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Judge Leonie M. Brinkema

Aug 30, 2021

Privacy Act not violated, disclosure required by FOIA

Where a government employee alleged the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice violated the Privacy Act by disclosing the results of an internal investigation into his conduct, but the disclosure was made in a Freedom of Information Act case and the material was not exempt, his suit was dismissed. Background On Nov. 11, […]

Aug 16, 2021

$4.5 million judgment entered for RICO violations

Although the defendants argued they weren’t liable for alleged violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO, because the government failed to prosecute them for defrauding plaintiffs and didn’t order restitution in a related criminal matter, that decision was different from the analysis in this civil case. A $4.5 million judgment was […]

Aug 4, 2021

Lawyer sanctioned for not pulling libel claim

Where an attorney refused to withdraw his client’s libel complaint despite being told the challenged communication was absolutely privileged, he and his client are liable for the $33,875 in attorneys’ fees. Background On May 5, 2021, the court orally granted defendant Stefan A. Halper’s motion for sanctions, dismissed this suit asserting claims for defamation and […]

Jul 12, 2021

Alleged disabilities not disclosed to schools

Where the school district agreed on a plan for the student’s development with his parents, and the district received no additional information that there were significant concerns regarding his social or executive functioning skills, it did not violate the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA, by failing to retest him. Background Before the court […]

Jun 29, 2021

Prevailing party can’t get expert fees in trademark appeal

Although a prevailing party can ordinarily recover its expert fees as part of its bill of costs, a unique statute requires an applicant appealing an adverse trademark decision by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO, in federal district court to pay all expenses. In this case, the statute applied and the expert […]

Jun 28, 2021

Military Lending Act doesn’t apply to auto finance deal

Where the Military Lending Act, or MLA, provides that it does not apply to auto finance transactions, a serviceman’s claim that a credit corporation violated the MLA in connection with his purchase of a vehicle was dismissed. Although the Department of Defense issued interpretations in 2016 and 2017 that would have applied the MLA to […]

Jun 28, 2021

Denial of request for term adjustment proper

Where the American Inventors Protection Act allows an extension of the patent term where a district court reverses an adverse determination of patentability, but the district court here simply rejected one adverse finding, the applicant was not entitled to a patent term adjustment. Background The American Inventors Protection Act, or AIPA, changed the term of […]

Apr 30, 2021

‘Paranoia,’ not race, prompted school’s action

Where a teacher’s emails accused a co-worker and students of participating in a “coordinated effort” of taking unauthorized pictures and raised conspiratorial beliefs about surveillance by school employees, he was placed on administrative leave and required to undergo a fitness for duty evaluation because of his “increasing paranoia,” and not his race. Background Bruce W. […]

Mar 12, 2021

Protected classes, activity unknown to employers

Where a failed job applicant alleged no facts showing that officials reviewing his resume and job applications were aware of his protected classes or protected activity, his discrimination claims failed as a matter of law. Background Plaintiff filed an EEO complaint on April 12, 2018, after he learned that another candidate was selected to fill […]

Mar 4, 2021

Volkswagen dodges suit over stop/start system

Although the plaintiffs alleged the start/stop system is defective in all nonhybrid Audi models made between 2017-2020, their fraud claims against Volkswagen were dismissed because they failed to identify any information about the system that was suppressed or concealed. Instead, the owner’s manuals confirmed the systems were operating as promised. Background Plaintiffs sued Volkswagen Group [&h[...]

Mar 4, 2021

Non-breaching party awarded over $1.6M in attorneys’ fees

Where an agreement between two parties waived consequential damages but one party breached that agreement and sued for damages between $30-90 million, the non-breaching party was entitled to recover over $1.6 million in attorneys’ fees and costs incurred in defending against the claims. Background Before the court is  Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation’s motion to confirm arbitration […]

Feb 12, 2021

Race, disability not factors in decision to not hire 

Where a background investigation revealed concerns about a high-school coach’s “lack of boundaries with students” and that same concern had been reflected in a previous performance evaluation, that was a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason why he was not hired for positions at other high schools. Background Damian D. Phillips is a disabled African American male who […]

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