Bloomberg is reporting that ESPN has decided to remove all advertisements and poker coverage events from its networks ‘pending further review’ in response to indictments against several online gambling websites, many of whom sponsor major poker events.
Although ESPN is apparently not involved in the investigation in any way, they have decided to distance themselves from the accused which includes sites such as Pokerstars.com, Fulltiltpoker.com, Absolutepoker.com, Ultimatebet.com and UB.com, all of which have been sized by the U.S. Government.
In total, 76 bank accounts have been frozen, preventing players from accessing any money they may have invested in the sites.
According to the law firm representing Celador International, the creators of ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?,’ Judge Virginia A. Phillips of the United States District Court for the Central District of California has awarded $50 million in prejudgment interest to Celador International, Ltd. in addition to the already awarded damages of $269,431,798 awarded to Celador on July 7, 2010 bringing the judgment against Disney to a total of $319,431,798 pending the reward of any additional litigation costs.
The Order issued after Disney stipulated formally to Celador’s entitlement to $50,000,000 in prejudgment interest rather than leave it up Judge Phillips to decide the amount owed to Celador. Disney also agreed not to challenge Celador’s right to prejudgment interest and will not appeal the $50,000,000 award.
Celador’s trial lawyers Roman M. Silberfeld and Bernice Conn, partners with Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P. in Los Angeles, said, “We are pleased that Disney recognized the wisdom of reaching this agreement rather than incurring the cost of litigating the prejudgment interest issue in the trial and appellate courts.”
Recall Notice: ‘Winnie the Pooh’ Toddler Hooded Jacket Among Items Recalled by Burlington Coat Factory
Burlington Coat Factory has issued a recall in conjunction with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission for several models of children’s hooded jackets and sweatshirts with draw strings. Among the items being voluntarily recalled is a Disney-branded Winnie the Pooh hooded jacket in toddler sizes. The hooded jackets and sweatshirts have drawstrings through the hood and/or waist which can pose a strangulation or entrapment hazard to children. No injuries or deaths have been reported as a result.
The items were manufactured in China, Cambodia, Korea and the United States and sold at Burlington Coat Factory and other retailers nationwide from January 1995 through September 2009 for between $7 and $30. Consumers are advised to immediately remove the drawstrings or return the jacket to Burlington Coat Factory for a full refund. For additional information, contact Burlington Coat Factory toll-free at (888) 223-2628 between 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or view the full product recall notice here.
WFTS ABC in Tampa is reporting that 22 year old Timothy Wayne Hammerstone of Polk County, a former cast member at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, has been arrested on 16 counts of possession of child pornography. According to the story, Hammerstone was in correspondence with two ten year old boys via Microsoft Xbox Live and had convinced one of them to send him nude photos in exchange for points to be used on the Xbox marketplace (as per the report from the Orlando Sentinel). While both outlets report that police found sixteen images of child pornography on a USB flash drive, it is unclear how many of those photos are of the direct victim. As of the WFTS report, Hammerstone was sitting in Polk County jail on a $80,000 bond.
Although Disney has confirmed Hammerstone was an employee at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, it is unclear as to when his employment was terminated or in which capacity he worked. WFTS reports he worked at the ‘commissary’ which could be either the ‘ABC Commissary’ counter service location for guests or perhaps a backstage eatery specifically for cast members.
The Associated Press is reporting that an investigation from the United States Department of Labor resulted in the decision that Walt Disney World owes 69 of its inventory control cast members in the food and beverage department $433,000 in back wages.
The report charges that the theme park resort violated the Fair Labor Standards Act because managers in the department failed to adhere to internal company policies regarding off-the-clock work. The time involved work performed by the cast members not only before and after scheduled work shift hours, but during meal times and from home as well.
According to the Labor Department, Walt Disney World has agreed to pay the cast members the amounts awarded.
TMZ is reporting that designer Arman Mkrtchyan has filed a lawsuit in L.A. County Superior Court against The Walt Disney Company on the grounds that his work was used in Walt Disney Studios’ Alice in Wonderland without any compensation. Claiming that the Red Queen’s throne is a virtual clone of his own piece (and that he in fact had designed a matching set, representing each suit), Mkrtchyan is suing Disney for a ‘designer’s fee’ in the amount of $50,000.
