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Case Briefs
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Weekly Roundup of Landmark Cases Vol. 4

On a regular basis, we identify five interesting case briefs for our subscribers and summarize them in a blog. Below you can find an overview of selected judgements from international and regional courts that shape the modern interpretation of law.

Marbury v. Madison (U.S. Supreme Court)

In this landmark case, the U.S. Supreme Court established the principle of judicial review in the United States, meaning that American courts have the right to abolish laws and statutes that contradict or violate the Constitution of the United States. The case commences in early 1801 after president John Adams lost the presidential election to Jefferson and just two days before his term as president ended, Adams appointed several dozen Federalist Party supporters as judges in an attempt to frustrate Jefferson and the supporters of the Democratic party.

Rosenfeld v. Fairchild Engine & Airplane Corp. (Court of Appeals of the State of New York)

Rosenfeld is a stockholder who alleges that directors wasted company funds in order to maintain their status as directors, and no benefit was intended for the company. The court dismissed the claim asserting that the use of funds was justified because the incurred costs were fair and reasonable. In this decision the Court of Appeals of the State of New York stated that when there is a good faith dispute concerning a significant policy, the directors should be able to use corporate resources to fund proxy solicitations to ensure that the upcoming vote receives the attention that it is due. 

Beizaras and Levickas v. Lithuania (ECtHR)

The case concerns a gay couple from Lithuania who received a large number of hateful, degrading and threatful comments after publishing a photo of them kissing on Facebook. In this case, the ECtHR held that by downplaying the danger of these violent comments, the authorities had at least tolerated the violence. The Court concluded that the hateful comments “were instigated by a bigoted attitude towards that community and that Lithuania’s criminal justice system lacked a comprehensive strategic approach (effective remedy) to protect people from racist and homophobic hate speech.

Airbnb Ireland v. AHTOP (ECJ)

The case concerns a dispute between Airbnb Ireland and the French Association for professional tourism, which claims that Airbnb did not merely connect two parties through its platform but it also acted as an estate agent without holding a professional license. The Court found that services provided by Airbnb Ireland satisfied conditions to be classed as ‘information society service’. Hence, France cannot require Airbnb to hold an estate agent’s professional license as it did not notify the Commission of that requirement in accordance with the Directive on electronic commerce.

In re Walt Disney Co. Derivative Litigation (Delaware Supreme Court)

The case concerns the hiring and firing of Michael Ovitze as executive president and director of The Walt Disney Company. Ovitze was fired without having committed gross negligence or malfeasance, while serving as president. Hence, the company had to provide no-fault termination payment (NFT) and he walked away with $140m for a year's work. The question was whether the directors comply with their fiduciary duties in connection with the president's hiring and termination. The court ruled that the directors did not act in bad faith, and were at most ordinarily negligent, in connection with his hiring and the approval of the employment agreement.

Thank you for reading our weekly summary. Complete versions of these and other case briefs can be accessed in our case brief library.

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