Apple wins dismissal of lawsuit over MacBook logic boards

2016-05-27 18:13:36

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)

New York art students mold clay into faces of city's nameless

2016-05-20 09:13:05

NEW YORK When Amy Pekal signed up for the New York Academy of Art to hone her skills as a sculptor, she never thought she would end up assisting in a police investigation.Yet the 22-year-old student from Brooklyn and about a dozen of her classmates are doing just that by helping anthropologists at New York City's Office of Chief Medical Examiner identify nameless corpses that have gone unclaimed, sometimes for decades.The students participated earlier this year in a five-day forensic sculpture workshop where they used clay to reconstruct faces from the remains of a few of the medical examiner's backlog of about 1,200 cases. "Because of my skill and craft, I'm able to make a job for somebody else easier," Pekal said.The hope is that the sculptures will help families claim the remains of their loved ones and bring them closure. In cases where the cause of death was deemed to be criminal, an identification could help prosecutors find justice for the victims.Pekal, who reconstructed the face of a man found in the trunk of an impounded car in the early 1990s, said it was a humbling experience to give "identity back to somebody." "This person was forgotten," she said. While the medical examiner's office has used police sketch artists for years to help with identifications, the collaboration with the New York Academy of Art is the first time it has turned to art students.Founded in 1982, the small graduate school is known for teaching the techniques of Leonardo da Vinci and other old masters who used anatomical studies to perfect their craft. At the school's Lower Manhattan studios, it is not uncommon to see live horses, kangaroos and other animals serving as models for the students.ANATOMICAL DETAILS This is the second year the school has offered the forensic workshop. Students reconstruct the faces of about two dozen people using 3D images of skulls and the few facts available about ethnicity, sex, age and the like. In modeling the clay, they also draw on their knowledge of tissue depth and other anatomical details.But they are told not to be too creative."It's a close enough resemblance so that someone can go, 'Hey, that kind of looks like so-and-so,'" said John Volk, the school's director of continuing education. The partnership arose from a discussion between Bradley Adams, the medical examiner's director of anthropology, and Joe Mullins, a forensic imaging specialist who is the workshop's instructor.At first, the project looked to be out of the question because it was impractical for the art students to use actual human remains being studied at the medical examiner's anthropology laboratory, which is also in Lower Manhattan. That changed when the office acquired a 3D printer with the help of a federal grant.So far, the office has not cracked any cases as a direct result of the workshop, Adams said, but a student's sculpture has helped a relative recognize someone who had already been identified.That said, there is a strong chance the reconstruction of the face of a woman believed to have been missing since 1998 could result in a positive identification once DNA work is completed, Adams said.Meanwhile, photographs of the sculptures, which are kept at the examiner's office, have been posted online to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System. (Editing by Frank McGurty and Lisa Von Ahn)

Rembrandt painting found in New Jersey basement now in museum

2016-05-12 07:13:06

NEW YORK A painting languishing in a New Jersey basement that turned out to be one of Dutch master Rembrandt's earliest works goes on display on Wednesday at the J. Paul Getty Museum in California as a key part of an exhibit on the 17th century artist."The Unconscious Patient (An Allegory of the Sense of Smell)" depicts two men wafting a rag under the nose of a third man who is swooning and is dated 1624, the museum said in a press release.The 8-1/2-by-7-inch (22-by-18-cm) work is among a series of five paintings on the senses that Rembrandt created as a teenager, and will be displayed with two others - hearing and touch - from Wednesday until Aug. 28, when the exhibit will travel internationally.The painting's slog from a New Jersey basement to the upper echelons of the art world began in July when adult children cleaning out their family home in Essex County after their parents died contacted John Nye, owner of Nye and Co auction house in Bloomfield, New Jersey. "The picture was remarkably unremarkable," Nye said, recalling the oil painting was flaking. "It looked like a dark, discolored portrait of three people, one of whom is passed out." When the painting went up for auction in September, Nye estimated it would fetch up to $800, having spent two weeks on display on the auction house wall and in its online catalog. That is where sharp-eyed art aficionados from three different European countries spotted it, ultimately leading to a Paris art dealer's winning bid of $870,000, or about $1.1 million including the typical added sale premium, Nye said."I was stunned," Nye said in a phone interview. Soon the Paris dealer was in contact with New York financier Thomas Kaplan, who heads the investment firm Electrum Group, and is founder of the Leiden Collection, one of the world's largest private collections of Dutch Golden Age art. Restoration of the piece confirmed suspicions - it revealed the initials RHF, for Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn fecit."Basically, he put his name down and 'fecit' means 'made this,'" said Nye. Rembrandt's painting of the fourth sense - sight - is in a museum in the Netherlands but the whereabouts of the fifth sense - taste - remains unknown. "If someone sees an allegorical painting of three fancifully dressed people eating, call me and I'll come check it out," Nye said. (Reporting by Barbara Goldberg; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

Michelle Obama helps Prince Harry launch second Invictus Games

2016-05-10 14:33:13

ORLANDO, Florida Britain's Prince Harry and U.S. first lady Michelle Obama mixed with headline acts from music and film to launch the second edition of the Invictus Games for wounded military personnel on Sunday.British singers James Blunt and Laura Wright performed at the two-hour ceremony before Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman led the crowd at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Champion Stadium in reciting the Invictus Games pledge.Former U.S. President George W Bush, the honorary chairman of this year’s Games, also spoke on stage to the near 500 athletes from 14 different countries who will compete over four days from Monday in 11 Paralympic sports.Harry, who started the Games two years ago in London, paid tribute to the courage of the athletes, who paraded through an interactive 3-D cube decorated in their country's colors to warm applause. "When we give a standing ovation to the competitor with the missing limbs, let's also cheer our hearts out for the man who overcame anxiety so severe he couldn't leave his house," the 31-year-old royal told the crowd. "Let's cheer for the woman who fought through post-traumatic stress." That spirit was echoed by Obama, who thanked U.S. veterans for their service. "I'm here and honor all of you: our extraordinary service members, our veterans, and of course our military families. You all are amazing. Truly amazing," she said. (Reporting by Gavino Garay. Writing by Patrick Johnston in Singapore. Editing by Ed Osmond)

Apple wins dismissal of lawsuit over MacBook logic boards

2016-05-09 14:34:05

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)

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