Justia Trademark Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Personal Injury
Klayman v. Judicial Watch, Inc.
Klayman founded Judicial Watch in 1994 and served as its Chairman and General Counsel until 2003. Klayman claims he left voluntarily. Judicial Watch (JW) claims it forced Klayman to resign based on misconduct. During negotiations over Klayman’s departure, JW prepared its newsletter, which was mailed to donors with a letter signed by Klayman as “Chairman and General Counsel.” While the newsletter was at the printer, the parties executed a severance agreement. Klayman resigned; the parties were prohibited from disparaging each other. Klayman was prohibited from access to donor lists and agreed to pay outstanding personal expenses. JW paid Klayman $600,000. Klayman ran to represent Florida in the U.S. Senate. His campaign used the vendor that JW used for its mailings and use the names of JW’s donors for campaign solicitations. Klayman lost the election, then launched “Saving Judicial Watch,” with a fundraising effort directed at JW donors using names obtained for his Senate run. In promotional materials, Klayman asserted that he resigned to run for Senate, that the JW leadership team had mismanaged and the organization, and that Klayman should be reinstated.Klayman filed a complaint against JW, asserting violations of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 1125(a)(1), by publishing a false endorsement when it sent the newsletter identifying him as “Chairman and General Counsel” after he had left JW. Klayman also alleged that JW breached the non-disparagement agreement by preventing him from making fair comments about JW and that JW defamed him. During the 15 years of ensuing litigation, Klayman lost several claims at summary judgment and lost the remaining claims at trial. The jury awarded JW $2.3 million. The D.C. Circuit rejected all of Klayman’s claims on appeal. View "Klayman v. Judicial Watch, Inc." on Justia Law
Scholz v. Goudreau
The First Circuit affirmed the district court’s summary judgment findings, evidentiary rulings, and denials of various motions on claims brought by a member of the rock band BOSTON against a former BOSTON guitarist alleging trademark infringement and breach of contract and on the guitarist’s counterclaims alleging breach of contract and abuse of process.Donald Thomas Scholz sued Barry Goudreau alleging claims related to impermissible inferences that Goudreau had allegedly made regarding his former association with BOSTON. Goudreau counterclaimed. After the district court granted in part the parties’ respective motions for summary judgment, the remaining claims proceeded to trial. The jury found in favor of the respective defendants on the remaining claims. The parties cross-appealed. The First Circuit affirmed the district court and denied the appeals, holding that there was no error or abuse of discretion requiring reversal. View "Scholz v. Goudreau" on Justia Law
Stone Flood & Fire Restoration, Inc. v. Safeco Ins. Co.
In 2000, a fire destroyed a business location of Stone Flood and Fire Restoration Inc., spurring years of litigation with its insurer, Safeco Insurance Company of America. After Stone Flood and its two shareholders, James and Patrice Stone, sued Safeco in 2007, the district court dismissed all claims against Safeco. The court concluded (1) Stone Flood's claims on the insurance policy were filed three days beyond the applicable statute of limitations and were therefore barred; (2) the Stones were not insureds and lacked standing to bring individual claims under the policy; and (3) the Stones lacked standing to bring a claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED) because their alleged injuries were merely derivative of the corporation's. The Supreme Court reversed in part and affirmed in part, holding (1) the district court's calculation of the tolling of the limitations period was incorrect and a correct calculation saved Stone Flood's claims under the insurance policy; and (2) the district court properly concluded the Stones were not insureds and lacked standing to sue under the policy, and their claim of IIED failed for lack of a distinct, non-derivative injury. Remanded.View "Stone Flood & Fire Restoration, Inc. v. Safeco Ins. Co." on Justia Law
Kyle, et al. v. Georgia Lottery Corp., et al.
Appellants sued GLC and SGI asserting trademark infringement, deceptive trade practices, and breach of contract stemming from GLC's "Money Bags" lottery games of 2005 and 2007. At issue was whether the Court of Appeals erred in finding that GLC was entitled to assert sovereign immunity as a bar to a suit raising claims that arose outside the Georgia Tort Claims Act and whether the Court of Appeals erred in finding that OCGA 10-1-440 required the bona fide use of a trademark to make out a claim concerning the trademark's infringement? The court held that because sovereign immunity applied to state instrumentalities, GLC was entitled to assert sovereign immunity as a defense in this case. The court also held that there was no error in the interpretation of OCGA 10-1-440(b) by the Court of Appeals where appellants have not made "bona fide" use of their MONEYBAG$ mark in commerce sufficient to establish protectable rights in the mark. Accordingly, the judgment was affirmed.View "Kyle, et al. v. Georgia Lottery Corp., et al." on Justia Law