Browne George Ross filed a suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to overturn an order by the National Institutes of Health to send 100 chimpanzees that are no longer needed for research to a laboratory in Texas. The suit contends that the chimpanzees, currently living at the University of Louisiana research center in New Iberia, Louisiana, must be moved to Chimp Haven, a sanctuary in Keithville, Louisiana designated under federal law to house all federally-owned chimpanzees that are permanently retired from research. The NIH, apparently bowing to political pressure to send the chimpanzees – along with whatever federal funds accompany them – to Texas Biomedical Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas, sought to skirt the federal requirements by designating the chimpanzees as “permanently ineligible for research” rather than “permanently retired” or “surplus” as stated in the Chimpanzee Health Improvement, Maintenance and Protection Act (the CHIMP Act), passed by Congress in 2000. The suit contends that, while the NIH is drawing semantic distinctions for political purposes, the chimpanzees will suffer the consequences by being forced to live on concrete floors rather than dirt and grass, being deprived of opportunities for exercise and stimulation, and being cared for by laboratory assistants not principally charged with seeing to their long range needs. The suit, filed by Eric M. George and Ira Bibbero on behalf of three individuals including one, James Reaux, who worked for 15 years with the chimpanzees slated to be sent to the laboratory in Texas, seeks a declaration that the NIH’s decision is an abuse of discretion that must be set aside.
Rap star Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr., who goes by the stage name “Lil’ Wayne,” sued Browne George Ross client Quincy Jones, III. Carter alleged breach of contract, fraud, and other torts arising out of the release by Jones of a documentary film about Carter. The rap star asserted that his “approval rights” had not been honored. Following a three-week trial, the jury found against Carter on all claims and in favor of Jones on his countersuit. The jury awarded Jones $2.2 million. Jones will also receive his attorneys’ fees, which should raise the total judgment to approximately $3 million. Pete Ross, lead trial counsel for Jones, commented that, ‘The jury got it right. Justice was done. We are very pleased with the result.” The lawsuit received substantial coverage in the press, including national outlets TMZ, ESPN.com, the Huffington Post and MTV.com, to name a few.
Eric George Argues Before Supreme Court of California in the Sargon Enterprises, Inc. v. University of Southern California, et al.
Eric M. George of Browne George Ross argued the case Sargon Enterprises, Inc. v. University of Southern California et al. before the California Supreme Court on October 3, 2012. At issue was the question of the scope of a trial court’s discretion to strike an expert’s testimony as to lost profits. BGR’s client, Sargon Enterprises, Inc., won a liability verdict and damages of $433,000 after USC breached a contract to carry out a clinical study of a revolutionary dental implant invented by Sargon’s founder, Dr. Sargon Lazarof. The trial court held Sargon was not entitled to recover lost profits, but the Court of Appeal reversed. On remand, the trial court excluded the testimony of Sargon’s lost profits expert on the ground that its expert’s methodology was speculative. Again, the Court of Appeal reversed, but the Supreme Court granted review. Click on the link below to see Mr. George argue the case before the Supreme Court.
California Court Of Appeal Affirms Attorney Fee Award In Favor Of Browne George Ross LLP Client Who Was Target Of Posthumous Right Of Publicity Claim
Browne George Ross LLP represents Stop Staring! Designs, which was sued by CMG Brands, LLC for allegedly violating the posthumous right of publicity of the actress Bette Davis. After Browne George Ross filed a motion for summary judgment, CMG voluntarily dismissed its claim. CMG was then ordered to pay Stop Staring’s attorney’s fees and costs. CMG appealed the fee award. On August 20, 2012, the California Court of Appeal affirmed. Browne George Ross attorneys Peter W. Ross, Keith J. Wesley and Lori Sambol Brody represented Stop Staring.
