David Lavitman, a Milton driver who signed up for Uber, has sued the car service, claiming its illegally keeping half drivers' tips.
Lavitman filed his suit in state court in December, but Uber had it moved to federal court this month.
Lavitman alleges the company collected a 20% gratuity fee on all rides, but only gave half that to drivers.
Uber tells the Boston Business Journal drivers keep all the gratuities, but that it does take a percentage of the meter fee plus $1 per trip.
The sad case of Tiffany Moore - the 12-year-old shot to death as she sat on a mailbox in 1988 - continues to wend its way through the court system.
A federal appeals court today ordered a new civil trial for Timothy Callahan, a homicide detectives who helped make the case against Shawn Drumgold as Tiffany Moore's murderer.
Drumgold spent 14 years in prison before being released on evidence detectives withheld evidence. In 2009, a jury awarded him $14 million - $1 million for each year in prison - in a lawsuit against Callahan (Drumgold has other pending lawsuits against the city and then Police Commissioner Francis Roache).
Callahan appealed. In its 2-1 ruling, the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit agreed he should get a new trial because the judge "omitted the statement that Drumgold had to show a reasonable probability that he would not have been convicted but for Callahan's withholding of evidence" - that Callahan had put a key prosecution witness up in hotel before the murder trial.
This will be Callahan's third trial - in 2008, a jury deadlocked on the lawsuit.
Kids today: Court rules if 12-year-old has no money to pay for cleaning up his graffiti, he can get a paper route or rake leavesBy adamg - 1/30/13 - 12:06 pm
A judge did not abuse his discretion by ordering a 12-year-old to pay to clean up the graffiti he sprayed on neighbors' houses - and then extending the kid's probation when he failed to make any payments - the Massachusetts Appeals Court ruled today.
The court rejected the Easthampton teen's argument that making him pay nearly $1,100 to clean up the graffiti he sprayed around his neighborhood is "punitive" and so contrary to the underlying principle of the state's juvenile justice system, which aims at rehabilitation, rather than punishment. He also argued that both state law and contemporary mores frown on young adolescents getting a job, which he said would have been the only way to get the money.
Balderdash, the appeals court wrote in its ruling:
The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today Massachusetts residents do not have a Constitutional right to keep loaded handguns in unlocked bedside drawers.
The ruling by the state's highest court upholds a state law that requires gun owners to either store guns in locked containers or equip them with locking mechanisms when they're not under their "immediate control."
The ruling comes in the case of John McGowan, a Springfield resident who got into an argument with his roommate over a $10 loan in 2008. She grabbed his loaded gun out of his bedside drawer, went outside and threw it into some bushes. When he went out to retrieve the weapon, she locked him out and he called police, who, among other things, filed charges against him for not properly storing his weapon.
McGowan sued to get his gun back, arguing the law violates his Second Amendment rights and recent Supreme Court decisions that let somebody possess a gun for self protection.
A Sharon obstetrician yesterday filed suit against an Illinois blogger with whom she's been engaged in an increasingly nasty flamewar over home births.
In her suit, filed in US District Court in Boston, Dr. Amy Tuteur of the Skeptical OB, charges that Gina Crosley-Corcoran, who writes the Feminist Breeder, is abusing a federal online copyright law to try to shut her down.
Tuteur, a former professor at Harvard Medical School, says she uses her blog in part to wage war on proponents of home birthing:
Company owned by the people who own that fungus-infected pharmacy sues infected people before they can sue itBy adamg - 1/26/13 - 5:28 pm
Alaunus Pharmaceutical, a Framingham drug wholesaler with the same owners as the shuttered New England Compounding Center, yesterday sued Michigan residents who say they or family members suffered fungal meningitis from a pain reliever sold by New England Compounding Center.
In the lawsuit, filed in US District Court in Boston, Alaunus says it had nothing to do with the spore-laden drugs sold by NECC and that those 49 people should just leave it the hell alone.
The lawsuit seeks a ruling by the court that it had nothing to do with anybody's fungal meningitis:
The Massachusetts Appeals Court ruled today that Boston Police Officer Paul Durkin lost his right to a city pension the night he pulled out his service revolver and shot another cop who was trying to get him to stop stumbling down VFW Parkway in West Roxbury after a night of drinking.
It cannot be gainsaid that police officers, who are extensively trained in the use of firearms, and who carry their service revolvers with them while off-duty, have a high degree of responsibility to which the public deserves and demands adherence. Simply, an officer who consumes an excess amount of alcohol and uses his service revolver to shoot, without any justification whatsoever, a fellow officer from a distance of a few feet, has sadly breached that trust.
A woman injured during a brief but furious gun battle between a man she was talking to and police has filed a civil-rights lawsuit against the city and the police officers involved, alleging she's been left with permanent physical and mental scars because of the "unreasonable and excessive" force used even after the man was down.
