The Festival of Broken Promises

Social media stars such as Kendell Jenner promoted the The Frye Festival which was said to be “the culture event of the decade.”  Who wouldn’t want to be on a secluded island, stay in luxury accommodations, eat great food made by top chefs and hear music from bands for the standard fee. If a festival goer wanted to kick $250 more they could rent a boat or jet ski. For $2,500 partiers could dock a yacht, of course they had to bring their own yacht to do so. For an extra $25,000 Frye attendees could stay on a ship with a full staff. With the base ticket being $1,500 with each of the extras being per individual person it can add up quick.

Many tickets sold in the  $250,000 range, making this Festival one of the most expensive in decades.

With everything being offered and the individuals willing to spend their money.  Why are organizers, Ja Rule and Billy McFarland now being sued to the tune of $100 million dollars? The answer is that attendees were not met with luxury getaway promised. Festival goers found out in a short period of time that they did not get what they paid for and even worse many were unable to leave with limited shelter, food, medical care, water and organization in general on the island. Obviously this caused a panic. The promised remote island had a hotel on it. Their luxury lodging was explained by attendees as “FEMA tents” many of which were still not set up. The food meant for a king also did not meet the standard expected with Festival goers as they were served ham and cheese sandwiches with a side salad in Styrofoam. But wait they still had the band right? Nope, they all canceled as well.

What happens with the case remains to be seen with several willing to apologize, but nobody seems to be willing to take blame. It’s safe to say there will unlikely be another Frye Festival anytime soon if ever. It remains to be seen however if individuals no matter their financial status will take the time to research future events prior to committing to such an event.

Talc: Why Johnson & Johnson May (or May Not) Get Dusted

Johnson & Johnson’s (JNJ: NYSE) “powder problem” just won’t go away. While the Company asserts that there is no connection between its products and ovarian cancer, jury after jury seems to disagree. The monetary awards to plaintiffs are mounting, but so far there has been no payout. So, what is the current state of JNJ’s “particle predicament”?

Right now, Johnson & Johnson has nearly 1,200 lawsuits pending over talc. Most of these suits allege that JNJ did not disclose known potential problems with the silicate, problems of which the Company has been aware for years. If that is the case, the matter might ultimately end up one of the cover-up being worse than the crime. But, is there really a “crime”?

There is certainly no clear verdict on whether talc causes ovarian cancer. One theory suggests that DNA changes over a women’s life may be related to ovarian cancer development. And, talc use could be a catalyst. However, according to the American Cancer Society, “studies haven’t been able to specifically link any single chemical in the environment or in our diets to mutations that cause ovarian cancer. The cause of most acquired mutations remains unknown.”

But, an analysis done by Johnson & Johnson, itself, seems to be the most problematic. As previously reported by AP, the conclusion states, in its author’s opinion, that “’anybody who denies (the) risks’ between ‘hygienic’ talc use and ovarian cancer will be publicly perceived in the same light as those who denied a link between smoking cigarettes and cancer: ‘denying the obvious in the face of all evidence to the contrary.’”

How has all of this affected JNJ’s marketplace performance? Looking at the chart of its share price over the last several years, not much. Here is a recent chart from Fidelity:

 

Additionally, in April, the Company announced an increased quarterly dividend of 5% from 80 cents per share to 84 cents per share. So, while the lawsuits are mounting, with JNJ spending more time defending them, the marketplace does not yet seem worried. Is this something that the Company will eventually overcome? Right now, it’s hard to say. Time will tell whether this is just a dusting for JNJ or a fatal cancer that won’t go away.

San Bernardino attack Victims Sue Google, Facebook, Twitter over aiding Terrorism

Family members of the San Bernardino attack victims are suing Twitter, Facebook and Google accusing them of providing platforms that aid terrorists. The lawsuit filed on behalf of families of three of the victims of the December 2nd attack mirrors similar suits filed in cases involving terror attacks in Orlando and Dallas. The Lawsuit filed in a Los Angeles’ Federal court accuses the 3 tech giants of aiding and supporting terrorism by providing material support to these groups and are liable for the death of several victims of the December 2, 2015, attack.

The ISIS supposedly inspired Tashfeen Malik and Syed Rizwan Farook, the couple that carried out the attack. According to authorities, Malik had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State Group on her Facebook page around the shooting time, which wounded 22 people.

The same law firm filing this suit has sued the same companies severally, with some of their lawsuits being dismissed because federal laws shield online providers from taking responsibility for the content posted by their users.

The lawsuit claims that without YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook, the tremendous growth of the Islamic State Group would not have been remotely possible. It also claims the tech giants are liable for aiding & abetting acts of terrorism as well as providing support to designated foreign terror groups.

