Senate Environment Panel Plans Hearing To Discuss Fuel Taxes, Highway Trust Fund
Sept. 10 –The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will examine a potential fuel tax increase as part of a Sept. 25 hearing to discuss the solvency of the Highway Trust Fund.
A committee aide confirmed the hearing, which has not been formally announced, to Bloomberg BNA Sept. 10. The witness list is still being finalized.
Colorado Entity Estopped From Asserting Rights in Characters Created by Stan Lee
Sept. 10 –An entity originally formed to manage Stan Lee’s rights in the characters he created was estopped from bringing a copyright infringement claim against Walt Disney, the producer of recent films based on Marvel superheroes, the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado ruled Sept. 5 (Stan Lee Media, Inc. v. Walt Disney Co., D. Colo., No. 1:12-cv-02663-WJM-KMT, 09/05/13).
Granting a motion to dismiss, the court found that issue preclusion, laches, and the statute of limitations all prevented the entity from bringing claims.
Judge Allows Detroit to Keep Casino Revenue; Won’t Rule on Elibility, Pension Rights Yet
DETROIT–The judge overseeing Detroit’s bankruptcy case Aug. 28 ruled the city may keep collecting casino revenue tied to swaps contracts that are subject to a disputed settlement, denying bond insurer Syncora Guarantee Inc. the right to capture the revenue while the court considers whether to approve the settlement (In re City ofDetroit, Bankr. E.D. Mich., No. 13-53846).
Separately, Judge Steven Rhodes said he won’t consider challenges to the bankruptcy that involve “issues of material fact,” such as whether the bankruptcy filing violates pension protections enshrined in the Michigan constitution, as part of his determination as to whether Detroit is eligible to file for bankruptcy, saying those questions may be raised later in the process.
Hiring Outlook for Fourth Quarter Rises To Post-Recession High, Manpower Says
Sept. 10 –The employment outlook for the final three months of 2013 inched up to its highest level during the economic recovery, the 16th consecutive quarter in which payrolls are expected to increase, according to a survey of more than 18,000 U.S. employers in the private and public sectors released Sept. 10 by ManpowerGroup. The [...]
No Privilege for Consultations Via Work E-Mails, Del. Court Rules
The Delaware Chancery Court Sept. 5 ruled that senior officers of a biomed firm facing breach of fiduciary duty claims may not invoke attorney-client privilege over consultations with their attorneys using work e-mail accounts (In re Info. Mgmt. Servs., Inc. Derivative Litig. , Del. Ch., Consol. C.A. No. 8168-VCL, 9/5/13). In so ruling, Vice Chancellor J. Travis Laster [...]
India Raises Threshold for Transactions Requiring Transfer Pricing Scrutiny to $2.3M
A circular issued by India’s Central Board of Direct Taxes in New Delhi said that only international transactions worth more than 150 million rupees ($2.3 million) will come in for compulsory transfer pricing scrutiny.
Tax specialists told Bloomberg BNA that the earlier ceiling of 50 million rupees ($760,000) had already been revised to 150 million rupees in the CBDT’s internal guidelines for tax officers. The circular serves to make the higher figure public and official.
Fired Nurse With Breast Cancer Didn’t Show ADA Bias, FMLA Interference, Judge Says
A Minnesota registered nurse who had breast cancer failed to show that she was fired because of a disability or her use of intermittent medical leave, a federal district court in Minnesota ruled Sept. 4 (Lichty v. Allina Health Sys., D. Minn., No. 12-00437, 9/4/13).
Granting summary judgment to Allina Health System, Judge David S. Doty of the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota found that the medical provider presented a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for firing Julie Lichty based on her alleged failure to properly document medication dispensed to patients and possible drug diversion.
Yelp Sues Firm That Sued It for Coercion, Alleging Posting of Fake Favorable Reviews
SAN FRANCISCO –Yelp, Inc. sued a San Diego bankruptcy law boutique Aug. 20 alleging that the firm used the online consumer-review website to post fake glowing reviews and testimonials about itself in violation of California consumer protection laws (Yelp, Inc. v. McMillan Law Group Inc., Cal. Super. Ct., S.F., No. CGC13-533654, filed 8/20/13).
The complaint, filed in the California Superior Court for San Francisco County, alleges that McMillan Law Group sent Yelp positive reviews of the firm purportedly written by bankruptcy clients but actually originated by employees of the firm. Yelp alleges that this deceived consumers and violates the state’s unfair business practices act, California Business and Professions Code Section 17200, as well as Section 17500, the state false advertising law.
Whether to Stay NPE Litigation Not Affected By Infringement Defendant’s Reexam Choice
Sept. 4–A patent licensing firm cannot be prejudiced by a stay in court pending a patent reexamination because monetary damages would “provide adequate redress for infringement,” the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled Aug. 28 (Internet Patents Corp. v. eBags, Inc., N.D. Cal., No. 4:12-cv-03385-SBA, 8/28/13).
Court Confirms Refusal to Dismiss Fraud Suit Against Health Care Concern
The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California Sept. 3 declined to reconsider its refusal to dismiss would-be class securities fraud allegations that healthcare concern Celera Corp.’s (CRA) failed to disclose certain billing and collection problems (In re Celera Corp. Securities Litigation, N.D. Cal., No. 5:10-cv-02604 EJD, 9/3/13).
