Summer in the Midwest is a fleeting affair chock-full of outdoor adventures, picnics and parties. Earlier this year Illinois joined the party by becoming the last state to adopt a bond lien statute. Make sure to catch our breakdown of the new statute’s notable provisions in our Monthly Insights. We also take a look at a case involving a Yelp review that netted the reviewer a $1 million dollar lawsuit as part of their vacation memories.
Wisconsin Welcomes You!
On May 31st, James Dash was admitted to the Wisconsin State Bar. Jim’s practice focuses on real estate-related litigation, with an emphasis on construction (including mechanics lien claims), as well as title insurance defense work. Jim has been consistently rated among the top construction law attorneys by Chambers USA, Super Lawyers and Best Lawyers and Jim is eager to expand his practice into Wisconsin.
Carlson Dash has many clients who conduct business in both Illinois and Wisconsin so having our attorneys admitted in both states is a great way for us to continue providing our excellent service in both states.
There is no shortage of opinions on the Internet, but in the case of a Texas couple, their opinion touched off a $1 million dollar lawsuit.
Michelle and Robert Duchouquette hired Prestigious Pets to care for their two dogs and one fish while the Duchouquettes were out of town. When the couple returned from their trip they had some issues with the fees charged and the overfeeding of their fish, leading Ms. Duchouquette to write a one-star review on Yelp. Prestigious Pets responded directly to the one-star review, but then took it a step further by filing suit against the Duchouquettes citing libel and requesting “actual damages, punitive damages and damages for the infliction of emotional distress” to the tune of $1 million dollars.
The Duchouquettes are fighting the lawsuit by arguing that Prestigious Pets cannot prove that the review was made with malice or that the non-disparagement clause in the agreement they signed waived the Duchouquettes’ right to free speech. This sentiment is echoed by Yelp. A visit to Prestigious Pets’ page on Yelp brought up a consumer alert warning Yelp visitors that Prestigious Pets “may be trying to abuse the legal system in an effort to stifle free speech…”
While Prestigious Pets’ response may seem extreme, a victory could restrict the free speech of future online reviewers who would be hesitant to leave a negative review of their experience. Read more about this case.
The devil is in the details! This month we take a look at easements and the potential for adverse claims stemming from them. We also review a copyright case tied to a Star Trek “fan film” in which the defendant’s argument was over just how many details were truly enough. Please be sure to check out new legal developments in our most recent blogs on overtime regulations and expansion of creditors’ rights.
As we head into this Memorial Day weekend, please take a moment to remember and honor those who gave all for our country. Thank you.
Paying It Forward
Last month, Kurt Carlson participated in a discussion on careers in the law at Warren High School in Gurnee. The purpose of the event was to educate juniors and seniors on careers in the legal field, including what classes and practical experience best prepares one for a career in the legal profession.
Kurt spoke to several classes throughout the day and was impressed by the questions the kids asked. Kurt enjoyed the experience and was left believing that students entering law school today have a much better idea of what is in store for them through law school and once licensed to practice law because of the level of information that is available to them through events such as this and on the internet.
Case Study: Whose Property Is It?
ABC Corp. is looking at selling high value real estate, but it is concerned with a potential adverse possession claim. To learn more about how to identify, assess and prevent adverse possession claims from destroying your commercial real estate transaction, read thefull case study.
Beam Me Up, Scotty!
Last month’s article on DIY Law discussed potential pitfalls when handling a lawsuit without the guidance of an attorney. The copyright case dealing with a Star Trek “fan film” is an interesting example of the complexities of the law even when you do have an attorney guiding you.
Paramount Pictures and CBS Studios filed suit against independent production company Axanar Productions because of Axanar’s Kickstarter campaign to fund a Star Trek “fan film.” Paramount and CBS each own certain copyright interests in Star Trek and in their amended complaint listed almost thirty pages of characters, alien races, costumes, settings, plot points and other Star Trek features to be used in Axanar’s “fan film” that would infringe on the copyrights. Axanar filed a motion to dismiss arguing that the Plaintiffs were not specific enough because Plaintiffs’ complaint did not list “exactly which movie, book or TV episode” Axanar was allegedly infringing upon.
The US District Court for the Central District of California disagreed and denied Axanar’s motion to dismiss because the Plaintiffs did “define the Star Trek Copyrighted Works and include a detailed description of the allegedly infringing elements.” The Court also denied the Language Creation Society’s bid to file an amicus brief. Their brief would have argued that the Klingon language could not be subject to copyright law. Read more on this case.