The law filed against the tech giants was on behalf of Tin Nguyen, Nicholas Thalasinos, and Sierra Clayborn, who were among the 14 killed by the terrorist duo of Tashfeen Malik and Syed Rizwan Farook. On Dec. 2nd, the couple targeted a Christmas party in San Bernardino that left 14 people dead and 22 others injured.

Currently, Facebook and Twitter claim to be doing everything in their power to prevent such instances where terror groups use their sites. All three companies have expressed their sympathy to the victims of the unfortunate event, and they have stated that they are not liable for the terror attack. They also argued that the families of the victims relied on a speculative chain of events to blame the tech giants for gunmen’s self-radicalization.

The companies further stated that accepting such claims would expose online platforms to possible liability for every terrorist attack in the world. Simply because the terrorist are affiliated with the online platforms does not mean that they supported the terror attack.

Shortly after the attack, James Comey-FBI Director- said that there was connected to a larger terror network although there were signs foreign terrorist organizations inspired them. Comey also said that the internet allows the opportunity for users to consume information and radicalizes.

Investigators also uncovered private messages sent by Malik to a Facebook group of Pakistani friends, pledging her support for Islamic Jihads and expressed her desire to join their fight. On the day before the shooting, Malik used Facebook to pledge her allegiance to ISIS. Facebook stated that they saw they post and alerted the FBI before they took it down.

3 Key Legal Provisions regarding Domestic Abuse

Domestic violence has been rampant in many countries hence there is a need for enforcement of  laws governing family disputes. The legal channels are made to assist in solving conflicts in your family,and also to ensure laws are adhered to  accordingly. The primary importance of law enforcement is to make sure you get justice. Below are some national provisions governing families.

Violence Against Women Act

This regulation curbs women from mistreatment and domestic abuse.If you are a woman the act is meant for you,since it was set to reduce chances of domestic violence against women. The likelihood of ill-treatment against women became minor as the law came in to assist in the matter. This act supports  a woman who falls victim to ensure they are secured, and an immediate action is taken against an individual mistreating you as a woman. The legal regulation protect abused spouses where there is a clear prove that there was an act of violence. The abuser is eligible for criminal charges and may be requested to provide monetary assistance in hospitalizing you incase you are injured.

Child Custody and Domestic Violence Act

When child abuse occurs in your family, an immediate action should be taken to provide safety for your child. The court deprives a spouse who falls  victim the right of parenting the child. The law awards the other spouse full custody of the child. Although in many scenarios a mother is considered more caring, there is a possibility of the father being the most appropriate candidate.If your partner molest your child,take legal action against him or her.

Divorce Proceedings Act

A family disagreement may result in separation due to many reasons. Abuse of a spouse or unfaithfulness by your partner  may prompt you  to take a divorce case to  court of law. The court requires a clear evidence of the cause for the divorce.  There must be involvement of a lawyer in the divorce proceedings, and the court’s judge gives the final say regarding the divorce.If you were initiating the divorce,you must involve a witness, marks left, or photographic to help in the judgment.

The laws governing domestic violence are helpful in securing every family member. Every country has laws defending all citizens even in the families. This ensures justice prevails in every sector. The law protects every of the family member bringing peace and harmony to the family.

Texas Borderland Owners Block Trump’s Wall

Los Ebanos, Texas. — One obstacle to President Trump’s pledged border wall is a little park in Los Ebanos. Aleida Garcia and her husband have converted part of their 30-acre property into the small park, which features a panoramic vista over the Rio Grande Valley. About ten years ago, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), under George W. Bush’s 2008 Secure Fence Act, attempted to seize that part of the Garcia’s land to build a border wall. The family fought the government in court, and DHS finally dropped the case just this year.

But, Mrs. Garcia has reportedly acknowledged to the New York Times (NYT) that President Trump’s plans might once again put her family’s property in jeopardy. “We’re just waiting…”, she reported told the NYT reporter. The Garcias are braced to resist all renewed federal attempts to take the property through eminent domain actions. And, they’ve got help. In at least ninety lawsuits, landowners have been battling government attempts to seize of their properties in in southern Texas since 2008.

Numerous Texas politicians support the private litigants. After all, in Texas, private ownership of land is held as a rather sacred right. State Representative Henry Cuellar reportedly stated to the NYT, “Here in Texas, we take the concept of private property very seriously,” And, he asserted, “Texans stand up for ourselves when the federal government tries to take what is ours.” This widespread local legal opposition to the border wall could frustrate construction plans for years as lawsuits grind through the courts.

But, both President Trump and Homeland Security Secretary, John Kelly have asserted that the wall can be built within 24 months. However, the recently passed Congressional spending bill does not include any allocation of funds for the wall construction. Now, newly surfacing legal disputes, along with the existing cases, and the absence of funding, all together make the president’s projected timeframe improbable—especially since the Texas landowners’ mission is to block construction by staying in court until Trump is out of office.

