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Nintendo (NOA) VS. Patient

This is the only Law Suit  That  NintendoCosmos was to get their twitchy gaming fingers on!!! Enjoy!  NintendoCosmos will be getting other Law Suit">Law Suit battles when we can find them.

 

            UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
                            Office of the Clerk
                    Byron White United States Courthouse
                             1823 Stout Street
                Denver, CO 80257



Patrick Fisher Elisabeth Shumaker
Clerk             Chief Deputy Clerk



                     December 12, 1995



TO:  ALL RECIPIENTS OF THE CAPTIONED OPINION

RE:  94-1384, 94-1417, Nintendo v. Patten
     Filed December 4, 1995, by Judge Moore




        Please be advised that pages 4 and 5 of the captioned
decision have been amended.  Attached are substitute pages.

Some of the below papers do contain quite a bit oflegal jargon. Perhaps brushing up on the law at a national paralegal college would help with understanding the entire paper. Online classes at a paralegal college can be taken at home.


                                     Very truly yours,

nbsp; Patrick Fisher,
                                     Clerk

                                    
  By:
                                    
                                     Barbara Schermerhorn
  Deputy Clerk
 

Attachments
     Filed 12/04/95

                             PUBLISH

                 UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS

                      FOR THE TENTH CIRCUIT

                      ____________________



In re:  ALPEX COMPUTER CORPOR-  )
ATION,                          )
                                )
     Debtor.                    )
------------------------------- )
                                )
NINTENDO COMPANY, LTD.;         )
NINTENDO OF AMERICA, INC.,      )
                                )
     Appellants/Cross-Appellees,)
                                )
v.                              )       Nos. 94-1384, 94-1417
   )
LESLIE A. PATTEN, Liquidating   )
Trustee of Alpex Computer       )
Corporation,                    )
                                )
     Appellee/Cross-Appellant.  )


                      _____________________

          Appeal from the United States District Court
                  For the District of Colorado
                       D.C. No. 93-N-2457
                      _____________________


Thomas G. Gallatin, Jr. (John J. Kirby, Jr. and John T. Brennan,
Mudge Rose Guthrie Alexander & Ferdon, New York, New York; and
Jack L. Smith and Risa Wolf-Smith, Holland & Hart, Denver,
Colorado, with him on the briefs), Mudge Rose Guthrie Alexander &
Ferdon, New York, New York, for Appellants/Cross-Appellees.

Brent R. Cohen (Thomas H. Young and JoAnn L. Vogt with him on the
briefs), Rothgerber, Appel, Powers & Johnson, Denver, Colorado,
for Appellee/Cross Appellant.

                      ____________________


Before MOORE, Circuit Judge; MCKAY, Senior Circuit Judge; and
BRETT, Chief District Judge.*

                      ____________________

MOORE, Circuit Judge.

                      ____________________


---------------

*    Honorable Thomas R. Brett, Chief Judge for the United States
District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma, sitting by
designation.

     On our checklist assuring the justiciability of claims, the

question of standing is often dwarfed by the substantive issue we

are urged to resolve.  Nevertheless, this threshold question, St.

Francis Regional Med. Ctr. v. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Kan.,

Inc., 49 F.3d 1460, 1465 (10th Cir. 1995), requires we ask, as

Alpex Computer Corporation urges, whether Nintendo Company, Ltd.

is the proper party to reopen a confirmed plan of reorganization

under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code.  Nintendo was neither a

party in the confirmation proceedings nor was it dealt with in the

plan.  In this case, Nintendo nonetheless attempts to press its

interpretation of that plan.  Because its interest in another

lawsuit cannot metamorphose Nintendo into a party in interest

here, we hold Nintendo lacks standing under 11 U.S.C.  350(b) and

dismiss. 

                               

                         I.  Background

     Alpex was a publicly held corporation which invested in and

developed various patents for computer-related technologies.

Among those patents was U.S. Patent No 4,026,555 (the 555 patent),

which Alpex alleged several companies including Nintendo Company

Ltd. and Nintendo of America Inc. infringed.  In 1983, however,

before defending the 555 patent, Alpex filed a voluntary petition

for relief under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code.  In 1988, the

Liquidating Trustee and the Official Committee of Unsecured

Creditors filed an Amended Joint Plan of Reorganization (the Plan)

and a revised Disclosure Statement.  The bankruptcy court

subsequently confirmed the Plan after an appropriate hearing. 



     Under the Plan, all of Alpex's assets were to be transferred

to the Trustee for distribution to Alpex's creditors and

stockholders according to the claims and interests of the five

classes created.2  It also authorized the Trustee to litigate the

Alpex patent claims, specifically the patent infringement lawsuit

filed in the Southern District of New York against Nintendo.

Indeed, when the Plan was confirmed, the estate's only assets were

potential recoveries in Alpex's 555 patent infringement suits

against Coleco, Parker Brothers, and Nintendo.  None of these

companies had agreed to settle their alleged liabilities at that

time.

     In 1993, however, five years after confirmation of the Plan,

Sega Enterprises purchased a worldwide, nonexclusive license from

the Alpex estate in settlement of a similar patent infringement

claim.  The Trustee informed Nintendo of the settlement.

