Posts Tagged ‘France’

When schools fall short

Australia: “A settlement between a leading Melbourne private school and a parent who said her child had not been taught to read properly could result in increased litigation between parents and schools, a principals group has warned.” Yvonne Meyer faulted Brighton Grammar School for not placing enough emphasis on phonics-based instruction for her child. (David Rood and Chee Chee Leung, “Litigation warning as private school settles complaint over child’s literacy”, Melbourne Age, Aug. 16; Ewin Hannan and Justine Ferrari, “Private schools to curtail promises”, The Australian, Aug. 16). And in France: “A French schoolboy [Jérome Charasse] has successfully sued the government after blaming his failure in a philosophy exam on his teacher’s frequent absences during strikes. Parents’ groups and teaching unions believe the decision by a court in Clermont-Ferrand will lead to many similar cases.” (Colin Randall, ” Boy wins court case over striking teacher”, Daily Telegraph, Jun. 22)(h/t D.N.).

Update: Blaming banks for terrorist attacks

U.S. District Judge Charles P. Sifton in Brooklyn has denied motions to dismiss lawsuits which seek to blame Credit Lyonnais of France and National Westminster Bank of the United Kingdom for terrorist bombings in Israel linked to Hamas; the banks handled funds for charities which channeled funds to Hamas. Credit Lyonnais “[vainly] cited investigations in France that cleared the group of any wrongdoing.” (“U.S. judge refuses to dismiss terror finance suit vs French bank”, AP/International Herald Tribune, Oct. 5). Ted covered the lawsuits on Jan. 6 and Feb. 24 of this year.

Another Grand Theft Auto lawsuit

The lawyers just love to sue Rockstar Games (e.g., Aug. 17; Mar. 5; Jul. 27, 2005; Feb. 19, 2005; Dec. 29, 2003); this particularly ludicrous suit alleged that “Grand Theft Auto:San Andreas,” the first part of which takes place in an ersatz parody of Los Angeles, infringed the trademark of a local strip club, “The Play Pen” because the game’s version, “The Pig Pen,” (one of hundreds of locations in the game) had a similar name and also had a parking lot and a round awning. Judge Margaret M. Morrow rebuffed the claim. But it took 100 entries on the docket, numerous depositions of game designers, expert-witness surveys, and a 55-page judicial opinion before this common-sense issue could be resolved in court. Moreover, the PlayPen attorneys say they’ll appeal, subjecting the matter to the random-legal-opinion generation of the Ninth Circuit. (AP, Aug. 8; Trademark Blog; E.S.S. Entertainment 2000 v. Rock Star Videos, CV 05-02966 MMM (C.D. Cal. July 28, 2006)).

In the weird coincidence department, one of the junior defense attorneys in the suit is not only someone who has worked on behalf of the RIAA in their oft-criticized “spamigation” suits against individuals who allegedly illegally download songs, but a co-creator of the lonelygirl15 Internet phenomenon.

Airline sued over singer’s performance

“Passengers on a flight from France to Mauritius have filed suit against Air France after musician Bonnie Tyler performed a song at the request of the co-pilot. … The complaining passengers reportedly claimed they were traumatized by the experience and had feared for their safety during the celebration.” (“Passengers complain after Tyler sings”, UPI, Sept. 3). Flyertalk pages us (Sept. 5) and David Lat also notes the case (Sept. 6).

Update: Calif. shakedowns

The New York Times “Small Business” section looks at how Garden Grove, Calif. liquor store owner Vinod Kapoor fought back when targeted by attorney Harpreet Brar, famed for his lawsuits demanding legal fees from small businesses over alleged regulatory infractions (see Aug. 20, 2002, Jul. 22, 2003, Nov. 1, 2004). Included are some updates:

In February, Judge Polos [Peter J. Polos of Orange County Superior Court] sent Mr. Brar to jail for two weeks for violating his order [not to name multiple businesses in one suit], calling him “an extortionist.”

Mr. Brar said his experience in jail was a “nightmare,” which he said included watching several inmates be beaten by guards. Mr. Brar said he planned to represent several of them.

On April 16, Mr. Brar was suspended from practicing law for 30 days and placed on probation for two years for filing a frivolous motion and appeal against the attorney general and for using the courts as a delaying tactic, according to Kristin Ritsema, one of several supervising trial counsels at the state bar.

“I think he is a huge threat to the public,” Ms. Ritsema said.

Another local liquor store owner, Herve Domange, who is from Paris, said: “You couldn’t do this in France. In France, these lawsuits would not be possible. But I don’t want to say too much. I’m afraid I might get sued.” (Regan Morris, “Picking the Wrong Mom and Pop to Sue”, New York Times, Jun. 1).

Smiley face trademark litigation

It’s Wal-Mart versus this French guy whose lawyers go around the world claiming dibs on the use of the grinning yellow circle. Can’t they both lose? Or maybe better, both win, and obtain mutual injunctions against anyone at all employing the symbol? (Abigail Goldman, “Wal-Mart Vies for Right to Put On a Happy Face”, Los Angeles Times, May 7).

Deep pocket files: Blaming banks for terrorist attacks II

Second verse, same as the first: this time, the defendant is Credit Lyonnais, and once again, the “connection” to a terrorist group is a charity that keeps a fraction of its money at the French bank, is considered by French law to be a legitimate charity. In fact, Commite de Bienfaisance pour la Solidarite avec la Palestine was not designated a “global terrorist organization” by the USA until August 2003, after many of the plaintiffs were injured by Hamas, which is not a defendant in the case. And the bank shut down the account in September 2003! (Joseph Goldstein, “Americans Sue French Bank In Terror Case”, New York Sun, Feb. 24) (via Bashman). The motion to dismiss in the Weiss v. National Westminster case, which we discussed Jan. 6, is available on the Liability Project‘s Documents in the News page. Update Oct. 8: judge denies motion to dismiss.

Litigious French parents: “a problematic American reflex”

Crossing the Atlantic dept.: “In what educationalists have derided as ‘a problematic American reflex’, parents are jumping to the defence of misbehaving or underperforming pupils by calling in lawyers,” reports London’s Daily Telegraph. “Teachers who summon pupils for a disciplinary hearing over even minor incidents often find themselves facing not only the youngster and his mother and father, but also a fully-robed advocate. …French teachers are taking out insurance against legal charges.” (Kim Willsher, “Pupils turn to the law over bad reports”, Jan. 22).

You-let-me-gamble suits

Now they’ve reached France:

A ruined French gambler yesterday sued a casino for failing to prevent him losing his money. Jean-Philippe Bryk, 44, claimed the Grand Cafe casino in the spa town of Vichy owed him a duty of “information, advice and loyalty”….

A spokesman for the casino said the “idea of gambling is that one runs the risk of losing”.

(Jon Henley, “Gambler sues casino that let him lose £500,000”, The Guardian (U.K.), Nov. 15; Lucy Mangan, “Bad gamblers rejoice – the casino’s to blame”, The Guardian, Nov. 16). See Apr. 19, etc.

“Tokyo governor sued for insulting French”

Japan, a country known for its extremely low rate of litigation, has furnished very little fodder for this site over the years, but here’s one that was worth the wait: “A group of teachers and translators in Japan on Wednesday sued Tokyo’s outspoken nationalist governor for allegedly calling French a ‘failed international language,’ a news report said. Twenty-one people filed the lawsuit at the Tokyo District Court, demanding that Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara pay a total of 10.5 million yen ($94,600) compensation for insulting the French language in remarks last October, national broadcaster NHK said.” (AP/CentreDaily, Jul. 13). More: LanguageLog weighs in (Jul. 19).