Citadel Broadcasting: court grants 1st-day motions
Areas of Focus | 2009/12/22 04:46
Citadel Broadcasting Corp. said Monday that the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York has granted all of its first-day motions — including allowing the company access to over $36 million in cash it has on hand and cash it brings in from daily operations to pay workers and vendors.

Citadel, the nation's third-largest radio broadcasting company, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Sunday in a move meant to restructure its heavy debt load. In court documents, the Las Vegas-based company listed its total assets as of Oct. 30 at $1.4 billion and total debt at $2.46 billion.

The company has an agreement with more than 60 percent of its senior secured lenders as part of a pre-negotiated financial restructuring that will eliminate $1.4 billion of its debt.

Citadel said Monday that having access to the funds will let it keep satisfying financial obligations as it restructures its business. The company received court approval to pay wages, salaries, health benefits and other obligations it has to employees as it restructures. The court is allowing it to keep honoring current customer programs as well, Citadel said.

Citadel owns and operates 224 radio stations and produces radio programing for 4,000 station affiliates and 8,500 program affiliates.



Supreme Court halts release of 2 murderers
Headline Legal News | 2009/12/19 04:53
North Carolina's Supreme Court has temporarily halted the release of two convicted murderers under life sentences.

The court granted a request from the state attorney general's office Friday afternoon, shortly before Alford Jones and Faye Brown were set to go free.

The ruling gives state attorneys another chance to make their arguments after two lower courts sided with the inmates. Gov. Beverly Perdue has said that she's disgusted with the state's legal system for saying the inmates should go free.

State courts previously determined that life sentences imposed during a period in the 1970s could be no more than 80 years long. Two dozen inmates could be freed immediately because of sentence-reduction credits applied to their terms.



Bill would give undocumented legal status
Legal Topics | 2009/12/16 04:47
Hispanic, black, Asian and other House lawmakers backing immigration overhaul called Tuesday for legalizing illegal immigrants in the U.S., despite a weakened economy and joblessness.

The coalition of lawmakers said Tuesday immigration reform can protect American workers as well as bring into the mainstream economy productive immigrant workers who have lived in the shadows because of their illegal status.

"For those who say that given the state of our economy, given the unemployment rate, this is not the time, I would say to you there is no wrong or right time. There is a moral obligation," said Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y., chairwoman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., who has become a leader of a multiethnic coalition of immigration reform backers, said immigration reform opponents "will use it as a wedge issue and will blame everything from unemployment to rising health care costs on immigrants."



Burglars hit offices of Blagojevich's legal team
Legal Topics | 2009/12/09 04:48
Burglars broke into the offices occupied by two members of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich's legal defense team overnight and stole eight computers and a safe, police said Friday.

The break-in occurred at the South Side offices of veteran Chicago criminal defense lawyer Sam Adam and his son, Samuel E. Adam, police said. They are two of the three leading members of the team defending Blagojevich on charges that he schemed to sell or trade President Barack Obama's former U.S. Senate seat.

Chief of detectives Steve Peterson told a news conference that detectives don't know whether anything related to Blagojevich's federal fraud case was contained on the computers. But he said they are interviewing the attorneys.

Even if the computers contained sensitive material related to the federal case against Blagojevich, the lawyers had all of its material in backup files on a master server elsewhere in the offices that was untouched by the burglars, according to an individual with knowledge of the legal defense team.



Lawsuit says ads in social games are scamming players
Legal Topics | 2009/12/07 19:18
Gamers are crying foul play over what they claim are misleading ads on social games.

A class-action lawsuit last month highlights what thousands of consumers say are bogus offers tied to social games available on Facebook and other social networks. The 16-page lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in nearby Sacramento, details how Rebecca Swift, a 41-year-old self-employed resident of Santa Cruz, Calif., was lured into accepting two "special offers" from advertisers to gain extra game credits for YoVille, a popular virtual-world game developed by Zynga.

More than $200 was illegally charged to Swift's credit card over several months, the lawsuit alleges. It seeks compensation from Facebook and Zynga for Swift and thousands of others, says attorney John Parker, who represents the plaintiff.

Zynga had no comment on the lawsuit.

It claims 90% of its revenue comes from user purchases of virtual goods. Zynga says 1 million users purchase goods each month.

Facebook says the ads came from third parties, but it takes the issue seriously. It called the lawsuit frivolous and without merit.

The lawsuit illustrates the kerfuffle over misleading social-gaming ads that have frustrated consumers and scared away legitimate advertisers, who do not want to be lumped with scamsters, says Alex Rampell, CEO of TrialPay, an online payment and promotions service.

Social games are among the hottest things going online. Millions have flocked to Facebook, MySpace and elsewhere to play free games that test their wits and skills against friends.

But to gain entry to new levels of the game, an undetermined number of players unknowingly are signing up for special offers. Some of those offers, such as an IQ test and green tea offer that Swift agreed to, automatically charge the game player.

The stakes are particularly high for Zynga, which draws more than 100 million visitors a month and is eyeing a possible initial public stock offering next year. Industry estimates peg its annual revenue at $100 million to $250 million, of which $33 million to $84 million may come from these "special offers," the suit claims.


Lawsuit: Botched Diagnosis Led to 30-Year-Old New York Teacher's Brain Hemorrhage Death
Legal Business | 2009/11/23 18:08
Doctors at a Long Island hospital failed to properly diagnose a 30-year-old Queens teacher's head pain in the days leading up to her death from a brain hemorrhage, a lawsuit alleges.

Melissa Fudge, who taught at PS 16 in Corona, died a year ago tomorrow. She had a history of ulcerative colitis when she was admitted to Long Island Jewish/Plainview Hospital in November 2008 complaining of vomiting and gastrointestinal pain accompanied by a searing headache and shooting pain in her left eye.

Doctors treated her for colitis, but her head pain continued, said her lawyer, Gerard Lucciola.

"They kept giving her transfusions and couldn't understand where all the blood was going," said her husband, Roger Fudge Jr. "They got tunnel-visioned on the colitis."

And, he said, the tragedy had far-reaching effects.

"It wasn't only me; it was my family, her family — her students, too," he said.

The suit, filed last week in Queens Supreme Court, seeks unspecified damages from the hospital and three doctors.


Idaho to pay $50K to settle grazing lease lawsuit
Areas of Focus | 2009/11/18 18:01

Idaho agreed Tuesday to pay $50,000 and pledged to follow anti-discrimination rules to settle a federal lawsuit against state officials who awarded grazing leases to ranchers, not the environmentalist who had offered more money.

The Idaho Board of Land has also committed to revising its rules to allow conservation groups to lease state endowment trust lands, a big change after years of fierce litigation. The board's five members are the governor, state controller, secretary of state, attorney general and superintendent of public instruction.

In 2006, Washington state businessman and environmentalist Gordon Younger was the high bidder on seven Idaho grazing leases, but lost when the Board of Land with then-Gov. Jim Risch gave the leases to livestock owners. Younger, who planned to manage the lands to restore what he called "their degraded streams and wildlife habitats," sued in U.S. District Court on grounds he was the victim of discrimination.

Laird Lucas, attorney for Younger's Lazy Y Ranch Ltd., said Tuesday he's optimistic this settlement and the Board of Land's revised leasing rules represent a departure from the past, when conservation groups were bullied out of winning state grazing leases and left no other option than to sue.



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