Calculating the impact of that capital infusion into the estate,

Nintendo filed a motion in the bankruptcy court which had

confirmed the Plan to "Compel Liquidating Trustee to Comply with

Chapter 11 Plan of Reorganization" and "to discontinue, with

prejudice, litigation pending against Nintendo."  In the motion,

Nintendo offered $3.9 million in settlement of the patent

infringement suit based on information in the Disclosure Statement3

that the claims of stockholders totalled approximately

---------------



2    The five classes are:  Class 1, administrative claims; Class
2, priority claims; Class 3, tax claims; Class 4, allowed general
unsecured claims; and Class 5, allowed interest of stockholders. 

3    Prior to confirmation, the plan proponent must file and
circulate a statement fairly describing the plan and its purposes.
11 U.S.C.  1125(b). 

$2.2 million.  Added to Sega's settlement, Nintendo's $3.9 million

offer would then fully satisfy shareholders and meet the Trustee's

obligation "to comply with the Plan," Nintendo argued.  Under this

interpretation, the bankruptcy court should integrate the plain

language of the Plan with that of the Disclosure Statement and

compel the Trustee to place a cap on the recovery of Class 5

shareholders.  Thus, Nintendo requested the bankruptcy court

reopen the Plan for the single purpose of enforcing this

interpretation.  Further, Nintendo argued the Trustee's pursuing

the patent litigation, given the cap on recovery, would either

afford shareholders a windfall they never anticipated when the

Plan was confirmed or necessitate abandonment. 

     The bankruptcy court denied the motion on November 4, 1993,

after a hearing.  It concluded neither the integration of the

Disclosure Statement with the Plan nor the plain meaning of those

provisions Nintendo challenged supported the theory the Plan's

drafters intended to cap shareholder recovery at $2.2 million.

Although the Trustee disputed Nintendo's standing to reopen the

Plan, the bankruptcy court presumed jurisdiction, believing the

issue was conceded once the court allowed Nintendo to appear and

argue the motion. 

     On June 2, 1994, a New York jury found the Alpex 555 patent

valid and Nintendo wilfully infringed the patent.  The jury

awarded Alpex $208.27 million in damages to which the United

States District Court for the Southern District of New York later

added $40 million in prejudgment interest and $4 million in

damages for royalties from December 1, 1992, to May 31, 1994, the

date the patent expired.  Nintendo has appealed the judgment. 



     In July 1994, the United States District Court in Colorado

affirmed the bankruptcy court on the merits while supplying

jurisprudential support for Nintendo's standing to reopen.  Under

the authority of In re Kaiser Steel Corp., 998 F.2d 783, 788 (10th

Cir. 1993), the district court characterized Nintendo as "a debtor

of a debtor" with "sufficient stake in the proceeding to qualify

as a party in interest."  Reasoning that a debtor is "anyone who

may be compelled to pay a claim or demand; anyone liable on a

claim, whether due or to become due," Black's Law Dictionary  364

(5th ed. 1979), the district court theorized Nintendo fits the

definition because it "may be compelled to pay to the debtor

(Alpex) whatever damages are determined with regard to the patent

infringement claim." 

     The Trustee now appeals Nintendo's standing to reopen the

Plan to compel him to cap shareholders' recovery, contending

Nintendo is not a party in interest as circumscribed by Bankruptcy

Rule 5010.  In its cross-appeal, Nintendo asserts the Plan

mandates a cap on shareholder recovery necessitating the Trustee's

abandonment of the Nintendo lawsuit.  Although the question of

standing thwarts the bankruptcy court's jurisdiction and ends the

inquiry, Nintendo's notion of capping shareholder recovery defies

its straightforward language and plays with the underlying

structure of the confirmed Plan.





                          II.  Standing

     Under 11 U.S.C.  350(b), "a case may be reopened in the

court in which such case was closed to administer assets, to

accord relief to the debtor, or for other cause."  Federal Rule of

Bankruptcy Procedure 5010 specifies the parties who may invoke

 350(b).  It states:  "A case may be reopened on motion of the

debtor or other party in interest pursuant to  350(b) of the

Code." 

     While the decision to reopen remains within the broad

discretion of the bankruptcy court, 2 Collier on Bankruptcy

 350.03 (15th ed. 1995), it must be tethered to the parameters of

 350(b), or it is an abuse of discretion.  Because standing is "a

prudential requirement," Travelers Ins. Co. v. H. K. Porter Co.,

45 F.3d 737, 741 (3d Cir. 1995) (citation omitted), our review is

de novo.  Kaiser, 998 F.2d at 788. 

     Although 11 U.S.C.  1109(b) broadly defines a "party in

interest,"4 the phrase invites interpretation and "is generally

understood to include all persons whose pecuniary interests are,

directly affected by the bankruptcy proceedings."  Yadkin Valley

---------------



4    11 U.S.C.  1109(b) provides:

     A party in interest, including the debtor, the
trustee, a creditors' committee, an equity security
holders' committee, a creditor, an equity security
holder, or any indenture trustee, may raise and may
appear and be heard on any issue in a case under this
chapter.

