Prince’s Briefcase: Hays v. Sony Corp of America (Glannon Civil Procedure)

Glannon Civil Procedure: Representations to the Court and Sanctions [Rule 11b & c(1)]

Here is a case from my Civil Procedure class which explains the importance of trial preparedness. And in this case we are taught that doing your homework is essential before you file a claim in federal court.

Case Name, Citation Number, Author
Hays v. Sony Corp of America, 847 F.2d 412 (7th Cir. 1988)

prince's briefcase (princesdailyjournal)Procedural History
Plaintiffs sued Sony for common law and statutory copyright infringement. The district court then granted Sony’s motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim and then granted Sony’s Rule 11 motion (Go to Notes) for sanctions.

–Plaintiffs wrote a manual for operating their school’s Sony word processors and the school asked Sony to adapt that manual (plaintiff’s manual) for use with their word processors.
–Sony then, without charging the school, did not adapt to the plaintiff’s manual and the plaintiffs sued for common law and statutory copyright infringement.
–Plaintiffs sought damages and injunctive relief.
*The Federal Copyright statute, however, abolished common law copyright as of Jan 1, 1978–well before the events giving rise to plaintiffs claims.

Whether the plaintiffs’ lawyer reasonably researched both the facts and the law before filing copyright claims that were seemingly beyond his general experience?

No because the claim of infringement of a common law copyright was frivolous.

–Federal copyright statute already abolished common law copyright given rise to plaintiffs claim.
–Sony never obtained any profits from the sale or distribution of the manual–never sold it.
–Plaintiffs’ lawyer failed to present evidence that his clients had any plans for publishing their manual
–Plaintiffs’ lawyer failed to prove that his clients were eligible for punitive damages

In requiring reasonable evidence before the filing of any pleading in a civil case in federal district court, Rule 11 demands “an objective determination of whether a sanctioned party’s conduct was reasonable under the circumstances.” Rule 11 is like the negligence standard of torts.

Rule 11 sanctions against Mr. Guyon (Plaintiff’s lawyer) affirmed.
Motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim is affirmed

Rule 11(b): REPRESENTATIONS TO THE COURT. By presenting to the court a pleading, written motion, or other paper–whether by signing, filing, submitting, or later advocating it–an attorney or unrepresented party certifies that to the best of the person’s knowledge, information, and belief, formed after an inquiry reasonable under the circumstances: (2) the claims, defenses, and other legal contentions are warranted by existing law or by a non-frivolous argument for extending, modifying, or reversing existing law or for establishing new law.

Rule 11(c) SANCTIONS. (1) In General. If, after notice and a reasonable opportunity to respond, the court determines that Rule 11(b) has been violated, the court may impose an appropriate sanction on any attorney, law firm, or party that violated the rule or is responsible for this violation. Absent exceptional circumstances, a law firm must be held jointly responsible for a violation committed by its partner, associate, or employee. (2) Motion for Sanctions. A motion for sanctions must be made separately from any other motion and must describe the specific conduct that allegedly violates Rule 11(b). The motion must be served under Rule 5, but it must not be filed or be presented to the court if the challenged paper, claim, defense, contention, or denial is withdrawn or appropriately corrected within 21 days after service or within another time the court sets. If warranted, the court may award to the prevailing party the reasonable expenses, including attorney’s fees, incurred for the motion.

Prince’s Takeaway
Do your homework before you file a copyright claim in federal court. Otherwise you claim will never get heard. However you can amend it, but only if it arises out of the same transaction of events!

All content is the property of Prince’s Daily Journal LLC, any use of distribution without express written permission is strictly prohibited. Copyright (c) 2013 All Rights Reserved

#FlashBackFriday: Completing my 1L Year at Suffolk Law School


I laughed with new friends, I cried alongside my mentors, and I completed my 1L year with my classmates

It has been a little over a week, since I completed my first year of law school. And I want to take this time to say thank you to everyone who has touched me. Thank you to those who fed me breakfast in the mornings (Omni Parker Hotel and Ritz Carlton) and to those who kept my spirit strong (La Iglesia Cristiana de Nueva Vida). My year wouldn’t have been successful with you guys. I also want to say thank you to my family and God for nourishing me both financially and physically.

