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Civil Rights, Education, Insurance and Intellectual Property Cases

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By FindLaw Staff on April 05, 2010 12:47 PM

Holley v. Cal. Dept. of Corrs., No. 07-15552, concerned a 42 U.S.C. section 1983 action by a prisoner claiming that California Department of Corrections grooming regulations requiring short hair imposed a substantial burden on his exercise of religion in violation of section 3 of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA).  The court of appeals affirmed summary judgment for defendants, holding that the acceptance of federal prison funding by the state of California did not effect a waiver of the state's sovereign immunity that would allow the RLUIPA claim for damages against state officials in their official capacities to proceed in federal court.

JustMed, Inc. v. Byce, No. 07-35861, involved a copyright infringement and trade secret action claiming that defendant misappropriated a software program used on plaintiff's digital audio larynx device.  The Ninth Circuit affirmed judgment for plaintiff in part, holding that the district court did not err in finding that defendant was an employee of plaintiff when he worked on the program, and thus the program was a work for hire for copyright purposes.  However, the court reversed in part on the ground that the district court's finding that defendant disclosed part of the source code to the Copyright Office was insufficient to hold defendant liable for misappropriation under a disclosure theory.

Hyundai Motor Am. v. Nat'l. Union Fire Ins. Co., No. 08-56527, concerned an action against an insurer to recover defense costs based on a third party's action against plaintiff for patent infringement, involving plaintiff's use of certain features on its website.  The court of appeals reversed summary judgment for defendants on the ground that the patent infringement claims in the underlying action alleged the "misappropriation of advertising ideas," and thus stated an "advertising injury" under the policy.

N.D. v. State of Hawaii Dept. of Educ., No. 09-17543, involved an action alleging violations of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) by the Hawaii Department of Education.  the denial of a preliminary injunction seeking to prevent Hawaii from shutting down public schools on seventeen Fridays and concurrently furloughing the teachers is affirmed, on the ground that the stay-put provision of the IDEA was not intended to cover system-wide changes in public schools that affected disabled and non-disabled children alike, and such system-wide changes were not changes in educational placement.

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