SDNY Blog

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

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…
This week, Judge Buchwald dismissed a complaint against Tootsie Roll Industries, makers of the candy Junior Mints, claiming that packages of Junior Mints contained “non-functional slack-fill” which mislead consumers as to the amount of product contained in the package. Judge Buchwald noted that the labeling on the package, including the estimated servings in each package, could alert a reasonable consumer how much of the product was in each package:…
In an docketed email Monday, Judge Berman politely declined a fan’s request to autograph a Sports Illustrated cover (likely the one below) over the “Deflategate” case (see our coverage here). Judge Berman pointed out that “while I was privileged to preside over this very interesting case, remember that I did so as the randomly selected district court judge who was next up on the case assignment wheel.”  He added that signing the cover might…
Yesterday, Judge Keenan dismissed a complaint against several producers of fossil fuels that asked the court to address the producers’ role in the effects of climate change.  The complaint, filed by the City of New York, alleged that the defendants had known for decades about the effects of their fossil fuel emissions on the global climate but continued to promote these fuels.  The City alleged it was harmed when it had to take additional steps…
In the DNC’s lawsuit over having been hacked during the 2016 election (see here), Judge Koeltl today denied without prejudice the DNC’s motion to serve Trump advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner by alternate means (first-class mail), instead encouraging the parties to just work something out: The Court . . . notes that service of process is intended to provide notice of a lawsuit to a defendant so that the issues of the case can…
Yesterday, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Maryland filed a complaint against the U.S. Treasury Department and others, seeking to invalidate the newly-enacted cap on the deduction for state and local taxes (SALT) on a filer’s federal income tax return.  Prior to the 2017 changes to the tax law, all or a substantial portion of SALT could be deducted from a federal tax return.  After 2017, the deduction was capped at $10,000.…