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December 18, 2014 / 26 Kislev, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘lawsuit’

Woolworths Hits Back at BDS with Lawsuit Threat

Sunday, October 5th, 2014

The South Africa-based Woolworths retail chain is threatening to sue the Boycott, Divest and Sanction group over customer and staff safety.

“Our employees, of all faiths and cultures, are telling us that they are feeling increasingly threatened by the protests,” Woolworths spokesman Babs Diamini said this week, according to South Africa’s Times Live.

“What’s more, the families of our employees have reported being abused and sworn at by BDS. If this continues we will consider taking further precautions, including legal action against the individuals involved,” Diamini said.

Just as BDS has the right to protest, said Diamini, the chain’s employees have the right to work, and its customers have the right to shop without being intimidated.

She added that it is not clear why Woolworths is being targeted and other major corporations are not, because “more than 95 percent of our food is sourced locally [and] the government continues to authorize trade with Israel.”

Other companies with ties to Israel include Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Danone, Nestle and Motorola. But BDS activist Mohammed Desai made it clear the movement would stay focused on Woolworths, acknowledging the group could not tackle every target at once.

“For now, Woolworths is our target. They are making a grave mistake by ignoring us and if we go to all those retailers our campaign will be diluted.”

BDS activists have demonstrated at more than 40 protests targeting Woolworths around South Africa. The group says it plans to raise the pressure at the retail giant’s annual general meeting on November 26.

Woolworths Holdings Limited is a South African chain of retail stores and one of the largest in the country, modeled on Marks & Spencer of the United Kingdom. The Woolworths brand incorporates a series of food stores, some of which are attached to department stores, while others stand alone or are attached to Engen petrol stations in prosperous urban areas. Some branches include an in-store restaurant, branded as “Cafe W”. Woolworths goods are sold at 149 corporate stores, 51 international franchise stores throughout the rest of Africa and the Middle East and 69 South African franchise stores nationwide. The chain was named after the United States chain F. W. Woolworth Company but, because of the contemporary trademark laws, the name was legally used without permission. No financial connection ever existed between the companies.

Death Row Inmate: ‘Kosher-like’ is Not Kosher’

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

An inmate on death row at the Northern Correctional Institution in Somers, Connecticut, has filed a hand-written lawsuit against the state claiming that that his right to practice freedom of religion is being violated — suddenly, after six years of incarceration.

Steven Hayes, 51, is claiming in his suit against the Connecticut State Department of Corrections that he is a practicing Orthodox Jew and is being denied kosher food, which he says he has requested since May 2013. (Hayes said he previously practiced Taoism, according to the Raw Story website.)

His Jewish status, however, seems to be rooted solely in his own belief; Hayes describes himself as a “self-converted Jew” and there are no claims of having a Jewish mother nor any documentation of any conversion according to Jewish law, which would mandate the necessity for him to receive kosher food. His knowledge of conversion apparently stems from discussions he had with a previous prison rabbi in the 1990s.

As is explained by the Jewish Prisoner Services International organization: “A Jew is one who has either been born Jewish or has been properly converted. One cannot become a Jew by simply declaring that he/she is Jewish, or by beginning to practice the Jewish faith.”

Regardless, Hayes says in his lawsuit, “This continuous denial of a kosher diet is a clear violation of my First Amendment right to freely practice my religion of choice, Judaism.” He also charges the Department with cruel and unusual punishment because he is forced to eat non-kosher food in order to survive. Hayes claims he has lost weight due to this issue, which prevents him from eating properly, according to reports published in the Hartford Courant and New Haven Register newspapers.

The inmate was convicted in 2010 for invading a home in Cheshire in 2007, where he assaulted and strangled a mother to death. He also attacked and murdered her two daughters, ages 11 and 17, tying them to their beds and then leaving them there while setting the house on fire. The children’s father, the lone survivor of the attack, was severely beaten but managed to escape. (Another man was involved in the crime as well.)

The prison kitchen has no strictly kosher certification, Hayes says in his lawsuit, and so he has asked for pre-packaged kosher food. Instead, he claimed, the kitchen staff told him the food served at the prison is “kosher-like.” But in his lawsuit, Hayes responded that “kosher-like is not kosher,” the Courant reported.

