SAN FRANCISCO - Noting a lack of Michigan case law defining key terms in the state's Video Rental Privacy Act (VRPA), a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Feb. 24 certified a question to the Michigan Supreme Court, seeking the terms' definitions prior to deciding whether music-streaming service provider Pandora Media Inc. can be classified a lender of sound recordings in a privacy lawsuit against it (Peter Deacon v. Pandora Media Inc., No. 12-17734, 9th Cir.).
TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on Feb. 10 declined to rule on a summary judgment motion in a copyright infringement file-sharing case, finding that the plaintiff had not had adequate time to conduct relevant discovery prior to the motion's filing (Malibu Media LLC v. Roberto Roldan, No. 8:13-cv-03007, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15944).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Computer manufacturer Acer America Corp. and a media buying firm mostly saw their motions to exclude expert testimony denied on Jan. 22, with a California federal judge finding their respective damages and advertising experts qualified and their testimony relevant to the contractual claims at issue in the lawsuit (Prime Media Group LLC v. Acer America Corp., No. 5:12-cv-05020, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7515).
SEATTLE - Allegations of copyright infringement by BWP Media USA Inc., doing business as Pacific Coast News, were rejected by a Washington federal magistrate judge on Jan. 23 (BWP Media USA Inc., d/b/a Pacific Coast News v. Rich Kids Clothing Company, No. 13-1975, W.D. Wash.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8034).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A split U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 21 ruled that a former federal air marshal's disclosure of information about canceled missions to the media was not "prohibited by law" (Department of Homeland Security v. Robert J. MacLean, No. 13-894, U.S. Sup.).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - In a case that it said "stands at the intersection of a litigant's privacy interests in social media postings and the broad discovery allowed in . . . a civil case," a Florida appeals panel on Jan. 7 found no expectation of privacy in a woman's Facebook account, declining to overturn a trial court's granting of a motion to compel by Target Corp. in a personal injury lawsuit (Maria F. Leon Nucci, et al. v. Target Corp., et al., No. 4D14-138, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 153).
NORFOLK, Va. - A Virginia federal judge on Dec. 31 partially granted a motion filed by a group of military housing defendants in relation to claims that mold at rental military housing caused residents to suffer illness, ordering that the residents are required to produce various social media posts and to pay all of the costs of expert production of the material (Shelley Federico, et al. v. Lincoln Military Housing, et al., No. 2:12cv80, E.D. Va.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 178943).
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. - Although an Illinois federal judge found certain behavior by the plaintiff's attorneys in a now-dismissed copyright infringement lawsuit to be questionable and suspicious, he held Nov. 18 that there was not sufficient evidence to definitively establish sanctionable behavior, denying a defendant's motion for contempt and additional sanctions against the attorneys (Lightspeed Media Corp., et al. v. Anthony Smith, et al., No. 3:12-cv-00889, S.D. Ill.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 161566).
NEW YORK - A defendant on Nov. 14 won dismissal of allegations that it infringed upon copyrighted celebrity photographs, when a New York federal judge agreed that personal jurisdiction there is lacking (BWP Media USA Inc., et al. v. Hollywood.com Holdings LLC, et al., No. 14-121, S.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160642).
SAN FRANCISCO - Social media firm Twitter Inc. filed suit in California federal court Oct. 7, seeking a declaration that its First Amendment rights have been violated by the federal government's forbidding Twitter from revealing the extent or type of national security requests it has received as part of the government's surveillance program (Twitter Inc. v. Eric Holder, et al., No. 3:14-cv-04480, N.D. Calif.).
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Because the records sought by various media outlets related to an on-campus rape at Vanderbilt University are "relevant to a pending or contemplated criminal action," a Tennessee Court of Appeals panel majority on Sept. 30 held that the records were not discoverable under an exemption to the Tennessee Public Records Act (TPRA), reversing a trial court's ruling (The Tennessean, et al. v. Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson Co., et al., No. M2014-00524-COA-R3-CV, Tenn. App.; 2014 Tenn. App. LEXIS 616).
NEW YORK - In conjunction with a press release noting "a settlement that benefits" all parties involved, a coalition of photographer and illustrator groups filed a stipulation in New York federal court on Sept. 5 dismissing their four-year old copyright infringement lawsuit against Google Inc. related to the Google Library Project (GLP) (The American Society of Media Photographers Inc., et al. v. Google Inc., No. 10-cv-02977, S.D. N.Y.).
CHICAGO - An Illinois federal judge on Aug. 28 found that an insurer has no duty to defend its insured against a competitor's lawsuit alleging unlawful business practices (Hartford Casualty Insurance Co. v. ContextMedia, Inc., No. 12-cv-9975, N.D. Ill.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 120037).
GREENBELT, Md. - Despite a downloading defendant's claims that an adult entertainment firm used its copyright infringement complaint as a means of extorting settlements, a Maryland federal judge on Aug. 27 granted the plaintiff firm's motion for voluntary dismissal and denied the defendant's summary judgment motion, finding that the defendant's "interests are well-served" by a dismissal with prejudice (Metro Media Entertainment LLC v. Richard Steinruck, No. 8:12-cv-00347, D. Md.).
NEW YORK - A group of plaintiffs alleging securities fraud by a Chinese television advertising firm have met the class certification requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23, a New York federal judge found Aug. 15, granting a motion to certify the proposed class and denying a defendant's motion to strike the testimony of the plaintiffs' proffered market efficiency expert (Daniel McIntire, et al. v. China MediaExpress Holdings Inc., et al.; In Re China MediaExpress Holdings Inc. Shareholder Litigation, No. 1:11-cv-00804, S.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113446).
CHICAGO - An adult entertainment company's failure to provide details of its payment agreement with an investigations firm, which identified a John Doe defendant as an alleged infringer, was not inadvertent, an Illinois federal magistrate held Aug. 12, granting the Doe's motion for sanctions for failure to comply with the court's discovery order (Malibu Media LLC v. John Doe, No. 1:13-cv-06312, N.D. Ill.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A pro se plaintiff prevailed on appeal to the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Aug. 7, winning remand of a decision by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board that dismissed his opposition to a trademark application for "Nightlife Television" (Michael J. Cutino v. Nightlife Media Inc., No. 13-1541, Fed. Cir.).
CHICAGO - A Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 31 affirmed sanctions levied against three attorneys in a copyright infringement case over adult websites, finding that the attorneys violated direct orders of a trial court and engaged in abusive discovery practices (Lightspeed Media Corp., et al. v. Anthony Smith, et al., No. 13-3801 and 14-1682, 7th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 14725).