Cycle-Tracking Apps and Data Privacy in the Post-Roe Climate

Posted on Categories Privacy Rights, Public, Student ContributorLeave a comment» on Cycle-Tracking Apps and Data Privacy in the Post-Roe Climate

This past summer, the United States Supreme Court passed down its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization and explicitly overturned the precedential abortion frameworks set forth in Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey. Under Dobbs, abortion is not a right protected by the United States Constitution and states are therefore able to regulate abortion legality and access within their borders.

In addition to impassioning women’s rights advocates across the United States and bringing additional attention to the world of women’s healthcare as a whole, Dobbs has left many attorneys in apprehension as they wait to see how the decision will affect traditional privacy law frameworks, considering Roe v. Wade and Casey were both based on finding a place for abortion within the privacy protections of the Constitution.

While privacy attorneys wait to understand this potentially broad restructuring of existing law, consumers have begun to consider how their current data habits and application usages may be affected by the Dobbs decision. In particular, apps that track menstrual and ovulation cycles have become a topic of important discussion. Continue reading “Cycle-Tracking Apps and Data Privacy in the Post-Roe Climate”

How the Cookie Crumbles: The #UtahCookieWars

Posted on Categories Intellectual Property Law, Public, Student ContributorLeave a comment» on How the Cookie Crumbles: The #UtahCookieWars

Besides offering delicious cookies that can be delivered straight to your door, Crumbl Cookie is bringing some interesting legal content to the news by filing trade dress infringement lawsuits against two other cookie companies. Crumbl claims that two smaller Utah business, Dirty Dough and Crave Cookies, are using packaging, logos, and designs that are confusingly similar to that of Crumbl, which could constitute infringement under the Lanham Act. In reference to Dirty Dough in particular, Jason McGowan, co-founder and CEO of Crumbl Cookies, posted on LinkedIn on August 29, 2022, alleging that “Dirty Dough has stolen trade secrets from Crumbl’s internal database,” including recipes, building schematics, statistics, training videos, and more. As redress, Crumbl is seeking monetary and injunctive relief in the District of Utah.

Adding another dimension to Crumbl’s allegations, Dirty Dough’s founder was a former Crumbl employee, and the owner of Crave Cookies had previously had their application to become a Crumbl franchisee rejected. Both individuals, Crumbl alleged, took Crumbl’s packaging, marketing, advertising, and presentation in an attempt to profit off of Crumbl’s trade dress and brand identity. Continue reading “How the Cookie Crumbles: The #UtahCookieWars”

Welcome to Our October Guest Blogger!

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Our Student Contributor for October is 3L Emilie Smith. Emilie is from Green Bay, Wisconsin, and has a strong interest in Business Law and Intellectual Property Law. She currently has a comment pending publication in the Marquette Law Review on the digital recreation of copyrighted tattoos for use on video game avatars. Welcome Emilie!

Now That’s What I Call Meta

Posted on Categories Computer Law, Cryptocurrency, Public, Student ContributorLeave a comment» on Now That’s What I Call Meta

In another post, this writer discussed Covid through a discussion of what is normal and mentioned, briefly, this concept of the metaverse. As we embrace things that are becoming normal, many legal professionals have conducted a large amount of business virtually utilizing platforms such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom. Many more may not even realize that these “normal platforms” are, at minimum, precursors to what companies plan for the metaverse.

You may have seen the news that Facebook, Inc., changed its name to Meta Platforms, Inc., in the fall of 2021. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO, says the company did this to showcase its commitment to the development of a metaverse. But Meta Platforms isn’t the only player in the metaverse game, nor can it be. More recently, Microsoft purchased the video game holding company Activision Blizzard to continue its development of its idea of the metaverse. And Nvidia has been developing the Omniverse as its own metaverse. The list of companies participating in metaverse activities is numerous and varied. But what are these companies doing and why does it matter to the readers of a law school blog?

These companies are shaping Internet 3.0, what is popularly called the metaverse. Continue reading “Now That’s What I Call Meta”

What Is Normal?

Posted on Categories Legal Education, Public, Student ContributorLeave a comment» on What Is Normal?

Here we are . . . .  It’s January 22, 2022. It’s windy outside. Cold, yet blindingly bright. What snow we had in Milwaukee County has mostly melted, yet winter isn’t even a month old at this writing. Classes resume for the “spring” semester on Monday, the 24th of January 2022, having been delayed for a week so Marquette University can address the burgeoning Omicron variant of the COVID virus. It is this writer’s second “spring” semester at Marquette University Law School and the second spent in the global COVID pandemic.

