Voter Purge

A federal court in Wisconsin dismissed a suit brought by the League of Women Voters seeking to block a state court order that would have deactivated more than 200,000 voters in the state from the rolls because they moved without updating their mailing address. The suit is dismissed on ripeness grounds, as similar legislation is pending in state court.

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Kidnapping and Murder

An appeals court in Texas upheld the convictions of Craig Davison for his role in a “sordid tale of kidnapping and murder” of two men he blamed for burglarizing his house. While another man confessed to kidnapping and murdering the victims, and a woman pleaded guilty to assisting in the crimes, the court properly admitted evidence showing that Davison had abused both when they did not do what he wanted. 

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Twin Peaks Shootout

A federal court in Texas ruled that bikers arrested after a deadly 2015 shooting at a Twin Peaks restaurant may continue to pursue Fourth Amendment, conspiracy and bystander liability claims against multiple Waco police officials and certain claims against a county district attorney. The bikers claim they were wrongfully arrested based on a “fill-in-the-name” affidavit.

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Whiskey Bottle Dog Toy

The Ninth Circuit partially vacated a ruling in favor of Jack Daniel’s in a dispute with a dog toy company that produced a chew toy that looked like a bottle of Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Black Label Tennessee Whiskey, finding the whiskey company’s trade dress and bottle design were entitled to trademark protection, but the dog toy company used the design to convey a humorous message, which was protected by the First Amendment.

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Tattoos

A federal judge in New York ruled in favor of a video game developer in a copyright infringement suit brought by a company that claimed to own tattoo designs on certain basketball players – including LeBron James – whose images were featured in its games. The court ruled that tattooists granted the players “nonexclusive licenses” to use the tattoos as part of their likenesses.

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Hidden Cameras

An appeals court in Florida ruled that a provision in a contract between AirBnB and vacation renters did not unequivocally dictate that only an arbitrator, and not a judge, could decide the issue of arbitrability. The renters sued AirBnB after discovering the owner of the condominium they rented had hidden cameras throughout the property, which recorded “some private and intimate interactions” during their stay.

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Devilish Foil of St. Nick

A federal court in Delaware dismissed copyright infringement claims brought by the author of a book titled “The Krampus Night Before Christmas” against the producers of the “Krampus” movie, finding the respective representations of the Krampus character – a “devilish foil of Saint Nikolaus” – were not sufficiently similar.

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Environmental Report

A trial court properly ordered the City of Agoura Hills, California, to set aside its approval of a development project and to prepare an environmental-impact report, the Ninth Circuit ruled, finding that even though the city’s plan included mitigation measures to reduce the project’s impact on native oaks, other plants and a Chumash cultural site, an environmental report is necessary due to the project’s predicted significant impact on those concerns.

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Campus Assault

The University of Alabama-Huntsville is not entitled to summary judgment on a female student’s Title IX claims relating to the university’s handling of her sexual assault charge against a student hockey player, a federal court in the state ruled, finding that a jury could conclude that the school protected the assailant while acting with “deliberate indifference” to the assault and the safety of the campus community. 

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Name Change

An Indiana appeals court ruled that a trial court failed to uphold the law by requiring a transgender man seeking to change his name and gender marker on government records to publish notice of his petition in a local newspaper. The court also refused to seal the record and required him to produce medical evidence of “an actual physical change” to his body.

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Reality TV

The Ninth Circuit affirmed a lower court’s judgment that determined an episode of the Discovery Channel show “Dual Survival” depicting former reality television star Cody Lundin’s departure was “substantially true.” Lundin claimed the episode had made him appear incompetent and out of control and he brought defamation and false light claims against the channel.

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