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School district must pay $95K for banning Tigger socks

16 Dec

Mr Broke Hoedown’s blog, Collateral Damage, provides this update on the school district that banned Tigger socks some time back:

To no one’s surprise a lawsuit ensued. Said suit has now been settled. The school district has had to cough up$95K in lawyers’ fees

Same-sex Partner Foiled in WDW Injury Lawsuit

3 Nov

Sometimes people wonder why same-sex couples want marriage rights so badly. Why can’t they just make wills, give each other power of attorney, etc? Or isn’t domestic partnership enough? Well . . . there are some rights that you just can’t get without having your relationship recognized by the state, and the varying levels of recognition come with varying rights and responsibilities.

Here’s an example, from GayCityNews:

A federal judge ruled on October 23 that the same-sex partner of a New Jersey woman injured on a Walt Disney World theme park ride in Florida may not recover damages for “loss of consortium,” defined by New Jersey courts as the “right of a husband or wife to receive compensation for loss of affection, comfort, companionship, society, assistance, and sexual relations as a result of the other’s personal injuries.”

Loss of consortium is a legal concept recognizing that when somebody is injured, their spouse may also be harmed through deprivation of their normal relationship due to hospitalization or physical or mental restrictions that result.

The New Jersey Civil Union Act, which went into effect in February 2007, provides that civil union partners may sue for loss of consortium, but this case involves an incident that took place in June 2004, at which time the couple did not have any legal relationship to each other. The state provided no such recognition then.

Notice that the question decided by the court here is not whether the injured woman had the right to sue (which she most certainly does . . . though I haven’t found any details on that part of the lawsuit). The question here is whether her partner has the right to sue for “loss of consortium,” which her partner could have sued for had they been married.

I know Disney’s a for-profit corporation, so it shouldn’t be surprising that they’d defend themselves against personal injury lawsuits using whatever legal defense is available and effective. I kinda wish they hadn’t. But even more, I wish the laws in every state protected the rights and responsibilities of same-sex couples to the same degree they protect those of us in opposite-sex marriages.

Perhaps Some Balm for the Post-Traumatic Soul

11 Sep

On this sad anniversary of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, Mr Broke Hoedown (aka Collateral Damage) reposts an article from one year ago yesterday, speaking to us of Finding Nemo:

Nemo is a movie about the experience most of us had as a result of the event: learning how to live in a world filled with dangers that you can no longer deny by pretending they are irrational. It opens with a huge loss that happens in a single horrible moment — Marlin loses his wife and 499 of his children. Understandably Marlin loses all his trust in the rest of the world but still manages to raise a relatively well-adjusted son who then gets snapped up by a yet another unstoppable force. In his quest to fulfill the movie’s title he meets up with Dory who is so odd that I would argue she, too, is a trauma survivor. (And yes, I do think Ellen DeGeneres deserved the best supporting Oscar for that performance.) In the end, of course, Marlin does learn to not be so afraid of the world and to enjoy his life and he and Dory and Nemo create an odd family of survivors that wouldn’t have existed before the tragedy. Now that’s 9/11.

He speaks also in a separate post about his experiences that day, both the mundane and the shattering.

Like many frequent business travelers, I was on the road that day. and spent the rest of the week trying to get home, both literally and figuratively. A moment of silence, please, for those who were not so lucky.

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Flash Mountain Harassment Suit Close to Settlement

28 Jun

From (via The Disney Blog):

A settlement is underway in a federal lawsuit that states that Lawrence [Massachusetts] city officials failed to take proper action after learning that the city clerk allegedly sexually harassed an employee by using the woman’s office computer to view pornographic websites and making sexually explicit comments.

The Disney connection?

In 1998, Padellaro’s lawsuit alleges, McGravey began visiting pornographic websites, including one called “Flash Mountain,” which posts photographs of women exposing their breasts on a ride at Disney World. McGravey, in court filings, admits that in 1998 and 1999, he occasionally logged on to inappropriate websites from various locations at work, and that he and other city employees logged onto the “Flash Mountain” website.

The Daily Show: Disney vs. Anaheim Housing Dispute

22 Jun

Not recommended for Disney purists or the easily offended, it’ll just get yer hackles up. (Though I’m guessing none of those folks read this blog anyway, now do they?)

