Disney Will Buy Marvel Comics
Legal Topics | 2009/08/31 16:13
Courthouse News reports that Walt Disney Co. announced today that it would buy Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion, giving Disney ownership of a huge stable of comic book characters, including Spiderman, the Incredible Hulk, the X-Men, the Silver Surfer and others.

The stock-and-cash deal is valued at about $50 per Marvel share - $30 a share plus just under 0.75 Disney shares for each Marvel share - a 29 percent premium on Marvel stock.


ACLU Demands Info On DHS Computer Searches At Borders
Headline Legal News | 2009/08/28 17:36
According to Courthouse News, the ACLU demands information on the Department of Homeland Security's policy on searching laptop computers at international borders. The DHS' Customs and Border Protection office announced in July that it can search electronic devices and any printed material carried by travelers regardless of whether they are suspected of anything - a statement one senator called "truly alarming."

Such searches, made without suspicion of any legal infraction, violate civil rights, according to the complaint, which quotes Senator Russell Feingold as calling the practice "truly alarming."

A bill pending in Congress would require DHS to base such searches on reasonable suspicion.

The ACLU says the DHS blew off its Freedom of Information Act request for information about the policy.


Veteran Says Mercenaries Shot Him In Iraq
Headline Legal News | 2009/08/27 16:19
Courthouse News reports that civilian security contractors in Iraq shot and permanently disabled a US Special Forces sergeant as he returned to Baghdad International Airport after an intelligence mission, the veteran claims in Federal Court. Sgt. Khadim Alkanani claims the June 2005 shooting was "remarkably similar" to other incidents which employees of Aegis Defense Services have captured on "trophy videos" which show "senseless shootings of innocent personnel in automobiles from an armed vehicle."

Immediately after the shooting, the Aegis employees apologized for shooting him and his three-vehicle convoy, Alkanani says. They claimed they had mistaken them for suicide bombers - though Alkanani's convoy had been traveling directly behind the mercenaries and had stopped and showed identification at two checkpoints before the shooting.

The shooting took place within the main gate of Baghdad International airport, where there were no ongoing hostilities nor a credible threat of imminent hostilities, the complaint states.


Former Prof Arrested, Accused of Taking 2 Guns Into Law Library
Headline Legal News | 2009/08/26 23:01
According to the ABA Journal, a former adjunct faculty member at the University of Louisville's law school was arrested Friday after allegedly bringing two handguns and 53 rounds of ammunition into the law school library around 8:30 a.m.

Police were initially called about Thomas Irwin, 56, because a library employee who recognized him knew that he had been banned from the campus in 2008, reports the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Authorities said Irwin had a permit to carry the handguns and told police he had the guns because he planned to go to a shooting range later in the day, the newspaper recounts. However, guns are banned on the University of Louisville campus, and Irwin was charged with carrying a concealed deadly weapon and criminal trespass. Both are misdemeanors.


Former Stanford Investment Advisers Push to Get Assets Unfrozen
Headline Legal News | 2009/08/26 22:59
The Fulton County Daily Reports states that when Stanford International Bank, the financial institution founded by larger-than-life Texan R. Allen Stanford, imploded earlier this year after the Securities and Exchange Commission accused the bank of fraud, assets belonging not just to investors but also to financial advisers once employed there were frozen.

Now, with the help of some Atlanta lawyers, those financial advisers are trying to get their money back.

Jason W. Graham of Graham & Penman, along with associate Eric L. Jensen and Fort Worth, Texas, lawyer Robert J. Wright, filed a motion in US District Court for the Northern District of Texas on July 28 seeking to modify the receivership order and to have accounts belonging to 10 former financial advisers at Stanford International Bank, or SIB, released.


Class Claims Facebook Invades Privacy, Sells Personal Information
Headline Legal News | 2009/08/25 16:29
Facebook invades the privacy of its customers and misappropriates people's images and personal information for marketing and commercial purposes, a class action claims in Orange County Court, Calif. The class claims Facebook's "unconscionable" terms and conditions allow it to compile an extraordinary amount of data from users, and permits third parties access to a gold mine of information without users' knowledge or consent.

Professional photographer Elisha Melkonian says Facebook permitted her photos to be downloaded, copied and distributed without her permission, despite her fruitless attempts to stop it.

Melkonian says she is concerned that Facebook has stored personal information posted by her 11-year-old son, including "partially clothed photographs of children aged 5 to 11" who were swimming.

She claims Facebook's terms and conditions are misleading, as they do not clearly specify how Facebook stores or uses such sensitive material as contact information, date of birth, email addresses and phone numbers, which puts users at risk of identity theft.


Newly Released Documents Show Rehnquist's Private Side
Headline Legal News | 2009/08/24 20:55
The National Law Journal reports that in the dark days after he announced that he was suffering from thyroid cancer in late October 2004, Chief Justice William Rehnquist's in-box filled up with anxious notes from his colleagues.

"Top priority at Court," wrote Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, is "to have our Chief back with us, steadily on course toward a cancer-free future."

Justice David Souter reported to the chief that, after an overly long discussion among the justices of a minor case in Rehnquist's absence, "I could hear Tony [Kennedy] muttering under his breath, 'Five minutes on [the case]. The chief better get back here fast.'" Souter added, "That's certainly the sense of the Court as we all pull for you in your ordeal."

From Justice Stephen Breyer also came a handwritten note: "You are missing nothing here! The cases are routine; our lunchtime discussions need your input -- particularly on recent films." Breyer did joke that Rehnquist had missed a chance to win some money from him in the justices' apparently low-stakes wagering over the presidential election. "I paid $1 to CT [Clarence Thomas]," Breyer said. It's a safe bet that Breyer had put his money on John Kerry and Thomas on George W.Bush.


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