Representative Business Cases

Zango, Inc. v. Kaspersky Lab 
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
United States District Court for the Western District of Washington

In a boost for the internet security industry, Sunstein won broad immunity for our client Kaspersky’s anti-malware products. Both the district and appeals courts extended a statutory protection for internet service providers to sellers of software that safeguards users against spyware and adware. Zango, an operator of websites providing downloadable videos and other programs, alleged that the Kaspersky software improperly classified Zango’s downloads as “adware” and thus improperly blocked potential users from downloading Zango’s programs. With the Ninth Circuit’s ruling, the “Good Samaritan” immunity of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 now accommodates certain filtering software, a conclusion which reassures the makers of anti-spyware and anti-spam tools that developing robust user protections puts them on the right side of the law.

The HipSaver Company, Inc.
United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts

Sunstein represents the HipSaver Company, an innovator in the design and manufacture of products which protect against hip fracture and newly invented products which protect against skin injury. We have represented HipSaver in two lawsuits which safeguard the marketplace integrity of its hip protector products under the Lanham Act and the Massachusetts business practices act. Significantly, we have also obtained an important judicial ruling which advances the law in the First Circuit on damages relief for willful, literally false advertising. Under this ruling, the trial court has recognized a rebuttable presumption of causation and injury where willful, literally false advertising is committed by a direct competitor in a concentrated market.

First Act Inc. v. Brook Mays Music Company, Inc.
United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts

Sunstein won a $20.7 million jury verdict for First Act in this suit for false advertising in violation of the Lanham Act, commercial disparagement and interference with contractual relations. During the five-week trial, we presented extensive expert witness testimony including in-courtroom demonstrations as proof that defendant’s statements about our client’s musical instruments were false. The global aspects of the parties’ manufacture and distribution of the products in issue posed unique challenges involving discovery throughout the United States and in China and Hong Kong. In addition, because of the harm being caused to our client on an ongoing basis, we acted quickly upon filing suit to obtain expedited discovery and a preliminary injunction against the defendant. The case is also of general interest because we established jurisdiction in Massachusetts over the Texas-based defendant by proving (among other facts) the defendant’s contact with Massachusetts through email messages sent to residents of the forum state.

Brahmin Leather Works, Inc. Surette
Suffolk Superior Court

Brahmin’s success in the global marketplace as a designer and manufacturer of leather handbags and accessories rests upon its proprietary, trade secret integration of design, manufacturing processes, vendor relationships, and sales. When confronted with direct competition from a former Brahmin executive, Sunstein obtained an emergency injunction that comprehensively enforces all terms of the executive’s non-competition agreement.

i.LAN Systems, Inc. v. NetScout Service Level Corp.
United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts

Sunstein represented i.LAN, a California computer network consulting firm, in its suit to enforce a software licensing agreement for network monitoring software. The dispute turned on cutting-edge legal issues concerning the application of the Uniform Commercial Code to software licensing, including the enforceability of so-called “click licenses” and the interplay between such standardized licenses and agreements specifically negotiated between businesses. After trial, the parties reached a settlement favorable to our client.

Antreassian v. City Council of Salem
United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts

Sunstein secured a reversal of the City Council’s rejection of a small business person’s applications for a license to conduct tours of historic Salem. Some members of the City Council objected to the content of Mr. Antreassian’s tour narrative. After unsuccessful attempts to negotiate a compromise, we challenged the Council’s action as a constitutional violation of the First Amendment. The court directed the Council to reconsider the license application, which resulted in the grant of a license to Mr. Antreassian.

Summit Tire Company v. Schlott Wholesale Tire Company
Massachusetts Superior Court, Essex County

Sunstein represented Summit Tire in its lawsuit to halt unfair competition by the principals of a company that had sold its assets and name to the plaintiff. We obtained injunctive relief against the former owners’ attempt to revive the company in direct competition with Summit Tire.

Dooley v. Companion Life Insurance Company
United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts

Sunstein successfully defended Companion Life Insurance, a disability insurer, against a multimillion dollar claim for long-term disability coverage. After trial, the Court issued a ruling for our client, finding in part that the plaintiff’s claims for disability coverage were grounded in a fraudulent scheme to misrepresent earnings.

Duracraft Corp. v. Holmes Products Corp.
Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court

Sunstein argued successfully that the summary dismissal process of the anti-SLAPP statute cannot be used to abridge our client’s constitutional right to seek judicial enforcement of a voluntary, pre-existing non-disclosure agreement. The Court upheld enforcement of an employment-related non-disclosure agreement against challenge under the Massachusetts anti-SLAPP statute.

