LITIGATION UPDATES – APRIL 2015

Racket Maker Gets Hit Harder in Settlement

A California federal judge signed off on a $4.5 million class action settlement to resolve a pair of consolidated suits alleging racket maker Babolat VS North America Inc. used deceptive tactics to sell products endorsed by tennis superstars such as Rafael Nadal and Andy Roddick.  In her order, U.S. District Judge Virginia A. Phillips granted the parties’ motion for final approval of the class action pact, which requires Babolat to establish a nonreversionary fund of $4.5 million in order to settle plaintiffs’ claims that it had misrepresented to consumers that the player-endorsed rackets available for purchase were identical to those used on the professional tennis tour.

Ex NFL Player Sues Nike in Trademark Case

Former NFL linebacker Shawne Merriman is aiming for a win in his trademark lawsuit against Nike Inc., telling a federal judge that the apparel giant has made “an obscene amount of money” by infringing his “Lights Out” nickname.  Shawne "Lights Out" Merriman is introduced during a break in a November 2012 game between the Maryland Terrapins and the Florida State Seminoles in College Park, Maryland.  The former San Diego Chargers linebacker, who claimed he earned the nickname by knocking opposing players unconscious and uses it for a line of apparel sued Nike a year ago, claiming the company had simply stolen his “Lights Out” name after unsuccessfully trying to license it from him.

“Revenge Porn” Site Operator Gets Prison Time

A San Diego man who was convicted of identity theft and extortion for running a “revenge porn” website that allowed jilted lovers to post nude photos of their exes for public humiliation received a sentence of 18 years in prison.  Kevin Christopher Bollaert, the 28-year-old operator of UGotPosted.com, was found guilty in February on 21 counts of identity theft and six counts of extortion in the first criminal prosecution of an operator of such a site in the country.

PG & E Hit With Record $1.6B Fine Overly Deadly California Blast

California's Public Utilities Commission hit Pacific Gas & Electric Co. with a $1.6 billion penalty on Thursday for its role in a fatal pipeline explosion in San Bruno that killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes in 2010, marking the largest fine the commission has ever assessed.

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