LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Permits Government To Conduct Broad Search Of Email Addresses

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - An Alabama federal judge on Dec. 1 granted the U.S. government's motion to reconsider limitations that were previously imposed on search methods to be used with certain email accounts, with the judge concluding that the specifics of the case require flexibility with the usual particularity requirements for warrants required by the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (In re Search of Information Associated with 15 Email Addresses Stored at Premises Owned, Maintained, Controlled or Operated by 1&1 Media, Inc., et al., No. 2:17-cm-03152, M.D. Ala.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Asks Government To Explain Objection To Email Keyword Search Order

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Responding to the U.S. government's objection to a court-imposed requirement that keyword searches be utilized in searching email accounts targeted by warrants, an Alabama federal judge on Nov. 17 directed the government to submit a brief explaining the search framework it would rather use (In re Search of Information Associated with 15 Email Addresses Stored at Premises Owned, Maintained, Controlled or Operated by 1&1 Media, Inc., et al., No. 2:17-cm-03152, M.D. Ala.).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Panel: Employee Fired For Pro-Trump Tweet Wrongly Denied Unemployment Benefits

HARRISBURG, Pa. - A Pennsylvania appellate panel on Nov. 13 found that an employee's tweet, which led to her dismissal, did not violate her employer's social media policy and, thus, did not constitute willful misconduct to disqualify her from receiving unemployment compensation (UC) benefits (Waverly Heights Ltd. v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, No. 312 CD 2017, Pa. Cmwlth.).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Panel: Employee Fired For Pro-Trump Tweet Wrongly Denied Unemployment Benefits

HARRISBURG, Pa. - A Pennsylvania appellate panel on Nov. 13 found that an employee's tweet, which led to her dismissal, did not violate her employer's social media policy and, thus, did not constitute willful misconduct to disqualify her from receiving unemployment compensation (UC) benefits (Waverly Heights Ltd. v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, No. 312 CD 2017, Pa. Cmwlth.).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Federal Circuit Affirms: Data Streaming Patents Ineligible For Protection

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Delaware federal judge did not err in deeming a series of patents stemming from continuation applications ineligible for protection under Section 101 of the Patent Act, 35 U.S.C. 101, because the patents claim the abstract idea of sending and monitoring the delivery of audio/visual information, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Nov. 1 (Two-Way Media Ltd. v. Comcast Cable Communications LLC, et al., No. 16-2531, Fed. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 21706).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Government Objects To Keyword Search Requirement In Email Warrants

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - One month after an Alabama federal magistrate granted the U.S. government's application for warrants to search certain email accounts, the government on Oct. 23 filed a motion for reconsideration of an ex ante requirement that the searches be conducted using keywords, calling the stricture burdensome and not necessary under the Fourth Amendment (In re Search of Information Associated with 15 Email Addresses Stored at Premises Owned, Maintained, Controlled or Operated by 1&1 Media, Inc., et al., No. 2:17-cm-03152, M.D. Ala.).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Supreme Court Denies Social Media Aggregator's Petition Challenging CFAA Ruling

WASHINGTON, D.C. - In its Oct. 10 order list, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition for certiorari by an online social media aggregator, which insisted that it had accessed users' data on Facebook Inc.'s social network with their consent and, thus, did not exceed authorization under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) (Power Ventures Inc., et al. v. Facebook Inc., No. 16-1105, U.S. Sup.).

