January 7, 2014 4th Circuit published opinions

Swatch AG v Beehive Wholesale, LLC
Swatch objected to Beehive’s registration of “Swap” as a trademark. After its administrative challenge was rejected, Swatch appealed to the district court and added trademark infringement and dilution counts and state claims. The district court granted judgment on all claims to Beehive. The panel affirmed. Applying clear error review, the panel held that district court did not error in concluding there was no reasonable likelihood of confusion given the differences between the word “swatch” and the word “swap”, the necessity for consumers to use imagination to determine the connection between swap and Beehive’s watch products, the differing marketing models of the companies and the lack of actual confusion. As there was no likelihood of confusion, the trademark and state claims failed as a matter of law.

Hoschar v Appalachian Power Company 
Hoschar sued Appalachian in state court alleging negligence in connection a fungal lung disease he contracted arguing he contracted the disease while working as an independent contractor at a power plant. After the case was removed, the district court refused to remand ruling that the parties were completely diverse and granted judgment to Appalachian ruling the fungal lung infection was not foreseeable. The panel affirmed. It held that Appalachian was a citizen of Ohio not West Virginia as all the board of directors lived there as did 22 of 27 officers including the chief executive officer and all major decisions including plant sitings, revenue disbursement and centralized purchasing were made there. The panel held the lung infection was not foreseeable as Hoschar presented no evidence that Appalachian knew the fungus was at the power plant or had knowledge of a government publication setting out the risk factors associated with birds spreading the fungus.

Snider International Corporation v Town of Forest Heights Maryland 

Snider sued alleging Town violated its due process rights by issuing tickets based on speed cameras. The district court ranted summary judgment to Town and the panel affirmed. It held first class mail to the registered owner’s dress was reasonable and the opportunity for a prepenalty trial provided a sufficient hearing.

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