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LAW SUMMARY

Judge dismisses suit against Penthouse A Texas prisoner sued Penthouse Magazine for publishing what he said was a disappointing layout of Paula Jones, but a judge dismissed the lawsuit with a Christmas poem, a court clerk said on Wednesday. The lawsuit charged that the December pictorial of Jones, whose own sexual harassment suit against President Clinton led to his impeachment by the U.S. House of Representatives, was not sufficiently revealing and caused plaintiff David Joyner to be “very mentally hurt and angered.’’ It sought $500,000 in damages. Joyner, who is serving 14 years for robbery and assault, wrote the lawsuit, in which he identified himself as the Minister of Law of the Mandingo Warriors prison gang. U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks dismissed it with a 12-line poem and a $250 fine against Joyner for filing a frivolous legal motion. The poem read in part: “Twas the night before Christmas and all through the prison, inmates were planning their new porno mission. … The minute his Penthouse issue arrived, the Minister ripped it open to see what was inside. But what to his wondering eyes should appear — not Paula Jones’ promised privates, but only her rear. Life has its disappointments. Some come out of the blue, but that doesn’t mean a prisoner should sue,’’ Sparks concluded.


Time Warner wins Potter cybersquatter case Time Warner Entertainment Co., which owns the copyright to the blockbuster series of Harry Potter children’s books, yesterday won its case against a California-based cybersquatter, arbitrators in Geneva, Switzerland, announced. A total of 107 Internet addresses — such as harrypotterbooks.org, harrypotterfilm.org and harrypotterstudios.com — were ordered to be transferred to the media giant. The ruling echoes those won by stars such as actress Julia Roberts, and singers Madonna and Tina Turner, who brought cases to the United Nations agency which promotes copyright protection, the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). When news broke last March that the boy wizard Harry Potter’s adventures were to be made into a film based on British author J.K. Rowling’s phenomenally successful four-book series, a flurry of domain names appeared on the Internet, registered mainly by an entity known as HarperStephens. A three-member arbitration panel named by WIPO ruled that the entity, whose post office address is in Agoura Hills, Calif., had “no rights or legitimate interests’’ in the domain names registered in “bad faith.” HarperStephens registered the “vast majority of the domain names … on the day or the day after the news broke on CNN.com of the upcoming release of the … movie,” the panel added.


‘I’d rather be Santa,’ says Mrs. ClausA woman who sued after being fired from her Santa gig is back at Crossroads Mall — but this time she’s Mrs. Claus. “I’d rather be Santa Claus, but I guess I can handle being Mrs. Claus,” Donna Underwood, of Beckley, W.Va., said. “I still think it’s discrimination.” Underwood, 50, insists she can play Santa as well as any man and won’t drop a sexual discrimination lawsuit against SantaPlus of St. Peters, Mo. The lawsuit, filed earlier this month, seeks reinstatement, back pay and unspecified damages against SantaPlus, which hired Underwood to be St. Nick at the Crossroads Mall in Beckley, 60 miles southeast of Charleston. She said the company fired her after one day on the job when a mall manager complained about her gender. “They offered me $3,000 to drop the lawsuit. I told them no,” Underwood said. “Then they offered me a job. I wouldn’t take that, either. But my attorney said I ought to go ahead and take it.” Both roles pay the same, so she agreed. SantaPlus declined to comment.