Sarah Palin (Photo: Newscom)

Palin’s Wrath—Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is asking a federal court to dismiss a lawsuit lodged against her by the North Jersey Media Group, publisher of The Record, for adorning her social media pages with its famed photograph of firemen raising the American flag over Ground Zero.

In a motion filed in U.S. District Court in Newark on May 13, Palin’s legal team, Ronald Coleman and Brian Farkas of Goetz Fitzpatrick in Glen Rock, called the allegations of copyright infringement “so plainly meritless that little argument is…necessary to dispose of it.”

Thomas Franklin’s iconic picture was linked to a tweet on Palin’s SarahPAC website. It also appeared on Palin’s Facebook page on the 12th anniversary of 9/11, simply captioned, “Never forget.”

The lawyers say that North Jersey never showed proof of a trademark for the photo and that the versions used were so small and unfocused they could not have had any effect on the photo’s valuation and should be considered “fair use.”

To the media groups claim that Palin used the photo for professional gain, Coleman said, “The litigation-minded business model this lawsuit exemplifies cuts across party lines.”

The group seeks damages, as well as an injunction against Palin’s using the picture further.


Memphis the dog (Photo: Save Memphis Facebook page)

Dog Discipline—A New Jersey family seeking custody of a shelter dog may have gotten too chummy with the pet before they had legal rights.

Jeff and Diana Coltenback found Memphis, a 2-year-old pit bull, wandering the streets of Bloomfield in early 2012. He was placed in the town’s shelter until that summer, when the Coltenbacks offered to foster and train him.

After only a week of training, Memphis appeared in a photo with children of Coltenback family friends. Bloomfield officials removed the dog from the Coltenbacks’ home, saying allowing the dog near children violated their animal safety contract.

The township arranged for a local nonprofit to send the dog to Teresa Richardson, a “behavior modification” specialist in Delmont, S.D.

The Coltenbacks pressed ahead with their request for adoption, and Bloomfield granted them permission. But when they asked Richardson for the dog, she allegedly refused. In March, the couple sued Richardson for return of the dog and for damages. They also sued Bloomfield’s Board of Health and Department of Health and Human Services, claiming civil rights violations.

U.S. District Court Judge William Walls in Newark remanded the matter to Superior Court on May 28 after the plaintiffs and the Bloomfield defendants filed a joint motion.

There was no answer at the Toms River office of Isabelle Strauss, who is representing the Coltenbacks. No lawyer was listed for Richardson.


Place Your Bets—It’s legal to bet on the National Basketball Association playoffs at the casinos in Las Vegas, but not at casinos in Atlantic City. New Jersey wants to change that.

In 2012, the Garden State passed legislation to legalize sports betting at its casinos and racetracks. But the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the four major professional sports leagues claim the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) preempts New Jersey’s law, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has agreed.

Now, three cert petitions—by Gov. Chris Christie, state Senate president Stephen Sweeney and the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association—want the U.S. Supreme Court to referee the matter. The justices are scheduled to discuss the petitions at their closed conference on June 19.

All three petitions want the court to strike down PASPA, enacted in 1992, on the ground that it violates principles of federalism by stripping the states of too much power.

The Horsemen’s Association said revenue from horse betting has waned recently, and a key way to help tracks—such as New Jersey’s Monmouth Park Racetrack—stay afloat is to let people gamble on sports games there.

“If Monmouth Park were to close, the equine industry in New Jersey would be, if not destroyed, significantly impaired,” said counsel of record Ronald Riccio of McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter in Morristown.


Veggie Tales— Another juice maker is under fire for making misleading claims on its product labels.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest in Washington, D.C., on Thursday sent a letter to Camden’s Campbell Soup Co. threatening to sue over misleading claims about the juice content and nutritional value of its V8 Splash and V8 V-Fusion Refreshers.

The juice labels prominently depict fruits and vegetables, but the products “contain mostly water along with artificial food dyes, high fructose corn syrup and only 5 percent to 10 percent juice,” the center’s litigation director, Stephen Gardner, wrote.

The center faulted Campbell for packaging the drinks to look “almost graphically identical” to Original V8 juice, which is 100 percent vegetable juice, as well as its V-Fusion juice, which also contains 100 percent vegetable and fruit juices.

“Water, high-fructose corn syrup, and artificial sweeteners are cheaper to bottle than 100 percent juice,” Gardner said. The products are “an elaborate con.”

“We label all of our products in compliance with all laws and government regulations,” Campbell spokesman Tom Hushen said. “All of the information that consumers need about the nutrition provided in [the beverages] is clearly provided on the label.”

—By Jennifer Genova, Jamie Schuman and Jenna Greene