The Texan property owners are sharply aware that their region is a passage for drug smugglers. Some residents have even been crime victims. Yet, their group presents one of the president’s strongest challenges to building a border wall. They maintain that there is already heavy border security, in the form of patrolling by federal and local authorities and drones. They argue that the wall would be of little added security value. Their position is that their land would be lost for a wall that would be of merely symbolic effect.

Case of the Unicorn Frappuccino: Cafe Sues Starbucks Over Trademark

With pink and blue rainbow swirls, it was playfully eye-catching. And Starbucks staffers had a field day promoting the Unicorn Frappuccino over social media.

But a cafe known as The End Brooklyn was not amused.

The End serves up healthful drinks in coffee cups to customers in New York City’s trendy Williamsburg area. And it filed a lawsuit that accuses Starbucks of grabbing its own Unicorn Latte idea.

The End hasn’t trademarked its Unicorn Latte, so a trademark infringement challenge is a long shot. Yet The End’s parent company, Montauk Juice Factory, has had an application for “Unicorn Latte” pending since January with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

A Unicorn Latte at The End contains dates, vanilla bean, ginger, lemon juice, cashews, and maca root. The End applies natural colors to the whipped cuppa, delighting customers with artistic flourishes. Starbucks, in turn, whipped up a drink concept with similar pastel hues, and sold it under the name Unicorn Frappuccino. Or, in the branding language of Starbucks, Unicorn Frappuccino® Blended Crème.

The End sees Starbucks as usurping the idea’s appeal, as customers now associate unicorn cafe drinks with the bigger chain.

Starbucks has fired back at the smaller company. It credits social media users’ excitement over “fun, spirited and colorful unicorn-themed” products for inspiration. Starbucks is well known for marketing to young adults by showing off its Frappuccino lines on social media. And Starbucks points out that its swirly pink and blue model has already finished its limited run, which played out in April.

But Montauk Juice Factory wants compensation and an apology, claiming that Starbucks took an unfair competitive advantage. It insists that the social media buzz for unicorn-themed cafe drinks was its own handiwork — and Starbucks pounced on it.

While the two companies face off over their rights to their pink and blue concoctions, they’re certainly not the only food and drink industry players to seize upon the popularity of unicorns. Indeed, Bangkok is home to the Unicorn Cafe, which attracts international swoons with its all-things-unicorn theme.

In any case, Starbucks likely regards the whole trademark argument as a tempest in a teacup. It’s now selling Dragon Frappuccino.

Lawsuit against Officials Who Oppose Controversial Law on Sanctuary Cities

he Texas attorney general made an announcement that the state intended to sue all local officials who oppose the ban on sanctuary cities. This is a law that intends to punish sheriffs and police chiefs who do not cooperate with federal immigration agents. The law requires that law enforcement agencies find out the immigration status during routine stops.
 
Officers who do not comply with the requirements will face possible fines and jail time. Those who oppose the law have said that it is unconstitutional, with various advocacy groups making the promise to challenge the law. Other parties have expressed fears that police officers may take advantage to engage in racial profiling.
 
Some of those mentioned in the lawsuit openly refused to comply with federal orders that they detain people based on their immigration status. Others have gone to court to seek legal interpretation of the role of local police in keeping communities safe. They have claimed that a legal process is better placed to resolve the issue as compared to a political one.
 
A good number of local officials have made their position clear, claiming that the law is not in the best interest of public said. One official said that although he was opposed to the law, he had always followed the law and would do the same with this particular one.
 
The lawsuit by the state seeks to have a District Court declare that the law is not in violation of the right to protection against unreasonable searches and seizures or the right to equal protection. It also wants the court to rule that federal law does not preempt the law.
 
With some politicians arguing that state authorities have the duty to hold undocumented immigrants and detain suspected criminal aliens, officials have begun to revise the relevant policies.

 
Some police officers have also argued that this law would potentially discourage immigrants from interacting with law enforcement officers or reporting cases of crime. While Republicans are in support of the law, local sheriffs and police chiefs, as well as the Mexican government, have strongly expressed their opposition.

 
The new law requires law enforcement officers to establish the immigration status, even when they stop people for traffic offenses. Authorities who fail to comply with federal requests could be jailed for one year. Police departments in cities and counties could be fined up to $ 25,500 a day for violation of the same law. President Trump also threatened to strip federal funds to non-compliant cities, but a federal judge blocked this order in California.

