SAN FRANCISCO - In an April 25 holding, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Fox Entertainment Group Inc., upholding a dismissal by a California federal judge of allegations that the film studio infringed trademark rights in a half-squirrel, half-rat character known as "Sqrat" (Ivy Silberstein and Silberstein & Silberstein LLC v. Fox Entertainment Group Inc., et al., No. 16-55318, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 10447).
SAN DIEGO - After finding that there was no undue delay by an investor who alleges that the manager of a nightclub development company violated California's unfair competition law (UCL) and committed securities fraud by inducing him into investing money for the development of a club, a California federal judge on Feb. 21 granted him leave to amend his complaint to name another manager as a defendant (Matthias Mueller v. San Diego Entertainment Partners LLC, et al., No. 16cv2997, S.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 28013).
ST. LOUIS - Allegations of service mark infringement against four defendants were dismissed by a Missouri federal judge on Jan. 23, based upon findings that a karaoke licensing company is unlikely to succeed on the merits of its claims (Phoenix Entertainment Partners LLC v. Sports Legends LLC, et al., No. 17-1209, E.D. Mo., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10381).
ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 9 found that when Thomas McClary departed the Grammy Award-winning band The Commodores in 1984, he forfeited his common-law rights to use and profit from "The Commodores" trademark (Commodores Entertainment Corporation v. Thomas McClary, et al., No. 16-15794, 11th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 518).
SHREVEPORT, La. - A panel of the Second Circuit Louisiana Court of Appeal on Dec. 13 affirmed a trial court's decision to grant summary judgment to hotel in a suit where a woman who injured herself in her room's bathroom after being scared at seeing an infestation of ants because the woman could not prove that the hotel knew or should have known about the infestation (Deborah Kennedy v. Red River Entertainment of Shreveport LLC, No. 51,760-CA, La. App., 2nd Cir., 2017 La. App. LEXIS 2317).
SAN DIEGO - An adult entertainment firm has sufficiently established a prima facie copyright infringement case against a John Doe online file sharer, a California federal magistrate ruled Dec. 7, granting the plaintiff's motion to conduct expedited discovery on the Doe's internet service provider (ISP) to identify the defendant for litigation purposes (Strike 3 Holdings LLC v. John Doe, No. 3:17-cv-02312, S.D. Calif.).
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge, in an order filed Dec. 1, declined preliminary approval of a class settlement worth up to $7,425,000 offered by Dave & Buster's Inc. to end claims that the nationwide restaurant/entertainment chain violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by reducing the hours of its work force in 2013 to avoid the costs associated with providing health insurance to its full-time employees in compliance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (Maria De Lourdes Parra Marin v. Dave & Buster's, Inc., et al., No. 15-3608, S.D. N.Y.).
SAN DIEGO - Lead plaintiffs in a securities class action lawsuit against SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. and certain of its current and former executive officers over their alleged concealment of the negative impact the document "Blackfish" had on the company's business and financial condition have met all statutory requirements to certify the class of investors, a federal judge in California ruled Nov. 29 in certifying the class (Lou Baker v. SeaWorld Entertainment Inc., et al., No. 14-2129, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 196235).
OAKLAND, Calif. - A California federal judge on Nov. 27 found that the State Insurance Compensation Fund has no duty to defend against underlying claims that adult film stars became infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) while they were performing in films that were being produced by the insured, finding that the non-intentional tort claims are preempted by the exclusive remedy provision of workers' compensation and the intentional tort claims are barred under a policy exclusion (Seneca Insurance Company Inc. v. Cybernet Entertainment LLC, et al., No. 16-06554, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 194441).
SAN DIEGO - After finding that the manager of a nightclub development company fraudulently induced an investor into investing money for the development of a new club, a California federal judge on Aug. 7 refused to dismiss the investor's claims for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) and securities fraud (Matthias Mueller v. San Diego Entertainment Partners LLC, et al., No. 16cv2997, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 77643).
MIAMI - A Florida appeals panel on July 26 held that it lacks jurisdiction to hear a homeowners insurer's appeal of a Hurricane Wilma coverage dispute, dismissing the appeal (Gulfstream Property & Casualty Insurance Co. v. David Coley, No. 3D16-885, Fla. App., 3rd Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 10651).
LOS ANGELES - Finding that an online entertainment company's trade libel suit against a digital media firm was based directly on the contents of its communications, a California appeals panel on June 29 affirmed a trial court's ruling striking the suit under the state's Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation statute (anti-SLAPP statute), also finding that underlying issues of internet copyright and adult content were matters of public interest that merited protection under the statute (FilmOn.com v. DoubleVerify Inc., No. B264074, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., 2017 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 4477).
CINCINNATI - A split Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on May 25 upheld a ruling by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which found that an employer violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) by requiring employees to sign off on an agreement that barred them from pursuing class action litigation or collective arbitration of work-related claims (National Labor Relations Board v. Alternative Entertainment, Inc., No. 16-1385, 6th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 9272).
PASADENA, Calif. - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 23 affirmed a district court's dismissal of claims asserted by a movie theater owner against a competitor, finding that since its claims for violation of the Cartwright Act failed, its other causes of action for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) and interference also failed (Starlight Cinemas v. Regal Entertainment Group, No. 15-55217, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 8978).
SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on May 22 dismissed an investor's claims for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) and securities laws, finding that he failed to show that he was fraudulently induced into investing in the development of a nightclub (Matthias Mueller v. San Diego Entertainment Partners LLC, et al., No. 16cv2997, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 77643).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Environmental groups filed two amicus curiae briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court on May 1, arguing that the high court should hear the appeal of a group of Ecuadorian residents and their attorney, who challenge an $18.5 billion fraud judgment they previously won against Chevron Corp. on grounds that "Chevron's schemes in Ecuador and New York highlight why courts do not entertain collateral attacks on foreign judgments" (Steven Donziger, et al. v. Chevron Corporation, No. 16-1178, U.S. Sup.).
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on May 1 agreed with Warner Bros. Entertainment and a co-defendant that a request for statutory damages and attorney fees stemming from the excerpted use of a copyrighted song in the intro to the show "Lucifer" fails as a matter of law because the work in question was unpublished at the time it was first used (Robert J. Marderosian, et al. v. Warner Bros. Entertainment, et al., No. 17-1062, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66173).
PASADENA, Calif. - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel correctly found that it was not liable for its users' posting of copyrighted adult pictures, a usenet service provider asserts in an April 10 brief opposing an adult entertainment firm's petition for rehearing, arguing that the panel applied the correct standard for determining vicarious liability (Perfect 10 Inc. v. Giganews Inc., et al., No. 15-55500, 15-55523 and 15-56026, 9th Cir.).