Friday, April 18, 2008

Surgeon Could Lose License Over Sex With Patient

SAN DIEGO -- A prominent North County surgeon could be in trouble with the state medical board and learned he could lose his license.

Dr. Dennis Nigro is the subject of a hearing at the state building in which he is accused of having sex with a patient.

Nigro admitted to having a brief affair with a woman in 2003, but said she was no longer in his care during their relationship.

Nigro’s lawyer, medicare defense attorney Michael Khouri, said, “The woman does not believe Dr. Nigro was her doctor when the sex occurred.”

“There is documentation required to terminate relationship. It was not done in this case,” said Deputy Attorney General Mary Agnes Matyszewski.

An administrative law judge will issue a proposed decision that will be sent to the state medical board for final disposition.

Nigro’s license could be suspended if discipline is deemed necessary.

On the subject of the "worst five things a doctor can do," Steve Alexander provided the Investigation Team the list of the "worst five" and then commented on each individual item. There were no specific cases or doctors mentioned in the course of this interview.

Among the items provided by Mr. Alexander as one of the "worst five things a doctor can do," was a sexual relationship between a doctor and his or her patient. Clearly, in reporting the allegations against Dr. Dennis Nigro there was no intention or effort to tie Alexander’s separate interview specifically to the Dr. Dennis Nigro case.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Priest ordered to stay away from Conan O'Brien

A priest accused of stalking Conan O'Brien pleaded guilty Tuesday to disorderly conduct.
The Rev. David Ajemian leaves court after pleading guilty to disorderly conduct.

The Rev. David Ajemian, 46, admitted in Manhattan Criminal Court that he sent letters and DVDs to the NBC talk-show host's home and office, and "I also sent mail to the home of Mr. O'Brien's parents."

He said he never meant to cause anxiety or to upset anyone.

"I recognize that what I did was disorderly and I'm glad the people of New York have accepted that," Ajemian said as he left court. "I plan to return to the Archdiocese of Boston and I hope to return to ministry duties."

Judge Rita Mella ordered Ajemian to pay a $95 court charge and signed a two-year order of protection directing him to stay away from O'Brien.

The Roman Catholic priest was arrested while trying to enter the NBC building in Manhattan for a taping of "Late Night With Conan O'Brien" despite being warned to stay away by the network's security personnel.

On Friday, a judge found him fit to stand trial despite claims of psychiatric issues.

Ajemian, who allegedly began writing to O'Brien in September 2006, has been placed on leave by the Boston Archdiocese. He was removed in June from his last posting at St. Patrick Parish in Stoneham after two years.

Ajemian attended Harvard University at the same time as O'Brien, but it is unclear whether the two crossed paths there.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


An attorney passed on and found himself in heaven, but not at all happy with his accommodations. He complained to St. Peter, who told him that his only recourse was to appeal his assignment.

The attorney immediately advised that he intended to appeal, but was then told that he would be waiting at least three years before his appeal could be heard.

The attorney protested that a three year wait was unconscionable, but his words fell on deaf ears. The lawyer was then approached by the devil, who told him that he would be able to arrange an appeal to be heard in a few days, if the attorney was willing to change venue to Hell.

When the attorney asked why appeals could be heard so much sooner in Hell, he was told, "We have all of the judges."

Monday, April 14, 2008

Class Says Lifelock Has Troubling Bosses

This isn't necessarily funny, but it is amusing... to me anyway.

Lifelock misrepresents and deceptively advertises its "identity theft protection" service, for which it charges $110 a year, a class action claims in Middlesex County Court.

Plaintiffs claim Lifelong does not actually provide the services it offers, that its president Richard Davis dreamed up the idea "while sitting in a jail cell after having been arrested for failing to repay a $16,000 casino marker," and that Lifelock's Chief Marketing Officer and co-founder Robert Maynard is under a lifelong FTC injunction because of misleading infomercials he ran for his own "credit improvement company."

The complaint adds, "Finally, and perhaps most disturbing ... Maynard himself had engaged in the very type of identity theft his company had set out to eliminate, but stealing his own father's identity."

Plaintiffs say that whatever services Lifelock does provide its 900,000 subscribers are available elsewhere for free

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Costly Depositions

It’s common practice for a client to pay hefty prices to his lawyer for depositions. It’s less common for the client and his lawyer to pay hefty fines for misconduct during depositions.

U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno of Philadelphia issued a $29,000 fine against attorney Joseph Ziccardi and his client Aaron Wilder, chief executive of HTFC Corp., for misconduct during a deposition.

