LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's IP/Tech - 9th Circuit Affirms: Publicity Rights Claim Preempted By Copyright

SAN FRANCISCO - An order that granted a special motion to strike a common-law right of publicity claim pursuant to California's anti-SLAPP statute was not erroneous because the claims are preempted by Section 301 of the federal Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. 101 et seq., the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled April 5 (Patrick Maloney, et al. v. T3Media Inc., No. 15-55630, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 5894).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Judge: Intellectual Property Exclusion Relieves Insurer Of Its Duty To Defend

RIVERSIDE, Calif. - A California federal judge on April 3 entered final judgment in favor of a commercial general liability insurer after finding that it has no duty to defend its insured against an underlying trademark and trade dress infringement lawsuit because the insurance policy's intellectual property exclusion bars coverage for all claims (Secard Pools, Inc., et al. v. Kinsale Insurance Co., No. 16-02404, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 47871).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Judge Remands Case Where Plaintiff Disclaimed Military Asbestos Exposures

LOS ANGELES - An asbestos plaintiff's disclaimer for any claims arising from conduct in a military or federal worksite precluded a boiler maker's removal of the case, but enough case law supports the move that sanctions are not warranted, a federal judge in California held March 31 (John Hukkanen, et al. v. Air and Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 17-2227, C.D. Calif.).

Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Judge Refuses To Grant Request For Interlocutory Appeal Of Ruling For CrossFit

SAN DIEGO - After determining that the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) failed to show that a lawsuit in which the owner of a workout program asserted violations of the Lanham Act and California's unfair competition law (UCL) in relation to data published by NSCA did not constitute the type of "exceptional" case that would warrant certifying an interlocutory appeal, a California federal judge on April 3 rejected the association's request to appeal a summary judgment ruling (Crossfit Inc. v. National Strength and Conditioning Association, No. 14cv1191, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50719).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Intellectual Property Exclusion Relieves Insurer Of Its Duty To Defend

RIVERSIDE, Calif. - A California federal judge on April 3 entered final judgment in favor of a commercial general liability insurer after finding that it has no duty to defend its insured against an underlying trademark and trade dress infringement lawsuit because the insurance policy's intellectual property exclusion bars coverage for all claims (Secard Pools, Inc., et al. v. Kinsale Insurance Co., No. 16-02404, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 47871).

Mealey's IP/Tech - California Federal Judge: Concert Performances Not Part Of Copyright Claim

LOS ANGELES - Pop singer Katy Perry on April 3 prevailed in a dispute over her song "Dark Horse," when a California federal judge agreed that Perry's public performance of the work at concerts during her "Prismatic World Tour" cannot, at the summary judgment stage, form the basis of a copyright infringement claim (Marcus Gray, et al. v. Katy Perry, et al., No. 15-5642, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50803).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Remands Case Where Plaintiff Disclaimed Military Asbestos Exposures

LOS ANGELES - An asbestos plaintiff's disclaimer for any claims arising from conduct in a military or federal worksite precluded a boiler maker's removal of the case, but enough case law supports the move that sanctions are not warranted, a federal judge in California held March 31 (John Hukkanen, et al. v. Air and Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 17-2227, C.D. Calif.).

Mealey's Insurance - Loss Of Boats Was Not Theft, Judge Finds In Ruling For Insurer

FRESNO, Calif. - An insurer did not breach a boat business' all-risk policy in bad faith by denying coverage for a theft claim because the evidence at trial showed that the loss of the business' boat inventory was not the result of theft but rather a family's asset transfer scheme gone awry, a California federal judge held March 31 (Pacific Marine Center, Inc. v. Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Company, No. 1:13-cv-00992, E.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 49637).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Magistrate Judge Orders Land Owner To Withdraw Request For Site Investigation

SAN FRANCISCO - A federal magistrate judge in California on April 3 ordered a property owner to withdraw a request to the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) to have a former owner conduct additional site investigation for contamination, finding that the request violated the terms of a settlement agreement with the parties (Northern California River Watch v. Fluor Corporation, No. 10-cv-05105-WHO, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50763).

Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Judge Dismisses UCL Claims Related To Allegedly Unfair Rental Late Fees

SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on March 31 granted a real estate company's motion to dismiss claims that it violated California's unfair competition law (UCL) when it charged a tenant a late fee, finding that the tenant failed to show that the fees were not practicable (Jordan Kohler v. Greystar Real Estate Partners, LLC, No. 15-cv-02195, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 49762).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Says Conservatorship Of Insolvent Insurer Is Futile, Orders Liquidation

SAN FRANCISCO - A California judge on March 30 ordered the end of the conservatorship of an insolvent insurer and the beginning of a liquidation proceeding (Dave Jones, Insurance Commissioner of the State of California v. CastlePoint National Insurance Company, and DOES 1-50, No. CPF-16-515183, Calif. Super., San Francisco Co.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Court: Expert's Experience On 'Like' Ships Can't Keep Builder In Asbestos Case

SAN FRANCISCO - An expert's testimony that his experience with ships "like" those in question is insufficient to overcome a shipbuilder's motion for summary judgment in an asbestos case, a California appeals panel held March 30 (Richard Johnson, et al. v. Moore Dry Dock, No. A146775, Calif. App., 1st Dist., 2017 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 2308).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - California Federal Judge Sides With Copyright Infringement Defendant

LOS ANGELES - On the heels of a March 9 recommendation by a California federal magistrate judge that a copyright infringement plaintiff should be sanctioned for failure to comply with a discovery order, a California federal judge on March 31 granted a defendant partial summary judgment with regard to 11 of 12 allegedly infringing fabric designs (Urban Textile v. Rue 21 Inc. and Mark Edwards Apparel Inc., No. 14-8285, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 49573).

