Category Archives: Disputes

Billionaire Richard Branson Called a Trademark Bully by the Trademark Law Professors of University of Washington, School of Law

Westborough, MA, 2020-Jul-30 — /EPR LAW NEWS/ — Virgin has targeted to attack over 300 small companies & non-profit charities. Common sense says that the word ‘virgin’ cannot be owned by one individual or organization but Virgin has deep pockets to destroy those who dare to fight for their rights.

“Opposing trademark registrations in unrelated fields is the classic behavior of a trademark bully,” says Mike Atkins, an attorney at Atkins Intellectual Property who teaches trademark law at the University of Washington, School of Law.

That’s why it came as a surprise that Branson decided to send a threatening cease-and-desist letter (where he tells the small start up to either commit a business suicide right away or else Virgin lawyers will destroy it within 30 days) to I Am Not A Virgin, a small eco-friendly denim label, claiming that the company’s name infringes on his copyright, as the Telegraph’s Laura Hubbert reported on the case.

Richard Branson’s lawyers demanded environmentally friendly start up jeans label ‘I Am Not A Virgin’ to cancel their trademark (a trademark they have been lawfully granted and owned for almost 4 years before they received the threat letter from Branson – reports Ms. HUBBERT in her article.

“I guess I could rename my jeans Not Made By Richard Branson” – comments sarcastically the founder of the brand. Branson also demanded the small business owner cease to sell current stock of the jeans and removes them from the stores which for a small business is a financial suicide and a loss of all start up investment costs essentially leading to the end of a business.

“Common sense says that the word ‘virgin’ cannot be owned by one individual or organization. In other words, it’s stupid to claim a colour of your own, let say a word. Branson, who’s also well known for his support of environmental causes, apparently has failed to see that” – says Anderson Antunes in his Forbes article about Virgin’s abuse on small entrepreneurs.

Attorney at law, Widerman Malek, summaries in his comments: “If Richard Branson has his way, it might be. ” He adds: “Although sometimes considered a bully in the trademark office, they remain unapologetic for their stance.”

According to multiple news reports, in the past several years, the Virgin group has targeted over 300 companies who used the word Virgin in their name, URL or marketing slogan. Unfortunately, many of these 300 companies are small businesses who do not have the resources to fight back against a multi-billion dollar company with hundreds or even thousands of lawyers on their retainer. These small businesses almost always settle simply because they cannot afford to fight.

Widerman Malek brings up some of the companies Virgin attacked:

  • Virgin Vapors – a small vapor company located in California whose owner currently refuses to change its name despite being threatened by Virgin.
  • The owners of domain names virginthreads.com, virginpublishing.com, virginstar.net, and virgincigar.com. The Virgin group alleges cyberpiracy for any company using the name virgin in their domain, even if it is not their business name.
  • Author Cristina Crayn, who named one of her published books, “Tales from the Virgin Vault.”
  • Virgin Valley Cab – a cab company in the Virgin Valley geographic location of Northwest Arizona, who recently came to an agreement with conglomerate to stop using the name.
  • Las Virgenes United Educational Foundation – a nonprofit organization in the Las Virgenes School District. The Virgin Group attempted to block the trademark application. Evidently, any virgin will meet their criteria – no matter which language it’s in and if destroying charities for children is to take place.
  • I Am Not A Virgin – a New York clothing company which specializes in creating and selling denim products.
  • Virgin Air, a small airline in the American Virgin Islands, which no longer exists under this name due to Virgin’s lawsuits.
  • CBS Studios, who may be opposed by the Virgin Group in an attempt to trademark the name Jane the Virgin, which they will use as a sitcom name.
  • Last year, the Virgin group attempted to stop Valle Grande from trademarking a phrase that contained the words “virgin olive oil”, using the argument that Valle Grande currently only sells vinegar.
  • In 2004, the conglomerate sued a tiny apparel retailer called Virgin Threads in federal court in New York; the retailer dropped the name a year later as they could not afford to battle with Virgin any longer.
  • VIRGINIC – Purity Perfected – small cosmetics brand, selling “beyond organic”, handcrafted, allergy-free face creams in small batches. Virgin has been suing them with malicious, aggressive litigations, on the ongoing basis from 2018-2020 in multiple countries to starve them financially to business death, as Virgin did with other start ups. Interestingly, Virgin abandoned selling cosmetics years ago making public statements on their own website that they have no intention to sell beauty products. As of July 2020, VIRGINIC still refuses to be bullied and to give up their name.

Via EPR Network
More Law press releases

Virgin’s unethical business practices against small start ups and non-profit foundations

Louisville, Kentucky, 2020-Jul-16 — /EPR LAW NEWS/ — When it comes to big business versus small business, the deck is, and always has been, heavily stacked in favor of the giants, making sure it stays that way. Yes, there will always be David and Goliath stories held up as the reason for hope in these battles, but reality dictates that they are almost insurmountable obstacles in the path of a small entrepreneur.

There is, however, a more insidious and corruptive side to the competition that few, if any, really see or understand at all. The legal teams.

Companies like The Virgin Group and Sir Richard Branson retain the type of law firms that see no ethical issue in destroying anything and anyone on their way, no matter the cost, the merits and the human lives and dreams destroyed along the way.

Take billing, for example. Virgin Enterprises uses Norvell IP and A. A. Thornton, type of companies that sees fit to charge by the half hour for anything that they do, including a single phone call, running up bills of around $300 per call. Yes, you read that correctly…$300 PER CALL! Equally absurdly, they charge the same to write a letter, to attend a meeting or to send an email!

 

Ok, so Virgin and Sir Richard is worth billions, they can afford these costs and who cares? It’s their choice and their wallet, right?

Well, no. They make their pray pay for it.

The thing is, as the relentless (and oftentimes frivolous) stream of trademark infringement lawsuits are filed across the globe, those costs are, almost exclusively borne not by Virgin, but by the small business that they are making their claim against.

Take the case of Wyoming start-up, VIRGINIC LLC. Virgin decided, as they have done on so many occasions in the past, that they were unhappy with the UK Intellectual Property Office awarding VIRGINIC LLC their own brand trademark “VIRGINIC”. For a little context, let’s not forget that this is the same company that sued a Virgin Olive Oil producer, the TV show “Jane The Virgin” and even a Non-profit Educational Foundation, “Las Virgenes” for children, staffed entirely by volunteer parents! If you’re like most people, this alone can leave anyone speechless. Clearly, Virgin is not afraid to throw their litigation budget around even against non-profit children care foundations.

So, Virgin took umbrage to the idea of a company VIRGINIC LLC, regardless of the fact that the UKIPO had already awarded their trademark for their name to them. Virgin attacked and yet again the UK courts decided that there was no case to be heard and VIRGINIC should keep their own trademark.

Virgin lost the case, and the subsequent appeal, with VIRGINIC being awarded the princely sum of £300 in costs, and that, in any sensible judicial process, should have been that. However, Virgin’s lawyers managed to get the UK High Court of Appeals to agree to review the appeal of the case which, upon doing so, intrestingly awarded in favor of Virgin this third time around.

