Legal News

Case Summaries

Contracts

[04/25] Balfour Beatty Infrastructure, Inc. v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore
In a construction company's suit against a city for breach of contract, alleging that the city unlawfully assessed liquidated damages against the company for failure to complete a construction project on time, the district court?s dismissal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction is affirmed where plaintiff is not excused from the normal requirement of administrative exhaustion under Maryland law.

[04/24] City of L.A. v. AECOM Servs., Inc.
In third-party claims brought by the City of Los Angeles for breach of contract and contribution against contractors that allegedly breached their contractual duty to perform services in compliance with federal disability regulations in the design and construction of a bus facility, the district court's dismissal of the City's claims is reversed where: 1) Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act did not preempt the City's state-law claims because the ADA expressly disavows preemptive federal occupation of the disability-rights field; and 2) conflict preemption also did not preclude the City's claims.

[04/24] City of L.A. v. AECOM Servs., Inc.
In third-party claims brought by the City of Los Angeles for breach of contract and contribution against contractors that allegedly breached their contractual duty to perform services in compliance with federal disability regulations in the design and construction of a bus facility, the district court's dismissal of the City's claims is reversed where: 1) Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act did not preempt the City's state-law claims because the ADA expressly disavows preemptive federal occupation of the disability-rights field; and 2) conflict preemption also did not preclude the City's claims.

[04/20] Bresler v. Wilmington Trust Co.
In a breach of contract action brought by personal representatives of an estate, the district court's judgment that trustee-defendant breached an agreement to lend money for the acquisition, maintenance, and certain investments relating to life insurance policies obtained for plaintiffs, is affirmed over defendant's arguments that the district court erred in admitting testimony from the plaintiffs' expert witness, the jury verdict including the award of damages was not supported by the evidence, and additional terms of the district court's order also were not supported by the evidence.

[04/19] Broadway Victoria v. Norminton, Wiita & Fuster
In a suit for legal malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty arising from defendants' representation of plaintiff in an earlier breach of contract action, the trial court's judgment in favor of defendants is affirmed as to the grant of nonsuit on plaintiff's breach of fiduciary claim because plaintiff did not adduce any evidence in support of that claim beyond the evidence offered in support of its malpractice claim for professional negligence.

Read More

Public Utilities

[04/21] California Pub. Utilities Comm'n v. Fed. Energy Reg. Comm'n
In a petition for review brought by various entities challenging the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)'s calculation of certain refunds arising out of the California energy crisis in 2000 and 2001, the petition is: 1) granted in part where FERC acted arbitrarily or capriciously in allocating the refund only to net buyers and not to all market participants; and 2) denied in part as to the question of whether refunds should be netted hourly or a cross the entire refund period where FERC did not act arbitrarily or capriciously in its construction of tariffs.

[04/12] S. California Alliance of Publicly Owned Treatment Works v. US Environtmental Protection Agency
In a petition for review challenging an Objection Letter sent by the EPA regarding draft permits for water reclamation plants in El Monte and Pomona, California, the petition is dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction where neither 33 U.S.C. section 1369(b)(1)(E) nor (F) of the Clean Water Act provided the court with subject matter jurisdiction to review the Objection Letter.

[03/14] Schoshinksi v. City of Los Angeles
In a class action alleging the City unlawfully charged plaintiffs and others an unauthorized trash disposal fee, the trial court's grant of summary judgment to defendant, on grounds that the City had already reimbursed the plaintiffs for all improper charges, is affirmed where: 1) plaintiffs' individual claims are moot because a court could grant them no further relief beyond what they have already received; and 2) unlike other cases in which the 'pick off' exception has been applied, here, the injunctive relief provisions in the Chakhalyan v. City of Los Angeles stipulated settlement and judgment required the City to reimburse plaintiffs and other putative class members, and the City complied with this obligation before plaintiffs filed the second amended complaint naming them as parties; and thus 2) under these particular circumstances, the 'pick off' exception does not apply.

