As we approach the end of 2021, here is an update on a few of the cases and matters I have blogged about over the past year or so.  

In July, 2021, I wrote about a post titled Borat's Subsequent Litigation Lawsuit about a right of publicity/Lanham Act/copyright case commenced by Sacha Baron-Cohen in federal court in Massachusetts against a Massachusetts Cannabis dispensary called Solar Therapeutic and its president Edward Dow III for using a photograph of Baron-Cohen's likeness as Borat to advertise the dispensary.  In December, 2021, the court denied Dow's motion to dismiss the claims against him in his individual capacity, finding that the plaintiffs had adequately alleged that Dow personally "directed, controlled, ratified, approved, and implemented" Solar's actions regarding the billboard.  The case proceeds and a court conference is scheduled for January, 2022.


The saga of Richard Liebowitz continues.  I have written about him a number of times, as have many other copyright experts and observers.  Last year, my partner Tyler Maulsby and I wrote about one of the most important developments in the Liebowitz's long history of sanctions and other problems in  Court sanctions Liebowitz $103K! Requires service of a copy of the order on all of his clients and filing in all of his cases!! But can the Court do that?   Since then, the Second Circuit has affirmed the sanctions order in this comprehensive decision.  Liebowitz has been suspended from practice in the Southern District of New York as well as by New York state (as reported here by my colleague Vish Mohan.   Just this month, Liebowitz was suspended from practice in the Northern District of Texas

Despite the suspensions, the "Liebowitz Law Firm" remains alive and active,  with attorney James Freeman filing many new copyright infringement cases.  I asked my ethics expert colleague Tyler Maulsby whether Freeman and others can continue to use the firm name despite Liebowitz's problems (noting that it appears that Richard Liebowitz's sister Rebecca Liebowitz, a recently admitted attorney, may now be involved with the firm).  Here is what Tyler had to say:  

It seems like a significant risk. The ethics rules prohibit law firm names that are deceptive or misleading. In addition, the rules governing suspended and disbarred lawyers require a lawyer who has been suspended to discontinue any attorney advertising or other notices that state that the lawyer is authorized to practice law. In other words, once a lawyer is suspended, the firm cannot give the public the impression that the lawyer is still allowed to practice. If Liebowitz's sister Rebecca is in fact managing the firm that may suffice to keep the "Liebowitz" name on the door. However, she must actually be managing the firm, which includes handling the day-to-day operations of the firm, providing appropriate supervision and oversight on cases, and making sure that the clients understand that Richard is not currently allowed to practice.


In what (in my opinion) was one of the lamest cases to come out of the sports world in 2021, former (and marginal) major league pitcher Mike Bolsinger has dropped his lawsuit against the Houston Astros in which he claimed that the infamous sign-stealing scheme perpetrated by the Astors constituted a theft of his trade secrets.  My prior post about that claim can be found here.


Finally, a settlement apparently has been reached in a case which I described in a post last year titled Your Vineyard Tenants Made Porn Movies in Your House? Sue them for Copyright Infringement!.  In that case, a Martha's Vineyard homeowner had sued renters who used her house to make porn movies and had included claims for copyright infringement (because some of her copyrighted works appeared in the background of some scenes in the films).