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Case Summaries

Commercial Law

[05/04] G & W Warren's, Inc. v. Dabney
In a case concerning the scope of a guaranty given to secure a buyer's obligations under a master agreement and various subsidiary agreements involving the purchase and sale of a motorcycle dealership and the circumstances under which the liability of the guarantor, by virtue of subsequent actions by the seller, may be exonerated, the trial court's judgment is reversed where the court erred in concluding that defendant was liable under the Guaranty for Assignee's obligations under the covenant not to compete and two consulting agreements.

[04/14] Goethel v. US Dep't of Commerce
In a commercial action, brought by a commercial fisherman challenging various provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the district court's grant of summary judgment to the government is affirmed where plaintiff's suit was not filed within the thirty-day statute of limitations.

[04/06] McGill v. Citibank
In a dispute between a consumer and a credit card company involving the validity of a provision in a predispute arbitration agreement that waives the right to seek the statutory remedy of public injunctive relief in any forum, the Court of Appeals' decision is reversed where: 1) such a provision is contrary to California public policy and is thus unenforceable under California law; and 2) the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), 9 U.S.C. section 1 et seq. does not preempt this rule of California law or require enforcement of the waiver provision.

[04/05] Maloney v. T3Media, Inc.
In an brought by former student-athlete plaintiffs, alleging that defendant exploited their likenesses commercially by selling non-exclusive licenses permitting consumers to download photographs from the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Photo Library for non-commercial use, the district court's order granting defendant's special motion to strike and dismissing plaintiffs' claims without leave to amend is affirmed where: 1) the federal Copyright Act preempts the plaintiffs' publicity-right claims and the derivative UCL claim; and 2) in light of that holding, plaintiffs' cannot demonstrate a reasonable probability of prevailing on their challenged claims.

[03/29] Expressions Hair Design v. Schneiderman
In a challenge to New York General Business Law section 518, which provides that no seller in any sales transaction may impose a surcharge on a holder who elects to use a credit card in lieu of payment by cash, filed by merchants who wish to impose surcharges for credit card use, arguing that the law violates the First Amendment by regulating how they communicate their prices and that it is unconstitutionally vague, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals' conclusion that section 518 did not violate the First Amendment because price regulation alone regulates conduct not speech, is vacated and remanded where: 1) the Court's review is limited to whether section 518 is unconstitutional as applied to the particular pricing scheme that plaintiffs seek to employ (a single-sticker regime, in which merchants post a cash price and an additional credit card surcharge); 2) section 518 prohibits the pricing regime plaintiffs wish to employ; 3) section 518 regulates speech; and 4) section 518 is not vague as applied to plaintiffs.

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