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Plaintiff-Appellant Digital Ally, Inc. appealed a district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Defendant-Appellee Utility Associates, Inc. The two companies sold in-car video and surveillance systems. Utility owned U.S. Patent No. 6,381,556 (the ’556 patent) by purchasing the patent and other assets in January 2013 from a supplier of in-car mobile surveillance systems. Utility and its CEO, Robert McKeeman, believed that the ’556 patent was potentially valuable and covered existing systems already in commerce. Thereafter, Utility sent letters to potential customers (who were at that time customers of competitors), including Digital Ally, regarding the consequences of purchasing unlicensed and infringing systems. It urged customers to instead purchase systems from Utility because it now owned the ’556 patent. In October 2013, Digital Ally sought a declaratory judgment of non- infringement in Kansas federal district court, but the suit was dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction over Utility. In May 2013, Digital Ally filed a petition for inter partes review with the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) to determine the validity of all claims on the ’556 patent. The PTAB instituted a review of Claims 1– 7 and 9–25 and determined that Claims 1–7, 9, 10, and 12–25 were unpatentable, and that Claim 11 was not shown to be unpatentable. Claim 8 was not reviewed. The Federal Circuit affirmed this decision. On June 4, 2014, Digital Ally filed this suit with the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, containing nine counts against Utility, including monopolization, false advertising, tortious interference, bad faith assertion of patent infringement, defamation and product disparagement, and trade secret misappropriation. The district court granted Utility’s motion for summary judgment on all nine counts and denied Digital Ally’s motion for partial summary judgment. The Tenth Circuit, in affirming the district court's judgment, concluded Digital Ally failed to sufficiently argue the issues it sought to appeal, "[t]he failure to do so amounts to a concession as to the proof." View "Digital Ally v. Utility Associates" on Justia Law

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At issue in this case was whether Aspen Insurance (UK) Ltd. And Lloyd’s Syndicate 2003 (collectively, “Aspen”) had to reimburse Black & Veatch Corporation (“B&V”) for costs B&V incurred due to damaged equipment a subcontractor made for power plants in Ohio and Indiana. The district court held Aspen did not have to pay B&V’s claim under its commercial general liability (“CGL”) insurance policy because B&V’s expenses arose from property damages that were not covered “occurrences” under the Policy. Because the only damages involved here were to B&V’s own work product arising from its subcontractor’s faulty workmanship, the court concluded that the Policy did not provide coverage and granted Aspen’s motion for partial summary judgment. B&V appealed. The Tenth Circuit found that the Policy contained a choice-of-law clause, making the Policy subject to New York law. The Court also found a trend among state supreme courts that supported the contention that construction defects could constitute “occurrences” under CGL policies, and that contractors have coverage for the unexpected damage caused by defective workmanship done by subcontractors. The Tenth Circuit predicted the New York Court of Appeals would decide that the damages here constituted an “occurrence” under the Policy, and as such, vacated the district court’s summary judgment decision and remand for further proceedings. View "Black & Veatch Corp. v. Aspen Insurance" on Justia Law

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Edmundo and Kimberly Amparan appealed a district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Lake Powell Car Rental Companies (“Lake Powell”) on the Amparans’ claims for negligent entrustment and loss of consortium. The claims arose from a vehicle accident involving a motorcycle operated by Mr. Amparan and a Ford Mustang rented by Lake Powell to Denizcan Karadeniz, operated by Mevlut Berkay Demir. Karadeniz and Demir were both Turkish nationals who were under the age of twenty-five at the time of the accident. Because the Amparans failed to come forward with evidence from which the jury could find an essential element of their claim for negligent entrustment, the Tenth Circuit affirmed. View "Amparan v. Lake Powell Car Rental" on Justia Law

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Edmundo and Kimberly Amparan appealed a district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Lake Powell Car Rental Companies (“Lake Powell”) on the Amparans’ claims for negligent entrustment and loss of consortium. The claims arose from a vehicle accident involving a motorcycle operated by Mr. Amparan and a Ford Mustang rented by Lake Powell to Denizcan Karadeniz, operated by Mevlut Berkay Demir. Karadeniz and Demir were both Turkish nationals who were under the age of twenty-five at the time of the accident. Because the Amparans failed to come forward with evidence from which the jury could find an essential element of their claim for negligent entrustment, the Tenth Circuit affirmed. View "Amparan v. Lake Powell Car Rental" on Justia Law

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This appeal addressed whether immigration detainees housed in a private contract detention facility in Aurora, Colorado could bring claims as a class under: (1) 18 U.S.C. 1589, a provision of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (the “TVPA”) that prohibits forced labor; and (2) Colorado unjust enrichment law. The GEO Group, Inc. (“GEO”) owned and operated the Aurora Facility under government contract. While there, Appellees rendered mandatory and voluntary services to GEO: cleaning their housing units’ common areas and performed various jobs through a voluntary work program, which paid them $1 a day. The district court certified two separate classes: (1) all detainees housed at the Aurora Facility in the past ten years (the “TVPA class”); and (2) all detainees who participated in the Aurora Facility’s voluntary work program in the past three years (the “unjust enrichment class”). On interlocutory appeal, GEO argues that the district court abused its discretion in certifying each class under Rule 23(b)(3) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. It primarily contended Appellees’ TVPA and Colorado unjust enrichment claims both required predominantly individualized determinations, making class treatment inappropriate. Finding no reversible error, the Tenth Circuit affirmed class certification. View "Menocal v. The GEO Group" on Justia Law

