WLF Briefing Delves into 2018 Legal, Regulatory Challenges for “Internet of Things” Technology

This interactive discussion was moderated by H. Michael O’Brien of Wilson Elser and featured Julie Kearney of the Consumer Technology Association, James Trilling of the Federal Trade Commission, and Courtney Stevens Young of Medmarc Insurance Group.

Cutting the Cord: “Smart TV Box” Devices and Copyright Infringement

copyright

Innovative ways to view broadcast content such as scripted shows, sporting events, and recently released movies are advancing at breakneck speed. Buyers should beware, however, that not all methods for accessing entertainment content are on the up-and-up. Several devices, for instance, promise extreme “cord-cutting” and incredibly wide access to content at a relatively low, one-time cost.

There’s a good reason why these devices are so cheap and offer so much: they provide a gateway to pirated content, facilitating copyright infringement on a massive scale. Unsurprisingly, the sellers of two such “smart TV boxes” are embroiled in copyright litigation. Continue reading “Cutting the Cord: “Smart TV Box” Devices and Copyright Infringement”

California Municipalities’ Climate-Change Litigation Against Energy Companies Takes a Surprising New Turn

Andrew-Varcoe-vert-1Guest Commentary

By Andrew R. Varcoe, Boyden Gray & Associates, PLLC*

In recent years, some environmentalists and their political allies have pursued aggressive lawsuits and investigations as part of an effort to change public policy on climate change. These activities include civil lawsuits that some California municipalities brought last year, seeking compensation from energy companies for the costs of responding to climate change.

Earlier this month, one of the private defendants in the California lawsuits fired back in a surprising way. On January 8, 2018, the Exxon Mobil Corporation (“Exxon”) filed a petition in a Texas state court to obtain pre-suit discovery against officials of the California localities and their legal counsel. Continue reading “California Municipalities’ Climate-Change Litigation Against Energy Companies Takes a Surprising New Turn”

On Issue of First Impression, Fifth Circuit Applies CAFA in Mass-Tort Cases to Deny Remand

Cruz-Alvarez_FFeatured Expert Contributor—Civil Justice/Class Actions

By Frank Cruz-Alvarez, a Partner with Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P. in the firm’s Miami, FL office, with Erica E. McCabe, an Associate in the firm’s Kansas City, MO office.

On January 9, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in the consolidated interlocutory appeals of Warren Lester, et al. and Shirley Bottley, et al., affirmed the district court’s decision denying the plaintiffs’ motions to remand their respective cases back to Louisiana state court.

Interpreting the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (CAFA) broadly, the Fifth Circuit majority confirmed that (1) a proposal for a joint trial of related state court cases triggers a “mass action” under CAFA, and (2) CAFA provides a basis for removal even when one of the underlying suits was filed before the law’s February 18, 2005, effective date. Lester, et al. v. Exxon Mobil Corp., et al., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 547 at *3–4 (5th Cir. Jan. 9, 2018). Continue reading “On Issue of First Impression, Fifth Circuit Applies CAFA in Mass-Tort Cases to Deny Remand”

“Big Coffee” Wins Another One in the Food Court

big coffeeFood Court Follies—A WLF Legal Pulse Series

Ed. Note: This is the first post for our blog by our newest Staff Attorney, Marc Robertson.

Without Jerry Seinfeld’s litigious (and fictional) attorney Jackie Chiles on the case, Siera Strumlauf and her co-plaintiffs did not stand a chance in California’s Food Court (the Northern District of California) in her “latte fraud” lawsuit. Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers granted Starbucks’ motion for summary judgment in Strumlauf, et al. v. Starbucks Corp., holding the plaintiffs failed to raise a single triable issue of fact as to each of their eight claims.

Lead plaintiff Strumlauf alleged that Starbucks committed, among other wrongs, breach of express warranty, fraud, and false advertising by underfilling its lattes and mochas (collectively, “lattes”). If this case sounds familiar, it is because a little over a year ago the Central District of California dismissed a case alleging Starbucks misrepresented the specific number of ounces in an iced drink in Forouzesh v. Starbucks Corp. (discussed here). That argument failed, so it only made sense that the plaintiff (and her lawyers) raised the temperature in the fight against Starbucks. Continue reading ““Big Coffee” Wins Another One in the Food Court”

U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Review Endangered Species Act Case

st_tammany_navCan the U.S. government designate a private landowner’s property as “critical habitat” for a threatened or endangered species if the species does not currently inhabit the land and could not do so unless the property owner agrees to modifications of his land? The U.S. Supreme Court agreed this morning to address those questions by granting a petition for certiorari in Weyerhaeuser Co. v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services.

Washington Legal Foundation filed an amicus brief in support of the Petitioner, who was represented by past WLF publication author and program speaker Timothy Bishop of Mayer Brown LLP.

WLF has also published a number of commentaries on Weyerhaeuser on this blog, which are listed below.

The Supreme Court’s “American Express” Antitrust Case: What’s at Stake

swisherFeatured Expert Column: Antitrust & Competition Policy — U.S. Department of Justice

By Anthony W. Swisher, a Partner in the Washington, DC office of Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP.

With the New Year comes the opportunity to consider the cases to the U.S. Supreme Court will hear in the second half of its October Term 2017. As has become routine in the last several years, the Court has an antitrust case on its docket. In Ohio v. American Express Co., the justices will have the opportunity to consider the proper application of the rule of reason to vertical agreements between credit card companies and merchants. The case presents important substantive issues, but also provides a chance to see whether the Court’s recent trends in antitrust enforcement will continue. The justices will hear arguments in the case on February 26. Continue reading “The Supreme Court’s “American Express” Antitrust Case: What’s at Stake”