And here is the fun part; When VIRGINIC, a small “David” went up against the behemoth “Goliath” of Virgin and managed to not only show that common sense is still alive and well in some legal systems, but managed to do it on a shoestring budget, whilst a mammoth task and stupendous result given the odds, it appears that the ultimately necessary penny-pinching that all start-ups are likely to be forced to adopt, is the largest chink in their armor.

The reason for this is simple: Virgin lose and the judge awards costs in the order of £300 to the start-up. £300 which Virgin never actually saw fit to pay, regardless of the fact that they spend so much time in courtrooms arguing that their rights are being infringed upon and crowing for justice. This in itself is a pointer towards where this all goes wrong. You see, they cry foul and plead for justice as if the courtroom is a sacred place where all shall find their truth. In reality, when that truth is contrary to their opinion, they simply disregard the orders of the court and find somebody else to cry to.

Now, what happens when, at the third time of asking, they manage to find themselves a “friendly” judge? Well, their costs are awarded against VIRGINIC in the sum of…

Ready for this…?

£33,000 + £10,000!
With no right to appeal any further, conveniently.

So, Virgin “loses” and the bill is £300. I would guess that the lawyers charging $300 to make a phone call would probably be happy to pay that off themselves with the cash that they dropped down the sofa last night. However, when VIRGINIC loses, all those cups of coffee that the world’s most expensive secretaries were making suddenly add up to a sum of £43,000, so exorbitant, so utterly defiant of anything even approaching a reality that is in any way sustainable, that all suddenly becomes so very clear.

Virgin and, more importantly, Virgin’s lawyers LOVE finding random reasons to drag volnurable, small businesses (and apparently non-profit foundations too) into a courtroom because it is a no-loss situation for them. They literally don’t even bother paying the measly costs generated if they lose (Virgin pays) whilst running up such absurd bills themselves that, if they win, the small business is basically financially crippled to the point where it either ceases to exist or exists only for the purposes of paying off the legal bills. Small educational foundations like “Las Virgenes” for children, staffed entirely by volunteer parents are a no match with this malice legal practice backed by deep pockets of Virgin.

Is there a happy ending here? VIRGINIC is well off its knees trying to write one as we speak. Keep your fingers crossed and maybe the Wyoming case will prove more uncorrupted justice system in the US than the UK one.

Via EPR Network
More Law press releases

Virgin hires private investigators to spy and find out where VIRGINIC employees live in the US. VIRGINIC wins with Virgin twice in the UK

Austin, Texas, 2020-Jun-09 — /EPR LAW NEWS/ — Hypocrisy continues. Richard Branson claims to support small entrepreneurs and yet Virgin lawyers attack and destroy small start-ups.

Jolly Santa figure or a Business Bully?

Common sense says that the word ‘virgin’ cannot be owned by one individual or organization. After suing VIRGINIC, will Virgin now go after British Virgin Islands, the country? Or after Madonna for a song “Like a Virgin?”. Welcome to the Jungle where you can hire the most ruthless and manipulative lawyers, shall your deep pockets allow the cost.

Richard Branson, he of the goatee beard, shaggy hair and permanently fixed grin is not a man who needs to worry about money. His personal net worth is as of 2020 approximately 4.2 billion USD according to Google. The Virgin Group had an annual turnover in 2016 of around 25 billion USD. The Group’s business interests extend, to use the legal phrase, ad coelum et ad inferos. For those of us without a Classical education, that means up to heaven and down to hell, from trains on the ground to telecommunications in the atmosphere around us up to commercial space flight, Virgin has many fingers in many pies.

Of the many classes of goods and services marketed under the Virgin name cosmetics is not one of them. In June 2009, Virgin explicitly announced its intent to not use any mark containing the term “Virgin” in connection with the sale of cosmetics, skincare, and beauty products by announcing that it was “moving away from glamorous adventures in this particular retail sector.” A crystal clear statement of intent that stands to this day as Virgin still doesn’t sell cosmetics under the Virgin name and has long abandoned its mark with respect to cosmetics and skincare goods.

Enter stage right VIRGINIC LLC. Virginic was created two and a half years ago and is a startup specializing in mission-based, allergy-free, chemical-free beauty products with “virginic” level of purity, sold strictly through ecommerce channels. Small company with big ethos of superior standards of ingredients purity and ethics, vegan and unprocessed. Despite the fact that Virgin has no current or future interest in goods of this type, and that VIRGINIC is a different brand name than Virgin, Virgin has been aggressively pursuing a frankly absurd and bullying course of action against VIRGINIC for the past 2 years.

The logos of the two companies look nothing alike, the name of VIRGINIC is not similar and no person is going to think their VIRGINIC face cream has anything at all to do with Virgin Atlantic airline. There is no reason for Virgin to maliciously keep trying to destroy a company like VIRGINIC. It poses no threat whatsoever to Virgin’s business interests or to consumers but it is under attack by an army of lawyers in multiple countries, where employees are spied by lawyers, their linkedin profiles invigilated and people straight abused.

This sad state of affairs began when VIRGINIC LLC applied to register their trademark in the UK. In January 2018 the mark was accepted and published in the Trade Marks Journal in respect of Class 03, which covers cosmetics and skincare goods. The UK IPO governmental trademark officer accepted the trademark as it concluded no marketplace confusion nor even similarity. Virgin opposed it despite the fact that it does not sell cosmetics. As any reasonable person would expect, Virgin’s opposition failed, another senior UK IPO specialist decided VIRGINIC wins for a second time on the basis that the average consumer would not make a connection between VIRGINIC chemical-free cosmetics and Virgin Mobile.

However Virgin has massive resources and aggressive lawyers who appealed to the UK Court claiming that the original hearing officer was incorrect and his decision should be overturned. Additionally, aiming to destroy at all cost and against all merits, the lawyers attacked further demanding $50,000 from VIRGINIC.

Thomas M Monagan from Norvell IP, USA, together with Geo Hussey from A.A. Thornton in UK continued by opening more lawsuits in the USs and UK, serving litigation papers to unrelated companies that managers of VIRGINIC used to work for, all to harass the small company to the extreme point so they give up and destroy themselves on Virgin’s request. Virgin also hired a private investigators, as they disclosed to Court in Wyoming, to find out where employees and managers physically live.

In May 2020 same lawyers served VIRGINIC employees lawsuits via their private Linkedin profiles and to random email addresses found on the internet. Such actions could have been a Monty Python sketch, but sadly these days lawyers are apparently allowed to invade people’s privacy.

VIRGINIC stood strong and refused to be destroyed. A fight with multi billion dollar bully can cause significant hardship to any startup in its early stages. While Virgin has the resources to indulge in frivolous and harassing court cases, VIRGINIC does not.

This could bring any other company to its knees, halting operations and causing the lay offs of valuable and experienced staff, impacting the company and making its people jobless. Malicious lawyers applying a technique of continued harassment to burden financial resources of a smaller company and take an emotional toll on its staff is a technique called bullying. Where VIRGINIC should be concentrating on growing and developing its allergy-free and ethically-sourced products, which could change the face of the beauty industry, it is instead being forced to fight for its very survival even though it has done nothing against Virgin whatsoever.

