Affirmance of Partial Summary Judgment for Defendant in Trademark Infringement Matter - U.S. Fifth Circuit
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Affirmance of Partial Summary Judgment for Defendant in Trademark Infringement Matter

Plus Rulings in Administrative, Bankruptcy and Civil Rights Cases

Castro v. US, No. 07-40416, concerned an action under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) alleging that the government's negligence caused the wrongful deportation of plaintiff's son.  The court of appeals affirmed the dismissal of the action on the ground that the government was protected from suit by 28 U.S.C. section 2680(a), the discretionary function exception of the FTCA.

In re: Velocita Worldwide Logistics Inc., No. 09-10416, involved an appeal from the district court's judgment affirming the bankruptcy court and declining to imply a right of contribution among defendants who agreed to be jointly and individually liable for a payment as part of the settlement agreement for a state tort action.  The court of appeals affirmed, on the ground that the obligations in the instant settlement agreement were not analogous to the obligations in surety and guaranty agreements, the contractual arrangements in which Texas courts had allowed contribution claims against co-obligors.

In re: Moore, No. 09-10604, concerned a creditor's appeal of the district court's affirmance of the bankruptcy court's approval of a settlement of estate claims over creditor's objection and despite its offer to purchase the claims for higher value.  The court of appeals reversed, holding that the claims at issue could be sold as well as compromised, and the bankruptcy court's failure to consider the effect of such a sale was an abuse of discretion.

Amazing Spaces, Inc. v. Metro Mini Storage, No. 09-20702, involved an action alleging infringement of a star design that plaintiff claimed as a service mark.  The court of appeals affirmed summary judgment for defendant, on the grounds that 1) the record evidence was replete with similar or identical five-pointed stars, both raised and set in circles, and used in similar manners, such that--notwithstanding the residual evidence of the presumption of validity--no reasonable jury could find that the star symbol was even a mere refinement of this commonly adopted and well-known form of ornamentation; and 2) plaintiff failed to raise a fact issue regarding the existence of secondary meaning with respect to the symbol.  However, the court reversed in part, on the ground that plaintiff had not yet had the opportunity to introduce evidence relating to its trade dress claims.

La Union Del Pueblo Entero v. Fed. Emergency Mgmt. Agency, No. 09-40948, concerned the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) appeal from the district court's preliminary injunction requiring FEMA to publish standards that complied with 42 U.S.C. section 5174(j).  The court of appeals vacated the injunction, holding that plaintiffs merely complained that the regulations lacked specificity, not that FEMA wholly abdicated its responsibility to promulgate regulations, or promulgated regulations that directly contravened the statutory language.

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