According to Judge Robreno’s opinion, Wider engaged in “hostile, uncivil and vulgar conduct, which persisted throughout …nearly 12 hours of depositions.” Judge Robreno found Wider’s attorney culpable as well because he “snickered” at his client’s remarks and failed to stop his client’s tirades.

The objectionable conduct included the use of profanity more than 70 times during the deposition, as well as when opposing counsel asked Mr. Wider to open a file to discuss certain documents, Mr. Wider responded: “You want me to look at something, you get the document out. Earn your [expletive] money, [expletive]. Isn’t the law wonderful?”

Wider claims his inappropriate conduct stemmed from manic-depressive disorder and the recent death of his father.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Parody Use of Trademarks

Parody usage of trademarks is quite prevalent in our society, for a wide variety of uses. However, with a large number of cases litigated, it is inevitable that courts would apply judicial standards inconsistently.

The Trademark Act of 1946 (the Lanham Act) states that the test for trademark infringement is whether the junior mark “is likely to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to deceive” with regard to the original trademark. The Southern District of New York stated that a parody contains language which closely imitates or mimics another work for comic effect or ridicule. Generally, good parody should lead to the antithesis of confusion, as its intent is to mock the original mark in its similarity to the mark, with enough differences to clearly indicate that it is in no way related to, or a product of, the original mark holder. The courts, in defining parody, cite either the dictionary or the works of classical authors, stating, in one instance,that parody “seeks to ridicule sacred verities and prevailing mores”and that in doing so, “it inevitably offends others.” Courts, then, in ruling against the creator of the parody, have ruled either that the use is not to be considered parody at all, or that the parody created is not strong enough to overcome the likelihood of confusion with the original mark. A third set of cases, acknowledging the usage of parody, nonetheless ruled against the parody’s creator because the court found that the use of the parody would dilute the owner’s trademark.

Although recently courts have been far more sympathetic to third parties creating parodies of famous trademarks and service marks, a review of cases over the past thirty-five years indicates that courts did not always rule in favor of the defendants. At times, the courts found that the usage was not a sufficiently strong parody to dispel the possibility of consumer confusion, while in other instances, courts did not find parody at all, or found that a jurisdiction’s anti-dilution laws favored plaintiff’s interest in maintaining the goodwill of the mark being parodied. Recently-enacted federal legislation may clarify certain protections afforded to parodists, as well as protecting non-commercial usage of marks, but may still leave open certain issues,such as the parameters of a parody usage to be afforded protection.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Appeals Court Rules Against Qualcomm

A federal appeals court has turned down Qualcomm Inc.'s request to hold off imposition of an injunction against sales of some of the company's cellphone chips, while Qualcomm pursues an appeal of a patent suit won by rival Broadcom Corp.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, without providing details, ruled Tuesday that Qualcomm had not met its burden of proof to win a stay pending appeal of the injunction, which was ordered by federal judge in Santa Ana, Calif. on December 31.

The appeals court also denied a motion for Sprint Nextel Corp. to intervene in the case. The company is among the cellphone carriers potentially affected by the injunction.

A federal jury concluded last year that Qualcomm infringed three Broadcom patents, covering features that include digital-video technology, technology for allowing cellphones to use two or more networks simultaneously as well as a push-to-talk feature for instant communications between phones.

The subsequent injunction by U.S. District Judge James Selna had an immediate effect on U.S. sales of some handsets using Qualcomm chips. But most of the affected products fall under a sunset provision so that the company can continue selling them through January 2009 if it pays royalties to Broadcom. Qualcomm has been working on technical changes to some products to avoid infringing the Broadcom patents.

A Qualcomm spokeswoman, in a prepared statement, said: "Although our motion for a stay was denied, the Federal Circuit has recognized the need for speedy resolution of the many issues raised by the verdict and remedy in this case, and has therefore granted Qualcomm's motion for an expedited schedule for briefings and oral argument."

Friday, April 4, 2008

Fights Disrupt Anti-violence Rally at Chicago High School

An anti-violence rally at George Washington High School turned ugly Thursday when a series of fights broke out in a crowd of students being dismissed for the day.Parents and students had gathered at 3 p.m. to protest what they said has been escalating violence between black and Latino students at the school, at 3535 E. 114th St. on the Far Southeast Side.Tensions between the groups have persisted for years, parents and students said. But this week has been particularly violent, with several flare-ups that caused some parents to pull children out of school for their safety. Several parents said they would not allow their children to return to school until the violence was addressed.The protest came on the heels of a larger rally Chicago Public Schools held earlier this week calling for an end to the shootings that have claimed 20 students this year.