According to a separate report by the New Haven Register, Hayes has been consulting with and speaking with a prison rabbi. He has also asked for more time with the rabbi, the paper reported.

In addition, he has asked for $15,000 in punitive and compensatory damages for “intentional infliction of pain, suffering and resulting weight loss from the deliberate denial of a kosher diet.” Hayes also wants a trial by a judge. And a court order forcing the Department of Corrections to make sure pre-packaged kosher meals are provided to him – and to every other Jewish prisoner in the Connecticut penal system.

The attorney for Hayes, public defender Thomas Ullmann, says he is “happy he is finding some spiritual solace.” He adds, “This is what being on death row does. People are sitting in their cells, not doing anything, so filing federal lawsuits is the kind of thing that happens.”

The Department’s acting director of external affairs, Karen Martucci, says the lawsuit was referred to the Attorney General. A spokesperson from the A-G’s office, Jaclyn Falkowski, said in response to a query, “We are reviewing the complaint and will respond at the appropriate time in court.”

At least he’s not asking for a raise in his monthly salary. In fact, he may not even have a monthly salary. After all, he hasn’t had any tutoring from the Palestinian Authority terrorists sitting in Israeli prisons.

LA Jewish Cemetery Settles Class-Action Suit for $80.5 Million

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

A Los Angeles Jewish cemetery accused of dumping remains to make room for new interments has settled a 25,000-person class action lawsuit.

Eden Memorial Park in Missions Hills, Calif., agreed to a settlement worth about $80.5 million, the Los Angeles Jewish Journal reported, citing documents filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Feb. 27.

The lawsuit was filed in 2009. It claimed that Eden Memorial Park, one of the largest Jewish cemeteries in the United States, instructed groundskeepers to “secretly break concrete vaults with a backhoe and remove, dump and/or discard the human remains, including human skulls, to make room for new interments.” The alleged incidents began as early as 1985.

About 40,000 people are buried in the 72-acre cemetery.

The settlement will be finalized in mid-May. The case went to trial last month in the Los Angeles Superior Courthouse.

Eden Memorial Park is owned and operated by SCI California, a subsidiary of Texas-based Service Corporation International (SCI), the largest operator of cemeteries and funeral services in the United States.

Muslim Woman Suing Judge for Banning Headscarf

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

I’m not crazy about the fact that this case is being handled by our friends at CAIR, but the attorney being interviewed does mention that forcing a Muslim woman to remove her hijab is exactly like making an Orthodox Jew take off his yarmulke.

Discuss.


London Rabbi Suing Billionaire Philanthropist over Property Deal

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

A Ukrainian billionaire living in London is being sued by his rabbi over a joint property venture.

Rabbi Yonah Pruss claims that he and Gennadiy Bogolyubov, a philanthropist who is involved in the Chabad movement, entered into a deal to find, purchase and manage investment properties in Britain along with a surveyor, Colin Gershinson, according to the Times of London.

Bogolyubov put up the money for the properties identified by Pruss, a Chabad rabbi, and Gershinson, the newspaper reported. Pruss and Gershinson were to share in the profits.

But the rabbi, who reportedly eased Bogolyubov’s way into London Jewish society, discovered that two of the most valuable properties were placed into trust for Bogolyubov and his family. Pruss and Gershinson are now demanding millions of dollars for their share of the deals.

A lawsuit has been filed in a lower court, according to The Independent, and Pruss has threatened to take the case to Britain’s High Court.

Israel’s Supermodel Bar Rafaeli Wins $113,000 in Samsung Lawsuit

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

Even Israeli supermodel Bar Rafaeli has a right to privacy, and even Samsung does not have the right to invade it, a Tel Aviv court ruled Wednesday in a decision that will cost Samsung nearly $160,000.

Samsung’s Israeli importer Suny Electronics went ahead and used online broadcasts of her in its advertising campaign in 2006 but without her knowledge.

She sued for violations of her rights of privacy. It’s one thing to go on the air, but it is another matter to take the conversation and use it for a commercial campaign without a person’s knowledge, let alone permission.

Samsung decided to go head-to-head and battle it out in the court and even sued Bar Rafaeli for libel for writing to Samsung’s office in Korea about the misuse.

