Justia Animal / Dog Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Business Law
Bloodworth v. Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners
The case before the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit involved Allen Thomas Bloodworth, II, a business owner who operated two towing businesses in Kansas City. Bloodworth alleged that the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners and fourteen officers of the Kansas City Police Department conspired to stop him from running his businesses and shut down his ability to conduct business in Kansas City. He brought 17 state and federal claims, including defamation, tortious interference with contract and business expectancy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligent hiring, training, supervision, or retention. He also alleged Fourth Amendment violations for an unlawful warrant search and seizure of his residence and business, the shooting of his dog during the search, and the seizure of business records.The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants. On appeal, the Eighth Circuit affirmed the ruling. The appellate court concluded that Bloodworth failed to link the specific conduct of individual defendants to the alleged constitutional violations, and his claims were based on general assertions mostly. It also ruled that Bloodworth failed to establish that the defendants' conduct was extreme and outrageous to support his claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress. The court further found that Bloodworth failed to establish a constitutional violation resulting from the official policy, unlawful practice, custom, or failure to properly train, retain, supervise, or discipline the police officers. Therefore, there was no basis for municipal liability against the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners. View "Bloodworth v. Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners" on Justia Law
Skolnick v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue
During the tax years at issue, 2010–2013, the Taxpayers owned a New Jersey horse farm. Their Company employed several employees, none of whom had a budget. The Company paid the Taxpayers' personal expenses and lost more than $3.5 million during the years at issue and more than $11.4 million between 1998-2013. The Taxpayers contributed capital and made loans to the Company. In 2016, the Company sold a horse for nearly $1.2 million, enabling it to report a modest overall profit.In 2016, the IRS sent notices of income tax deficiencies. The Tax Court sustained the deficiency determinations, holding that the Taxpayers could not deduct Company losses because their horse breeding activity was not engaged in for profit under Internal Revenue Code section 183 and that the Taxpayers failed to substantiate net operating loss carryforwards that allegedly arose from Company activity. The Third Circuit affirmed. The Tax Court did not clearly err when it found that adverse market conditions did not explain the Company’s sustained unprofitability and correctly considered the Taxpayers’ substantial income from other sources. The profit generated from the 2016 horse sale was tempered by the fact that it occurred after the tax years at issue and after the notices of deficiency. The expertise of the Taxpayers and their advisors was the only factor that favored the Taxpayers. View "Skolnick v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue" on Justia Law
Wysong Corp. v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Based on allegedly deceptive pictures on pet food packaging, Wysong alleged false advertising under the Lanham Act, requiring proof that the Defendants made false or misleading statements of fact about their products, which actually deceived or had a tendency to deceive a substantial portion of the intended audience, and likely influenced the deceived consumers’ purchasing decisions, 15 U.S.C. 1125(a). The Sixth Circuit affirmed the complaint's dismissal. If a plaintiff shows that the defendant’s advertising communicated a “literally false” message to consumers, courts presume that consumers were actually deceived. Wysong claimed the Defendants’ messaging was literally false because the photographs on their packages tell consumers their kibble is made from premium cuts of meat—when it is actually made from the trimmings. A reasonable consumer could understand the Defendants’ packaging as indicating the type of animal from which the food was made but not the precise cut used so that Wysong’s literal-falsity argument fails. A plaintiff can, alternatively, show that the defendant’s messaging was “misleading,” by proving that a “significant portion” of reasonable consumers were actually deceived by the defendant’s messaging, usually by using consumer surveys. Wysong’s complaints do not support a plausible inference that the Defendants’ packaging caused a significant number of reasonable consumers to believe their pet food was made from premium lamb chops, T-bone steaks, and the like. Reasonable consumers know that marketing involves some level of exaggeration. View "Wysong Corp. v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc." on Justia Law