Judge dismisses Pennsylvania woman's lawsuit against Bill Cosby

A U.S. federal judge on Thursday dismissed a defamation lawsuit brought by a Pennsylvania woman against Bill Cosby, which contended the comedian smeared her character when he accused her of lying in claiming he had sexually assaulted her in the 1980s.Renita Hill, 48, had claimed she was defamed her when the comedian and his representatives called her a liar and extortionist as he defended himself after she went public in 2014 with allegations of decades-old sexual misconduct.Hill, a Pittsburgh resident, sued in October over three comments made by Cosby and his representatives. The three statements in question "do not support a claim for defamation as defined by Pennsylvania law," U.S. District Judge Arthur Schwab said in his dismissal ruling, court documents showed.Hill's attorneys have said Cosby mentored her when she was a young woman, and paid for her education at Temple University and Spelman College. They said he also arranged meetings in Atlantic City, New York and Denver, where he sexually assaulted her. Hill's first public accusation of sexual assault came in a 2014 interview with a Pittsburgh TV station. Her lawsuit concerned statements Cosby and his representatives made in response to that interview. Schwab said the remarks were protected under free speech rights, and that Hill did not prove the comments harmed her. More than 50 women have come forward to accuse Cosby, 78, of sexual assault. The allegations date back as far as the 1960s, making most of them too old for criminal prosecution. Hill and several other women have sued Cosby.Cosby's attorneys welcomed the judge's decision in a statement and said they hoped it would influence the outcome of other pending lawsuits. "The Court found opinionated speech by a defendant's attorney is protected and not actionable as defamatory," the attorneys said. "It is our hope that courts in other jurisdictions with similar matters will respond in like manner."The drumbeat of accusations has toppled Cosby from his cultural status as one of America's most-admired comedians. He built his career on family-friendly humor and was best known as the loving but often befuddled father in the 1980s television hit, "The Cosby Show."The only criminal charges against Cosby were filed last month, over the alleged sexual assault of Andrea Constand in 2004.Cosby, who has repeatedly denied wrongdoing, is free on $1 million bail. His lawyer has said he is not guilty and will not consider a plea bargain. (Editing by Scott Malone, Frances Kerry and David Gregorio) Read more

Puppymonkeybaby, chip-craving fetus stand out in tame Super Bowl ad lineup

NEW YORK/LOS ANGELES Advertisers played it safe and light with the most expensive ever Super Bowl ad slots on Sunday, shunning previous years' attempts to be outrageous, emotional or thought-provoking.Mountain Dew rolled out a creature made from a puppy, a monkey and a baby while Doritos had a fetus on ultrasound reaching for a chip, in two of the most unusual spots. The commercial which drew the most tweets was shown by Allstate Corp's Esurance unit before the game, promising viewers a chance to win $250,000 if they tweeted. More than 2 million had done so as of late Sunday night.The low-risk approach may have been a reaction to last year, when Nationwide Mutual Insurance drew heat for featuring a dead boy speaking to viewers in an ad about child safety.“Brands played it safe, using a lot of levity and humor,” said Derek Rucker, professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. “We didn't see too many emotional or too many deep ads. Most of them played it really safe, really light-hearted," he said, noting the contrast to Nationwide's 2015 spot.PepsiCo Inc, which owns the Doritos and Mountain Dew brands, went furthest into the strange. Doritos ads inspired 238,770 tweets during the game, according to Amobee Brand Intelligence, a marketing technology company. About 47 percent were positive mentions, the highest among the most-tweeted-about ads, Amobee said. The Mountain Dew spot, which launched the hashtag #puppymonkeybaby online, generated more than 68,000 tweets during the game. But it came across as “weird,” said Jim Joseph, chief integrated marketing officer at communications and public relations agency Cohn & Wolfe. Esurance, which opted for a spot before kickoff, drew 835,101 tweets during the game by offering those who retweeted the hashtag #EsuranceSweepstakes a chance to win the big money prize.Ads in the second half of the game that drove social media traffic included a T-Mobile USA Inc spot with comedian Steve Harvey that played on a televised faux pas last year in which the actor mistakenly announced the wrong winner of the Miss Universe pageant. There were nearly 50,000 tweets about T-Mobile during the game, according to Amobee. About 29 percent of the tweets were negative, Amobee said, the most among the top-tweeted ads. That may have been because the Harvey-inspired hashtag #Ballogize has caught on as a euphemism for messing something up, rather than a comment on T-Mobile, Amobee suggested.Advertisers paid up to a record $5 million for 30 seconds during the championship game on CBS Corp's flagship network, in which the Denver Broncos beat the Carolina Panthers, 24 to 10.One of the most popular ads early on in the game was by carmaker Audi featuring the song "Starman" by the recently deceased David Bowie. “That one really resonated," Joseph said. The Super Bowl ad battle starts weeks before the game when brands post commercials or shorter teasers online. This year’s spots were viewed more than 374 million times before kickoff, according to research firm iSpot.tv. Some brands also ran teasers for the Super Bowl commercials on television. Anheuser Busch InBev SA's Bud Light spent $5 million, according to iSpot, to air an ad featuring comedian Amy Schumer and actor Seth Rogen preparing for a political rally. Anheuser Busch had its own victory immediately after the game ended, when the Broncos' winning quarterback Peyton Manning said he planned to celebrate by drinking Budweiser. The company tweeted that it had not paid for the mention. (Additional reporting by Melissa Fares; Editing by Bill Rigby) Read more