Virgin’s lack of good faith and attempts of its lawyers to harass and destroy is even more clear looking at Virgin’s long history of trademark abuse. Even a cursory search of online sources will reveal multiple examples of trademark abuse and bullying small start ups.

Via EPR Network
More Law press releases

VIRGINIC defends its case and stands up to Virgin after attack on Linkedin profiles of shocked VIRGINIC employees

SEATTLE, Washington, 2020-Jun-02 — /EPR LAW NEWS/ — Last week Virgin launched a new attack on shocked VIRGINIC employees and threatened in court to serve them lawsuits directly to their Linkedin profiles. Virgin then followed its threats and served its lawsuits to unrelated email addresses of those individuals it found on the internet. Virgin revealed it has been spying on VIRGINIC employees social media and private Linkedin profiles and provided the Court daily screenshots of such profiles as evidence.

“Put it simply, it is bullying and VIRGINIC will stand up to it” – says a former employee of VIRGINIC, Mark Russell.

Thomas M Monagan from Norvell IP is the lawyer hired by Virgin in USA, together with Geoff Hussey from A.A. Thornton in UK to tear apart the business fabric of VIRGINIC and to destroy the start up company and force it to stop selling allergy-free organic creams.

According to Mark Russell, “the harassment Virgin lawyers have been maliciously applying for the past 2 years have adversely and financially affected many workers employed who lost their jobs because of the hardship caused by Virgin. Virgin has been trying to starve a small start up company financially to death for past 2 years and it’s a miracle VIRGINIC is still standing up straight by pure force of resilience, integrity and business pride”.

The former worker adds: “Virgin opened multiple lawsuits in multiple countries and demanded we close and commit a business suicide. VIRGINIC heroically stood up to it. All employees gave their 200% knowing it costs a fortune to hire lawyers in all those countries and a lot of us declared to work for reduced wage to support our mission-based company and stand up to bullying. Everyone with common sense knew Virgin’s claims were not only lacking factual merits but were in bulk part a legal manipulation aiming to attack for no reason, just like Virgin successfully destroyed through litigation many other start ups in the past including small Virgin Olive Oil producers”.

Question remains, should Virgin and its lawyers be held liable for damages they have caused including loss of jobs of VIRGINIC employees and financial hardships caused to many families? VIRGINIC is defending its case vigorously with the limited means it has but the irony is, what wrong did they do at the first place.

VIRGINIC is an honest, cruelty-free and natural-ingredients-only beauty company. The name is different from Virgin. They sell entirely different products. Their logo and branding is different. Customers buying VIRGINIC oraganic face cream jars online are certainly not confused thinking they are buying from Virgin Airlines/Mobile or Virgin Galactic.

Nevertheless VIRGINIC workers who lost their jobs due to high costs of multiple international lawsuits and whose private social media profiles are daily watched and taken screenshots of, are the ones to shoulder the burden. At the event of US Court eventually ruling for VIRGINIC, will the multi-billion dollar giant Virgin be ordered to compensate those employees for loss of income and privacy invasion?

Mark Russell comments: “US judges have a good reputation regarding protecting the rights of their citizens and US companies so despite Virgin’s army of lawyers and their tactics of spying and harassment on privacy, I hope the judge will make things right to VIRGINIC. I hope the saying that the party with more money for lawyers always wins, despite the merits and common sense, will not turn out to be a sad truth here. Maybe Richard Branson will be notified about what’s happening and will make things right”.

He adds: “There comes a point when you have to stand up to behavior of ruthless lawyers, because they destroy people and they destroy lives, just because there is a company with deep pockets willing to pay for it. Bullying like this scares and silences people but we all know this is not an acceptable practice. There needs to be accountability for false and malicious storytelling in courts and daily spying on private profiles and hiring private investigators to find out where those employees live, which is also what Virgin said in Court they did and presented those private investigators findings to Court as evidence. Virgin’s infamous and low litigation and personal harassment tactics are now a part of a public record so everything is out there to be seen and accounted for.”

A former employee who fell victim to this case, finishes by saying: “There is a human cost to this malicious bullying. VIRGINIC has continued to put on a brave face and has been boldly fighting back for the past two years, but I cannot begin to describe how painful it has been to many VIRGINIC employees. They lost their jobs, their privacy was violated. The multi-billion dollar giant attacked a small mission-based start up with no merits, because they could and because lawyers had to justify their fees. All this at the direct expense of many honest and hard working young people, their family income and the better mission-based future they have been building”.

The case progresses and it is unclear how quickly the Court might rule.

Via EPR Network
More Law press releases

Virgin adds to VIRGINIC case new groundless litigation against 3 more small startups

MIAMI, Florida, 2020-Apr-29 — /EPR LAW NEWS/ — Sir Richard Branson and his Virgin Group do not trade in… Virgins! Furthermore the word ‘virgin’ is itself a common word and an arbitrary one when used in connection to Virgin’s various business pursuits. For context purposes, here’s some more fun with trademarking Apple.

The word itself, Apple, is a common word and contrary to popular belief it is possible to trademark a common word. This is allowed because the word is arbitrary when used in connection to the manufacturer of iPhones and computers etc. Apple doesn’t sell apples, and neither does the Apple Rubber Co and many others who also own the trademark to the word ‘Apple.’ Multiple companies can own the trademark to the same common word, as long as the products they sell aren’t so similar that they cause confusion for consumers.

In spite of being a globally recognized brand, Virgin is currently pursuing a court case against a small online beauty company named VIRGINIC LLC, attempting to force them to close their store and demanding a hand over of their website domains and social media accounts to Virgin Group.

VIRGINIC LLC is a startup with a visionary desire to keep creating chemical-free, allergy-free, raw face cream formulas, for the direct benefit of an organic-minded female consumer. VIRGINIC brand name is to recall beyond-organic level of purity with no chemical additives and a holistic approach to ethical and all natural sourcing. Their production practices are mindful of protecting the planet through sustainable packaging materials and supporting local farming for ingredients sourcing. Yes, they are lovely people with an ethos that we can all support as it’s hard not to.

As for Virgin, they don’t sell cosmetics currently and neither do they have any intention to do so in future. From our common sense lesson in trademark law this should be an open and shut case, should it not? It seems crystal clear that two companies selling completely different products with names using a common word in an arbitrary manner, no virgins being sold, should both have the right to trademark that word.

Or in this case an invented word similar to that word, it would be like Apple vs Appleic. What’s more in the UK where this case started 2 years ago, a quick search reveals many companies trading under the word ‘Virgin’ offering various services. They’re able to do so for the reasons already stated above.

So why would Virgin target a small startup that doesn’t even use the name “virgin” and doesn’t trade in phones, planes and spaceships but natural face creams? It appears to be nothing more than pure speculative spitefulness by certain lawyers needing to justify their retainer and earn exorbitant fees from their client.

One can almost imagine those lawyers idly examining new trademark applications looking for marks that look somewhat similar to their client’s, no matter how tenuous the connection and salivating over the thought of the juicy fees to follow.

