WASHINGTON, D.C. — In its March 21 order list, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to address whether its recent ruling in Cedar Point Nursery v. Hassid had any bearing on a photographer’s claim that the University of Houston’s unauthorized online use of its copyrighted photo constituted a governmental taking, thus denying the petition for certiorari in which the photographer requested a grant, remand, vacate (GVR) order for the Texas Supreme Court to reconsider the matter.
ATLANTA — A divided Georgia Supreme Court on March 15 reversed an appeals court’s finding that Snapchat Inc. was not liable for an automobile accident caused by a driver who was using its “Speed Filter” app, with the high court’s majority finding that the social network operator had a duty under Georgia decisional law “to use reasonable care in selecting from alternative designs to reduce reasonably foreseeable risks of harm posed by its products.”
SEATTLE — Although a Washington federal judge on March 11 partly granted Amazon.com Inc.’s motion to dismiss a putative antitrust class action over certain pricing policies imposed upon third-party sellers using its online platform, the judge ruled that the consumer plaintiffs sufficiently alleged three claims against the internet retailer under the Sherman Act.
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — In reply briefs filed Feb. 2 and 9 in Virginia federal court, internet service provider (ISP) Cox Communications Inc. supports its motions for relief from a $1 billion judgment over its subscribers’ file-sharing activities, seeking discovery of materials revealed in a similar case against another ISP that it says bear directly on the plaintiff record labels’ claims against it.
By Hiram Kuykendall
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A District of Columbia federal judge on March 3 denied a petition for reconsideration by the Republic of the Gambia, in which the nation challenged the definition of what constitutes a Facebook “user,” with the judge finding that Meta Platforms Inc. (formerly Facebook Inc.) properly determined that certain posts by officials from the Republic of the Union of Myanmar are protected from disclosure by the Stored Communications Act (SCA) in its refusal to provide them to Gambia for use in an international anti-genocide proceeding.
MIAMI — A Florida federal magistrate judge on Feb. 28 said the owners of various luxury watch brands are entitled to a preliminary injunction in their lawsuit against myriad alleged counterfeiters.
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Three months after a bitcoin mining company was awarded $100 million for intellectual property conversion carried out by one of its principals, a Florida federal judge on March 9 granted the firm’s motion to amend the final judgment, finding that it was entitled to more than $43 million in prejudgment interest dating back to the date the conversion occurred.
NEW YORK — A federal judge in New York properly concluded that copyright law precludes allegations by a website owner of breach of contract and unfair competition against Google LLC and others, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled March 10.
BOSTON — In a March 10 ruling, the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of allegations of copyright infringement leveled in connection with the reposting of a Massachusetts man’s online comments in a different forum.
LOS ANGELES — A Las Vegas resident on March 12 filed a complaint in California federal court against an artist and two tech companies alleging that he lost more than $500,000 after winning at auction a non-fungible token (NFT) artwork featuring the well-known “Pepe” meme, which he alleges the defendants later distributed copies of for free in violation of California’s unfair competition law (UCL).
SAN FRANCISCO — An investor sued a technology company and its CEO in California federal court on Feb. 28, alleging that the defendants violated federal securities laws by posting a Tweet on the company’s official Twitter account stating that the company’s reviews for the second quarter of 2022 were better than they actually were, causing the company’s stock price to trade at an artificially high rate until the company released its actual results ahead of schedule.
NEW YORK — A John Doe defendant was unsuccessful in his attempt to quash an adult film company’s subpoena on his internet service provider (ISP) to obtain his name and address, with a New York federal judge on March 8 ruling that this “narrow and focused tool of discovery” was appropriate to allow the plaintiff’s copyright infringement claim to proceed while the defendant’s privacy is kept anonymous, for now, by a protective order.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 10 summarily upheld findings by a Massachusetts federal judge that a method of maintaining “crowd control” in a virtual network recited in the claims was correctly deemed ineligible for patenting under Section 101 of the Patent Act.
LOS ANGELES — A California federal judge on March 4 granted final approval for a $5.2 million revised settlement to resolve a lawsuit accusing a smartphone-based dating app of discriminatory age-based pricing in violation of the Unruh Civil Rights Act and California’s unfair competition law (UCL) following the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ reversal of a previously approved settlement.
NEW YORK — Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk asked a federal judge in New York on March 8 to quash and terminate a Securities and Exchange Commission subpoena, as well as a Sept. 29, 2018, consent decree he entered into with the SEC on claims that a series of social media posts he made in August stating that he was considering taking the company private violated federal securities laws.
PASADENA, Calif. — A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on March 7 refused to rehear its ruling that a federal court erred in finding that neither a “Computer Fraud” nor a “Funds Transfer Fraud” provision in a commercial crime insurance policy covered an insured’s alleged $200,000 loss, standing by its reversal of the trial court’s dismissal of the insured’s breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit against its insurer.
LAS VEGAS — Albertson’s LLC on March 3 was partly granted its second sanctions motion for a plaintiff’s failure to produce social media and communication data that the grocery store chain sought related to the plaintiff’s claims of injuries from an in-store incident, with a Nevada federal magistrate judge eschewing dispositive sanctions in favor of establishing certain facts for the upcoming jury trial.
ATLANTA — An 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on March 2 declined to reconsider its finding of mootness in Winn-Dixie Stores Inc.’s appeal of a ruling that its website’s inaccessibility to blind patrons violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), denying without comment the grocery store chain’s petition for rehearing en banc.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — With the U.S. Supreme Court’s March 7 denial of certiorari in a Jane Doe’s sex-trafficking liability suit against Facebook Inc., Justice Clarence Thomas again took the opportunity to issue a concurring opinion in which he voiced his belief that the high court or Congress should “resolve the burgeoning debate about whether the federal courts have . . . correctly interpreted” the immunity provisions of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA).