Legal News

Case Summaries

Contracts

[06/22] Reyes v. Lincoln Automotive Fin. Servs.
In a case involving the Telephone Consumer Protection Act in which an auto dealer continued to call the plaintiff after he revoked his consent to be called after defaulting on his lease obligations the court determined that while the plaintiff introduced sufficient evidence of their revocation of consent, the TCPA does not permit a consumer to revoke its consent to be called when the consent forms part of a bargained-for exchange, and affirmed the lower court's grant of summary judgment.

[06/21] Monster, LLC v. Beats Electronics, LLC
In a petition for writ of mandate in an underlying tort action in which Monster alleged that Beats Electronics engaged in fraud to deprive them of interest in the company, and the headphone manufacturer filed cross-claims for breach of contract and argued that the court, rather than a jury, could determine the amount of damages, the petition is granted where defendant is entitled to a jury trial on the issue of attorney's fees.

[06/21] US v. Weaver
Conviction for conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud are affirmed where over defendant's argument that disclaimers of extra-contract representations did not render salespeople's oral misrepresentations immaterial.

[06/20] Douglas Jordan--Benel v. Universal City Studios, Inc.
In the appeal of a breach of contract and copyright infringement case involving the movie 'The Purge,' the district court's denial of defendant's anti-SLAPP motion to strike a state law claim for breach of implied-in-fact contract, is affirmed where the breach of contract claim did not arise from an act in furtherance of the right of free speech since the claim was based on defendants' failure to pay for the plaintiff's idea, not the creation, production, distribution, or content of the films.

[06/19] Nexlearn LLC v. Allen Interactions Inc.
In a suit alleging patent infringement and breach of contract the court affirmed the dismissal of the complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction, finding that a plaintiff must establish personal jurisdiction regardless of a choice-of-law provision in an allegedly breached contract, where the breach of contract claim was supplemental to to the patent infringement claim.

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Public Utilities

[06/13] Plantier v. Ramona Municipal Water Dist.
In a class action against a Water District challenging the method used by District to calculate wastewater service 'fees or charges' between about 2012 and 2014, the trial court's judgment in favor of defendant, holding that plaintiffs failed to exhaust their administrative remedies under article XIII D of the California Constitution, is reversed where: 1) plaintiffs' class action is not barred by their failure to exhaust the administrative remedies set forth in section 6 because plaintiffs' substantive challenge involving the method used by District to calculate its wastewater service fees or charges is outside the scope of the administrative remedies; and 2) under the facts of this case, those remedies are, in any event, inadequate.

[06/12] SolarCity Corp. v. Salt River Agricultural Improvement and Power Dist.
In an antitrust lawsuit alleging a power district had attempted to entrench its monopoly by setting prices that disfavored solar-power providers, defendant's appeal of the district court?s order, denying its motion to dismiss the suit based on the state-action immunity doctrine, is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction where the collateral order doctrine does not allow an immediate appeal of an order denying a dismissal motion based on state-action immunity.

[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.

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Dispute Resolution & Arbitration

[06/19] Zubillaga v. Allstate Indemnity Co.
In a first party insurance bad faith action arising out of an automobile accident brought against an insurer alleging breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, the trial court's grant of summary judgment is reversed where plaintiff demonstrated triable issues of material fact regarding whether defendant's decision she did not need expensive epidural steroid injections, was made without a good faith investigation and without a reasonable basis for a genuine dispute.

[06/12] Laymon v. J. Rockcliff, Inc.
In consolidated appeals filed suit against the brokers who represented plaintiffs in the sale of their homes and a group of companies that provided services in connection with those sales, contending defendants violated their fiduciary duties by failing to disclose alleged kickbacks paid by the service providers to the brokers in connection with the sales, the trial court's dismissal of defendants' motion to compel arbitration on two of the arbitration clauses it found inapplicable, is reversed where each of the plaintiffs executed one or the other of these two agreement.

[05/31] Heimlich v. Shivji
In an appeal involving the recoverability of costs available under Code of Civil Procedure section 998 following an American Arbitration Association (AAA) award that denied requests by both sides for damages, costs, and attorney fees, in an underlying action filed by an attorney seeking unpaid fees from his client, the trial court's order confirming the arbitration award is reversed where Client timely presented his section 998 claim for costs to the arbitrator, the arbitrator should have reached the merits of that claim, and the arbitrator's refusal to hear evidence of the section 998 offer warranted partially vacating the arbitration award.