Three people that I wish to recognize that made this year phenomenal are: Dr. Cornel West, Late Attorney Mark Fischer, and Dean Camille Nelson.

Thank you Dr. West for picking up the phone, when I was 17 years old, and leave a voicemail saying how awesome I was. That day when I shared tears with you in Boston will forever be my cherished moment. Me becoming a law student at that time was a testament to your goodwill.

Thank you Attorney Mark Fischer for wearing your signature bespoke tailored suit. If you hadn’t worn that light blue suit on that day, I would not have approached you nor would you give me that little push to apply to law school in our interview–plus have an interest of what you did before you were laid to rest. I honestly believe that it was your letter of recommendation that got me into Suffolk Law School. So thank you Mr. Fischer and may you Rest in Peace.

And lastly but not least thank you Dean Nelson for being a great role model and enthusiastic dean. When I first came to Suffolk’s welcoming party and saw you, I knew right away that I was home. Thank you so much and I wish you all the best as you venture out in the world to change more lives as you did with the students of Suffolk Law School.

And Also thank you to my evening division class for listening to my off-the wall questions and putting up with my morning food pics.


Prince Sefa-Boakye

The Prince’s Daily Journal Fund

If you are interested in advertising your business on my page and/or wish to make a kind donation to Prince Daily Journal Inc., you may do so by clicking on the button below.


The purpose of this fund is to generate income for my social media business, and fund my law school education at Suffolk University School of Law. Knowing the importance of having both an education and a business, I wish to utilize my social media skills to best serve them both. Every dollar you donate to my fund, and/or pay for my services, will go directly towards my site and student loans. No donation is too big or small.

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For two years, I have been fortunate enough to not only create a business, but a network which has helped countless lives through my site. And so, I want to continue my services by creating this fund, while still earning a legal education.

I strongly believe that a person should be awarded by the “sweat of their brow.” So if you wish to advertise or sponsor your business through my page, please leave me message in my Contact Page–My services in social media marketing are also available. I will have a promotional offer, on May 19th, for all of those who are interested in my services.

Thank you again for following my page and to the people who have blessed it with their stories.

Kindest Regards,

Prince Sefa-Boakye

Interview Update w/ Lou Scapicchio, State Rep Candidate for East Boston

Lou Scappichio, princesdailyjournal

Just finished my interview with Lou Scapicchio, State Representative Candidate for East Boston–Thank you Lou! And thank you for your service!

This YouTube interview will be made available soon. If you wish to follow Lou, go to

Lou has made a special announcement that today at 5:30 pm, East Boston will be hosting a town hall forum at East Boston High School, which all State Rep candidates will be debating live on East Boston issues.

Also, the Boston Globe newspaper today was kind enough to feature my website in their obituary of Mark Fischer–Thank you Boston Globe!

Mark Fischer (princesdailyjournal)

To read this story click on the link: Mark Fischer Helped Define Copyright Internet Age

RIP Mark Fischer

In Loving Memory of Mark Alan Fischer (1950-2015)

Mark Fisher, Copyright Litigator and Entertainment Lawyer

It is with a heavy heart that I say my mentor, Mark Fisher, has passed away.

Yesterday I had the privilege and honor to attend Mark’s Memorial Service, where I listened to friends and family share a testament to Mark’s amazing life. A life that many people including lawyers wish to have in a lifetime. I heard stories from Mark’s revolutionary accomplishments in the world of Copyright and Entertainment law to his love for music (opera), creativity, clothing, the Red Soxx, his friends and his loving wife Marnie. One thing that is true about Mark, which we all shared in our eulogies, was that he had an extraordinary gift of drawing people to him.

The first time that I met Mark was at the ICA (Institute of Contemporary Art), on the seaport of Boston, where I was working as a caterer for ICA’s social media event two years ago. My job that day was to greet guests, standing up-straight with a tray of white wine in one hand and a smile on my face, as they would walk-in–and that’s when I saw HIM (no pun intended). Walking through the doors was a man who had the finest light blue (bespoke) suit in the room–topped off with the coolest white brim feather hat you have ever seen. When I saw him, my eyes lit up–I told myself that I had to get the number to his tailor. Anyways, when I approached him and asked “what do you do for a living?” he said, “I’m a lawyer.” I stared at him with a confused face and quietly said “lawyers dress like that?!” During our conversation I told him about my blog and my aspirations for going to law school and that I would love to get together with him to learn about him and the law. He kindly smiled and gave me his card, and the rest as you would say was history.

