D’oh! Simpsons Settle with Hologram Company

Giant Homer Simpson on Giant Hill, Cerne Abbas, by Wikipedia User GeographBot, licensed by Creative Commons.

Mmm, lawsuits.

The Simpsons are going to court! Well, they were planning on it, until reaching a settlement. 20th Century Fox recently came to an out-of-court settlement with a special effects company over a 2-minute hologram of the popular cartoon character, Homer Simpson. Appearing at Comic-Con, an entertainment-themed convention in California, Homer’s hologram told several jokes and interacted with Simpsons’ creator Matt Groening, much to the amusement of everyone other than Hologram USA. The company claims that they have an exclusive patent to the technology behind the hologram, and that without their consent or approval, Fox owes them a monetary fee. The groups were able to meet and come to an agreement, although the terms were not immediately disclosed. Read more

Former Hockey Star Sues Referee on the Fly

Linesmen attempt to break up a fight around the Tampa Bay goal during the first ice hockey playoff game between the Ottawa Senators and the Tampa Bay Lightning by Wikipedia User Leec44, licensed by Creative Commons.

Refs and players have always had a frosty relationship.

Professional athletes and referees have never gotten along too well, but an NHL legend is bringing this disagreement with an official to the next level. Former Philadelphia Flyer Eric Lindros is suing referee Paul Stewart for defamation of character after the ref’s comments in an article for the Huffington Post. Early in the 1990′s, Stewart and Lindros had a disagreement during a game, which played into the controversial incident. Stewart claims that after the game, he approached the 19-year-old Lindros and asked him to sign some posters for a charity event. The referee claims Lindros ripped the posters in half, and proceeded to verbally assault him. The Flyer Captain has come out and defended himself, balking at the idea that he is unnecessarily hostile and not charitable. Lindros is seeking $250,000 from both Stewart and the Huffington Post for running the story. Read more

Up in Smoke: NY Sues UPS Over Cigarette Tax

Cigarette, by flickr user Justin Shearer, licensed by Creative Commons.

Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire.

The latest courtroom battle about cigarettes has nothing to do with damaged lungs, but rather a hole in the wallet. It recently came to light that shipping giant UPS failed to properly adhere to tax laws in New York City and State. This has resulted in 78,500 shipments of untaxed cigarettes being transported in and out of New York for about 4 years. UPS has denied these allegations, citing their past experience in the shipping industry and adherence to any and all state laws. The lawsuit was filed in New York by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Counsel Zachary Carter and is seeking about $180M in damages. Outright accusations of lying and cheating have been thrown out by both sides, understandable considering the hefty price tag attached. Read more

Uber and Lyft are Driving People Crazy

Volkswagen CC TDi 2012 - Driver's Seat by flickr User Miles Continental, Licensed by Creative Commons

Speeding to the courtroom

While many people love the convenience of having a car appear at your doorstep at the tap of a button, it appears that those days may be numbered. The popular transportation services Uber and Lyft are headed to the courtroom, thanks to unhappy drivers. The main issue seems to center around a debate on whether or not the drivers of these services are employees or simply independent contractors. We’ve talked in the past about Uber’s problems with the law, however this series of lawsuits may force the companies to alter their business model. The lawsuits were filed in the San Francisco Federal Court and are only relevant to California-based drivers, although the results of each class-action will be closely monitored by drivers across the United States. Read more

Trees Falling in Michigan, Still Making Sounds

Looking up through the trees, by flickr user Chris Connolly, licensed by Creative Commons

Blood on the leaves?

There is an old philosophical argument that goes as follows: If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is around to hear it, does it still make a sound? A recent lawsuit in Michigan is finally providing an answer: Yes. Residents of Bloomfield Hills, MI have taken up a class-action against tree removal by the power company DTE Energy. Reports say they hired a tree-trimming company to take trees down in a short period of time without giving notice to the community. The power company was worried about the trees interfering with cables they had been running in the area, and had petitioned to remove them. Clearly upset by the secretive manner in which DTE went about this deforestation, the people living in Bloomfield Hills are now seeking $54 million in restitution. Read more