Brown v. Armstrong
United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts

Sunstein defended Armstrong against allegations of false advertising, tortious interference with contractual and prospective business relations, and unfair and deceptive business practices in connection with the production and advertising of our client’s golf instructional videos. We succeeded in obtaining a summary judgment. The trial court’s decision was affirmed on appeal.

Rehab Assoc. of New England v. BlueCross BlueShield of MA
Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court

Sunstein’s successful appeal relieved our client of a multi-million dollar liability when the Supreme Judicial Court reversed an Appeals Court ruling and endorsed our argument that our client had the legal right to contract selectively with professional health care providers.

Saar v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Inc.
Suffolk Superior Court

Sunstein successfully defended Blue Cross Blue Shield in a sexual discrimination case in which the plaintiff alleged that she was terminated due to her pregnancy. We successfully obtained summary judgment on the grounds that plaintiff did not establish a prima facie case of discrimination, and that the evidence showed that her termination was based on a legitimate non-discriminatory reason.

Rector v. Fretter, Inc. et al.
Essex Superior Court

Sunstein represented the defendant, Fretter, Inc., against charges by a terminated employee that Fretter had discriminated against her on the basis of sex and sexual orientation. After a three-day trial in which Fretter set forth numerous, legitimate business reasons for her termination, the jury returned a verdict favorable to the defendants.

WGBH Educational Foundation v. Simeone et al.
United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts

Sunstein successfully fended off injunctive relief sought by WGBH against our clients, independent film producers, in a dispute over rights to certain documentary films concerning the last Czar of Russia and his family.

Charles v. Durkan Patterned Carpet, Inc.
United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts

Sunstein obtained dismissal of claims against our Georgia-based client of infliction of emotional distress, sex discrimination, harassment and wrongful discharge.

Levy v. Crawford
Massachusetts Appeals Court

Sunstein involved our client’s effort to repel a creditor’s attempt to enforce payment of her guarantee of a promissory note by attaching the home our client owned with her husband. The Appeals Court endorsed our contention that a wife’s interest in a tenancy-by-the-entirety is exempt from attachment or seizure by a creditor.

Davis v. Paolillo et al.
United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts

Sunstein represented the Chief of Police of the City of Cambridge against allegations that he and others in the City had discriminated against a terminated police officer. We obtained a judgment favorable to the defendant on all claims.

Torres v. Barclay Management Group, Inc., et al.
Suffolk Superior Court

Sunstein obtained a substantial settlement for our client after demonstrating that his severe burn injuries resulted from the negligence of a landlord and property management company in regulating the supply of hot water to his apartment building.

470 Atlantic Avenue Management Corp. v. Zar Corp. et al.
Suffolk Superior Court

Sunstein helped our client, who had an interest in the income stream from the lease of an office building, fend off the commercial tenant’s claim that the lease should be terminated because plans for a large public construction project (the “Big Dig”) allegedly hindered its efforts to profitably sublet the space.

Barovich v. Parade Publications, Inc., et al.
Suffolk Superior Court

Sunstein obtained a Stipulation of Dismissal without payment of any damages or settlement amount whatsoever of the plaintiff’s libel and invasion of privacy claims against our client for its publication of an article in Parade Magazine.

Whiteneck v. The Republican Company, et al.
Barnstable Superior Court

Sunstein successfully limited the plaintiff’s jury verdict recovery for libel and invasion of privacy to less than 4% of his claimed damages against our metropolitan newspaper client and its police reporter.

Statistical Innovations, Inc. v. Marsh, et al.
Middlesex Superior Court

In this action for violation of confidentiality and non-competition contracts, violation of license agreement, misappropriation of trade secrets and unfair competition, Sunstein successfully obtained a preliminary injunction against defendants, prohibiting them from any further use of our client’s proprietary computer software program and related confidential information.

Dane Entertainment Services, Inc. v. Belanger, et al.
Suffolk Superior Court

Sunstein obtained a preliminary injunction prohibiting the local police department from conducting raids in which they interrogated our client’s patrons and employees and seized equipment from our client’s premises.

Varrasso, et al. v. Murphy, et al.
Essex Superior Court

Sunstein obtained summary judgment of liability against the co-defendant for certain losses sustained by our client in connection with a failed real estate transaction. After trial, our client was awarded over one-half million dollars for damages and attorneys’ fees.

Kaminski v. City of Salem, et al.
United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts

Sunstein brought suit on behalf of Kaminski, an elderly school department employee, when she lost her job as a result of a state-mandated civil service job reclassification. We successfully contended at trial that the plaintiff lost her job as a result of unlawful sex discrimination arising from the efforts of city officials and union officials to preserve all positions held by males. We recovered damages including enhanced pension benefits for Kaminski, as well as an award of attorneys’ fees.

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