If the case does go to trial, don’t anticipate it to be scheduled on the same day the Knave of Hearts is finally brought to justice for stealing tarts.
CNET News is reporting on a class action lawsuit recently filed on behalf on a group of minors and their parents which claims that Disney Internet Media Group (named as Walt Disney Internet Group) and Disney-owned Soapnet LLC along with co-defendants Warner Bros. Records, Ustream, Inc., Clearspring Technologies, Inc., Demand Media, Inc., Project Playlist, Inc., and SodaHead, Inc. were involved in tracking users’ internet activity even while accessing websites not owned by them.
At the heart of the suit is the technology by Clearspring Technologies, Inc. which is used on the various websites of the named content providers. According to the claim and a report by UC Berkley, via CNET,the technology uses Adobe Flash-based cookies which are not controlled by the same guidelines as traditional internet browser cookies. Essentially the Flash cookies are stored separately from other cookies so deleting one set does not affect the other; in addition, ClearSpring is accused of re-spawning cookies that have actually been deleted. Using a social-media share service, ClearSpring creates the cookies that uniquely identify the computer and feed that information back to the company.
The suit also claims that the technology was able to track the same users regardless of the computer they were using at the time. According to CNET, the lawsuit claims that “the sensitive information may include such things as users’ video-viewing choices and personal characteristics, such as gender, age, race, number of children, education level, geographic location, and household income.”
The article even includes an extract from the complaint which demonstrates that one user was on a site about depression, possibly providing the companies insight into confidential issues such as health.
The lawsuit claims that Disney and the other mentioned customers of ClearSpring Technologies were actively aware of the collection of this data.
Earlier today, The Smoking Gun published a claim filed by April Magolon of Upper Darby, Pennsylvania which claims that while visiting Donald Duck at Epcot Center [sic] in 2008, Donald had deliberately grabbed her ‘breast and molest[ed] her and then made gestures making a joke he had done something wrong.’ Magolon, who reportedly had her children with her, is suing Walt Disney Parks and Resorts for negligence and seeking in excess of $50,000, claiming to have suffered ‘severe physical injury, emotional anguish and distress including, but not limited to post-traumatic stress disorder.’
The claim being made by Magolon is — in many respects — unremarkable in that even it asserts there is a chronic problem with characters behavior in the parks. What is remarkable, however, is that the claim goes to great lengths to offer up one of the few cases that have actually gone to trial to support its own case, that of Michael Chartrand. Chartrand, a once friend of Tigger, faced up to fifteen years in prison on felony charges in which he was accused of molesting a 13 year old while in costume. What Magolon’s plea fails to note, however, is that Chartrand was found not guilty after the Defense brought the costume into the courtroom to prove the limitations it placed on vision and movement.
Back in February 2009, we reported on a lawsuit filed by Celador, creator of Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, against The Walt Disney Company on claims that Disney cut its own internal deals and cut Celador out of the process, effectively denying the company of revenue it claims it was owned.
Recently the trial was held and the jury agreed with the game show’s creators, awarding Celador $269.4 Million in damages.
The Walt Disney Company is expected to appeal the decision. In an issued statement, Disney says, ‘We believe this verdict is fundamentally wrong and will aggressively seek to have it reversed.’
According to WOFL, FOX Orlando, Orlando police officer Wendell Robey turned himself in this morning on charges that he illegally sold complimentary theme park passes. Investigators say Robey also sold used hotel key ‘add-ons’ so that guests could take advantage of certain perks limited to on-site guests such as Disney’s free parking and extra magic hour (EMH) access and Universal’s express line service for attractions. Robey was one of four that investigators were seeking out on related charges.
Currently Robey faces charges including grand theft, dealing in stolen property, criminal use of personal identification information of more than 20 persons, fraudulent possession of a theme park admission ticket, engaging in business or occupation without paying the orange county business tax, failure to register a business with the Florida Department of Revenueand failing to collect and remit the Florida sales tax.