Browne George Ross LLP Obtains Summary Judgment On Trademark Infringement Claim Based On Functionality Of Color Orange On Neonatal Enteral Syringes
Medical device manufacturer Acacia, Inc. received a cease-and-desist letter from a competitor, NeoMed, Inc., regarding Acacia’s use of orange text and/or graduation markings on its enteral syringes for neonatal patients. Acacia believed that NeoMed’s use of the color orange on its enteral syringes served a functional purpose – i.e., identifying the syringes as for oral use only as opposed to I-V use – and thus could not be a protectable trademark. Acacia called upon Browne George Ross LLP to file a declaratory relief action, seeking an order finding that NeoMed’s asserted trademark was invalid and cancelling NeoMed’s trademark registration. On July 23, 2012, the Central District of California granted Acacia’s motion for partial summary judgment and ordered NeoMed’s trademark registration cancelled. The Court held that NeoMed’s use of the color orange on its enteral syringes was functional as a matter of law. See Acacia, Inc. v. NeoMed, Inc., 2012 WL 3019948 (C.D. Cal. July 23, 2012). Browne George Ross attorneys Keith J. Wesley and Peter Shimamoto represented Acacia.
Browne George Ross LLP Files Complaint Against Paramount Pictures and Universal Studios on Behalf of William Friedkin Regarding Motion Picture Sorcerer
Browne George Ross LLP filed a complaint in Los Angeles on behalf of William Friedkin against Paramount Pictures and Universal Studios regarding the motion picture Sorcerer. Mr. Friedkin is an Academy Award winning director, producer and screenwriter. He was the director and producer of the 1977 motion picture Sorcerer, and is also a profit participant in that film. Mr. Friedkin has received numerous requests from various organizations for their assistance in obtaining a print of Sorcerer, for the purpose of holding screenings of the film. At one time, Paramount and/or Universal had certain rights to exploit the film in the United States. Both studios, however, have recently stated they no longer have the right to exploit the film in the United States. Both studios have also asserted, however, that Mr. Friedkin does not have the right to exploit Sorcerer. The complaint therefore asks the court for a declaration as to who currently has the right to exploit Sorcerer. The complaint also seeks an accounting. The lawsuit has been reported in, among other places, The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline.com.
Browne George Ross LLP Files Complaint For Trademark Infringement Against Simon Cowell’s British Boy Band One Direction
Browne George Ross LLP filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the Central District of California against Simon Cowell, Sony Music Entertainment, Simco Ltd., and the members of the British boy band One Direction. Browne George Ross represents a California-based musical group called One Direction, which began using the mark One Direction in the fall of 2009. The British group was not formed until October 2010, and did not begin using the name One Direction until that time. The complaint asserts claims for false designation of origin and unfair competition. The lawsuit has been reported by numerous media outlets, including The New York Times, Fox News, Billboard, MTV and TMZ.
Browne George Ross LLP Obtains Judgments Totaling Over $43 Million On Behalf Of The Yavapai-Apache Nation
Browne George Ross LLP obtained two judgments totaling more than $43 million on behalf of the Yavapai-Apache Nation, against the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel. One of the judgments was issued by a tribal court, and the other by an Arizona state court. The judgments represented the full amount of principal and interest that the Yavapai-Apache Nation had loaned to the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysable to assist the Iipay Nation in building a casino in the San Diego area Browne George Ross also obtained reversal of a California state court order dismissing the action against the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel on sovereign immunity grounds. Eric George and Ira Bibbero represented the Yavapai-Apache Nation.
Partner Eric M. George was quoted in the Los Angeles Times article “Artists Sue Two Auction Houses,” discussing the alleged violations of the California Resale Royalty Act by auction houses. Under the California statute, artists are entitled to a 5 percent royalty from the resale of one-of-a-kind fine art if the seller lives in California or the transaction occurs in California. As a result of having represented a collector in the past in a suit against the auction house Christie’s, Mr. George discovered the difficulties artists were having in eliciting information from auction houses that was relevant to whether royalties were owed. After filing complaints in federal court asserting that certain auction houses did not abide by the law, Mr. George stated that, “It’s a wholesale, systematic denial by Sotheby’s and Christie’s of artists’ rights. How they’ve gotten away with it for this long is a mystery.”
Eric George Quoted in Wall Street Journal Discussing Class Action Status for Suits on Behalf of Artists
Partner Eric M. George was quoted in The Wall Street Journal article “Artists Sue Auction Houses,” as the attorney bringing two lawsuits on behalf of artists who were not paid royalties under the California Resale Royalty Act following resale of their artwork. The little-known law allows artists to collect 5 percent from the resale of certain pieces worth more than $1,000, if there is a California-based seller or the art is resold within the state. Mr. George is seeking to have the lawsuits certified as class actions, revamp the way auction houses notify artists about artwork that may be covered by the law, as well as compensatory damages.