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- 12/06/17--15:13: _Oracle is trying to...
- 12/07/17--11:24: _The 6 women suing H...
- 12/20/17--10:44: _Meet the 31-year-ol...
- 01/08/18--17:32: _Google managers kep...
- 01/25/18--12:14: _6 months after bein...
- 01/28/18--20:35: _Why people are furi...
- 02/09/18--07:15: _The federal judge T...
- 02/11/18--23:51: _Talks to sell The W...
- 02/15/18--15:00: _Google just made an...
- 02/20/18--12:23: _A woman is suing Ca...
- 03/14/18--10:09: _Miley Cyrus is faci...
- 03/14/18--11:29: _Pharmacy startup Bl...
- 03/14/18--14:38: _An Alaska Airlines ...
- 03/20/18--06:02: _Bumble accuses Tind...
- 03/21/18--09:11: _2 veteran United fl...
- 03/22/18--12:30: _A United passenger ...
- Oracle on Thursday will try, once again, to get the courts to tell Google to hand over a lot of money.
- In May 2016, a jury ruled in favor of Google, saying Google's use of bits of Oracle code in Android constituted "fair use."
- Oracle appealed the verdict, however, and the first appeal hearing is scheduled to kick off Thursday.
- The two have been duking it out in court for years, but so far, Oracle has not been awarded the multi-billion dollar judgment it's seeking.
- Harvey Weinstein and his companies face a potential class-action racketeering lawsuit after allegedly conspiring to cover up sexual assault and silence victims.
- Legal experts say using the federal racketeering statute is a more complex route than a personal injury suit — but if they win, they could receive triple the amount of potential damages.
- Employees at Google who express "conservative viewpoints in politically-charged debates" may find themselves blacklisted by managers at the company, alleges an explosive new lawsuit.
- And by blacklisted, that means their names may appear on actual lists, the suit contends.
- Google employees who identify as conservative say they have complained to HR and senior management about the blacklists.
- These allegations are part of a lawsuit filed on behalf of fired Google engineer James Damore that seeks to represent white males and conservatives who feel like they've been the target of discrimination.
- Kris Duggan, who founded and served as CEO of BetterWorks, is starting a new company.
- The new company already has funding and is hiring, although Duggan offered few details about it.
- Duggan stepped down as BetterWorks' CEO in July after he was accused in a lawsuit of sexually harassing an employee.
- Sony congratulated Kesha for her performance at Sunday night's Grammys.
- Fans are furious at the record label, which is involved in ongoing litigation with the artist.
- Kesha accused Dr. Luke, her producer at Sony, for sexual abuse.
- The judge that President Donald Trump previously accused of being biased and "a Mexican" is now overseeing a major lawsuit against the border wall.
- Judge Gonzalo Curiel will preside over a hearing on the case in US district court on Friday.
- The lawsuit is the main legal challenge to the border wall's construction and its potential impacts on the environment.
- A $500 million deal to buy Harvey Weinstein's company has reportedly collapsed following an explosive new lawsuit.
- New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed a civil rights lawsuit earlier on Sunday against Weinstein and The Weinstein Company.
- It provides details of Weinstein's alleged aggressive behaviour and says board members facilitated it.
- The Attorney General's office said the timing of the suit was due to "the possible imminent sale" of the company.
- 02/15/18--15:00: Google just made an announcement that should make Uber very nervous
- Alphabet's Waymo is testing its new ride-sharing platform, which should become available for the masses soon.
- The Chrysler Pacifica is one car of choice for Waymo's service.
- Waymo's real threat to Uber is that it will offer self-driving cars.
- 02/20/18--12:23: A woman is suing California for not recognizing Bigfoot as a species
- A woman in California is positive that she and her two daughters spotted Bigfoot in a tree in southern California last year.
- She says park officials told her it must have been a bear and is now suing Fish and Wildlife for not acknowledging Bigfoot’s existence.
- Ackley filed her suit with documentary filmmaker Todd Standing, who made the Netflix film "Discovering Bigfoot," and believes that the sighting is legit.
- Pop singer Miley Cyrus is facing a $300 million copyright infringement lawsuit over her hit 2013 single, "We Can't Stop."
- The Jamaican songwriter Michael May, whose stage name is Flourgon, claims that Cyrus' "We Can't Stop" closely resembles his 1988 single "We Run Things."
- May said in the suit that Cyrus' song took "about 50 percent" from his song, including musical elements and the phrase, "We run things / Things no run we."
- Cyrus' "We Can't Stop" hit No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart after its release in June 2013.
- May's "We Run Things" reached No. 1 in his home country, Jamaica, in 1988.
- Blink Health, a pharmacy startup that provides discounts to prescription drugs and has raised $165 million in funding, is suing a competitor it claims is an "unlawful copycat scheme."
- The lawsuit alleges Hippo, a new startup founded by former Blink Health executives, got ahold of Blink Health's trade secrets and unfairly uses them to compete with Blink Health.
- Blink Health is seeking $50 million in damages already caused, along with $200 million in punitive damages for a total of $250 million.
- Alaska Airlines pilot Betty Pina is suing the airline.
- The first officer claims she was drugged and raped during a layover by the captain in charge of her flight.
- She claims Alaska Airlines is responsible for the captain's behavior.
- The pilot also claims Alaska Airline's response to the incident was lacking.
- In an ad published in the New York Times on Tuesday, Bumble accused Tinder's parent company, Match Group, of using "scare tactics" to "intimidate" Bumble.
- Last week, Match Group filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Bumble, alleging that Bumble and Tinder were virtually identical.
- According to recent reports, Match Group is still interested in buying Bumble.
- Two United Airlines flight attendants sued the airline after they were fired in September 2013.
