Posts Tagged ‘sue’

City Attorney Dennis Herrera Throws Down: Says “MeetMe.Com” Enables Sexual Predators and Child Stalkers

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

All the deets:

“MeetMe.com enables sexual predators and child stalkers, San Francisco’s lawsuit contendsSocial network’s unlawful publication of minors’ profiles, photos and geolocation data has been used to victimize children as young as 13 years of age — and younger

SAN FRANCISCO (Feb. 3, 2014) — San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera today filed suit against MeetMe, a popular social networking platform that facilitates interactions among strangers, over inadequate privacy protections and unlawful publication of minors’ profiles, photos, and location data, which can enable sexual predators and stalkers to target children as young as 13 years of age.

The civil complaint filed in San Francisco Superior Court this morning alleges that the New Hope, Pa.-based MeetMe, Inc. is violating California’s Unfair Competition Law by relying on legally invalid consent from minors between the ages of 13 and 17 to collect and improperly distribute their real-time geolocation and personal user information.  Approximately 25 percent of MeetMe.com’s user base is under the age of 18, according to social media marketing statistics cited in Herrera’s complaint.  The lawsuit additionally alleges that MeetMe fails to adequately disclose to users how their personal data is distributed.

“MeetMe has become a tool of choice for sexual predators to target underage victims, and the company’s irresponsible privacy policies and practices are to blame for it,” said Herrera.  “MeetMe improperly collects personal information from young teens — including their photos and real-time locations.  It then distributes that information in ways that expose children to very serious safety risks.  Sadly, these risks aren’t hypothetical.  Dozens of children nationwide have already been victimized by predators who used MeetMe to coerce minors into meeting.  Under California law, MeetMe’s reckless business practices are illegal, and we’re asking a court to put an end to them.”

MeetMe has been a key factor in numerous crimes involving sexual assault and illicit sex with minors in California, according to news reports documented in Herrera’s complaint.  In Aug. 2013, a 29-year-old Citrus Heights, Calif. man was charged with multiple counts of sexual acts with a minor and communicating with minors for unlawful purposes.  Police investigators found that MeetMe was among the apps the perpetrator used to send sexually-explicit photos and text messages to underage girls in order to begin a “sexting” relationship that ultimately progressed to sexual contact.  A Fresno, Calif. man was arrested in Oct. 2013 on suspicion of sexually assaulting a minor that he met using MeetMe, according to news reports, and in July 2013 a 21-year-old Fair Oaks, Calif. man was criminally charged after posing as a 16-year-old boy to have sex with two girls — aged 12 and 15 — whom he met using MeetMe.

Dozens of minors nationwide have been similarly victimized in sex crimes by predators who relied on MeetMe to target their underage victims, according to reports cited in the complaint.  In June 2013, a Tewksbury, Mass. man was sentenced to up to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to more than 50 charges, including rape of a child by force, indecent assault and battery on a child under 14.  The man used multiple aliases on MeetMe to trick teenage girls into sending him nude images.  He then threatened to publish the photos in order to blackmail victims into having sex with him.  A Wilmerding, Penn. man, who was criminally charged in Sept. 2013, used MeetMe to meet and then sexually assault three teenagers.  In Grady County, Okla., a 25-year-old man used MeetMe to meet and rape a 15-year-old girl.  An Albuquerque TV news station, reporting on MeetMe’s role in the case of a 21-year-old man who was arrested for soliciting sex with a 13-year-old girl, noted: “Investigators say it’s the latest site predators are cruising to find new victims, and it’s happening all too often.”

The lawsuit, which was investigated and filed by Herrera’s Consumer Protection Unit, is seeking a court order to enjoin MeetMe from continuing to engage in activities in California that violate state law; civil penalties of up to $2,500 for each violation found to have occurred in the state; and costs of the City Attorney’s lawsuit.

About the S.F. City Attorney’s Consumer Protection Unit
The San Francisco City Attorney’s Office’s Consumer Protection Unit pursues public interest civil cases under California’s Unfair Competition Law, which are funded virtually exclusively by civil recoveries — not taxpayer dollars.  The award-winning program, for which the National Association of Consumer Advocates recognized Dennis Herrera as its 2009 Consumer Attorney of the Year, reflects voter-enacted changes to California law that require civil penalties recovered by public prosecutors to be used exclusively to enforce consumer protection laws.  Since voters passed the amendments as part of Proposition 64 in 2004, Herrera’s Consumer Protection Unit has recovered some $20 million in successful battles against unlawful business practices that include price-fixing, illegal marketing, credit card collections arbitration scams and more.  The unit’s work has helped win equally important industry reforms to help protect consumer privacy, end discriminatory practices in health insurance and media metrics, protect immigrants, halt predatory evictions, and obtain recoveries for victims of wage theft.

