In rare but refreshing bipartisan good news out of Congress, Senator Thom Tillis (R – North Carolina…
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Members of Congress Stand Up for Property Rights

In rare but refreshing bipartisan good news out of Congress, Senator Thom Tillis (R – North Carolina) and Representatives Ben Cline (R - Virginia), Theodore Deutch (D - Florida), Martha Roby (R - Alabama) and Harley Rouda (D – California) have just taken a firm stand protecting property rights – copyrights specifically – and merit our praise.

As we’ve long highlighted, property rights constitute a central pillar of “American Exceptionalism,” and that includes intellectual property (IP) rights – copyrights, patents, trademarks and trade secrets.   Our Founding Fathers considered IP so important that they deliberately and explicitly singled it out for protection in the text of the Constitution.  As a direct result, we’ve become the most innovative and prosperous nation…[more]

December 06, 2019 • 02:15 pm

Liberty Update

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Jester's CourtroomLegal tales stranger than stranger than fiction: Ridiculous and sometimes funny lawsuits plaguing our courts.
Jester’s Courtroom
Coffee, Tea or a Lawsuit?
Wednesday, July 10 2019

A woman is suing Keurig, the maker of the "K-Cup" single-serve coffee pods, alleging the company deceived consumers by advertising that the pods are recyclable.

Kathleen Smith, the lead plaintiff in the class action lawsuit, argues that she and other customers would not have purchased nor paid as much for the K-Cups had they known they were not recyclable. She further claims the plaintiffs were financially injured by their purchases.

The class action lawsuit argued that most cities’ recycling facilities do not accept polypropylene plastic, the material that makes up the pods. U.S. District Judge Haywood S. Gilliam Jr., in allowing the case to move forward, noted that Smith had sufficiently established her claims, saying, “the Green Guides state that if a product is rendered non-recyclable because of its size or its components  even if the product’s composite materials are recyclable  then labeling the product as recyclable would constitute deceptive marketing.”

Keurig countered that most customers would realize that the K-Cups are not recyclable everywhere and argued that the cups are in fact able to be labeled as recyclable, per the Federal Trade Commission’s requirements for such labeling.

Source: topclassactions.com

Christmas in June?
Thursday, June 27 2019

A lawsuit over the placement of a Pennsylvania town's annual Christmas tree has ended, and the tree-lighting ceremony moved, at least for the time being.

In 2016 and 2017, Middletown's annual Christmas tree-lighting ceremony was held in front of the historic McNair House. In 2018, the owners of the home, Adam and Virginia Germak, filed a lawsuit against the city. Mayor James Curry, III, who also happens to be an attorney, recommended to the council that the tree be moved and the ceremony held in front of the historic church, St. Peter's Kierch.

"A 30-some-foot tree on property owned by the individuals suing the ICDA wasn’t a good idea.”

The move turned out to be "overwhelmingly positive" save for the Germak family. After the lawsuit was dismissed in the town's favor, the Germaks reportedly said they never objected to the tree being on their property.

“We want it here,” Virginia Germak said of the tree. “All we’ve asked is to get a signed addendum that is per the deed, and an insurance policy” protecting the Germaks from liability over the tree and the ceremony being on the property.

“We’ve been waiting on the ICDA since December 2017 for an easement agreement regarding the holiday decorations on our property, so the ball has been in their court since December 2017 and they have not acted on it,”  Adam Germak added.

Virginia Germak said the couple’s two young children were “devastated” when they learned the tree would not be in their front yard last Christmas. The Germaks claim they bought the property with the understanding the tree would be part of the deal. Now, they say they are being blamed for the tree's placement being moved.

“We were called the Grinch on Facebook,” Virginia Germak said.

According to news reports, councilor Ian Reddinger reportedly said the tree-lighting ceremony would have been held at the McNair House in 2018 if not for the Germaks filing their lawsuit.

“We were being sued by the Germaks in what I thought was a ridiculous lawsuit to begin with,” Reddinger said. “We couldn’t take the chance of someone saying, ‘We tripped.’ I didn’t want to go out of my way and invite another lawsuit” costing more tax dollars to defend.

The tree and tree-lighting ceremony will be held again at the church in 2019.

Source: pressandjournal.com

Seven Not A Lucky Number
Wednesday, June 19 2019

A lawyer and his client have been ordered to pay more than $1 million in sanctions and penalties after filing as many as seven amended complaints against a condo association.

