SDNY Blog

A Steptoe blog about civil litigation in the Southern District of New York

Yesterday, Judge Rakoff sanctioned an attorney for an objector to the $3 billion Petrobras securities litigation settlement (see our full coverage of the Petrobras litigation here).  Judge Rakoff had approved the settlement over the objections, after which the objectors filed an appeal.  According to the class plaintiff, the appeals were part of an “extortionist agenda” to extract a monetary settlement in exchange for dismissing their appeals. Judge Rakoff warned against the rise of frivolous…
In an opinion yesterday, Judge Castel denied in part a motion to compel certain drafts of sales and marketing documents withheld as privileged in an antitrust case.  The plaintiff argued that the attorneys were not providing legal advice but, instead, “‘scrubbing’ or ‘vetting’ these documents ‘to avoid having a jury see the unvarnished truth.”  Judge Castel disagreed, and emphasized that it is perfectly appropriate for lawyers to review documents before any wider circulation:…
Last week, Jeffrey Atkins (better known as Ja Rule) asked Judge Castel to dismiss claims against him stemming from the “Fyre Festival,” a 2017 music festival in the Bahamas that descended into chaos after organizers were unable to deliver the luxury accommodations, celebrity chefs, and musical acts that attendees were expecting (see NYT coverage here).  Plaintiffs accused Atkins specifically of making two social media posts upon which the plaintiffs relied – promising that the festival would be “the…
In an opinion yesterday, Judge Pauley denied summary judgment in a case alleging that a certain rodent repeller devices are ineffective, contrary to the defendant’s allegedly false representations. He noted that the parties had filed over 40,000 words in briefing the issues, but that three photos (including the one below) were sufficient to decide the motion.  The photos showed that “mice can apparently relax comfortably under a Repeller and even appear to be so drawn…
Last week, Airbnb filed a complaint challenging the city’s new ordinance requiring homesharing platforms to share data about hosts and guests to the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement.  According to Airbnb, the new ordinance allows the city to collect wide-ranging categories of non-public information: “[T]he Ordinance requires Internet homesharing platforms to turn over personal information about their hosts, much of which is not made public through the platforms. The Ordinance also requires homesharing platforms to turn…
In an opinion last week, Judge Stanton granted video game manufacturer Take-Two’s request for an injunction against the creator of two software programs that allowed users to cheat at Take-Two’s “Grand Theft Auto V” video game.  Among other functions, the computer programs allow users to use an unlimited amount of in-game currency that otherwise had to be purchased from Take-Two.  Take-Two alleged that the cheat software violated Take-Two’s copyright in “Grand Theft Auto V” and…
Last week, Judge Daniels granted in large part a summary judgment motion that Characters For Hire, a company that provides costumed characters for children’s events, had filed in response to trademark, unfair competition and and similar claims.  According to the plaintiffs (Disney, Marvel, and Lucasfilm), Characters for Hire’s costumes, including ones named “Frozen Themed,” “Avenging Team,” and “Star Battles,” are strikingly similar to well-known characters from the plaintiffs’ Frozen, Avengers, and Star Wars franchises. Judge…
Last week, via a memo endorsement, Judge Koeltl granted the Democratic National Committee’s motion to serve Wikileaks by Twitter in the DNC’s case over the 2016 election hacks (see our coverage here). The DNC argued that “[w]hile WikiLeaks’ physical presence is difficult to discern, it has a robust online presence, including an active presence on Twitter, using the handle @WikiLeaks.”  From that account, Wikileaks in fact had acknowledged reading the DNC’s complaint.  As…
Yesterday, Judge Daniels dismissed a complaint filed by the family of murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich against Fox News, which alleged that Fox News and two contributors intentionally exploited the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich during the 2016 election season.  According to the complaint,  Rich was murdered in Washington in what authorities believed was a botched robbery; Fox News then allegedly reported a false story that Rich had been murdered after leaking thousands of…