[05/26] Chango Coffee, Inc. v. Applied Underwriters, Inc.
In an appeal of the trial court's order denying defendant's renewed petition to compel arbitration, pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 1008(b), in an underlying complaint for breach of contract, conversion and fraud against the provider of payroll services, the appeal is dismissed where an order denying a renewed motion or application under section 1008(b) is not appealable under Tate v. Wilburn (2010) 184 Cal.App.4th 150.

[05/16] Garcia v. Pexco
In a suit alleging violations of the Labor Code and unfair business practices pertaining to payment of wages during plaintiff's assignment with Pexco-defendant, the trial court's order granting defendant's motion to compel arbitration is affirmed where, although Pexco-defendant was not a signatory to the agreement, as the alleged joint employers, Pexco-defendant and Real Time-defendant were agents of each other in their dealings with plaintiff, and accordingly, defendant is entitled to compel arbitration of plaintiff's claims against it under the arbitration clause in plaintiff's contract with Real Time-defendant.

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Patent

[06/21] Storer v. Clark
In a patent interference case relating to a treatment for hepatitis C, the district court's judgment is affirmed where the appellant's provisional specification lacked enough information to synthesize the target compound and therefore did not support a claim of priority and interference.

[06/19] Nexlearn LLC v. Allen Interactions Inc.
In a suit alleging patent infringement and breach of contract the court affirmed the dismissal of the complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction, finding that a plaintiff must establish personal jurisdiction regardless of a choice-of-law provision in an allegedly breached contract, where the breach of contract claim was supplemental to to the patent infringement claim.

[06/19] NexLearn LLC v. Allen Interactions, Inc.
In a suit alleging breach of a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) and infringement of a patent for social situation software, the district court's dismissal of the complaint is affirmed for lack of personal jurisdiction.

[06/15] Emerachem Holdings, LLC v. Volkswagen Group of Am., Inc.
In an infringement action involving a patent claiming methods for regenerating a devitalized catalyst/absorber that has absorbed and oxidized nitrates and nitrites after extended exposure to pollutants in the combustion gases of engines, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board's decision that certain claims would have been obvious is: 1) affirmed as to certain claims where Campbell '558 is prior art under 35 U.S.C. section 102(e); and 2) vacated and remanded as to other claims where the Board violated the APA's requirements of notice and an opportunity to respond with regard to Stiles.

[06/12] Sandoz Inc. v. Amgen Inc.
In a patent infringement suit involving filgrastim drugs, arising in the context of the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act of 2009 (BPCIA), which provides an abbreviated pathway for obtaining FDA approval of a drug that is biosimilar to an already licensed biological product, 42 U.S.C. section 262(k), and provides procedures for resolving patent disputes between biosimilar manufacturers (applicants) and manufacturers of reference products (sponsors), section 262(l), the Federal Circuit's judgment holding -- that applicant did not violate the BPCIA in failing to disclose its application and manufacturing information, that the BPCIA provides the exclusive remedies for failure to comply with this requirement, and that under section 262(l)(8)(A) an applicant must provide notice of commercial marketing after obtaining licensure -- is vacated and reversed in part where: 1) section 262(l)(2)(A) is not enforceable by injunction under federal law, but the Federal Circuit on remand should determine whether a state-law injunction is available; and 2) an applicant may provide notice under section 262(l)(8)(A) prior to obtaining licensure.

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Communications Law

[06/22] Reyes v. Lincoln Automotive Fin. Servs.
In a case involving the Telephone Consumer Protection Act in which an auto dealer continued to call the plaintiff after he revoked his consent to be called after defaulting on his lease obligations the court determined that while the plaintiff introduced sufficient evidence of their revocation of consent, the TCPA does not permit a consumer to revoke its consent to be called when the consent forms part of a bargained-for exchange, and affirmed the lower court's grant of summary judgment.

[06/21] US v. Weaver
Conviction for conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud are affirmed where over defendant's argument that disclaimers of extra-contract representations did not render salespeople's oral misrepresentations immaterial.

[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.