- They've been awarded $800,000 in damages, and their attorney thinks that number could rise.
- He claimed that during the trial, a United supervisor said lighting a fire in an airplane bathroom was as bad as one of the reasons Lee and Stroup were fired — watching a video on an iPad for 15 minutes.
- United Airlines passenger Greg Woienski is suing the airline after he allegedly fractured his spine on a February 2017 flight from Orlando to Newark, the Orlando Sentinel reports.
- In his lawsuit, Woienski alleges that the airline took his wheelchair before he boarded the aircraft.
- After he boarded, Woienski allegedly fell, fractured his spine, and suffered "several other major injuries," according to the lawsuit.
Last May, Oracle suffered a well-publicized loss in its years-long lawsuit against Google over Android. Oracle appealed the verdict and the first hearing is scheduled for Thursday.
The trial was watched closely by the computer industry and included testimony from a who's who in Silicon Valley, including Alphabet CEO Larry Page, Alphabet chairman Eric Schmidt, and Oracle CEO Safra Catz. At once point Oracle's Larry Ellison even called Page "evil" over the situation.
While each side has won various stages of the legal fight, the upshot is: Google has yet to be told it is on the hook to pay Oracle for Java, much less the massive, multi-billion dollar fine Oracle has been hoping for.
If the appeals court upholds the last jury verdict, which found in favor of Google, that would likely severely hamper Oracle's attempts to keep going on this case. Google had attempted to get the Supreme Court to jump into the case in 2015 and issue a definitive ruling, but the Supreme Court declined to do so at that time, leaving it to wind its way through the lower courts first.
The trial was so technical that the judge overseeing the trial, Judge William Alsup of the northern district of California, taught himself to code just to understand the case better, The Verge reported at the time.
Oracle and Google have been battling it out for years in two separate court cases over whether Google must pay Oracle billions of dollars for bits of code copied from Java (a programming language Oracle owns) and used in Android (the language Google controls).
At issue were parts of the code called application programming interfaces (APIs), the technology that allows different computer programs to talk to each other. In May 2016, a jury ruled that Google's use of the disputed code was "fair use."
These lawsuits caused a lot of hand-wringing in the software industry, with pro-Google sides worrying that if Oracle won the suit, it would be awful for the software industry. Those folks worried that an Oracle win would make APIs the subject of more lawsuits and make APIs more difficult to create and share.
For those in search of more details on Oracle's potential next moves, a policy blog from the Computer & Communications Industry Association called The Project-Disco blog has posted an interesting analysis of the case.
Both Oracle and Google declined comment.
Six women on Wednesday filed a proposed class-action lawsuit against disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein and the companies associated with him, alleging that their coordinated efforts to cover up a pattern of egregious sexual misconduct amounted to racketeering.
The women accused Weinstein, The Weinstein Company, members of its board, and Miramax of violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) act, a law passed in 1970 that was designed to prosecute massive criminal enterprises like the Mafia.
But legal experts say a class-action racketeering suit against Weinstein and his co-defendants will likely be a complex, lengthy process.
The RICO claim's primary value is to bring publicity to the lawsuit.
"In my opinion, the RICO claim's primary value is to bring publicity to the lawsuit," Jeffrey Grell, a University of Minnesota law professor who has written a book on RICO, told Business Insider. He added that the plaintiffs would have better standing to sue over personal injury — tort — claims.
"This is assault, it's battery, it's intentional infliction of emotional distress," he said. "I tell people when they present [racketeering] claims like this to me, 'Hey, if you need to get from point A to point B, why buy a jet when you can get to point B by riding a bike?' And the tort claims are like riding the bicycle."
Though racketeering claims can be more complicated than torts, successful suits come with significantly higher damages, Morgan Cloud, an Emory University law professor who has studied RICO, told Business Insider in an email.
"Litigants sue for civil damages under the RICO statute in part because, if they win, they are entitled to recover treble damages — three times their actual damages — and their costs of litigation, including attorneys' fees," he said.
The crux of the women's arguments is that Weinstein and multiple "complicit" individuals and companies conspired to lure women, under the guise of career advancement opportunities, into situations where Weinstein could sexually harass or assault them. Then, they say, Weinstein and his associates would allegedly silence accusations of wrongdoing by blacklisting or threatening to blacklist the women.
Weinstein's alleged sexual misconduct ranges from instances of flashing, groping, and harassing to fondling, battering, false imprisonment, sexual assault, and rape.
'I don't know how they prove that'
Despite the gravity of the women's allegations, there are several problems their attorneys will run into with a racketeering claim, Grell said.
In a civil RICO claim, for instance, a plaintiff must prove that racketeering damaged their business or property.
In this case, the suit alleges that Weinstein and his associates used obstruction of justice, witness tampering, and mail and wire fraud to prevent the women from getting work. That, Grell said, is notoriously difficult to prove.
"RICO requires that the plaintiff prove that but for the fraud they would have received the part ... and I don't know how they prove that in a case like this," Grell said.
"They essentially have to prove that but for Weinstein's lie, or half-truth, they would have gotten this part. And when you look into the reasons why anyone is hired for any job, there's a multitude of reasons."
Similar civil racketeering cases have died for those reasons, he added, including cases against clergy members accused of covering up sexual abuse scandals.
Attorney Steve Berman, managing partner of the Hagens Berman firm representing the women, told Business Insider in a statement that the suit is "a classic case for RICO."
"Yesterday's New York Times article called it 'Weinstein's Complicity Machine,'" Berman said. "Exactly what we have here is an enterprise of many assisting Weinstein's unlawful conduct, and RICO prohibits unlawful enterprises. We see it as a classic RICO case."
We see it as a classic RICO case.
