Legal News

Case Summaries

Contracts

[03/13] Umbach v. Carrington Investment Partners (US), LP
In a complaint alleging breach of a limited partnership agreement that, at the time it was entered into by the plaintiff limited partner, allowed such a partner to withdraw part or all of his interest in defendants' hedge fund, the district court's judgment requiring defendants to pay damages plus prejudgment interest is vacated where, although there was no error in the court's ruling on liability, there were factual issues to be tried as to the calculation of damages.

[03/10] Glassdoor, Inc. v. Super. Ct.
In a dispute between a employer reviews website, brought by a video gaming company against the website operator, seeking the name of a Jane Doe reviewer who purportedly posted confidential information on the website about the employer in violation of a confidentiality agreement, the website operator's petition for a writ directing the trial court to set aside its order to reveal Doe's real name is granted where the employer failed to make a prima facie showing that Doe's statements disclosed confidential information in violation of the nondisclosure agreement.

[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.

[03/01] Lord & Taylor, LLC v. White Flint, L.P.
In a contract suit brought by a retailer-plaintiff that operated in defendant's mall, alleging defendant breached their agreement by closing the mall without plaintiff's consent, the district court's award of $30 million to plaintiff is affirmed over both parties' appeals that the damage award is incorrect, where there was no error in the district court's capable management of a lengthy trial.

[02/22] Walsh v. Zurich Am. Ins. Co.
In an employment suit in which the jury found that defendant breached employment agreements with plaintiff when it substantially reduced his incentive pay for a lucrative deal -- the largest of its type in the company's history -- and did not pay incentive on another deal, the district court's judgment awarding plaintiff double damages and attorney fees is: 1) vacated in part insofar as it incorporates the jury's verdict on the Automobile Protection Corp. (APCO) deal, where the district court erroneously concluded that, if plaintiff had an enforceable incentive plan when the unprecedented deal was struck with APCO, defendant lacked discretion as a matter of law to change plaintiff's incentive formula for that deal; and 2) affirmed in part with respect to the Great American Insurance Company (GAIC) deal.

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Public Utilities

[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.

[10/03] Pacific Gas and Electric Co. v. US
In a brought suit against the U.S. claiming that two federal government agencies selling electricity over-charged appellants for electricity, the Federal Claims Court dismissal for lack of standing is affirmed where plaintiffs lack privity of contract or any other relationship with the government that would confer standing.

[09/08] MPS Merchant Services, Inc. v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
In consolidated petitions for review brought by various power companies of FERC determinations that various energy companies committed tariff violations in California during the summer of 2000, the FERC determinations are affirmed where: 1) it did not arbitrarily and capriciously, or abuse its discretion in finding that electric sellers Shell Energy North America, LP, MPS Merchant Services, Inc., and Illinova Corporation violated the Cal-ISO tariff and Market Monitoring and Information Protocol; 2) FERC's Summer Period determinations regarding APX, Inc., and BP EnergyCo. were not arbitrary, capricious, or an abuse of discretion; and 3) because FERC's remedial order is not final, the panel lacked appellate jurisdiction over it.

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Dispute Resolution & Arbitration

[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.

[03/01] Emerald Aero v. Kaplan
In defendant's appeal from a judgment confirming a $30 million arbitration award consisting of significant punitive damages, arising out of his conviction wire fraud and awarded after a hearing which defendant elected not to attend, the trial court's denial of defendant's motion to vacate the award is reversed where the arbitrator exceeded his authority by awarding punitive damages without adequate prior notice to defendant, in violation of the parties' arbitration agreement and fundamental procedural fairness principles.