The litigation is: People of the State of California ex rel. Dennis Herrera v. MeetMe, Inc. et al. (San Francisco Superior Court Case No. 537126, filed Feb. 3, 2014).  Complete documentation on the case is available at: http://www.sfcityattorney.org/.”

Crazy State Worker Lady Wants Honda Civic Hybrid Owners to Sue Honda in Small Claims Court Over Low MPG

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

I’ll tell you, I don’t know how good your odds would be if you sued the maker of your car because you felt it didn’t meet the EPA mileage estimate, but this lady in SoCal appears to have a good shot.

I’ll tell you, Honda Civic Hybrid owners, The System wants you to take some worthless $100 coupon or whatever to compensate you for Honda messing up. The System doesn’t want you opting out of the national class action settlement.

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Choose or lose, Honda owners.

HONDA ORDERED TO STAND TRIAL ON JANUARY 3rd

Normally a small claims case is just that – small – in fact, barely an annoyance to large corporations because damages are limited. However, one small claims case pending in the Los Angeles area is certain to get a lot of attention because it will be going to trial just when approximately 200,000 Honda Civic Hybrid owners are opening their mailboxes to find notices of a proposed class action settlement where the Honda owners would get no more than $200 cash and the lawyers would get $8.474 million!

One disappointed Honda Civic Hybrid owner in California who got wind of the tiny settlement offer in advance chose to opt-out of the class and paid $75 to file a small claims case instead. The trial was set for January 3rd, six weeks before the 200,000 Civic owners are set to decide if they want to stick with the class action or file their own suits which can often be done quickly and cheaply without lawyers. (Think Judge Judy where regular people get up and give a 15 minute version of their complaint in plain English and then get a decision from the court). This case will be one of the first under the new 2012 law allowing individuals to sue for up to $10,000 in small claims court in California.

Honda has attempted four different legal maneuvers to postpone the trial until after the deadline had passed for Hybrid owners to opt-out of the class action, but the Judge said “no” all four times and the trial will proceed as originally scheduled on January 3rd. If the Plaintiff in that case wins and gets awarded thousands of dollars in damages, then Honda will have a lot of explaining to do to justify paying other Hybrid owners just enough to cover a few tanks of gas instead of replacing the defective hybrid batteries at $3,000 a pop – roughly $600,000,000.00!”

Our PG&E Energy Monopoly Attempted Suicide Last Night – KABOOM at Beale and Mission HQ – Call Before You Dig, PG&E!

Friday, November 11th, 2011

Ah let’s review.

- Remember when a mid-level PG&E employee* threatened me at an event sponsored by the Presidio Trust, told me that I should take one of my PG&E-related posts down because, I was done told, “It would be your interest to take that post down?” And I was like, well what does that mean? Oh that’s right, Gentle Reader, you don’t remember, but I do. Strike One. 

- And remember when PG&E killed eight people near SFO last year? Strike Two.

- And remember when Mayor Ed Lee* recently started going on about how “City Family” member PG&E is a great local company who gets it?” Strike Three.

Oh well.

Now, here’s the scene last night at 7:00 PM as I was swinging by the FiDi to pick up my special lady friend at an area law firm. Workers were just setting up the cones. And then a paramedic was telling me, “This one isn’t PG&E’s fault – somebody was digging.” Well yeah, but that somebody was PG&E itself:

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Isn’t it ironic, dont’cha think?

Oh, and this was all right in front of Pacific Gas & Electric Building, one of San Francisco’s tallest, you know, at 77 Beale:

“The Pacific Gas & Electric Building is a 150 m (490 ft) skyscraper located at 77 Beale and Mission streets in the financial district of San FranciscoCalifornia. Completed in 1971, the 34 story building is headquarters for Pacific Gas and Electric Company, the main utility provider for Northern California, and has been host to a nesting pair of Peregrine Falcons since 1987. List of tallest buildings in San Francisco

Isn’t it ironic again, dont’cha think?

Hey, PG&E, why don’t you eat your own dog food and CALL BEFORE YOUR DIG?

Via Daedrius

The easy-to-remember phone number is 811, you remember?

In short, I just can’t believe how much you suck, PG&E.

Straighten up and fly right PG&E.

