Court Roundup

Montana

Lawsuit against MSU seeks reason for suspension

BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) -- The Bozeman Daily Chronicle and Montana Newspaper Association have filed a lawsuit against Montana State University seeking information concerning the school's suspension of MSU Symphony Orchestra conductor Shuichi Komiyama.

The lawsuit filed Monday in Gallatin County contends the 47-year-old Komiyama holds a position of public trust and that the public's right to know the reason for the suspension outweighs personal privacy concerns.

The newspaper previously reported that Komiyama at age 25 pleaded guilty in California to two felonies of sexual intercourse with a minor following a relationship with a 14-year-old girl. He completed his probation in 1995.

Leslie Taylor, Montana State legal counsel, said the school was unaware of those felonies.

Judy Beck, spokeswoman for the Montana attorney general's office, said the agency also recently learned of those felonies and, after confirming them with California officials, on June 6 sent Komiyama a letter telling him to register as a sexual offender.

"Montana law requires out-of-state sex offenders to register," Beck said.

Beck said Komiyama had 10 days after receiving the letter to register. His name did not appear on the state's sex offender list on Tuesday.

Komiyama, an associate professor of music, did not return a call from The Associated Press Tuesday afternoon.

"Public employees who occupy positions of trust have no legitimate right of privacy to investigations of their conduct," states the lawsuit, filed by Martha Sheehy of Billings. The lawsuit seeks documents relating to the suspension as well as court costs.

Taylor said the school has a variety of defenses against the lawsuit. On Tuesday she cited federal rules protecting student records.

Komiyama, who Taylor said has tenure, was suspended April 11. The school has declined to say why. Taylor said the school is conducting an investigation but she declined to comment on what that investigation involved or when it might be finished.

Gallatin County Attorney Marty Lambert said he could not comment about whether there was or wasn't any kind of an investigation involving Komiyama.

Montana State Police Chief Robert Putzke said no complaints against Komiyama have been filed through that office.

Komiyama in 2009 took about 80 college students and three high school students on a 2009 tour to Vietnam, Thailand and Singapore. The Bozeman Daily Chronicle also reported that through his job he works with high school students at the Billings Youth Orchestra.

The lawsuit cited past court cases to bolster the argument the information concerning Komiyama's suspension should be made public.

Those cases include a 1993 lawsuit the newspaper filed and won against the Bozeman Police Department concerning an officer who worked at the Law Enforcement Academy but resigned following accusations of sexual intercourse without consent by a woman cadet.

The lawsuit also cites a 1992 case involving the release of a report about sexual harassment allegations against the mayor of Hamilton.

A third case cited in the lawsuit involves a 2005 decision against an Anaconda teacher who sued after a Deer Lodge County attorney told a reporter he was considering prosecuting the teacher for what the attorney said was her assault of a student.

New York

Bravo: No merit to 'Real Housewives of NJ' suit

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Bravo network says a Chicago family's lawsuit against cast members of its "Real Housewives of New Jersey" show is without merit because two family members already have negotiated settlements.

The cable television channel issued a statement Tuesday night saying that $25,000 settlements negotiated by Adolfo Arreola and his cousin, Jason Gomez, "will be enforced and these claims are completely without merit." Bravo isn't commenting on the specifics of the lawsuit.

The cousins and Arreola's mother-in-law Yolanda Martinez filed a lawsuit in New York on Monday saying that on Feb. 23 "Housewives" member Teresa Guidice sprayed Champagne in Martinez's face, and then Guidice and others from the show beat up the cousins in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

Bravo said the show was not taping at the time the incident occurred.

California

Dolby sues Blackberry maker RIM over patents

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Dolby International, a unit of audio equipment maker Dolby Laboratories Inc., is suing Research In Motion Ltd. for patent infringement in the U.S. and Germany.

Dolby alleges that RIM's Blackberry smartphones and Playbook tablet devices use its patented digital audio compression technology, which enables the playback of high-quality audio files using limited amounts of storage space, without a license.

Dolby, based in San Francisco, filed its lawsuits in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California and in the District Court of Mannheim in Mannheim, Germany.

The company is seeking financial damages and an injunction to halt the sale of RIM's products.

Canada's Research In Motion, based in Waterloo, Ontario, had no comment.

Published: Thu, Jun 16, 2011

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