There is a case pending in federal court, Zuffa v. Thomas, that has some interesting copyright infringement implications as well as some interesting “can you file a lawsuit when you are really not sure exactly what your claim is?” issues. Bonus fun: Zuffa, the plaintiff, is the company that owns the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

UFC apparently has spies that go around and make sure people are not rebroadcasting its fights to large groups. So one of their spies found that the Hotel Charles in southern Maryland was broadcasting the fight to 123 people without purchasing a license to do so.

Both parties have filed motions for summary judgment and they have both been denied. But the judge clearly is concerned that Plaintiff has not yet offered prima facie evidence of copyright infringement. UFC complains that defendants have not responded to discovery so they don’t have the details straight of exactly how they got the fight in the first place. Moreover, they are arguing let’s just put two and two together – there is evidence they played the fight and no evidence that they got it legally so a reasonable jury could only conclude that it infringed on their copyright. I’m inclined to agree with UFC on this premise: if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck…

We welcome back to the bar in Maryland a lawyer convicted of a felony after taking an active role to conceal immigration fraud that permitted non-citizens to enter the U.S. illegally. To make this more palatable for us, he described this as “negligent” in his Petition for Reinstatement. I don’t know about you, but that makes me feel tons better. I hope Lance Armstrong tells us his doping scheme was negligent tomorrow.

The U.S. District Court issued an opinion in another “the bank was bad when it foreclosed on me when I wasn’t, you know, paying my mortgage” case.

Plaintiffs, Pasadena, Maryland residents, sued Bank of America alleging that the bank’s failure to process a mortgage modification, after the servicer informed them it would help them change their mortgage terms, was actionable. The big crime? Bank of America was only willing to lower the payment a bit.

Judge Catherine C. Blake dismissed the case, finding that:

The Maryland Court of Appeals affirmed a P.G. County Circuit ruling that determined that convicted former delegate Tiffany Alston will not return to Annapolis. The governor will fill the vacancy.

The court did not offer a basis for the opinion. They wanted to get a ruling out because of the importance and immediacy of the case. Presumably, a more detailed opinion will follow.

But, in sum: this mess – this utter mess – will be resolved in a way that does not make us all hate our politicians even more than we do now.

This is an interesting new case from the Maryland Court of Appeals that underscores the limits of the attorney-client privilege: you can’t use it as a sword and a shield. Here, the defendant in a breach of contract action hung his hat in his defense of a bad faith allegation by citing letters with his lawyers to show he was acting in good faith.

The court held that if you crack that door; you have to open the whole thing. This is a problem for the defendant if another correspondence to his lawyers is referred to by the court as the “stop the bastards email.” You can imagine this had an unhappy ending for the defendant, which it did to the tune of $40 million.

You can read the entire opinion in CR-RSC Tower I, LLC, et al. v. RSC Tower I, LLC, here.

A deeply divided Maryland high court agreed to allow us to vote on congressional redistricting plans.

The plaintiffs are some of the powers to be among Maryland Democrats: Dennis Whitley III (who gets his name on the case), Matthew Thomas, Anne Neal, and Karren Jo Pope-Onwukwe.

Basically, the referendum’s opponents wanted the court to throw out some of the petitions that had been signed to bring this issue to the voters. But I would be lying if I said I fully understood it.

U.S. District Court Judge Catherine C. Blake shot down a hospital’s effort to dismiss a nurse’s class suit last week in a Maryland Wage Payment and Collection Law case.

The nurse’s claim is that Maryland General Hospital automatically deducts a scheduled meal break from employees’ pay while also requiring employees to work during that unpaid break. So the hospital’s policy is, allegedly, an automatic 30-minute deduction in their daily time records for a scheduled meal break, whether or not they can receive the break. Oh, the inhumanity!

I’m not a huge fan of these types of cases. I think these laws are needed to manage some oppressive working conditions. Think West Virginia coal mine worker. But these are health care workers who are in great demand. Sure, the hospital was screwing over the employee on this lousy lunch break deal. But I bet they did a thousand other things for her that they were not required to do. Now she is cherry-picking the one thing she didn’t like. Ultimately, it is the employer’s job to make the employee happy enough that they want to stay. If she does not like it there, she should leave – which is what she did.

For the past several years, the Maryland Judiciary has been developing plans for a comprehensive electronic case management system for the District Court, the Circuit Courts, and the two appellate courts. That system will involve court records being filed, maintained, and accessible in electronic, rather than paper, form. The Judiciary has chosen Tyler Technologies, a leading provider of software solutions for the Court and Justice community, as its partner in this endeavor. The Judiciary and Tyler are in the process of designing how the software will operate in the courts and interface with justice partners, including the attorney community. The Court’s Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure is now in the preliminary stages of developing Rules to accommodate MDEC. It is anticipated that the system will be installed sequentially by county or groups of counties, starting in Anne Arundel County on or about September 30, 2013.

Five core issues of basic judicial policy and certain possible options regarding those issues have been identified, upon which the Court invites public comment. Comments may present other issues and suggest other options. All comments should be in writing and sent to Sandra F. Haines, Esq., Reporter to the Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure, 2011-D, Commerce Park Drive, Annapolis, Maryland, 21401 on or before September 21, 2012.

The Court will hold a public meeting on October 18, 2012, at 2:00 p.m., to consider the timely written comments. Oral presentations will not be permitted except by invitation of the Court. Decisions reached by the Court will guide the Rules Committee in the further development of Rules necessary to implement MDEC.