Posting on social media about businesses located in another state could give rise to personal jurisdiction in that state, according to a recent landmark opinion by a sharply divided Montana Supreme Court. In Groo v. Montana Eleventh Judicial District Court, the Court considered whether several Facebook posts made by Melissa Groo, a New York-based wildlife-photography ethicist, concerning Triple D Game Farm, a wildlife-photography farm in Montana, supported personal jurisdiction in an action by Triple D against Groo in Montana state court for tortious interference with contractual relations and prospective economic advantage. In the posts, Groo had tagged individuals and companies doing business with Triple D, three of whom resided in Montana, and encouraged them to cancel their business with the company because of its alleged mistreatment of animals. Four Justices found the posts sufficient to exercise specific personal jurisdiction over Groo; three dissented.
It’s no secret: plaintiffs’ attorneys want to win big. Using reptile theory, plaintiffs (and their counsel) are enjoying gargantuan jury verdicts. Through thoughtful and strategic lawyering, however, the harsh effects of reptile theory can be avoided.
Two of the most common queries Proskauer’s UK litigation team is asked to advise upon are (i) the interpretation and scope of indemnities and (ii) liability caps. Over the summer, the English Courts handed down two judgments that focus on the interpretation of such provisions. These cases serve as a useful reminder of the importance of (1) clear drafting, (2) consistent drafting throughout a contract, and (3) fully considering all relevant risks at the outset of negotiations.
When product liability actions involving one or more common issues of fact (e.g., an allegedly harmful product or chemical) are filed in multiple jurisdictions, they are typically consolidated for pretrial proceedings in a multidistrict litigation (MDL). 28 U.S.C. § 1407(a). In an MDL, the lawsuits are transferred from their filing courts to a single “transferee” Court (the MDL Court) chosen by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML). The purposes of this centralization are to avoid duplication of discovery, to prevent inconsistent pretrial rulings, and to conserve the resources of the parties, their counsel and the judiciary. For example, overarching issues of law, such as preemption admissibility of common-issue expert opinions, are often resolved by the MDL Court instead of needing to be re-litigated in several different courts. Additionally, MDL Courts can hold bellwether trials to help the parties structure a global settlement process to resolve many or all of the filed cases.
In April, we discussed oral arguments at the Supreme Court for Abitron Austria GmbH et al. v. Hetronic International, Inc., a case in which the Supreme Court considered the extraterritorial reach of the Lanham Act (“Act”) for the first time since 1952. Last month, the Court ruled that the Lanham Act only reaches claims of infringement where the infringing use in commerce is domestic.
Who can be held responsible when a rogue actor directs payment from a company’s bank account? Unless discovered quickly, stolen funds are usually quickly spirited away from easy recovery. Victims of fraud therefore look for other sources of compensation, including the bank itself who executed the instruction. In England, when banks and financial institutions have reasonable grounds to believe that a payment instruction is an attempt to misappropriate a customer’s funds, they owe a duty of care to that customer to refrain from making or executing the order and make necessary inquiries before proceeding.
Last month, the Supreme Court heard oral argument on Abitron Austria GmbH et al. v. Hetronic International, Inc. and considered, for the first time since 1952, the extraterritorial reach of the Lanham Act. This case presents the opportunity for the Court to establish a uniform test for the Lanham Act’s extraterritorial reach when seeking remedies in U.S. courts and to provide clarity for U.S. companies looking to protect their marks and reputation around the world.
New York’s unique approach to evidentiary procedure – and specifically, its rules governing admissions by a party opponent’s agent – have frustrated litigators for years. Recent changes to New York’s rules on civil procedure, however, have brought the state’s approach to hearsay more in line with the standard set by the Federal Rules of Evidence. These changes could significantly impact future litigation, especially disputes centered on workplace conduct.