One aspect in the plaintiff's favor is that the federal racketeering statute is a broad one that many conventional organizations have been successfully sued under. Cloud sees several aspects of the women's suit that at first glance appear to fall neatly under RICO's requirements.
For instance, the women must demonstrate a "pattern" of racketeering activity, meaning multiple acts over a significant period of time. Their suit – and the dozens of other women who have made public allegations against Weinstein in recent months — appears to have done that, Cloud said.
"Assuming that press reports have been accurate, actions by Weinstein and his associates could constitute a pattern — if these actions are 'racketeering acts,'" he told Business Insider in an email.
Furthermore, the plaintiffs must demonstrate the existence of an "enterprise," which must in some way affect interstate or foreign commerce.
"The Weinstein Company undoubtedly passes that test," Cloud said.
• Koch heir Wyatt Koch is suing his former fiancee Ivie Gabrielle Slocumb in order to retrieve a $250,000 engagement ring, The Daily Mail reported.
• Koch is the son of billionaire William Koch.
• He runs his own fashion brand in Palm Beach.
A broken engagement is almost always a source of pain, disappointment and turmoil for those involved.
But for one formerly betrothed couple in Florida, there's also a huge rock worth thousands of dollars on the line, too.
The Daily Mail reported Wyatt Koch filed suit against his ex-fiancee Ivie Gabrielle Slocumb after she failed to return her $250,000 engagement ring once their relationship ended. According to The Palm Beach Daily News, Koch bought the ring for $180,000 at Manufacturing Jewelers on Madison Avenue in March 2017.
Koch is the 31-year-old son of billionaire William Koch, who broke away from his brothers in the 1990s and hosted fundraisers for US President Donald Trump during the 2016 election, according to Fortune. Wyatt Koch lives in Florida, where he runs his own fashion line — Wyatt Ingraham.
Here's a look at the life and career of this Koch heir:
Koch's parents William Koch and Joan Granlund divorced when he was young. He was raised in Greenwich, Connecticut and New York City, and told Palm Beach Illustrated he has fond childhood memories of spending time on Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard, too.
Koch's love of fashion began early, from where he first donned a "Yves Saint Laurent black with white pinstripes ensemble" at the age of 15, according to Palm Beach Magazine. He told The Palm Beach Record that he was voted "most fashionable" in high school.
In 2006, he moved to Palm Beach, where both of his parents live. Koch also owns a 450-acre ranch called Wonderland in Okeechobee, Florida.
See the rest of the story at INSIDER
A well-known Republican San Francisco lawyer has filed a lawsuit against Google seeking to represent white, male or conservative employees who believe the company has discriminated against them.
The lawyer is Harmeet Dhillon, a partner with the Dhillon Law Group in San Francisco and the former chairwoman of the Republican Party in San Francisco.
She has been on the hunt for such victims since she took on fired Google engineer James Damore as a client in August. And on Monday she presented the first fruits of her research in a 161-page complaint that's chock full of allegations and screenshots.
The most jaw-dropping allegation is that "Google publicly endorsed blacklists" of conservatives. The lawsuit claims that several hiring managers publicly vowed not to hire people categorized as "hostile voices" aka conservatives.
For instance, one manager wrote on one internal forum, "I will never, ever hire/transfer you onto my team. Ever."
Another manager wrote in another, "I keep a written blacklist of people whom I will never allow on or near my team, based on how they view and treat their coworkers. That blacklist got a little longer today."
The lawsuit cites another post from another hiring manager that said, "If you express a dunderheaded opinion about religion, about politics, or about ‘social justice’, it turns out I am allowed to think you’re a halfwit... I’m perfectly within my rights to mentally categorize you in my [d*ckhead] box... Yes, I maintain (mentally, and not (yet) publicly)."
Interestingly, the lawsuit doesn't show the statements that provoked such strong reactions from these managers. It only characterizes them as "tactfully expressed conservative viewpoints in politically-charged debates."
Whether expressing anti-diversity sentiments at a workplace is a protected "conservative viewpoint" or, rather, a form of bigotry that actually creates a hostile environment is at the heart of the case — and it reflects a broader debate gripping the country under the divisive presidency of Donald Trump.
"Something resembling a trial"
The lawsuit shows that in at least one case, a manager (a white woman), was contemplating keeping some kind of actual, public list of employee names.
The manager wrote on an internal post, "I am thinking of something like a google doc that accepts comments, and which calls out those googlers that are unsupportive of diversity," she wrote.
She wondered, in the post, whether special "trials" should be held for employees nominated for the list, to determine whether they belonged on it or not.
The lawsuit shows her post as evidence:
The lawsuit names other instances, too. It says that conservative employees reported such lists or other attempts to block them and their comments on Google's internal social media sites to HR who told them that employees have the right to block others or make statements about the type of employees they liked to work with.
The lawsuit says that conservative employees on two occassions in the fall of 2017, also brought the matter of such lists up with Paul Manwell, Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s chief of staff, and to senior lawyer Kent Walker.
This lawsuit was filed on behalf of Damore, the engineer who created a firestorm last summer with his memo about women in tech and his comments about how Google treats conservatives. It seeks class-action status to represent other white or male or conservatives employees who believe they faced discrimination at Google.
A Google spokesperson says the company is ready to fight this lawsuit, telling us. "We look forward to defending against Mr. Damore's lawsuit in court."
Kris Dugan, the founder of BetterWorks, is launching a new startup — just six months after he stepped down as CEO of the enterprise software company amid accusations that he sexually harassed an employee.
Duggan announced his new venture on Wednesday on LinkedIn. He gave few details about the company he's starting, beyond that he already has funding for it and is hiring.
The startup is "pursuing a marketplace opportunity in a very big and traditional market," he said in his LinkedIn post.
