WCM Philadelphia Associate Recognized by ABA’s Section of Science and Technology Law.

Philadelphia associate Sathima Jones was recently recognized by the ABA’s Section of Science and Technology Law, which included her 2015 article entitled Blurring the Lines Between Infringement and Inspiration in a CLE Presentation at the 2017 ABA Annual Meeting on August 10, 2017 in New York City.

The CLE entitled Unblurring the Lines: Navigating the Complex Relationship between Technology, Music and Copyright Law, included a distinctive panel of musicians, musicologists and prominent experts in the music copyright litigation field. Notably, Bob Kohn, author of Kohn on Music, who won the 1996 case, Lotus v. Borland (a Supreme Court decision that set wide precedent on the extent of software copyright) spoke on the difficulties in bringing and proving an infringement case. Also in attendance was Jonathan D. Davis, a trademark and copyright litigator with over 35 years of experience and an impressive roster of clients, including Shawn Combs, Usher, and Timbaland.
The panel discussion focused most prominently on the 2015 federal case involving the smash hit “Blurred Lines”, in which the Estate of Marvin Gaye won a substantial award based on claims that Robin Thicke and Pharrell used multiple elements form Gaye’s song “Got to Give it Up.” Similar themes were explored with respect Sprit’s 2016 challenge of Led Zeppelin’s song “Stairway to Heaven” and Tom Petty’s 2015 challenge alleging Sam Smith’s Song Stay With Me shared a similar chorus with “I won’t Back Down.”

Drawing parallel themes from Ms. Jones’ article, the CLE explored the nuances of copyright law that pose difficulty in determining whether an artist has infringed a work or merely been inspired, and the challenges that litigators in proving these cases.

For more information about this post please e-mail Bob Cosgrove.

WCM Partner to Speak at Privacy Shield Certifications Webinar.

WCM Partner Bob Cosgrove, a CIPP-US and CIPM, will be one of two speakers at an August 31, 2017 webinar entitled Privacy Shield Certifications: Things You Need to Know. Mr. Cosgrove will focus his portion of the presentation on:
1. Privacy Shield: Requirements and advantages of participating in the event of litigation.
2. Serving Two Masters: The litigation process, discovery, and data transfer from the European Union.
a. Why discovery involving European Data is a challenge and what Privacy Shield does and does not do to remedy the problem.
3. There is Nothing New Under the Sun: The implications of Privacy Shield on member state data blocking legislation.
a. Blocking legislation in member countries is still effective.
b. How the United States courts have handled blocking legislation and data transfer restrictions.
4. Privacy Shield Enforcement: The arbitration process and liability for failure to comply with Privacy Shield requirements.
If you are interested in the webinar, more information can be found here, or e-mail Bob Cosgrove.

WCM Wins Summary Judgment in Philadelphia Penile Numbing Cream Products Case.

Partner Bob Cosgrove and associate Matt Care were awarded summary judgment in Philadelphia County in the case of Lowe v. The Kama Sutra Company, et. al. In Lowe, the plaintiff, a MMA fighter, sued the designer, manufacturer, and distributor of a prolonging gel, meant to prevent premature ejaculation, after alleging injuries to his penis after repeated use. Lowe utilized the gel in combination with other products and alleged that the gel caused permanent disfigurement to his member and decreased sexual performance.

After years of discovery and countless depositions, WCM was able to convince the court that our client, a wholesale distributor of adult novelties and romance products, did not distribute a defective product. Consequently, the court dismissed all of the plaintiff’s negligence, strict product liability, breach of express warranty, breach of implied warranty of merchantability, and breach of implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose claims, and all cross-claims against our client.

For more information about this post please e-mail Bob Cosgrove.

WCM Is Pleased to Announce That Colleen Hayes Has Been Promoted to Counsel.

Effective July 1, 2017, WCM is pleased to announce that Colleen Hayes has been promoted to the rank of counsel. Colleen, who is based in WCM’s Philadelphia office, focuses her practice on commercial work and specifically insurance contract interpretation and coverage and bad faith litigation. Colleen joined WCM after her 2011 graduation from Villanova University School of Law where she graduated magna cum laude and was elected to the Order of the Coif. She is also a cum laude graduate of Villanova University where she received a B.A. in Psychology. Colleen is barred in New Jersey and Pennsylvania (with a pending admission in New York). She was recently elected to the Executive Committee of the Philadelphia Association of Defense Counsel.

WCM Philadelphia Partner Becomes President Elect of Philadelphia Association of Defense Counsel.

On June 6, 2017, WCM Partner Robert J. Cosgrove was elected to the position of President-Elect of the Philadelphia Association of Defense Counsel, one of the oldest local defense organization in the country (now in its 70th year). Bob is the managing partner of WCM’s Philadelphia office and serves clients in a mix of commercial and defense related matters. As President-Elect, Bob is responsible for supervising all of the PADC’s committees which run the gamut from judicial relations to pro bono.

WCM PA Associate Is Recipient of Defense Association Award.

On June 6, 2017, the Philadelphia Association of Defense Counsel, one of the oldest local defense organization in the country (now in its 70th year), awarded the 2017 Joseph H. Foster Young Lawyer Award to Hillary Ladov, a coverage and commercial litigator in Wade Clark Mulcahy, LLP’s Philadelphia office. The award is given to a “young lawyer who best exemplifies the qualities of professionalism and dedication as defense counsel in the practice of law and in the promotion of the highest ideals of justice in the community”. Hillary received the award in recognition of her quality legal work as well as her pro bono work with non-profits, low-wage workers, and Jewish graduate students in Philadelphia as well as her service to the Philadelphia Bar Association. A donation will be made by the PADC to Hillary’s designated charity.