[02/08] In re ACTOS End-Payor Antitrust Litigation
In a complaint allege that defendants delayed competitors from marketing generic versions of the diabetes drug ACTOS by falsely describing two patents to the Food and Drug Administration, thereby causing plaintiffs to pay monopoly prices for the drug in violation of state-law analogs of the Sherman Act, the district court's dismissal of the complaint for failure to plausibly allege that the false descriptions caused the delay is: 1) affirmed in part to the extent plaintiffs' theory posits a delay in the marketing of generic alternatives to ACTOS by all the generic applicants other than Teva, where plaintiffs' theory presupposes that these applicants were aware of Takeda's allegedly false patent descriptions when they filed their applications, which is not supported by well-pleaded allegations and 2) vacated in part to the extent plaintiffs' theory as to Teva does not require any knowledge of the false patent descriptions, where plaintiffs plausibly alleged that Takeda delayed Teva?s market entry.

[02/07] Vasserman v. Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hosp.
In a suit by a former employee against her former hospital employer for violations of the California Labor Code and other statutes relating to meal and rest breaks, unpaid wages, and unpaid overtime compensation, the trial court's denial of the hospital's motion to compel arbitraiton where: 1) this dispute is not over plaintiff's substantive rights, but instead the forum in which those rights are to be determined; 2) if those rights are to be determined only by arbitration, a collective bargaining agreement must make that clear; and 3) the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) here required arbitration of claims arising under the agreement, but it did not include an explicitly stated, clear and unmistakable waiver of the right to a judicial forum for claims based on statute.

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Patent

[03/17] Bayer Cropscience AG v. Dow Agrosciences LLC
In an attorney fees portion of a patent infringement suit, related to soybeans genetically engineered to tolerate herbicide, and, particularly, to the plaintiff-developed dmmg gene, the district court?s award of attorney fees to defendant under 35 U.S.C. section 285, is affirmed where the district court did not abuse its discretion in finding the case exceptional and awarding fees.

[03/16] Mentor Graphics Corp. v. EVE-USA, Inc.
In an infrigment action involving patents related to debugging source code after synthesis, which is the process of transforming Hardware Description Language (HDL) into gate-level 'netlists', the district court's judgment is: 1) affirmed as to the district court's denial of judgments as a matter of law (JMOL), award of damages, and summary judgment that assignor estoppel bars defendant from challenging the validity of the patent; 2) reversed as to summary judgment of indefiniteness; 3) affirmed as to the summary judgment that defendant's patent lacks patent-eligible subject matter; 4) vacated as to the motion in limine precluding plaintiff from presenting evidence of willful infringement; 5) reversed as to the summary judgment that defendant's patent lacks written description support; and 6) reversed as to summary judgment that plaintiff's infringement allegations regarding the patents are barred by claim preclusion.

[03/14] Nidec Motor Corp. v. Zhongshan Broad Ocean Motor Co. Ltd.
In an appeal from an inter partes review of a patent that discloses a system for controlling the torque of an electromagnetic motor, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board's finding that a claim was anticipated by an earlier patent is reversed where the Board?s decision is not supported by substantial evidence.

[03/08] Thales Visionix Inc. v. US
In an infringement suit asserted against the government, involving a patent that discloses an inertial tracking system for tracking the motion of an object relative to a moving reference frame, the Claim's Court's determination of all claims as directed to patent-ineligible subject matter is reversed where the claims are patent eligible under 35 U.S.C. section 101.

[03/07] Intellectual Ventures I, LLC v. Capital One Fin. Corp.
In a complex litigation alleging infringement claims and antitrust cross-claims, related to patents relating to methods, systems, and apparatuses for dynamically managing eXtensible Markup Language (XML) data, the district court's judgment finding all claims ineligible under 35 U.S.C. section 101 and barring plaintiff from pursuing infringement claims under a collateral estoppel is affirmed where the asserted claims of the patent do not meet the standard for eligibility under section 101.

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Communications Law

[03/09] Geismann v. ZocDoc, Inc.
In a putative class action suit alleging violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the district court's judgment in favor of plaintiff in the amount and under the terms of an unaccepted offer, which would have afforded plaintiff complete relief, and dismissal of the action for lack of subject matter jurisdiction on the ground that it had become moot, is vacated where the settlement offer did not render the action moot and that judgment should not have been entered nor the action dismissed on that basis.