     We stated in In re Kaiser Steel Corp., 998 F.2d 783, 788
(10th Cir. 1993), citing 11 U.S.C.  102(3), "the word `including'
is not a limiting term, and therefore, `party in interest' is not
confined to the list of examples provided in section 1109(b)."
Id. (citation omitted). 

Bank & Trust Co. v. McGee (In re Hutchinson), 5 F.3d 750, 756 (4th
Cir. 1993) (citations omitted).  Indeed capitalizing on this
concept, Nintendo urges, "Here, the Plan by its terms
significantly impacts the prosecution of the Nintendo Lawsuit,
which was pending at the time of confirmation and described in the
Disclosure Statement. . . .  Nintendo plainly has a significant
economic interest in ensuring that the substituted plaintiff
abides by the Plan and it only seeks an order requiring compliance
with the Plan."
     This expansive view notwithstanding, when we peruse the case
law on standing under these circumstances, we find that concept
implicitly confined to debtors, creditors, or trustees, each with
a particular and direct stake in reopening cognizable under the
Bankruptcy Code.  For the debtor, that stake may be listing
additional creditors, In re Scism, 41 B.R. 384 (Bankr. W.D. Okla.
1994); avoiding a lien creditor, In re Ricks, 89 B.R. 73 (Bankr.
9th Cir. 1988); or determining the dischargeability of a
pre-petition debt, In re Hicks, 184 B.R. 954 (Bankr. C.D. Cal.
1995).  A creditor may seek to reopen to ask the bankruptcy court
to administer discovered assets or determine nondischargeability.
In re Banks-Davis, 148 B.R. 810 (Bankr. E.D. Va. 1992).  A trustee
may seek to enforce the administration of a plan of reorganization
or realize assets for the estate.  In re Winebrenner, 170 B.R. 878
(Bankr. E.D. Va. 1994). 
     In fact, while these three entities -- debtor, creditor,
trustee -- are the only designated players under  350(b), there
is disagreement in the case law over whether even a trustee is an
appropriate party in interest to reopen.  See In re Ayoub, 72 B.R.
808 (Bankr. M.D. Fla. 1987); contra In re Stanke, 41 B.R. 379
(Bankr. W.D. Mo. 1984).  Otherwise, aside from peculiar facts that
may align a case with these parameters, for example, In re Young,
70 B.R. 968 (Bankr. E.D. Pa. 1987),5 upon which Nintendo relies,
the only divergence is a bankruptcy court's sua sponte reopening a
case, In re Searles, 70 B.R. 266 (D. R.I. 1987), nevertheless
pinioned to a creditor's motion to clarify a consent order. 
     While Kaiser is not to the contrary, it is also not
dispositive here as the district court believed.  In Kaiser,
Pittsburg and Midway Coal Mining Company (P & M) and Vermejo
Mineral Corporation, two purchasers of properties owned by Kaiser
Coal Corporation, the Chapter 11 debtor, filed objections to a
settlement agreement Kaiser reached with Southwestern Public
Service Company to resolve an adversary proceeding.  The
bankruptcy court denied the purchasers' standing upon finding
neither party had an interest in the subject matter of the
settlement agreement.  The district court affirmed, and we agreed.
We concluded P & M and Vermejo did not qualify as debtors of a
debtor.  Neither purchaser had to pay any additional money to
Kaiser in their respective acquisition agreements on account of
the settlement agreement, nor did either participate in the
settlement agreement itself.  Absent a specific financial
interest, we rejected the purchasers' generalized stake based on
---------------

5    In that case, the court described the mother of a daughter
who had inherited the most significant asset in what had been the
debtor's estate as a representative of the successor-in-interest
so that she could renegotiate the mortgage. 

their ownership of New Mexico coal property.  We cautioned that
while certain circumstances may qualify a debtor of a debtor as a
party in interest, "[b]ankruptcy courts `must determine on a case
by case basis whether the prospective party in interest has a
sufficient stake in the proceeding so as to require
representation.'"  Id. at 788 (quoting In re Amatex Corp., 755
F.2d 1034, 1042 (3d Cir. 1985)). 
     In this case, Nintendo is neither a debtor, a creditor, nor a
trustee.  Indeed, when the Plan was confirmed, Nintendo received
no notice of the Plan or its confirmation, nor was notice
required.6  At confirmation, Alpex held an unresolved claim against
Nintendo; therefore, Nintendo's debt was inchoate at best.
Although the district court defined Nintendo's status as that of a
debtor of a debtor, its counsel has advised us his client is
appealing the judgment in the patent litigation, which is
tantamount to disclaiming Nintendo's debt in the first instance. 
     Nevertheless, in this appeal, Nintendo distinguishes it does
not contend it has standing under Bankruptcy Rule 5010 or because
it is a debtor of a debtor.  Instead, Nintendo maintains it is a
party aggrieved.  Nintendo explains the effect of the decisions in
the district and bankruptcy courts gives Alpex shareholders an
unlimited right to pursue litigation against Nintendo for another
ten years.  Thus, its status is specifically affected by how the
Trustee interprets and enforces the Plan, and it assuredly becomes
a "party in interest" and a "debtor of a debtor."  Under this
---------------

