• March 26, 2015

    'Napoleon Dynamite' Appeal Says Fox Owes $10M Of DVD Take

    The producers of the hit indie film “Napoleon Dynamite” urged a California appeals court Thursday to revive their claim that Fox Searchlight Pictures owes them $10 million in DVD royalties, arguing Fox altered the terms of their distribution agreement without notice after the deal was already sealed.

  • March 26, 2015

    9th Circ. Lets HUD Off The Hook In Tribal Housing Row

    The Ninth Circuit on Thursday reversed a lower court ruling that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development failed to give the Crow Tribal Housing Authority a required hearing before reducing payments under a grant program, saying the authority didn't ask for one.

  • March 26, 2015

    False Ads Juicing Up Rival's Profits, Supplement Co. Says

    An Arizona nutritional supplement company says one of its competitors is bulking up its profits by falsely advertising supplements containing synthetic steroids as all-natural products, according to a lawsuit filed in California federal court.

  • March 26, 2015

    SpaceX Can’t Jettison Mass Layoff Class Action

    A California judge on Thursday rejected Space Exploration Technologies Corp.’s bid to end a putative class action alleging it laid off hundreds of workers last year without a state-mandated warning and shorted their final paychecks, ruling the plaintiffs had sufficiently pled their labor law claims.

  • March 26, 2015

    Cellphone Users Win Cert. In GE Capital Spam-Calling Suit

    A California federal judge on Thursday certified a nationwide class of cellphone users who allege they received multiple unwanted debt collection calls from GE Capital Retail Bank even though they weren't customers, which they say violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

  • March 26, 2015

    Aston Martin Says Ex-Designer's 'Thunderbolt' Infringes IP

    Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd. sued its former design director, Henrik Fisker, in California federal court Thursday, alleging he created a "Project Thunderbolt" concept car that ripped off several of the high-end automaker's distinctive design elements, displayed it at car shows and allegedly intends to produce and sell it.

  • March 26, 2015

    USCIS Shuffles Cases To Balance Its Workload

    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said on Thursday that it has begun transferring some alien relative cases from Vermont to California to balance its workload, and will soon shift certain immigrant worker, permanent resident and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals cases as well.

  • March 26, 2015

    Millennium Beats Off-Label Suit, But Free Speech No Factor

    A California federal judge on Thursday threw out a False Claims Act suit accusing Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc. of illicit off-label promotion, but the ruling omitted any discussion of free-speech issues in the closely watched whistleblower case.

  • March 26, 2015

    Meggitt Slams Ex-Engineer's Docs Bid In Trade Secrets Suit

    British aerospace and defense engineering company Meggitt Inc. criticized an ex-engineer’s requests for documents from a third party in a Wednesday motion in California federal court, saying the requests aren’t relevant to the suit.

  • March 26, 2015

    After Document Gaffe, Co. Refiles Alcatel-Lucent IP Suit

    After a patent infringement suit against Alcatel-Lucent USA Inc. was recently dismissed for lack of standing due to a missing document, Labyrinth Optical Technologies LLC filed an identical complaint in California federal court Thursday, saying it had addressed the problem.

  • March 26, 2015

    Funk Icon's Ex-Partner Sues Stroock Over 'Malicious' Suit

    A long-standing legal feud between funk mystic George Clinton and his ex-business partner continued Wednesday in a lawsuit filed alleging malicious prosecution, invasion of privacy and defamation springing from a previous litigation over master recordings of Parliament music.

  • March 26, 2015

    Hertz Wants $11.5M Class Action Moved To Federal Court

    The Hertz Corp. on Wednesday asked to transfer to California federal court an $11.5 million class action that accuses the company of not paying employees for working through breaks because the suit is too expansive for state court.

  • March 26, 2015

    CalPERS Broke Deal Over $100M Fund, Appeals Court Told

    Centinela Capital Partners LLC on Thursday urged a California appeals court to revive its suit alleging California Public Employees’ Retirement System broke an oral contract for Centinela to manage a $100 million fund, arguing the deal was an express agreement, not an “agreement to agree,” as a trial court found. 

  • March 26, 2015

    Calif. Judge Blocks State's Credit Card Surcharge Ban

    A California federal judge on Thursday struck down on free speech grounds a state ban on credit card surcharges, ruling the law unreasonably restricts merchants' ability to communicate that credit card fees are passed on to customers in the form of higher prices.

  • March 26, 2015

    Insurance Broker Off Hook For Negligence After Texas Arson

    An Orange County, California, appellate court refused Wednesday to overturn a jury verdict absolving insurance broker Donald R. Kappauf of liability in a negligence and breach of contract suit brought by real estate owner Main Street-Santa Ana LLC, whose Hightower Building in Midland, Texas, was damaged in a 2006 arson fire.

  • March 26, 2015

    Customer Says E-Trade Putting Kickbacks Before Service

    An investor with E-Trade Financial Corp. accused the company and its order routing unit of sending orders through trading venues that pay kickbacks instead of selecting the most efficient exchange, according to a putative class action filed in California federal court on Wednesday.

