Litigation

    • 21 Feb 2017

    Order Requiring Parents to Pay College Expenses Vacated

    The Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division recently decided a case involving a mother’s challenge to a family court order mandating that she and her former husband contribute to the college tuition expenses of their daughter, who had intervened in the parents’ divorce action. Plaintiff Maura McGarvey appealed from several Family Part orders mandating she and defendant Michael Ricci, plaintiff's...
    • 21 Feb 2017

    Compelling Criminal Defendant to Provide Fingerprint to Unlock Cellphone Did Not Violate Self-Incrimination Privilege

    A recent Minnesota Court of Appeals case of first impression in that State has established that compelling a criminal defendant to provide a fingerprint to unlock his cellphone does not violate the Fifth Amendment, U.S. Const. amend. V, privilege against compelled self-incrimination. On October 30, 2014, the homeowner left her house between 10:30 and 10:45 a.m. to run errands. Upon return around noon, she noticed that...
    • 21 Feb 2017

    Arizona’s Classification of Noncitizens in Denying Drivers’ Licenses Federally Preempted

    Affirming the district court's summary judgment and permanent injunction order, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled on February 2, 2017, that the federal government’s exclusive authority to classify noncitizens under the Immigration and Nationality Act preempted an Arizona policy of denying drivers' licenses to recipients of deferred action under the Deferred Action for Childhood...
    • 21 Feb 2017

    Beauty Is in the Eye of the Beholder—Not of the Court

    In Myrick v. Peck Electric Company , 2017 Vt. LEXIS 4, the Vermont Supreme Court, offered the chance by landowners displeased by solar arrays to rule that an action for private nuisance could be based solely on aesthetic considerations, chose not to abandon its long-standing precedent. After their neighbors rented property to the defendant solar energy companies, who wished to construct commercial solar arrays, the...
    • 14 Feb 2017

    FIDO and FAMILY LAW

    Alaska is the first state in the country to require courts to take into consideration the well-being of animals in divorce cases and to grant joint custody of pets. House Bill 147, which took effect on January 17, 2017, recognizes that animals are more than just property to be divided in a divorce action. Moreover, a court is allowed to address the best interest of the animal, not just the best interest of the owners...
    • 14 Feb 2017

    Executive Order Challenge

    On February 9, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit denied the United States Government’s emergency motion for a stay pending appeal of a federal district court’s temporary restraining order (TRO) enjoining enforcement of Executive Order 13769, "Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States," which among things, suspends for 90 days the entry...
    • 12 Jan 2017

    Tacked Together in the Mind of the Testator

    A widow challenging her late husband’s will argued that the Estate’s representative failed to make a prima facie case of a valid attestation, as the witnesses' signatures appeared neither on the same page as the testator's nor on a page that was "physically connected" to it, citing a 1921 case that invalidated a one-page will because the witnesses’ signatures were on another, separate...
    • 12 Jan 2017

    Star Trek Fan Film Boldly Going Before a Jury

    On January 3, 2017, Judge R. Gary Klausner of the United States District Court for the Central District of California issued a ruling in a copyright infringement case regarding the science fiction franchise Star Trek . The plaintiffs, Paramount Pictures Corporation and CBS Studios, Inc., which own the copyrights to Star Trek , sued the defendants, Axanar Productions and its president Alec Peters, alleging copyright infringement...
    • 12 Dec 2016

    NY Questioning Scientific Validity of Shaken-Baby Syndrome

    An appellate court in New York unanimously affirmed a decision that granted defendant Rene Bailey’s motion to vacate her second degree murder conviction from 2002, based on newly discovered evidence that questions the scientific validity of shaken-baby syndrome, also known as shaken baby impact syndrome. The court concluded that "a significant and legitimate debate in the medical community has developed in...
    • 2 Dec 2016

    New Jersey Veteran’s State-Side Medical Treatment of Wounded Qualified as Service in “Theater of Operation”

    The Tax Court of New Jersey recently decided that a New Jersey veteran qualified for the disabled veteran's personal residence tax exemption under N.J. Stat. Ann. § 54:4-3.30(a) as a result of her treatment of wounded soldiers as a doctor in a permanent facility in the United States. Lucienne Reed Duncan, M.D., took the military oath of office in 1997. She completed her undergraduate education at Duke University...
    • 2 Dec 2016

    Georgia Woman Arrested for Altering a Prescription Doctor Changed Sues for Negligence

    A Georgia woman’s suit against a family medical center (TCFPA Family Medical Centers, P.C.) and doctor (William O. Cornwell, M.D.) for negligence following her arrest for altering a prescription to illegally obtain a controlled substance was given a second chance after the Georgia Court of Appeals recently reversed the Catoosa Superior Court’s dismissal of the action. Dr. Cornwell had been Tami Carter's...
    • 2 Dec 2016

    What is torture?