[02/16] Flo & Eddie, Inc. v. Sirius XM Radio, Inc.
In a copyright infringement suit brought by the company that owns the recordings of the Turtles, a well-known rock band with a string of hits in the 1960s, on behalf of itself and a class of owners of pre-1972 recordings against largest radio and internet-radio broadcaster in the U.S., the district court's denial of defendant's motions for summary judgment and reconsideration is reversed where, in response to questions certified to the New York Court of Appeals, New York common law does not recognize a right of public performance for creators of pre-1972 sound recordings.

[02/06] Prather v. AT&T, Inc.
In a qui tam action brought by a state prosecutor alleging that the largest telecommunications companies in the United States were fraudulently overcharging the federal government for surveillance services, the district court's dismissal of the action under the False Claims Act's (FCA) public disclosure bar, which states that once allegations of fraud have entered the public domain a person may not bring a qui tam action unless he can prove that he was an original source of those allegations,31 U.S.C. section 3730(e)(4) (2006), is affirmed where plaintiff did not qualify as an original source.

[02/03] Physicians Healthsource, Inc. v. Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
In an action alleging violations of of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991, as amended by the Junk Fax Protection Act of 2005, 47 U.S.C. section 227, the district court's grant of defendant's Rule 12(b)(6) motion dismissing the complaint is vacated where an unsolicited fax inviting doctors to a free dinner meeting featuring a discussion of an ailment -- to which an upcoming product, as yet unapproved by the FDA, was aimed -- was not an 'unsolicited advertisement.'

[01/30] Van Patten v. Vertical Fitness Group, LLC
In an action under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) regarding text messages about a gym membership, the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of defendants is affirmed where, under Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 136 S. Ct. 1540 (2016), the plaintiff alleged a concrete injury sufficient to confer Article III standing to pursue his TCPA claim.

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Oil & Gas

[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.

[09/08] MPS Merchant Services, Inc. v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
In consolidated petitions for review brought by various power companies of FERC determinations that various energy companies committed tariff violations in California during the summer of 2000, the FERC determinations are affirmed where: 1) it did not arbitrarily and capriciously, or abuse its discretion in finding that electric sellers Shell Energy North America, LP, MPS Merchant Services, Inc., and Illinova Corporation violated the Cal-ISO tariff and Market Monitoring and Information Protocol; 2) FERC's Summer Period determinations regarding APX, Inc., and BP EnergyCo. were not arbitrary, capricious, or an abuse of discretion; and 3) because FERC's remedial order is not final, the panel lacked appellate jurisdiction over it.

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Securities Law

[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).

[02/16] People v. Black
In the People's appeal pursuant to Penal Code section 1238(a)(1), challenging the trial court's order to set aside certain counts of charges against defendant for using false statements in the offer or sale of a security, Corp. Code sections 25401, 25540(b), after defendant persuaded an acquaintance to invest in a real estate development opportunity in Idaho in return for a promissory note, the terms of which were amended and extended several times but never realized, the trial court's order is affirmed where the promissory notes offered for the investment in the real estate development scheme were not securities within the meaning of the Corporate Securities Law.

[02/02] Sharemaster v. US Securities & Exchange Commission
In a pro se petition for review brought by a registered broker dealer seeking review of an SEC decision that a $1000 penalty that the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) imposed on petitioner was not a 'live' sanction capable of redress, the petition is granted where the SEC's decision was interpretation of Securities Exchange Act Section 19(d)(2) was unreasonable and inconsistent with applicable law.

[01/19] Retail Wholesale & Department Store Union Local 338 Retirement Fund v. Hewlett-Packard Co.
In a securities fraud action brought under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 by shareholders alleging that the company CEO and chairman violated the corporate code of ethics after publicly touting the business's high standards for ethics and compliance, the district court's dismissal is affirmed where shareholders failed to state a claim for securities fraud because they failed to sufficiently allege that the defendants made a material misrepresentation or misleadingly omitted a material fact.