This sort of behavior is no better than the ‘ambulance chaser’ stereotype that looms large in the public’s imagination. In fact, under common law there was historically an offence referred to as ‘barratry’ referring to people who are “overly officious in instigating or encouraging prosecution of groundless litigation” or who bring “repeated or persistent acts of litigation” for the purposes of profit or harassment. Sadly for VIRGINIC, this is no longer an offense in England and Wales. Now the turn is for the US court system to judge on the merits vs manipulative discourse of Virgin’s lawyers justifying their retainers.

Some of the investigative journalists following VIRGINIC case point out that the actual litigation is indeed pointless and harassing in nature. Furthermore it is destructive and punitive. VIRGINIC was already denied the appeal in UK, Virgin got paid £35,000 but since that wasn’t enough, Virgin’s lawyers proceeded to open more lawsuits against VIRGINIC in more countries, including countries where VIRGINIC doesn’t trade.

VIRGINIC refused to commit business suicide and close the shop, just because Virgin said so. Virgin’s lawyers responded by opening personal lawsuits against key employees and managers of VIRGINIC in both US and UK, using an alter ego theory as a legal crutch. In David vs Goliath cases, a big corporation can starve a small company financially to death, break their spirit by forcing them to give up simply because a small company is no longer able to afford piling up legal fees (in this case internationally) – a common tactic of a common bully.

Virgin opened personal lawsuits against shocked and distressed key employees and managers of VIRGINIC calling them in Wyoming court an “alter ego” of VIRGINIC company itself. When VIRGINIC and its management heroically kept refusing to be destroyed, more personal lawsuits were opened in the court of England.

VIRGINIC stated on their website that they felt it was morally wrong to close the business and stop making natural cosmetics for people with allergies that asks for them every day, just because a multi-billion dollar attacker has such a wish. In response to that, Virgin’s lawyers just recently added to the ongoing lawsuit 3 unrelated to VIRGINIC start up companies (in both court of both Wyoming, US and London, England) – companies where VIRGINIC employees used to work based on same “alter ego” legal crutch theory, causing even greater surprise to all spectators and a real financial damage to other small entities that stated no connection to VIRGINIC.

VIRGINIC announced on their social media that directly due to high legal fees causing hardship to its business half of their employees had to be laid off. At the expense of a great personal toll to those individuals and at a great loss of human capital in general, Virgin is further magnifying the damage caused.

If any business case is the personification of vicious, pointless litigation that only serves to enrich overpaid lawyers then this is it. Let us hope that a fairytale ending lies in store for the good folks at VIRGINIC and their spirit of not giving up on their dream, with a deserved comeuppance for the villain of the piece.

Via EPR Network
More Law press releases

Virgin Demands Small Cosmetic Company VIRGINIC Closes and Opens Lawsuits Against its Main Employees

New York, NY, 2020-Apr-23 — /EPR LAW NEWS/ — One of the greatest challenges currently facing the business world is the relentless pursuit of ownership of brand names, logos, typefaces, slogans and even colors! The judiciary are constantly inundated with cases regarding the alleged illegal or improper use of any, or any combination, of these.

But how much of this is a waste of the court’s time? How often is a case being brought simply because an in-house legal beagle needs to justify their salary? How many cases are brought that should simply, in any real world of common sense, never make it out of the split second of foolishness of that very thought’s creator?

Now, the idea that somebody really believed it necessary to protect their idea/investment/invention by receiving confirmation that it was indeed theirs, does, of course, make some sense. Invent the perfect diet in the form of a single daily dose tablet and you should be able to protect that invention and make as much money as the marketplace deems it to be worth until somebody comes up with a way of simply breathing in the perfect diet, and your invention becomes worthless.

And there is, in and of itself, the answer to many of our questions, whether or not we really knew that we had them. Money. Without this fiendish instrument of perceived wealth, where would we be? Would anybody, anywhere ever need to know who invented something of great use to the general populous? Would anybody give you the pats on the back and the “attaboys” that your genius deserved? Well, maybe, and, more likely the case, maybe not.

But would you care? I mean, let’s be honest, if you honestly did all this just for the kudos, you wouldn’t have needed the patent application form in the first place, right? You did it for the money, as is your absolute right to do, and you are simply protecting your investment and the value that your invention has.

Trademarks are, however, a whole different ball game. Take the example of Odysseas Papadimitriou’s company trademark application for his WalletHub brand, a brand that offered a website able to compare various offers such as insurance, loans, mortgages etc. The trademark application for his logo, a white “W” set in a green square, was disputed by, of all things, Major League Baseball! The claim was that the MLB had not one but TWO similar logos that would be infringed upon were the application allowed. One of these is a logo that has not been used in baseball since 1960, the year that the Washington Nationals became the Minnesota Twins whilst the other is a flag that the Chicago Cubs fly in their stadium if they win!

How are either of these “uses” threatened in any way, financial or otherwise, by a website that offers financial documentation organization services? Are WalletHub suddenly getting calls from angry customers, unable to get seats for the game? Are the MLB getting calls asking for financial advice?

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the key to this whole mess…IS THE CONSUMER CONFUSED ABOUT WHO OR WHAT THEY ARE ENGAGING WITH FOR GOODS OR SERVICES? That is the acid test. That is the reason the law uses to justify its very existence. That is the fly in the inhouse legal beagle’s ointment…Can they PROVE that this brand confusion would exist?

A perfect example of this is the case of Virgin Group PLC v VIRGINIC LLC (you already see where this is going, right?!). VIRGINIC is a young start-up specializing in all-natural, organic beauty products. Not trains. Not planes. Not telephones.

In fact, not any product that is even similar to anything that the Virgin group does or even has ever produced. Clearly there can be no confusion here. But what’s that, I hear you cry? The name is similar? Surely name similarity is not enough. For example, Ford once manufactured a car called the Capri. Now we have the Capri Sun brand all over the world. Is there an issue? Are people buying juice boxes worried that they are made in a car factory? Of course they are not. That would be silly, wouldn’t it?!

VIRGINIC was dismissed by a judge in the UK at the THIRD time of asking, having already beaten Virgin’s trademark infringement case on two previous occasions.The virtue of the freedom of speech that we protect so rigorously, is not an objective virtue any more in the common legal sense, apparently.

For as long as there exists a particular judge able to be swayed by vague and ridiculous arguments, such as those employed by the Virgin lawyers, on a particular day, in a particular place, we will carry on down this absurd legal rabbithole, wasting both the time and money of the taxpayer and of both businesses in question, meanwhile doing nothing for the consumer other than limit their access to the products that they may actually wish to purchase.

And are those not the people that these very laws were enacted to protect in the first place?

Trademark case numbers (UK00003283156)

Via EPR Network
More Law press releases

Morrell Caterers Sued in Three Lawsuits – Alleged Kosher Food Fraud, Top-Shelf Howard Fensterman Morrell, & Morrell Employees Tips

Under Jewish kosher dietary laws, you can’t mix kosher and non-kosher food at any meal or in any kitchen. If you do, then the kosher food becomes tainted and is no longer kosher.

Scott Morrell, head of one of Long Island’s largest kosher caterer, is accused by former employees of preparing and serving, over a number of years, non-kosher food in kosher kitchens – – food that he represented as kosher. This is a direct contravention of kosher dietary laws.

