July 2017

FACT DISCOVERY

A periodic skim of intriguing news and numbers from the world of commercial litigation.


$780,000

…is how much actress and musician Courtney Love reportedly paid out in two settlements for defamation stemming from her use of Twitter. “Twitter should ban my mother,” her daughter, Frances Bean Cobain, once said
 
Across the twitterverse, allegations of libel and defamation via ill-advised social media rants are turning into such a cultural thing that insurance companies are now selling libel insurance to average Americans. Says one industry report: “The fact that there are more of us online, using various kinds of social media, means there is greater risk of somebody being sued. You’re going to see more cases like this going forward. The potential exposure has increased.”

BLOOMBERG.COM


5,000

companies make craft beer in the U.S.–up dramatically from 860 in 1995. While craft beer might conjure up images of anti-establishment artisans, in fact these companies are increasingly involved in a very corporate behavior: fighting over trademarks. Why? There are only so many good names for breweries and individual beers to go around. Recently, Doghead Fish Craft Brewery insisted that it owned the word “Namaste” (a popular greeting used in India and yoga studios worldwide). This was shocking news to Dipak Topiwala, an entrepreneur of Indian-decent. Dipak Topiwala, whose craft beer company was named Namaste Brewing. Topiwala took his fight to Facebook but, eventually conceded, changing the name of his company to Kamala Gardens. One Denver-based attorney summed it up like this: “It’s a land grab out there right now.”

USATODAY.COM


$150,000,000

Johnson & Johnson is seeking to have a $150 million product liability judgment overturned, claiming the plaintiff lied about whether its expert witnesses were being compensated for their testimony. The company, along with co-defendant DePuy Orthopaedics, has appealed for a new trial, claiming the misrepresentation about expert witness payments disadvantaged them by leading a jury to regard the experts with an increased and prejudicial level of credibility and authority.

SETEXASRECORD.COM


136

pages long. Twitter’s guide to politicians has nearly one page for the maximum allowable characters in a tweet (140). For a company that invented internet brevity, the guide seems long. Of course, there are some politicians who clearly need to read it: (From page 30) How to delete a tweet: "On the web, select the trash can icon at the bottom of the Tweet. You will get a prompt to 'Delete.' "

NPR.ORG