6    In oral argument, Nintendo stated it became aware of the
confirmation some time into its patent litigation with Alpex. 

view, then, if the Trustee's ability to pursue claims is
circumscribed by the Plan, the putative claim against Nintendo
endows it with standing to challenge the Plan.
     We disagree.  First, a plan, once confirmed, takes on a life
of its own, ordering the parties to perform obligations to which
each has agreed at the time the plan comes into existence.  While
an entity that owes a debt to the debtor may affect the plan in
terms of infusing or depleting assets, that entity may challenge
its status in an adversary proceeding incident to the plan.  Once
the plan is confirmed, however, the debtor of the debtor does not
necessarily become clothed with the mantle of a party aggrieved to
collaterally attack the plan.7
     Nintendo cannot have it both ways, urging in New York it is
not liable for the judgment and, here, it is a debtor of a debtor
who "plainly has a significant economic interest in ensuring that
the substituted plaintiff abides by the Plan and it only seeks an
order requiring compliance with the Plan."  Nor can Nintendo
---------------

7    In fact, we confine that garb to analyzing our appellate
standing when we require an appellant to establish he is a "person
aggrieved" by the challenged bankruptcy court order.  In re
American Ready Mix, Inc., 14 F.3d 1497, 1500 (10th Cir.), cert.
denied, 115 S. Ct. 77 (1994).  "The `person aggrieved' test is
meant to be a limitation on appellate standing to avoid `endless
appeals brought by a myriad of parties who are indirectly affected
by every bankruptcy court order.'"  Id. (quoting Holmes v. Silver
Wings Aviation, Inc., 881 F.2d 939, 940 (10th Cir. 1989)).  The
standing requirement is more stringent in bankruptcy appeals "than
the `case or controversy' standing requirement of Article III,
which `need not be financial and need only be fairly traceable to
the alleged illegal action.'"  Travelers Ins. Co. v. H.K. Porter
Co., 45 F.3d 737, 741 (3d Cir. 1995) (quoting Kane v.
Johns-Manville Corp., 843 F.2d 636, 642 n.2 (2d Cir. 1988))
(citations omitted). 

support its position with its cited authority.8  Nintendo's
obligation to the Plan arises from its litigation with Alpex in a
separate civil action in New York.  The obligation is not affected
by the Plan but by the course of the New York proceedings.
Nintendo's status as a defendant in a civil suit does not create
standing here.  Matter of Irvin, 950 F.2d 1318, 1321 (7th Cir.
1991).
     Nintendo's rights and liabilities derive from its stake in
the 555 patent litigation with Alpex.  It cannot claim a similar
stake by implanting that status into a bankruptcy proceeding in
which it has never participated.  Consequently, Nintendo lacks
standing to reopen the confirmed Alpex Plan to compel the Trustee
to accept its settlement.  Indeed, given the present stance of the
patent litigation, Nintendo's urging the Trustee, representing
Alpex shareholders, should reject the jury's judgment and embrace
this settlement offer is remarkable.  Attempting to enlist the
bankruptcy court's imprimatur then is chutzpah.9 

---------------

8    Nintendo relies upon In re Young, 70 B.R. 968 (Bankr. E.D.
Pa. 1987), a Chapter 13 case, which, we noted, permitted a mother
of the person who would inherit the estate's most valuable asset
to renegotiate the mortgage on that property.  In In re Wilson, 94
B.R. 886 (Bankr. E.D. Va. 1989), the court refused to permit
several Iran-Contra defendants to intervene to prevent the trustee
from abandoning a civil suit.  In In re Yoder, 158 B.R. 99 (Bankr.
N.D. Ohio 1993), the court refused reopening to permit the
purchaser of the debtor company to gain protection from products
liability suits filed against the company.  Finally, in In re Wolf
Creek Valley Metro. Dist. No. IV, 138 B.R. 610 (D. Colo. 1992),
the court found the debtor of the Chapter 9 debtor has a special
interest and definite relationship to the plan of reorganization. 

9    We add this instance to the catalog Judge Kozinski and Eugene
Volokh have documented.  See A. Kozinski & E. Volokh, Lawsuit,
Shmawsuit, 103 Yale Law Journal 468 (1993). 

     Despite this resolution, we note our examination of the Plan
leads us into agreement with the bankruptcy court.  No provisions,
and most notably  4.5 and the use of the terms "claim" and
"interest," support Nintendo's interpretation.  Nor is there merit
to integrating the statements in the Disclosure Statement,
estimating "disputed claims" at approximately $2,235,203.39, with
the language of the Plan to establish the Plan intended to cap the
Class 5 recovery.  We are unimpressed by Nintendo's effort to
place its interpretation into the historical context of 1989
shareholders who had no expectation of recouping their
investments.  While that may be so, the nature of a shareholder's
interest is a risk taken.  However bleak that risk may have looked
in 1989, the investor's outlook has since been brightened by the
New York judgment.  Nintendo cannot use the bankruptcy court to
relitigate its patent liability. 
     We, therefore, REVERSE the district court's conclusion
Nintendo has standing in the bankruptcy court, and order it to
DISMISS the case.