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Administrative Law

[03/20] The Hopi Tribe v. US Environmental Protection Agency
In a petition for review brought by a Tribe challenging the EPA's federal implementation plan under the Clean Air Act for the Navajo Generating Station in Arizona, which concerned the production of haze that hinders clear views of the Grand Canyon, the petition is denied over the Tribe's contention that the contention that the EPA failed to analyze each of the five BART factors -- the 'best available retrofit technology' to reduce emissions from the Station, where the Tribe's exclusion from a Technical Working Group, which was a group of stakeholders that developed the proposed Rule, did not violate a duty on the part of the Government to consult with the Tribe.

[03/20] Boyd v. Office of Personnel Management
In a government benefits case brought by a mail processor for the United States Postal Service who had applied for immediate retirement based on disability and for disability retirement annuity benefits under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), the Merit Systems Protection Board's decision is vacated where, notwithstanding petitioner's failure to respond to the administrative judge's directions regarding the submission of evidence and argument, and her failure to request a hearing, the administrative judge's decision, sustained by the Board, was based on a legally erroneous application of the overpayment recovery statute, 5 U.S.C. section 8346(b), as interpreted by OPM in its regulations and Policy Guidelines.

[03/20] Yazzie v. US Environmental Protection Agency
In petitions for review brought by tribal conservation organizations and nonprofit environmental organizations challenging the EPA's source-specific federal implementation plan (FIP) under the Clean Air Act for the Navajo Generating Station, a coal-fired power plant on the Navajo Nation Reservation in Arizona, the petitions are denied where: 1) the federal government's partial ownership of the station did not eliminate any deference to the EPA's interpretation of the Clean Air Act and its implementing regulations; 2) the FIP was not subject to the Clean Air Act's five-year deadline to implement best available retrofit technology (BART) because the FIP promulgated a 'better than BART' alternative -- not BART; and 3) it was reasonable for the EPA to give the Station an emission credit when evaluating if the BART alternative 'results in greater emission reductions,' 40 C.F.R. section 51.308(e)(3), than BART.

[03/17] Gil v. Sessions
In a petition action seeking review of a decision of the Board of Immigration Appeal (BIA), brought by a petitioner who was born in the Dominican Republic and admitted to the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident but whose parents never married, the petition is denied where was not a 'child' eligible for derivative citizenship because he was not 'legitimated' within the meaning of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

[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).

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Family Law

[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.

[03/16] Jason P. v. Danielle S.
In a long-running case involves the effort by a sperm donor to establish that he is a legal parent of a child conceived through in vitro fertilization (IVF) using his sperm, and that he is entitled to joint legal and physical custody of the child with the child's mother, the family law court's finding that donor is a presumed parent and the custody order are: 1) affirmed as to the parentage finding; and 2) conditionally reversed as to the award of custody where the court's award of joint custody was premature because it had not yet received evidence that Jason completed the requirements the court deemed necessary to rebut the Family Code section 3044 presumption.

[03/15] Y.R. v. A.F.
In a Mother's appeal of the trial court's order awarding child support from Father in an amount that deviated downward from the statewide uniform guideline by a substantial amount, under Family Code section 4056(a), the order is reversed where: 1) t the trial court's failure to comply with the requirements of section 4056(a) mandates reversal, despite the existence of evidence sufficient to warrant a deviation from the guideline; and 2) the court's reliance on Mother's expenses and lifestyle, rather than on those of Father and his children, precludes us from implying findings adequate to support the deviation ordered by the court.

[03/10] In re Hannah D.
In a Mother and Father's appeal of a juvenile court order terminating their parental rights, the order is affirmed where: 1) Father's failure to challenge the order via petition for extraordinary writ precludes review of the order in this appeal; and 2) the dependency court did not err in denying Mother's request to order yet another assessment for placement.

[03/08] In re Alayah J.
In a Mother's appeal from the juvenile court's order terminating parental rights over her children, the court's order is affirmed where, although the juvenile court erred by terminating Mother's parental rights without first considering her Welfare and Institutions Code section 388 petition, no miscarriage of justice occurred as a result of that error.

