LITIGATION UPDATES – FEBRUARY 2015

Revenge Porn Extortionist Convicted

A California state jury convicted the owner of "revenge porn" website YouGotPosted.com, where jilted lovers submitted nude photos of their exes for public humiliation, of identity theft and extortion.  The owner’s conviction is the first to come after Gov. Jerry Brown in October 2013 signed a bill outlawing the posting of nude photos of someone else online without permission and with intent to publicly shame the photo subject.  He faces up to 23 years in prison.

PGA Tour Caddies Want Payment For Wearing Sponsor Logos

A group of professional golf caddies slapped PGA Tour Inc. with an antitrust putative class action in California federal court, alleging they were turned into “glorified billboards” by the PGA Tour, which reaps $50 million a year from logos shown on the caddies' clothing.  The more than 80 caddies say they are forced to wear brightly colored aprons, called bibs, emblazoned with corporate logos of the PGA Tour's sponsors, including Coca-Cola Inc. and FedEx Corp.  The bibs prevent the caddies from signing their own endorsement deals, which they say are permitted under PGA Tour rules, while the tour doesn't pay the caddies anything for the broadcast of their likenesses, which become the most valuable advertising space during games.

LA Hotels Must Be Able To Contest Searches, High Court Told

A coalition of Los Angeles motel owners is urging the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold a Ninth Circuit ruling striking down a city law allowing warrantless searches of hotel registries, arguing that the Fourth Amendment requires an opportunity for judicial review before the government can conduct such searches.  In a Jan. 23 brief, roughly 40 hotel owners and the Los Angeles Lodging Association stepped up their push to wipe out the Los Angeles hotel registry search law, which the Ninth Circuit in a 7-4 en banc ruling in December found to be unconstitutional on its face because it subjects hotel owners to the “unbridled discretion” of officers in the field without giving them the chance to challenge the searches.  According to the motel owner respondents, the Supreme Court should affirm the appellate court's decision because the city has failed to show any special need for endowing individual police officers with the “extraordinary authority” to conduct unbounded warrantless searches under the law, which requires hotels and motel owners to make their registries available to law enforcement or face criminal penalties.

Calif. Anti-Bullying Law Now in Effect

A California law took effect this month requiring company supervisors to undergo anti-bullying training, a statute that is seen as the beginning of broader efforts by state legislators to ban “abusive conduct” in the workplace.  This will likely open up a whole new area of employment litigation.  A.B. 2053, which was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in September and took effect Jan. 1, mandates employers with 50 or more workers that already provide sexual harassment training for supervisors include new training about preventing “abusive conduct” in the workplace.  Under the statute, “abusive conduct” is defined as conduct of an employer or employee, with malice, that a reasonable person would find hostile, offensive and unrelated to an employer’s legitimate business interests. The conduct may include verbal abuse, such as “the use of derogatory remarks, insults and epithets, verbal or physical conduct that a reasonable person would find threatening, intimidating or humiliating, or the gratuitous sabotage or undermining of a person's work performance.”

 

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