Recent Posts

July 16, 2020

Miller Awarded Common Future Bridge Fellowship

FormanWatkins is proud to announce Julian Miller has been awarded a Common Future Bridge Fellowship based on his work co-founding the non-profit organization, Delta Fresh Foods Initiative, that focuses on building community food systems as a means of economic justice and public health in the Mississippi Delta.

June 30, 2020

Trademark Law Update: Supreme Court Decides Fate of Booking.com’s Trademark Applications

By: Josh Leggett That was quicker than expected.  The Supreme Court issued its slip opinion in the matter of United States Patent and Trademark Office v. Booking.com on June 30, 2020.[i]  Justice Ginsburg wrote the opinion for the Court, and Roberts, Alito, Sotomayor, Kagan, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh joined.  Justice Sotomayor wrote a concurring opinion, and Justice Breyer filed a dissenting opinion. To begin with the conclusion, the Court held that Booking.com was entitled to trademark protection.  In making its decision, the Court focused on whether Booking.com “taken as a whole, signifies to consumers the class of online hotel-reservation services.”  If so, then it is a generic term not entitled to protection.[ii]  Part of the Court’s opinion relates back to Chief Justice Roberts’ concern at oral argument wherein he inquired as to whether similar sites, such as  “Travelocity,” were considered to be a “Booking.com.”[iii]   According to the Court, because consumers do not view it this way, as was determined by the lower courts, the case should be resolved.[iv] However, the Court does not conclude its opinion so quickly and addresses the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (“USPTO”) argument that combining a generic term such as “Booking” with a generic top level domain like “.com” results in a  generic pairing, with some exceptions.  Importantly, the Court points out that the USPTO’s own practice does not follow such a rule, and, in fact, existing registered trademarks would be subject to cancellation if such a rule were enforced.[v]   The Court declines to adopt […]

June 29, 2020

FormanWatkins New Orleans Office Honored as a 2020 Top Workplaces

Forman Watkins & Krutz LLP has been awarded a Top Workplaces 2020 honor by The Times-Picayune and The New Orleans Advocate.  The list is based solely on employee feedback gathered through a third-party anonymous survey that uniquely measures 15 drivers of engaged cultures that are critical to the success of any organization, including alignment, execution, and connection.

June 24, 2020

Trademark Law Update

On May 4, 2020, the United States Supreme Court made an unprecedented move and broadcast an oral argument live for the first time.[i] The case pits the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) against Booking.com.[ii] The matter is before the Supreme Court as a result of the USPTO’s denial of Booking.com’s trademark applications. Lately, the average number of days between oral argument and getting to an opinion is around 90 days. So, we are expecting an opinion potentially in early August 2020. While we wait, here is a brief overview of the case.

June 18, 2020

A Message from Forman Watkins & Krutz LLP

The gravity of the events over the past weeks resulting from the unjustified killing of George Floyd weighs heavily on our collective hearts and minds.  We hold in the highest regard the civil rights that should and must be afforded to everyone.  As business leaders, and as individuals, we bear a responsibility to speak out and act against injustice. We stand in solidarity with those who are protesting throughout the world to ensure the realization of the inalienable rights held by all global citizens without regard to the color of their skin.  We are proud of those in the FormanWatkins family who have individually spoken out for change. To our African-American and diverse colleagues, clients and community, FormanWatkins reaffirms its commitment to the core values of diversity and inclusion.  We acknowledge that a public statement, such as this one, is only one of many acts necessary to live up to those values.  We promise to continue to listen, speak and act in support of those values.

May 29, 2020

MS Supreme Court Affirms Complete Dismissal of Alleged Price-Fixing Case

On April 30, 2020, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed the complete dismissal of claims against clients represented by FormanWatkins attorneys Fred Krutz and Daniel Mulholland in a case brought by the Attorney General of Mississippi regarding alleged price-fixing of Automotive Wire Harness Systems used in automobiles.  The State sued several companies alleging violations of the Mississippi Consumer Protection Act (“MCPA”), the Mississippi Antitrust Act (“MAA”), and a civil conspiracy to violate both Acts. 

May 8, 2020

Giallourakis, Metcalf, and Maron Win Summary Judgment

Nick Giallourakis, Joshua Metcalf, and Ruth Maron won summary judgment on behalf of our client in a King County, Washington living mesothelioma premises liability case on May 6, 2020. Working together with attorneys from Bullivant Houser Bailey, FormanWatkins convinced the Court that the plaintiff’s claims against our client should be dismissed in their entirety because the plaintiff could not present any evidence to support his household exposure claims against our client, rather, his claims were “based on speculation and conjecture.” The Court also noted that the plaintiff conceded that any exposure claims based on his own employment with our client were barred by Washington’s workers’ compensation exclusivity provision. This is a significant victory for our client, in particular in a jurisdiction that does not typically grant summary judgment to defendants. This case is set for trial on August 24, 2020.

April 14, 2020

Hannula and Upchurch Win Summary Judgment

Brian Hannula and Caroline Upchurch, members of our commercial litigation group, worked with attorneys from Parsons McEntire McCleary to win summary judgment on behalf of a commercial real estate broker in a fraud/misrepresentation case pending in Harrison County, Mississippi. The plaintiff alleged multiple defendants made fraudulent misrepresentations about occupancy rates during a multi-million dollar real estate transaction and sought more than $3 million in damages. After reviewing the briefs and hearing oral arguments, the Circuit Court Judge determined the plaintiff failed to produce evidence that the broker (1) made any false statements, (2) had knowledge of the allegedly fraudulent representations, or (3) participated in the alleged falsification of rent roll data.

April 9, 2020

COVID-19: Do I Have a Business Interruption Insurance Claim?

As the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic drags on, businesses large and small continue to feel the impacts in a variety of ways. In recent days and weeks, in a necessary effort to “flatten the curve” of COVID-19 diagnoses, state and municipal governments across the country have issued shelter-in-place or safe-at-home orders that have forced closures of businesses deemed “non-essential,” altered hours or operations for almost all restaurants, and limited potential customer movement to only essential activities and travel. For example, Mississippi’s Shelter-in-Place Order, explained here, took effect last Friday.

April 6, 2020

COVID-19: Applying the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

With the recent implementation of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), small business owners have more questions than answers applying the law in real time as shelter-in-place orders go into effect in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Department of Labor (DOL) has answered several questions in its Q&A sheets to assist employers on their responsibilities under the Act.  The following is a recap of the DOL’s answers to some of the more pertinent questions: