Justin Bieber sued by Joustin Beaver creators

The Biebs is being sued by the game developers of Joustin’ Beaver after he threatened legal action for using his likeness in a mobile app. The Joustin’ Beaver folks are hoping to be able to market the app under the First Amendment.

Read the full story from The Sun Daily here.

JUSTIN Bieber (pic) is being sued by game developers after he threatened them with legal action for using his image for a mobile app.

RC3, the makers of a game entitled Joustin’ Beaver, admit the app is a parody of the Never Say Never hitmaker’s life, but they are reportedly keen for a judge to rule they are permitted to market the app under the free speech rule of the First Amendment.

In the company’s lawsuit, obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, it states: “In an effort to comment on the Defendant’s life, the Plaintiff, RC3, developed the aforementioned App entitled Joustin’ Beaver.

“The App, a video game, is a parody of the commercial success of the Defendant and any celebrity.”

Read the rest of the story here.

Online Reputation — Losing in Court Thanks to Facebook and Twitter

Once again, repeat after us: Think before you post or tweet! It’s no secret that trial attorneys now mine social media sites for information.

Here’s a great article from local South Florida social media veteran, Craig Agranoff, otherwise known as @Lapp in today’s Huffington Post.

Read the full article here.

Today, everything we do online has potential consequences. The angry post you make on Facebook today, even if you delete it later, could mean losing a job or even in court tomorrow. In our increasingly connected world, the things we say can more easily come back to haunt us.

For example, in a recent case in Orange County, California, two neighbors were in a long-running dispute that had turned ugly. When one of them declared that it was out of character for him to use foul language and issue threats, the other’s attorney then showed the jury screen captures of the man’s Facebook wall that included derogatory comments towards his client and abusive, heavy language to go with it. The jury awarded the Facebook-scouring attorney’s client nearly half a million dollars.

Attorney John Mitchell Jackson says that it’s becoming standard procedure for trial attorneys to mine social media. He says it’s “the trial attorney’s obligation and duty to accumulate as much information as he or she can to support the client’s case or defend against it. Many trial lawyers today are learning as much as they can about the parties and the witnesses through social media sites. And what people need to understand is that this information doesn’t simply evaporate into thin air after it leaves your screen. It can be mined, analyzed and reviewed in civil and criminal cases.”

Jackson can cite several examples of cases where social media was a central point of the trial for both the good and ill of his clients. Although it might appear obvious that if you’re becoming involved in a suit, removing your social network profiles might be a good idea, Jackson actually advises against that.

Read the rest of the article here.

Heirs to murdered millionaire Novack sought

A genealogist has been brought in to find additional heirs to the fortune left by murdered hotel heir, Ben Novack. Under Florida’s slayer statute, if Nancy Novack, Ben Novack’s wife, is convicted of his murder, she will lose all rights to his wealth.

Read the full Miami Herald story here.

Ben Novack’s family tree may reveal yet more potential heirs to the slain hotel heir’s fortune.
BY JULIE K. BROWN
jbrown@MiamiHerald.com

An international genealogist who specializes in hunting down long-lost heirs has been brought into the battle over the riches left by Ben Novack Jr., the Miami hotel heir who was bludgeoned to death in 2009.

Lawyers representing a branch of the Novack family hope to wrestle the estate out of the hands of Novack’s wife, Narcy, a former stripper who is accused of watching two hitmen beat him with barbells and then ordering them to gouge out his eyes.

Novack, 53, and her brother, Cristobal Veliz, 55, are scheduled to stand trial in April on charges of arranging the murders of Novack and his mother, Bernice, who was once married to Ben Novack Sr., builder of the world-famous Fontainebleau hotel in Miami Beach.

Lawyers representing Bernice Novack’s sister, Maxine Fiel, filed a petition in Broward County probate court Wednesday, asking the court to determine the rightful heirs to the family fortune, estimated at between $6 million and $10 million. An unknown amount of cash is also believed to be stashed in overseas bank accounts.

“Our goal is to see that justice is served and to ensure that the funds from the estate do not go to anybody profiting directly or indirectly from the alleged murder,’’ said Harvey E. Morse, the genealogist brought in to investigate the family’s lineage.

Under his will, Ben Novack Jr., 52, left his entire estate, including his multimillion-dollar Batman collection, to his wife. Narcy Novack said she found her husband’s body, bound and gagged, in their Rye Brook, N.Y. hotel room in July 2009. A year later, she and Veliz were arrested and charged with his murder. Prosecutors also allege that they hired two hitmen to beat his mother, whose bloody corpse was found in her Fort Lauderdale home three months before her son was killed.

Read the rest of the story here.

Bill to streamline foreclosures clears key state Senate committee

A foreclosure bill that would require a homeowner to present a sound defense or face an immediate judgment in some cases moved closer to a full legislative hearing Monday with the blessing of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Many organizations are taking sides on this controversial issue.

Read the full story from the Palm Beach Post here.