Tel Aviv District Court Judge Avi Zamir decided in her favor and ordered Samsung to fork over $113,400 to Bar Rafaeli  plus another $42,000 to cover court costs.

He threw out the libel suit but also dismissed the supermodel’s claim for personal damages from a market consultant, Globes reported.

“The image of models, their voices, bodies, and names are their personal assets, and no one has the right to use them for commercial purposes without their consent and without compensation,” Judge Zamir ruled.

He added, “These assets have the right to be protected. Every model, male or female, even if they chose to reveal themselves in an advertisement, even the broadest and most exposing, in any media, has the right not to have use made of these private assets beyond what was agreed, and without their explicit consent.

“Even deviations from existing agreements over the extent of the permitted use of these assets, damage them, damage that justifies financial compensation.”

Considering that Bar Rafaeli is a good sell for anything from apples to zebras, Samsung may have gotten more than its money’s worth for the free use of her conversations.

YU Sex Abuse Extended beyond Boys High School

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

Incidents of physical and sexual abuse at Yeshiva University were not limited to its high school for boys, an investigation has found.

The investigation commissioned by the university and carried out by the New York-based law firm Sullivan & Cromwell followed reports of sexual abuse by two faculty members at Y.U.’s high school for boys in the 1970s and ‘80s.

The report produced by investigators and released Monday confirmed that “multiple incidents of varying types of sexual and physical abuse took place” at the high school, perpetrated by individuals in positions of authority and continuing even after administration members had been made aware of the problem. The probe also found sexual abuse at other divisions of the university but, citing pending litigation, did not describe them in any detail or specify where they took place.

“Up until 2001, there were multiple instances in which the University either failed to appropriately act to protect the safety of its students or did not respond to the allegations at all,” the report said. “This lack of an appropriate response by the University caused victims to believe that their complaints fell on deaf ears or were simply not believed by the University’s administration.”

While the report noted that Y.U.’s responses to allegations of abuse after 2001 improved significantly, it issued detailed recommendations for new policies at the school to prevent and report sexual or physical abuse or harassment. The report did not go into detail on the past instances of sexual abuse.

“There are findings set forth in this report that serve as a source of profound shame and sadness for our institution,” Y.U. President Richard Joel said in a statement released Monday. “On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the entire University community, I express my deepest and most heartfelt remorse, and truly hope that our recognition of these issues provides some level of comfort and closure to the victims.

“Although we cannot change the past, we remain committed to making confidential counseling services available to those individual victims in the hope they can achieve a more peaceful future.”

The investigation was prompted by a Dec. 13, 2012 article in the Forward newspaper titled “Student Claims of Abuse not Reported by Yeshiva U.” that focused on abuse allegations against two Y.U. faculty members: Rabbi George Finkelstein, an administrator and faculty member from 1963 to 1995, and Rabbi Macy Gordon, a teacher from 1956 to 1983.

Finkelstein was accused of groping students and rubbing up against them, often under the guise of wrestling, at school and in his home. Gordon was accused of sodomizing boys, including in at least one instance with a toothbrush. Both men have denied the allegations.

A group of former students filed a $380 million lawsuit against Yeshiva University in early July, just days after Y.U.’s longtime chancellor, Rabbi Norman Lamm, acknowledged mishandling the abuse allegations decades earlier. The lawsuit has since added plaintiffs and grown to $680 million.

After Y.U. hired Sullivan & Cromwell to conduct an investigation, the school’s board of trustees appointed a special committee to manage the relationship and receive periodic reports. The investigation was led by Karen Patton Seymour, a former criminal prosecutor, and carried out with the help of T&M Protection Services, a firm specializing in preventing sex abuse.

Some 6,300 hours were spent on the investigation, including interviews with 145 people, according to the report. Investigators sought to interview the former students named in the lawsuit, but their lawyers declined to make them available, the report said. According to the report, 70 people who were contacted either declined to be interviewed or did not respond to requests for interviews.

Most of the report was taken up with a new set of anti-harassment guidelines recommended by T&M Protection Services, which Joel said YU will implement fully.

The recommendations include setting clear boundaries for appropriate contact between faculty and students, educating them about the rules, screening new hires, establishing clear avenues for reporting allegations and putting in place policies for investigating allegations.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/yu-sex-abuse-extended-beyond-boys-high-school/2013/08/27/

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