Eversheds Sutherland 11th Circuit Business Blog
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End of Engle Cigarette Litigation in Eleventh Circuit?

Judge Kevin Newsom begins his opinion for the court in Harris v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., 2020 WL 6816965 (11th Cir. Nov. 20, 2020), with the auspicious observation that this Engle case is “one of the last that we’re likely to see.” Correct or not, the comment evokes the long history in the Eleventh Circuit of the progeny of the Florida Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Engle v....

Eleventh Circuit Bans Incentive Payments to Lead Plaintiffs in Class Actions

In what appears to be a first, the Eleventh Circuit recently held that federal law prohibits so-called “incentive payments” to class representatives, even as part of an agreed settlement. The court acknowledged that it was forging a new path in Johnson v. NPAS Solutions, LLC, 975 F.3d 1244, 1248–49 (11th Cir. 2020)—identifying errors that it said had “become commonplace in everyday...

Conservation Easements with a Limited Reservation of Development Rights Are Potentially Deductible

In Pine Mountain Preserve LLLP v. Commissioner, 2020 WL 6193897 (11th Cir. Oct. 22, 2020), the Eleventh Circuit was asked whether a grantor’s reservation of limited development rights prevents a conservation easement from satisfying the requirements to claim a charitable deduction under the qualified conservation contribution rules of section 170(h) of the Internal Revenue Code. In an...

Defendant Must Prove that Copied Portion of Copyrighted Work is Unprotectable

In Compulife Software Inc. v. Newman, 2020 WL 2549505 (11th Cir. May 20, 2020), the Eleventh Circuit clarified that a plaintiff, having established that the defendant copied part of a copyrighted work, need not prove that the copied portion was legally protectable; the defendant must prove that it was not.  The court also reviewed the elements of a trade-secret claim under Florida law....

Tax Service’s Registered Trademark’s Suggestiveness Presented Jury Question

In Engineered Tax Services, Inc. v. Scarpello Consulting, Inc., 2020 WL 2478863 (11th Cir. May 14, 2020), the Eleventh Circuit reversed and remanded the district court’s grant of summary judgment for Scarpello Consulting in a trademark dispute over the distinctiveness of the service mark “Engineered Tax Services,” citing previous rulings on substantive trademark law and its ...

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