Even though many Americans believe the First Amendment is the Holy Grail of free speech protection, it actually only sets minimum protections of free speech in our society and must be supplemented by other laws everytime technology evolves. The Consumer Review Freedom Act of 2015 is one such law.
Courts are having trouble determining what “Computer Fraud” means. Recently, a New York Court of Appeals affirmed a trial court’s ruling that a policyholder was not covered under a “Computer Systems Fraud” policy because the policy covered damage caused by fraudulent entry of data and not entry of fraudulent data into the computer system. Whereas as in a similar case, a court in Texas found that “Computer Fraud” included the use of a computer as a “substantial factor” in the bringing of harm.
The Third Circuit Court of Appeals has decided that Landmark Insurance Company and Hanover Insurance Group do not have to defend Urban Outfitter Inc. and its subsidiary Anthropologie Inc. in three putative class action lawsuits challenging the store's collection of customer zip codes. All three suits in the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, and California allege that the stores improperly collected zip codes from customers using credit cards to make purchases. The California suit alleged that the retailers “published” the information to third party vendors.
The Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments in a case that may decide whether policyholders have to pay back their insurance company for medical bills after they’ve sued and won against the person that injured them. Robert Montanile was injured by a drunk driver had his medical expenses paid by the National Elevator Industry Health Benefit Plan. He then hired a personal injury attorney and sued the driver that injured him. When Montanile received a settlement, the benefit plan asked him to reimburse them.
The Supreme Court is split across ideological lines in a case considering whether websites that collect and and sell personal information can be sued for posting false information. Virigna resident Thomas Robins sued after he noticed a the profile the site had on him cotnained major errors. The Court debates whether Robins can sue Spokeo for a technical violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Liberal justices are siding with Robins who  claims that being falsely portrayed is enough to show harm whereas conservatives want evidence of how Robins was injured by the information.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed a Louisiana District Court’s ruling in favor of Bishop Noland Episcopal Day School. The court found that the Day School did not interfere with kindergarten teacher Heather Bernard’s rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act after she was fired for poor performance at work after receiving treatment for anorexia. Learn more.
When Sheila Hobson began working for Murphy Oil USA Inc., an operator of retail gas stations in several states, she signed a “Binding Arbitration Agreement and Waiver of Jury Trial” that required her to waive the right to pursue class or collective action claims. Hobson and three other employees later filed suit and argued that the Arbitration Agreement they signed interfered with their rights under the National Labor Relations Act. Hobson then filed an unfair labour charged with the National Labour Relations Board.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed a Texas District Court’s ruling in a case centering on the interpretation of an excess-insurance policy. After suffering losses in a state lawsuit, Martin Resource Management Corporation sought recovery under its primary- and excess-insurance policies. MRMC settled with its primary insurance company for less than its $10 million limit and then sought to “fill the gap” with its excess insurance policy.
The Tennessee Supreme Court has vacated a decision by the Hamilton County Trial court ruling that the state law allowing a cap to be put on personal injury damages is unconstitutional. The negligence case brought against a number of AT&T divisions and one employee seeks $25 million dollars in damages caused in an automobile accident. Donald and Betty Clark, the couple filing suit, also seek a ruling on the constitutionality of the state law that caps non-economic damages.
A New York woman is being vilified on social media after suing her 12-year old nephew for $127,000.00 for injuries she received after he jumped into her arms at his eighth birthday party. Her lawyers have stated: “From the start, this was a case...about one thing:Getting medical bills paid by homeowner’s insurance. Our client was never looking for money from her nephew or his family.” In some states, one cannot directly sue the insurance company and must sue an individual.
More and more companies are opting out of state workers’ compensations laws and writing their own rules.
Police using publicly available DNA databases like and 23andme in efforts to find suspects are likely to have a high rate of false positives. A Wired article features one case where a New Orleans filmmaker was wrongly identified as a suspect in a cold murder case in Idaho, after Police partially matched his Mississippi father’s DNA to the crime.
The Southern Poverty Law Center filed an ethics complaint against an Alabama judge that told offenders they could either pay their fines, give blood, or be arrested. Those who gave blood were supposed to receive $100 credit for their fines if they brought in a receipt showing they gave blood. The Southern Poverty Law Center asserts that the fine alternative was a “violation of bodily integrity.” Learn more here:
A New York couple is suing the community group that owns the land under their house.The couple claims that a bylaw requiring homeowners to be “of German extraction” violates the Fair Housing Act and prevents them from selling their home on the open market. Learn more.   
The PH media group found that two-fifths of callers were satisfied with how insurance companies handle telephone customer service. Unfortunately, the percentage drops “when younger clients’ responses are separated from the other responses. Read more here.  
The Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York ruled that Google’s efforts to scan millions of books for an online library does not violate any copyright laws. The Court rejected the Author’s Guild’s infringements claims stating Google’s project is like a “card catalog for the digital age.” Learn more.
The Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed summary judgment for State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company in a dispute regarding the handling of a third-party claim. After a motor vehicle accident in Forrest County, MS left Rodney Taylor a paraplegic a jury awarded him $2,862,920.84 plus interest.
The Tennessee Supreme Court recently overruled the summary judgment standard previously articulated by the Court in Hannan v. Alltel Publishing Co., 270 S.W.3d 1 (Tenn. 2008). Hannan provided a higher summary judgment standard than the federal equivalent articulated in Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
Homeowners insurers in Connecticut were recently notified that the Connecticut Insurance Department  that they are not allowed to cancel or non-renew their homeowners policies because of foundation problems. A number of homeowners are concerned that their houses might be crumbling or deteriorating at the foundation. While no homes have yet to cave in or abruptly collapse, reports indicated that homes built in the 1980s are being affected for reasons not yet known.
The start of deer season means that deer will be crossing the roads more frequently, especially at dawn and dusk. According to State Farm, 1.25 million automobile accidents were caused by collisions with deer from July 1,2014 to June 30, 2015. The average cost of coverage for these incidents was valued at $4,135 while and the odds of hitting a deer was 1 in 169. Drivers who carry comprehensive insurance are more likely to have coverage for encounters with wildlife.