By Kimberly Miller, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

A quickie foreclosure bill that would require a homeowner to present a sound defense or face an immediate judgment in some cases moved closer to a full legislative hearing Monday with the blessing of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Monday’s vote marked the farthest a proposal to streamline Florida’s strained foreclosure process has advanced in the Legislature since the housing collapse, but it’s in no way a done deal, lawmakers and lobbyists say.

The 5-2 approval of Senate Bill 1890 came with hesitation from some committee members and firm opposition from homeowners and foreclosure defense attorneys. One man, who called the sponsors of the bill a “disgrace” during public comment, brought blown-up images of his own foreclosure documents that he said show evidence of fraud.

The plan, which contains some consumer protection language, such as reducing the time a bank could pursue a homeowner for unpaid mortgage debt from five years to one year, has earned support from the Real Property Probate and Trust Law section of the Florida Bar.

But the Florida Bankers Association has yet to take a position, and it is flatly opposed by the Florida Consumer Action Network.

“We cannot support this bill because it places too much of the burden of repairing the foreclosure problem on the backs of homeowners and (community) associations,” said Alice Vickers, a network attorney.

House sponsor Rep. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, and Senate sponsor Jack Latvala, R-St. Petersburg, said Monday that they will work through constituent concerns this week to get matching bills. They are seeking approval in the plan’s two remaining Senate committee stops. The House version of the bill (HB 213) has one committee stop left.

“This bill won’t solve everything overnight,” Passidomo said. “It will take a while for these things to sort themselves through, but if we do nothing, how many years will we be in this situation?”

The House and Senate foreclosure proposals aim to streamline foreclosures by allowing any lienholder to hasten a foreclosure case if a property is abandoned or the homeowner does not respond with a defense within 20 days of being served.

Currently, only the bank that owns the primary lien can file for what is called a “show cause” order in which a homeowner must show why the bank doesn’t have a foolproof case. If a judge sides with the bank, a final foreclosure judgment can be issued immediately.

In most cases, even a weak defense is enough to have a judge stop the show cause proceeding and force the traditional foreclosure process to occur, said Pete Dunbar, legislative counsel for the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law section of the Florida Bar.

That’s why most properties affected by the proposals would be abandoned or ones where the homeowner doesn’t respond to the foreclosure, Dunbar said.

“We’re dealing with a statute that was written decades ago and that never contemplated the situation we face today,” Dunbar said about current foreclosure law.

Consumer advocates, however, have several concerns with the bill, including a restriction that would allow a homeowner only monetary restitution if property was taken fraudulently. Passidomo said the provision is to protect future owners of the home from having to defend their claim to title.

Also, the bill requires the lender to prove on the front end their right to file for foreclosure – a rule already on the books, but not enforced, lawyers said Monday.

Lynn Drysdale, an attorney with the Jacksonville-based Legal Aid Society, said the banks also already have the power to foreclose more quickly, but choose not to.

Sen. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, said he’s heard similar concerns.

“The judges are saying that they can easily move these cases along but when they come in the attorneys aren’t prepared,” said Simmons, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee who voted to approve the bill. “It’s the attorneys the banks hired that aren’t doing the jobs they need to do to move the cases along.”

Read the rest of the article here.

Marlins Being Sued By Would-Be Owners

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Filed under Really?! The Miami Marlins are being sued for not “selling” the team for $10 Million. Was David Samson kidding? Most likely. And now, they are dealing with a lawsuit.

Read the unbelievable story from Baseball Nation here.

By Jeff Sullivan – Editor

It would be absurd to think that the Marlins would be sold for $10 million. Absurd! And yet, here we are, with a lawsuit on our hands.

Follow @sbnbaseball on Twitter, and Like Baseball Nation on Facebook.

Feb 22, 2012 – David Samson is the president of the Miami Marlins. In 2008, David Samson was the president of the Florida Marlins. In February of that year, Samson served as the auctioneer at the Fourth Annual Awards Banquet at the Diplomat Country Club & Spa. It was a team function, see, and an auction was a big part of it. To begin the auction, Samson put the Marlins up for sale, available to bidders at a starting price of $10 million. Samson was probably joking. Somebody bid. That somebody was apparently not joking.

And now that somebody is suing the Marlins. Omeranz & Landsma Corporation submitted the bid. It was the only bid. A contract of some sort was subsequently drawn up. The Marlins then failed to honor the contract by not actually being sold for $10 million. So the corporation is suing for “damages”. And also for “such other and further relief” as the court deems “just and proper”. This is legal terminology for “we want money and goodies”. I have a friend in law school so I can parse this stuff like nobody’s business.

Obviously, Samson was not seriously offering the Marlins for a $10 million starting price. David Samson has his flaws, but “complete and utter incompetence” is not one of them. However, without having seen the alleged contract entered into after the Omeranz & Landsma bid, it’s fun to let the imagination run wild and think that the Marlins might have gotten themselves into a pickle here. Since I don’t actually know anything about law, I don’t know how courts differentiate legitimate contracts from facetious contracts. Maybe they do, and maybe they don’t. Maybe the Marlins inserted specific language, and maybe they didn’t.

Read the rest of the story here.