Judge dismisses Pennsylvania woman's lawsuit against Bill Cosby

A U.S. federal judge on Thursday dismissed a defamation lawsuit brought by a Pennsylvania woman against Bill Cosby, which contended the comedian smeared her character when he accused her of lying in claiming he had sexually assaulted her in the 1980s.Renita Hill, 48, had claimed she was defamed her when the comedian and his representatives called her a liar and extortionist as he defended himself after she went public in 2014 with allegations of decades-old sexual misconduct.Hill, a Pittsburgh resident, sued in October over three comments made by Cosby and his representatives. The three statements in question "do not support a claim for defamation as defined by Pennsylvania law," U.S. District Judge Arthur Schwab said in his dismissal ruling, court documents showed.Hill's attorneys have said Cosby mentored her when she was a young woman, and paid for her education at Temple University and Spelman College. They said he also arranged meetings in Atlantic City, New York and Denver, where he sexually assaulted her. Hill's first public accusation of sexual assault came in a 2014 interview with a Pittsburgh TV station. Her lawsuit concerned statements Cosby and his representatives made in response to that interview. Schwab said the remarks were protected under free speech rights, and that Hill did not prove the comments harmed her. More than 50 women have come forward to accuse Cosby, 78, of sexual assault. The allegations date back as far as the 1960s, making most of them too old for criminal prosecution. Hill and several other women have sued Cosby.Cosby's attorneys welcomed the judge's decision in a statement and said they hoped it would influence the outcome of other pending lawsuits. "The Court found opinionated speech by a defendant's attorney is protected and not actionable as defamatory," the attorneys said. "It is our hope that courts in other jurisdictions with similar matters will respond in like manner."The drumbeat of accusations has toppled Cosby from his cultural status as one of America's most-admired comedians. He built his career on family-friendly humor and was best known as the loving but often befuddled father in the 1980s television hit, "The Cosby Show."The only criminal charges against Cosby were filed last month, over the alleged sexual assault of Andrea Constand in 2004.Cosby, who has repeatedly denied wrongdoing, is free on $1 million bail. His lawyer has said he is not guilty and will not consider a plea bargain. (Editing by Scott Malone, Frances Kerry and David Gregorio) Read more

Apple wins dismissal of lawsuit over MacBook logic boards

Apple Inc won the dismissal on Thursday of a lawsuit accusing it of defrauding consumers by selling MacBook laptop computers that contained "logic boards" it knew were defective, and which routinely failed within two years.U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco said the plaintiffs, Uriel Marcus and Benedict Verceles, failed to show that Apple made "affirmative misrepresentations," despite citing online complaints and Apple marketing statements calling the laptops "state of the art" or the "most advanced" on the market."Plaintiffs have failed to allege that Apple's logic boards were unfit for their ordinary purposes or lacked a minimal level of quality," Alsup wrote. "Both plaintiffs were able to adequately use their computers for approximately 18 months and two years, respectively."Alsup gave the plaintiffs until Jan. 22 to amend their lawsuit, which sought class-action status, against the Cupertino, California-based company. Omar Rosales, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Apple did not immediately respond to a similar request.The plaintiffs claimed that Apple's sale of MacBooks since May 20, 2010, violated consumer protection laws in California and Texas, where the lawsuit began last May before being moved.They also contended that Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook was told about the defective logic boards in 2011, but did nothing. Logic boards contain computer circuitry and are sometimes known as motherboards.A separate and still pending lawsuit in California accuses Apple of defrauding consumers by selling MacBook Pro laptops in 2011 that contained defective graphic cards, causing screen distortions and system failures. MacBooks are part of Apple's Mac line of desktop and laptop computers. The company reported unit sales in that business of 18.91 million in its latest fiscal year.The case is Marcus et al v. Apple Inc, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 14-03824. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York. Editing by Andre Grenon) Read more

Lowry, DeRozan lead Raptors past Trail Blazers

(The Sports Xchange) - Guards Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan combined for 59 points as the Toronto Raptors beat the Portland Trail Blazers 110-103 at the Moda Center on Thursday.Lowry scored 30 points with eight assists while DeRozan added 29 points for the Raptors (34-16), who won for the 13th time in their last 14 outings. Center Jonas Valanciunas chipped in 14 points and 11 rebounds for Toronto, which won for only the second time in the last 13 trips to Portland and first since December 2006.Guard Damian Lillard collected 27 points and 11 assists while guard CJ McCollum had 21 points for the Trail Blazers (24-27), who lost for only the third time in 12 games. Guard Allen Crabbe added 17 points off the Portland bench.DeRozan and Lowry combined for 25 points to stake Toronto to a 59-51 lead at halftime. DeRozan scored 14 points and Lowry 11 in the first half while Valanciunas had 10 points and seven rebounds. Toronto increased its lead to 66-54 but the Blazers rallied to get within four points before the Raptors took an 82-75 advantage into the final period.Portland trimmed the margin to 84-81 but Lowry scored eight points in a 10-0 Toronto run to hike the lead to 94-81 with 6:52 remaining. The Blazers cut the difference to 101-93 after a Lillard trey with 3:12 to play. His jumper got them to within 106-99 with 1:19 to go, and a pair of foul shots by Crabbe made it a five-point game with 55.3 seconds left. Lillard stole a pass but McCollum missed a jumper, and Valanciunas converted a pair at the line for a 108-101 Toronto advantage with 33.9 seconds remaining.DeRozan (12) and Lowry (six) combined for all of the points as Toronto took a 18-12 lead to start the game. The Raptors upped the margin to 37-23. It was 37-25 at the first-quarter break and 43-27 early in the second quarter before the Blazers used a 7-0 run to close the gap to 43-34.Portland trimmed the difference to 53-47, and the Raptors settled for an eight-point bulge at the half. (Editing by John O'Brien) Read more

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