Mealey's IP/Tech - National Urban League Prevails In Trademark Dispute With Disaffiliate

DALLAS - Continued use by the Urban League of Greater Dallas and North Central Texas Inc. (ULGD) of the "Urban League" trademark on social media and online after the National Union League Inc. (NUL) stripped ULGD of its affiliate status represents infringement, a Texas federal judge ruled Sept. 29 (National Urban League Inc. v. Urban League of Greater Dallas and North Central Texas Inc., No. 15-3617, N.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160608).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Supreme Court Denies 2nd Certiorari Petition In Case Over Online Threats

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Pennsylvania man convicted for making threats against co-workers and others on social media saw his second bid at a petition for certiorari denied Oct. 2 when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to consider his questions related to a reasonableness standard and mens rea in reaching such a conviction (Anthony D. Elonis v. United States of America, No. 16-1231, U.S. Sup.).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Vocational Assessment Was Flawed, Disability Claimant Is Owed Benefits, Judge Says

TACOMA, Wash. - A Washington federal judge on Sept. 27 granted judgment in favor of a disability claimant after determining that the insurer's vocational assessment was flawed because the assessment relied on unsupported information taken from the claimant's social media profiles to conclude that the claimant had enough experience to secure a job in the media industry (Anthony Flaaen v. Principal Life Insurance Co. Inc., No. 15-5899, W.D. Wash., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159142).

Mealey's Insurance - Vocational Assessment Was Flawed, Disability Claimant Is Owed Benefits, Judge Says

TACOMA, Wash. - A Washington federal judge on Sept. 27 granted judgment in favor of a disability claimant after determining that the insurer's vocational assessment was flawed because the assessment relied on unsupported information taken from the claimant's social media profiles to conclude that the claimant had enough experience to secure a job in the media industry (Anthony Flaaen v. Principal Life Insurance Co. Inc., No. 15-5899, W.D. Wash., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159142).

Mealey's Securities/D&O Liability - Judge Revoke's Shkreli's Bail After Social Media Posts About Clinton

BROOKLYN, N.Y. - Ruling that former pharmaceutical company CEO and hedge fund manager Martin Shkreli failed to show that he is not a "danger to the safety of any other person or the community if released," the New York federal judge overseeing Shkreli's criminal proceedings on Sept. 13 revoked Shkreli's bail and remanded him to custody pending sentencing on his conviction for securities fraud and conspiracy, according to a minute entry on the docket for the proceedings (United States of America v. Martin Shkreli, No. 15-637, E.D. N.Y.).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Illinois Federal Judge: Copyright Dispute Over Updated Manual Can Proceed

CHICAGO - In a Sept. 6 order, an Illinois federal judge deemed allegations by a not-for-profit corporation that a defendant infringed a copyrighted accreditation manual adequately pleaded to survive a motion to dismiss (The Joint Commission of Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations v. Fortis Business Media LLC, No. 16-4724, N.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144217).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Magistrate Judge Allows Punitive Damage Claim Against John Crane To Proceed

WILMINGTON, Del. - Seemingly contradictory corporate testimony regarding any steps a company took to prevent asbestos exposures, and evidence involving media and state laws detailing the dangers exposure presented warrant allowing a couple to pursue a punitive damages claim against John Crane Inc., a federal magistrate judge in Delaware recommended Aug. 30 (Icom Henry Evans, et al. v. Alfa Laval Inc., et al., No. 15-681 D. Del., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 139582).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Magistrate Judge Allows Punitive Damage Claim Against John Crane To Proceed

WILMINGTON, Del. - Seemingly contradictory corporate testimony regarding any steps a company took to prevent asbestos exposures, and evidence involving media and state laws detailing the dangers exposure presented warrant allowing a couple to pursue a punitive damages claim against John Crane Inc., a federal magistrate judge in Delaware recommended Aug. 30 (Icom Henry Evans, et al. v. Alfa Laval Inc., et al., No. 15-681 D. Del., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 139582).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - U.S. Government Urges Review Of Email Warrant Denial Despite 11th Circuit Ruling

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - In an Aug. 28 filing in Alabama federal court, the U.S. government states that it "persists in its request" from a July 18 motion to review and vacate a magistrate's order denying warrants for the production of emails related to a tax fraud investigation, arguing that a subsequent 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling on the search of email accounts has no bearing on the present case (In re Search of Information Associated with 15 Email Addresses Stored at Premises Owned, Maintained, Controlled or Operated by 1&1 Media, Inc., et al., No. 2:17-cm-03152, M.D. Ala.).

