Apple wins dismissal of lawsuit over MacBook logic boards

2016-08-09 10:43:11

Apple Inc won the dismissal on Thursday of a lawsuit accusing it of defrauding consumers by selling MacBook laptop computers that contained "logic boards" it knew were defective, and which routinely failed within two years.U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco said the plaintiffs, Uriel Marcus and Benedict Verceles, failed to show that Apple made "affirmative misrepresentations," despite citing online complaints and Apple marketing statements calling the laptops "state of the art" or the "most advanced" on the market."Plaintiffs have failed to allege that Apple's logic boards were unfit for their ordinary purposes or lacked a minimal level of quality," Alsup wrote. "Both plaintiffs were able to adequately use their computers for approximately 18 months and two years, respectively."Alsup gave the plaintiffs until Jan. 22 to amend their lawsuit, which sought class-action status, against the Cupertino, California-based company. Omar Rosales, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Apple did not immediately respond to a similar request.The plaintiffs claimed that Apple's sale of MacBooks since May 20, 2010, violated consumer protection laws in California and Texas, where the lawsuit began last May before being moved.They also contended that Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook was told about the defective logic boards in 2011, but did nothing. Logic boards contain computer circuitry and are sometimes known as motherboards.A separate and still pending lawsuit in California accuses Apple of defrauding consumers by selling MacBook Pro laptops in 2011 that contained defective graphic cards, causing screen distortions and system failures. MacBooks are part of Apple's Mac line of desktop and laptop computers. The company reported unit sales in that business of 18.91 million in its latest fiscal year.The case is Marcus et al v. Apple Inc, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 14-03824. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York. Editing by Andre Grenon)

Actor Ewan McGregor says children in Iraq at risk of death, sex abuse, traffickers

2016-08-02 06:38:23

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Scottish actor Ewan McGregor called on Tuesday for greater efforts to help refugee children in Iraq, warning they are at serious risk of death, sexual violence, or recruitment into armed groups.Following a visit to Iraq, McGregor, an ambassador for the United Nation's children's agency UNICEF, said the situation in Iraq was becoming "increasingly desperate".He said tens of thousands of children in Syria and Iraq have been killed and 3.6 million children are now at risk, with many separated from their families, making them vulnerable to human traffickers and sexual abuse."Many of the children I've met in Iraq have been forced to flee their homes, risking their lives on dangerous journeys and have been exposed to unimaginable horrors," McGregor said in a statement. An estimated 4.8 million Syrians have fled the country since the outbreak of civil war in 2011, most of them to neighboring countries, including Iraq.The U.N. refugee agency UNHCR says more than four million people in Iraq have been forced from their homes.McGregor, 45, known for such films as "Trainspotting" and "Moulin Rouge", traveled to northern Iraq last week where he visited the Debaga camp and spent time with Syrian refugees and displaced Iraqi families around Erbil. He described meeting a girl called Mirna who told him that her family had slept in a disused, half-built shopping mall for a year, living off food and supplies from the local community."This act of humanity should be replicated everywhere," said the actor, who has four children. "The world is facing an unprecedented refugee crisis and we must do more to protect the extraordinary number of children who have been torn from their homes by violent conflict."McGregor was first introduced to UNICEF in 2004 during his British television series "Long Way Round" when he traveled by motor bike around 12 countries which included visiting various children's projects in Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Mongolia. (Editing by Belinda Goldsmith @BeeGoldsmith; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights and climate change. Visit

Wildfire chases 20,000 people from homes near Los Angeles

2016-07-26 04:23:35

ACTON, Calif. A deadly California wildfire that has destroyed more than a dozen homes drove thousands more residents from their dwellings on Monday as flames raged for a fourth day through drought-parched canyons and foothills north of Los Angeles.About 300 miles (480 km) to the north, another fire ravaged a hilly area near the scenic coastal city of Carmel-by-the-Sea, churning through 15,000 acres (6,070 hectares) and destroying 20 homes and two outbuildings, authorities said.The so-called Soberanes Fire, burning in the Los Padres National Forest in Monterey County, threatened 1,650 structures by Monday afternoon and was only 5 percent contained, the U.S. Forest Service said. Near Los Angeles, a beefed-up force of nearly 3,000 firefighters battled to outflank the blaze there, which has charred at least 50 square miles (130 square km) on the rugged northwestern fringes of the Angeles National Forest, authorities said.The so-called Sand Fire, which erupted on Friday, remained just 10 percent contained on Monday morning, as crews backed by bulldozers labored to hack buffer lines around the blaze's perimeter.Fed by dense brush left desiccated during five years of drought, flames were initially stoked by triple-digit heat and extremely low humidity. Slightly cooler, moister weather and diminished winds were expected to assist firefighters on Monday. "We have very little wind, we have an increase in relative humidity, and so it's favorable for us to get out and to put out hot spots and work on line construction," Los Angeles County Fire Chief Greg Hisel said. He said calmer winds were helping to keep the fire stationary.At least 18 dwellings were destroyed over the weekend, and authorities have reported one fatality, an unidentified man found on Saturday evening in a burned-out car parked in the driveway of a home.Among the properties to go up in flames was the landmark Sable Ranch, a popular location for television and movie shoots. By Monday morning, evacuation orders had been expanded to about 10,000 homes, encompassing an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 people, fire officials said. Los Angeles County Fire Inspector Joey Marron said some 200 commercial buildings were also in harm's way. Authorities on Sunday had put the number of evacuees at 1,500.The blaze was concentrated near the town of Acton, about 50 miles (80 km) north of Los Angeles, as it cast a pall of smoke and soot over a wide area. Much of the Los Angeles basin was dusted with a thin layer of fine white ash from the fire on Saturday and Sunday.The Soberanes fire, burning north of California's famed Big Sur coastal region, grew by about 5,000 acres (2,020 hectares) in the 24 hours from Sunday morning to Monday morning, the Forest Service said. Evacuations were ordered for residents of several neighborhoods, and the number of threatened structures was expected to grow above the 1,650 given by emergency officials at around noon on Monday.The causes of the two fires were under investigation. They are among some 3,750 blazes large and small to have erupted across California since January, a higher-than-normal total, collectively scorching more than 200,000 acres (80,940 hectares), state fire officials said. The biggest so far was last month's Erskine Fire, which consumed 48,000 acres (19,429 hectares) northeast of Bakersfield, killing two people and destroying about 250 structures.By comparison, the 2003 Cedar Fire ranks as the biggest on record in the state. It blackened more than 273,000 acres (110,480 hectares), leveled 2,820 buildings and claimed 15 lives. (Additional reporting by Laila Kearney and Chris Michaud in New York and Sharon Bernstein in Sacramento, Calif.; Writing and additional reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by Grant McCool and Jonathan Oatis)