Two former employees of Morrell Kosher Caterers allege that as part of Morrell’s non-kosher catering business , Morrell brought non-kosher food into the kitchen of Temple Beth Torah. This food was placed on the same food preparation tables where kosher food was also being prepared, and the same pots and pans were deliberately used to cook both kosher and non-kosher food.

The result of this deliberate co-mingling of kosher and non-kosher food, pots and pans is the contamination of all the kosher food prepared in the same kitchen, from that first moment of contact onwards.

Examples of the non-kosher food introduced into the kosher kitchen by Morrell include shrimp, lobster, pepperoni, prosciutto, and sausage. Despite this, Morrell represented that the food being served at kosher events his firm catered was in fact kosher and, as such, customers were charged more money for the kosher affairs. Typically, Morrell contracts for kosher events included a charge of $800 for kosher food.
Class Action Lawsuit brought by Morrell Employees — A Second Lawsuit

But this is not all the bad news for Morrell.  A second lawsuit , a class action brought by hundreds of former Morrell employees , accuses Morrell’s company of, over a six year period, holding onto service charges included in the catering contracts — money that was earmarked for waiters, bus staff and maitre d’s. The employees said that the caterer also demanded that they give back to Scott Morrell any cash tips they received at events catered by Morrell’s company.

Howard Fensterman Morrell — A Third Lawsuit

Howard Fensterman Morrell — A third lawsuit against Morrell was by attorney Howard Fensterman. It alleges breach of contract and fraud by Morrell regarding a function hosted by Fensterman on May 29, 2010. That event was catered by Morrell’s firm. The suit accuses Morrell of substituting lower priced liquor for premium, top- shelf  liquor brands, as called for in Fensterman’s contract.

Via EPR Network
More Law press releases

Long Island Attorney Steven Cohn Clears Up Misconceptions About “Extortion” — Howard Fensterman Morrell

In lawsuits, when two parties are suing each other, it has been custom and practice for decades across the U.S. that in many instances the opposing attorneys informally exchange the suits with each other before they are formally filed with the clerk of the court.

The purpose of this long-accepted courtesy is to allow the attorneys to talk together and see if any or all parts of the parties’ lawsuits can be settled or resolved before going through lengthy and expensive litigation.

This is a key tenant that enables our civil justice system to move forward efficiently and not become bogged down in endless litigation of lawsuits that otherwise could be settled out of court.

In these instances, typically, the attorney for one or both parties get to the point where they say “it may well be in our mutual financial interests to terminate or resolve all or parts of these suits.”

A recent case in point where this happened involves Scott Morrell of Long Island’s Morrell’s Caterers, one of the largest catering services on Long Island . Importantly, in early 2012, Morrell faced three lawsuits for allegedly illegal and deceitful acts.

Background: Three Lawsuits Against Morrell Kosher Caterer

One was brought by two senior employees of his catering firm. Another was initiated by hundreds of former employees, and a third lawsuit against Morrell was brought by Long Island attorney and Morrell client, Howard Fensterman [Howard Fensterman Morrell]. Morrell is a long-time friend of Fensterman with whom Morrell had participated over the last ten years in separate, outside investments.

Specifically, according to numerous news media reports, including an article in the Long Island Press of February 16, the first lawsuit – – by two senior employees of Morrell’s catering business – – accused Morrell of deliberately bringing non kosher food into what was supposed to be a kosher catering kitchen, thus effectively “contaminating” both the food and kitchen in violation of Jewish law. Examples of the non-kosher food introduced into the kosher kitchen by Morrell include shrimp, lobster, pepperoni, prosciutto, and sausage. Despite this, Morrell represented that the food being served at kosher events his firm was catering was in fact kosher and, as such, customers were charged more money for that.

The second lawsuit, by hundreds of former Morrell employees, accused Morrellscompany of, over a six year period, holding onto the service charges included in the catering contracts that were earmarked for waiters, bus staff and maitre d’s. The employees said that the caterer also demanded that they give back to Scott Morrell, personally, any cash tips they received at events catered by Morrell’s company.

The third lawsuit against Morrell, by attorney Howard Fensterman, alleges breach of contract and fraud by Morrell related to a function Fensterman hosted on May 29, 2010 — an event catered by Morrell’s firm. The suit accuses Morrell of two dishonest actions — Howard Fensterman Morrell. First, the suit accuses Morrell of charging Fensterman apremium for top shelf brands of liquor and, instead, serving lower priced brands.Second, the suit accuses Morrell of encouraging Fensterman to pay, and receiving from Fensterman, an 18 % service charge above the cost of the affair, to assure more attentive service from the Morrell staff and a higher quality affair, without telling Fensterman that he, Morrell, was going to keep the money for himself.

Morrell Tries To “Switch The Topic” — Howard Fensterman Morrell

Howard Fensterman Morrell — In an attempt to deflect public attention from these allegations , Morrell’s response was to try to change the subject, alleging that the presentation of Howard Fensterman’s lawsuit to Morrell’s attorneys, prior to its filing in court, was an attempt to “extort” Morrell.

The facts are that Long Island attorney Steve Cohn, personally hand delivered the lawsuit to the office of Morrell’s attorneys to see if a pre-filing resolution might be achieved, avoiding the monetary and emotional cost of litigation for the parties.

Morrell’s desperate action was to cry “extortion” in the hope of diverting the attention of past clients , rabbis and congregation members from his alleged actions of breach of one of the most sacred duties of a kosher caterer — in essence, serving non-kosher food to unsuspecting clients and their guests. Morrell’s diversionary tactics were also meant to shift the media attention away from his alleged acts and to try to discredit Howard Fensterman’s good name.

Via EPR Network
More Law press releases

Top-Shelf Attorney, Howard Fensterman, Claims Liquor Served at Morrell Kosher Caterers Was Anything But — Howard Fensterman Morrell

Howard Fensterman, the well respected Long Island, New York attorney and successful businessman and investor, is feeling the pain of a victim as he deals with the unpleasant realization that his long-time friend and former investment associate, Scott Morrell, head of Morrell Kosher Caterers, fraudulently deceived him by serving less expensive brands of liquor instead of the premium, top – shelf brands contracted and paid for by Fensterman for a function he hosted on May 29th, 2010 [Howard Fensterman Morrell].

Howard Fensterman Morrell

Howard Fensterman Morrell — Fensterman is accusing Morrell of breach of contract and fraud in that Morrell’s kosher catering establishment charged Fensterman for premium, top-shelf scotch and vodka, but instead served lower price brands.

While Fensterman refuses to guess how long the alleged “bait-and-switch” practice has been going on under Morrell’s watch, Fensterman has been advised that this has been a long standing practice at Morrell Kosher Caterers.

•  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/09/morrell-caterers-accused-violating-kosher-laws-long-island_n_1265199.html

•  http://www.newsday.com/columnists/james-bernstein/caterer-morrell-sued-again-by-wait-staff-1.3539312

Via EPR Network
More Law press releases

PLS Secures Law Society Quality Mark

Cheshire-based law firm PLS Solicitors has been granted membership to the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS), having been adjudged to have met a number of standards as laid out by the Society.

