Tech Tip | Flight Cancelled? Find Out What You’re Owed
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has launched an online dashboard to help airline passengers learn whether they are entitled to meal vouchers, free re-booking, refunds, travel vouchers, ground transportation, and complimentary overnight accommodations.
The DOT created the dashboard to provide passengers with information about their options when flights are canceled or delayed because of circumstances within an airline’s control.
Passengers who believe an airline has failed to honor its ticket obligations can use the dashboard to file a complaint with the DOT.
The dashboard includes information for 10 airlines that account for 96% of domestic flights in the United States.
View the dashboard at www.transportation.gov/airconsumer/airline-customer-service-dashboard.
Source: U.S. Department of Transportation
Out There | Bee Careful What You Say Online
A Minnesota beekeeper is out $370,000 after badmouthing two other apiarists.
Nancy and Keith Budtke of Wheaton, Minn., sold 75 Texas beehives to Nick Olsen, also of Minnesota. Olsen transported the hives to Minnesota from Texas, only to find that the bees had died in transit.
On Facebook, Olsen said the bees were infested with maggots and plagued with American foulbrood, a deadly bacterial disease that afflicts honeybees.
The Budtkes were “screwing” him, Olsen wrote on Facebook. He also warned beekeepers to steer clear of the Budtkes.
The Budtkes, who’ve been in the bee business for four decades, sued Olsen for libel. At trial, an expert witness called by the Budtkes testified that the bees’ health was normal and suggested that the bees likely died because of how Olsen handled them.
In July, a judge found in favor of the Budtkes and awarded them $105,000 for business losses, $240,000 for loss of reputation, and $25,000 in punitive damages.
It’s the kind of case we can expect to see more of as social media continues to expand, said William McGeveran, a professor at the University of Minnesota School of Law.
“Social media makes it a lot easier to shoot your mouth off,” he said. “And sometimes people aren’t as careful when they’re posting on Facebook or Twitter. … But what they say is just as public and the legal risk is just the same.”
Source: Minneapolis Star-Tribune
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By the Numbers | 47%
– The average percentage of time that lawyers experienced burnout
Lawyers who responded to a recent survey reported feeling burned out on their jobs an average of 47% of the time. The Bloomberg Law Workload and Hours survey details findings from 638 respondents.
In the previous survey, for the fourth quarter of 2021, lawyers reported feeling burned out on their jobs an average of 52% of the time. That was the first time in the two-year history of the survey that the burnout average exceeded 50%.
Source: Bloomberg Law
On the Radar | Baby Rockers Recalled
In August, 4moms and the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission announced the recall of 2 million MamaRoo Baby Swings (version 1.0-4.0) and 200,000 RockaRoo Baby Rockers sold in the United States and Canada.
The basis for the recall is the two products’ restraint system. When a swing or rocker is not in use, the restraint straps dangle beneath the seat and pose a strangulation hazard to crawling infants.
Two weeks after the recall was announced, residents of North Carolina and South Carolina filed a class action over the products in a Pennsylvania federal court. The lawsuit alleges that 4moms knew of the strangulation danger after it received two reports of infants becoming entangled in the straps in 2018.
4moms is providing free strap fasteners to consumers who purchased MamaRoo Baby Swings and RockaRoo Baby Rockers.
“I stated before, ‘You’re dealing with the wrong judge here.’”
– Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge William Sosnay
A Milwaukee County Circuit Court ruled on Oct. 1 that orders issued by the city of Milwaukee to raze Northridge Mall were enforceable. Judge William Sosnay also imposed a $109,000 fine against U.S. Black Spruce Enterprise Group, the Chinese company that owns the mall.
The company paid $6 million for the shuttered shopping mall on Milwaukee’s north side in 2008. Since then, the property has fallen into ruin. Tall clumps of weeds sprout from cracks in the parking lot, and glass, shattered by vandals, litters the floors inside the buildings.
The Milwaukee Police Department has received 75 calls for service at the mall, and the fire department has responded to four fire calls there.
In making the ruling, Judge Sosnay said he would use every means available to enforce the city’s raze orders, which Black Spruce has fought in court since they were issued in 2019.
Source: Urban Milwaukee
Out There | How Low Can You Go?
In August, a federal appeals court upheld the Federal Communications Commission’s approval of a plan by SpaceX to deploy 2,824 satellites in non-geostationary orbit. The company will use the satellites to offer high-speed broadband internet.
Non-geostationary satellites are ideal for providing high-speed internet because they travel at lower altitudes than geostationary satellites – the lower altitude reduces the latency of signal transmission.
But because a non-geostationary satellite is not synced to the Earth’s rotation, it can’t maintain a continuous sight line with its receiver. That’s why the SpaceX plan calls for 2,824 satellites that will move and communicate as a constellation.
Viasta, one of the satellite companies that challenged the FCC’s approval, argued that it would be harmed by the approval because one of its satellites might be struck by one of the SpaceX satellites. But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit said that this potential injury was too speculative.
» Cite this article: 95 Wis. Law. 10-11 (November 2022).