[01/31] Hensley v. San Diego Gas & Electric Co.
In a case in which the Court of Appeals previously dismissed the appeal of plaintiffs from a nonappealable stipulated judgment pursuant to a settlement agreement, and the parties entered into an amended stipulated judgment, the trial court's decision is reversed where: 1) the amended stipulated judgment is final and appealable and the court's opinion, with respect to the trespass and nuisance claims only, is not advisory; 2) on the merits, plaintiffs were legally entitled to present evidence of plaintiff's emotional distress on their claims for trespass and nuisance as annoyance and discomfort damages recoverable for such torts; and 3) the trial court excluded evidence of emotional distress damages in their entirety.

[01/24] Merced Irrigation District v. Super. Ct.
In a writ proceeding to challenge the trial court's conclusion that plaintiff was not a 'municipal corporation' for purpose of Public Utilities Code section 10251, which authorizes municipal corporations to recover all damages from any person who injures any facility or equipment of the municipal corporation through want of care, the petition is denied where the term 'municipal corporation' used in section 10251 does not include irrigation districts.

Read More

Dispute Resolution & Arbitration

[04/06] McGill v. Citibank
In a dispute between a consumer and a credit card company involving the validity of a provision in a predispute arbitration agreement that waives the right to seek the statutory remedy of public injunctive relief in any forum, the Court of Appeals' decision is reversed where: 1) such a provision is contrary to California public policy and is thus unenforceable under California law; and 2) the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), 9 U.S.C. section 1 et seq. does not preempt this rule of California law or require enforcement of the waiver provision.

[03/29] James v. Global TelLink Corp.
In a putative class action brought by plaintiffs who used defendant's prison phone services, alleging unconscionable service fees, the district court's denial of defendants' motion to compel arbitration is affirmed where: 1) plaintiffs did not agree to be bound by the terms of use contained on defendant's website, as they never visited it; and thus 2) the district court properly held plaintiffs did not agree to arbitrate.

[03/21] Aliments Krispy Kernels Inc v. Nichols Farms
In a suit to enforce an arbitration award plaintiff received against the defendant in a contract dispute, the district court's denial of plaintiff's petition to confirm and grant of defendant's petition to vacate is vacated and remanded for further proceedings where there is an issue of material fact exists as to whether the parties agreed to arbitrate.

[03/07] Betancourt v. Prudential Overall Supply
In a complaint seeking enforcement of the Labor Code under the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA), Labor Code section 2698, the trial court's denial of defendant's motion to compel arbitration is affirmed where, while a PAGA action might be subject to arbitration, relying on a predispute agreement with a private party will not suffice to compel arbitration of a PAGA claim.

[03/02] CBF Industria DeGusa S/A v. AMCI Holdings, Inc.
In consolidated appeals of actions to confirm a foreign arbitral award against defendant as alter?egos of the then?defunct award?debtor, the district court's dismissal of both actions is: 1) vacated as to No.15?1133 where the district court erred in a) determining the United Nations Convention on Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards and Chapter 2 of the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. section 201, require appellants to seek confirmation of a foreign arbitral award before the award may be enforced by a United States District Court, and b) in holding that appellants' fraud claims should be dismissed prior to discovery on the ground of issue preclusion as issue preclusion is an equitable doctrine and appellants plausibly allege that defendants engaged in fraud; and 2) dismissed as moot as to No.15?1146.

Read More

Patent

[04/28] Nichia Corp. v. Everlight Americas, Inc.
In an infringement action involving three patents that disclose package designs and methods of manufacturing LED devices, the district court's judgment, finding defendant had infringed the patents and had not proven them invalid but refusing to enter an injunction against defendant, is affirmed over both parties' appeals where: 1) there is no error in the court's conclusions that Everlight infringed all asserted claims and failed to prove those claims invalid by clear and convincing evidence; and 2) the court did not abuse its discretion in denying Nichia?s request for a permanent injunction.

[04/17] Phil-Insul Corp. v. Airlite Plastics Co.
In an infringement action involving a patent which relates to insulating concrete forms (ICFs) that are used in the construction of buildings, the district court's grant of defendant's motion for summary judgment of noninfringement is affirmed where plaintiff's claims are barred by collateral estoppel.

[04/17] Rembrandt Wireless Techs. LP v. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.
In an infringement action involving patents patents that relate to a system and method of communication in which multiple modulation methods are used to facilitate communication among a plurality of modems in a network, which have heretofore been incompatible, the district court's judgment in favor of plaintiff is: 1) affirmed as to the district court's claim construction and its denial of defendant's judgment as a matter of law (JMOL) on obviousness and damages; and 2) vacated as to the court's denial of defendant's motion to limit plaintiff's damages for alleged failure to mark patented articles.