The CQS was established to provide consumers with a guide of quality for residential home-buying practices, thereby reducing fraud and driving up standards by enabling consumers to make more informed decisions when entering into the conveyance process. Law Society president John Wotton explained that with so many solicitors offering conveyancing services, it can sometimes be difficult for consumers to find a suitable firm.

“CQS improves efficiency with common, consistent standards and service levels and enables consumers to recognise practices that provide a quality residential conveyancing service,” he said. “Buying a home is one of the largest purchases anyone will make in their lifetime, so it is essential that it is done to the highest standard by a solicitor.”

Aashim Dhand, Managing Partner of PLS Solicitors welcomed the development, citing it as evidence to his company’s commitment to providing would-be homebuyers with a consistently high standard of service and helping to ensure that property transactions pass through as smoothly as possible. He also noted the difference quality conveyancing can make to alleviate much of the stress that so often goes with buying property.

Solicitors have to undergo a strict assessment in order to earn CQS accreditation – which is only open to members of the Law Society – and the initiative is backed by bodies including the Council of Mortgage Lenders, the Association of British Insurers, the Legal Ombudsman and the Building Societies Association. Compulsory training, random audits and self-assessments are all essential elements of securing CQS status, and must also undergo annual reviews in order to maintain it.

Via EPR Network
More Law press releases

But when will I see Granny?

Imagine a situation where both parents work and care is divided between both maternal and paternal grandparents. In an ideal world this arrangement would continue after a divorce or separation, but frequently all goodwill breaks down leaving children having to cope with new arrangements and often the loss or deterioration of a relationship with one or both sets of grandparents.

I often get asked ‘but what about my rights?’ by caring grandparents who are desperate to continue a relationship with their grandchildren. The sad, depressing, answer is that grandparents have no automatic right to make an application to the Court for contact or residence, unless the children have been living with them for at least 3 years.

Grandparents have an additional hurdle, of having to first apply to Court for‘leave’ to make an application. This application is sent to both parents, who have the opportunity to oppose, or agree to leave being granted. Only if the Judge is satisfied that it is in the child’s best interest for the application to be granted will the matter move to the next stage when a Judge will consider what, if any contact, there should be between grandparent and grandchild. That contact has to be viewed in context as often the children will be spending time with the ‘other’ parent. Frequently, the Court has to juggle complex arrangements to try to accommodate all members of the family (and the child’s school or social commitments).

The Government applauds grandparents for the vital role they play in shaping a child’s future, providing unpaid childcare so parents can return to work. However, since 1989 successive governments have so far refused to amend the law to provide grandparents the automatic right to make an application to the Court to preserve their unique relationship with grandchildren. Following the Family Justice Review, there has been a recommendation that Grandparents should be included in ‘parenting agreements’ setting out the time that children of separated parents should spend not only with Mum and Dad, but Granny and Grandpa too.

Whilst the judicial system may not be quick to help grandparents, I have used other dispute resolution such as mediation, collaborative law and family conferencing to assist in breaking the deadlock between family members and re-establishing contact.

Via EPR Network
More Law press releases

Cheshire Solicitors Proud To Be Awarded Conveyancing Mark Of Quality

Hale, Cheshire-based solicitors’ practice PLS Solicitors is proud to announce that it has been granted membership of the Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS).

The scheme is an initiative overseen by The Law Society, the main regulatory body which oversees and enforces standards of practice in all aspects of the legal profession. It is designed to help anyone selling a house to find a conveyancing solicitor who knows their area and whose work they can trust.

The Law Society itself says that the CQS is intended to “create a trusted community which year on year will drive up standards.”

Aashim Dhand, Managing Partner of PLS Solicitors, says his company’s admission to the CQS is an endorsement of the high standards which he and his colleagues in the company’s residential conveyancing department always aim to meet.

“A conveyancing solicitor plays a small, but absolutely vital, part in ensuring that any property transaction is conducted according to prescribed rules,” he said.

“But more importantly, the quality of their work and processes can make a big difference to how smoothly such transactions run.

“While buying property is still considered one of the most stressful things people do in their lives, sympathetic and thorough conveyancing solicitors can do a great deal to guide people through the maze of options associated with any property transaction, including equity release and lease options for purchases of properties with this type of tenure,” Mr Dhand added.

As a company proud of its standing as part of a select network of Manchester solicitors whose services are endorsed by the Law Society, PLS Solicitors is hoping that this approval will be seen as a sign of the trust they can have in getting the best possible service, no matter what the nature of their customers’ property law needs.

Via EPR Network
More Law press releases

PLS Solicitors begins work with Twenty Ten equity fund

Well-known law firm PLS Solicitors has announced plans to become a preferred supplier for the private equity fund Twenty Ten Capital LLP. PLS Solicitors provides many legal services, including residential conveyancingcompromise agreements and employment law advice.

Twenty Ten works with up-and-coming businesses and helps them to create value, as well as providing support for companies that are facing stressful situations and challenging environments. The company invests in all manner of sectors and has a number of high-profile portfolio companies.

As a supplier for Twenty Ten, PLS Solicitors will work alongside its portfolio companies and will help in providing advice and support in the area of employment law. The solicitors in Manchester will provide guidance with employment handbooks, service contracts and all other employment related issues for Twenty Ten’s businesses.

PLS Solicitors has already started working with one of Twenty Ten’s biggest clients, the Metropolis Group, to great effect.

“We have been impressed with the attitude shown by PLS Solicitors to date,” said Parminder Basran, Managing Partner of Twenty Ten Capital LLP “Our businesses have received good commercial advice on areas of concern so far and we see PLS Solicitors as an integral operational partner for our business going forward.

“Twenty Ten, like PLS Solicitors, are a driven and highly commercial organisation and we are pleased to surround ourselves with likeminded partners.”

Meanwhile, Adam Pavey, Partner at PLS Solicitors, has said: “We are really excited about the prospect of working with Twenty Ten Capital and their businesses. We have found them an extremely savvy and commercially aware fund – they are really going places and we hope as one of their preferred suppliers we can grow with them.

“To be working with high profile companies such as the Metropolis Group really excites us – especially as the companies are based in London and, as you are aware, we are seeking to move into this market next year by opening our first office there.”

To find out more about PLS Solicitors visit www.proplegal.co.uk now. For more information on Twenty Ten Capital visit www.twentytencapital.eu.

Via EPR Network
More Law press releases

Co-operative Legal Services Extends Its Personal Injury Claims Service

The Co-operative Legal Services (CLS) has announced that it is extending its range of personal injury claims services.

Already a specialist in claims arising from road traffic accident claims, CLS is now promoting its services in England and Wales for claims in connection with:
• Accidents at work
• Trips and slips
• Industrial disease claims
• Medical negligence claims
• Sports Injury claims

Eddie Ryan, managing director of CLS said: “It has been our ambition since we launched CLS in 2006 to offer a broader range of Personal Injury Claims services to our membership and the general public.

“We believe that The Co-operative’s values of openness, honesty, social responsibility and caring for others places us in a unique position to provide a different claims service, which is focussed on the customer and their recovery and not just their claim.”

CLS already offers a wide range of free injury claim advice, as well as Will writing services, Conveyancing and Probate and Estate Administration services to The Co-operative members and the general public.

