LAWFUEL – US Law Newswire – A newspaper, the movie studio …

LAWFUEL – US Law Newswire – A newspaper, the movie studio and the advertising company that installed bomb-like devices on newspaper racks during a promotional campaign for Mission: Impossible III have paid $75,000 to resolve claims that they acted negligently.

Los Angeles Times Communications, LLC, Paramount Pictures Corporation, and Allied Advertising earlier this month paid the settlement in relation to a news rack that was rigged at the United States Department of Veteran’s Affairs hospital in Westwood. The settlement agreement was finalized when the United States Attorney’s Office received signature pages earlier this week.

On April 28, 2006, the L.A. Times, Paramount and Allied caused digital musical devices to be placed in coin-operated L.A. Times news racks in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. The musical devices, which were made of red plastic with two protruding wires, were designed to play the Mission: Impossible theme song when the racks were opened.

Shortly after 3:00 p.m. on April 28, a patient at the VA hospital became alarmed when he saw what he thought was a bomb in an L.A. Times news rack. The patient’s suspicions were reported to the VA Police, which in turn contacted the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which responded to the scene. Because of the potential safety hazard to patients, staff and visitors, the hospital administration ordered an evacuation of part of the building. At no time prior to the evacuation did the L.A. Times, Paramount or Allied notify the VA Police or hospital administrators about the promotional campaign. The evacuation at the VA hospital lasted approximately 90 minutes and had a significant impact on hospital operations for at least another 90 minutes.

This matter was negotiated by the United States Attorney’s Office on behalf of the VA. The L.A. Times, Paramount and Allied agreed to pay the settlement without admitting any wrongdoing.

CONTACT: Assistant United States Attorney Linda A. Kontos
(213) 894-3986
[email protected]

Release No. 07-050

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