But moments after the George Washington rally began, fights between students erupted within the crowd of hundreds, sending people scurrying out of the way. The disturbance died down as more police arrived and offenders fled. No arrests or serious injuries were reported.Parent Sara Carreon said such outbursts are not uncommon. She said she and other parents have asked school officials to address the violence at the school but have yet to get a response.

"Look at this—what is this principal going to do? I can't believe this," Carreon said after the fight broke out.The school's principal, Florence Gonzales, had scheduled a meeting with parents to discuss the violence issue but it was abruptly canceled, angering parents who were demanding to hear from school officials.The meeting was rescheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday in the school library.Chicago Police Lt. Maury Richards, tactical lieutenant in the South Chicago district, said the violence stems from ongoing conflicts between the Latin Kings and Gangster Disciples. He said the school has seen a "flare-up" this week.

Woody Allen Sues Company Over Ads

Woody Allen Monday sued American Apparel Inc , claiming the U.S. clothing company used his image in advertising on billboards and the Internet without his consent.

The billboard ads, which depict Allen dressed as a rabbi, appeared in New York and California, according to the suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.Famed director Woody Allen "does not engage in the commercial endorsement of products or services in the United States," according to his lawsuit, which claims American Apparel illegally used his image in one of their billboards. Allen, an Oscar-winning U.S. director known for his work in films such as "Annie Hall" and "Crimes and Misdemeanors," said in the suit he was neither contacted by the company, nor compensated for the use of his image.

"Allen does not engage in the commercial endorsement of products or services in the United States," according to the lawsuit.

He is seeking damages in excess of $10 million, according to the suit.
A representative for American Apparel did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
The company makes and sells its own cotton apparel and has more than 180 stores in the United States and Canada.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Dumb Florida Laws

1. Women may be fined for falling asleep under a hair dryer, as can the salon owner.

2. A special law prohibits unmarried women from parachuting on Sunday or she shall risk arrest, fine, and/or jailing.

3. If an elephant is left tied to a parking meter, the parking fee has to be paid just as it would for a vehicle.

4. It is illegal to sing in a public place while attired in a swimsuit.

5. Men may not be seen publicly in any kind of strapless gown.

6. Any form of sexual contact other than missionary position is a misdomeanor. (This is still a law. There have been several cases of people being brought up on these charges in the past 5 years alone. If the police enter a home with a warrent for some other crime and catch the 'culprits' in action, they can, and are, brought up on those charges.)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Court Overturns Sentence in TV Show Scam

A federal appeals court has overturned a 366-day prison term for a man who bilked investors out of millions of dollars by claiming to be producing a government-backed television show about the Department of Homeland Security, saying it fell far short of sentencing guidelines.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday set aside Joseph Medawar's sentence, which was a fraction of what prosecutors sought and even less than his own attorney requested.
A three-judge panel decided that U.S. District Judge Manuel Real "committed procedural error" in not using federal guidelines to determine Medawar's sentence and ordered that he be re-sentenced.

Guidelines called for 57 to 71 months in prison, and prosecutors had asked for 57.
The panel also said Real did not provide a "significant justification" for giving the sentence.
Medawar, 46, pleaded guilty in May 2006 to tax evasion and conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, admitting fleecing about 50 people of millions of dollars. He could now face further prison time.

Legal battle rages over whether ankles exist

For every foot, there's an ankle. Or not.

In Texas, that all depends on a legal battle between medical doctors and podiatrists, who both claim the ankle as their turf. The debate has raged to the point that the two sides disagree in court on whether the ankle actually exists.

A state appeals court recently sided with medical doctors when it determined that the state board that licenses podiatrists exceeded its authority in defining the ankle as part of the foot.
"You don't have an ankle," said Mark Hanna, a lawyer for the Texas Podiatric Medical Association. "The foot actually includes the ankle. If you took the foot off the leg, there is nothing lying there that's the ankle."

Not so, said Dr. David Teuscher, an orthopedic surgeon in Beaumont who said treating the ankle is complicated enough to require medical school training.

"If they say the ankle doesn't exist, why do they want to operate on it?" asked Teuscher, immediate past president of the Texas Orthopaedic Association. "Everyone knows what an ankle is."

The Texas State Board of Podiatric Medical Examiners bypassed the Legislature to create its ankle-is-part-of-the-foot definition in 2001. Podiatrists say they've been treating ankles for decades and accuse medical doctors of trying to limit competition. The Texas Medical Association argues podiatrists should stick to corns, calluses and diabetic foot care.

The physicians group interprets last Friday's ruling as saying the ankle and foot are separate. The podiatrists group says the ruling doesn't go that far and plans to appeal. About 900 podiatrists await the outcome.