It's unclear who's funding the new company. Duggan did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The move marks a quick turnaround for Duggan. Last July, he stepped down as CEO of BetterWorks after a former BetterWorks employee sued him and the company charging that he had assaulted her and the company had fostered a hostile work environment.
According to the lawsuit, Duggan allegedly got drunk during an offsite work retreat, entered a cabin occupied by the plaintiff in the complaint, Beatrice Kim, and touched Kim's legs despite her asking him to stop. The lawsuit also charged that Duggan oversaw a company that tolerated jokes about women, rape, and female body parts and didn't take seriously women's complaints about sexual harassment.
Duggan was one of many in tech accused of sexual improprieties — but one of the first to attempt a rebound
The lawsuit, which is still active, came amid a flurry of accusations against tech executives and investors charging them with sexual harassment, sexual assault, and discrimination. Duggan is one of the first of those hit by such allegations to attempt a public restart of his career.
Duggan has disputed several of the claims in the suit and said he stepped down as CEO only to "lessen the distraction" it was causing the company. At the time, Duggan remained at BetterWorks as its president. He's now resigned from that role, though he remains on BetterWorks' board, a company representative said.
The board also issued a statement that said an independent investigation found there was no violation of company policy.
"Following a thorough review of the facts by the independent investigator, and a review of the investigator's process by the board, the board concluded that there was no violation of the company’s anti-harassment, anti-discrimination or any other policies. BetterWorks and its board are committed to fostering a positive work environment for all of its employees," the statement reads.
Despite this, Duggan's quick rebound from the allegations of impropriety has left a bad taste in the mouths of at least some in Silicon Valley.
In a post on Blind, an app where workers can anonymously discuss their employers, one BetterWorks employee noted Duggan's rapid turnaround from being in the news for allegedly assaulting someone to announcing that he has funding for a new company.
"Rich white dudes can really get away with anything, can't they?" the employee said in the post.
Sony is experiencing a backlash after congratulating one of its own musicians, Kesha, for her powerful performance at the Grammys Sunday night.
People are accusing the label of being complicit in stalling Kesha's career after she accused her producer, Dr. Luke, of sexual assault.
Kesha performed the song "Praying," which was released after a lengthy period of time where she released little music, partially because she was engaged in a legal battle with Dr. Luke over allegations of sexual assault, physical abuse, and emotional abuse. Dr. Luke runs Kemosabe Records, a subsidiary of Sony's music label, and has Kesha signed on to a contract.
The legal battle between Dr. Luke and Kesha are still ongoing, but Kesha managed to release her album "Rainbows" last year and perform her single "Praying" at Sunday night's Grammy awards.
Still, fans are upset with Sony.
wait didn't you guys play some role in tormenting kesha, like a big one https://t.co/fz709F1eCl— Talia Lavin (@chick_in_kiev) January 29, 2018
You motherfuckers literally protected her rapist for years. https://t.co/cL8M3msCGE— Jaclyn Friedman❄️ (@jaclynf) January 29, 2018
.... Tweeting about kesha, when Sony was complicit in the same struggle she was singing about. pic.twitter.com/qtwOBhUvtf— Sarah Liz (@sarahhliz) January 29, 2018
Now hold up. You counter-sued when she spoke out about her abuse and FORCED her to stay in a contact with her abuser. Fuck you, @SonyMusicGlobal. YOU are the problem.— Joe (@ThatJoeHalpin) January 29, 2018
A representative for Sony Music didn't immediately respond to INSIDER's request for comment.
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The federal judge that President Donald Trump once argued was too biased by his Mexican heritage to handle lawsuits against Trump University will now preside over a key legal challenge to Trump's long-promised border wall.
Judge Gonzalo Curiel will hear arguments Friday over the main environmental lawsuit against the Trump administration's plans to erect a wall along the US-Mexico border.
The plaintiffs, which include three separate parties whose suits have been consolidated into one, are arguing that the Trump administration is exceeding its authority in waiving environmental laws to build new border structures, including the eight wall prototypes that have already been erected near the Otay Mesa port of entry in San Diego, California.
They also argued that the wall construction could result in "irreparable harm" to wildlife and ecosystems along the border.
The Trump administration, meanwhile, is expected to argue that the Department of Homeland Security has the authority to waive the environmental laws, and that previous courts have upheld the department's authority on border security.
"Congress unmistakably expressed its policy judgment that construction of the barriers and roads along the border was of such importance that it justified waiving application of environmental and other laws," the Trump administration said in a brief.
Andrew Gordon, a former Homeland Security lawyer under the Obama administration, told McClatchy it's "a very significant case," noting that Curiel could dramatically slow down Trump's plans for construction even if the government successfully appeals his ruling.
Curiel drew national attention during the presidential campaign after Trump assailed him for his heritage, at times falsely describing him as "a Mexican" even though Curiel was born in Indiana.
"Now, this judge is of Mexican heritage. I'm building a wall, OK? I'm building a wall," Trump said in an infamous exchange with CNN's Jake Tapper. "We're building a wall. He's a Mexican. We're building a wall between here and Mexico. The answer is, he is giving us very unfair rulings — rulings that people can't even believe."
Trump ultimately agreed to a $25 million settlement in the fraud cases, and Curiel never responded publicly to Trump's attacks.
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A deal in the works to buy disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein's company has reportedly collapsed after the New York Attorney General filed a lawsuit against the company and its founders.
A group led by businesswoman Maria Contreras-Sweet was reportedly set to close a deal to buy the troubled Weinstein Company for about $500 million, including any assumption of debt, the The Wall Street Journal reported, citing a source with knowledge of the transaction.
However, news of the decision by Eric Schneiderman, the attorney general, to file a lawsuit against Weinstein and his company reportedly left too much uncertainty for the deal's success.
