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Designer Skin LLC v. S & L Vitamins, Inc., et al.
Unauthorized internet reseller of plaintiff’s products is not guilty of trademark infringement, and does not cause actionable initial interest confusion, by using plaintiff’s trademarks in meta tags of website at which plaintiff’s and its competitors’ products are sold, and in...

Angela Daniels and Dimple Ballou v. WorldCom Corporation, et al.

No. Civ A.3:97-CV-0721-P, 1998 WL 91261 (N.D. Tex., February 23, 1998)

Pro se plaintiffs charged that they were the subject of race discrimination because they received four jokes sent over defendant WorldCom, Inc.'s ("Defendant") company e-mail system which allegedly contained "racial undertones." The jokes had been sent by one of defendant's non-managerial employees. Plaintiffs brought suit, charging defendant with negligence, retaliation and violations of both Title VII and Sections 1981 and 1983 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The court granted defendant's motion for summary judgment and dismissed the suit. Plaintiffs charged that defendant's negligent operation and supervision of its company e-mail system rendered defendant liable for the injuries plaintiffs purportedly sustained. The court rejected this claim, concluding that defendant's conduct was reasonable, not negligent. Plaintiff Daniels complained to defendant's MIS manager upon her receipt of the offending e-mail. The manager promptly issued both written and verbal reprimands to the employee who sent the jokes, and held two meetings at which employees were advised not to use the company's e-mail system for non-business purposes. The company also had in place an established e-mail policy which was shown to plaintiffs and others as a result of this incident. The court concluded that "[b]ased on all this evidence, Defendant acted reasonably and plaintiffs' common law claim of negligence fails as a matter of law." Plaintiff's Section 1981 claim was barred because defendant took prompt remedial action upon its discovery of the alleged misconduct. In the current situation, Defendant issued a verbal and written warning to [the employee who sent the offending e-mail] regarding the proper use of the e-mail system. Further, shortly after [plaintiff] complained about the jokes, two meetings were organized to discuss WorldCom's policy on the use of the e-mail system. The Court finds that these actions were sufficient to bar any liability of WorldCom under Section 1981. Lastly, plaintiffs' Title VII and retaliation claims were barred by their failure to file claims with the appropriate administrative agencies. This failure to exhaust administrative remedies, determined the court, mandated dismissal of these claims.

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