Mealey's IP/Tech - 6th Circuit: Dismissal Of Declaratory Judgment Copyright Claim Was Proper

CINCINNATI - An Ohio federal magistrate judge did not err in dismissing, as redundant, a declaratory judgment counterclaim of noninfringement filed by an alleged downloader of various copyrighted films, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Aug. 28 (Malibu Media LLC v. David Ricupero, No. 16-3628, 6th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 16586).

Mealey's IP/Tech - FitBit Prevails Before Patent Board Following Inter Partes Review

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - The three remaining claims of a patent covering a system for monitoring health, wellness and fitness were deemed unpatentable pursuant to Sections 102 of the Patent Act, 35 U.S.C. 102, on July 19 by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (FitBit Inc. v. BodyMedia Inc., No. IPR2016-00545, PTAB).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Government Seeks Review Of Order Denying Warrants For Email Search, Seizure

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - An Alabama federal magistrate judge erred in declining to issue warrants for the production of emails related to a tax fraud investigation, the U.S. government argues in a July 18 motion asking the court to review and vacate that decision, arguing that its warrant applications comported with the requirements of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (In re Search of Information Associated with 15 Email Addresses Stored at Premises Owned, Maintained, Controlled or Operated by 1&1 Media, Inc., et al., No. 2:17-cm-03152, M.D. Ala.).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Panel: Complaint Against Digital Media Firm Properly Struck Under Anti-SLAPP Law

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).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Supreme Court Denies Certiorari In Copyright Preemption Case

WASHINGTON, D.C. - In its June 19 orders list, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will not review a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals holding that Section 301(a) of the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. 301(a), preempts state law claims relating to ideas expressed in tangible media (Ultraflo Corp. v. Pelican Tank Parts Inc., et al., No. 16-1085, U.S. Sup.).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Supreme Court Deems North Carolina Sex Offender Social Media Ban Unconstitutional

WASHINGTON, D.C. - While acknowledging the importance of enacting laws to protect children from sexual predators online, the U.S. Supreme Court on June 19 issued majority and concurring opinions finding that a North Carolina sex offender registry law violates the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution because it "impermissibly restricts lawful speech" and is not sufficiently tailored (Lester Gerard Packingham v. State of North Carolina, No. 15-1194, U.S. Sup., 2017 U.S. LEXIS 3871).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Board Improperly Invalidated Media Sharing Patents, Owner Tells Court

WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a May 26 reply brief, the owner of two patents directed to sharing digital images and video argued that efforts by Google Inc. and Samsung Electronics Inc. to "justify" an erroneous finding of invalidity by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board of two patents relating to digital media sharing are "long on rhetoric but short in support" (Summit 6 LLC v. Google Inc. et al., Nos. 17-1184, -1185, Fed. Cir.).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Indiana Federal Judge Dismisses Franchise Fraud Claims Against Publisher

INDIANAPOLIS - An Indiana federal judge on May 16 granted third-party defendants' motion to dismiss franchise fraud claims against them in a trademark infringement case, saying counterclaimants failed to plead their claim with sufficient particularity (Britt Interactive LLC, et al. v. A3 Media LLC, et al., No. 1:16-cv-02884, S.D. Ind., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 73945).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - 4th Circuit Panel Reverses ERISA Claim Dismissal, Says Factual Development Needed

RICHMOND, Va. - A Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on May 11 reversed and remanded a Virginia federal judge's ruling that a benefits director's Employee Retirement Income Security Act claim failed to allege that he testified or gave information in any "inquiry or proceeding," saying that the prudent course of action is to allow for greater factual development before delving into critical questions of statutory interpretation (Roberto Trujillo v. Landmark Media Enterprises, LLC, et al., No. 16-1264, 4th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 8361).