3:11 p.m. When rescuers tried to fasten Jenkins to the basket, his lungs started to fail and he perished.

The lawsuit claims that judgment errors led to a delay of more than four hours between the time of the fall and the arrival of the rescue team. The dispute involves disagreements about whether ground crews could have arrived more quickly and whether various agencies handled these calls with enough urgency. Even though the helicopter arrived very quickly after getting the call, the delays beforehand certainly complicated the situation.

An Ex-Trooper Is Ordered to Pay $6 Million for A DUI Death

A Common Pleas Court judge in Bucks County has ordered an ex-trooper to pay over $6million in damages to Robin T. Williams, a 21-year-old woman in Philadelphia who was killed when her car was hit by a truck in 2012. This pickup was driven by a Pennsylvanian trooper who was already off-duty. The ex-trooper later pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and driving under the influence.
This ruling was provided on Wednesday by Judge James M. McMaster asking Barry Searfoss to pay a total sum of $6.26 million for compensatory damages, including compensation for punitive damages totaling to $100,000 to Robin T. Williams estate.
The defense attorney who represented Searfoss during the case, Athena Pappas, refused to say if Searfoss would consider appealing this ruling.
The former ex-trooper Searfoss of Coatesville was sentenced to 6-23 months in prison in 2014. The 46-year-old had served 5 months when he was released for good behavior as stated by Raymond Bily Williams’s estate lawyer. Searfoss was off duty when he became intoxicated after attending a charity event on May 18, 2012, at the municipal golf course in Warminster. After a blood test, it was concluded that Searfoss’ blood had 0.08 percent of alcohol content which was twice the set legal limit for driving. The event was held in memory of a woman who was slain by a drunk driver.
On that fateful night, Mr. Searfoss was driving his Toyota pickup truck on the Pennsylvania Turnpike’s westbound side at Willow Grove. His truck crashed into a Lincoln Town Car’s rear, a car that Williams was driving. The Town Car, which was manufactured in 1997, had suffered an engine failure and Williams was driving it at about 11mph on the left lane. Williams died of burns, smoke inhalation, and blunt-force injuries. Searfoss was driving the truck at 71 mph.
Williams was a college student who offered services as a caregiver in a retirement home in Warminster at the time of her demise. Even though Warminster was also sued, it was removed as the case’s defendant due to an immunity statute.


Betty Lozano’s Family receives a $1.9million Settlement from San Bernardino County after Her In-County Death

San Bernardino County recently awarded an Adelanto woman’s family a $1.9million settlement. Betty Lozano died while in the High Desert Detention Centre. She didn’t receive proper health care after experiencing a medical emergency.

Counsels representing Betty’s mother, Maria Stofflet and two young children sued the San Bernardino County Sherriff Department for negligence. Also, they accused the department of denying Betty vital medical attention while in the detention center. The lawyers filed a civil rights case in Riverside, last February.

A federal court agreed on the settlement on March 6 and later dismissed the case. Betty’s family lawyers, Dale Galipo, Sharon Brunner and James Terrell termed Betty’s case as being tragic. James accused the sheriff department of failing to learn from past lawsuits that other people had filed against it. He said that the deputy sheriff had low regard for life hence allowing Betty to die in her cell.

Also, Terrell emphasized the need to reform the department. Christina Montes, Betty’s sister, explained her mixed emotions regarding the settlement. She stated that a person’s life can’t be compared with any amount of money. However, she assured the court that the family would use the settlement to take care of Betty’s children. Christina pledged to push for a transformation on how the sheriff treats people.

She explained how many inmates in various correctional and detention centers need quality healthcare due to their mental health and health complications. Instead, the detention officers ignore their needs. Christina emphasized the need to hold people accountable for the department’s transformation. Moreover, Christina intends to mobilize other people who have lost their loved ones in detention centers.

Betty Lozano, 34, had a bipolar disorder. Police officers arrested her on July 26, 2017, at 4:27 p.m.The sheriff’s deputies thought she had taken drugs. As they were transporting her at the back of their patrol car, Betty fainted. The officers abandoned her in a cell for several hours until her demise that night.

According to the suit, there was a video record at the facility which was vital in confirming Betty’s health condition and its decline after her detention. She passed out at 8:50p.m.the detention officers took her to Victor Global Medical Centre where she died at 11:11 pm.

