In an opinion Wednesday, Judge Kaplan awarded attorneys’ fees to news networks that broadcast brief excerpts of the plaintiff’s live-streaming on Facebook of his partner’s childbirth.  Alongside the broadcasts, the networks offered “social commentary about the phenomenon of someone publicly live-streaming a life event that traditionally is considered personal.”  Judge Kaplan dismissed the plaintiff’s copyright claims on fair use grounds, and in the ruling Wednesday, he found the case so meritless as to justify fee-shifting: Continue Reading Judge Kaplan: Plaintiff Who Live-Streamed Childbirth Must Pay News Networks’ Attorneys’ Fees for Dismissed Copyright Suit

The SDNY Blog is relaunching as a publication of Steptoe & Johnson LLP.  We expect to post several times a week on decisions and other developments in the Southern District of New York.  You can find us right here at, or follow us on Twitter or Facebook.

Here’s a quick summary of what’s been happening in the Southern District while we were away:

  • Judge Berman vacated the NFL’s four-game suspension of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for his alleged role in deflating footballs used during the 2015 AFC Championship Game.  Judge Berman concluded that “Brady had no notice that he could receive a four-game suspension for general awareness of ball deflation by others or participation in any scheme to deflate footballs, and non-cooperation with the ensuing Investigation.”

Continue Reading SDNY Blog Returns as Steptoe Blog

In a decision today, Judge Román denied Aveeno’s motion to dismiss a class action challenging its use of the phrase “Active Naturals” on product labels and advertisements for skin care products containing mostly synthetic ingredients. He ruled that claims under NY BCL § 349, for deceptive trade practices, could proceed, despite the fact that the ingredient list on the product labels identified the synthetic ingredients:

Defendant argues it is unreasonable to assume each Aveeno product contains exclusively natural ingredients when its labeling affirmatively identifies its one or two natural ingredients as well as the synthetic ingredients . . . .  Although “the presence of a disclaimer or other clarifying language may defeat a claim of deception,” the Court cannot hold as a matter of law that the product labels are not misleading to a reasonable consumer. . . . Seen in tandem with the product labels, the website and Facebook page plausibly support Plaintiff’s contention that a reasonable consumer could be misled. The website focuses exclusively on the natural ingredients found in Aveeno products and the Facebook page touts the “power” of nature. Although “a party does not violate General Business Law § 349 by simply publishing truthful information and allowing consumers to make their own assumptions about the nature of the information,” here the published information emphasizes the plausibly misleading trademark.

At least three class action lawsuits have now been filed stemming from Facebook’s May 17 IPO, and there are surely more to follow. The first to be filed (Goldberg v. Nasdaq) names Nasdaq – not Facebook – as a defendant and alleges that the exchange “badly mishandled” the IPO, damaging class-members “in a variety of ways.”

Continue Reading Status Update: Multiple Class Action Lawsuits Following IPO