Month: July 2014

When Pigs Fly

DON’T MAKE A FEDERAL CASE OUT OF IT!

Translation: remanded to state court.

Law Judge

The jurisdiction of federal courts is limited. Do not handwrite “Other-Divorce” on the civil cover sheet unless you want  Judge Iamcranky to split your Wright & Miller with one bash of his federal gavel. Instead, make sure either diversity jurisdiction or a federal question exists before teeing up that complaint in U.S. District Court.

FlyingPigs LLC  v. RRAJ Franchising LLC is an interesting 4th Circuit case decided recently involving bankruptcy, trademark law, and federal question jurisdiction. Here are a few points discussed in the opinion:

  • The Lanham Act does not confer federal jurisdiction if the dispute is ownership of a trademark, not infringement;
  • A judgment creditor may attach an equitable lien upon a debtor’s federal trademarks in state court to collect a judgment; and
  • A federal court may only examine the complaint (and ignore defenses) when deciding whether a federal question arises under the U.S. Constitution, laws, or treaties.

Read the order here–it is only 4 pages and is a nice refresher for those who do not visit Judge Iamcranky frequently.


Make a federal case

1. A matter that falls within the jurisdiction of a federal court.
2. To exaggerate the importance of something trivial.

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