#InTheNews – Ice Cube v. Robinhood

Ice Cube has filed a lawsuit against Robinhood for allegedly using his photo and likeness without his permission in Robinhood’s blogpost to promote its services. Ice Cube says that he would not want his name or image to be associated with Robinhood. He refers to Robinhood as a company looting ordinary people’s money by advertising “get rich quick” stocks to them. Ice Cube’s lawsuit’s claim is based on an absence of an endorsement deal and the likelihood of defamation. However, the premise of Ice Cube’s case seems weak. Ice Cube’s lawsuit is based on Robinhood using the line “Correct yourself, before you wreck yourself,” without a prior endorsement deal with Ice Cube. So his claim rests on proving consumers connecting the link between Ice cube’s famous song with the statement. In defense of Robinhood, the term “correct” in the statement mentioned above refers to the market corrections in tech stocks. Further, Ice Cube has never used the word “Correct Yourself” in his song “Check Yo Self.“

#InTheNews – U.S. Postal Service v. Nike

The tables have turned for Nike, a company known for filing lawsuits in its aggressive defense of their Intellectual Property rights. The USPS has filed a lawsuit against Nike for designing USPS’ themed Air Force 1 shoes. USPS states that it will take concrete steps to protect its IP. According to USPS, it shall not sit silently while Nike uses its name and brand to sell expensive shoes without a prior licensing agreement. USPS says that a licensing agreement with Nike can result in royalties, which can be a source of income for USPS for years to come. It can also increase the fondness of consumers towards the USPS Brand. USPS has also accused Nike of being a hypocrite, as it is an aggressive defender of its IP rights while not respecting USPS’s IP rights. For example: Nike’s lawsuit against Lil Nas X’s Satan-themed Nike shoes.

#InTheNews – LA Chargers Sale Dispute

The NFL Team, “Los Angeles Chargers” are currently facing a dispute wherein the sister of Dean Spanos (Chairman of the team), wants the Spanos Family Trust to sell their ownership rights of the Chargers. Dean Spanos is the co-trustee of the Spanos Family Trust that owns 15% of the team and controls 36% of the group. His sister wants to sell their ownership rights to the NFL team as the alleged financial burden of the NFL team is proving to irrecoverable. The co-trustee Dean Spanos is not acting in the best interest of the Trust by not selling off their loss-making share of the NFL Team. Meanwhile, in his reply to his sister’s filing, Dean Spanos has argued that their share in Chargers carries much sentimental value for the Spanos family. They have owned 15% of the team since the 1980s, and that he hopes to turn the ownership profitable in upcoming years. Dean Spanos is also ready to buy his sister’s share in Chargers to prevent the sale of their share in Chargers. However, “hope” is not enough to save a trust. The trustee’s primary goal should be to fulfill their fiduciary duty towards the beneficiaries. An emotional attachment to the NFL Team that the co-trustees are trying to save does not help the co-trustee, Dean, fulfill his fiduciary duty towards the Trust’s beneficiaries. Therefore, Dean’s sister’s case seems to be based on a fundamental principle of the law of trusts.

#InTheNews – New Epstein Lawsuit Filed

Jeffrey Epstein and his accomplice, Ghislaine Maxwell, had allegedly raped a 26-year-old South Florida real estate broker in early 2008, according to a complaint brought last week. The victim says Epstein trafficked her to other individuals as well, including a local judge. The victim, known only as “Jane Doe,” alleges that at a hotel in Naples, Florida, Epstein and Maxwell repeatedly raped her in front of her 8-year-old baby. She also claims that they forced her to have sex with several other men, including a local judge who remains anonymous. Doe has said she encountered Epstein and Maxwell at a barbeque organized by her boss, who knew Epstein well. She has also alleged that Epstein forced her to go through a vaginal surgery and help him market her as a virgin to his clients. Her boss, who is not included in the lawsuit, informed her that Epstein had decided to rent or buy a house, so she found him one to rent for $10,000 a month. According to the lawsuit, he charged cash and told her not to name the occupant or process Epstein’s identity.

#InTheNews – Nike Files Trademark Infringement Suit.

MSCHF, a Brooklyn-based art group, converted 666 pairs of Nike Air Max 97s into its “Satan Sneakers” as part of a limited-edition collection for Lil Nas X. Even though they were valued at an ungodly $1,018, all 666 pairs were officially sold out within a minute of their release. An inverted triangle, a bronze pentagram charm, and a drop of human blood are included on the redesigned red and black kicks. The shoes also have the biblical reference “Luke 10:18,” which refers to the Bible verse “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven”. These symbols are often related to satanism, and they angered several users on Twitter, prompting the hashtags “Satan Sneakers” and “Lil Nas X” to trend. The shoes also have Nike’s trademark Swoosh, which has annoyed many customers who have vowed to boycott the company.
In response, Nike has filed a lawsuit against MSCHF. In Nike’s complaint, brought in U.S. Federal Court in New York, charges that MSCHF Product Studio Inc, headquartered in Brooklyn, infringed on and diluted the brand and that the updated shoes had damaged the company’s image. Nike has also cited some of those online responses in the lawsuit like: “This is sickening!!! How is Nike not involved when there’s a Nike symbol on the shoe!!!” Nike is requesting the judge to “immediately” prohibit MSCHF from filling any orders for the Satan Shoe.