 

 

Radio Death Lawsuit 

Radio Contest Death Leads To Wrongful Death Lawsuit:
 
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Homicide investigators in Sacramento County, Calif., are now involved in the death of a woman who competed in a radio station contest last week.

A medical examiner said the woman died of water intoxication. The show's DJs called the contest "Hold your Wee for a Wii."
 
Jennifer Strange, 28, had taken part in a contest to see how much water she could drink without going to the bathroom.

Her family will file a civil lawsuit against the radio station Thursday, NBC11 reported
The family's lawyer said they want to make an example out of the station and attempt to curb the recklessness of shock jock radio.

"We believe we can get a judgment that people across the country will have to pay attention to," said Roger Dreyer, a personal injury lawyer who accused radio station
 
KDND-FM of knowing of the dangers of the water-drinking contest but continuing anyway.

Water intoxication is a condition that causes the organs -- especially the brain -- to swell.

Dreyer said the lawsuit would likely be filed within days, after a private memorial service for Strange this weekend, and following a determination by lawyers about which station employees -- and perhaps which companies in addition to the station -- should be named in the suit.

He would not specify how much in damages the suit would seek.

Charles Sipkins, spokesman for KDND's parent company, Entercom/Sacramento, declined to comment on Dreyer's remarks since a lawsuit has not yet been filed.

The Sacramento County Sheriff's Department decided to pursue a homicide investigation after listening to a tape of the morning radio show obtained by The Sacramento Bee, sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Tim Curran said.

Station spokesman Charles Sipkins said Wednesday that the company had not yet heard from the sheriff's department.

"We will, of course, cooperate with their investigation," he said.

Sipkins added that the station also is examining the circumstances surrounding Strange's death.

"We're trying to do everything we can to deal with it in a respectful and responsible way," he said.

Thanks to our partners at the Sacramento Bee, NBC11 obtained an audio clip of an exchange between the radio DJs and Strange. Click in the sidebar to your right to listen to the clip.
 
DJ: Can't you get water poisoning and like die?

DJ2: Your body is 98 percent water. Why can't you take in as much water as you want? ...I know.

DJ: That is what I was thinking, maybe we should have researched this.

DJ2: Jennifer, congratulations on making it to the final two. How are you feeling?

Jennifer: I still have to go pee, but my stomach is like really, really full. I look like I am pregnant again. It's pretty funny.

DJ2: How much longer do you think you can go Jennifer.

Jennifer: As long as my stomach will continue to let me. I don't know. Maybe a couple more.

DJ2: Jennifer, I heard that you're not doing too well.

Jennifer: My head hurts. They keep telling me that it is the water, that it will tell my head to hurt and then it will make me puke.
 
During the show, a listener calls in to warn the DJs that the stunt is dangerous and says someone could die.

"Yeah, we're aware of that," one of them says.

Another DJ laughs: "Yeah, they signed releases, so we're not responsible. We're OK."

"And if they get to the point where they have to throw up, then they're going to throw up, and they're out of the contest before they die, so that's good, right?" another one says.

Strange was found dead Friday in her suburban Rancho Cordova home hours after taking part in the "Hold Your Wee for a Wii" contest held by Sacramento radio station KDND FM.

Strange placed second in the contest.

"I feel horrible, you know, because you don't think water's going to kill you. You're having fun at the radio station trying to win a little contest. You don't think it's going to turn deadly," said Lucy Davidson, the contest's winner.

The station had promised a Nintendo Wii video game system for the winner.

It's not yet known how much water Strange consumed.

In a prepared statement, Strange's husband, William, described his wife's generous nature and outgoing personality.

"Friday, Jennifer was just her bright, usual self," he said. "She was trying to win something for her family that she thought we would enjoy."

In a similar tragedy, a Chico University fraternity pledge died of water poisoning in 2005. Matthew Carrington, 21, of Pleasant Hill had a heart attack and died during a fraternity hazing, authorities said.

The four men pleaded guilty to contributing to Carrington's death by forcing him to drink so much water in a fraternity basement in such a short period of time that his heart stopped.

A college student in New York died from forced consumption of water in 2003, according to records. He was forced to drink so many pitchers of water through a funnel that the sodium in his body dropped to lethal levels and his brain swelled. He died of hyponatremia, according to an autopsy.

Contestants Say They Were Not Warned About Water Risk

 
Two people who competed in a radio station's water drinking contest with a 28-year-old mother of three who later died said they were never warned they were putting their health at risk, a newspaper reported Monday.

Gina Sherrod said that family members listening in on KDND-FM's "Hold Your Wee for a Wii" contest told her that a nurse called into the program to warn that drinking too much water was dangerous, but that she did not worry until she learned of Strange's death.

"I was so scared," Sherrod told The Sacramento Bee on Sunday. "I had the hardest time going to sleep last night because I was afraid I wouldn't get up."

Strange was one of about 18 participants who tried to win a Nintendo Wii gaming console early Friday by seeing how much water they could drink without going to the bathroom. She was found dead several hours later, and the Sacramento County coroner said she died of water intoxication.