Schneiderman's office said the timing of the suit was due to "the possible imminent sale" of The Weinstein Company.
It said the sale could “could leave survivors of Respondents' (Weinstein's) unlawful conduct without adequate redress [and] enable perpetrators or enablers of misconduct to obtain unwarranted financial benefits.”
So far, Schneiderman has not sought a restraining order which would halt the completion of the sale, but the suit ramps up the pressure on any potential buyers.
The Weinstein Company's board of directors released a statement on Sunday which said the lawsuit makes untrue claims.
It said: “We are disappointed that the New York Attorney General felt it necessary to file today’s complaint.
"Many of the allegations relating to the Board are inaccurate and the Board looks forward to bringing the facts to light as part of its ongoing commitment to resolve this difficult situation in the most appropriate way."
The statement also addressed the Weinstein Company's pending plans to sell the company, which the company said it did in order to "preserve jobs and create a victim fund."
"Any suggestion that the Company or its Board somehow impeded or discouraged the buyer’s access to the New York Attorney General is simply untrue.
"Indeed, the Company and its Board actively encouraged the buyer to communicate with the Attorney General. The Company looks forward to continuing our discussions with the Attorney General in order to reach our common goal of bringing this situation to an appropriate resolution.”
The suit targets Weinstein's sexual misconduct and the board members who enabled him
Business Insider has reviewed details of the civil rights suit against Weinstein, which attacks what it calls the company's "gender-based hostile work environment."
It targets Harvey Weinstein for allegations of sexual misconduct, as well as the executives and board of The Weinstein Company for failing to protect employees from Weinstein.
The suit comes after a four-month investigation by the attorney general's office into mounting allegations against Weinstein and his business.
According to the lawsuit, Weinstein told several employees "I will kill you" or "I will kill your family." He also told employees "you don't know what I can do" and often touted his connection to powerful political figures and reported contacts within the Secret Service that could "take care of problems."
The suit also describes how Weinstein manipulated and intimidated groups of female employees.
The Weinstein Company allegedly employed a group of female employees whose primary job was to accompany Weinstein to major Hollywood events and facilitate his sexual "conquests."
The lawsuit also alleges that Harvey's brother Robert Weinstein and other high-ranking board members at The Weinstein Company knew about the sexual misconduct actively disregarded claims, or attempted to pay off his victims.
According to the suit, The Weinstein Company took no action to investigate claims of sexual misconduct or prevent the behavior from continuing.
The New York Times first reported on the claims against Weinstein in October, and The New Yorker followed up with several new detailed allegations shortly after. In all, more than 60 women have accused Weinstein of varying degrees of sexual misconduct.
Lost in all of the headlines about lower advertising margins, a marketwide sell-off, and its lawsuit against Uber, Alphabet management made a rather exciting announcement regarding self-driving-car unit Waymo on its last earnings call. Combined with the current lawsuit, these recent events could signal big trouble for the still-private Uber, and potentially very good news for Alphabet shareholders. Here's what you need to know.
A Waymo app
On the recent earnings call, Alphabet CFO Ruth Porat announced that Waymo will be releasing its own Waymo-branded ridesharing app later this year. The company had been testing its early rider program in Phoenix throughout 2017, but apparently, it's now ready to take the next great leap forward to a full-fledged Waymo service for the masses.
What also may have gone unnoticed was a January news item that Waymo had ordered "thousands" of Chrysler Pacifica minivans from Fiat Chrysler, which is the car Waymo used in the 100-vehicle early rider program. The order signals that Waymo is ready for widespread deployment, with Waymo CEO John Krafcik announcing, "with the world's first fleet of fully self-driving vehicles on the road, we've moved from research and development to operations and deployment."
This announcement is further evidence of Waymo's overall lead in self-driving cars, especially regarding safety. In January, the state of California released its self-driven-miles data for the 12-month reporting period ended last November. The results showed Waymo as the clear leader, with over 352,000 miles driven in California, representing 70.3% of the self-driven miles in the state -- a huge lead over the 131,000 miles driven (26.16%) by second-place General Motors' self-driving unit Cruise Automation.
Not only did Waymo score more miles, but its disengagement rate fell to 0.18 per thousand miles, down from 0.20 in 2016. For reference, a disengagement occurs when a human monitor has to assume control of the autonomous vehicle. Waymo's figure was also well below GM-Cruise, which scored a 0.8 disengagement rate, though GM claimed this was a huge 1400% improvement from 2016, which, admittedly, is also impressive.
Bad news for Uber
The recent announcements could portend trouble for Uber. If the future of ridesharing is self-driving, I'm not sure why anyone would opt for an Uber self-driving service over a Waymo service or even a Cruise service for that matter. Even if Uber were able to come out with its own self-driving features, new competition from well-funded tech companies would spell trouble for the company, which is still unprofitable, according to its financial releases.
And now, with the Waymo-Uber court trial underway, the story may be getting worse. If Uber is found to have violated Waymo's intellectual property rights by hiring away a former Waymo engineer accused of illegally taking thousands of Waymo documents, it could halt Uber's self-driving aspirations indefinitely. In fact, even though Uber is the dominant ridesharing brand right now, a negative outcome at trial could potentially be a mortal wound for the company.
Where are the others?
Some may be wondering where Tesla and Apple fit into the California data. Tesla reported zero actual miles but claimed that it had "shadow tested" its vehicles "via simulation, in laboratories, on test tracks, and on public roads in various locations around the world," and can also gather data from its non-self-driving cars on the road today.
