Commercial Contracts

  • January 29, 2015

    Caterpillar, Komatsu, Volvo Sued Over Monopoly Attempt

    An importer of Chinese-made heavy construction equipment railed against Caterpillar Inc., Komatsu America Corp. and a Volvo AB subsidiary in Delaware federal court on Thursday, accusing the manufacturers of conspiring to block its online distribution by strong-arming its online auction partner into breaking a contract.

  • January 29, 2015

    AutoNation Case Shows High Bar To Undo Arbitrator Awards

    The California Supreme Court held Thursday that an AutoNation Inc. employee fired during medical leave wasn’t deprived of his rights because evidence in arbitration showed he violated a company policy by working elsewhere while on leave, a decision lawyers say ducks questions about employers’ “honest belief” defense while reinforcing that judicial review of arbitration awards is extremely limited.

  • January 29, 2015

    Rexam Claims Plastics Co. Broke Pension Pact In $135M Sale

    British packaging company Rexam PLC lodged a lawsuit Thursday in Delaware Chancery Court, claiming Berry Plastics Corp. is violating a $135 million deal to buy one of Rexam's business lines by doing an about-face and refusing to accept transfer of some pension responsibilities.

  • January 29, 2015

    Brown Rudnick Gets Partial Win In Malpractice Fight

    A New York federal judge on Wednesday gave Brown Rudnick LLP a partial win in its malpractice dispute with former client Surgical Orthomedics Inc. over a $3.3 million arbitration award, ruling SOI can’t add a termination with cause claim but can allege a new ethics violation.

  • January 29, 2015

    Immunomedics Sidesteps Securities Fraud Suit

    New Jersey-based biopharmaceutical company Immunomedics Inc. on Thursday turned back allegations that it misled investors by concealing the deterioration of a major licensing agreement after a federal judge ruled the company was under no obligation to disclose anything short of the contract’s termination to investors.

  • January 29, 2015

    Lil Wayne Smacks Record Label With $51M Breach Suit

    Rapper Lil Wayne smacked his record label with a $51 million breach-of-contract suit in New York federal court on Wednesday, arguing Cash Money Records withheld millions over his delayed album “Tha Carter V” and urging a judge to end his contract with the label.

  • January 29, 2015

    NJ Beach Town Plans Thwarted By Conspiracy, Promoter Says

    An event promoter has filed a racketeering lawsuit in Pennsylvania federal court accusing officials in Wildwood, New Jersey, of stealing its ideas for a beach festival, a conspiracy the company says culminated with a meeting under a dimly lit boardwalk where its owner was threatened with a gun.

  • January 29, 2015

    Country Club Can't Force Arbitration With Late Bylaw Change

    A California appeals court on Tuesday ruled Ironwood Country Club can’t force members to arbitrate their suit over loan repayments, finding it couldn’t retroactively use a bylaw amendment mandating arbitration that was passed months after the suit was filed.

  • January 29, 2015

    NLRB Defied 5th Circ. In Class Waiver Fight, Murphy Oil Says

    The National Labor Relations Board defied the Fifth Circuit when it held that Murphy Oil USA Inc. arbitration agreements barring workers from pursuing class or collective actions were unlawful and doubled down on the NLRB's “erroneous” findings in D.R. Horton, Murphy Oil said Wednesday.

  • January 29, 2015

    No Research Tax Credits For Enviro Consultant: 11th Circ.

    The Eleventh Circuit on Thursday rejected an environmental consulting firm’s bid for $1.7 million in research tax credits, agreeing with a lower court that the research had been funded by the firm’s clients and, therefore, didn’t qualify for a refund.

  • January 29, 2015

    Patterson Belknap Escapes DQ In Mexican Auto Parts JV Row

    Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP dodged disqualification Wednesday after an Illinois federal judge found the firm’s client, a Mexican auto parts manufacturing joint venture, may not have needed board approval, as its opponents argued, to hire the firm as outside counsel to sling a contract lawsuit against its parent company.

  • January 28, 2015

    Apple Beats Bid To Recertify Calif. Warranty Suit On Appeal

    A California appeals court on Wednesday refused to reverse a lower court’s decision that decertified a class of consumers accusing Apple Inc. of shorting their warranties and AppleCare contracts, finding insufficient evidence that plaintiffs had standing to bring their claims.

  • January 28, 2015

    Union Pacific Wins Toss Of Insurers' Suit Over Okla. Crash

    A Pennsylvania federal judge on Wednesday tossed a suit against Union Pacific Railroad Co. by two insurers that claim they shouldn’t have to pay a wrongful death settlement following a 2006 crash, giving priority to the railroad company’s rival lawsuit targeting the insurers in Nebraska.

  • January 28, 2015

    NJ High Court Set To Tackle Consumer Arbitration Question

    Enrollees with the Sanford Brown Institute have won the New Jersey Supreme Court's review of whether they are contract-bound to arbitrate consumer fraud and other claims against the career training provider.

  • January 28, 2015

    Quincy Jones Slams Sony Over Docs In 'Bad' Royalties Row

    Legendary music producer Quincy Jones told a California judge on Wednesday that Sony Music Entertainment and Michael Jackson's production company are wrongfully withholding partnership agreement documents in Jones' $10 million suit alleging that Sony cheated him out of royalties on "Bad," "Thriller" and "Off the Wall."