According to news reports, plaintiff Marshall Spiegel, through his attorney John Xydakis, sued his condo association, 1618 Sheridan Road Condominium Association. In February 2018, Cook County (IL) Judge Margaret Ann Brennan denied Spiegel’s request to file a 99-count, 223-page fifth amended complaint and later that year denied his motion to reconsider that ruling. In a second related case, Spiegel filed a lawsuit accusing the village of Wilmette of violating his constitutional rights by asking him to stop tracking his neighbors’ activities to prove they were violating condo association rules. A U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals panel issued an opinion earlier this year upholding the decision of U.S. District Judge Sara Ellis to dismiss that complaint.

Back in Cook County, Judge Brennan said Spiegel filed seven amended complaints against the condo association and a number of motions and noted three cases were consolidated into one action. Stating the “cases have a convoluted and torturous history,” Brennan said the claims included concerns such as “placement of empty water bottles in front of his doorway, voicemails left on his answering machine, lawn furniture purchased for common areas, neighbors hiding in the bushes … and association bylaws that prohibit Spiegel from having shirtless massages next to the pool.”

Several entities pursued sanctions under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 137, which Brennan granted, noting “Xydakis filed claims against nearly every resident” of the condo and “without any factual basis … alleged serious offenses, including theft, slander, harassment and stalking.”

“Spiegel and Xydakis have shown complete disregard for the judicial process through their egregious conduct,” Brennan added.

Source: cookcountyrecord.com

Getting Schooled on the Law
Thursday, June 13 2019

A former college professor is suing Marvel Studios and the Walt Disney World Company, claiming he is the original author of the movie "Black Panther."

David Louis Whitehead, a former Wiley College professor, alleges that he submitted a film proposal to Netflix executives in November 2016 entitled "Black Batman." Despite being informed by executives on the day of the submission that they were not interested, Whitehead maintains Black Panther took elements from his submission. Marvel Studios counters that Black Panther was created in 1966 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

"The film Black Panther has a nearly all black cast, with two white characters, with one of those characters depicted as CIA agent relating to the plot," Whitehead’s lawsuit reads. "In contrast, plaintiff’s script ‘Batman Blackman’ has an all-black cast and he worked at the CIA for nearly seven years."

Despite conceding that Netflix responded within minutes of his emailed transmission, denying the proposal, according to news reports Whitehead "interprets the immediate rejection as a clear indication of 'fraud and negligence and violations of privacy.'"

Marvel responds:

"To the extent his claims surround the creation and distribution of the movie 'Black Panther,' there is no question that the film was based on the Marvel Comic character created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in the 1960s, long before Plaintiff submitted his 'proposal' to Netflix. Plaintiff’s allegations here are thus consistent with the fantastic allegations Plaintiff has raised over the past two decades against a myriad of entertainment entities."

Source: Breitbart.com

Loser Pays
Wednesday, June 05 2019

The Arizona Supreme Court has upheld a lower court's ruling requiring a Phoenix law firm to pay nearly $150,000 in legal fees over what the lower court concluded was unfounded litigation.

According to news reports, Statecraft LLC filed a lawsuit against the town of Snowflake and Copperstate Farms, a limited liability company that had received a special use permit from the municipality to grow marijuana in an existing greenhouse. Several residents, represented by Statecraft, filed suit, alleging, among other things, "illegal contract zoning."

Lower court Judge Donna Grimsley dismissed the case and ordered Statecraft to pay the legal fees roughly $40,000 to the town and $109,000 to Cooperstate. The appellate court upheld the decision, finding there was more than enough evidence the lawsuit should never have been filed.

"There is no public interest in a frivolous lawsuit, and discouraging groundless litigation is what the legislature intended," the appellate court concluded. Without comment, the Arizona Supreme Court declined to review the ruling.

Kory Langhofer, a Statecraft attorney, maintains the trial judge "simply got it wrong," warning of the implications of the Supreme Court's decision to leave the lower ruling intact, saying it "will inevitably chill thoughtful cases of first impression in Arizona courts."

Source: tucson.com



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Where is the USS Arizona Memorial located?
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Quote of the Day   
 
"It's now official: Russia, Russia, Russia really was fake news from the start. There was no factual basis for the FBI to spy on Donald Trump's campaign.That means there was no need for the appointment of a special counsel and that Robert Mueller should have stayed in retirement. It means the two years of rumors and accusations and the giant cloud of suspicions over the White House produced by Mueller…[more]
 
 
—Michael Goodwin, New York Post
— Michael Goodwin, New York Post
 
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Should House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff be investigated for subpoenaing and publishing call log records (with no details or context) of another member of congress, the president's attorney, a journalist and others?