Results In Court
"Victory" in court is not always a good measure of the effectiveness of a lawyer. For one thing, the best result is to negotiate a satisfactory resolution so that the dispute never comes to the courthouse at all. At the same time, it may not serve the client's interest to give away the farm just to avoid taking a difficult case to trial. (There's an old adage in the profession: show me a lawyer who's never lost in court, and I'll show you a lawyer who settles too many cases.) And when a case does need to be litigated, the truth is that the facts and the law really do matter, at least as much as the quality of counsel.
Having said all that, participation in important and meaningful litigation, whatever the outcome, is at least a relevant indicator of a lawyer's experience and judgment. In that spirit, we note below some of the more significant decisions in which we have been involved. (The fact that we also won most of them is just coincidental.)
Click on any case name to see a copy of the opinion:
Intellectual Property Cases
Resorts of Pinehurst, Inc. v. Pinehurst National Corp., 148 F.3d 417, 47 U.S.P.Q.2d 1465 (4th Cir. 1998) - Laches and estoppel in the trademark context.
Sara Lee Corp. v. Kayser-Roth Corp., 81 F.3d 455 (4th Cir. 1996) - Addresses some fundamental issues of trademark law, including genericness and the scope of protection for famous marks.
Pinkham v. Camex, Inc., 84 F.3d 292 (8th Cir. 1996) - Issues of damages and attorney fee awards under the Copyright Act.
Sunkist Soft Drinks, Inc. v. Sunkist Growers, Inc., 10 F.3d 753 (11th Cir. 1993) - Upholding arbitrability of a trademark license dispute against a non-signatory to the license, and rejecting attempted disqualification of arbitrator.
Mirafi, Inc. v. Murphy, 928 F.2d 410 (Fed. Cir. 1991), aff'd after remand, 988 F.2d 129 (1993) - Finding unfair trade practices liability based on an attempt to enforce invalid patents.
Antitrust and Trade Regulation Cases
Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. v. Pataki, 320 F.3d 200 (2d Cir. 2003) - Upholding against a Commerce Clause challenge a New York law that bans the direct shipment of cigarettes to consumers. By the way, this decision is wrong. (We're not objective, but you don't have to be objective to be correct.) For the right decision, click here to see the opinion of the district court, Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co., Inc. v. Spitzer, 2001 WL 636441 (S.D.N.Y. 2001), which the Second Circuit reversed.
Kidd v. Bass Hotels & Resorts, Inc., 136 F.Supp.2d 965 (E.D.Ark. 2000) - Rejecting class action antitrust challenge to agreement between franchisor and manufacturer for goods of specified quality standards to be purchased by franchisees.
Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co., Inc. v. Judge, 963 F.Supp. 437 (M.D.Pa. 1997) - A Pennsylvania law restricting retail sales permits to those obtaining approval from 40% of manufacturers was declared unconstitutional under the Legislative Powers clause.
Martin Marietta Corp. v. Wake Stone Corp., 339 N.C. 602, 453 S.E.2d 146 (1995) - Holding viable a claim against a competitor for unfair trade practices based on a bad faith appeal to zoning authorities.
For a complete description of Rod's litigation background, click here.