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Oil & Gas

[06/13] Autoridad de Energia Electrica v. Vitol SA Services, LLC
In a suit brought under a Puerto Rico 'Law 458', which prohibits government instrumentalities and public corporations from awarding bids or contracts to persons (including juridical persons) who have been convicted of 'crimes that constitute fraud, embezzlement or misappropriation of public funds listed in section 928b of this title,' P.R. Laws Ann. tit. 3, section 928, the district court's judgment remanding the case to the Commonwealth Puerto Rico Court of First Instance is affirmed where the forum selection clauses at issue were enforceable, and that the unanimity requirement of 28 U.S.C. section 1446(b)(2)(A) therefore could not be satisfied.

[06/12] SolarCity Corp. v. Salt River Agricultural Improvement and Power Dist.
In an antitrust lawsuit alleging a power district had attempted to entrench its monopoly by setting prices that disfavored solar-power providers, defendant's appeal of the district court?s order, denying its motion to dismiss the suit based on the state-action immunity doctrine, is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction where the collateral order doctrine does not allow an immediate appeal of an order denying a dismissal motion based on state-action immunity.

[06/12] In re Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE) Products Liability Litigation
In consolidated multi-district litigation arising from contamination of groundwater in Orange County, California from various oil companies' use of the gasoline additive MTBE, the district court's grant of summary judgment to defendants on res judicata grounds as a consequence of earlier consent judgments entered in California state court resolving similar suits against defendants brought by the Orange County District Attorney, is vacated and remanded where the record does not sufficiently establish that the Orange County District Attorney and the Orange County Water District-plaintiff were in privity.

[05/11] Central Valley Gas Storage v. Southam
In an appeal arising out of a condemnation action in which defendant sought to introduce evidence of the value of their land for an underground natural gas storage project based on reservoir volume, the trial court's in limine ruling, excluding defendant's valuation approach based on evidence all independently operated gas storage projects in California compensate landowners based on surface acres contributed to the project, is affirmed where: 1) the court did not err in factually distinguishing the holding in Pacific Gas & Electric Co. v. Zuckerman (1987), 189 Cal.App.3d 1113 that was decided at a time when there was not yet a developed market in California for natural gas storage leases; 2) defendant has not established his entitlement to cross examine an expert before that expert may give a declaration in support of a pretrial motion; and 3) defendant forfeited the remainder of his arguments for failure to develop the argument, to cite any legal authority, or to provide any citation to the appellate record.

[05/01] Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela v. Helmerich & Payne Int'l Drilling Co.
In a suit involving the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), 28 U.S.C. section 1604, brought by an American parent company of a Venezuelan subsidiary that supplied oil rigs to oil development entities, alleging that Venezuela had unlawfully expropriated the subsidiary's rigs by nationalizing them, the D.C. Circuit's decision that the claims fell within the expropriation exception is vacated where: 1) the nonfrivolous-argument standard is not consistent with the FSIA; 2) a case falls within the scope of the expropriation exception only if the property in which the party claims to hold rights was indeed 'property taken in violation of international law'; and 3) a court should decide the foreign sovereign's immunity defense '[a]t the threshold' of the action, Verlinden B. V. v. Central Bank of Nigeria, 461 U. S. 480, 493, resolving any factual disputes as near to the outset of the case as is reasonably possible.

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Securities Law

[06/26] California Public Employees? Retirement System v. ANZ Securities, Inc.
In a case where members of a securities class-action opted out of a settlement and filed an untimely claim of their own, it was held that the timely filing of the original class-action suit did not toll the statute of limitations for the subsequent claim.

[06/21] Ashmore v. CGI Group, Inc.
The appeal of a whistleblower's dismissal as plaintiff and attempt to substitute another party was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction where the dismissal and substitution actions related to interlocutory orders that are not immediately appealable.

[06/21] Stadnick v. Vivint Solar, Inc.
In a securities class action complaint, the plaintiff wanted the court to apply a 1st Circuit test for financial disclosures and argued they were misled by the company, but the Court of Appeals declined to adopt the 1st Circuit test and concluded the shareholders were not misled, affirming the district court's decision.

[06/05] Kokesh v. SEC
In a case arising out of an SEC enforcement action, alleging that petitioner violated various securities laws by concealing the misappropriation of money from business-development companies, and seeking monetary civil penalties, disgorgement, and an injunction barring petitioner from future violations, the Tenth Circuit's judgment -- that 28 U.S.C. section 2462's 5-year limitations period applied to the monetary civil penalties but that section 2462 did not apply because disgorgement was neither a penalty nor a forfeiture -- is reversed, where because SEC disgorgement operates as a penalty under section 2462, any claim for disgorgement in an SEC enforcement action must be commenced within five years of the date the claim accrued.