Back when acceptance letters were being delivered to the class of law students who will graduate in May 2023, scarcely a person on the planet predicted—or even truly considered—that two years hence, we would still be in the throes of a devastating pandemic. And yes, devastating is the correct word to use here, but it isn’t the only word that can be used. The pandemic, for some aspects of life, has been confusingly constructive and progressive. Despite this, many still ask, “When will things return to normal?”

Personally, this writer struggles to comprehend what is normal in most situations—a flaw, perhaps, that has existed since youth. But let’s put the question to the reader: What is normal? Continue reading “What Is Normal?”

Texas Deputies and S.B. 8

Posted on Categories Civil Procedure, Civil Rights, Constitutional Law, Public, Student Contributor1 Comment on Texas Deputies and S.B. 8

If you’re like the rest of the United States, then you are aware of the recent attempts to restrict the right to abortion pre-viability — a right affirmed by the Supreme Court in Planned Parenthood v Casey., 505 U.S. 833. Despite the holding in Planned Parenthood, States continue to pass legislation restricting abortion. In some States, these attempts are no more than a brazen attempt to ban nontherapeutic pre-viability abortions.

By the end of 2021, some fifteen States had passed legislation that banned non-therapeutic pre-viability abortions, commonly referred to as “Heartbeat bills.” (As of this writing, the states are Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.) Though neither the progenitor nor the ultimate occurrence, S.B. 8, passed by Texas’s legislature and signed into law by Governor Abbott, has created rather significant waves in the legal landscape. Perhaps predictably, other States have emulated Texas’s approach, an approach that some commentators call the most restrictive abortion legislation to be passed post-Roe v. Wade (410 U.S. 113). A quick perusal of one’s favorite internet search engine will reveal the myriad commentary discussing the ways in which Texas and other States have been ingeniously skirting the dictates of the Supreme Court.

So, what is it that makes Texas’s legislation so newsworthy? Truly, it is not the restrictions that Texas has imposed that makes this law exceptional. After all, States have been passing restrictions on abortion long before the right was recognized by the Supreme Court. It is, also, not the fact that Texas is attempting to make it impossible for women, other than victims of rape and incest, to obtain an abortion once a heartbeat is detected; Texas is hardly novel in its endeavors in this area. What makes Senate Bill 8 so exceptional is its novel enforcement scheme. Continue reading “Texas Deputies and S.B. 8”

Welcome to Our January Guest Blogger!

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Our Student Contributor for January is 2L Daniel Kafka. Daniel is a Milwaukee native who grew up in the Story Hill neighborhood, near what some of us still call Miller Park. He is eager to practice litigation, particularly business litigation, but may also harbor an interest in transactional law. His non-legal interests include fantasy novels, disc golf in Estabrook Park, and storyboarding a video game he hopes to create with some friends. He lives with his partner Abigail and his dog Nero (an English Bull Terrier) in the Murray Hill neighborhood. Welcome Daniel!

Welcome to Our December Guest Blogger!

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Our Student Contributor for December is 3L Matt Rademacher. Matt is originally from Stevens Point, Wisconsin. Before entering law school, he was an Army Engineer; he deployed to Afghanistan in 2010-11 to perform route clearance, and finished his Army career as a Captain. In law school he has developed an interest in municipal law, and outside of the legal realm he enjoys reading about military history, and has been an historical reenactor since roughly age 8. Welcome Matt!

Risk and Liability for November Music Festival Disaster in Houston

Posted on Categories Popular Culture & Law, Public, Student ContributorLeave a comment» on Risk and Liability for November Music Festival Disaster in Houston

Man standing at a concertNo, this picture is not a still from an episode of “Black Mirror;” it is a photograph from the Jacques Berman Webster II (also known as Travis Scott) concert on November 5, 2021, in Houston. The fans (including the man standing on the ambulance) are unaware that their exuberant pushing and shoving are creating a crowd crush. In other words, the venue has become so densely populated that the crowd begins to function like a liquid. Therefore, pushing from the back has a ripple effect that causes fans near the front (1) to experience compressional asphyxia due to the pressure on the lungs or (2) to fall and be trampled.

Unfortunately, this tragedy resulted in the death of eight people and physically injury to over 300. The number of victims may continue to grow as people are treated for the mental trauma they experienced.

