Legal Research Blog


Courts Address Sleeping Disorders

American’s suffering from sleep disorders can rest easy now that the D.C. Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of considering the disabilities under the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Those suffering from a lack of sleep have seen employers question for years the legitimacy of their claims, considering none severe enough to qualify as a disability.

In the case of Desmond v. Mukasey, FBI special agent trainee Martin Desmond accused the FBI of discriminating against him for a sleep disorder he developed from his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Desmond worked with a number of FBI officials to treat his condition and applied for a location transfer in order to relieve some of his symptoms to no avail. Ultimately, Desmond was kept from graduating from the special agent program sparking the lawsuit into action. The suit purported that the FBI refused to recognize Desmond’s inability to sleep as a viable disorder and that discrimination ensued.

The court ruled in favor of Desmond and set the precedent that all employers must consider sleep disorders in the same light as all other disabilities. For sufferers, the affect of the loss of sleep will have no bearing on whether or not it is considered a disability. Any person receiving only 2 to 4 hours of sleep a night for a period of at least 5 months is considered to suffer from a disorder that affects “major life activity”. Upon this decision, anyone suffering from a sleep disorder has the right to invoke any and all provisions under both the Rehabilitation as well as the Americans with Disabilities Acts without further scrutiny.


Mattel Proclaimed Victor in Barbie v. Bratz

A recent lawsuit involving copyrights and intellectual property pitted one infamous toy maker against another. Mattel, an American icon known for its Barbie doll created in 1959 sued MGA Entertainment, the company responsible for the new-age Bratz dolls, claiming that designer Carter Bryant came up with the plans for the doll while he still clocking hours with Mattel. Bryant was employed with the worlds largest toy company for several years in the 1990’s when the idea for Bratz first came about. Soon after joining the MGA team, the line of hip and more importantly, money-making dolls came onto the market.

Since the introduction of Bratz around the world, Mattel has seen a frustrating decline in sales of their Barbie dolls now considered too traditional in comparison, while MGA has steadily raked in profits by the millions. Unfortunately for MGA, their increasing profits could now be considered their downfall. A judge has ruled in favor of Mattel’s argument that they are actually the rightful holders of all intellectual property behind the Bratz line. While MGA has already announced that they will appeal the decision , the entertainment company should beware as talks are already surrounding what the damages could be in such a high stakes case. It is almost guaranteed that MGA will owe Mattel millions from the profits they have purportedly stolen over the past seven years, but the more important question is whether or not MGA will be asked to turn over the rights for the entire line.

From the looks of Mattel’s homepage, the American toy giant is already busy celebrating their recent victory but in reality this case is long from over. Be on the lookout for more information regarding these rare but intriguing cases of your intellect or mine.

Source: BBC News

Lawdable Quotes: Robert Frost

A successful lawsuit is the one worn by a policeman.

~ Robert Frost

Lawdable Quotes: Frank Murphy

Jury service is a duty as well as a privilege of citizenship; it is a duty that cannot be skirted on a plea of inconvenience or decreased earning power.
~ Frank Murphy

What Would You Do for an Extra 500K?

As the economy continues to look somewhat less than vigorous, Americans have become more creative in their ways to save a few bucks and make a little more. Whether it’s driving cars on gasoline fumes or steeling manhole covers for scrap metal, there is no doubt that consumers have become more thrifty, just not necessarily in a good way.

This spring a Wisconsin woman went above and beyond all other “get rich quick” schemes when she planted a dead rat in her food at a well known restaurant located in Grand Chute. Believing her plan to be flawless, Debbie Miller demanded that the restaurant pay her $500,000 as restitution or she would report them to the authorities and of course, the media. Luckily for the restaurant, owners were skeptical of Miller’s claims and decided to run a few tests before coughing up the cash. The tests results returned with more than enough evidence to prove the restaurant’s innocence and land Miller in jail, including that the rat had been microwaved, a feature absent from this restaurant’s kitchen.

Several questions surround Miller’s motives for the bizarre trick, particularly considering her previously sparkling clean record. Now facing charges of extortion, she could be spending her next few years in prison not a penny richer.