Apple may also be engaging in extensive off-the-radar testing, which would fit in with the company's secretive tradition. In December, I wrote about a breakthrough Apple researchers have made in self-driving sensor technology, despite the small amount of road-testing it had done. In addition, due to Apple's strong brand, it doesn't necessarily have to be first to market or the lowest-cost provider; after all, it wasn't the first smartphone-maker.
Google is getting interesting
While Alphabet's stock has done well over the past year, it has actually lagged its fellow FANGs. However, with Waymo potentially taking off and its Cloud platform showing the fastest growth of any public cloud player, Alphabet's non-advertising businesses may become much more meaningful in the year ahead. Investors should take note.
Bigfoot has been spotted hundreds of times over the years. It usually turns out to be some dude in a gorilla costume or a bear. But occasionally, just occasionally, it turns out to be a man dressed up in raccoon hair from head to foot, performing shamanic rituals in the woods.
Despite all these sightings, and many grainy images and videotapes, Bigfoot has not yet been officially recognized as a species. Shocking, we know.
Well, now that could be rectified because a woman is suing California for refusing to recognize the Sasquatch – not to be confused with the yeti – as an official species.
Claudia Ackley, a resident in Crestline, California, says she "ran into a Sasquatch" last March on a trail in Lake Arrowhead. She and her daughters say they saw Bigfoot 30 feet up a tree, extremely close to them, and even managed to film the encounter.
“He looked like a neanderthal man with hair all over him. He had solid black eyes," she told the San Bernadino Sun. "He had no expression on his face at all. He did not show his teeth. He just stared at the three of us."
Claudia Ackley says she was on a hike with her daughters near Lake Arrowhead when she says they came face to face with Bigfoot. She says park officials told her it must have been a bear. Now Claudia is suing Fish and Wildlife for not acknowledging Bigfoot’s existence. pic.twitter.com/3GFslcjlWh— Alex Lehnert KMPH (@AlexLehnertKMPH) February 19, 2018
Ackley dialed 911 to inform the authorities about the Sasquatch, ABC News reports, but they didn't believe her.
After reviewing the footage, she was so sure that the creature she saw was a Bigfoot she showed it to Todd Standing, who created the Netflix series Discovering Bigfoot.
At first, he was skeptical, but after visiting the area and reviewing the footage he was convinced enough help her sue the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Natural Resources Agency, in order to seek protection for the species.
The lawsuit, filed in January, alleges that the organizations are in derelict of their duty for not protecting the Sasquatch's territory, as well as damaging the reputation and public image of researchers who study the Sasquatch.
"For over a hundred years, thousands of men and women across the State of California claim to have witnessed a bipedal hominoid creature that received its common name Bigfoot 60 years ago," the lawsuit reads, as published by Gizmodo.
"[We] bring to this court overwhelming evidence that proves what will be considered one of the greatest discoveries of our time."
They go on to ask that the Court order the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the state Natural Resources Agency to protect the habitat of the species, should it exist.
This isn't the first time Ackley has seen Bigfoot. Back in 1997, she heard a growl outside her tent. When she looked outside she saw a bipedal, hairy creature walking away, The Press-Enterprise reports. This began her quest to study the creatures, which has seen her leave recordings in forests in attempts to teach them human speech.
She hopes that by suing for recognition of the bipeds as a species, she can also help warn about the dangers Bigfoot may pose to hikers.
Here's hoping that her evidence doesn't turn out to be a man covered in moose hair, going for a climb in a tree, or someone walking around in a gorilla suit carrying a teddy bear.
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Pop singer Miley Cyrus is facing a $300 million copyright infringement lawsuit from the Jamaican songwriter Michael May, who claims that Cyrus' 2013 hit single "We Can't Stop" closely resembles a song he wrote in 1988, Reuters reports.
May, whose stage name is Flourgon, said in the suit that Cyrus' song took "about 50 percent" from his song "We Run Things"— including musical elements and the phrase,"We run things / Things no run we," which Cyrus sings in a chorus as, "We run things / Things don’t run we."
Cyrus' "We Can't Stop" hit No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart after its release in June 2013. May's "We Run Things" reached No. 1 in his home country, Jamaica, in 1988.
In the suit, filed at the U.S. District Court in Manhattan on Tuesday, May's lawyers said that Cyrus' song "owes the basis of its chart-topping popularity to and its highly-lucrative success to plaintiff May’s protected, unique, creative and original content."
In addition to seeking $300 million in the case, May is also seeking a halt to subsequent sales and performances of Cyrus' song.
Cyrus' representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Listen to Cyrus' "We Can't Stop" and May's "We Run Things" below:
Blink Health is suing a pharmacy startup it claims is an "unlawful copycat scheme."
Blink Health, a startup that helps negotiate lower drug prices, was founded by 35-year-old Geoffrey Chaiken and 32-year-old Matthew Chaiken. The company is now suing Hippo, a company founded by former Blink Health executives that operates under a similar format to deliver prescription drug discounts.
In its complaint, Blink Health claims violations of the Defend Trade Secrets Act, alleging that Hippo got ahold of Blink Health's trade secrets and has and continues to use "stolen property for its own benefit and in unfair competition with Blink at thousands of 'pharmacies nationwide.'"
The company is seeking $50 million in damages, along with $200 million in punitive damages, for a total of $250 million.
"No company should be allowed to cheat and steal its way into existence, as Hippo is trying to do," Blink Health’s attorney Orin Synder said in a statement sent to Business Insider.
8VC, which led Blink's Series A and B rounds, said in a statement, "We are fully supportive of Blink Health and its actions."
Hippo said in a statement emailed to Business Insider that Blink Health's claims "a blatant attempt to interfere with fair competition by Hippo."
Here's how Blink Health's prescription discounting
When it comes to lowering prescription costs, there are a number of different approaches startups are taking, from comparing the price at one pharmacy to another nearby so consumers shopping around for a lower price can get a sense of where they might go. Others have delivery components as well as discounts.
