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College Threatens Students Over Email Addresses 452

Posted by kdawson
from the unclear-on-which-side-of-the-at-sign-it's-at dept.
superdave98 writes "As a sign that a CIO has way too much time on his hands, Santa Rosa Junior College is sending emails threatening lawsuits to staff and students who have the letters 'SRJC' in their private email addresses. They contend that people could be confused and think these are official email addresses. Sure, I suppose people who fall for 419 scams probably could be fooled, but not any reasonable humans. I can't believe they found a lawyer who thought this was a good idea."
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College Threatens Students Over Email Addresses

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  • by rimcrazy (146022) on Friday May 08, 2009 @12:09PM (#27877469)

    what a bunch of asshats

  • Re:Greed is Good (Score:5, Informative)

    by couchslug (175151) on Friday May 08, 2009 @12:11PM (#27877495)

    "For 150 dollars an hour, a lawyer will never tell you any idea of yours is bad, even if it's suing McDonalds because your hot coffee is (gasp!) HOT, and should not have been poured all over your crotch."

    For free, any number of internet denizens will propagate distortions and urban legends.

    http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0122-11.htm [commondreams.org]

    "Third Degree Burns

    Here's what the talk show pundits and columnists neglected to mention about the McDonalds coffee burn case:

    79 year old Stella Liebeck suffered third degree burns on her groin and inner thighs while trying to add sugar to her coffee at a McDonalds drive through. Third degree burns are the most serious kind of burn. McDonalds knew it had a problem. There were at least 700 previous cases of scalding coffee incidents at McDonalds before Liebeck's case. McDonalds had settled many claim before but refused Liebeck's request for $20,000 compensation, forcing the case into court. Lawyers found that McDonalds makes its coffee 30-50 degrees hotter than other restaurants, about 190 degrees. Doctors testified that it only takes 2-7 seconds to cause a third degree burn at 190 degrees. McDonalds knew its coffee was exceptionally hot but testified that they had never consulted with burn specialist. The Shriner Burn Institute had previously warned McDonalds not to serve coffee above 130 degrees. And so the jury came back with a decision- $160,000 for compensatory damages. But because McDonalds was guilty of "willful, reckless, malicious or wanton conduct" punitive damages were also applied. The jury set the award at $2.7 million. The judge then reduced the fine to less than half a million. Ms. Liebeck then settled with McDonalds for a sum reported to be much less than a half million dollars. McDonald's coffee is now sold at the same temperature as most other restaurants. "

  • by SatanicPuppy (611928) <Satanicpuppy@g m a i l .com> on Friday May 08, 2009 @12:16PM (#27877561) Journal

    It's not their job to make moral judgments on their clients. Their client has a grievance, their client is paying them to pursue that grievance. They may choose not to pursue it, but really, this is hardly a situation where you're going to excuse yourself for moral reasons.

  • Re:Greed is Good (Score:5, Informative)

    by debrain (29228) on Friday May 08, 2009 @12:16PM (#27877563) Journal

    For 150 dollars an hour, a lawyer will never tell you any idea of yours is bad, even if it's suing McDonalds because your hot coffee is (gasp!) HOT, and should not have been poured all over your crotch.

    Lawyers have an obligation to advise their clients of the good and bad of the client's case. In addition to duties under their respective governing society and regulations, the practical reason is rather simple: Where a lawyer is negligent in failing to properly advise their client of the risks in a litigation, that lawyer could be liable to their client in negligence.

  • Re:Greed is Good (Score:5, Informative)

    by ifdef (450739) on Friday May 08, 2009 @12:22PM (#27877657)

    Why don't you read about what happened before you guess about it?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liebeck_v._McDonald's_Restaurants [wikipedia.org] seems to be a good summary of the case. Basically, a 79-year-old woman suffered third-degree burns on six percent of her skin and lesser burns over sixteen percent. She remained in the hospital for eight days while she underwent skin grafting. Two years of treatment followed. The issue was that McDonald's required franchises to serve coffee at 180-190 F, which (it was claimed) is much hotter than coffee from other places.

    Not that I can understand why anybody would want to drink McDonald's coffee anyway -- it's HORRIBLE! But that's just my opinion.

  • by Etrias (1121031) on Friday May 08, 2009 @12:24PM (#27877705)
    Why is it when people get indignant about law, they bring up the McDonald's coffee case? Here [lawandhelp.com], read about it.

    For those of you that are "tl:dr", here's the case in a nutshell. McDonald's knew it had a problem with coffee temperature, thought that it would be cheaper to settle potential cases rather than fix the problem. The jury awarded punitive damages (which the plaintiff did not ask for) which amounts to the total of two days worth of profit McDonald's makes on their coffee sales. The plaintiff, who suffered third degree burns, would have not filed suit if McDonald's would have compensated for her medical issues which included skin grafts to her groin, thighs and buttocks and her stay in the hospital.