*A member of San Francisco’s dominant political faction (aka Downtown) along with fellow members Willie Brown, Chamber of Commerce, Gavin Newsom, real estate interests, PG&E, and you know, all those non-profits, among others.

Dennis Herrera Throws Down: PG&E San Bruno Blast Hearing Supports His Lawsuit – Plus Rob Reiner Hearts Dennis

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

Here’s the news of the day from City Attorney Dennis Herrera:

“Herrera says NTSB hearing on San Bruno blast offers ‘devastating indictment’ against PG&E, regulators - Findings strongly support Herrera’s July 14 notice of intent to sue CPUC, PHMSA regulators

SAN FRANCISCO (Aug. 30, 2011) — City Attorney Dennis Herrera has issued the following statement in reaction to today’s National Transportation Safety Board meeting in Washington, D.C. to discuss and adopt the pipeline Accident Report relating to the natural gas pipeline explosion and fire that occurred in San Bruno, Calif. on September 9, 2010.

“NTSB’s report offers a devastating indictment, not just against PG&E, but also the California Public Utilities Commission and federal regulators for their failure to reasonably enforce safety standards,” Herrera said. “These conclusions point to the lax regulation that has enabled PG&E to flout regulations and safe gas pipeline operating practices for decades. NTSB’s report thoroughly supports my office’s allegations in my notice of intent to sue and in our comments to the CPUC. It makes clear that both agencies have a great deal of work to do to better regulate gas transmission pipelines and protect public safety. I commend the NTSB staff for its thorough investigation and comprehensive findings, and NTSB members for unflinchingly adopting the staff’s recommendations.”

More than half of the recommendations adopted by the NTSB today are directed at government entities — including CPUC, DOT, PHMSA, and the Governor of California. NTSB has indicated its intent to publish its synopsis of findings, probable cause, and recommendations at the following URL following today’s meeting: 

http://www.ntsb.gov/news/events/2011/san_bruno_ca/index.html

On July 14, 2011, Herrera took the first step toward suing the California Public Utilities Commission and federal regulators for not reasonably enforcing gas pipeline safety standards as required by the federal Pipeline Safety Act. The notice of intent to sue is a legally-required precursor to civil litigation by San Francisco, which will seek a federal court order to compel the CPUC and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to enforce federal pipeline safety standards in an effective manner.

PG&E runs three major gas transmission lines — including the very same line that failed catastrophically in San Bruno last year, and another that dates back to the 1930s — under nine high-population-density neighborhoods in San Francisco where hundreds of thousands of people live and work, according to Herrera’s 14-page letter. Major facilities threatened by the failure of these inadequately inspected transmission lines include numerous schools and recreation centers, San Francisco City College, and San Francisco General Hospital, which typically contains more than 5,000 acute care patients and visitors, medical professionals and staff. Significant stretches of Highway 101 and Highway 280 additionally run over the antiquated lines.

Herrera’s July 14, 2011 notice letter outlines San Francisco’s prospective legal action, detailing the manner in which CPUC and PHMSA: (1) failed to enforce federal regulations mandating that pipeline operators maintain adequate records to enable the operator and regulators to ensure that pipeline conditions are not a threat to public safety; (2) failed to enforce federal regulations requiring that gas transmission pipeline operators identify all “high consequence areas” in which pipeline failure would result in significant harm to people and damage to property; (3) failed to enforce federal regulations mandating inspections of gas transmission pipeline integrity for pipelines susceptible to manufacturing and construction defects or other risks; (4) failed to ensure that CPUC had staff sufficient in number, training, and experience to adequately fulfill its obligations to regulate and enforce pipeline safety regulations; (5) failed to ensure that integrity management inspections of gas transmission pipelines in California are performed with sufficient frequency and thoroughness to ensure pipeline safety; and (6) failed to require PG&E to correct violations found in audits of PG&E’s integrity management practices.”

Man, that PG&E has issues, huh?

In lighter news, Rob Reiner explicates his ardor for Dennis Jose:

“I’ve been active in statewide politics for decades.  I chaired the Prop 10 campaign in the 1990s to create the groundbreaking “First 5 California” program, which delivers critical services to millions of children from birth to age 5. I took on big developers to save our state parks and wildlife.  And I fought big tobacco to protect public health, and to reduce its influence in Hollywood.

But it was as co-founder of the American Foundation for Equal Rights—which initiated the federal legal challenge to Prop 8 that eliminated marriage equality in California—that I had the opportunity to work closely with San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera.

And that’s why I’m endorsing Dennis Herrera for Mayor of San Francisco.