#CaseCommentary – NCAA v. Alston

Against the context of March Madness, college sports’ most famous and lucrative affair, there is a decades-long reckoning underway that will permanently alter the face of college athletics. Earlier today, the Supreme Court heard arguments in NCAA v. Alston. Former Division I college athletes filed the complaint, alleging that the NCAA’s policies governing education-related benefits are unconstitutional under federal competition law. The Supreme Court will consider a lawsuit concerning the NCAA for the first time in four decades. The central question is whether athletes should be eligible to obtain educational advantages such as laptops, scientific tools, and musical instruments. Unlike other students, college players, who are also on athletic scholarships, are not qualified for financial benefits. NCAA v. Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma was the NCAA’s last Supreme Court fight. It gained a valuable concession from that case, where NCAA was held to be unlike most companies in that it needs enough latitude to uphold a legacy of amateurism in college athletics.

#LearnTheLaw – U.S. Supreme Court Term

The United States Supreme Court term begins on the first Monday in October and will last until late June or early July. The term itself is divided into sittings: one sitting includes actively hearing cases and delivering decisions on those cases, and the other sitting, the “recess,” is when the Justices consider business before the court and write their opinions (decision in a case with their legal reasoning). The constitution says that the Justices of the Supreme Court shall enjoy their position in “good behavior” which has been regarded to mean life tenure (serving until death). Termination of Justiceship only occurs through death, resignation, retirement, or impeachment (formal removal from office). As of recent, there has been a movement that seeks to limit the Justiceship to 18 years. Those that believe this rely on the fact that the constitution does not actually grant the Supreme Court Justices life tenure, but only refers to “good behavior.” People believe this is a good idea because they believe the court has become too political. For example, those who want to “fix the court” see republican and democratic parties attempting to find the youngest person in their party to nominate when a Supreme Court Justice seat opens so that they can control that seat (and that party’s ideals) for decades to come. On the other hand, however, life tenure is deeply rooted in America’s tradition as that is always how it has been. What do you think?

#LearnTheLaw – What is a Tort?

In medieval England, tort was a synonym for a “wrong” or “trespass.” Later on, it became known as “torque,” or to twist. Today, when a person commits a tort, they act in a manner that is figuratively twisted because it is a wrongful act that involves some kind of injury to another person. When a person commits a tort, also known as a tortfeasor, the victim of the tort is entitled to ask the courts to get involved to set things straight between the victim and the tortfeasor; this usually involves compensation. In sum, to commit a tort is to act in a manner that causes injury to another, which gives the victim a right to bring a lawsuit to obtain relief. While many commonly and correctly think of negligence as to biggest chunk of tort law, there are also other tortious acts one can commit on another such as, intentional torts (battery, assault, false imprisonment), conversion, defamation, products liability, fraud, intentional infliction of emotional distress, intentional interference with contract or economic advantage, invasion of privacy, and nuisance.

#SCOTUSSpotlight – Ruth Bader Ginsberg

Monday, March 15th, 2021, would have been Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s 88th birthday. Justice Ginsburg was the second female and the first Jewish female justice on the Supreme Court of the United States. After being denied many opportunities based on her gender, Justice Ginsburg was motivated to end gender discrimination in law. From not being allowed to read the Torah at her bat-mitzvah because of her gender, to being asked why she was taking the seat of a man in her Harvard Law class, to being denied several positions based on her gender, Ginsburg’s personal experiences ignited her passion to seek equal protection for both men and women under the law. Before her time as a Judge and then later a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, Ginsburg was a law professor, a co-author for a law school textbook on sex discrimination, a co-founder of the first law Journal focused exclusively on women’s rights, and of course, a practicing attorney. In 1972, Ginsburg co-founded the Women’s Rights Project at the ACLU where she argued gender discrimination cases before the Supreme Court. Ginsburg used the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th amendment to argue that the clause provides that all men and women should be treated equally in the law. For example, Ginsburg argued that a law that provided social security benefits for widows but not for widowers was unconstitutional because it treated men and women unequally. (Weinberger v. Wiesenfeld, 420 U.S. 636 (1975)). Importantly, Ginsburg knew that she had to win over nine white male Justices, so she chose cases with men as the plaintiff to demonstrate that gender discrimination was harmful not only to women but men as well, as seen in the case example above. Ginsburg won five out of the six gender discrimination cases in front of the Supreme Court. In 1993, after serving as a Judge for the DC Circuit, she was nominated and appointed as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton. Justice Ginsburg often wrote dissenting opinions, which showed her disagreement with the majority and highlighted her liberal take on many issues, including equal protection, abortion rights, and voting rights.