During the contest, participants were given two minutes to drink an 8-ounce bottle of water and then given another bottle to drink after a 10-minute break.

Fellow contestant James Ybarra said he quit drinking after imbibing eight bottles, but Strange and others kept going even after they were handed even larger containers.

Strange showed other participants photographs of her two sons and daughter, for whom she was hoping to win the Nintendo Wii, Ybarra said.

"It is sad that a mother had to lose her life to get something for her kids," he told The Bee. "None of us knew this could be a risk to our health."

Contestants qualified for the event by recounting the worst Christmas gifts they'd received. Strange said her worst gift was a set of champagne flutes wrapped like roses that shattered when she opened them, according to Sherrod.

Strange also mentioned that she and friends had sixth-row tickets to a Justin Timberlake concert that night.

Sherrod said she managed to drink half of a larger bottle before she became nauseated and had to leave.

"I felt drunk and really out of it," she said.

Strange's mother found her daughter's body at home Friday in the Sacramento suburb of Rancho Cordova after Strange called her supervisor at her job to say she was heading home in terrible pain.

Strange's husband, William Strange, 27, issued a written statement late Sunday in which he described his wife's giving nature.

"Friday, Jennifer was just her bright, usual self," he wrote. "She was trying to win something for her family that she thought we would enjoy. ... We miss her dearly. She was my girl."

John Geary, general manager of the company that owns KDND, told the newspaper in an e-mail that the station's staff was stunned by news of Strange's death.

"We are awaiting information that will help explain how this tragic event occurred. Our sympathies are with the family and friends of Jennifer Strange, as they deal with circumstances that are so difficult to comprehend."

 
 
INFRINGING COPYRIGHT WHILE ANALYZING A COMPUTER PROGRAM
 

(ATARI GAMES CORP. Vs. NINTENDO OF AMERICA, INC., 975 F.2d 632 (Fed. Cir. 1992)
Nintendo incorporated a special program (10NES) on its game cartridges that would activate and allow the Nintendo game console to operate the game cartridge.

Without the special program, the game would not work in the Nintendo console. Atari wanted to determine how this system worked and duplicate it, if possible so it could sell Nintendo-compatible games without having to get a license from Nintendo of America.

 


NINTENDO OF AMERICA VS. GALOOB TOYS

Lewis Galoob Toys, Inc. v. Nintendo of America Inc., 780 F.Supp. 1283, 20 U.S.P.Q.2d 1662 (N.D. Cal. 1991) (dissolving earlier preliminary injunction against Galoob's production or marketing of its "Game Genie Video Game Enhancer;" and granting Galoob declaratory judgment that (1) consumers' non-commercial use of "Game Genie" is not a copyright infringement and (2) Galoob is not a direct or contributory infringer). The reason Nintendo of America sued Lewis Galoob Toys, Inc.  Was that kids could rent a game & beat it before the game has to be returned to the video rental store.  And the kids wouldn't want to buy the game. from the retail stores itself.  If that happen Nintendo would lose their profits.

 


NINTENDO OF AMERICA VS. TENGEN INC.

Nintendo of America has pressed a major law suite against Tengen, a subsidiary of Atari Games, in 1989 for creating a releasing a version of Tetris for the NES without having the license to do so, though Tengen thought they did. While Nintendo got its license from the russian creator. Tengen contacted the company, Mirrorsoft, which had the European license and got permission to release Tetris in the US. But Mirrorsoft only had a license to release Tetris in Europe, but not the US, so Tengen of course lost the case, but did not really suffer any financial losses since Mirrorsoft had to pay all the damages to Nintendos version, for lost sales. All copies of Tengen's version of Tetris were taken off the store shelves and destroyed.


 

NINTENDO OF AMERICA VS. COLOR DREAMS

1990, Nintendo sues Color Dreams because they were producing NES games without an official license agreement & thereby violating Nintendo's "10NES" lockout-chip patent. But Nintendo lose  the law suite and Color Dreams continues produceing unlicensed NES games. Color Dreams did not copy the 10NES to get around the lockout and therefore did not violate any of Nintendo's copyrights or patents.


 

STATE Of NEW YORK VS. NINTENDO OF AMERICA.

In 1991 New York States Attorney General sued Nintendo of America, claiming they have an illegally monopoly on the video game market. Nintendo agrees to give each customer a $5.00 certificate good on any licensed NES game.


 

NINTENDO Of America HIT WITH ANTITRUST SUIT

(AMERICAN VIDEO ENTERTAINMENT. Vs. NINTENDO OF AMERICA, INC.)
The U.S. District Court suit filed by American Video Entertainment Inc. alleges that Nintendo of America Inc. and its parent company, Nintendo of Japan, violated U.S. antitrust laws by using a secret lock-out system in its game consoles.


Nintendo Vs. Bung Enterprises Ltd.