[04/14] Core Wireless Licensing S.A.R.L. v. Apple, Inc.
In an infringement action involving a patent claim directed to means for sending packet data from a mobile station to a network using a selected channel, the district court's judgment that defendant did not infringe any of the asserted claims is affirmed where the district court correctly denied plaintiff's motion for judgment as a matter of law and properly upheld the jury's verdict of noninfringement.

[04/13] In re: Lipitor Antitrust Litig.
In consolidated appeals involve allegations that defendant companies holding the patents for Lipitor and Effexor XR delayed entry into the market of generic versions of those drugs by engaging in an overarching monopolistic scheme that involved fraudulently procuring and enforcing the underlying patents and then entering into a reverse-payment settlement agreement with a generic manufacturer, two of the district court's jurisdictional conclusions are affirmed where: 1) plaintiffs' allegations of fraudulent procurement and enforcement of the patents do not require the transfer these appeals to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, where patent law neither creates plaintiffs? cause of action nor is a necessary element to any of plaintiffs' well-pleaded claims; and 2) remanded as to RP Healthcare, Inc. v. Pfizer, Inc. appeal where it is unclear whether the District Court had jurisdiction at the time judgment was entered.

Read More

Communications Law

[04/28] Prather v. Sprint Communications, Inc.
In a False Claims Act suit brought the U.S. Government against Sprint Communications, the district court's order denying appellant's Fed. R. Civ. P. 24(a)(2) motion to intervene as of right is affirmed where: 1) although his appeal is not moot, he did not have a significantly protectable interest in the government's False Claims Act suit; and 2) his prior filing of a related, but jurisdictionally barred, qui tam action did not entitle him to any award under the False Claims Act.

[04/27] 8x8, Inc. v. US
In a suit brought by a provider of local and long-distance telephone services over a broadband internet connection via Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, seeking a refund of more than $1 million in Federal Communications Excise Tax, the Claims Court's grant of summary judgment to the Government, denying the refund, is affirmed where: 1) as a collector of the FCET, plaintiff has failed to fulfill the necessary requirements of I.R.C. section 6415(a); and 2) plaintiff failed to fulfill the requirements of I.R.C. section 6415(a) because plaintiff neither refunded its customers the FCET, nor obtained their consent to seek the refund.

[04/21] CITA - The Wireless Ass'n v. City of Berkeley
In an action seeking a preliminary injunction to stay enforcement of a City of Berkeley ordinance requiring cell phone retailers to inform prospective cell phone purchasers that carrying a cell phone in certain ways may cause them to exceed Federal Communications Commission guidelines for exposure to radio-frequency radiation, the district court's denial of the injunction is affirmed where: 1) the City's compelled disclosure of commercial speech complied with the First Amendment because the information in the disclosure was reasonably related to a substantial governmental interest and was purely factual; an 2) there was little likelihood of success on plaintiff's contention that the Berkeley ordinance was preempted.

[03/29] James v. Global TelLink Corp.
In a putative class action brought by plaintiffs who used defendant's prison phone services, alleging unconscionable service fees, the district court's denial of defendants' motion to compel arbitration is affirmed where: 1) plaintiffs did not agree to be bound by the terms of use contained on defendant's website, as they never visited it; and thus 2) the district court properly held plaintiffs did not agree to arbitrate.

[03/21] Fox Television Stations, Inv. v. Aereokiller, LLC
In a suit brought by a group of broadcast stations and copyright holders against an entity that operates a service that uses antennas to capture over-the-air broadcast programming, much of it copyrighted, and then uses the Internet to retransmit such programming to paying subscribers, all without the consent or authorization of the copyright holders, the district court's partial summary judgment in favor of defendants is reversed where a service that captures copyrighted works broadcast over the air, and then retransmits them to paying subscribers over the Internet without the consent of the copyright holders, is not a 'cable system' eligible for a compulsory license under the Copyright Act.

