September 22, 2010
Here are a few newsworthy trial pleadings now available on Westlaw.
DOJ sues high-profile Arizona sheriff in civil rights probe
Joe Arpaio, the self-proclaimed “toughest sheriff” in America and outspoken critic of illegal immigration, and his sheriff’s department are being sued by the Justice Department for their ongoing refusal to cooperate with a civil rights investigation into charges that Arpaio’s department discriminates on the basis of national origin. Federal officials noted that it’s the first time in 30 years that the DOJ has taken the unusual step of suing a local law-enforcement agency.
» See the DOJ’s complaint on Westlaw (2010 WL 3436735 – sign-on required)
Botox maker pays $600 million to settle misbranding charges
We usually think of Botox as a cosmetic drug, but the refined neurotoxin was first approved by the FDA in 1989 as a treatment for strabismus (crossed eyes), blepharospasm (uncontrollable blinking), and a neurological disorder that causes facial spasms. The Department of Justice charged that, from 2000 to 2005, Botox maker Allergan failed to address the drug’s unofficial uses as a treatment for headaches, spasticity, and juvenile cerebral palsy in the product’s labeling, even though the company tacitly endorsed such “off-label” uses.
» See the DOJ’s complaint on Westlaw (2010 WL 3455531 – sign-on required)
Fox News sued over video clip of Brad Pitt motorcycle mishap
About a year ago, Brad Pitt tumbled off his motorcycle in slow-moving traffic after being cut off by a paparazzi photographer. The Fox News Channel showed footage of the strange mishap, and now the network is being sued – not by an embarrassed Brad Pitt, but by the clip’s owner, Media2Air. Fox allegedly downloaded the clip and used it on the air without permission, later defending itself by citing a fair-use concept known as the “newsworthy rule.” Given Fox’s tough stance against fair-use reproduction of its own material, some found this defense somewhat ironic. In fact, the complaint even quotes Fox Chairman Rupert Murdoch saying he believes the fair-use doctrine will eventually be challenged in the courts and tossed out.
» See Media2Air’s complaint on Westlaw (2010 WL 3375226 – sign-on required)