Legal Roundup: SCOTUS Rules on Praying School Coach, Dairy Queen and W.B. Mason Go to Court and More

The Supreme Court ruled on a recent case in which a high school football coach was suspended following praying during a game.
By: | July 12, 2022

SCOTUS Sides With Praying School Coach

The case: Bremerton High School football coach Joseph Kennedy sued the Washington state school after he was put on paid administrative leave for continuing “to kneel and pray on the 50-yard line at the conclusion of a public school football game,” according to NPR.

Kennedy contended that his First Amendment right to free speech and the free exercise of religion were violated. Initially, the U. S. District Court for the Western District of Washington found in favor of the school board. The same decision was handed down in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Kennedy escalated his complaint to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2019, and it was heard in 2022.

Scorecard: SCOTUS struck down the lower court’s ruling, stating that Kennedy had a constitutional right to pray at the 50-yard line.

Takeaway: The New York Times called the decision “the latest step by the court in expanding the place of religion in public life.” The justices voted 6-3; the liberal members of the court dissented.

Justice Gorsuch wrote that the prayers “were protected by the First Amendment and that the school district had erred in suspending him after he refused to end the practice,” according to the NYT, which added, “in dissenting from Monday’s decision, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote that the majority had gone astray by prioritizing the religious rights of a school official over those of his students, who could feel pressure to take part in religious activities.”

Cointreau vs. Quatreau CBD Drink

The case: In 2021, Cointreau Corporation sued Canopy Growth for trademark infringement in Manhattan District Court, claiming that Canopy’s Quatreau CBD drink unfairly traded off “the goodwill and reputation of the COINTREAU Mark,” and was likely to cause consumer confusion, according to court documents.

Scorecard: Reuters reports that Cointreau has settled with Canopy.

Takeaway: U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos dismissed the case following the settlement agreement, according to Reuters. The details of the settlement are undisclosed. For its part, Cointreau said “it was ‘actively considering’ selling Cointreau waters that could appear on the same shelves as Quatreau, and that it already owns federal Cointreau trademarks to cover non-alcoholic drinks,” reported Reuters. Canopy is one of the world’s largest cannabis companies.

Dairy Queen Loses ‘Blizzard’ Infringement Case

The case: In 2018, Dairy Queen sued W.B. Mason in Minnesota federal court, “alleging its bottled spring water bearing the Blizzard name was a trademark infringement and unfair competition,” according to the Star Tribune.

W.B. Mason had been using the name “Blizzard” for a line of copy paper, and in 2010 created Blizzard bottled water. “Dairy Queen’s lawsuit demanded the company remove the Blizzard water from store shelves and sought unspecified damages,” reported the Associated Press. “Dairy Queen has dubbed its soft-serve ice cream treats Blizzards and has held trademarks on the name since 1946,” according to the AP.

Scorecard: Dairy Queen has lost its lawsuit against W.B. Mason.

Takeaway: U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson wrote that Dairy Queen failed to prove “trademark infringement, trademark dilution, unfair competition by false designation of origin, as well as common law unfair competition and deceptive trade practices under Minnesota law,” reported the Star Tribune. Dairy Queen, owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, is considering an appeal. &

Jared Shelly is a journalist based in Philadelphia. He can be reached at [email protected].

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