Justia Entertainment & Sports Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
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A car accident occurred during Race Wars 2, an amateur drag racing event organized by Flyin’ Diesel Performance & Offroad, L.L.C. The accident resulted in injuries and deaths among spectators. The injured parties and representatives of the deceased sued Flyin’ Diesel, who turned to their insurer, Kinsale Insurance Company, for legal defense. The dispute centered on whether Kinsale owed a duty to defend Flyin’ Diesel under their commercial general liability insurance policy.The case was first heard in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas. The district court found the insurance policy ambiguous and ruled that Kinsale owed Flyin’ Diesel a duty to defend. Flyin’ Diesel was granted partial summary judgment, and Kinsale's motion was denied. Kinsale appealed this decision.The case was then reviewed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The appellate court disagreed with the district court's finding of ambiguity in the insurance policy. The court determined that the policy unambiguously excluded the claims made by the injured parties from coverage. Therefore, the court concluded that Kinsale was not obligated to defend Flyin’ Diesel in the lawsuit. The court reversed the district court's partial summary judgment for Flyin’ Diesel and remanded the case with instructions to grant summary judgment to Kinsale. View "Kinsale Ins v. Flyin' Diesel Performance" on Justia Law

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Marvin Jackson attended a World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) event and alleges that a pyrotechnics blast caused him to lose most of his hearing in his left ear. The tickets were purchased as a surprise gift by his nephew, Ashton Mott, on SeatGeek.com. All ticket purchases required agreement to various terms and conditions, including an arbitration agreement, and stated that entry to the event would constitute acceptance of these terms. Jackson sued WWE in Texas state court for negligence, but WWE moved the case to federal court and requested arbitration per the ticket agreement. The district court granted WWE’s motion, stating that Mott acted as Jackson's agent and that Jackson was therefore bound by the terms of the ticket, including the arbitration agreement.Jackson appealed the decision, arguing that Mott did not have the authority to act on his behalf and therefore the arbitration agreement should not be enforceable against him. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit disagreed with Jackson's argument. The court held that although Mott purchased the tickets without Jackson's knowledge or control, he acted as Jackson’s agent when he presented the ticket on Jackson's behalf for admittance to the event. The ticket's terms and conditions were clear that use of the ticket would constitute acceptance of the arbitration agreement. Therefore, the court affirmed the district court's decision to compel arbitration, as the arbitration agreement is enforceable against Jackson. View "Jackson v. World Wrestling" on Justia Law

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Paul Batiste, a local jazz musician, brought a copyright infringement action against the world-famous hip-hop duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. After the district court found no evidence of copyrighting, it granted summary judgment for defendants and then ordered both Batiste and his attorney to pay defendants' attorneys' fees.The Fifth Circuit held that the district court acted well within its discretion in denying Batiste's motion for leave to supplement his summary-judgment opposition. The court also held that the district court correctly granted summary judgment for defendants on the copyright infringement claims where Batiste failed to produce evidence for a reasonable jury to infer that defendants had access to his music or to find striking similarities between his songs and those of defendants. Therefore, he cannot prove factual copying and his copyright claims fail. The court further held that, given the objective unreasonableness of Batiste's claims, his history of litigation misconduct, and his pattern of filing overaggressive copyright actions, the district court did not abuse its discretion in awarding fees to defendants under the Copyright Act. Finally, the court lacked jurisdiction to review Batiste's challenge to the district court's decision to hold his attorney jointly and severally liable for the fee award as a sanction. View "Batiste v. Lewis" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff appealed the district court's rulings in two consolidated actions alleging that various Disney corporate entities infringed on plaintiff's "Lots of Hugs" trademark by using the "Lots-O'-Huggin' Bear" (aka "Lotso") in the Toy Story 3 movie and in the sale of merchandise.The Fifth Circuit held that plaintiff may obtain review of the adversary interlocutory rulings in its current appeal from the adverse final judgment in case No. 2:14-CV-00070. The court affirmed the district court's conclusion that plaintiff lacked personal jurisdiction over the IP entities, because plaintiff's arguments were based on two novel theories that were without merit. The court set aside the district court's order pertaining to the third amended complaint and remanded, holding that the district court abused its discretion, by sua sponte and without hearing, vacating its order granting plaintiff leave to file the third amended complaint. Finally, the court affirmed the district court's decision striking the fourth amended complaint, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in striking the complaint. View "Diece-Lisa Industries, Inc. v. Disney Enterprises, Inc." on Justia Law

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The NFLPA filed a complaint on behalf of Ezekiel Elliott, a running back for the Dallas Cowboys, seeking a preliminary injunction preventing enforcement of a forthcoming six game suspension by the NFL and NFL Management Council. The Commissioner of the NFL determined that domestic violence allegations were substantiated and that Elliott should be suspended for six games. An arbitrator issued a decision upholding the suspension on the same day the district court held a preliminary injunction hearing. The district court then enjoined the NFL from enforcing the suspension. The Fifth Circuit vacated the district court's preliminary injunction, holding that the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction when it issued the preliminary injunction. In this case, when the NFLPA filed the complaint, the arbitrator had not yet issued his decision, and jurisdiction depends on the facts as they exist when the complaint was filed. Accordingly, the court remanded with instructions to dismiss the case. View "NFLPA v. NFL" on Justia Law