    Being indignant is so much easier when you are ignorant about the facts.
  • Re:Greed is Good (Score:3, Informative)

    by infaustus (936456) on Friday May 08, 2009 @12:33PM (#27877825)
    http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/food/beverages/coffee-tea/coffee-taste-test-3-07/overview/0307_coffee_ov_1.htm [consumerreports.org] Your are apparently in the minority. CR's taste test found McDonald's coffee was the best.
  • Re:Doubly Strange (Score:5, Informative)

    by i.r.id10t (595143) on Friday May 08, 2009 @12:36PM (#27877903)

    Backwards. Educause used to require that you were a 4 year accredited school, now any school can get a .edu domain

  • by Ironica (124657) <[pixel] [at] [boondock.org]> on Friday May 08, 2009 @12:42PM (#27878007) Journal

    Won't someone stand up, and tell the fscking business world that the internet was not created just for them?!?!

    Seriously, it wasn't built for businesses to make money, sell things or what-have-you. Sure, you can do it, but, that was not (and hopefully will not) be its primary purpose.

    What on earth are you talking about? They're threatening people with a valid affiliation with the college, not random Joe Blow who put "srjc" in his e-mail address because he wanted it to say "Señor Jesus" or whatever. The issue is that people who *do* have an affiliation with the college might be confusing people as to the officialness of a particular email channel, which definitely could cause problems.

    Of course, the *real* issue here is that people create yahoo, gmail, hotmail, etc. accounts with their employer or school name in the username if they CAN'T USE THEIR OFFICIAL EMAIL ADDRESS. That is usually due to draconian spam filtering, poor support for email reading software, excessive downtime, small inboxes, or other technical or procedural issues that fall under the (you guessed it) CIO's purvey.

    It is a real problem when people use free personal email boxes to conduct official business; see Sarah Palin's Yahoo account. But it's up to the technical leadership of the organization to make their own email domain useful enough that people have no good reason to do this.

  • Re:Greed is Good (Score:3, Informative)

    by wisnoskij (1206448) on Friday May 08, 2009 @12:43PM (#27878021) Homepage
    I agree i have to wait for 40 minutes before i can drink any restaurants coffee.
  • Re:Greed is Good (Score:4, Informative)

    by N3Roaster (888781) <nealw@NOSpAM.acm.org> on Friday May 08, 2009 @12:44PM (#27878035) Homepage Journal

    Actually, that brewing temperature (I'm going to assume your figure is for a serving temperature and that the extraction temperature was really a little bit higher) is based on good research into solids extraction and taste preference. For a drip preparation, brewing coffee at cooler temperatures tastes under-extracted. It is possible to compensate for this somewhat by increasing the depth of the grounds bed or using a finer particle size. Both of these increase water resistance, causing the extraction time to increase, and this also introduces defects in the flavor. (Espresso, of course, can get away with the lower extraction temperature due to the higher pressure, so a reasonable compromise would be to just serve caffe americano prepared at whatever temperature by a robot.) In other words, McD was actually brewing the coffee correctly, as the then-president of the Specialty Coffee Association of America testified at the time.

    That's not to say that there wasn't a problem here. That 2-7 seconds for third degree burns at 190 degrees is a real problem and one that can be addressed. Once coffee is served, it cools off fairly quickly. Once spilled, it cools off even faster assuming that it doesn't have the opportunity to pool. The fact is, good coffee is not safe to serve in a drive-through environment. Had she spilled the coffee in the store where there was some freedom of motion (rather than strapped into a seat in a small space), the burn would never have happened. So the choice is this: either serve lousy tasting coffee that wasn't brewed or stored correctly or stop serving coffee from the drive-through window.

  • Re:Greed is Good (Score:5, Informative)

    by lefiz (1475731) on Friday May 08, 2009 @12:45PM (#27878053)
    And she did not want to sue McDonalds for punitive damages, only to have them pay for the costs of her medical treatments. McD's refused to pay her medical bills (they offered $800), and so she was left with the choice of suing or being on the hook for the costs. Moreover, there were something like 700 previous cases of serious burns relating to McD's coffee, and McD's was aware of the safety issues. http://www.lectlaw.com/files/cur78.htm [lectlaw.com] http://library.findlaw.com/1999/Nov/1/129862.html [findlaw.com]
  • Re:Greed is Good (Score:2, Informative)

    by lmpeters (892805) on Friday May 08, 2009 @12:50PM (#27878111)

    I heard she was wearing sweatpants at the time, which absorbed significantly more liquid than a t-shirt would, and held it in-place against her body long enough to cause third-degree burns.

    Think of it this way: if you pour boiling water on yourself, you'll get burns, but the water will mostly run off of your body before doing too much damage. If you soak a sponge in boiling water and hold it against your skin, that's going to transfer a lot more thermal energy (since it can remain in contact for much longer) and thus cause a more severe burn.