Via EPR Network
More
Law press releases

The Co-operative Legal Services Strengthens Its Offering to Customers with Landmark Information Group

• The Co-operative Legal Services (CLS) are to use Landmark Information Group’s Anti-Money Laundering tool to assist in compliance with AML regulations

• CLS to also adopt Landmark Financial Asset Search to support its probate team in identifying potentially lost or forgotten assets that should be distributed as part of the administration of an estate
• CLS is part of The Co-operative Group, the largest consumer-owned co-operative in the UK with over 5.5 million members and over 21 million customers

Landmark Information Group today announced that The Co-operative Legal Services (CLS) will be using its Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Financial Asset Search (FAS) solutions to further strengthen its offering to its customers. As the leading supplier of property and environmental information, Landmark provides comprehensive solutions to assist legal professionals with their search obligations; as well as providing their clients with peace of mind.

James Sherwood-Rogers, Managing Director of Landmark Legal & Financial, said: “To secure this business from such a prestigious and industry-leading firm demonstrates the strength and credibility both Landmark and its products have within the legal sector. Money laundering is a significant issue that law firms cannot afford to overlook and CLS recognises Landmark’s AML is the most effective solution to ensure compliance with AML legislation. Similarly, our ground-breaking Financial Asset Search is a valuable aid for probate practitioners and executors in helping with their search obligations and provides complete confidence that searches undertaken are all-inclusive. CLS provides a comprehensive suite of consumer legal services and we are delighted they have selected Landmark’s Anti-Money Laundering tool and Financial Asset Search as their solutions of choice for their extensive client base.”

Launched in 2006 as part of The Co-operative Group, the largest consumer-owned co-operative in the UK with in excess of 5.5 million members and over 21 million customers, CLS is an industry leader in will writingprobate, conveyancing, employment law and accidents or injuries claims.

Eddie Ryan Managing Director of CLS said: “Championing our member’s interests has always been central to The Co-operative Group’s strategy. Landmark has proven expertise and a reputation for superb services. We are impressed by Landmark AML and Landmark FAS, which both add value to our current services and we have already seen fantastic results for our clients.

Via EPR Network
More
Law press releases

The Sea Rarely Gives Up The Dead, Or That’s What Phil Harris Thought When He Tried To Throw Former Business Partner Glenn Coggeshell Overboard

On Monday August 09, 2010 Business partner and creator of the coffee lines “Deadliest Brew” “Captains Brew” and “Captains Reserve” was forced to bring suit to the Harris Estate after a year of trying to settle differences quietly and professionally.

Coggeshell who is considered the most innovative creator in his industry, marketing coffee lines as “Black Dot Coffee” “Hendrix Coffee” “Goodfellas Coffee” “Deadliest Brew” “Legends of Rock Coffee” and “Perfect Circle Coffee”, met Phil Harris in a grocery store parking lot. Phil approached Glenn about buying “Hendrix Coffee” for his boat.

In March of 2008 Phil Harris contacted Coggeshell wanting to endorse his “Black Dot Coffee” line, saying he was about to be the most popular captain on the hit show Deadliest Catch.

After an hour meeting in a “Buzz In” steak house and listening to Phil talk about his recent health condition. Coggeshell having a father who had just had a savier stroke also, thought it unfair given the state of his health to just have him endorse his product, started thinking of ways this venture could work for all parties.

In late April of that same year Glenn celebrated the birth of his daughter. There at the hospital he was making calls, organizing, planning and making sure things would move forward for his family and the new venture.

Coggeshell and Harris continued to move forward throughout the spring. Glenn started making important business contacts to launch the new coffee line “Deadliest Brew”, “Gourmet Coffee for the Working Man” and within sixty days found the product in over 65 locations in Washington State and growing towards the Oregon and California markets, one event on July 26th 2008 in Sedro Woolley, WA saw 250 in attendance an unprecedented coffee sales and fast growth.

During this time Phil kept assuring Glenn, who had funded everything to this point, that he would invest his share of the needed money to keep up with growing sales.

Around August of 2008 Phil’s on again off again manager Russ Hariot returned with the promise to finish a deal with a local energy drink manufacture who were also creating a line with Phil Harris. Glenn Coggeshell insisted Russ stay away from anything related to the coffee. Phil assured Glenn, Russ would stay away. During this time Glenn began to question actions and changes with Phil’s personality.

Glenn by now invested over $50 thousand from his own business & personal sources while being a father of two children, a son and an infant daughter.

By October with high online sales and almost 200 stores, Deadliest Brew was quickly becoming one of the fastest growing coffee companies in the US

In late November early December Coggeshells investment began to pay off and business started seeing substantial profits and with the addition of another 60-100 locations projected in 2009. The new Captains Brew Coffee line was becoming the fastest growing Coffee Company in the US and online sales where growing stronger each day.

Just in time for Christmas and with profits in the bank, Coggeshell began seeing e-mails, blogs and myspace postings, stating Coggeshell was “no longer a part” of his own business. Phil, Russ and employee Marsha Cruz began circumventing Coggeshell with suppliers, stealing accounts, crossing out contact information for Coggeshell’s Company “Northwest Blends Inc” on invoices. Changing mailing addresses, changing checks made out too Coggeshell and his company to Phil’s “new” company, and then the letter from Phils new Lawyer showed up at his door. (All in the Christmas spirit).

Via EPR Network
More
Law press releases

Schillings Recommend Key Changes To Privacy And Reputation Protection

Schillings, the leading law firm protecting the privacy and reputations of businesses and high-profile individuals, has released the findings of its recent research entitled – ‘A private life in the public eye’. The research report sets out a ‘Blueprint for change’ to help people protect their privacy and reputation without compromising the vital principle of freedom of expression. The launch of the report coincides with the Government’s DCMS Select Committee’s comprehensive report into Press Standards, Privacy and Libel.

Schillings Recommend Key Changes To Privacy And Reputation Protection

The overarching aim of the research was to discover what it means to be in the public eye today and where the line should be drawn to separate the part of a person’s life that should remain private. The key areas of interest included: Attitudes towards privacy; Importance of legal measures; Due prominence of apologies; The effectiveness of the Press Complaints Commission; Dissatisfaction with press reporting; Prior notification and the future challenges facing reputation protection.

The research provides evidence that people are dissatisfied with the current position regarding reputation and privacy. The opinions of the audience presented in the report do not necessarily represent those of Schillings. An area of common ground is the view showing that whilst it is important to permit publication of matters that are genuinely in the public interest, too often reputations are damaged, and privacy invaded, by the publication of stories that are untrue, or where the main aim is to satisfy salacious curiosity about the lives of the rich and famous irrespective of the distress caused to them, their families and their friends.

Gideon Benaim, Partner at Schillings, who led the research project commented: “Schillings has been at the forefront of developing privacy law in this country and has set legal precedent providing everyone the right of protection in respect of their home life, their children and medical information, as well as other areas considered private. This means their private life should not be reported by the press unless it is truly a matter in the public interest. However, in some areas we find the media don’t make the correct distinction between ‘public interest’ and ‘of interest to the public’ which are quite different concepts.”

