Both class actions and large catastrophes have increased in recent years. Although global warming is linked to the increase in events such as storms and huge fires, responsible parties have also been identified. For example, Pacific Gas & Electric has been criminally charged in the 56,000 acre Zogg fire which occurred in September 2020. The most common tool to place financial responsibility for the harm caused by major catastrophes has been the civil class action. But there is a new route in California, victim restitution.
Crime victims have California constitutional rights to be heard in criminal cases and to restitution for any losses caused by the crime. These rights were put into the California Constitution by the voter proposition commonly referred to as Marsy’s Law. In view of these rights, it is not surprising that the California Supreme Court has made it clear that crime victims have due process rights.
The Internal Revenue Code allows the deduction of business expenses, but it disallows the deduction of criminal fines and penalties, even those related to one’s business. A trucking company cannot deduct parking fines and speeding citations, even if incurred during the operation of its trucks for business purposes.
In trademark cases involving a descriptive trademark which is not registered on the
principal register or trade dress on products, a plaintiff must prove the trademark or
trade dress has established secondary meaning in the market — i.e.. a strong
reputation among customers.
In Varsity v. Star Athletica, the LIS. Supreme Court addressed one of the confounding issues in copyright law: when pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works are sufficiently separate from the articles on which they are placed to qualify for copyright protection. While it is easy to see that a painting on a door or a mural on a wall may be recognized as art entitled to copyright protection without regard to the function of the door or wall, other cases are much more difficult.
While Democrats and Republicans may not agree on much. they do agree that we do not want the government interfering in the consumer market to lessen competition and hurt employees. Unfortunately. this is precisely what the Federal Trade Commission:on did when it Intervened in the recent Albertsons and Safeway merger.