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This appeal arose from prison officials’ attempt to gain control over an agitated prisoner who refused to obey their orders, locked himself in the prison’s outdoor recreation yard, and threatened prison officials. Officials decided to drop tear gas into the recreation yard. An intake vent in the yard drew the gas in and filtered it into the prison. Numerous prisoners in their cells were exposed to the gas. Prison officials evacuated the prisoners housed in two sections of the prison after they secured the prisoner in the recreation yard. The officials did not, however, evacuate the prisoners in two other sections. On behalf of a class of about one-hundred prisoners, Timothy Redmond sued three of the prison officials for constitutional violations under 42 U.S.C. 1983, claiming the officials violated the Eighth Amendment and Utah’s Constitution by exposing the prisoners to gas, and then failing to provide adequate medical care. The district court granted the defendants’ summary judgment motion. After review of the claims, the Tenth Circuit affirmed: the prison officials’ conduct, at most, only accidently exposed the prisoners to CS gas, and qualified immunity shields government officials from liability for mistakes like this one. And the rest of Redmond’s claims failed either because Redmond forfeited them, failed to prove a constitutional violation occurred, or did not cite case law that clearly established the alleged rights. Furthermore, violating the Utah Constitution required more-than-negligent conduct, and the prison officials’ conduct was “textbook negligence.” View "Redmond v. Crowther" on Justia Law

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Kay Tee appealed his conviction on three federal criminal counts: (1) attempted coercion and enticement to travel to engage in prostitution; (2) interstate transportation in aid of racketeering enterprises; and (3) money laundering. These counts grew out of Tee’s discussions with a government informant (known as “Lucy”). The government’s trial theory was that Tee had tried to help Lucy, thinking that she wanted to buy a massage parlor and operate it as a prostitution business. Tee denied guilt and pressed an affirmative defense of entrapment. The jury rejected the entrapment defense and found guilt on the three counts. Tee appealed, challenging the sufficiency of the evidence, arguing racial discrimination during voir dire, and trial court errors in admitting certain evidence. Finding no reversible error, the Tenth Circuit affirmed Tee’s convictions. View "United States v. Tee" on Justia Law

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Defendant-appellant Jeffrey Stevens was indicted on 10 counts of interstate communication with intent to injure for posting 10 messages on the Tulsa Police Department’s (“TPD”) online “Citizen Complaint” form. The messages discussed committing violence against specific members of the TPD or TPD officers generally. Stevens moved to dismiss the indictment on First Amendment grounds, arguing his messages were not true threats. The district court denied the motion because a reasonable jury could construe the messages to be true threats. Stevens pled guilty to five counts conditioned on his right to appeal the denial of his motion. The Tenth Circuit determined the district court properly denied Stevens’s motion: “a reasonable jury could understand his messages to be true threats.” View "United States v. Stevens" on Justia Law

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Oklahoma and the Citizen Potawatomi Nation (the “Nation”) entered into a Tribal-State gaming compact; Part 12 of which contained a dispute-resolution procedure that called for arbitration of disagreements “arising under” the Compact’s provisions. The terms of the Compact indicated either party could, “[n]otwithstanding any provision of law,” “bring an action against the other in a federal district court for the de novo review of any arbitration award.” In Hall Street Associates, LLC. v. Mattel, Inc., 552 U.S. 576, (2008), the Supreme Court held that the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) precluded parties to an arbitration agreement from contracting for de novo review of the legal determinations in an arbitration award. At issue before the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals was how to treat the Compact’s de novo review provision given the Supreme Court’s decision in Hall Street Associates. The Nation argued the appropriate course was to excise from the Compact the de novo review provision, leaving intact the parties’ binding obligation to engage in arbitration, subject only to limited judicial review under 9 U.S.C. sections 9 and 10. Oklahoma argued the de novo review provision was integral to the parties’ agreement to arbitrate disputes arising under the Compact and, therefore, the Tenth Circuit should sever the entire arbitration provision from the Compact. The Tenth Circuit found the language of the Compact demonstrated that the de novo review provision was a material aspect of the parties’ agreement to arbitrate disputes arising thereunder. Because Hall Street Associates clearly indicated the Compact’s de novo review provision was legally invalid, and because the obligation to arbitrate was contingent on the availability of de novo review, the Tenth Circuit concluded the obligation to arbitrate set out in Compact Part 12 was unenforceable. Thus, the matter was remanded to the district court to enter an order vacating the arbitration award. View "Citizen Potawatomi Nation v. State of Oklahoma" on Justia Law

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Defendant-appellant Jason Greer appeals the district court’s denial of his motion to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence, contenting the Supreme Court’s decision in Johnson v. United States, 135 S. Ct. 2551 (2015), finding unconstitutional the residual clause of the Armed Career Criminal Act, also invalidated the identically worded provision in the mandatory United States Sentencing Guidelines. He argued that he was entitled to resentencing because the court relied on the residual clause of the mandatory Guidelines to enhance his sentence. The district court denied Greer’s motion, holding that he was sentenced under the element clause of the mandatory Guidelines rather than the residual clause. Finding no reversible error in that decision, the Tenth Circuit affirmed. View "United States v. Greer" on Justia Law