6th Cir. Affirms Trademark, Other Rulings In Favor of Larry Flynt Against His Brother
A federal district court did not err in awarding summary judgment in favor of Larry Flynt Publications in its trademark lawsuit against Larry Flynt’s brother, Jimmy Ray Flynt, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled Aug. 28 (L.F.P.IP, LLC v. Hustler Cincinnati, Inc., 6th Cir., No. 12-3132, 8/28/13).
Affirming summary judgment in favor of Larry Flynt Publications, the court determined that some of the arguments asserted by Jimmy Ray on appeal had not been properly raised before the district court and thus had been waived.
Income, Retirement Contributions Declined Between 2008, 2010, IRS Says
Between 2008 and 2010, individual taxpayers’ income declined by about 2 percent, from $5.7 trillion to $5.6 trillion, according to an Internal Revenue Service Statistics of Income Bulletin released Sept. 3.
At the same time, the total number of taxpayers declined by 2 percent, from 140.7 million to 136.8 million, the IRS said.
Restaurant Manager’s Disability Bias Claims Sent Back to Local Agency for Further Review
A restaurant manager may proceed with disability bias claims, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals ruled Aug. 29, finding the restaurant’s offer of a demotion and pay cut is evidence it did not adequately accommodate his joint disease problem (Sparrow v. D.C. Office of Human Rights, D.C., No. 12-cv-1732, 8/29/13).
Judge Allows Detroit to Keep Casino Revenue; Won’t Rule on Elibility, Pension Rights Yet
DETROIT–The judge overseeing Detroit’s bankruptcy case Aug. 28 ruled the city may keep collecting casino revenue tied to swaps contracts that are subject to a disputed settlement, denying bond insurer Syncora Guarantee Inc. the right to capture the revenue while the court considers whether to approve the settlement (In re City of Detroit, Bankr. E.D. Mich., No. 13-53846).
Court Upholds Securities Lawyer’s Conviction But Slams Prosecutors for ‘Discovery Abuse’
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit Aug. 23 affirmed the conviction and sentence of former securities attorney Gregory Bartko on mail fraud related to the sale of fraudulent investments, but issued a scathing rebuke to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina for “discovery abuse” (United States v. Bartko , 4th Cir., No. 12-4298, 8/23/13).
Legal Same-Sex Marriage Recognized For Federal Tax Purposes, IRS, Treasury Say
Same-sex married couples will be recognized as legally married for all federal tax purposes, regardless of where they live, so long as they were married in a jurisdiction that recognizes such marriages as legal, the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service said Aug. 29 in joint news releases.
Audit Firm Frazer Frost Must Face Allegations Over RINO Fraud
The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California Aug. 1 declined to dismiss putative class securities fraud claims over outside auditor Frazer Frost LLP’s alleged role in client RINO International Inc.’s (RINO) wide ranging fraud in its China-based industrial equipment business (Hufnagle v. RINO Int’l Corp., C.D. Cal., No. CV 10-08695 DDP (VBKx), 8/1/13).
Judge Dean D. Pregerson said that the question now before the court is “’ When the allegations are accepted as true and taken collectively, would a reasonable person deem the inference of scienter at least as strong as any opposing inference?’” (See, Tellabs, Inc. v. Makor Issues & Rights, Ltd, 551 U.S. 308 (2007)).
Website Gets Pro Bono Help in Copyright Dispute Over the Posting of Routing Numbers
SAN FRANCISCO–The website owner who the American Bankers Association alleges is violating copyright law for posting bank routing numbers is getting some pro bono counsel to dispute those charges.
In an Aug. 23 letter to ABA counsel Nigel L. Howard with Covington & Burling LLP in New York, Andrew B. Delaney of Charles S. Martin & Associates LLC in Barre, Vt., questioned why the ABA is claiming copyright to routing transit numbers.
Virginia Law Requiring Tax Collection By Online Retailers Takes Effect Sept. 1
A Virginia law that requires certain online retailers to collect Virginia sales and use taxes takes effect Sept. 1.
The law affects remote retailers with distribution centers, offices or other types of physical presence in the state, according to an August 23 notice published by the Virginia Department of Taxation. A physical presence could also be achieved by making regular deliveries in the state, the department said.
Copying Website’s ‘Look and Feel’ May Amount to Trade Dress Infringement
Allegations that a commercial website copied the stylistic choices of the plaintiff’s widely recognized website were sufficient to state a claim of trade dress infringement, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana ruled Aug. 23 (Express Lien Inc. v. Nat’l Ass’n of Credit Mgmt. Inc., E.D. La., No. 2:13-cv-03323-LMA-DEK, 8/23/13).
A claim pursuant to the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a), can be brought to protect a website’s appearance, or trade dress, without the need for a registered trademark, Judge Lance M. Africk said, citingHealthpoint Ltd. v. River’s Edge Pharmaceuticals LLC, No. 03-984 (W.D. Tex. Feb. 14, 2005).