In FilmOn.com v. DoubleVerify, Inc. (2019), Case No. S244157, the California Supreme Court recently clarified the circumstances under which the state’s anti-SLAPP law applies to commercial speech and services.  The anti-SLAPP law, Code of Civil Procedure § 425.16, was designed by the Legislature to provide for early dismissal of strategic lawsuits against public participation (known colloquially as “SLAPP” suits), which are filed primarily to discourage the free exercise of speech and petition rights.  A defendant prevailing under the anti-SLAPP law is entitled to recover its attorneys’ fees from the plaintiff.  The Supreme Court was called upon to interpret the anti-SLAPP law’s “catchall” provision, which provides for dismissal of claims arising from “conduct in furtherance of the exercise of the constitutional right of petition or the constitutional right of free speech in connection with a public issue or an issue of public interest.”  Applying this provision, the Supreme Court held that DoubleVerify, Inc.’s (“DoubleVerify”) confidential reports about FilmOn.com’s (“FilmOn”) web content — which were generated for profit, delivered only to paying clients, and subject to a confidentiality requirement prohibiting broader dissemination of the reports — were not entitled to protection under the anti-SLAPP law.

The first quarter of 2019 is behind us and, as is tradition year after year for many of us, the time is ripe for a little Spring cleaning. 

In the legal drafting context, this is a good time for in-house counsel and other company professionals responsible for legal documentation to revisit old contract templates and forms routinely used in your business to ensure the relevant clauses are updated to reflect current law and best practices (or, better yet, to consult your outside counsel to conduct the review for you!).

One of the core lessons for defense counsel is understanding that procedural dynamics of cases have substantive strategic consequences.  One of the most complex is the decision of plaintiff’s counsel to dismiss a case.  For instance, without more, voluntary dismissal may result in a claim for costs and fees by the defense under the California Code of Civil Procedure.  Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 1032.  The situations where a short-sighted dismissal can harm a client are many.  Similar consequences can occur when errors are made in choices between state and federal forums.  That is the subject of this article.

Categories: Court of Appeals

On March 4, 2019, the United States Supreme Court issued a significant copyright decision that resolved a longstanding circuit split and changes how—and when—copyright owners can file an infringement action in federal court to enforce their copyrights.

In Golden v. California Emergency Physicians Medical Group, et al., a divided Ninth Circuit panel held that a settlement agreement between a doctor and his former employer violated Cal. Prof. & Bus. Code § 16600 because a “no re-hire” provision of the agreement placed a “restraint of a substantial character” on the doctor’s medical practice.

A presumption of irreparable harm in trademark cases may be retired, but evidence of likelihood of confusion can still support an inference of irreparable harm.

Categories: Litigation, Trade Dress

We haven't heard the last on trade dress precedent. 

Categories: Trade Dress

Trade dress issues are complex and can often be time consuming. Companies facing these issues can often learn from past precedent. This and selecting an effective attorney for representation can make or break a case.

Categories: Trade Dress

If you are a smart phone user, you may have wondered why so many new privacy policies have recently rolled out.  The reason?  The General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) became effective May 25, 2018, and applies to all organizations that handle European Union citizens’ data.  Businesses throughout the world, including in the US, are figuring out how to best navigate through what some have called one of the most important corporate compliance events in years, with several controversial provisions.  GDPR will substantially increase statutory obligations regarding the processing of personal data placed on data controllers and data processors both inside and outside the European Union.  A controller is the entity that determines the purposes, conditions and means of the processing of personal data, while the processor is an entity which processes personal data on behalf of the controller.

Categories: Technology

Many employers outsource some or all of their payroll and related tax duties to third party payroll service providers.  These related tax duties may include withholding, reporting, and paying over certain employment (i.e. FICA, Medicare, SDI) and income taxes to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and California Employment Development Department (EDD).

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