Court Roundup

California
Lawsuit claims discrimination by In-N-Out chain

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — A lawsuit filed on behalf of two black men in Oakland claims In-N-Out Burger didn’t hire them because of their race and age.
The suit filed Tuesday in Alameda County Superior Court asks a judge to order the restaurant chain to end discriminatory practices and to provide back pay and other monetary relief to those who have been unlawfully denied employment.
The suit claims both men were qualified for jobs at In-N-Out but weren’t hired because they are black and also over the age of 40.
The restaurant chain has 210 restaurants in California.
Arnie Wensinger, In-N-Out Burger’s vice president and general counsel, denied the allegations in the lawsuit.


New York
Ben & Jerry’s sues over trademark

NEW YORK (AP) — Ben & Jerry’s considers “Ben & Cherry’s” in bad taste.
The ice cream maker that introduced the flavors Schweddy Balls and Karamel Sutra sued the maker of “Ben & Cherry’s” X-rated DVDs Wednesday, saying the “hardcore pornographic” films have smeared its reputation.
The trademark lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan said the sale of hardcore and exploitive pornographic DVDs and related goods is tarnishing Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Inc.’s name by creating an association with pornography. It said the claims arise from the distribution and sale of a series of DVDs containing “exploitative, hardcore pornographic films” featuring titles and themes based on “well-known and iconic” Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavors as well as packaging that contains key company features such as a grazing cow, green grass and large white puffy clouds.
The lawsuit by the Vermont-based company said the films would likely cause “confusion, mistake or deception” regarding the company’s trademarks. It identified some of the X-rated names similar to its own as “Boston Cream Thigh,” “New York Fat & Chunky” and “Peanut Butter D-Cup.” Ben & Jerry’s has ice cream flavors titled: “Boston Cream Pie,” “New York Super Fudge Chunk” and “Peanut Butter Cup.”
For nearly 35 years, Ben & Jerry’s has produced and sold ice cream, frozen confections, frozen yogurt and sorbet, building the reach of its trademarks through more than 300 Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shops in the United States and another 150 shops internationally, as well as through supermarkets, drugstores, delis, ice cream cars and online, the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages. A message left with defendants Rodax Distributors and Caballero Video at their North Hollywood, Calif., offices wasn’t immediately returned.


California
Mother ordered to stand trial in her son’s death

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A San Diego County woman has been ordered to stand trial for murder and assault in the drowning death of her 4-year-old autistic son.
The U-T San Diego says 36-year-old Patricia Corby of Carmel Valley sobbed often but never lifted her head during Wednesday’s hearing in San Diego Superior Court.
Prosecutors claim Corby drowned her son Daniel in a bathtub, then drove him to a police station and told authorities she had killed him.
A district attorney’s investigator testified he interviewed Corby after she was arrested and she told him she had no life because it was so entwined around her son’s.
He said she told him she also tried to drown herself but failed.
Corby faces 25 years to life if convicted.

Texas
Judge in Houston gets reprimand in friend’s case

HOUSTON (AP) — A judge in Houston who called detention officials “back woods hillbillies” in a failed attempt to get a friend’s daughter freed has been reprimanded.
The State Commission on Judicial Conduct issued a public reprimand of Justice Jim Sharp Jr. of the 1st Court of Appeals in Harris County. Sharp apologized in February and repeated his apology Wednesday.
The Aug. 30 reprimand says Sharp sought special treatment for a friend’s 15-year-old daughter.
The girl was arrested Jan. 17 in Brazoria County for allegedly shoplifting. County policy requires a detained juvenile to spend the night in custody and go before a judge the next morning.
The commission found Sharp told a detention official that “You guys are a bunch of back woods hillbillies that use screwed up methods in dealing with children.”


Pennsylvania
Man imprisoned disabled victim in home, say police

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Police have charged a Philadelphia man with imprisoning a deaf and mute victim so he could steal his Social Security checks.
Investigators say 56-year-old Dwayne Young kept the man locked in a basement for four months while cashing his benefit checks.
Capt. Laurence Nodiff says Young threatened 63-year-old William Richardson into signing the checks. Nodiff says police are investigating whether Young had committed similar acts before against his common-law wife, who died in March.
Police who raided Young’s home on Sunday found Richardson locked in a basement. Investigators say Young kidnapped Richardson in April near where he worked as a handyman in South Philadelphia.
Young was arraigned Wednesday and held on $1 million bail. Court records don’t list an attorney for him.


Illinois
Judge vacates part of $90M asbestos award

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (AP) — A central Illinois judge’s decision has reduced the jury award in a 2011 asbestos case from almost $90 million to $8.4 million.
The lawsuit was filed in the case of 59-year-old pipe fitter Charles Gillenwater, who was exposed to asbestos and contracted a rare type of cancer called mesothelioma (meh-soh-thee-lee-OH’-muh).
A jury found four companies responsible in Gillenwater’s case. But a McLean County judge vacated the judgments against three of those companies. The judge let stand a judgment against John Crane Inc. for $8.4 million.
Lawyers for the victim’s widow tell The (Bloomington) Pantagraph that they’re disappointed the judge decided evidence was insufficient to show a conspiracy among the companies to keep information about the harmful potential of asbestos from the public.o

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