Eversheds Sutherland 11th Circuit Business Blog
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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 ...

“Once-Upon-A-Time” Injury Insufficient to Establish Article III Standing to Seek Declaratory and Injunctive Relief

The Eleventh Circuit has dismissed for lack of standing a trucking company’s suit for declaratory and injunctive relief against the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (“FMCSA”). Flat Creek Trans., LLC v. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Admin., 2019 WL 2049770 (May 9, 2019). Flat Creek Transportation claimed that FMCSA had unfairly targeted the company for compliance reviews,...

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