  • Re:Greed is Good (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lord_Frederick (642312) on Friday May 08, 2009 @12:52PM (#27878145)

    The degree of a burn refers to how deep the burn is. If the burns affected the full thickness of the dermis and underlying tissue, then they would be considered third degree despite the lack of charring.

  • Re:No problem dude (Score:3, Informative)

    by gnapster (1401889) on Friday May 08, 2009 @01:24PM (#27878617)

    Sorry, there are UF [ufl.edu], FSU [fsu.edu], FAU [fau.edu], and FIU [fiu.edu], as well as universities of Central [ucf.edu], North [unf.edu], West [uwf.edu], and South [usf.edu] Florida. But no FU. GP is safe wrt Floridian institutions.

    Please play again.

  • by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Friday May 08, 2009 @01:40PM (#27878871) Homepage
    The song is the theme song from a Futurama parody of Allie McBeal. In the Futurama epsiode, the end of the final episode of Single Female Lawyer was never broadcast. As a result, aliens who found the show very amusing get angry that the broadcast is cut off (due to the speed of light issue, they don't notice this until the year 3000 when Futurama is set). The aliens then ravage Earth and will destroy it unless they get the last episode. The various Futurama characters then need to make their own version of the last episode since no one has a copy of the original available.
  • Re:Greed is Good (Score:2, Informative)

    by eth1 (94901) on Friday May 08, 2009 @01:55PM (#27879085)

    Coffee should be brewed at about 175F. Pretty much ANY coffee, if made properly, will be too hot to drink at first, let alone dumped on more sensitive skin.

  • Re:Greed is Good (Score:3, Informative)

    by Teancum (67324) <(robert_horning) (at) (netzero.net)> on Friday May 08, 2009 @01:58PM (#27879125) Homepage Journal

    Darwin should take care of reinforcing this lesson? You're seriously saying that people should learn that hot things burn by survival vs. death?

    Yup!

    I can name several people I am at least somewhat acquainted with that have had bad things happen to them, and I have learned from their experiences... including related deaths.

    There is this thing called a brain we have... which unfortunately not nearly used as often as it could be. And far too often people to pay the ultimate price for their ignorance.

  • Re:Greed is Good (Score:3, Informative)

    by Khyber (864651) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Friday May 08, 2009 @02:16PM (#27879443) Homepage Journal

    "That doesn't make the case any less absurd, though."

    You just proved you don't even know the facts of the case with that statement. Any reasonable person would see the facts and could NEVER come to that conclusion. So to help you out, I point you to this slashdotter's comment [slashdot.org] for correction and re-education.

  • Re:Greed is Good (Score:5, Informative)

    by plague3106 (71849) on Friday May 08, 2009 @02:50PM (#27880033)

    Except that you're in the minority. McDs own research showed that 1) the majority of thier customers wanted to drink the coffee immdediately and 2) the temp. they served it at would cause 3rd degree burns and 3) didn't care. That's why they lost the lawsuit.. that the woman shouldn't have had an open cup of coffee between her legs to begin with was why the award was halved.

  • Re:Greed is Good (Score:4, Informative)

    by whoever57 (658626) on Friday May 08, 2009 @03:25PM (#27880591) Journal

    Seriously, has concept of a kettle (meaning a jug which holds about 3 pints of water and has a heating element built in which will boil the water and cut-out when there's sufficient steam to operate a cutout switch) not made it over there?

    Such devices have recently become widely available. They were difficult to find only a few years ago.

  • Re:Greed is Good (Score:3, Informative)

    by Rubinstien (6077) on Friday May 08, 2009 @11:25PM (#27885049)

    McDonald's coffee, besides tasting like crap, was always INSANELY hot. I once HAD IT MELT THE GLUE holding in the base of the paper cup it was served to me in. I was driving in Chicago, had left McDonald's only a few minutes before, and picked up the cup from the console cup holder for my first sip. The bottom of the cup fell out just as I was bringing the rim of the cup to my lips, and dumped the entire, scalding, contents onto my crotch. I crossed four lanes of traffic in as many seconds, screaming the entire way, so that I could get out of the hot pool of coffee puddled in my vinyl seat. This was years before the now famous coffee lawsuit. I have much sympathy, and evidently not enough greed.

    Yes, my skin peeled.

  • Re:Greed is Good (Score:3, Informative)

    by Uberbah (647458) on Saturday May 09, 2009 @06:09AM (#27887075)

    that the woman shouldn't have had an open cup of coffee between her legs to begin with was why the award was halved.

    But that's the only part that the media covered...that she dropped coffee on herself. But that wasn't the point of the lawsuit - it was because she got third degree burns, down to the bone. And as you say, the company knew that most of their customers wanted to drink it right away.

    So what's been bandied about as the epitome of frivolous lawsuit is actually an example of a GOOD lawsuit. Because spills will happen (your fault), but you shouldn't be at the risk of 3rd degree burns requiring skin grafts (McDonald's fault).

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