Judge throws out parts of Bill Cosby's lawsuit over 2006 settlement

2016-07-19 14:49:11

A federal judge has thrown out parts of a lawsuit filed by disgraced comedian Bill Cosby against one of his accusers, her mother, two lawyers and the publisher of the National Enquirer claiming that they violated a confidential settlement agreement.U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno, ruling on motions by the defendants to dismiss the case, said that Cosby could not sue Andrea Constand, her mother or attorneys for speaking to investigators about her accusations.But Robreno let stand, for now, Cosby's other claims, including that Constand, a former Temple University basketball coach, violated the confidentiality agreement through posts she made on twitter about the case and in comments to the Toronto Sun newspaper.The judge said Cosby could sue Constand lawyers Dolores Troiani and Bebe Kovitz for an open letter they wrote about the case published in the Philadelphia Enquirer.And the comic can also proceed with his claims against American Media, Inc., over articles it published about the case, Robreno said in the ruling, which was issued on Friday. "While we are of course very pleased with the court's ruling in favor of our client, which means that this case will be decided where it should be - in a court of law and on a full factual record - we will not comment further on the record," Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt said.Once one of the most beloved U.S. entertainers thanks to his family-friendly persona, Cosby, 78, is facing accusations of sexual assault from dozens of women stretching back decades. Most of the other claims involve incidents that are too old to produce charges. Constand's allegations, that he drugged and sexually assaulted Constand at his Pennsylvania home in 2006, are also the basis for the only criminal prosecution against him. Cosby earlier this year sued Constand, her mother, two of her attorneys and American Media Inc., publisher of the National Enquirer, claiming that they had violated the terms of a 2006 confidential settlement agreement. That pact stemmed from a lawsuit Constand filed against Cosby the previous year over the alleged assault and a separate legal action she took against the National Enquirer for defamation. (Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Chris Reese)

German prosecutors say won't be lenient with VW

2016-07-12 09:04:19

HAMBURG German prosecutors will grant Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) no mitigation for a record vehicle emissions settlement it faces in the United States and want VW to pay them a separate fine, a spokesman said.Prosecutors in Braunschweig, near Volkswagen's (VW) Wolfsburg headquarters, are demanding VW be fined based on the level of the profits it made from selling about 11 million cars equipped with illicit engine software.VW last month agreed with the U.S. government and regulators to pay $15.3 billion to get about half a million emissions-cheating diesel cars off U.S. roads. But the scale of U.S. penalties is no reason to exercise leniency on VW's regulatory offence, a spokesman for the Braunschweig prosecutor's office said on Monday."We cannot pay heed to what VW may have to pay in other countries when we go about setting the fine," he said. "We cannot say: 'VW is already requested to pay a lot in the U.S., so let's not be so strict.' That's not possible." Under Germany's law on regulatory offences, prosecutors are assessing the "economic advantage" VW enjoyed from using cheating software, rather than expensive exhaust filter systems, to manipulate pollution tests, the spokesman said, adding it will be difficult to determine the level of profits VW has reaped from its wrongdoing.Industry observers in Germany estimate this could result in a fine of several hundreds of millions of euros. Braunschweig prosecutors, which last month started probing former VW Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn and VW brand chief Herbert Diess over suspicion of market manipulation, declined comment. Europe's largest automaker confirmed on Monday it has been notified by prosecutors about the latest probe but declined further comment.The proposed U.S. settlement would move VW close to the 16.2 billion euros ($18 billion) it has set aside to cover the costs of the scandal. VW still faces criminal probes in the United States, Germany and South Korea as well as lawsuits from investors around the world suing the carmaker for what they describe as losses incurred after the manipulations were disclosed in September.($1 = 0.9053 euros) (Reporting by Jan Schwartz and Andreas Cremer; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)

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