Read More

Oil & Gas

[04/21] California Pub. Utilities Comm'n v. Fed. Energy Reg. Comm'n
In a petition for review brought by various entities challenging the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)'s calculation of certain refunds arising out of the California energy crisis in 2000 and 2001, the petition is: 1) granted in part where FERC acted arbitrarily or capriciously in allocating the refund only to net buyers and not to all market participants; and 2) denied in part as to the question of whether refunds should be netted hourly or a cross the entire refund period where FERC did not act arbitrarily or capriciously in its construction of tariffs.

[03/15] Berkshire Environmental Action v. Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co.
In an unusual petition for review arising out of a state administrative proceeding, involving the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) grant of a certificate of public convenience and necessity required under the Natural Gas Act (NGA), the petition is dismissed where, because the agency itself has not yet finally acted on the matter that is before the court, there is no jurisdiction under 15 U.S.C. section 717r(d)(1).

[03/09] Virginia Electric and Power Co. v. Bransen Energy, Inc.
In a suit arising out of a purchase contract for a coal product which would satisfy rigid specifications and environmental regulations, but the product defendant delivered fell far short of these requirements, the district court's the district court grant of partial summary judgment and judgment to plaintiff and award of damages are affirmed as to both liability and damages where there is no reversible error.

[02/16] Virginia Uranium, Inc. v. Warren
In a uranium miner's challenge to the Virginia General Assembly's ban on uranium mining 'until a program for permitting uranium mining is established by statute,' Va. Code Ann. section 45.1-283, the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted is affirmed where the federal Atomic Energy Act (AEA), 42 U.S.C. sections 2011, 2014(z), does not preempt state regulation of conventional uranium mining.

[01/19] US v. Blankenship
In a criminal case arising out of a tragic accident on April 5, 2010 at the Upper Big Branch coal mine in Montcoal, West Virginia, which caused the death of 29 miners, former Massey Energy CEO-defendant's conviction for conspiring to violate federal mine safety laws and regulations is affirmed where the district court committed no reversible error in connection with its refusal to dismiss the indictment, the Sixth Amendment Confrontation Clause, or jury instructions.

Read More

Securities Law

[04/12] Applied Medical Corporation v. Thomas
In a corporate governance action, arising from plaintiff corporation's suit over the exercise of its right to repurchase shares of its stock, given to defendant under a stock incentive plan for outside directors on its board, the trial court's grant of summary judgment to defendant is: 1) reversed because plaintiff's conversion claim could be based on either ownership or the right to possession at the time of conversion; and 2) affirmed because plaintiff's fraud claims were not timely under either the discovery rule or relation back doctrine, and thus barred by the statute of limitations.

[04/07] Brennan v. Zafgen, Inc.
In a securities fraud class action suit brought by investors against the company and its CEO, pursuant to Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, 15 U.S.C. sections 78j(b) and 78(t)(a), and Securities and Exchange Commission Rule 10b-5, 17 C.F.R. section 240.10b-5, alleging misleading statements made by the defendants regarding the company's anti-obesity drug Beloranib, the district court's dismissal of the complaint is affirmed where plaintiffs' complaint did not contain facts giving rise to a 'cogent and compelling' inference of scienter as required under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (PSLRA).

[03/21] SEC v. World Capital Market, Inc.
In an issue of first impression involving the Securities and Exchange Commission's ability to disgorge ill-gotten funds from so-called 'relief defendants', the district court's final judgment, arising in connection with the SEC's enforcement action for federal securities law violations arising out of a fraudulent investment scheme, is affirmed where: 1) the district court properly asserted jurisdiction over appellants as relief defendants to determine the legal and factual legitimacy of appellants' claim to the $5 million; and 2) the district court did not clearly err in finding that the $5 million transfer as a loan was a sham.

[03/08] Somers v. Digital Realty Trust Inc.
In a whistleblower claim brought under the Dodd-Frank Act?s anti-retaliation provision, the district court's denial of the defendant's motion to dismiss is affirmed where, in using the term 'whistleblower,' Congress did not intend to limit protections to those who disclose information to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Rather, the anti-retaliation provision also protects those who were fired after making internal disclosures of alleged unlawful activity under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and other laws, rules, and regulations.

