There has been an exponential amount of growth in the Minnesota craft-brewing scene. Ever since the passage of the Surly Bill, a law spearheaded by local beer powerhouse Surly Brewing Co. that allows local breweries to sell beer on-site, new breweries and tap rooms have been popping up all over the state.
With fast expansion comes competition, and with competition comes charges of unfair competition and litigation. As reported by Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, Stillwater based brewery Lift Bridge Brewing sued the Menomonie, Wisconsin based Lucette Brewery for violation of the Lanham Act and common law unfair trade practices and trademark infringement. Continue reading
As the youngest contributor to this blog, who graduated from college not so long ago, I think it’s safe to assume that, among my fellow Minnesota Litigator colleagues, I’m the most recent attendee of a fraternity party (hopefully). For the unfamiliar, these parties follow a standard formula: a fraternity house, cheap and abundant liquor (see the Beast), hundreds of your closest friends, and loud music. Combine these things together and you have a recipe for poor decision-making, over-intoxication, and needless violence.
So what happens when there’s a fight at the party and an invitee is injured or is a victim of a crime? Is the fraternity liable and does it owe a duty of care to the invitees from harm if the fraternity house is opened to the public? The Minnesota Court of Appeals recently decided a case involving a party thrown by the brothers of Delta Tau Delta, Beta Eta Chapter, at the University of Minnesota and their unruly guests.
For the record, I was never really a big fan of frat parties. Continue reading
Update (January 22, 2013): After trying to think of some bad shoe-related puns to insert into this post, I decided to use my better judgment and just give the facts: Minnetonka Moccasins has voluntarily dismissed its trademark infringement lawsuit against Target.
Since Minnetonka Moccasins initiated the lawsuit back in September 2012, there has been little action and, most notably, no Answer or Motion to Dismiss from Target. Does this mean that the lawsuit got the parties to start talking settlement or was this only a preview of litigation to come? We’ll have to wait and see which shoe fits. My apologies, that was an exceptionally bad pun. My sole will burn in hell for that one…
During the first week of my civil procedure course as a 1L, my professor asked my class what characteristics we wanted in our ideal judicial system. Notably, my class wanted a system that was fair, flexible but efficient, and one that ultimately came to the right conclusion in a dispute. It turned out, we later realized, that we came up with a list that mirrored many of rules and underlying goals in the rules of civil procedure. What we didn’t know as 1Ls was that when disputes are taken out of the civil litigation realm and into private arbitrations, as many disputes are, the need for speed and finality seem to trump other considerations.
Despite these flipped priorities, it is important to know is that arbitration findings can be challenged and overturned by courts. That being said, the burden on the challenging party is very high and the chances of having the arbitration finding overturned are slim. Nevertheless, there is a chance.
Recently, in a case dealing with the size of storage lockers for postal workers, a dispute that he described as “mundane” in the scheme of important cases that the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota is called on to opine, Judge Richard Kyle (D. Minn.) gave a great refresher on how to challenge an arbitration finding. Would-be arbitration finding challengers take note; this is the rare case where the findings were overturned.
With the passing of another “Cyber Monday” comes the not so secret news that consumers are comfortable (and eager) to shop for goods and services on the internet more than ever before. While this trend is lucrative to online suppliers, it puts local affiliate retailers in a bind. How can the local retailers stay in business if their customers are buying the same products from the supplier’s online store?
In two lawsuits, Reshare Commerce, LLC alleges that two separate groups of defendants (insurance companies: State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance and American Family Mutual Automobile Insurance; and commercial entities: Creative Memories and Demalogica, Inc.) have infringed on its patent, which is designed to help local retailers weather this problem. The defendants have all denied infringing on the patent and some have asserting counterclaims for declaratory judgment. Interestingly, Reshare has previously sued companies for infringing on the same patent.
Recently, U.S. Judge Ann D. Montgomery (D. Minn.) ruled on a combined motion on the construction of 11 disputed terms in Reshare’s patent and gave a very look into how a court construes words in patents. Continue reading
As reported this week by the Star Tribune and the Pioneer Press, the Minnesota Board of Judicial Standards (“BJS”), the board that provides oversight on the state’s judges, has filed a complaint against the Chief Judge of the Minnesota Tax Court, George Perez for misconduct. According to the complaint, Chief Judge Perez falsely certified that he had complied with Minn. Stat. § 271.20 (requiring judges to decide all matters within three months), refused to take new cases, and had a pattern of delay in deciding his cases. The complaint also details several cases where Chief Judge Perez took between 8 and 18 months to decide a case.
Chief Judge Perez has answered the complaint denying most of the allegations. He further asserts an affirmative defense that he followed the practices and procedures of the Tax Court in good faith. From here, the BJS will try the case in front of a three member panel and then forward recommended findings to the Minnesota Supreme Court for a final determination.