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Probate Trusts

[03/09] Blankenship v. Consolidation Coal Co.
In a dispute arising out of a dewatering operation of defendant's mine into a mine partially owned by plaintiff, asserting state causes of action for trespass, negligence, nuisance, and related torts, alleging that, by filling the plaintiff's mine with water, defendant damaged the plaintiffs' property interests in the mine and unjustly enriched itself, the district court's grant of summary judgment to defendants on statute of limitations grounds is affirmed over plaintiff's claim that the discovery rule provided by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), 42 U.S.C. sections 9601-9675, preempts Virginia?s statutes of limitations and, as a result, Virginia's statutes of limitations began to run when the plaintiffs knew or should have known of their alleged injury.

[03/01] Colyear v. Rolling Hills Community Assn. of Rancho Palos Verdes
In a property dispute involving the trimming of trees, the trial court's grant of defendant's special motion to strike under Code of Civil Procedure section 425.16, the anti-SLAPP statute, is affirmed where: 1) plaintiff's complaint arises from defendant's statements made in connection with an issue of public interest, and therefore defendant's statements are protected under section 425.16(e)(4); and 2) plaintiff cannot show a probability of success on the merits of his claims against defendant, particularly because defendant dismissed his tree-trimming application to trim shortly after the lawsuit was filed and has never sought to invoke the HOA's tree-trimming process against plaintiff.

[02/01] Williamson v. Brooks
In a case involving an irrevocable subtrust in which the beneficiary seeks the value of 'opportunities lost' resulting from the trustees' refusal or neglect to distribute trust assets to the beneficiary, the trial court's judgment in favor of co-trustees is affirmed where trustees did not breach their fiduciary duties and neither the subtrust nor beneficiary suffered any harm as a result of co-trustees' actions.

[01/18] Pizarro v. Reynoso
In an acrimonious family squabble over the property of the deceased patriarch challenging the granddaughter-trustee's sale of the property, the trial court's judgment and award of attorney fees to the trustee is: 1) reversed as to the award of attorney fees and costs to the extent it imposed personal liability; but 2) affirmed in all other respects.

[12/16] Conservatorship of the Person of B.C.
In a conservatorship action, the trial court's order issuing letters of conservatorship under Probate Code section 1823 is affirmed. The Court held that probate conservatorships do not require a personal waiver of the conservatee's right to a jury trial where the proceedings pose no threat of confinement and are conducted pursuant to Probate Code section 1827.

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Immigration Law

[03/17] Gil v. Sessions
In a petition action seeking review of a decision of the Board of Immigration Appeal (BIA), brought by a petitioner who was born in the Dominican Republic and admitted to the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident but whose parents never married, the petition is denied where was not a 'child' eligible for derivative citizenship because he was not 'legitimated' within the meaning of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

[03/13] Cruz v. Sessions
In a petition for review of a final order of removal entered by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), brought by a citizen of Honduras, the petition is granted where her familial relationship with her husband necessarily was one central reason for the persecution and fear of future persecution established by petitioner, thereby meeting the statutory 'nexus requirement' for asylum provided in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) in 8 U.S.C. section 1158(b)(1)(B)(i).

[03/10] US v. Martinez
Sentence for being a removed alien found in the U.S., 8 U.S.C. section 1326, is vacated where: 1) the district judge's failure to notify and consult with defense counsel before responding to a jury question seeking guidance on the significance of the special finding as to the defendant's removal date violated Fed. R. Crim. P. 43(a) and the defendant's Sixth Amendment right to counsel; and 2) the error was not harmless beyond a reasonable doubt because much of the government's documentary evidence concerning the defendant's prior removal contained demonstrable errors, and because defense counsel, had she been consulted, would have specifically requested that the district court instruct the jury that the government was required to prove the removal date beyond a reasonable doubt.

[03/09] Chavez-Alvarez v. Attorney Gen. of the U.S.
In a petition for review of a second decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) that petitioner be removed, among other things, for committing sodomy while serving in the United States Army, the petition is granted where: 1) the BIA incorrectly reasoned that the President--through his delegated authority to define punishments for those who commit military crimes--essentially could create the definition of those crimes himself; and 2) this is a power reserved to Congress.

[03/08] Roland v. USCIS
In an appeal of a denied Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative, after the defendant agency determined that husband posed a risk to his alien wife, the beneficiary of the petition, due to husband's prior criminal convictions that included sexual offenses against minors, the district court's grant of summary judgment to the agency, on grounds that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction per 8 U.S.C. section 1252(a)(2)(B)(ii), is affirmed over petitioners' argument that the district court possessed jurisdiction because their claims involve legal and constitutional issues and they do not challenge the agency decision itself, where the plain language of 8 U.S.C. section 1252(a)(2)(B)(ii) and Lee v. U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Servs., 592 F.3d 612 (4th Cir. 2010), compel the court to affirm.

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Copyright

[02/16] Flo & Eddie, Inc. v. Sirius XM Radio, Inc.
In a copyright infringement suit brought by the company that owns the recordings of the Turtles, a well-known rock band with a string of hits in the 1960s, on behalf of itself and a class of owners of pre-1972 recordings against largest radio and internet-radio broadcaster in the U.S., the district court's denial of defendant's motions for summary judgment and reconsideration is reversed where, in response to questions certified to the New York Court of Appeals, New York common law does not recognize a right of public performance for creators of pre-1972 sound recordings.

[02/09] Design Data Corp. v. Unigate Enterprises, Inc.
In an action under the Copyright Act, alleging defendant infringed the copyright on plaintiff's computer aided design program by downloading an unauthorized copy of the program and importing and distributing within the United States program output generated by a Chinese contractor using an unauthorized copy of the program, the district court's summary judgment is: 1) affirmed in part on the importation-and-distribution claim, where the copyright in the program did not extend to the program?s output of images and files; and 2) reversed in part as to the downloading claim, where there was a material question of fact whether defendant's download was more than an insignificant violation of plaintiff's copyright.

[01/23] Perfect 10, Inc. v. Giganews, Inc.
In a copyright case involving the Usenet, an international collection of organizations and individuals whose computers connect to one another and exchange messages posted by Usenet users, the district court's judgment in favor of defendants is affirmed where: 1) the volitional conduct requirement was not met on plaintiff's theories that the defendants directly infringed its display rights and distribution rights; 2) the volitional conduct requirement also was not met as to the claim that defendant directly infringed on plaintiff's right to reproduce by uploading infringing content onto the Usenet or defendant's servers; 3) defendant was not liable for contributory copyright infringement because plaintiff failed to raise a triable issue of fact as to whether defendant materially contributed to or induced infringement of plaintiff's copyrights; and 4) the vicarious infringement claim was properly dismissed where plaintiff failed to demonstrate a causal link between the infringing activities and a financial benefit to defendant.

[12/20] Flo & Eddie, Inc. v. Sirius XM Radio, Inc.
Answering a certified question from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, the Court held that New York common law does not recognize a right of public performance for creators of sound recordings and answered the Second Circuit's question in the negative.

[12/13] EMI Christian Music Grp., Inc. et al. v. MP3tunes, LLC
In an amended opinion involving a copyright infringement action brought by record companies and music publishers against internet music services that allowed users to search for free music, dealing with the requirement of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) safe harbor that an internet service provider adopt and reasonably implement a policy to terminate repeat infringers, under 17 U.S.C. section 512, the District Court's grant of partial summary judgment in favor of defendants and decision overturning a jury verdict in favor of plaintiffs is: 1) vacated as to partial summary judgment to the defendants based on the conclusion that defendant qualified for safe harbor protection under the DMCA because the District Court applied too narrow a definition of 'repeat infringer'; 2) reversed as to judgment as a matter of law to the defendants on claims that defendant permitted infringement of plaintiffs' copyrights in pre?2007 MP3s and Beatles songs because there was sufficient evidence to allow a reasonable jury to conclude that defendant had red?flag knowledge of, or was willfully blind to, infringing activity involving those categories of protected material; 3) remanded for further proceedings related to claims arising out of the District Court?s grant of partial summary judgment; and 4) affirmed in all other respects.

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