    Absence of visible daylight? Unsafe water? No watch or clock? No books, no television, no radio? In Arguelles v. United States AG, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 21034, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a decision to remove Freddy Arguelles to Venezuela, where he was immediately arrested and imprisoned on charges of conspiracy, civil rebellion, and incitement to insurrection. Arguelles, a former Venezuelan...
    • 2 Dec 2016

    Fatal Hazing Incident--Florida A&M University's Marching Band

    Dante Martin was a member of the percussion section of Florida A&M University's marching band, the "Marching 100." Members of the percussion section were entitled to ride to away events in a motor coach known as "Bus C." Martin was president of Bus C. A tradition or ritual known as "Crossing Bus C" existed at the University for some time. The ritual consisted of three components:...
    • 2 Dec 2016

    Leasing Home On-line Violated Deed Restrictions

    The Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourth District, San Antonio, recently upheld the determination by a Bexar County trial court that the deed restrictions for a homeowner’s association, which provide that homes should be "used solely for residential purposes," prevented a homeowner from leasing his home for short periods of time to individuals who have no intent to remain in the home. In 2012, Kenneth...
    • 1 Dec 2016

    Copyright Challenge to “We Shall Overcome”

    On November 21, 2016, Judge Denise Cote of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York issued a ruling with respect to the protest song “We Shall Overcome.” The plaintiffs (the We Shall Overcome Foundation and Butler Films, LLC) contend that the lyrics to the first verse of the song, which was registered with the Copyright Office in 1960 and 1963, are virtually indistinguishable...
    • 28 Nov 2016

    Shucks, Oysters are not Agriculture

    Guest workers who worked shucking oysters for a seafood company alleged that the company violated sections of the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (AWPA). The company claimed that the AWPA did not protect workers who shucked oysters. In defining "agricultural employment," the AWPA itself references the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Internal Revenue Code. These definitions discuss...
    • 21 Oct 2016

    How Much Are You Drinking at Starbucks?

    Recently, two federal district courts have dismissed lawsuits alleging that that Starbucks Corporation deceives its customers by misrepresenting the volume of its cold drinks. The first case was decided by a California federal district court in August 2016. The second case was decided on October 14, 2016, by Judge Thomas M. Durkin of the United States District for the Northern District of Illinois. In the Illinois...
    • 18 Oct 2016

    Houston, We Have a Problem!

    After the South Texas College of Law (defendant) announced on June 22, 2016, that it was changing its name to "Houston College of Law," the University of Houston System (UH) filed a trademark infringement suit against the defendant. On October 14, 2016, Judge Keith P. Ellison of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas issued a preliminary injunction barring the defendant from using...
    • 7 Sep 2016

    ACTRESS LOSES CLAIM VIDEO GAME USED HER IMAGE

    On September 1, 2016, the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York, First Department, upheld a lower court’s dismissal of actress Lindsay Lohan’s misappropriation of likeness lawsuit against the video game manufacturer Take-Two Interactive Software and another defendant. Ms. Lohan and another plaintiff alleged that the defendants used a look-alike model in the video game "Grand Theft Auto V”...
    • 1 Sep 2016

    PROPOSED SETTLEMENT FOR UBER DRIVERS REJECTED

    An attempt by Uber Technologies, Inc. to settle a class action brought by approximately 350,000 drivers who claimed they were employees and as such, entitled to various expenses, was rejected by U.S. District Judge Edward Chen in San Francisco, who found the settlement unfair, inadequate, and unreasonable for Uber drivers. The drivers had claimed in the action that they should properly have been deemed employees rather...
    • 1 Sep 2016

    THREE LAWYERS DISBARRED FOR DUI SCHEME AGAINST OPPOSING COUNSEL!

    A cunning plan by lawyers to discredit opposing counsel began in a bar—and ended in their permanent disbarment by the Florida Supreme Court, as reported in the consolidated cases of Florida Bar v. Adams and Florida Bar v. Filthaut , 2016 Fla. LEXIS 1906. Robert D. Adams, Adam Robert Filthaut, and Stephen Diaco (“respondents”) represented a local disc jockey, “Bubba the Love Sponge” Clem...
    • 4 Jul 2016

    Court Confronts Canine Constitutional Case

    In State v. Newcomb, 2016 Ore. LEXIS 366, the Oregon Supreme Court addressed the question of whether a defendant’s rights under the Oregon and United States Constitutions had been violated due to a warrantless draw of blood from defendant’s dog. The dog was seized without consent by law enforcement both as evidence of animal neglect and because the officer thought that the dog needed medical treatment. A veterinarian...
    • 4 Jul 2016

    Attorney Suspended from the Practice of Law Because of a Practical Joke

    Adam Gelof was employed for approximately 20 years as a Deputy Attorney General (DAG) with the Sussex County, Delaware, Department of Justice, with the majority of his career spent in the felony trial unit. When Gelof was at work in the Sussex County Courthouse handling criminal case reviews on a split calendar balanced between two courtrooms, his predominate workspace when not in a courtroom was a small witness room...
    • 8 Jun 2016

    Damages Representing an Animal's Sentimental Value Not Recoverable

    On June 6, 2016, the Georgia Supreme Court issued an opinion concerning the proper measure of damages available to the owners of an animal injured or killed through the negligence of others. In 2012, Robert and Elizabeth Monyak boarded Lola, an 8 1/2 -year old dachshund mix, and a 13-year-old mixed-breed Labrador retriever named Callie for 10 days at the Barking Hound Village kennel. Three days after the Monyaks picked...
    • 8 Jun 2016

    Seller Beware: A Craigslist Cautionary Tale

    After the sale of a used printer on the popular site Craigslist, a seller unexpectedly became entangled in protracted litigation. Following the sale of the printer, the buyer (who had been previously found to be a vexatious litigant and allegedly spent much of his life prosecuting lawsuits against individuals and businesses with whom he entered into online transactions) filed an action in small claims court, arguing that...