Not all San Franciscans fully appreciate the extent to which California looks to their city for strong, progressive leadership on issues that make a real difference in people’s lives—like civil rights, the environment and consumer protection. But we do. 

That’s why what’s at stake in the 2011 San Francisco Mayor’s race is so important to all Californians.  Dennis has a serious plan to create jobs and make San Francisco a model of a 21st century city.  His proven record of leadership and professionalism is best suited to continue San Francisco’s honored tradition as a beacon of innovation and progress.

Will you join me in supporting Dennis Herrera by making a donation of $10, $35 or $100 today?

Dennis Herrera filed the first government lawsuit in American history to challenge state marriage laws that discriminate against lesbian and gay couples. His principled advocacy for the broad societal imperative of ending any-LGBT discrimination continues to make a persuasive difference in the courts in our fight for marriage equality.

A strong advocate for early childhood services, Dennis shares my conviction that government can and should do more to support schools, children, parents and teachers. And his record of accomplishment on consumer protection, the environment and public integrity is unmatched

Dennis has the best plan to make San Francisco a model 21st century city—and to continue San Francisco’s tradition as a beacon of innovation and progress.

I believe that Dennis is the right choice for San Francisco. Will you help him become San Francisco’s next Mayor by making a donation of $10, $35 or $100 today?

Thank you so much for your support of Dennis.

Best,

Rob Reiner

P.S. There are only 70 days left until the election and every dollar makes a difference, can you chip in and donate $10, $35 or $100 today?

Only 70 days?

Wow.

How the Mayor is Mostly Wrong About San Francisco’s Claim on the Name “49ers”

Monday, June 8th, 2009

Let’s take a look at what Mayor Gavin Newsom had to say at a recent editorial meeting over at the San Francisco Chronicle, talking about how the City of San Francisco might take on the City of Santa Clara over the 49ers wanting to move on down the Peninsula. These days, there’s talk of the San Francisco 49ers continuing on in the South Bay without any kind of a name change. Says Mr. Mayor:

We can sue… we’re a 49 square mile city, founded in 1849 by the 49ers. The city [Santa Clara] can’t take the name ’49ers‘.”

Ooh, numbers!

1. So let’s see here, the name of the Niners has something to do with the land area of the City of San Francisco? Really? Never heard of  that. Actually, S.F. is a 46-something square mile city, and it used to be a lot smaller especially back in the day. You can add up everything, all our filled-in areas (like the FiDi and the Marina) and then throw in the islands (like the Farallones and Red Rock) and then sprinkle in the parts of islands that are part of San Francisco that shouldn’t be (like Angel Island and Alameda(!) Island) and all that totals just 46. 7 square miles.

(Of course people use the term “7 by 7″ but that’s just an approximation.) 

So, how can you sue over something like this?

Strike one.

The Mayor seems to do better calm and prepared, as shown, as opposed to pissed off and off-the-cuff, as he was for at least a brief moment at the Chron’s Ed Board.

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2. San Francisco was founded in 1776 and incorporated in 1850. So, 1849 is close, but no cigar. What other cities can also claim 1850 incorporation? Well, how about all the big ones? El Lay, Fun Diego, San Hoser, Sactown (Sacramento, Sacramento where you at?), the list goes on. (Something to do with the Compromise of 1850, they learned us in school in Sacratomatoe.) 

How can you sue over something like this?

Strike two.

Do the Gold Rush cheerleaders know the way to San Jose? They seemed to be baffled by San Francisco’s Civic Center / Tenderloin / Little Saigon area, thereby causing a stir a few years back.

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The little girl, nobody notices the little girl being ignored, if ever so briefly, by her caretaker(s), with a loud sigh and a dramatic crossing of the arms.

3. Now if you want to talk about how San Francisco was incorporated by 49ers, people who came here in 1849 looking for gold and whatnot, well, feel free to say that. But so were other cities, specifically Grass Valley, CA and, indeed, Santa Clara. I don’t know how you can use that as an argument. How can you sue over something like this?

Ball one.

We’ll have to leave this at a count of one and two. (Gavin could have thrown in our 49-Mile Scenic Drive as well, but that would only encourage Santa Clara to follow suit with their own. Can you imagine going on that tour? You’d have to handcuff the tourists to their seats after the first half-mile.)

Could jazzy New Orleans have sued when the Utah Jazz basketball team wanted to move to Salt Lake City and yet still keep the green, purple and gold colours of Mardi Gras? Sacre Bleu!

Could somebody today sue Mill Valley-based ”Ferrari of San Francisco” for not actually being ”of San Francisco”?

The World Wonders.