Blink Health operates a little differently. Instead of having people go from one pharmacy to another, Blink Health negotiates to get the same price at different pharmacies for generic medications and some branded diabetes medications. Blink Health works at Rite Aid, Walmart, Kroger and K-Mart, but it doesn't currently work at Walgreens or CVS Health.
Say you need to pick up a prescription for your medication, but you have a high deductible plan that requires you to pay $3,000 out of your own pocket before your insurance starts picking up the rest of the tab. Instead of going to the pharmacy and accepting whatever price they offer (which can vary from pharmacy to pharmacy), you could download the Blink Health app, or go to the company's website.
In the app, you can find your prescription and purchase it directly through the app. Then, when you get to the pharmacy counter, you show your phone to the pharmacist who rings it up instead. In return, Blink gets a cut of the transaction.
Where Hippo and Blink Health have similarities
The system of having the same price at any pharmacy and presenting a virtual card is the same model Hippo is using, according to its website.
For example, here's how Blink Health describes the process:
And here's how Hippo's site describes it:
Hippo was started by two former Blink Health executives: former chief financial officer Eugene Kakaulin and former general counsel Charles Jacoby. In 2016, Kakaulin sued Blink Health claiming breach of contract and violations of federal whistleblower law when Kakaulin came to the founders with information about securities violations. The case was later settled.
Blink Health’s complaint alleges that Hippo got confidential marketing plans, such as strategies and slogans, information about how Blink Health set up relationships and contracts with pharmacy benefit managers, as well as some of the back-end coding that helps fill the prescription when someone using the app/website uses their card, and that these are trade secrets belonging to Blink Health.
Here's Hippo's full statement:
"Blink Health’s claims are a blatant attempt to interfere with fair competition by Hippo. This new case follows on the heels of their lawsuit that was laughed out of New York State court last month. With the recent spate of lawsuits by and against Blink, their toxic corporate culture is now widely known, and this lawsuit is just another example of their questionable business practices. Hippo offered to retain an independent expert to verify that none of Blink’s non-existent trade secrets are being used in Hippo’s business. Blink declined. This says it all. Hippo is offering patients a better product with stronger industry partnerships, and Blink is now trying to accomplish through the courts what it knows it will not be able to achieve in the market. "
An Alaska Airlines pilot has filed a lawsuit against the airline claiming that she was drugged and raped while on the job. Betty Pina, a 39-year-old first officer who has been flying commercially with Alaska Airlines since 2016, alleges that she was drugged and raped at a hotel during a layover in Minneapolis, Minnesota by the Captain in charge of her flight.
(Pina's name is being used because she has given on the record interviews with media outlets. The identity of the captain named in Pina's suit is being withheld because he has not been charged with a criminal offense.)
In the lawsuit filed on Wednesday at Washington State Superior Court, the 39-year-old former Army helicopter pilot claims Alaska Airlines should be liable for the alleged actions of employees, including the Captain accused of the offenses. In addition, Pina claims the airline's response to the incident was inadequate and "unlawfully retaliatory."
"This is an open and active investigation and we aren't going to comment," an Alaska Airlines spokesman said in a statement to Business Insider. "What we can say is that we are taking this matter seriously. The safety and well-being of our employees and guests is a top priority."
According to the legal filing, the incident took place after the two completed a flight from Seattle to Minneapolis. Pina had two glasses of wine with the Captain in the hotel's concierge lounge, a place where flight crews often go to hang out. However, Pina claims she began to feel woozy after finishing a second glass of white wine brought to her by the Captain. Usually, it takes at least three to four glasses before feeling tipsy, Pina wrote in court papers.
"From there, I don’t remember leaving the concierge room, the elevator ride or walking down the hallway to my room," Pina said in an interview with the Seattle Times. "When I woke up, everything was hazy. I remember seeing a figure, somebody pulling at my right ankle, and rolling over and trying to say 'No.' And then, I was out again."
After reporting the incident, Pina was taken off active flight duties for a while before eventually returning to work. The captain named by Pina remains employed with Alaska Airlines.
Bumble just announced its decision to "swipe left" on Tinder's parent company, Match Group.
In an ad published in the New York Times on Tuesday, Bumble responded to the patent infringement lawsuit which Match Group filed against Bumble last week.
"Dear Match Group," the statement reads, "We swipe left on you. We swipe left on your multiple attempts to buy us, copy us, and intimidate us."
The statement alludes to the complicated history between Tinder, Match Group, and Bumble. In August, TechCrunch reported that Bumble had turned down an offer from Match Group to buy the company for $450 million. Despite the refusal, Match Group's interest in Bumble reportedly hasn't waned: A source familiar with the matter told Recode last week that Match is still hoping to acquire Bumble, which might explain the motivation behind Match Group's patent infringement suit against the company.
If Bumble concedes to Match Group's reported offer to buy the company, then Bumble can continue to use the contested patents as a Match subsidiary without undergoing legal inquiry.
Match Group's 45-page lawsuit alleges that Bumble has copied numerous features integral to the design of Tinder, such as the app's double-blind opt in, the swipe right to like and left to dislike functionality, and several feature displays like the app's match queue.
This isn't the first time that Bumble and Tinder have engaged in legal turmoil. In 2014, Tinder cofounder and Bumble founder Whitney Wolfe sued Tinder, alleging that two of her fellow cofounders had sexually harassed her during their time working together at the company. The suit was later settled, and Wolfe was awarded $1 million, according to Forbes.
Wolfe went on to found Bumble, a dating app that requires that women make the first move in interacting with their dating matches.