Nintendo sued Bung Enterprises, of Hong Kong, alledging that their backup devices for the Game Boy, SNES and N64 violated Nintendo's copyright.
 TNintendo got an injuction against Bung, and they cannot sell nor advertise any of their Nintendo game copier/backup devices in the US

 


Nintendo Vs. Prima Publishing

Nintendo sued Prima Publishing for allegidly copying a screenshot map of the N64 game "Goldeneye" from Nintendo's own official player's guide of the game and using it in Prima's own unofficial guide. According to a former employee of Prima, the map was very convincingly a copy of Nintendo's own map. There had been some level of tension between Nintendo and Prima since the beginning of the SNES era, over copyright and trademark issues, this was, reportedly, the boiling point which resulted in Nintendo taking Prima to court.

The judge dismissed the case, stating the map was "public knowledge" and Nintendo had no case against them (?). But here is the real shocker, Prima and Nintendo resolved their differences shortly after, and Prima is now authorized to make official player's guides, such as their recent Pokemon player's guide!

 

Nintendo Vs. Samsung Electronics


Nintendo alledgies Samsung helped spread various components containing Nintendo software to third party companies, which produced illegal counterfeit cartridges. In other words, they gave Nintendo's games to pirate outfits to produce pirated games, including one owned by the Chinese government; not a surprise, considering they are one of the world's leading pirate cart producers.
Eventually Nintendo and Samsung settled their differences, siting that while Samsung provided the compnents, they were not directly responcible for the piracy, and they announced they would work together to stop piracy.

 

Nintendo Vs. Camerica Ltd. law suit 1

Nintendo claims Camerica, in making a wireless NES Advantage clone, violates their patents. So in 1989 Nintendo sued Camerica Ltd.

 

Nintendo Vs. Camerica Ltd. law suit 2


Nintendo claims Camerica violated their patents in creating the Game Genie for the NES. 
Game Genie release is delayed for 2 years in the US (the Game Genie was successfully released in Canada a year before the US).

 


Wii Avatar Copyright infringement

WeeWorld, a UK-based company that had taken Nintendo to court last November over alleged trademark infringement, now seeks to dismiss the suit. Nintendo, however, isn't quite finished with them.

By Eugene Huang

Sometime last year, a European company known as WeeWorld noticed a number of similarities between their trademarked WeeMee avatar service and the Mii avatars currently available on the Nintendo Wii. In fact, the company felt strongly enough about a possible case of infringement that they took Nintendo to court over the issue starting last November. NintendoBeyond reports that the company now wishes to drop the suit, except that Nintendo presently won't let them.

WeeMees, which WeeWorld contends have been available to the online public since 2001, are a means for users to create a two-dimensional cartoonish avatar to represent them on various internet communication programs, such as Skype, AOL Instant Messanger, and Windows Live Messenger. The similarities between WeeMees and "Wii Miis" eventually led to the aforementioned lawsuit, currently being handled by the U.S. court system.

Nintendo's original defense revolved around their assertion that the usage of common words like "me" and "we" were permissible under current trademark laws. Furthermore, they claim that WeeWorld did not actually utilize the WeeMee name until after the Wii and its Mii Channel had been formally announced by Nintendo.

According to GameSpot, the court case came to a halt last month when WeeWorld requested that the U.S. suit be dismissed so that the company could instead focus on a lawsuit based in the United Kingdom, as most of the company's business and resources are contained within the U.K.'s borders. WeeWorld specifically requested a dismissal "without prejudice", meaning that the case could be reopened in the U.S. at any future date.

In response, Nintendo filed an objection to WeeWorld's request last week, stating:

    "[I]n the face of disclosure obligations and discovery demands targeted at getting to the bottom of its unsupported claims of 'confusion' and damage, WeeWorld has abruptly asked this Court to let it dismiss this case without prejudice, freeing it from having to reveal the lack of substance to its claims, while allowing it to hold over Nintendo the threat of future US litigation if it is unsuccessful pursuing those claims in European courts, as it now intends."

Additionally, it requests that WeeWorld pay the entirety of its legal fees, amounting to approximately $400,000 USD.

The court's response to this most recent objection is still pending, but we'll update you with any information as soon as it becomes available.


 

Nintendo facing new Wii patent suit

[UPDATE] Texas firm alleges that Nintendo's latest console infringes on its design for a space-saving semiconductor structure.

By Brendan Sinclair, GameSpot

Posted Jun 13, 2007 12:57 pm PT

The new generation of high-tech consoles has been accompanied by a new generation of patent lawsuits.

Last year, Lucent Technologies took Microsoft to court over the system's out-of-the-box MPEG-2 decoding abilities. Meanwhile, Nintendo was sued over the trigger on the motion-sensing controller for the Wii. This year has already seen Sony subject to a pair of legal actions, one regarding the physical construction of its Blu-ray discs, and another surrounding its digital encryption technology.

Of those cases, the only one resolved so far is that of Nintendo, as the plaintiff voluntarily dropped the case in March. However, the console maker's legal battles aren't behind it, as last week another company stepped forward with an all-new suit over the Wii.

According to an attorney for the plaintiff, Texas-based Lonestar Inventions alleges that the Wii infringes on a patent it holds for a "high capacitance structure in a semiconductor device." The patent in question was issued in 1993, and details a space-saving method tripling the effectiveness of parallel plate capacitors by using layers of conducting strips.

