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Judge Crotty Grants TRO Halting Suspension of Cowboys Running Back Ezekiel Elliott

In a short Order this evening, Judge Crotty (sitting in Part I for Judge Failla), granted the NFL Players Association a TRO to place on hold the six-game suspension of Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott. The ruling explains that, absent a TRO, “Mr. Elliott would suffer irreparable harm because he stands to miss more than one-third of the … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Throws Out Case Alleging Government Fabricated Evidence for Hedge Fund Raid, Leading to Fund’s Collapse

In an opinion today, the Second Circuit reversed a ruling by Judge Pauley (see our prior coverage here) that had allowed hedge fund manager David Ganek to proceed with claims against the U.S. Attorney and various other government officials over a raid that led to the collapse of his hedge fund, Level Global.  Mr. Ganek had alleged, in … Continue Reading

Judge Pauley: Parties Cannot Settle FLSA Case Under “Shroud of Secrecy”

In an opinion last week, Judge Pauley refused to allow the parties in an FLSA case to redact portions of a Settlement Agreement, and further refused to approve the settlement itself. Judge Pauley found that the presumption of public access to judicial documents was fundamentally at odds with the parties’ attempt to settle under a “shroud … Continue Reading

Judge Forrest Tosses Suit Challenging Alleged City Policy to “Stop All Pedicabs”

This week, Judge Forrest dismissed an action by New York City pedicab drivers challenging city policies towards pedicabs as unconstitutional.  The drivers claimed that NYPD officers were given instructions “from above” to “stop all pedicabs,” which resulted in unwarranted inspections, checkpoints, and fines. Judge Forrest found that the plaintiffs failed to allege a colorable Fourth Amendment claim:… Continue Reading

Judge Castel Upholds New York’s “Ballot Selfie Ban” After Bench Trial

Today, Judge Castel formally upheld New York State’s “ballot selfie ban” at the conclusion of a bench trial.  The ruling comes after Judge Castel denied a preliminary injunction shortly before the November 2016 election (see our previous coverage here). Considering whether the law violated the First Amendment, Judge Castel found that the law survived strict scrutiny because … Continue Reading

Judge Failla: Law Schools Steered Students Away From Bar Exam Prep Company On Merits, Not Because Schools Colluded With Barbri

In an opinion today, Judge Failla dismissed entirely a case brought by a bar exam company referred to as “LBE” that specializes in students with LL.M. degrees.  LBE accused the industry leader, Barbi, of colluding with law schools nationwide to harm its business, but LBE’s own complaint — 78 pages long and with 63 exhibits — actually … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Revives “Small Group Defamation” Claim By Fraternity Against Rolling Stone

In an opinion this week by Judge Forrest (sitting by designation), the Second Circuit reversed in part Judge Castel’s dismissal (covered here) of claims brought by a University of Virginia fraternity against Rolling Stone magazine over a widely discredit article telling the story of a source named “Jackie” being gang raped at a fraternity party. The Second … Continue Reading

Playwright Prevails in Challenge to Parody of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!”

Last week, Judge Hellerstein ruled that a parody of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” constituted fair use and did not infringe on the defendant’s copyright or related trademarks.  The plaintiff, New York playwright Matthew Lombardo, brought the suit against Dr. Seuss Enterprises over his “one actress 75-minute comedic play featuring a rather down-and-out 45 year-old … Continue Reading

Judge Rakoff: “KinderGuides” to Literature Infringe Copyrights of Original Works

In an opinion last week, Judge Rakoff ruled that children’s illustrated versions of classic novels called “KinderGuides” infringed the copyrights associated with the original works.  He rejected the defendants’ arguments that the removal of adults themes and addition of commentary rendered the publishing of the Guides “fair use”:… Continue Reading

Judge Cote: First Verse of “We Shall Overcome” Not an Original Work Subject to Copyright

Last week, Judge Cote granted a motion for summary judgment challenging the copyright for the civil rights anthem “We Shall Overcome.”  Plaintiffs, the We Shall Overcome Foundation, argued that the similarities between the copyrighted song and a 1948 version in the public domain meant that the first verse of the famous song was not sufficiently original … Continue Reading

Judge Sweet: Lynyrd Skynyrd Movie Cannot Proceed

In an opinion this week, Judge Sweet granted a permanent injunction against a film depicting the band Lynyrd Skynyrd, finding that it violated a 1988 consent order limiting the use of the band’s name and songs.  The agreement, originally overseen by Judge Sweet, was entered into by surviving family and band members from a 1977 … Continue Reading

Judge Forrest: Fact That Complaint Exposes Book By Former Fox News Host as Ghostwritten Is Not Grounds For Sealing

In an opinion unsealed last week, Judge Forrest ruled that a suit by the alleged ghostwriter of former Fox News host Andrea Tantaros’ book Tied Up in Knots could not stay sealed, merely because the revelation that there was a ghostwriter could cause Tarantos “humiliation”: Defendant argues that, as a well-known television journalist, her credibility … Continue Reading

Opposition Brief: Trump’s Emoluments Argument Has “No Support in Two Centuries of History”

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and other plaintiffs responded Friday to President Trump’s motion to dismiss their case to enforce the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause.  President Trump argued that the clause, which prevents government officers from receiving gifts from foreign countries, was never intended to cover the president’s private business dealings unrelated to his office or service to a … Continue Reading

Judge Oetken: Law Banning Robocalls to Cell Phones, Except Where Government is Collecting Debts, Does Not Violate First Amendment

In an opinion Wednesday in a case under the TCPA, a law that (among other things) bars calls without consent to cell phones via automatic dealings systems, Judge Oeken rejected the defendant’s argument that, by exempting government debt collection calls from the ban, the law is a form of speech discrimination that violates the First Amendment. … Continue Reading

Judge Gardephe Dismisses Renewed Defamation Claims by Anti-Aging Doctors Labeled as “Quacks”

Today, Judge Gardephe dismissed with prejudice the amended complaint brought by two prominent “anti-aging” doctors against the nonprofit consumer advocacy website “Quackwatch.”  Last year, Judge Gardephe dismissed the original complaint, containing defamation claims based on an article reporting that the plaintiffs had agreed to pay fines to the Illinois licensing authorities for improperly using the term “M.D.” after their … Continue Reading

SDNY Selects Three New Magistrate Judges

The Southern District has announced three new magistrate judges, who will fill the seats being vacated by Magistrate Judges Francis, Ellis, and Peck later this year. Joining the bench will be Stewart Aaron, of Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer; Robert Lehrburger, of Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler; and Ona Wang, of Baker & Hostetler. For … Continue Reading

Judge Preska: Widespread Pirating Makes Music Price Fixing Case Unsuitable for Class Treatment

In an opinion yesterday, Judge Preska refused to certify as a class action a case alleging price fixing in the digital music industry.  Among other reasons, she found that widespread pirating would raise “unclean hand” defenses that could not be determined on a classwide basis: Defendants note that two of the Proposed Class Representatives admitted … Continue Reading
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