Mealey's IP/Tech - California Federal Judge Sides With Copyright Infringement Defendant

LOS ANGELES - On the heels of a March 9 recommendation by a California federal magistrate judge that a copyright infringement plaintiff should be sanctioned for failure to comply with a discovery order, a California federal judge on March 31 granted a defendant partial summary judgment with regard to 11 of 12 allegedly infringing fabric designs (Urban Textile v. Rue 21 Inc. and Mark Edwards Apparel Inc., No. 14-8285, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 49573).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Court: Expert's Experience On 'Like' Ships Can't Keep Builder In Asbestos Case

SAN FRANCISCO - An expert's testimony that his experience with ships "like" those in question is insufficient to overcome a shipbuilder's motion for summary judgment in an asbestos case, a California appeals panel held March 30 (Richard Johnson, et al. v. Moore Dry Dock, No. A146775, Calif. App., 1st Dist., 2017 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 2308).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge: Expert Testimony Is Relevant, Reliable In Weight Loss Drug Trademark Suit

SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on March 29 allowed rebuttal expert testimony in a trademark lawsuit over the quality of a weight loss supplement because the expert is qualified and her testimony is relevant and based on reliable methods (Obesity Research Institute LLC v. Fiber Research International LLC, et al., No. 15-595, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 46999).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Apple Seeks Discovery Of U.K. Suit Documents In Wireless Tech Patent Case

SAN FRANCISCO - In a March 29 reply brief in California federal court, Apple Inc. defended its motion to compel discovery of documents from a lawsuit in the United Kingdom, contending that "they may bear on whether [Unwired Planet LLC's] damages demand" in the present patent case "constitutes a 'reasonable' royalty" (Unwired Planet LLC v. Apple Inc., No. 3:13-cv-04134, N.D. Calif.).

Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Judge Stays UCL And Other Claims Pending Review By Arbitrator

SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on March 28 compelled claims for violation of breach of contract, violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) and other causes of action to arbitration under a cable services agreement, finding that questions underlying the dispute must be decided by an arbitrator (Michael Song v. Charter Communications Inc., et al., No. 17cv325, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 45972.)

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Apple Seeks Discovery Of U.K. Suit Documents In Wireless Tech Patent Case

SAN FRANCISCO - In a March 29 reply brief in California federal court, Apple Inc. defended its motion to compel discovery of documents from a lawsuit in the United Kingdom, contending that "they may bear on whether [Unwired Planet LLC's] damages demand" in the present patent case "constitutes a 'reasonable' royalty" (Unwired Planet LLC v. Apple Inc., No. 3:13-cv-04134, N.D. Calif.).

Mealey's Insurance - Federal Judge Says Insurer Is Entitled To Reimbursement Of Costs Paid Under Deductible

SAN FRANCISCO - An insurer involved in an environmental contamination coverage dispute is entitled to reimbursement of the deductible it paid on behalf of its insured because the policy at issue specifically states that the deductible includes claim expenses such as defense costs, a California federal judge said March 29 in granting the insurer's motion for partial summary judgment (American Guarantee and Liability Insurance Co., et al. v. Technichem Inc., et al., No. 15-03611, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 47103).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - $25 Million Trump University Settlement Approved By California Federal Judge

SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on March 31 granted final approval of a $25 million to be paid by Trump University LLC, the now-defunct school that was owned by President Donald J. Trump, to end claims that the school was a sham and defrauded its students out of millions of dollars (Sonny Low, et al. v. Trump University, LLC, et al., No. 10-940, Art Cohen, et al. v. Donald J. Trump, No. 13-2519, S.D. Calif.).

Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Court Finds Release On Employment Termination Was Not Defamatory

LOS ANGELES - After finding that a former president and founder of a clothing company failed to show that he would likely succeed on the merits of his claims at trial, a California court on March 28 affirmed judgment in favor of an investment firm on his claims for defamation and violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) (Dov Charney v. Standard General, L.P., et al., No. B268928, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 5, 2017 Cal. App. LEXIS 274).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Disability Plan's Provision Granting Discretionary Authority Is Void

SAN FRANCISCO - A de novo standard of review must be applied in a claimant's suit seeking long-term disability benefits because the plan's discretionary authority provision is void under California state law, a California federal judge said March 27 (Peter Englert v. The Prudential Insurance Company of America, No. 15-4814, N.D. Calif.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 44833).

Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - California Federal Judge: Supplement Labeling Class Suit Belongs In State Court

SAN DIEGO - A class lawsuit over nutritional supplement labeling belongs in state court because the combined amount in controversy is less than $5 million, even when a 25 percent attorney fee award is included, a California federal judge ruled March 24, rejecting arguments by both sides that the case should remain in federal court (Paige Petkevicius, et al. v. NBTY, Inc., et al., No. 14-2616, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43636).

Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Wells Fargo Agrees To Pay $110M To Settle Unauthorized Accounts Class Claims

SAN FRANCISCO - Wells Fargo & Co. and Wells Fargo Bank N.A. have agreed to pay $110 million to end claims by a class of individuals who allege that the banking company opened accounts, enrolled them in products and services and submitted applications for products and services without consent, according to a joint notice of settlement filed March 28 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (Shahriar Jabbari, et al. v. Wells Fargo & Company, et al., No. 15-2159, N.D. Calif.).