In the ad, Bumble describes the lawsuit as "baseless" and alleges the suit was created with the assumption that it would intimidate the company.
"We — a woman-founded, women-led company — aren't scared of aggressive corporate culture," it reads. "That's what we call bullying, and we swipe left on bullies."
Bumble's refusal of Match Group's reported offer is a bold move. The company is coming up against one of the largest conglomerate dating corporations, which in addition to Tinder, owns several popular dating sites like OkCupid, Plenty of Fish, and Match.com.
In an interview with Business insider, Wolfe said there was room for competition within the dating app marketplace. "There's room for two massive IPOs on the market, not just one," she said.
Wolfe said Bumble has had interest from other buyers aside from Match as well. "We've been entertaining conversations with several private and third parties," she said, although she declined to name the companies that were potentially interested in buying Bumble.
In an internal memo provided to Business Insider by Match Group, Match's CEO Mandy Ginsberg wrote to Tinder's employees that the lawsuit against Bumble is a straightforward case of alleged patent infringement.
"I want to be clear about something: this is not about singling out any individual company," she wrote. "This is about protecting the integrity of your work. You are valued employees at Match Group and your work inspires me every day. The least I can do is try and protect it."
Here's Bumble's letter in full:
Dear Match Group,
We'll never be yours. No matter the price tag, we'll never compromise our values.
We swipe left on your attempted scare tactics, and on these endless games. We swipe left on your assumption that a baseless lawsuit would intimidate us. Given your enduring interest in our company, we expected you to know us a bit better by now.
We — a woman-founded, women-led company — aren't scared of aggressive corporate culture. That's what we call bullying, and we swipe left on bullies. Ask the thousands of users we've blocked from our platform for bad behavior.
In fact, that behavior? It only fuels us. It motivates us to push our mission further — to work harder each day to build a platform, community, and brand that promotes kindness, respect, and equality. That's the thing about us. We're more than a feature where women make the first move. Empowerment is in our DNA. You can't copy that.
So when you announced recently, in another attempt to intimidate us, that you were going to try to replicate our core, women-first offering and plug it in to Tinder, we applauded you for the attempt to make that subsidiary safer.
We strive every day to protect our nearly 30 million users, and to engineer a more accountable environment. Instead of swinging back and forth between trying to buy us, copy us, and sue us, why don't you spend that time taking care of bad behavior on your platforms?
We remain focused on improving our users' experience, and taking our mission worldwide, until every woman knows she has the power to make the first move, to go after what she wants, and to say "no" without fear.
We as a company will always swipe right for empowered moves, and left on attempts to disempower us. We encourage every user to do the same. As one of our mottos goes, "bee kind or leave."
We wish you the best, but consider yourselves blocked.
Ruben Lee and Jeanne Stroup had worked as flight attendants for United Airlines for over 70 combined years when they were fired in September 2013.
Neither had received a single customer complaint or been disciplined at any point during their time with the airline, according to a lawsuit they filed against United, but when a supervisor observed them watching a video on an iPad for 15 minutes and neglecting to wear aprons when serving passengers on a September 2013 flight from Denver to San Francisco, the airline decided to let them go.
Now, Lee and Stroup have been awarded $800,000 in damages, and David Lane, the duo's attorney, thinks that number could rise, according to Westword.
"We respectfully disagree with the jury’s decision and are reviewing our options for appeal," a United spokesperson said in an email to Business Insider.
Lane believes United has no guidelines for matching employee misbehavior to an appropriate punishment, and he told Westword about an alleged exchange during the trial that may have helped sway the jury toward Lee and Stroup's side.
While questioning a United supervisor, Lane reportedly called the reasons for Lee and Stroup's firing "pretty ticky-tacky."
The supervisor disagreed, to which Lane replied, "For example, watching an iPad for a few minutes is certainly less serious than lighting a campfire in the bathroom of a flight when it's at 35,000 feet."
"No, I disagree with that," the supervisor reportedly said.
After Lane asked the supervisor if he thought "lighting a campfire in the bathroom is as serious as watching an iPad for a few minutes," the supervisor reportedly said, "Yes."
The trial's resolution couldn't come at a worse time for United, which has struggled to rehabilitate its image in the year since it sparked a public relations nightmare by dragging a passenger off an overbooked flight. Last week, the airline had three dog-related mishaps that resulted in the death of one dog and two being placed on incorrect flights.
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United Airlines passenger Greg Woienski is suing the airline for allegedly taking his wheelchair away from him before he reached his seat on a February 2017 flight from Orlando to Newark. After his wheelchair was taken, he allegedly fell and fractured his spine, the Orlando Sentinel reports.
According to the lawsuit, Woienski, who was 65 at the time of the alleged incident, was traveling from Orlando International Airport to Newark Liberty International Airport to attend his father's funeral. After making his way across the jet bridge, Woienski's wheelchair was allegedly taken from him before he reached the aircraft, despite the fact that he had indicated to the airline he would need a wheelchair for transport, forcing him to step onto the aircraft and walk to his seat by himself.
The lawsuit alleges that Woienski fell "almost immediately" after he stepped onto the plane, fractured his spine, and suffered "several other major injuries." Woienski has allegedly not recovered from those injuries.
United's website says that it offers wheelchairs "non-ambulatory" passengers can use to travel to and from their seats. The website also says that every United aircraft with over 60 seats has a wheelchair onboard.
The airline declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Before the flight, Woienski started a GoFundMe page to pay for his and his fiancee's tickets. On the page, Woienski wrote that he is "on permanent disability" and relies on crutches to move.
United has found itself in a series of customer service mishaps since April 2017, when it dragged a passenger off an overbooked flight. Last week, the airline drew attention after one dog died after being placed in the overhead bin of a United flight and two were sent to incorrect destinations.