That Delco Lawyer’s Case Against Led Zeppelin Might Not Be So Bonkers

Media lawyer Francis Alexander Malofiy in a publicity photo.

Media lawyer Francis Alexander Malofiy in a publicity photo.

When Media-based lawyer Francis Alexander Malofiy went to federal court in 2014 to file a lawsuit against Led Zeppelin claiming that the group stole parts of “Stairway to Heaven” from some long-gone group named Spirit, we had a good laugh, not only because the allegation seemed dubious to us but also because Malofiy wrote the complaint using Led Zeppelin-inspired fonts. We called the lawsuit “bonkers.” But now a judge in California has declared that there is enough evidence for the suit to move forward, and a prominent Philadelphia intellectual property attorney says that the jury probably won’t find the claims quite so hard to believe. Read more »

Philly Politicians to Battle It Out in Rare Libel Suit Brought Over Campaign Flyer

This is the Jared Solomon campaign flyer that State Rep. Mark Cohen finds libelous.

This is the Jared Solomon campaign flyer that State Rep. Mark Cohen finds libelous.

[Updated, 3:55 p.m.] State Rep. Mark Cohen has been in Harrisburg a very, very long time. Originally elected in 1974, the Democratic legislator from the 202nd District in Northeast Philadelphia is the most senior member of the Capitol’s two lawmaking bodies, but now he faces a formidable challenge from 37-year-old Jared Solomon, who has recently picked up some impressive endorsements. This is actually Solomon’s second attempt to take Cohen’s seat — Cohen bested him by just 158 votes in 2014 — and this race is more contentious than the last. But we were still surprised to see Cohen file a lawsuit against Solomon after this political flyer showed up in his mailbox on Brighton Street. Read more »

Most — but Not All — of Cabbies’ Uber Suit Thrown Out

An UberX car getting impounded by the PPA in 2015.

An UberX car getting impounded by the PPA in 2015.

A federal judge has dismissed most of the claims brought by a coalition of Philly taxi companies against Uber, the popular app-centric “ride share” service.

The portions of the lawsuit dismissed included claims that Uber provides unfair competition by providing ride services without complying with taxi cab licensing and regulatory requirements, as well as allegations of racketeering and false advertising. Read more »

Cole Hamels Sues After Being Denied Entrance to Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show

MLB pitcher Cole Hamels attends the 2015 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show After Party at Tao on Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015, in New York.

MLB pitcher Cole Hamels attends the 2015 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show After Party at Tao on Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015, in New York.

In November, Cole Hamels went to New York City. Accompanied by two guests, he attempted to gain entrance to the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show at the 69th Regiment Armory. He was denied. And now he and his wife, Heidi, are suing over it.

Hamels seems to have a good reason for suing, though: According to his lawsuit, he paid a U.K. company £49,382 (currently $68,730.36) for three VIP packages that included tickets to the fashion show. He and his wife have sued Cornucopia Entertainment, LLC, and related defendants for a sum “in an amount in excess of $50,000.”

The lawsuit says Cornucopia told Hamels it could provide him with a VIP package that included tickets to the show and afterparty, accommodations at the Kensington Hotel in London, a limo to and from the event and other related perks for £15,995 a person. At the time, the lawsuit alleges, Cornucopia said the show would not be returning to New York — where it has always been held — and would be in London instead. Read more »

Court Upholds Judgment Against Former Union Coach Piotr Nowak

Piotr Nowak leads the Philadelphia Union on the field to face the FC Dallas at FC Dallas Stadium on May 19, 2012, in Frisco, Texas.

Piotr Nowak leads the Philadelphia Union on the field to face the FC Dallas at FC Dallas Stadium on May 19, 2012, in Frisco, Texas.

The Philadelphia Union’s first-ever coach has lost his wrongful termination suit against the soccer club.

Piotr Nowak led the Union from 2010 to 2012 — he took the club to its only playoff spot in its second season — before being fired in June 2012, after which stories emerged that he had allegedly mistreated players, hazed them and withheld water from them even during activities on hot days, and that he had broken other team rules. The club used that evidence to say Nowak was fired “for cause,” and thus not owed any compensation under his contract, which otherwise ran to 2015.

An arbitrator in the case, Margaret Brogan, had already ruled in the club’s favor. A federal district court last month affirmed the decision. Read more »

Man Arrested and Interrogated in State Police Ambush Files Lawsuit

Pennsylvania State Police logo - patch

Jeffrey Hudak of Clarks Summit, Pa., filed a federal lawsuit Thursday against several Pennsylvania state troopers whom he claims unlawfully arrested him back in September of 2014, using excessive force, in the immediate manhunt following the ambush shootings of two state police troopers in Blooming Grove. Hudak also says he was harshly interrogated and denied an attorney.

While Hudak was identified in the press as a person of interest in the case, he claims that during his interview with the defendants, it was clear that he was being accused of shootings which killed a state trooper and seriously injured another.

Eric Frein, the man police ultimately identified as the suspected assailant, was finally taken into custody nearly two months after the attack, in late October.

The lawsuit (below) names state troopers Benjamin Clark and Kyle Hnat as defendants, as well as two unidentified male troopers and two unidentified female troopers involved in Hudak’s arrest. Court papers charge that Clark and Hnat put Hudak through “hours of intense questioning and unsubstantiated accusations … and his requests for an attorney, to use the restroom and/or to make a phone call were ignored and/or denied.” Read more »

Judge: No Pay for Penn Track Athletes

Lauren Anderson, Gillian Berger, Taylor Hennig | Penn Athletics

Lauren Anderson, Gillian Berger, Taylor Hennig | Penn Athletics

There will be no pay for Penn track-and-field athletes.

A federal judge on Tuesday ruled that a trio of such athletes are not — as they contended in a lawsuit — ”employees” of the university, and thus not subject to federal labor laws guaranteeing a minimum wage for their work.

“The Supreme Court has recognized that there exists in this country a ‘revered tradition of amateurism in college sports,’ a fact that cannot reasonably be disputed,” Judge William T. Lawrence wrote in dismissing the case. (See the full ruling below.) “So, too, is the fact that generations of Penn students have vied for the opportunity to be part of that revered tradition with no thought of any compensation.”

The ruling comes as the issue of athlete rights — and compensation — hits the front burner in Philadelphia. Drexel University announced this month it will host a summit on the issue just as the NCAA basketball tournament is reaching its “March Madness” heights next month. Read more »

Lawyers for Amtrak Crash Victims Rip Engineer’s Statements

Robert J. Mongeluzzi (left) and Tom Kline - Amtrak 188 press conference

Robert J. Mongeluzzi (left) and Tom Kline, lawyers for victims of the derailment of Amtrak 188, speak at a press conference today. (Photo | Dan McQuade)

Lawyers for 29 victims of last year’s derailment of Amtrak 188 say Brandon Bostian‘s statements, released today by the National Transportation Safety Board, are an insult to the victims.

“He had absolutely no recollection whatsoever of the events [right after the crash],” Robert Mongeluzzi told reporters today at a press conference. “Now, after months pass after the accident he now has a sudden memory. That, for the victims, is going to be a bitter pill to swallow.”

Mongeluzzi and Tom Kline, who both represent victims in a lawsuit against Amtrak over the crash last year, gave a press conference about an hour after the NTSB released its findings. They zeroed in on Bostian’s statements; one was taken just days after the crash in May, while another was on November of last year.

“Unfortunately, the last memory I have on the way back is approaching and passing the platforms in North Philadelphia,” Bostian said in May. “I remember turning on the bell, and the next thing that I remember is when I came to my senses I was standing up in the locomotive cab after the accident.” Read more »

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