This is not the first time Lonestar has gone to court over this patent. Previous disputes with Texas Instruments and Marvell Semiconductor were eventually settled, and earlier this month, Lonestar also sued the Eastman Kodak Company alleging infringement of the patent.

[UPDATE] After a several-day silences, a Nintendo representative told GameSpot that, "Nintendo of America received no prior contact from Lonestar before they filed a lawsuit. Additionally, the lawsuit itself does not identify any product or component from Nintendo, making it impossible for Nintendo to publicly comment on this matter

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Even though this lawsuit news is here. it is still copyrighted by Gamespot.com

 

Nintendo sued over Wii technology -- again

The lawsuits for next-gen consoles just keep on rolling -- this time, a Texas company is suing the Nintendo Wii over a patent for semiconductor technology.

By Jason Coffee

 

Another day, another lawsuit over a next generation video game console. Lonestar Inventions, a Texas based technology company, has filed suit against Nintendo, alleging that the Wii "infringes on a patent that it holds for a high capacitance structure in a semiconductor device."

According to a report from Gamespot the patent in question was originally issued in 1993, and deals with saving space by utilizing layers of conducting strips to triple the effectiveness of parallel plate capacitors. Apperantly, the company is fairly litigious, as they have also sued Texas Instruments, Marvell Semiconductor, and the Eastman Kodak Company over the same patent. Most of those cases were eventually settled.

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Nintendo Hit By New Wii Controller Lawsuit

"Defective" Wiimote wrist straps land Nintendo in new legal hot water

We know by now that rigorous play with the Nintendo Wii have caused the console's remote controllers to leave gamers' hands in wild ways, often as a result of Wiimote wrist straps breaking during gameplay. In many cases, the "flying Wiimotes" have lead to physical injury. As a result, Nintendo has become the target of a new nationwide class action lawsuit accusing the company of providing defective remote wrist straps for use with the Wii remote controller. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court of the Western District of Washington by San Francisco-based law firm Green Welling LLP on behalf of Wii purchasers, also contends that the company has breached its own product warranty and engaged in "unfair or deceptive practices" by providing wrist straps which were "ineffective" for their intended use:

"As a result of the defective nature of the wrist strap on the Wii remote, plaintiff's wrist strap broke on his remote causing damage to the Wii product plaintiff purchased... The controller is an essential component of any video game console, and so [the] plaintiff is unable to use the Nintendo Wii for its intended purposes as a result of the broken wrist band. Accordingly, it renders the Wii console, which retails in the United States for $250, useless."

An injunction sought by the class action lawsuit requires Nintendo to correct the Wiimote "defects", and provide refunds or "replace the defective Wii remote with a Wii remote that functions as it is warranted and intended". Nintendo has already announced a product replacement program for the wrist straps used with the Wii console's remote controller in response, but Green Welling has yet to drop its lawsuit. According to Green Welling, the replacement program doesn't seek accountability for the property damage and personal injury already caused, though the lawsuit does not yet cover reimbursement for these.  Additionally, Green Welling explains to GameSpot that it's possible future plaintiffs could join the suit even if they have the improved wrist straps to be offered by Nintendo, depending on how well the new straps address the current "flying Wiimote" issues.

Article Link: GameSpot

Source: none
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Sony Pictures, owners of Columbia/Tristar pictures and the back catalog that comes with it, filed a lawsuit against Nintendo Entertainment in Tokyo for copyright infringement and trademark violations. The suit alleges that the Nintendo game Luigi’s Mansion “is clearly based in part or wholly on elements of the Ghostbusters film franchise owned by Sony Pictures, and is in violation of international copyright and trademark for using elements from same without permission from Sony or its subsidiary Columbia/Tristar.”

Interestingly, Sony isn’t seeking any financial damages for Nintendo’s alleged violations. Instead they are asking that Nintendo add a Sony Blu-ray disc player to the Nintendo Wii gaming console and package a new Blu-ray edition of Ghostbusters I and II with every new Wii that is sold around the world to recoup the loss of sales in the GB franchise that were allegedly the result of Luigi's Mansion in the last generation of consoles.
 

 
NEW YORK AND MARYLAND VS. NINTENDO OF AMERICA INC. AND NINTENDO CO., LTD

Lawsuit: STATES OF NEW YORK AND MARYLAND (Plantiff) V. NINTENDO OF AMERICA INC. AND NINTENDO CO., LTD., (Defendant) - Antitrust

Introduction

ROM chip shortages in '88 caused Nintendo to notify retailers that only 25% of their orders would be available to ship. Because of the supply shortages, most if not all Nintendo products were wiped off of store shelves in a quick hurry. Stores, however, did not have the extra inventory to slide back on.

All over retailers and lawyers alike jumped on Nintendo for falsely claiming the shortages on top of pointing fingers at a slew of monopoly and unfair business practices.

Court Summary

"Antitrust" was the recurring word in the court case.

Conclusion

Nintendo was ordered by Judge Robert Sweet to advertise and send out $5 coupons valid for the purchase of new NES games. And thanks to more threats of lawsuits and further FTC investigation, Nintendo announced to its licensees in October '90 that they would be allowed to manufacture their own cartridges and make software for competitor's hardware.

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