This is certainly not the first time these “crowd crush” events have occurred, and this is not the first time that Mr. Webster has been involved in fueling these sorts of situations. Mr. Webster was arrested for disorderly conduct in 2015 at Lollapalooza in Chicago and again in 2017 at a concert in Arkansas. At both performances, Mr. Webster created hysteria by getting the crowd to “rage,” which resulted in injury and chaos. What is alarming is that Mr. Webster did not immediately stop the show in Houston (the victims can be heard on audio screaming for help). Furthermore, the venue seemed woefully unprepared to handle the event, despite Mr. Webster’s well-known reputation, the promotor’s history of these risks, and the advancements in crowd control. Additionally, the Houston police chief allegedly visited the performer ahead of his show to “convey[] concerns about the energy in the crowd.”

It is no surprise that over 14 civil lawsuits have already been filed against the promoter, Live Nation Entertainment Inc., 10 of which also named Mr. Webster. The lawsuits allege “that Live Nation acted negligently by failing to create and enforce proper safety protocols, failing to provide adequate security and failing to maintain proper crowd control.”

Live Nation will most likely point to their 56-page operation plan submitted to Harris County ahead of the festival as one possible defense. That plan covered security and medical response protocols, including “the potential for multiple alcohol/drug-related incidents, possible evacuation needs, and the ever-present threat of a mass casualty situation.” However, despite the plan’s existence, it is clear that either it was not sufficient for this situation or the Live Nation staff did not appropriately follow it.

The event is still under police investigation, so we will not have all of the information until later. Until then, I hope that other promotors and performers learn from this and take better care of their consumers.

Do you think either the promotor or Mr. Webster could be held criminally responsible for this event?

 

Welcome to Our November Guest Blogger!

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Our Student Contributor for November is 3L Nicholas Bergosh. Nicholas is from Pensacola, Florida, but was born in San Diego, California, and spent a significant part of his life there. He is interested in business law, but also wants to continue working with a sports agency. He is a sailor in the United States Naval Reserves and plans to reenlist after his contract ends in 2023. Welcome Nicholas!

Legal Challenges to Race-Based Scholarships in Wisconsin

Posted on Categories Constitutional Law, Higher Education, Race & Law, Student Contributor2 Comments on Legal Challenges to Race-Based Scholarships in Wisconsin

Since the early 2000s, the validity of the use of race in many scholarship applications has been questioned. States have been left rolling in a deep pool of uncertainty regarding what to do. Race-based scholarship programs have provided invaluable aid to minority students seeking to obtain a higher education. Without these programs, many qualified minority students would be unable to attend higher-learning institutions. As a result, the institution would be denied a diverse learning community and many valuable students would have to prematurely abandon their education goals.

Each scholarship serves its own purpose. There are scholarships that are offered to people of certain religious background. Others focus on providing economic aid to students who are pursuing certain degrees – such as engineering, medicine, or law. The purpose of race-based grants or scholarships is to increase the number of diverse students for the benefit of each institution. This purpose has been challenged by complaints alleging that race-based scholarships only further race discrimination.

The Supreme Court has established precedent regarding this debate. The Court held that when applying rights found in the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment regarding this matter, a society is a collection of “knowing individuals” who are seen as autonomous and independent, and thus should be treated as individuals without regard to race. The Court further stated that when a program acknowledges individuals as being part of a group or classification, the program should be strictly scrutinized. Gratz v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 244 (2003); Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 306 (2003).

As one commentator has noted, “[t]o pass strict scrutiny review, a race-conscious program must first have a compelling state interest. Diversity is the compelling interest most often used to defend affirmative action.” Andrija Samardzich, Note, Protecting Race-Exclusive Scholarships from Extinction with an Alternative Compelling State Interest, 81 Ind. L.J. 1121, 1124 (2006). In Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 306 (2003), Justice O’Connor stated:

The Law School’s interest is not simply ‘to assure within its student body some specified percentage of a particular group merely because of its race or ethnic origin.’ That would amount to outright racial balancing, which is patently unconstitutional. Rather, the Law School’s concept of critical mass is defined by reference to the educational benefits that diversity is designed to produce.

Grutter, 539 U.S. at 330.

In recent months, this debate has hit close to home. Continue reading “Legal Challenges to Race-Based Scholarships in Wisconsin”

Welcome to Our October Guest Blogger!

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After a bit of a hiatus, our guest bloggers are returning! This month we are excited to welcome 3L Vanessa Flores to blog with us as our Student Contributor. Vanessa is originally from Ecuador but called Chicago home before coming to Marquette. She is interested in civil litigation and will be doing that after graduation. When not studying law, Vanessa enjoys spending time with her cats, Simba and Bolt, and exploring Wisconsin with her boyfriend and his dogs. Welcome Vanessa!

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