[02/24] US v. Bray
Conviction of illegal insider trading, after defendant received material, nonpublic information about a local bank from a fellow country club member and then used that information to make a substantial trading profit, is affirmed over defendant's claims that the government presented insufficient evidence to support the jury's verdict, and that the trial court's instructions allowed the jury to convict him without finding that he possessed the necessary mental state, as required by 15 U.S.C. section 78ff(a).

Read More

Administrative Law

[04/28] Myrie v. Attorney General of the US
In a petition for review of a ruling by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) dismissing his appeal of the decision by an Immigration Judge (IJ) that petitioner is ineligible for deferral of removal under the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), the petition is granted where the BIA did not apply the correct legal standard under the CAT and should have reviewed the IJ's application of this standard de novo.

[04/26] Snyder v. Dep't of the Navy
In an appeal of the Final Decision of the Merit Systems Protection Board affirming the decision of the Department of the Navy to furlough petitioner for six days between July and September of 2013 as a result of the federal government sequestration of 2013, the Board's decision is affirmed where there is no reversible error.

[04/21] California Pub. Utilities Comm'n v. Fed. Energy Reg. Comm'n
In a petition for review brought by various entities challenging the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)'s calculation of certain refunds arising out of the California energy crisis in 2000 and 2001, the petition is: 1) granted in part where FERC acted arbitrarily or capriciously in allocating the refund only to net buyers and not to all market participants; and 2) denied in part as to the question of whether refunds should be netted hourly or a cross the entire refund period where FERC did not act arbitrarily or capriciously in its construction of tariffs.

[04/21] Pan Am Railways, Inc. v. US Dep't of Labor
In a petition for review, in an underlying Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA) whistleblower retaliation action, of an agency decision resulting in the statutory maximum award of punitive damages against a railroad, the petition is denied where substantial evidence supported the ALJ's rejection of the railroad's affirmative defense and the ALJ's decision to impose punitive damages.

[04/20] Citizens for Beach Rights v. City of San Diego
In a petition for writ of mandate and claim for declaratory relief seeking to halt construction of a new lifeguard station on Mission Beach in San Diego on the grounds that the Site Development Permit (SDP) issued in 2006 had expired, the trial court's judgment issuing a permanent injunction is reversed where: 1) plaintiffs' action was barred by the applicable statutes of limitations; and 2) even if plaintiffs' claims had been timely pursued, the SDP remained valid when construction began.

Read More

Family Law

[04/19] Gabrielle A. v. Co. of Orange
In an action brought by parent's challenging the detention of their children for six months, specifically, the two months they were detained in Orange County before the case was transferred to Los Angeles, the trial court's grant of summary judgment to social worker-defendants is affirmed where: 1) the parents' knowing and voluntary pleas of no contest to the jurisdictional allegations during dependency proceedings defeats their claims; 2) the social workers are entitled to immunity; and 3) met their burden to establish they were entitled to summary judgment on each cause of action, and plaintiffs failed to raise triable issues of material fact.

[04/17] In re Marriage of Huntley
In a wife's challenge of the trial court's denial of her motion to divide unadjudicated community property under Family Code section 2556, the judgment is reversed where: 1) section 2556 provided the trial court with continuing jurisdiction to divide omitted or unadjudicated community property; 2) the default judgment's silence as to any division of property requires reversal and remand for further proceedings under sections 2550 and 2556.

[04/14] McLintock v. Djulus
The Court reversed a family commissioner's judgment dissolving the parties' marriage and related orders concerning child custody, visitation, child and spousal support, and an award of attorney fees, where: 1) the commissioner failed to obtain one party's stipulation to having the matter heard by a temporary judge, as required by the California Constitution, Article VI section 21; and 2) the tantamount stipulation doctrine did not apply where the record shows that the commissioner never advised the parties that she was a commissioner, and that the objecting party, proceeding in propria persona, did not and should not have known she was a commissioner.

[04/12] In re J.L.
In a family law action, the juvenile court's termination of K.B.'s parental rights to Jc.L. and Ja.L. is affirmed where the court did not fail to comply with the inquiry/notice requirements of the Indian Child Welfare Act, 25 U.S.C. sections 1901 et seq., because K.B. and the children's other parent provided minimal and in information of Indian ancestry on their Parental Notification of Indian Status forms.