Niquel Reid's filed suit this week in US District Court in Boston against 13 police officers involved in an incident on June 14, 2011, when Tyrone Cummings shot a police officer - who, along with other officers returned fire, leaving Cummings with injuries that led to his death a month later.
Cummings, authorities say, had shown up at his girlfriend's apartment on Dunbar Avenue intent on killing her. In her suit, Reid says the girlfriend is her sister and that as Cummings raged in the apartment, she called Reid. Reid said she drove over get her sister and her young daughter.
Her suit says she arrived to see Cummings exiting the building, and the two were talking when police showed up. According to the suit:
Chipmaker charges former managers were busy in last two weeks at work - copying thousands of confidential filesBy adamg - 1/15/13 - 8:30 am
In a lawsuit filed yesterday, AMD charged that a former vice president and three managers at its Boxborough plant left for jobs at rival NVidia only after copying more than 100,000 confidential documents to take with them to their new jobs.
The suit, filed in US District Court in Worcester against Robert Feldstein and three managers, seeks the return of the files and, naturally, large sums of money, under the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and a Massachusetts trade-secrets law. AMD says the files cover everything from details of upcoming AMD technology to contracts with large customers.
The owners of a yacht that rents for $99,500 a week are suing a Long Wharf marina over damage they say was caused by a sunken piling the marina should have done something about before the yacht hit it.
In the lawsuit, filed this week in US District Court in Boston, the owners of the M/Y Namoh say the crew of the 125-foot yacht with twin 2250-horsepower diesel engines was in the process of backing into a slip at the Boston Waterboat Marina on Aug. 30, 2011, when "its hull and propellers struck a submerged object within the slip's berth and its starboard engine immediately shutdown."
Court sick of anti-abortion protesters, once again upholds buffer zone around Massachusetts abortion clinicsBy adamg - 1/9/13 - 9:02 pm
A federal appeals court once again upheld efforts by Massachusetts lawmakers to protect patients at abortion clinics and rejected the latest legal challenge by people who say they have a First Amendment right to get in the face of women entering the clinics.
In a decision that drips with the basic sentiment of "enough, already," the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston said that no "creative recalibration of First Amendment principles" will trump the right of patients at clinics in Allston, Worcester and Springfield to safety in their travels and that a state law creating 35-foot wide zones free of people waving giant photos of dead fetuses was legal because it was targeted at all people, not specific groups of loudspeaker-blaring anti-abortion protesters.
Court: Sony owes Beacon Hill photographer nothing for using likeness of his photo of Clark Rockefeller and his daughterBy adamg - 1/7/13 - 8:27 pm
A Beacon Hill Times photo of a grinning German faker and his little daughter leaving church one Palm Sunday may be iconic, but Sony did not violate any copyright laws by using a replica in a TV show because it removed the elements that made the original photo unique, a federal appeals court ruled today.
Donald Harney, who took the photo on April 1, 2007 as the pair left the Church of the Advent, sued Sony because it didn't try to pay him for a similar photo it used in a made-for-TV movie about the faux-Rockefeller.
In its ruling, the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston agreed with Harney that Sony copied his work, with a photo of actors posed like Rockefeller and his daughter.
But, it continued, Sony removed the palm leaf from the actress's hands and the church from the background, so the main similarity that remained was that of a father holding his daughter, which is so commonplace it's hardly copyrightable.
In a lawsuit filed yesterday, MIT and Children's Hospital charge Shire Regenerative Medicine's product aimed at people with diabetic foot ulcers violates patents they hold for building skin grafts on a polyester matrix.
The two local institutions say Shire's Dermagraft, in which cells from newborn foreskins are laid on a thin membrane to grow a layer of skin that are then applied atop the ulcers that some diabetic patients develop on their feet.
They're seeking tons of money for the injuries the alleged patent infrigement has done them.
Owner of Allston tattoo shop sues city, says cops burst into his home, arrested him under false pretensesBy adamg - 1/3/13 - 9:12 am
Scott Matalon, owner of Stingray Body Art, yesterday filed a federal civil-rights lawsuit against the city of Boston and several Boston police officers he says burst into his home while he was sleeping on Sept. 29, 2010, saying they were investigating a robbery and that when he objected, tackled him, forced him to the floor and then arrested him.
Matalon is seeking compensation for the $56,000 in legal bills he says he incurred successfully fighting charges of disturbing the peace and resisting arrest - but also to force the Boston Police Department to better train its officers.
The federal government yesterday sued Yi Soon Bakery, 112 Brighton Ave., on charges it sold 30 pounds of uninspected meat to a Thai market in Lowell after being told repeatedly to knock it off.
The suit, which also names bakery owner Kung Sung, says the Jan. 16 sale violated the Federal Meat Inspection Act, which requires government inspection of any business that is "processing meat or meat products for commerce," and that federal inspectors warned the bakery in January, 2010 and March and October, 2011 to stop selling meat at wholesale.