  • March 26, 2015

    Merrill Lynch Stiffed Trainee Advisers On OT, Suit Says

    A proposed collective of Merrill Lynch employees sued in California federal court Wednesday to recoup wages allegedly owed for unpaid overtime work performed during a financial adviser training program.

  • March 26, 2015

    Privacy Litigator To Join Jones Day In San Francisco

    Jones Day announced on Thursday that it is adding a cybersecurity litigation expert, who previously served as special assistant attorney general in the California attorney general's office, as partner to its business and tort litigation practice in the firm's San Francisco office.

  • March 26, 2015

    Expired Warranty Dooms Optima Lock Class Suit, Kia Says

    Kia Motors of America Inc. ripped apart a California putative class action this week accusing it of selling cars with defective door locks, saying the lead plaintiff only started having problems with her Optima five years after the warranty expired and erroneously believes she is entitled to a lifetime warranty.

  • March 25, 2015

    Calif. AG Seeks To Block Atty’s ‘Kill Gays’ Ballot Measure

    California Attorney General Kamala Harris on Wednesday asked a state court to allow her to block a proposed ballot initiative by a Huntington Beach attorney calling for the execution of gays and lesbians, saying the measure was “utterly reprehensible.”

Expert Analysis

  • A Primer On Defending Your Calif. Insurance License

    Sanford L. Michelman

    A special notice of defense lays the foundation for insurance licensees to go on the offensive, not only demanding that the California Department of Insurance provide evidence supporting its allegations but also raising potential shields to its allegations, say Sanford Michelman and David Samuels of Michelman & Robinson LLP.

  • Implied Easements And Lessons For Landowners

    Sylvia S. Arostegui

    For the first time in more than 50 years, a California appeals court effectively expanded the scope of an express written easement by granting a concurrent implied irrevocable license. Landowners simply can no longer assume that a written agreement will limit the rights of the parties if the factual circumstances would otherwise establish new or additional implied rights, says Sylvia Arostegui of Nossaman LLP.

  • Federal Judge Puts Tito’s Safe-Harbor Claim On The Rocks

    Thomas J. Cunningham

    On March 18, a federal judge in San Diego issued an eagerly anticipated ruling on a motion to dismiss filed by Fifth Generation Inc. — the producer of Tito’s Handmade Vodka. In issuing its ruling, the court became the first to offer an opinion on the merit of claims made in numerous similar cases filed across the country against a number of spirits producers, say Thomas Cunningham and Simon Fleischmann of Locke Lord LLP.

  • Can Employers Record Employee Phone Conversations?

    James M. McCabe

    Although no court has fully addressed the lawfulness of employers using voice over Internet protocol services to record all employee phone calls under federal and state laws, courts will likely apply the same framework used to examine the lawfulness of traditional telephone recordings, says James McCabe of Troutman Sanders LLP.

  • And Now A Word From The Panel: Just Say No (To MDLs)?

    Alan E. Rothman

    What will spring bring for the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation? Will it continue to close the door on new MDL proceedings? Will it decide to throw the baby out with the bathwater and decline to create a baby wipe MDL? asks Alan Rothman of Kaye Scholer LLP.

  • BPCIA: How Long Is The Party, And Do I Have To Dance?

    Leslie-Anne Maxwell

    A California federal court's recent ruling in Amgen Inc. v. Sandoz Inc. is the first to interpret two key provisions of the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act and, if upheld on appeal, will have a tremendous impact on the patent litigation strategies of both reference product sponsors and biosimilar applicants going forward, say attorneys with Cantor Colburn LLP.

  • Beware Attorney Charging Liens On California Real Property

    Jessica Bagdanov

    Charging liens are valid provisions of a fee contract in California, and such “secret” liens take effect and are perfected upon execution of the contract creating the lien. Yet in the context of a bankruptcy case, a Chapter 7 trustee plays a prominent role in the ultimate treatment of the lien with respect to property of the bankruptcy estate, says Jessica Bagdanov of Ezra Brutzkus Gubner LLP.

  • This Week In Congress: Bicameral Coincidence, Vote-A-Rama

    Richard A. Hertling

    This week both chambers begin the annual congressional budget debate, a process that will set the budget rules and spending limits for the congressional appropriations committees in funding federal agencies for fiscal year 2016. And on Thursday, the Senate will begin its famed “Vote-a-rama,” say Richard Hertling and Kaitlyn McClure of Covington & Burling LLP.

  • Calculating Costs Of Improper Calif. Background Checks

    Joshua R. Dale

    There are substantial penalties for California employers obtaining information on job seekers in violation of state and federal law or for using lawfully obtained information for an improper purpose. These penalties can include federal and state agency enforcement actions as well as private lawsuits on behalf of the aggrieved job applicant, says Joshua Dale of Michel & Associates PC.

  • A Look At The Latest Damages Model In Food Litigation

    Galen D. Bellamy

    While plaintiffs will reasonably celebrate the In re ConAgra decision, it remains to be seen whether a dual methodological damages model will be widely embraced by courts in future food and beverage labeling class actions as it suffers from several limitations, say Galen Bellamy and Cedric Logan of Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell LLP.