[03/17] In re Matthew C.
In consolidated dependency actions, in which Mother contests the juvenile court's detention and dispositional orders temporarily denying her visitation with her young son, the juvenile court's orders are affirmed where parental visitation may be denied during the reunification period if such visitation would be inconsistent with the physical or emotional well-being of the child.

Read More

Probate Trusts

[04/20] Bresler v. Wilmington Trust Co.
In a breach of contract action brought by personal representatives of an estate, the district court's judgment that trustee-defendant breached an agreement to lend money for the acquisition, maintenance, and certain investments relating to life insurance policies obtained for plaintiffs, is affirmed over defendant's arguments that the district court erred in admitting testimony from the plaintiffs' expert witness, the jury verdict including the award of damages was not supported by the evidence, and additional terms of the district court's order also were not supported by the evidence.

[04/20] US v. Harris
In a case in which the beneficiary owes restitution ordered following his 1997 conviction, the district court's decision that a writ of continuing garnishment attaches to a beneficiary's interest in discretionary support trusts is affirmed where the beneficiary's interest in the trusts, which were established by his parents for his support, qualifies as 'property' under 28 U.S.C. sections 3002(12), 3205(a) and 18 U.S.C. section 3613(c).

[04/19] Tepper v. Wilkins
In a suit among siblings on behalf of plaintiff's 88-year-old mother, claiming plaintiff's siblings' actions individually and while serving as trustees of mother?s revocable living trust constituted financial abuse of an elder or dependent adult, the trial court's judgment, sustaining defendant's demurrer without leave to amend and dismissing plaintiff's elder abuse action on standing grounds, is affirmed where: 1) the cause of action for elder financial abuse belongs to mother as the real party in interest; and 2) the court did not err in sustaining the demurrer without leave to amend.

[04/04] US Small Business Admin. v. Bensal
In the SBA's action seeking to satisfy a default judgment assigned to it, arising after the default on a loan that SBA guaranteed between a private bank and defendant's company, the district court's judgment in favor of the SBA is affirmed where: 1) the Federal Debt Collection Procedures Act (FDCPA)'s 'fraudulent transfer' provision allows the federal government to void a fraudulent transfer by a debtor owing a debt to the United States; 2) the FDCPA displaced California's disclaimer law, California Probate Code section 283; 3) defendant's disclaimer constituted a transfer of property under the FDCPA, and California disclaimer law did not operate to prevent the SBA from reaching defendant's trust share; and 4) defendant owed a 'debt' to the United States.

[03/28] Pizarro v. Reynoso
In an acrimonious family squabble that erupted over the property of the deceased patriarch and spilled over into the courts, in which the trial court determined the patriarch-settlor appointed defendant was the most reliable and credible of the family members, and that other family members were not credible, the trial court's denial of a petition for relief against defendant concerning the sale of the real property and award of attorney fees to defendant is: 1) reversed as to the award of attorney fees and costs to the extent it imposed personal liability; but 2) otherwise affirmed.

Read More

Immigration Law

[04/28] Myrie v. Attorney General of the US
In a petition for review of a ruling by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) dismissing his appeal of the decision by an Immigration Judge (IJ) that petitioner is ineligible for deferral of removal under the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), the petition is granted where the BIA did not apply the correct legal standard under the CAT and should have reviewed the IJ's application of this standard de novo.

[04/25] Castendet-Lewis v. Sessions
In a petition for review of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)'s determination that petitioner was subject to expedited removal proceedings as an aggravated felon because of his guilty plea to statutory burglary in Virginia, the denial of the Attorney General's motion to dismiss is affirmed and the petition for review is granted where DHS erred in classifying petitioner's conviction as an aggravated felony.

[04/24] US v. Swaby
In a petition for writ of habeas corpus relief from conviction by guilty to trafficking counterfeit merchandise,18 U.S.C. section 2320(a)(1), and deportation as an aggravated felon, the district court's denial of relief is reversed where petitioner's Sixth Amendment ineffective assistance of counsel was violated because he has demonstrated a reasonable likelihood that, but for his counsel's erroneous advice, he could have negotiated a different plea agreement.

[04/20] US v. Rivera-Muniz
Sentence for guilty plea to reentering the United States without authorization after having been deported or removed in violation of 8 U.S.C. section 1326(a), enhanced by section 1326(b)(2), is affirmed where Cal. Penal Code section 192(a) matches the generic definition of 'manslaughter' and is therefore categorically a crime of violence under section 2L1.2(b)(1)(A)(ii) of the Sentencing Guidelines.

[04/17] Minto v. Sessions
In a petition for review of the Board of Immigration Appeals' decision finding him inadmissible under 8 U.S.C. section 1182(a)(7)(A)(i)(I) because he lacked a valid entry document at the time of application for admission, the petition is denied where: 1) petitioner is an immigrant who lacked a valid entry document; and 2) petitioner is deemed by law to have made a continuing application for admission because he was in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) without admission or parole on November 28, 2009, the date United States immigration laws became applicable to the CNMI.

Read More

Copyright

[04/07] Mavrix Photographs, LLC. v LiveJournal, Inc.
In a copyright dispute arising out of photographs posted online on defendant's social media website, the district court's summary judgment that defendant was entitled protected by the safe harbor of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act is reversed where: 1) the safe harbor set forth in 17 U.S.C. section 512(c) would apply if the photographs were posted at the direction of users; 2) defendant posted the photographs after a team of volunteer moderators, led by an employee of the defendant, reviewed and approved them; 3) the common law of agency applied to the defendant's safe harbor defense; and 4) there were genuine factual disputes regarding whether the moderators were the defendant's agents.

[04/05] Maloney v. T3Media, Inc.
In an brought by former student-athlete plaintiffs, alleging that defendant exploited their likenesses commercially by selling non-exclusive licenses permitting consumers to download photographs from the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Photo Library for non-commercial use, the district court's order granting defendant's special motion to strike and dismissing plaintiffs' claims without leave to amend is affirmed where: 1) the federal Copyright Act preempts the plaintiffs' publicity-right claims and the derivative UCL claim; and 2) in light of that holding, plaintiffs' cannot demonstrate a reasonable probability of prevailing on their challenged claims.

[04/03] Uni Colors, Inc. v. Urban Outfitters, Inc.
In a copyright infringement case involving fabric designs, the district court's summary judgment in favor of plaintiff on the issue of infringement is affirmed where the district court did not err in: 1) its application of the subjective 'intrinsic test'; and 2) concluding, on summary judgment, that the plaintiff had validly registered a fabric design as part of a collection.

[03/22] Star Athletica, L. L. C. v. Varsity Brands, Inc.
In a copyright infringement suit brought by a company that owns 200 copyright registrations for two-dimensional designs--consisting of various lines, chevrons, and colorful shapes--appearing on the surface of cheerleading uniforms that they design, make, and sell, against a competitor who also markets cheerleading uniforms, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals' decision finding the copyrights eligible for protection under 17 U.S.C. section 101, concluding that the graphics could be 'identified separately' and were 'capable of existing independently' of the uniforms, is affirmed where a feature incorporated into the design of a useful article is eligible for copyright protection only if the feature (1) can be perceived as a two- or three-dimensional work of art separate from the useful article, and (2) would qualify as a protectable pictorial, graphic, or sculptural work--either on its own or fixed in some other tangible medium of expression--if it were imagined separately from the useful article into which it is incorporated. That test is satisfied here.

[03/21] Fox Television Stations, Inv. v. Aereokiller, LLC
In a suit brought by a group of broadcast stations and copyright holders against an entity that operates a service that uses antennas to capture over-the-air broadcast programming, much of it copyrighted, and then uses the Internet to retransmit such programming to paying subscribers, all without the consent or authorization of the copyright holders, the district court's partial summary judgment in favor of defendants is reversed where a service that captures copyrighted works broadcast over the air, and then retransmits them to paying subscribers over the Internet without the consent of the copyright holders, is not a 'cable system' eligible for a compulsory license under the Copyright Act.

Read More

Associated Press text, photo, graphic, audio and/or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium. Neither these AP materials nor any portion thereof may be stored in a computer except for personal and non-commercial use. Users may not download or reproduce a substantial portion of the AP material found on this web site. AP will not be held liable for any delays, inaccuracies, errors or omissions therefrom or in the transmission or delivery of all or any part thereof or for any damages arising from any of the foregoing.