June 2019

Trademark Act provision disallowing registration of marks that are immoral or scandalous violates the first amendment

The Supreme Court has held, inIancu v. Brunetti, — U.S. — (2019), that the Constitution prohibits statutory distinctions between commercial speech based on its "viewpoint." The provision of the Trademark Act taht prohibits federal registration of marks that are "immoral or scandalous," 15 U.S.C. §1052(a) is thus unconstitutional. While several Justices would have interpreted the provision narrowly to outlaw speech based on... Read more about Trademark Act provision disallowing registration of marks that are immoral or scandalous violates the first amendment

Supreme Court opens federal courts to a floodgate of takings cases

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court overruled Williamson County Regional Planning Comm'n v. Hamilton Bank of Johnson City, 473 U.S. 172 (1985) and held that owners aggrieved by state regulations they believe took their property without just compensation can immediately sue for relief in federal courts under 42 U.S.C. §1983 even if state law would have provided just compensation through administrative procedures....

Read more about Supreme Court opens federal courts to a floodgate of takings cases

External stairway encroachment on neighboring land by one foot is allowed to remain with damages only for the trespass victim

A Massachusetts court has found that a one foot encroachment on neighboring property by a new external stairway on a building is de minimus because the alley is hardly used, and the encroachment is both small and necessary to make the stairway consistent with the building code. Krieger v. Lanark LJS LLC, 2019 Mass. App. Unpub. LEXIS 345, 2019 WL 1976015...

Read more about External stairway encroachment on neighboring land by one foot is allowed to remain with damages only for the trespass victim

Nonjudicial foreclosure requires appraisal to ensure foreclosure price is close to fair market value

The Massachusetts Appeals Court has held that nonjudicial foreclosures must be conducted in a fair manner and that the burdens on the party who is foreclosing are greater precisely because the auction sale is not be supervised or conducted by judicial officials. Prop. Acquisition Group, LLC v. Ivester, 2019 Mass. App. LEXIS 44,...

Read more about Nonjudicial foreclosure requires appraisal to ensure foreclosure price is close to fair market value

Washington Supreme Court reaffirms its finding of sexual orientation discrimination by florist

On remand in light of the Supreme Court ruling in Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colo. Civil Rights Comm'n,  the Washington Supreme Court unanimously reaffirmed its ruling in State v. Arelene's Flowers, 389 P.3d 543 (Wash 2017), as modified by 2017 Wash. LEXIS 222 (Wash. 2017). Lambda Legal, ...

Read more about Washington Supreme Court reaffirms its finding of sexual orientation discrimination by florist