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Seventh-Day Adventist's Trademark Suit, Plus Criminal & Labor Law Matters

By FindLaw Staff on August 10, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

US v. Cecil, 08-5080, concerned a challenge to the district court's conviction of a former police officer for drug related offenses and imposition of a 144-month sentence.  In affirming both the conviction and the sentence, the court held that the district court did not err in rejecting defendant's Batson challenge as defendant has failed to meet his burden of demonstrating purposeful discrimination on the part of the government.

  •   The court rejected defendant's argument that bank records were irrelevant and therefore inadmissible, and defendant's claims regarding his sentence.  The court held that defendant has failed to demonstrate that the district court abused its discretion in admitting the summary charts of his bank records.  Also, the court affirmed the following where: 1) district court was well within its discretion when it concluded that Rule 803(6) was inapplicable in excluding two versions of a report prepared by an officer; 2) defendant's argument that the Hobbs Act's jurisdictional nexus went unfulfilled is rejected as there is evidence in the record from which a reasonable juror could conclude that the cocaine traveled from Georgia to Tennessee; 3) there was ample evidence that the firearm had some "purpose of effect" with regard to the theft of the cocaine; 4) sufficient evidence supported defendant's conviction for conspiring to distribute cocaine; and 5) there was sufficient evidence to establish the elements of aiding and abetting the possession.

    Spees v. James Marine, Inc., 09-5839, involved plaintiff's suit against her former employer and its subsidiary for pregnancy and disability discrimination.  In reversing in part, the court held that the district court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of defendant on plaintiff's transfer claim as a reasonable jury could find that plaintiff's transfer to the tool room constituted an adverse employment action.  The court also reversed in part as district court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of the defendants on plaintiff's ADA claim to the extent it is based on the tool-room transfer

    However, the court affirmed in part as summary judgment was proper on plaintiff's pregnancy-discrimination claim based on plaintiff's termination.  Lastly, the court held that the district court did not err in granting defendants' motion for summary judgment on plaintiff's disability claim based on her termination as plaintiff has presented no evidence that defendant regarded her as having an impairment that precluded her from working in the tool room.

    Gen. Conference Corp. of Seventh-Day Adventists v. McGill, 09-5723, concerned a challenge to the district court's entry of default judgment against defendant, denial of defendant's motion to dismiss and a grant of partial summary judgment for the plaintiffs for refusing to appear for a court-ordered mediation, in the Seventh-Day Adventists Church's trademark infringement suit against a defendant based on his use of their protected marks in advertising and promoting his breakaway church.

    In affirming, the court held that the district court properly exercised subject matter jurisdiction as this case can be resolved based on trademark law without addressing any doctrinal issues.  The court held that the text of the statute makes clear that Congress intended RFRA to apply only to suits in which the government is a party, and that judicial estoppel does not apply to defendant's argument that "Seventh-Day Adventism" refers to religion and is therefore a generic term that cannot be trademarked.  Lastly, the court held that plaintiffs were entitled to summary judgment on the likelihood of confusion, and as such, district court's judgment as to the mark "Seventh-Day Adventist" is affirmed.

    Elkins v. Summit County, 09-3680, concerned a challenge to the district court's denial of summary judgment for defendants on certain claims, in plaintiff's suit against a city and multiple officers and detectives on variety of state and federal claims, arising from a conviction for raping and murdering his mother-in-law and assaulting and raping his six-year-old niece, for which he was exonerated when DNA evidence proved that his neighbor had committed the crimes.

    The court affirmed the district court's denial of summary judgment as to the officers' liability on plaintiff's section 1983 claim as the memorandum at issue was apparently exculpatory in light of the whole case at the time and the officers' failure to disclose it violated plaintiff's right to due process.  Further, under the Ohio law in place at the time that plaintiff's claims for malicious prosecution and loss of consortium claims accrued, the court lacks jurisdiction to review an interlocutory appeal of a denial of immunity from liability under state law.

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