[05/24] Resh v. China Agritech, Inc.
In a putative class action alleging that defendant and its managers and directors violated the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the district court's order of dismissal as untimely is reversed and remanded for further proceedings where the district court's invitation to file a complaint in a separate individual suit does not render non-appealable the district court's dismissal of the class action complaint.

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Administrative Law

[06/26] Said Hassen v. Government of the Virgin Islands
The dismissal of a wrongful levy claim against the US Virgin Islands was affirmed because the appellants had failed to exhaust their administrative remedies.

[06/15] Grist Creek Aggregates v. Super. Ct.
In an environmental group's writ of administrative mandate challenging the Mendocino County Air Quality Management District's approval of a permit to construct an asphalt production facility, claiming that the asphalt company-applicant should have conducted an environmental review and that the District and Hearing Board violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), Pub. Resources Code section 21000 et seq., and District regulations by failing to order applicant to conduct one, the petition is granted where the Hearing Board's tie vote resulted in the denial of petitioners' administrative appeal and that the denial is subject to judicial review.

[06/14] Helen Mining Co v. Elliott
In a suit under the Black Lung Benefits Act (BLBA), 30 U.S.C. sections 901-45, which confers on coal workers generally the right to claim workers' compensation benefits for disabilities arising out of coal dust exposure, the Benefits Review Board's award of benefits is affirmed and the operator's petition for review is denied where: 1) operators are subject to the regulation's rebuttal standard because a 2013 regulation, specifying the standard a coal mine operator must meet to rebut the presumed element of disability causation, permissibly fills a statutory gap in the legislation; and 2) the record adequately supports the ALJ?s conclusion that the operator did not meet that rebuttal standard in this case.

[06/14] Disabled American Veterans v. Sec'y Veterans Affairs
In a petition for review of provisions of the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) Adjudication Procedures Manual M21-1, involving 38 U.S.C. section 1117, which provides presumptive service connection for veterans who served in the Persian Gulf War with a qualifying chronic disability, and the statute's handling of a medically unexplained chronic multisymptom illness (MUCMI), the appeal is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction where petitioner cannot directly request review of that provision pursuant to 38 U.S.C. section 502.

[06/13] Plantier v. Ramona Municipal Water Dist.
In a class action against a Water District challenging the method used by District to calculate wastewater service 'fees or charges' between about 2012 and 2014, the trial court's judgment in favor of defendant, holding that plaintiffs failed to exhaust their administrative remedies under article XIII D of the California Constitution, is reversed where: 1) plaintiffs' class action is not barred by their failure to exhaust the administrative remedies set forth in section 6 because plaintiffs' substantive challenge involving the method used by District to calculate its wastewater service fees or charges is outside the scope of the administrative remedies; and 2) under the facts of this case, those remedies are, in any event, inadequate.

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Family Law

[06/26] Pavan v. Smith
In a case relating to same-sex marriage, Arkansas state officials refused to issue birth certificates listing the spouse when a mother in a same-sex marriage gives birth, but the court held that the decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U. S. ___ (2015) proscribes this differential treatment.

[06/16] In re A.G.
In a Father's appeals from a 12-month review hearing at which the juvenile court returned his children to their mother's care, Welf. & Inst. Code section 366.21(f), the court orders are reversed where the court erred when it found that he had been offered or provided reasonable services.

[06/13] Webb v. Webb
In a dissolution of marriage appeal, the trial court's judgment granting attorney fees is reversed where Family Code section 271 does not authorize the court to award sanctions to non-parties, but rather is intended to promote settlement of family law litigation through shifting fees between the parties to the litigation.

[06/12] Sessions v. Morales-Santana
In a case challenging the Immigration and Nationality Act's framework for U.S. citizenship from birth by a child born abroad, when one parent is a U. S. citizen and the other a citizen of another nation, the Second Circuit's decision reversing the BIA and holding unconstitutional the differential treatment of unwed mothers and fathers in section 1409, is affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded where: 1) the gender line Congress drew is incompatible with the Fifth Amendment's requirement that the Government accord to all persons 'the equal protection of the laws'; and 2) because this Court is not equipped to convert section 1409(c)'s exception for unwed U.S.-citizen mothers into the main rule displacing sections 1401(a)(7) and 1409(a), it falls to Congress to select a uniform prescription that neither favors nor disadvantages any person on the basis of gender.

