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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Sidebar: Weekly Legal News, Commentary & Rants March 3/31/14

MARCH 31, 2014


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has  issued a regulation requiring all vehicles, including trucks and buses, to have rear-view visibility -- meaning, rear-view cameras.

The rule applies to all vehicles under 10,000 pounds. All 2019 model vehicle will be equipped with rear-view cameras. While, the law does not require it, many car companies are now including rear-view cameras as part of their standard package on new models. 

U.S. District Judge Lucy H. Koh on overruled Samsung Electronics’ objections to showing jurors a recent instructional video on how patents work, in connection with the patent dispute between Apple and Samsung.

The video is called “The Patent Process: An Overview for Jurors” and was produced by the Federal judicial Center to provide jurors with a better understanding of patent law basics. 

Samsung objected to playing the vide because it depicts the use of certain Apple products. It argued that by showing Apple products in the video it could suggest to jurors that Apple products are innovative, unique and patentable. 
Samsung’s attorneys contended that showing the jury such a video would be prejudicial to Samsung and threaten the impartiality of the jury. The Judge denied Samsung's request to bar the video and thus, it will be shown as planned to the jury. 

The Connecticut High Court issued a decision Wednesday in a case involving a 2-year-old boy who was allegedly bitten on the cheek by a horse named Scuppy, 

Anthony Vendrella claimed that a horse owned by the Astriab family bit his young son on the face, "removing a large chunk of it," and wanted its owners to pay for his son's injuries. In determining whether the Astriabs were liable in this animal bite case, it was important to determine if Scuppy -- or indeed, all domestic horses -- were prone to vicious or mischievous behavior.

The Connecticut Supreme Court didn't find that horses were necessarily "vicious," just that they had a tendency to bite humans without provocation. That means horse owners like the Astriabs can be held liable for being negligent with their horses.

The TWIT Spotting project is a way to get people to recognize their distracted driving behavior. It works by having just about anyone snap photos of drivers' faces and their distracted behavior. These photo are then submitted to the project and Brian Singer, the project's creator will post those photos online and on 11 billboards around San Francisco, which he currently funds himself.

While texting while driving is dangerous and illegal in most states, is it legal for TWIT Spotting to post pictures of texting drivers? It depends.  In general, an invasion of privacy claim will most likely fail because taking a picture of someone deriving on a public road may not be considered an intrusion of solitude. However, not all texters are engaged in mindless social or business communication. For example, what if someone is texting due to an emergency situation and their picture is posted.  This could suggest that the texter is nothing more than a careless law-breaker and thus, paint him or her in a false light, giving rise to a civil cause of action. We will have to see how this develops. In the meantime, if you are texting while driving in the San Francisco area, make sure to smile. 

Police are offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of a woman suspected of biting another woman’s finger during a dispute over a parking spot at a southern New Jersey mall.

On March 8, 2014, Tonya Knight-Joseph became snack food for a driver  who accused her of stealing a parking space in a Cherry Hill, NJ shopping area.  The bite was so severe that Knight-Joseph nearly lost her finger. If located, the biter could face aggravated assault charges which would all but destroy her ambitions of playing a zombie on next season' The Walking Dead. 

© 2014, Law Offices of Peter J. Lamont. This Update is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal advice nor does it create an attorney/client relationship between the firm and any readers or recipients. Readers should consult counsel of their own choosing to discuss how these matters relate to their individual circumstances. This Update may be considered attorney advertising in some states. Furthermore, prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.
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