The suit seeks a permanent injunction to force the bakery to comply with the Federal Meat Inspection Act and to reimburse the government for the costs of the legal action.
Boston University yesterday sued companies in the US and Taiwan that make and sell LED lights it says infringes on a patent it holds.
In two lawsuits filed in US District Court in Boston, BU accuses the companies of offering products that use the same techniques protected under its 1995 patent for highly insulating monocrystalline gallium nitride thin films, which is based on work by Theodore Moustakas, a professor of electrical and computer engineering. The patent describes a method for "growing" very thin crystal films that can be used in making LEDs.
BU is seeking an end to the companies' sales, all the money they've ever made from the sales and damages.
Salem helmet maker charges insurance companies sold its fire-damaged products as new and government approvedBy adamg - 12/1/12 - 1:36 pm
Kerr Leathers, which suffered a warehouse fire in 2010, says two insurance companies re-sold the damaged helmets they took as new - potentially endangering customers and competing against the company with its own products.
In a multi-million-dollar lawsuit filed yesterday in U.S. District Court, Kerr alleges that while it gave permission to Zurich North America and Farmers Insurance to take possession of the helmets as "salvage" and to resell them, they did so only on condition buyers know their provenance.
In fact, Kerr says, they let a company - also named in the suit - market them online as "new" and "DOT certified" - and at a considerable discount over their normal cost.
Kerry charges this led to complaints from dealers to whom it normally sells helmets, who dropped the line when they could no longer compete. Also:
Given the damage the Kerr products sustained in the warehouse fire, the products are unsafe, will not perform as indicated and certainly should not be marketed as DOT certified. Marketing these Kerr products as either new or DOT certified, when in fact they are not, results in harm to Kerr's goodwill and reputation.
When a trademark group representing professional sports leagues demanded Stephen Sirabella stop selling reproductions of championship rings, he didn't just pull down his Web site and stop offering the rings on eBay. He sued.
In a lawsuit filed yesterday in US District Court in Boston, Sirabella argues that the Coalition to Advance the Protection of Sports Logos fouled out with an October letter demanding he stop selling the rings - and turn over any profits from their sale. In his complaint, he argues that none of the teams offer similar products and that:
Plaintiff's website and listings on eBay.com clearly and unequivocally state that the rings being sold by Plaintiff, which are made of inexpensive materials, are not the actual rings given to members of the winning teams, which feature rare and expensive gems, such as diamonds.
As the logos owned by the CAPS Members are not used exclusively to identify the source of a good or service, but rather serve also to identify the team in a generic way, Plaintiff's offering of sports championship rings for sale to the public does not dilute the selling power of the CAPS Members Marks.
The case was from Illinois, but echoed our Simon Glik case. By declining to hear an appeal from the state of Illinois, the nation's highest court left standing a lower-court ruling that you have a First Amendment right to record police on the job in a public place.
In both cases, the rulings came on state laws that made it a crime to record somebody without their permission.
A federal appeals court ruled today Starbucks owes Massachusetts baristas more than $14 million for tips that were shared with supervisors between 2005 and 2011, because state law bars managers from dipping into the tip jar.
Starbucks tried to pour cold water on a class-action suit on behalf of more than 11,000 former and current baristas by arguing that "shift supervisors" weren't really managers because they mostly did the same work as baristas and so were entitled to the perk of sharing in pooled tips collected from customers.
But in a scalding decision, the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston told Starbucks that the Massachusetts tip law is about as explicit as can be that managers are not allowed to share in tips and that shift supervisors are, indeed, managers:
Five more lawsuits were either filed in or transferred to federal court in Boston on Tuesday and Wednesday against the New England Compounding Center over its fungus-tainted painkiller medications, adding to the pile of legal complaints against the now shuttered pharmacy.
A man who says he contracted meningitis from a painkiller prepared by the New England Compounding Center and a man who says he's suffered mental anguish because he also got one of those painkiller shots have sued the pharmacy and its owners.
Pennsylvania woman who says painkiller shot gave her fungal meningitis sues Framingham pharmacy, ownersBy adamg - 11/3/12 - 3:24 pm
A Red Lion, PA resident who says she's still suffering from the fungal meningitis she got from a painkiller shot a year ago, yesterday filed a federal lawsuit against the New England Compounding Center in Framingham and against the individual members of the Conigliaro family who owned and ran it.
The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today a state board was wrong to bar an embalmer from working in Massachusetts because he agreed to an interview with the Boston Phoenix.
In a ruling today, the state's highest court said the Board of Registration of Funeral Directors and Embalmers simply went too far in banishing Troy Schoeller for allegedly speaking in "an undignified and salacious manner about the condition of dead bodies."
A roving UHub Web browser points us to an
ambulance Annie chaser with a Web site featuring a grinning OJ Simpson lookalike holding a stack of Benajmins:
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