Sharon thanked the county court for the settlement. She said that although it wouldn’t make up for the loss of Betty, it will support her children. Also, she is eager to witness a transformation in jail policies and how the facilities will implement them. Sharon stated that she still receives numerous complaints from families whose loved ones have died in several San Bernardino County detention centers.

Oakland SRO Lawsuit Settled for $1 Million

In 2015, an investor named Green Group LP purchased a single room occupancy (SRO) building at 524 Eight Street in Oakland’s Chinatown district. SROs are small, one-room rentals where tenants share bathrooms and kitchens as common areas. The rent is generally inexpensive, making SROs a popular option for low-income individuals and families.

The tenants of the Oakland hotel filed a lawsuit in June 2016, claiming that the new owners were attempting to force them to vacate the property by making the building uninhabitable. According to the plaintiffs’ attorney, the owners of the building publicly announced that the building would be renovated to attract higher-income tenants who would be charged higher rents. The suit claims that Green Group LP started renovating the building by demolishing common areas, including kitchens and bathrooms, leaving them unusable for tenants. Some of the renovations lasted for months, with little to no notice for residents. The suit also claims that, though the residents are almost exclusively Chinese, demolition notices were in English and the tenants could not read what the notices said. Residents were also without hot water for long periods of time.

In addition, the residents claim the owners threw out private property, including clothing, children’s toys, Chinese New Year decorations, and other personal items.

The case has been settled for $1 million. Alameda County Superior Court Judge Brad Seligman approved the settlement. The 14 tenants who filed the suit will receive $795,000, while the remaining $205,000 is awarded to the city of Oakland for their legal expenses.

In addition to the settlement, Judge Seligman approved a permanent injunction that requires Green Group LP to provide adequate bathroom facilities for tenants, provide a standard policy for personal belongings within common areas of the building, and notify the city of Oakland in the event of future rent adjustments or evictions.

The city’s attorney, Barbara Parker, stated,“This lawsuit puts unscrupulous property owners on notice that Oakland will hold them accountable for violations of tenants’ rights and will not tolerate owners who make living conditions so miserable that tenants are compelled to move out. Displacing tenants from their homes frequently plunge families into poverty and homelessness and uproots them from the community. Every family that pays rent in Oakland is entitled to decent housing free from harassment and exploitation.”

Oil Companies Move to Squash New York City Lawsuit

In a response to a lawsuit brought by the City of New York, five of the world’s largest oil companies have jointly responded with a request that U.S. District Judge John F. Keenan reject the suit.

New York’s suit, which names BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell as defendants, states that the oil companies are knowingly responsible for climate change and that the damages from emissions include but are not limited to sea level rise, extreme storms, and heat waves.

According to the suit, these ongoing conditions are causing severe economic difficulties and personal suffering. In the complaint, filed January 9, 2018, in New York City, states:

“This lawsuit is based upon the fundamental principle that a corporation that makes a product causing severe harm when used exactly as intended should shoulder the costs of abating that harm. Defendants here produced, marketed, and sold massive quantities of fossil fuels […]despite knowing that the combustion and use of fossil fuels emit greenhouse gases […]”

New York v. BP P.L.C., 18-cv-182, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York

The five oil companies named in the suit, three of whom were served on January 30th, counter that a District Court is not an appropriate venue for such a case. In a motion to dismiss, filed on February 5th, the companies jointly state:

“The Complaint puts squarely at issue federal statutory, regulatory, and constitutional issues; aims to upset bedrock federal-state divisions of responsibility; and has profound implications for the global economy, international relations, and America’s national security […] cases asserting nearly identical claims […] have been universally rejected by U.S. courts.”

Ad[d]ressing Common Grounds in Support of Their Motions to Dismiss Case No. 18 Civ. 182 (JFK)

The move to dismiss cites over 50 legal precedents, 23 statutes and 7 regulations which are provided as evidence of legal precedence for the dismissal of such cases.

Similar cases are being brought against oil companies, notably in California. The California case, which was initiated earlier in 2017, has recently been answered with a similar motion to dismiss. This motion will be considered on May 24th.

As per the New York City Case, Judge John F. Keenan will consider arguments in a hearing scheduled for June 13th, 2018.

A Popular Ex-San Jose Cop Gets Fired For Filing a Lawsuit for Sexually Harassed Women

San Jose tech firm was sued recently after one of its security managers, harassed his female colleague. It all started when he talked about his genitalia at a company party. Due to fear of retaliation, his female workmates didn’t report him to the human resource manager despite being uncomfortable with his utterances.

