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    DISPUTE OVER ESTATE OF JAMES BROWN SETTLES AFTER NEARLY FIFTEEN YEARS OF LITIGATION

    James Brown, who died in 2006, left a will most notable for seeking to establish a charity that could distribute millions of dollars via education scholarships to poor and underprivileged children in South Carolina and Georgia, with his family largely left out of the estate plan.  A major issue regarding the distribution of Brown’s estate was his children and grandchildren’s desire to share in the proceeds of Brown’s songwriting copyrights.  Also at issue was the value of Brown’s estate (estimated by some at up to $100 million) and the validity of Brown’s marriage to backup singer Tommie Rae Hynie, who acted as Brown’s widow following his death, until the Supreme…

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    LEGAL IMPLICATIONS OF THE CHAMPLAIN TOWERS SOUTH COLLAPSE IN FLORIDA

    On June 24, 2021, part of a 12-story beachfront condo building tragically collapsed in Surfside, Florida, sending apartments to the ground below and trapping many residents in the rubble.  As of July 13, 2021, the death toll reached 95 after the recovery of another victim, with 85 of those victims now identified, and 14 more potential victims yet to be pulled from the wreckage. Following the collapse, a report surfaced regarding a previous inspection of the condo building that flagged major structural issues almost three years before the collapse, citing “design flaws and failing waterproofing that would lead to ‘exponential damage.’”  The report specifically cited the areas underneath planters and…

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    ARIZONA JURY FINDS IN FAVOR OF APPLE CO-FOUNDER STEVE WOZNIAK IN COPYRIGHT INFRINGMENT TRIAL

    Steve Wozniak, a co-founder of Apple, Inc., was sued by a Connecticut business professor for allegedly stealing the business idea for Woz U, a technology school established to “help create the innovators of tomorrow and narrow the technology skills gap in the U.S. by working with Learners, Higher Education Institutions and Corporations.”  In the lawsuit, Ralph Reilly accused Wozniak of theft of intellectual property and copyright infringement, demanding $1 million in compensation.  Reilly claims he revealed the idea for the technology school to Wozniak in 2010 and asked Wozniak if the school could bear his name.  According to Woznick, however, Reilly was merely a fan Wozniak met briefly during a…

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    U.S. SUPREME COURT RULES IN FAVOR OF FORMER HIGH SCHOOL CHEERLEADER REGARDING USE OF PROFANITY AND NEGATIVE COMMENTS TOWARDS SCHOOL ON SOCIAL MEDIA

    On June 23, 2021, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that a Pennsylvania high school violated a student’s First Amendment rights upon punishing her for using profane language on social media that criticized the school. From NPR: At issue in the case was a series of F-bombs issued in 2017 on Snapchat by Brandi Levy, then a 14-year-old cheerleader who failed to win a promotion from the junior varsity to the varsity cheerleading team at her Pennsylvania school. “I was really upset and frustrated at everything,” she said in an interview with NPR in April.  So she posted a photo of herself and a friend flipping the bird…

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    FEDERAL JUDGE DISMISSES ICE CUBE’S INVASION OF PRIVACY CLAIM AGAINST POPULAR TRADING APP ROBINHOOD

    With the recent news surrounding “meme stocks,” Robinhood has become a household name.  However, the investing platform has been in the news recently for other reasons.  On March 8, 2021, Robinhood posted an image of rapper O’Shea Jackson, professionally known as Ice Cube, from his movie Are We There Yet? along with the caption, “Correct yourself, before you wreck yourself,” a play on words referencing Ice Cube’s famous song “Check Yo Self.”  Ice Cube sued Robinhood shortly thereafter, alleging, in part, that Robinhood misappropriated his name and likeness. Last week, a federal Magistrate Judge dismissed Ice Cube’s complaint, reasoning that Ice Cube failed to adequately plead that Robinhood, by using…

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    FDA’S ACCELERATED APPROVAL OF NEW ALZHEIMER’S DRUG ADUHELM COINCIDES WITH ELDER ABUSE AWARENESS MONTH

    June is Elder Abuse Awareness Month, and the FDA’s approval of a new drug for Alzheimer’s disease provides hope of a possible treatment.  On June 7, 2021, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted accelerated approval of a new drug called Aduhelm for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.  Aduhelm is the first new treatment approved for Alzheimer’s since 2003 and is the first Alzheimer’s drug that targets the underlying pathophysiology of Alzheimer’s.  The drug is not yet available but should be shipping around the country over the next few weeks. Since the announcement, the FDA has received some criticism of its decision to grant Aduhelm accelerated approval, with many arguing…

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    RUSSELL SIMMONS SUES KIMORA LEE SIMMONS AND TIM LEISSNER FOR CONSPIRING TO FRAUDULENTLY TRANSFER SHARES OF POPULAR ENERGY DRINK COMPANY CELSIUS

    Entrepreneur and hip-hop icon Russell Simmons recently sued his ex-wife, Kimora Lee Simmons, and her new husband, Tim Leissner, alleging the two conspired to fraudulently transfer millions of shares of Celsius, a popular energy drink company, to themselves to pay Leissner’s legal and bail fees.  Leissner pleaded guilty to money laundering in 2018 and agreed to hand over $44 million to stay out of jail.  The suit further alleges claims for breach of contract and breach of confidential relations. Russell alleges he entered a business arrangement with Kimora Lee and Tim in 2016 when they joined Nu Horizons, Russell’s investment company.  Russell alleges that through Nu Horizons, the parties invested…

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    FEDERAL JUDGE IN CHARLOTTE RULES IN FAVOR OF BANK OF AMERICA IN TELEPHONE CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT LAWSUIT

    Last Friday, United States District Judge Robert Conrad in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina ruled in favor of Charlotte’s own Bank of America in a lawsuit brought by a Kentucky man pursuant to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).  The plaintiff brought the suit in May 2020, claiming Bank of America called him approximately 300 times in 2019 in an attempt to collect a debt, despite the plaintiff revoking his consent. The TCPA, enacted in 1991, “restricts the making of telemarketing calls and the use of automatic telephone dialing systems and artificial or prerecorded voice messages.”  Specifically, “entities making telephone solicitations [must] institute procedures…

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    FORMER YEEZY EMPLOYEE SUES KANYE WEST FOR UNPAID WAGES AND MISCLASSIFICATION OF WORKERS

    Earlier this month, fashion designer and former Yeezy employee, Taliah Leslie, filed a lawsuit against Kanye West alleging West violated California labor law by, among other things, failing to pay her for required, off-the-clock work.  Leslie further alleges West misclassified workers as independent contractors to skirt wage and benefits requirements, despite those workers having the duties of full-time employees.  Leslie also contends West failed to pay her for required out-of-town travel, compensate for overtime hours, and provide off-duty meal breaks for workers as required by California labor laws.  Moreover, Leslie accuses West of failing to maintain payroll records documenting the hours workers logged and the wages West paid them.  Leslie…

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    Federal Court Vacates CDC Eviction Moratorium, but it Remains in Effect in North Carolina

    On May 5, 2021, a federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia vacated the national moratorium on evictions previously issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  The judge granted summary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs—three rental companies—reasoning that the CDC exceeded its statutory authority to respond to public health emergencies pursuant to the Public Health Service Act.  However, despite this ruling, North Carolina’s moratorium on evictions remains in effect, as Governor Roy Cooper previously issued his own executive order extending the moratorium on evictions in North Carolina through June 30, 2021.  Whether Governor Cooper will continue to extend the mortarium on…