And hey, don’t watch this one with the kids either, unless you feel like explaining what fellatio is.

Disney Beaten by British Porn Producer

3 Mar


Entertainment giant Disney has been forced to back down over its ‘dreams come true’ slogan – as it’s already used by a British porn producer.

45-year-old Michael Wightman from Newcastle, has trademarked ‘A Place Where Dreams Come True’ for his mobile phone blue film company.

I’m a little unclear on the implications here, as I’m not well-versed in trademark law. But it’s my hunch that this only affects European operations (ie, Disneyland Paris but not Walt Disney World).

Dreams display

Will Disney actually stop using the slogan? The article says they’ll be switching over to “The Place Where Dreams Come True.” Or will it try to buy the rights from Wightman? Seems to me they’ve probably invested a certain amount in merchandise, banners, press kits, etc, which they’d have to re-print and replace, a costly matter even if it’s just adding a couple words.

Mickey vs. Spocko

6 Jan

Mickey News reports this morning about Disney shutting down a blogger named Spocko.

THE MOUSE IS ROARING AGAINST a blogger named “Spocko” who has been waging a one-man campaign against ABC Radio. So far, Disney has managed to get Spocko’s Internet service provider to take down his blog–but Spocko isn’t giving up the fight just yet.

The conflict stems from Spocko’s criticism of a right-wing talk show airing on KSFO-AM in San Francisco. Even by notorious talk-show-standards, the comments on KSFO stand out as particularly venomous. Consider, this summer, host Melanie Morgan called for New York Times editor Bill Keller to be executed for having okayed the paper’s expose on governments’ attempt to suss out financial records of suspected terrorists. “I really do believe that anybody who publishes classified information that results in a charge of treason should be fried! Fry ’em! Trial, conviction, death penalty!” she said this summer, according to Salon.

Mickey News goes on to note that Spocko’s taking his fight public . . . and he is.

The Daai Tou Laam blog had the initial story January 4, and now has links to the audio files that Disney doesn’t want you to hear.

How Can Disney Own “Bollywood”???

5 Jan

I’ve had this article in my blogreader for a while, and I just keep re-reading it in disbelief: reports that Disney now owns the word Bollywood.

First it was neem and Basmati that US companies wanted to register. Now it’s ‘Bollywood’ which has been granted as a trademark to Disney Enterprises Inc. It got the ‘Bollywood’ trademark from the Indian Trademarks Registry.

So, you can soon be drinking Bollywood beer wearing a Bollywood branded sweat shirt and shoes — all owned by US-based Disney. Thus, all sites on the internet containing the word Bollywood, makers of films like Bollywood Hollywood, all albums containing the Bollywood name, and magazines like Bollywood Masala could also be in for a legal battle.

Disney has filed for registration under 7 classes of Schedule 4 of the Indian Trade Mark rules as well which pertain to paper products and film and film equipment. The patent was filed by Delhi-based Anand & Anand Associates for Disney Enterprises, Inc.

(Confused? Don’t know what Bollywood is? Check out this wikipedia article for some context.)

Now, I’m no expert on US copyright law . . . much less Indian copyright law. But I can’t help seeing this in the context of the 1998 Mickey Mouse Protection Act.

More Trouble for Hong Kong Disneyland: Buzz Sues Over Injuries

8 Sep

The Raw Story has more bad news for Hong Kong Disneyland: A 22-year old former Cast Member is suing over neck injuries sustained in a Buzz Lightyear costume.

Is this a big deal? Maybe. On the one hand, I’m sure there have been plenty of Cast Member lawsuits over the years; any company of this size will surely be sued now and then, and the conditions that “fur” characters work under are gruelling under the best of circumstances. On the other hand, Disney has had more trouble with lawsuits, unions, and general worker unrest overseas than they have stateside (see this article from EIROnline about a two-month strike at DL Paris in 1998), and given all the recent press on missing their initial attendance goals, this is bad timing.

On a related note . . . if you’re curious about what it’s like for “face” and “fur” characters, this bittersweet story on MousePlanet (warning, pop-ups) details one person’s experience, written by someone who “miss[es] the job with all [her] heart”.

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