  • January 28, 2015

    TracFone Will Pay $40 Million In FTC Throttling Suit

    TracFone Wireless Inc. will pay $40 million to consumers for falsely promising them "unlimited" data service but then slashing data transfer speeds after they exceeded certain limits, according to a deal filed in California on Wednesday by the Federal Trade Commission.

  • January 28, 2015

    Hormel Ducks Trade Secret Claim Over Bacon Process

    An Oklahoma company that's suing Hormel Food Corp. in Minnesota federal court for allegedly ripping off a special process for cooking bacon was reminded Tuesday of an “axiomatic” limitation to intellectual property law: A patented idea cannot also be a trade secret.

  • January 27, 2015

    Calif. Appeals Court Backs Authors Of Ozzy Guitarist Book

    A California appeals court ruled Monday that the authors of a book on deceased Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Randy Rhoads had a First Amendment right to publish it despite claims by Rhoads' family that they used materials provided solely for a documentary film.

  • January 27, 2015

    ‘American Idol’ Winner Launches Fight To End Talent Deal

    "American Idol" winner Phillip Phillips is asking the California Labor Commissioner to void his contracts with "Idol" producer 19 Entertainment Inc., claiming the company acted without a talent agent license and put its own interests above his.

  • January 27, 2015

    Sly Stone Wins Contract Suit Against Ex-Manager, Atty

    A California jury on Tuesday awarded at least $2.5 million to Sly Stone, finding that the company owned by the rock legend’s former manager Gerald Goldstein and attorney Glenn Stone breached its employment agreement with the singer.

Expert Analysis

  • M&G Polymers May Impact Private And Public Sector

    Frances Rogers

    The U.S. Supreme Court's recent demand that ordinary principles of contract law apply in M&G Polymers USA v. Tackett over whether retiree medical benefits in a collective bargaining agreement are per se vested has implications for both private and public sector employers, despite the latter being guided by other legal strictures and public policy considerations, says Frances Rogers of Liebert Cassidy Whitmore.

  • Key Questions When Selecting E-Discovery Vendors

    David Houlihan

    While e-discovery remains a critical pain point in litigation, the "solutions" supporting its processes continue to evolve. In order to help organizations navigate the sea of options, we conducted research with 21 organizations across e-discovery market segments to understand the factors involved in successful e-discovery investments, says David Houlihan of Blue Hill Research Inc.

  • Iskanian V. CLS Will Continue To Divide Calif. Courts

    Regina Silva

    The U.S. Supreme Court's recent denial to hear Iskanian v. CLS Transportation Los Angeles LLC means it remains good law and is binding on all state courts. However, since California federal courts appear to have no intention of following the opinion, legal observers should expect significant forum-shopping by litigants going forward, says Regina Silva, senior counsel at Tyson & Mendes LLP and a former prosecutor.

  • Yes, You Can Appeal An Arbitration Award

    Joan Grafstein

    It is not possible to appeal an arbitration award to a court on the usual appellate grounds under federal or state law, but CPR, JAMS and the American Arbitration Association offer parties an optional appeal within the arbitration process based on the parties’ agreement. While these procedures have much in common, each has its own distinctive features, including the grounds for appeal, says Joan Grafstein of JAMS.

  • Who Owns Your Company Facebook Account? #unclear

    Nary Kim

    Over 70 percent of Fortune 500 companies now maintain a Twitter or Facebook account. Like their human counterparts, companies are actively blogging, tweeting, updating their Facebook pages, and posting videos and comments on YouTube. But who owns these social media accounts, employee or employer? Turns out, it's not so clear, say attorneys with Jenner & Block LLP.

  • And Now A Word From The Panel: 2014 JPML Practice Trends

    Alan E. Rothman

    At its December session, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation considered the second attempt by a distributor of dietary supplements to create an MDL proceeding, raising the prospect of the first Hawaii MDL proceeding in nearly 20 years. But as we gear up for the panel hearing on Thursday, let's also consider how JPML trends of 2014 compare with prior years, says Alan Rothman of Kaye Scholer LLP.

  • Normal Contract Rules Apply For E-Signing In Calif.

    Alan S. Kaplinsky

    A California appellate court's recent ruling in Ruiz v. Moss Bros. Auto Group Inc. shows that, even though nearly all jurisdictions recognize the legal effect of electronic signatures, employers must be able to establish that the electronic signature was the act of the employee, say attorneys at Ballard Spahr LLP.

  • Caution To Landlords: Calif. Nonwaiver Clauses Revisited

    Sylvia S. Arostegui

    Historically, California landlords have taken refuge in the protections afforded by including a nonwaiver clause in their leases. And under most circumstances, courts will enforce such nonwaiver provisions. But there are exceptions that can leave landlords without the protection they expect, says Sylvia Arostegui of Nossaman LLP.

  • Calif. Land Grant Case May Change Railroad Rights Of Way

    Neil M. Soltman

    A California appellate court's recent ruling in Union Pacific Railroad Co. v. Santa Fe Pacific Pipelines Inc. is likely to significantly affect the relationships between railroads and their subsurface tenants on rights of way that were originally granted by the government, particularly in the western part of the country, say Neil Soltman and Michael Kerr of Mayer Brown LLP.

  • A Data Security Checklist For Companies Hiring Law Firms

    Jenn Topper

    We trust our law firms with huge amounts of data, whether in or out of discovery, investigations or litigation. All too often, we have relied on privilege, confidentiality and attorney ethics as a proxy for data protection and information security. But in fact, law firms ought to be held to a much more stringent standard — and in-house counsel would be wise to begin with a number of specific inquiries, says legal industry consultan... (continued)