In House - The FindLaw Corporate Counsel Blog

April 2011 Archives

Taco Bell May Sue Alabama Firm Behind Taco Meat Lawsuit

How would you like to be Taco Bell's GC? You would have to deal with CEO Greg Creed, a unique executive if there ever was one.

Taco Bell is contemplating suing Beasley Allen, the Alabama law firm that filed a case alleging it falsely advertised about the make-up of its meat. The case was quietly withdrawn last week after "changes in marketing and product disclosure were made" by Taco Bell, the firm said.

Bratz Dolls Wins 2-Year Spat with Barbie, Mattel

The long-running legal spat between Barbie and Bratz finally has a resolution.

A judge recently announced a jury verdict that says Mattel Inc., owner of Barbie, does not own ideas for Bratz dolls, owned by MGA Entertainment.

Ownership of the Bratz designs has been the subject of a bitter three-month long trial and a decade-old dispute between the two toy companies, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Apple Legal Dept Stays Busy: Sues Samsung over Phones, Tablets

As if there the lawyers at Apple weren't busy enough defending lawsuits and serving others with complaints, the maker of the iPhone has sued rival Samsung Electronics claiming that Samsung's Galaxy line of mobile phones and tablet "slavishly" copies the iPhone and iPad.

The lawsuit, filed on Friday, alleges Samsung copied the look, product design and product user interface of Apple's products, Reuters reports. 

Feds Re-Indict Ex-Glaxo In House Lauren Stevens for Corporate Duty

Former GlaxoSmithKline general counsel Lauren Stevens has been re-indicted for obstructing a probe into Wellbutrin off-label marketing as part of her duties for the company.

Stevens' case has deep ramifications and has been closely watched. The question of just how much a GC can rely upon (and/or hide behind) outside counsel's advice will play out.

The prosecution may prove to be the first wave of a sea change in how federal prosecutors pursue not just companies, but company executives for wrongdoing.

Applebee's Retrains Staff After Toddler is Served Alcohol

Applebee's parent company announced Monday it was immediately retraining its workers nationwide after a server at a suburban Detroit location accidentally served alcohol to a toddler.

In a move surely spurred by the in house team, the company, California-based DineEquity Inc, said it would also change the way it serves juice to youngsters to eliminate the chance of any mixups that could result in any more toddlers receiving mixed drinks.

Out-of-State In House Counsels Can Now Advise Clients in NY

Inevitably, most in-house attorneys at large outfits will get sent on business to New York.

Now those in house counsels who are not licensed to practice law in New York will nevertheless be able to offer legal advice in the state under new rules adopted by the Court of Appeals.

The rules approved by the state's highest court, codified as 22 NYCRR Part 522, will allow out-of-state lawyers to provide counsel to private corporations, associations or other legal entities operating in New York, as well as to their employees, directors or officers.

The new rules will go into effect on April 20.

Texas Judge Throws Out $625M Jury Award Against Apple

Apple's legal team won a big one in Texas.

A federal judge threw out an earlier $625 million verdict against Apple in a patent-infringement case, overturning one of the largest settlements ever awarded in a patent case and fueling debate on software copyright in general.

Startups get millions of dollars in venture capital in hopes of making it big. But sometimes a bulk of those millions will be spent on legal fees when General Counsels find their new businesses are sued for millions.

Six major Hollywood studios have sued Internet-movie company Zediva, claiming the start-up violates copyright law with its system for showing new movies online for $1 or $2.

Judge Slashes $4.78M Off Verdict Against West Publishing

A federal court judge has sharply reduced a $5-million punitive damage award given to two law school professors by a jury that concluded they were defamed by West Publishing Corp., a legal-publishing firm.

U.S. District Court Judge John P. Fullam stated that $2.5 million each exceeded the actual damage to the lawyers' reputations in a decision this week.

Fullam sliced the punitive award for each man to $110,000, which with $90,000 in compensatory damages means each would get $200,000, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.