Rolling Stone quotes Gerald Sauer on Fortnite copyright suit

In its story on rapper 2 Milly’s suit against the makers of popular video game Fortnite for allegedly stealing his signature dance move, Rolling Stone included Gerald Sauer’s analysis:

The question is whether 2 Milly’s 2015 move is fully formed enough to constitute intellectual property. “There’s not a lot of case law on this,” says Gerald L. Sauer, a copyright attorney with Sauer & Wagner in Los Angeles. “Commonplace movements and gestures aren’t covered. Yoga positions: no. All these celebratory moves and dances in the NFL — those are not going to be covered. The Village People spelling out letters with their arms — that’s not going to qualify. [Courts] want to see a registrable choreographed work executed by skilled performers before an audience.”

Read the full story at Rolling Stone

Sonya Goodwin’s article in Hunton on California commute time compensation ruling

California Court Holds Commute Between Home and Client Site is Not Compensable Time Under Voluntary Company Vehicle Take-Home Program

By Sonya Goodwin & C. Randolph Sullivan on December 13, 2018

In Hernandez v. Pacific Bell Co., a California court held that employees who drive between their homes and a client worksite (in this case, a customer’s residence) using a company vehicle under the company’s voluntary vehicle take-home program need not be compensated for the commute time.

Pacific Bell premises technicians install and repair internet services at customer’s homes.  Prior to 2009, the technicians were required to pick up a company-owned vehicle at a Pacific Bell garage, report to customers’ homes and then return the vehicle back to the garage at the end of the day.  The technicians worked an eight-hour shift and were paid from the time they arrived at the Pacific Bell garage until they returned the vehicle.  In 2009, the company initiated its Home Dispatch Program (HDP), which allowed the technicians to take the vehicles and tools and equipment home each night and go straight to the customer’s residence at the start of each shift.  The HDP program was completely voluntary, and the employees who chose to participate were required to go to the garage once a week to pick up the necessary tools and equipment.  Under the HDP, the technicians were paid from the time they arrived at the first customer’s residence until they left the last customer’s residence.  In other words, they were not paid to travel between their home and the customer’s residence at the start of the workday.  They were, however, paid to load their company vehicles with the equipment and tools on their weekly garage visit.

Read the rest at Hunton Employment & Labor Perspectives

Daily Journal story on trial resulting in new anti-SLAPP case law

Plaintiff prevails in case that made new anti-SLAPP law

by Justin Kloczko, Daily Journal Staff Writer

It was a fairly typical breach of fiduciary duty case in Los Angeles Superior Court that resulted in a $3.5 million jury verdict recently, but only after it made news case law regarding the anti-SLAPP statute used to knock down frivolous lawsuits seeking to chill speech.

In Baral v. Schnitt, the state high court resolved a long-running dispute among appellate courts about how to treat mixed causes of action that contained protected and unprotected activity.

At issue in the Baral case was a fraud audit report his attorney, Gerald Sauer of Sauer & Wagner LLP, wanted to come to light, but it was deemed SLAPP-able on remand by the the 2nd District Court of Appeal.

“Just because it was slapped and was not the basis for liability, it was still admissible as evidence to show why Baral did certain things,” said Sauer. “I didn’t believe the fraud report should have been cloaked in the litigation privilege.”

“The state Supreme Court needed to look in the trenches in terms of the impact of the ruling,” Sauer said. “This should have been part of the traditional motion to strike, and it should have been changed by the Legislature.”

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