[06/07] In re Jesse S.
In an adoptee's request under section 388.1 of the Welfare and Institutions Code to return to juvenile court jurisdiction and the foster care system, because the couple who adopted him the day before his 18th birthday were no longer supporting him, even though they were receiving payments on his behalf from California's Adoption Assistance Program (AAP), section 16115 et seq, the trial court's denial of the request is reluctantly affirmed where, under the literal language of section 388.1 the very fact the couple were still receiving AAP payments on adoptee's behalf precluded him from reentry into the juvenile dependency system. The court advises the Legislature to either change the law or--by reconsidering it and leaving it unchanged--reassure us that the present system is what they intended.

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Probate Trusts

[06/01] Raymond Loubier Irrevocable Trust v. Noella Loubier
In an inheritance dispute pertaining to the assets of the deceased, as conveyed to various revocable and irrevocable trusts in the deceased's name and that of his wife, the district court's dismissal of the complaint based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction is vacated and remanded where, because the plaintiff trusts are traditional common law fiduciary agreements, and, further, because they are not separate juridical entities under the relevant state law of Florida, the citizenship of their trustees controls a diversity determination.

[05/09] Higgins v. Higgins
In a trust case in which a wife agreed to hold funds in trust for her husband's elderly stepmother, and after her husband's death, the wife changed the form of the accounts and used the funds for her own purpose, the trial court's judgment in favor of wife-defendant under Code of Civil Procedure section 631.8 is reversed where, despite the form of the bank accounts, when clear and convincing evidence shows funds were transferred to an account owner to hold in an irrevocable trust for a third party beneficiary and the trustee repudiates the trust, a constructive trust may be imposed on the funds for the beneficiary's estate to prevent unjust enrichment.

[05/08] US v. Cardaci
In an action involving the Government's attempts to collect unpaid taxes assessed against a homeowner, seeking a judicial sale of the home, the district court's judgment, that a forced sale would be inequitable and order that the homeowner make monthly rent payments to the Government instead, is: 1) affirmed as to the district court?s authority to consider whether the property should be subject to a forced sale; but 2) vacated and remanded for recalculation of the ownership interests in the property and reconsideration of the equitable factors weighing for and against a sale.

[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).

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Immigration Law

[06/26] Trump. v. International Refugee Assistance Project
In the case of the challenge to the Trump administration's travel ban and the associated injunction, the court granted certiorari and consolidation of the Executive Order's challenges, granting a stay of the preliminary injunctions, to the extent that the injunctions prevent enforcement with respect to foreign nationals who lack any bona-fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.

[06/23] Marroquin-Rivera v. Sessions
In a Guatemalan native's petition for review of a Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) decision affirming the Immigration Judge's (IJ) denial of withholding of removal under the Convention Against Torture (CAT), the petition is denied where a reasonable fear of future persecution was not established and prior persecution had not taken place on account of the petitioner's membership in a social group or political opinion.

[06/23] Lee v. US
In a criminal case in which defendant was advised by counsel to plead guilty to possessing ecstasy with intent to distribute, an 'aggravated felony' that subjected defendant to removal under the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. section 1101(a)(43)(B), the sentence and conviction are vacated where defendant has demonstrated that he was prejudiced by his counsel's erroneous advice that he would not be deported as a result of pleading guilty.

[06/22] Maslenjak v. US
In a case seeking the de-naturalization of a former refugee from Bosnia who lied about her husband's military service under oath the jury had been instructed that the misrepresentations need not have been material to the citizenship application, which the court found to be an incorrect statement of the law. The decision was vacated and the case remanded.

[06/21] Harbin v. Sessions
In the case of a lawful permanent resident appealing the denial of relief due to a NY criminal conviction, the court found that: 1) the NY conviction arose from an indivisible statute, and; 2) applying the categorical approach, determined that it did not constitute an aggravated felony, for which reason they then vacated the finding of ineligibility for relief and remanded for further proceedings.

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Copyright

[06/20] Douglas Jordan--Benel v. Universal City Studios, Inc.
In the appeal of a breach of contract and copyright infringement case involving the movie 'The Purge,' the district court's denial of defendant's anti-SLAPP motion to strike a state law claim for breach of implied-in-fact contract, is affirmed where the breach of contract claim did not arise from an act in furtherance of the right of free speech since the claim was based on defendants' failure to pay for the plaintiff's idea, not the creation, production, distribution, or content of the films.

[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.

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