Robert Lobach, a security contractor at the firm and an ex-San Jose policeman, urged the aggrieved employees to file their complaints with the HR. However, they hesitated, a move that prompted Robert to file the complaint on their behalf. According to the lawsuit, the workers gave Robert the green light which eventually got him fired.

Before approaching the Xilinx HR department, Robert personally met with each employee to get explicit details of what transpired in December 2017. Chris Ward, who heads the firm’s security operations, was in attendance.

The court heard that during the celebration, Ward narrated a story concerning a man who intended to cut off his private parts. He further praised his genitalia and declared his intense desire to protect his organs from assailants.

Many women, near Ward at that moment, were contractors from Allied Universal Security Services. The company provides vital services to Xilinx. When Ward noticed that his colleagues were uncomfortable with his utterances, he said he had the right to opine. After all, he was the client.

Xilinx disputed Robert’s claim that he got fired. Through their lawyer, the company said that Allied Services had re-hired him after he filed the complaint. One of its spokespersons said that the firm doesn’t want to harbor harassment of employees at their workplace. Furthermore, the company stated that their Code of Conduct explicitly discourages such behaviors.

The spokesperson claimed that the firm is committed to creating a comfortable workplace for all its workers and contractors. It also takes any violation concerns seriously. Also, Xilinx gives strict punishment to those found culpable of sexual harassment.

At the time the court issued the new lawsuit, #MeToo movement had established a foundation in Silicon Valley. It fights against sexual harassment of women employees in venture capital and tech firms.

A week after the party, Robert approached the firm’s HR and explained female contractors’ concerns. Consequentially, the company fired him the following day. Robert filed his case on Tuesday at the Santa Clara County court where he is asking for unspecified damages.

Roberts’ name might be familiar to most readers of the Mercury News. Back in 2015, while working as Branham high school’s security guard, some assailants stabbed him in the back. He was dispersing individuals drinking alcohol and smoking bang. The knife’s blade hit his spine protecting him from serious injury.

A Split Pa. Court Voids a $35m Damage Award

Two years ago, Allegheny County court gave Eugene Straw’s family a $35m damage award for the death of their six years old son in a fatal road accident. The court found 41 years old, Kirk Fair responsible for the crash.

Recently, a Split Pa. court voided the award and sent the lawsuit to Allegheny court for another trial. The court stated that Senior Judge Paul F. Lutty Jr erroneously freed some defendants like Straw’s father, Thomas, from the suit. Judge Judith Ference summarized the court’s majority opinion.

The accident occurred after the Straw’s family vehicle’s hood opened while cruising in Allegheny County on Route 28. Upon noticing, Thomas Straw quickly stopped the automobile in the middle of the highway’s lane. He lit his flashers to alert oncoming motorists.

Kirk Fair, from North Buffalo, was driving a pickup on the same highway at the same time. The truck belonged to Golon Masonry Restoration Inc. investigators discovered that Fair leaned to collect some folders which had drooped to the vehicle’s floor. He bumped into Thomas Straw’s car cruising at 17mph.

During his prosecution, Fair pleaded guilty to homicide charges. He also admitted having endangering lives by driving recklessly and over speeding. In 2014, the county court sentenced him to 23 months imprisonment.

In 2015, the court heard Thomas Straw’s lawsuit against Golon and Fair. By then, judge Lutty had removed some co-defendants who Kirk and Golon wanted to be included in the trial. They included two service stations and an auto parts shop that repaired Straw’s car. Kirk and Golon accused Thomas Straw of driving an automobile with a faulty hood latch. However, Lutty dismissed the defendant’s claim.

While ordering a new trial, Judge Olson deemed it appropriate for the second jury to determine whether the parts store, Thomas Straw, and the two service stations should be held responsible for the grisly accident. Judge Victor Stabile had a dissenting opinion. He opposed granting the case a new trial. He stated that Fair’s negligence was overwhelming rendering the actions of other defendants irrelevant.

Stabile noted that the accident occurred at around 7:30 pm. Besides, it was on a bright day, and the particular road has a 55mph maximum speed limit. He noted that apart from over speeding, Kirk wasn’t attentive. He delayed applying his emergency brakes hitting Eugene and killing him instantly.

Judge Stabile wrote that if Fair were prudent while driving, he would have seen Thomas Straw’s vehicle. He had clear visibility of over 2,000 feet and would have avoided the collision.