Schillings concluded that the aims of existing laws are sound. But in practice, they frequently fail to achieve a satisfactory balance between the public interest, the truth and privacy. The report recommends three key reforms to reputation laws under the proposal called the ‘Blueprint for change’; each of which are supported by the recommendations in the DCMS report.

– The press should have to notify people before publishing stories that will seriously invade their privacy.
– It should be easier to obtain injunctions preventing the publication of untrue allegations.
– Introduce a pre-publication system to resolve disputes.

Via EPR Network
More
Law press releases

The Co-Operative Group Promotes Legal Services To Food Shoppers

The Co-operative Group today (15 April) launched a high profile campaign to promote the legal services offered by its own specialist division to shoppers in its food stores.

The in-store campaign aims to raise awareness of the wide range of advice and expertise available through The Co-operative Legal Services.

The campaign, which will last nine weeks, includes in-store radio and animated till screen displays.

Eddie Ryan, Managing Director of Bristol based Co-operative Legal Services, said:”The shoppers in our 3,000 plus food stores represent a huge market for us so we were delighted that during a similar campaign last year awareness levels of CLS jumped by more than 5 per cent.

“We are confident that this campaign will be equally successful as it is the first time we have promoted our legal services to the enlarged food estate following the acquisition of Somerfield last year.

The Co-operative Legal Services, part of The Co-operative Group, the UK’s largest mutual retailer, provide a range of legal services to members and customers covering Will writing, Probate & Estate Administration, Conveyancing, Employment andPersonal Injury Claims. A wide range of free legal advice is also provided.

Via EPR Network
More
Law press releases

Another Frivolous Atrazine Class Action Lawsuit Only Harms U.S. Farmers

After plaintiffs’ attorneys filed a federal lawsuit Monday in the Southern District of Illinois, Kurtis B. Reeg, attorney for defendant Syngenta Crop Protection, Inc., said another frivolous atrazine lawsuit only harms U.S. farmers.

“In these tough economic times, one may wonder why anyone – other than class action lawyers – would seek to destroy what EPA estimates is a $2 billion annual economic benefit to the nation, and all of the jobs that go with it,” Reeg said. “This lawsuit has no merit because we know from EPA-mandated testing that no water systems since 2005 have exceeded the annual average guidance for atrazine. We intend to defend ourselves vigorously.”

Atrazine is a widely-used herbicide in the U.S. and 60 countries around the world to help grow safe, affordable and abundant crops, including corn, sorghum, and sugar cane. EPA re-registered atrazine in 2006, stating it would cause no harm to the general population.

“This suit is no surprise, as the same plaintiffs’ attorneys who have been trying a wasteful case in Madison County, Ill., have been shopping this around for years,” said Reeg. “Just last month, plaintiffs in Illinois voluntarily dismissed numerous damage and liability claims they had made in their case. With that disarray, it appears attorneys are scrambling to another venue in which to waste scarce taxpayer resources with junk science and false allegations for personal gain at the expense of U.S. agriculture.

“Filing in federal court appears to be a mis-step, given the Iberville Parish, La., case which was dismissed by Chief Judge Butler in Mobile, Ala., in 1999. Judge Butler ruled that removing safe and approved levels of atrazine from drinking water was unnecessary and that shifting the costs of such unnecessary removal was wrong. This decision was also upheld on appeal, and we hope the court will rely on this past verdict to guide future decisions.

“Everyone should bear in mind that if a 150-pound adult drank literally thousands of gallons of water with atrazine at three parts-per-billion every day for 70 years, she still would not reach the exposure level at which no adverse impact has been detected in the laboratory.

“We know these communities are strapped for cash, and suing companies to upgrade their decades-old water systems may seem like an easy way to raise money, but it only harms local farmers who rely on these safely-regulated crop protection tools for their livelihood and to help cost-effectively feed a quickly growing consumer public.

“The many statements by farmers and their associations attest to their support for atrazine and its safety in use. They have for half a century. EPA’s atrazine regulation is a model of sound science carefully applied in its mission of protecting all Americans and our environment.

“As a hallmark of good stewardship, my client worked voluntarily with stakeholders for years and since then also with EPA to monitor the water systems where minute detections of atrazine may occasionally occur. Since 2005, no water system has had an annual average atrazine level in its drinking water greater than the EPA standard, which itself carries a 1000-fold safety factor.

Via EPR Network
More
Law press releases

The Coming King Foundation (TCKF), A Texas Nonprofit Reached A Settlement Monday With Mesa Vista Landowners, Settling A 15-Month Property Dispute

A last-minute settlement agreement was presented to State District Judge Keith Williams on Monday, March 1st, as trial was about to get underway in the lawsuit brought by neighboring landowners against The Coming King Foundation (TCKF), a Texas nonprofit arts organization. TCKF plans to build a first class Sculpture Prayer Garden on 23 acres overlooking IH-10 and Highway 16, highlighted by the cross on top of a hill. Mesa Vista landowners suit prohibited the raising of the cross within the prayer garden.

The settlement agreement reached Monday allows the cross to be raised as planned putting an end to the 15-month property dispute and bringing peaceful a resolution and healing to this Texas Hill Country community.

Last month the Mesa Vista landowners lost their bid to have the case dismissed in their favor and Judge Williams ordered the trial to proceed on March 1st. Shortly thereafter, settlement negotiations were initiated by the landowners, which for the first time included an agreement to allow the cross to be raised on TCKF’s lot.“Once that point was conceded, both sides moved quickly to resolve differences and eventually agreed to a compromise”, said Kevin Young, attorney for TCKF. “We’re thankful that both sides could put away their swords and solve this in a Christian manner,” said Fern Lancaster, TCKF board member and treasurer.

“The Coming King Foundation will realize its vision of a cross and sculpture garden and the Mesa Vista residents will realize their goal of maintaining the privacy of their neighborhood,” said Mesa Vista homeowners’ attorney, Richard Mosty, in a prepared statement.

As part of the settlement, The Coming King Foundation will construct a solid fence on the site where the $2M, 70-ton cross will be located. The settlement also allows for lighting of the cross that is non-intrusive for residents of the subdivision and limited private access to the cross from Mesa Vista Lane, keeping the main entrance to the Garden on IH-10. In addition, TCKF will also pay the Mesa Vista neighbors $25,000 over the next several months as part of the settlement. Each side is responsible for paying its own attorney’s fees and legal expenses.

When asked whether he had won the case because the cross will go up, David Brock, co-counsel for TCKF said, “Everybody won. This agreement is respectful of everyone’s property rights and is better than a trial victory for either side.” TCKF board member and Vice President, Jim McKnight, added, “A peaceful resolution has been our desire and prayer since the lawsuit was filed. This is a great day for our community and now we can move forward.”

TCKF plans to raise the cross and complete the Garden as soon as sufficient funds are available. “Although we have incurred significant expense in our legal defense,” said TCKF board member and President Max Greiner Jr., “we are confident that God pays for what He ordains, and we invite our community, neighbors, friends and the greater Christian community to unite in support around this God-given vision and Sculpture Prayer Garden.”

Via EPR Network
More
Law press releases