News Roundup

Afternoon Briefs: Defense bar calls for protection in prisons from coronavirus; cheese makers protect ‘halloumi’ trademark

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Nation’s criminal defense bar calls for ‘prompt implementation’ of COVID-19 plans in detention facilities

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers on Wednesday called for the “prompt implementation of comprehensive, concrete, and transparent COVID-19 coronavirus readiness plans for the nation’s prisons, jails and other detention facilities.” NACDL President Nina Ginsberg said “unfortunately, given the volume of incarcerated people in America, the conditions under which they are detained and the current spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, there is every reason to question whether American detention facilities, as a whole, are up to this challenge.” The association cited a Prison Policy Initiative study that reported the American criminal justice system holds nearly 2.3 million people. (The Crime Report, March 4 news release)

Cyprus cheese makers win in trademark battle against Bulgarian company

The European Court of Justice ruled Thursday that BBQLOUMI may be similar enough to halloumi, a traditional white cheese from Cyprus, and overturned a lower court’s decision that BBQLOUMI may be registered as a trademark. M.J. Dairies, a Sofia, Bulgaria-based cheese company, applied for the trademark in 2014, while halloumi has been a registered trademark for 20 years. The high court returned the case to Europe’s General Court and asked it to consider whether buyers could see a BBQLOUMI product and think it is made by the halloumi makers in Cyprus. (Courthouse News Service, March 5 ruling)

Law School Admission Council offers two new digital LSAT test prep options

On Friday, the Law School Admission Council, administrator of the Law School Admission Test, launched two new digital products to help law school candidates improve their skills and feel more confident about taking the test. Official LSAT Prep is free and offers two full practice tests using the authentic Digital LSAT test environment, while Official LSAT Prep Plus is available as a one-year subscription and offers more than 60 practice tests in the test environment. Both products are part of the LSAC LawHub, a new online legal education portal, and include self-paced and simulated test modes, a record of the practice test history and instant calculation of practice test score reports. (March 6 news release)

Judge accuses lawyers of using ‘smoke and mirrors’ in Facebook settlement

Judge William Alsup of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California accused lawyers for Facebook and a class of 4 million of its members of using “smoke and mirrors” in the settlement they reached last month and said he would not approve the deal until the social media company submits a sworn statement that details which commitments are not already required under existing legal obligations. “I’ve seen this game before,” Alsup said Thursday. “People agree to do something they’ve already agreed to do, and the plaintiff wants a lot of money for that. That’s a trick. We don’t allow tricks.” In 2018, hackers infiltrated the accounts of as many as 29 million users, including 4 million in the United States. (Courthouse News Service, Feb. 7 proposed settlement)

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