Dennis Wade Speaks at 2017 NYSBA Annual Insurance Coverage Program

 

On May 19, 2017, Dennis is a speaker at the NYSBA’s Updates and Hot Trending Topics Affecting Insurance Coverage. Dennis’s focus is bad faith and consequential damages. His submission is entitled: Recent Developments in the Law of Bad Faith in New York.

The entire program is designed for coverage mavens and touches upon the latest trends and best practices.

If you are interested in attending the program, please open attached PDF, or if you are interested in discussing bad faith and consequential damages in New York, please call or email Dennis at dwade@wcmlaw.com.

WCM Wins Complex Coverage Dispute In First Department

Earlier this week, WCM won an Appellate Division First Department affirmance of its previous summary judgment victory on behalf an international trade show insurer in a coverage dispute over the insured value of two diamonds stolen from the Hong Kong Trade Show.  In Certain Underwriters at Lloyds London v Essex Global Trading, a New York jeweler shipped finished jewelry and loose diamonds to Hong Kong for a week-long exhibition.  To cover the risk, the jeweler purchased $50 million in coverage from London market insurers.  Before the goods were shipped, the jeweler prepared and submitted to U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs, via its shipper and customs broker, a series of itemized memoranda specifically identifying each piece of jewelry and assigning a monetary value to each piece.  The sum of the assigned values in the declaration totaled $50 million, the amount of insurance coverage purchased.

At the show, two of the insured’s diamonds, with a declared value of $2.6 million, were stolen in an apparent distraction theft and the insured submitted a claim.  The policy’s Basis of Valuation clause provided that losses were to be valued in accordance with the values from the insured’s private books and records that the insured declared to U.S. Customs through its shipper and insurance broker.  After Underwriters concluded a fortuitous loss took place, they paid the insured the declared value of the two stones.

Despite that payment, the insured claimed it was entitled to an additional $2.6 million because its private inventory records indicated that the two stolen diamonds were actually worth more than the declared values.  To make this argument tenable, the insured cited the policy’s Books and Records clause, which required the insured to keep detailed books and records so that the quantum of a loss could be determined from its private (internal) records.  The insured also claimed that the word “private” in the Basis of Valuation clause could be interpreted to exclude values declared to a public entity like U.S. Customs.  It followed, the jeweler claimed, the policy was ambiguous and ought to be construed against Underwriters.

As Judge Kornreich in the trial court, the First Department rejected these arguments, and ruled that the policy language was unambiguous.  Because the policy was unambiguous, the court concluded that it would be inappropriate to consider the extrinsic evidence offered by the insured in an attempt to create anecdotal evidence of ambiguity (including affidavits from the insured and a supposed expert insurance broker).  The court also held the doctrine of contra proferentum inapplicable to the insured because it was a sophisticated policyholder.

Essex Global is significant.  By recognizing that the doctrine of contra proferentum is inapplicable to sophisticated insureds, Essex Global will provide insurers support against sophisticated insureds claiming their preferred interpretation of policy language should automatically prevail whenever there is claimed ambiguity.  But it is also a reminder that courts frown on attempts to create ambiguity by “reading” policy wording out of context.

Dennis Wade and Michael Gauvin of WCM represented Underwriters.  If you have any questions about this decision or its import, please call or email Dennis.

WCM Obtains Judgment for Clients in Monroe County Property Damage Case.

Associate Peter Cardwell obtained judgments in favor of our clients in the Magisterial District Court of Monroe County in a property damage lawsuit. The case of Baranowski v. The Home Depot and Big E Transportation arose out of allegations by the plaintiff that his driveway was damaged after our clients made a delivery of retaining wall stone.

At a hearing for the case, we argued that the plaintiff presented no evidence supporting his claim that cracks and dents in his driveway were, in fact, caused by our clients. In addition, we pointed to the fact that the plaintiff presented no invoices or quotes proving his alleged damages and needed repairs. We further submitted several photos of the plaintiff’s driveway showing no damage and what appeared to be normal every day wear and tear. We also presented two employees of our clients to testify as to delivery procedures and their investigation into the alleged damage. Ultimately, the court agreed with our position and found in favor of our clients.

For more information about this post, please e-mail Bob Cosgrove.

WCM Obtains Favorable Result in Philadelphia Premises Arbitration.

Philadelphia office associate Peter Cardwell recently obtained a favorable result in a Philadelphia County trip and fall case. In Quarles v. 1800 North 17th St LLC, et. al., the plaintiff alleged that she tripped and fell due to a defective sidewalk condition on our client’s property located at 12th and Diamond Streets in North Philadelphia near Temple University. The plaintiff argued that our client negligently maintained its property by allowing a defect to occur. In opposition, we argued that our client could not be held liable for the plaintiff’s alleged injuries because she did not establish that our client had actual or constructive notice of any alleged defect. In addition, we argued that any finding of liability upon our client must be diminished by the fact that the plaintiff was comparatively negligent, that there were numerous inconsistencies in her story, she only suffered soft-tissue injuries which are fully healed, she stopped seeking medical treatment, she had less than $1,000 in lost wages, and she had no outstanding medical bills. The arbitration panel agreed with our assessment and awarded the plaintiff damages that were significantly lower than the plaintiff’s pre-arbitration demand.

For more information about this post, please e-mail Bob Cosgrove.