Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire,
Puerto Rico, Rhode Island
Dan Brown’s thriller
does not infringe other
DAN; BRO W N’S; BES T-SELLING; NOVEL
“Angels & Demons,” a thriller about the
Catholic Church, rubbed some people the
wrong way, but none more so than Jack
Dunn. In Dunn v. Brown, Dunn claimed
“Angels & Demons” infringed the copyright of his 1997 book “The Vatican Boys.”
On March 22, the 1st Circuit affirmed a
district court’s summary judgment in
favor of Brown.
Dunn claimed that Brown had directly
copied several elements, including characters, plot and settings. A magistrate judge
reviewed the contentious passages and
determined that although both books had
religious elements, “Angels & Demons” was
too different to be infringing. Adopting
the magistrate judge’s report, the district
court granted Brown summary judgment.
The 1st Circuit affirmed, saying that no
reasonable juror would find sufficient sim-ilarities between the two books.
This case was not Dunn and Brown’s
first legal entanglement—Dunn previously
sued Brown, claiming that his other best-seller, “The Da Vinci Code,” also infringed
on “The Vatican Boys.” Brown won summary judgment in that case as well.
Connecticut, New York, Vermont
purchased plant from
exiled Egyptian family
COCA-COLA;DID;NOT;ILLEGALLY;PUR-chase, or unjustly enrich itself from, an
Egyptian bottling plant located on land
that was forcibly taken from a Jewish
family, the 2nd Circuit ruled March 19
in Bigio v. The Coca-Cola Company.
In the 1940s, Coca-Cola leased land
from the Bigio family to establish its first
bottling plant in Egypt. The Egyptian
government took the Bigios’ real estate
in 1962, and later sold it to an insurance
company that Egypt owned. The Bigios
were expelled from Egypt in 1965. All
the factories on their land were consolidated into a single bottling company, in
which Coca-Cola later acquired an ownership interest.
In 1997 the Bigios filed suit against
Coca-Cola and its export corporation,
but the district court dismissed their
complaint, claiming lack of jurisdiction.
The family filed an amended complaint
in 2009, alleging trespass and unjust
enrichment, among other claims. The
district court granted the defendants’
motion to dismiss.
On appeal, the 2nd Circuit upheld
the ruling because the plaintiffs sued
Coca-Cola, the parent company, rather
than the subsidiary Coca-Cola Egypt
(CCE), which would have been the entity
responsible if the claims checked out.
Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee
No breach of contract
for a voluntary
payment of $13.99
IN; SALLING V. BUDGET RENT-A-CAR
Systems, the 6th Circuit ruled on Feb. 29
that a man who voluntarily paid a $13.99
fuel charge for a rental car cannot claim
the company breached its contract.
Michael Salling drove a Budget rental
car 64 miles, refilled the gas tank and
returned the car. Budget charged him
a $13.99 fuel service fee, which Salling
alleged his contract allowed him to avoid
by returning the car with a full tank of
gas. Budget claimed that to waive the fee,
Salling had to provide a receipt, which
he didn’t have. Salling sued for breach of
contract, fraud and unjust enrichment.
The district court granted summary
judgment to Budget, saying the con-
tract was not unclear. On appeal, the
6th Circuit agreed with Budget’s argu-
ment that Salling voluntarily paid the fee,
whether or not there was breach of con-
tract. The court quoted Nationwide Life
Ins. Co. v. Myers, saying “A payment made
by reason of a wrong construction of the
terms of a contract … if voluntary cannot
be recovered back,” and affirmed the dis-
trict court’s judgment.
Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin
not guaranteed new
jobs within a company
that disabled employees who cannot
perform their job functions are not guaranteed reassignment to another position
under the Americans with Disabilities
In Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission (EEOC) v. United Airlines
Inc., United had a policy that allowed
disabled employees to apply for a transfer to a vacant position, but the process
was competitive, and employees were not
promised a spot. The 7th Circuit previously held in EEOC v. Humiston-Keeling
that the ADA does not require automatic
reassignment. The EEOC argued that the
Supreme Court’s ruling in US Airways v.
Barnett undermined that decision.
In Barnett, the Supreme Court found
that accommodations that violate an
evenly enforced company policy aren’t
necessarily unreasonable under the ADA.
The EEOC claimed in United Airlines that
the “decision requires that the disabled
person be advanced over a more qualified
The 7th Circuit wrote that “the
EEOC’s interpretation may in fact be
a more supportable interpretation of
the ADA,” but the court had already
interpreted Humiston-Keeling in cases
after Barnett, and so affirmed the dis-
trict court’s ruling that United’s policy