Toyota Announces 2016/17 Tacoma Pickup Truck Recall

Japanese automaker Toyota announced on Thursday it would be recalling 228,000 units of the 2016 and 2017 model-year Toyota Tacoma in the U.S. The recall applies to around 250,000 vehicles around the world. The pickup trucks are said to have a defect that could result in oil leakage, possibly increasing the crash risk. The Tacoma was recently redesigned, and the potential oil leakage could damage the rear differential. Toyota stated that the damage could “result in noise and reduced propulsion” and that there is the possibility the rear differential “could seize, resulting in a loss of control of the vehicle and increasing the risk of a crash.” Any safety defect that could result in the loss of control of a vehicle means the vehicle does not meet the standards of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and a recall must be undertaken. Toyota spokesman Victor Vanov declined to comment as to whether the company had received complaints due to crashes or injuries resulting from the defect. Toyota will be checking vehicles for oil leakage in the rear differentials, replacing the carrier gaskets and fasteners as necessary. Even if leaking oil is not present, tightening of the fasteners will still be done in order to prevent damage. Toyota customers will be notified if the recall concerns them and if they eligible for free repairs starting mid-June. Affected truck owners are urged to bring in their vehicles into a dealer for inspection. Further information regarding recalls of Toyota, Scion, and Lexus vehicles can be found at Toyota.com/recall.

If your vehicle is recalled, you as the car owner are entitled to notification via mailed letter. This letter will provide you with important information about having your car repaired. Federal law mandates that consumers be entitled to recall remedies for free, without a lengthy wait time. For further information, the NHTSA provides consumers with a guide to vehicle defects and recalls, as well as a place to file complaints regarding safety defects in vehicles. Civil lawsuits can be filed against auto manufacturers in order to recoup damages from injuries that resulted from a crash due to a vehicle safety defect.

Parents File $10 Million Lawsuit after the Death of Their Daughter

Almost six months after Jordin Taylor was found dead underneath a party bus, her parents have filed a multimillion dollar suit with the Hays County District Clerk. Jordin, a Texas State Student, met her death when she was dragged by a party bus after a fraternity party she had attended in Martindale. Her parents have filed the suit against the bus company, the multiple fraternities that had hosted events and a number of other entities involved in the event.

Freddie Joey Taylor filed the lawsuit on March 21, seeking $ 10 million in damages and compensation. The court documents allege that Skyline Party Bus Company, the management officer, Brandon Burleson, B&B Shuttles, the driver of the bus, Gabriela Wilson, SMTX Properties, VCD San Marcos River and four different national fraternities at Texas State University were negligent in their actions. The plaintiff claims that the death of his daughter was as a result of the said negligence.
Jordin Taylor was found on the morning of October 28, lying lifeless between the ground and the axle of a party bus. These events unfolded ate Cool River Ranch, a venue that had been used by Pi Kappa Alpha, Alpha Tau Omega, Kappa Alpha Order Epsilon Lota and Delta Tau Delta Zeta Delta to host events. These are some of the national fraternities at Texas State University. In the lawsuit, the plaintiff argues that Jordin was trapped underneath the bus after the vehicle had struck her during the party. It is a mechanic who found Jordin’s lifeless body the following day.

In the lawsuit, Mr. Taylor argues that the negligence of all the parties led to the failure to create a safe environment for the party. The lawsuit goes further to claim that the parties failed to ensure that there was enough security for a party whose attendance went beyond 2,000 people. According to the document, the venue had poor lighting, the organizers allowed underage drinking and that the reckless driving of the party bus driver amounted to negligence. All these actions put the safety of those entering and exiting the property at risk. In the lawsuit, the plaintiff demands that the case proceeds to a trial by a jury so that they can get fair compensation for the damages suffered.

Class Action Suit Proposed Over Federal Student Aid

We can all agree that student loans can be expensive and unfair- on April 13, 2017, a group of students decided to do something about it. Students who were unhappy with the way their student loan payments were being handled filed a proposed class action lawsuit against three companies- Higher One Holdings, Inc., WEX Bank, and Customers Bancorp. Students believe that they were mislead and unfairly charged fees in conjunction with their student loans.

Shayla Edelman, the named plaintiff in the case, is claiming that these companies made unfair deals with higher education institutions. Edelman claims that these deals were beneficial to the loan companies and the colleges/ universities, but not so beneficial to the students taking out (and eventually repaying) the loans.

Basically, the complaint states that money that was awarded to students was often more than they needed, and those additional funds were difficult for students to access, even though the students should have had them easily accessible so that they could use them for books, room and board, and other typical college living expenses. Furthermore, the companies made it hard to get the money that the students were promised.

Some of the problems she mentioned included that students were required to use an ATM network that was difficult to access, and often were hit with high overdraft fees as a result, creating even more financial trouble for students who struggled to access the money they were promised in the first place. Students were also given debit cards that were branded with the logo of the school they attended, tricking students into believing they were in a financial relationship with a higher education institution that they trusted, instead of an unfair loan company.

The class action suit, if it moves forward, would benefit any students who had a Higher One account opened between December 20, 2013 and July 30, 2016 and were charged overdraft fees for using non-Higher One ATMS and engaging in transactions that required a PIN. Edelman is also seeking special restitution for Pennsylvania residents under Pennsylvania-specific laws.