Mark Fisher Copyright Litigator and Entertainment Lawyer

The one thing that I won’t forget about Mark was his sincere gift of inspiring people to do great things. When I asked him if I could interview him for my blog (my pride and joy), he candidly said, “yes”–which most lawyers today would not always do. But somehow he saw something special in me and agreed to do it–with no questions asked.

For those of you who may not know this, Mark was one of my inspirations (as well as my recommenders) for applying to law school–I can’t stress enough how important mentors are. Without his letter of recommendation, I probably would not have been accepted to Suffolk University Law School. He showed me that you can live life to the fullest and still be a good lawyer–and make a fashion statement. He really sparked my interest to explore entertainment and copyright law.

One of Mark’s clients and colleagues, who read my blog, reached out to me: to not only express the tragic news but to commend me on a well-written interview story about him. He said that I really captured his personality. After our conversation, I am reminded yet again of why I have this “silly” website that you all come to know as

So today Mark I wish to pay tribute to you for entering into my life as you always did with so many of us: with class and style. I’m sorry we couldn’t get together sooner (due to school and all) but thanks for showing me the “cool” side of law. May you Rest in Peace with the Stars! Your story and your legacy will always live-on, here at

To check out my photos from the service, click on the link below.

Mark Fischer’s Memorial Service

If you haven’t read Mark’s story, you can check it out under 50 Shades of Law: Mark Fischer.

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Prince’s Briefcase: How Not To Pay Off Your Student Loans (Johnson v. Otterbein University)

Here is a case which a handwritten letter, promising to pay off your student loans, is not a legal consideration to enforce a promise

prince's breifcaseThis case comes from my Contracts class where we are studying the “Doctrine of Consideration.” Below is my case brief which thousands of law students use to help us understand the cases and root out the “issue.”

Case Name, Author, Citation
Johnson v. Otterbein University, Supreme Court of Ohio, 41 Ohio 527 (1885)

Procedural Posture

The defendant (Otterbein University) sues the appellant or plaintiff (Johnson) for failure to fulfill his promise stated in a note sent by the plaintiff. The note was a student repayment loan, and that the defendant alleged that it was without consideration and was denied in the reply. The court entered judgment in favor of the defendant and a motion for a new trial was overruled. The Plaintiff then preceded to appeal in efforts to reverse judgment of the trial court.

The case is about the validity of the note, sent by Johnson to Otterbein University in what appears to be a Student Repayment Loan, and whether it should be a valid consideration to enforce his promise:

Westerville, Ohio, May 6, 1869
Three years after the date, I promise to pay to the trustees of Otterbein University of Ohio, or their agents, one hundred dollars, with interest, at the rate of no per cent., to be used exclusively to liquidate the present, that is, February (1869) indebtedness of said University. Should this donation ever be used for any other purpose than herein specified, the trustees of said University shall be held bound to refund said sum of money to the donor.
–John Johnson”

This note was signed and delivered to Spangler, an agent of Otterbein University, along with similar notes promising to pay $100 to the University in 3 years to help pay off the current University debt. These notes and others were accepted as a fund with which to liquidate his debt. The trustees of Otterbein (the defendant) then sued Johnson in December 1875 claiming that his 1869 note was not paid.

Prince: Does Johnson’s promise (in the form of a note(s)), that brings benefit to him or detriment to Otterbein University, constitute as a legal consideration?
Legal interpretation: Whether a valid consideration was given in a promise to pay money as a gift?

No; The court says that the creation of the fund (from the notes he sent) with which to pay the university’s indebtedness was not a consideration for the promise.

*Court: An executory contract “to give” is without consideration, and a promise to pay money as a gift may be revoked at any time before payment
Court: The trustees’ acceptance of the writing containing the direction to apply the fund did not give rise to a case of mutual promise (Prince: a mutual promise which both parties agreed to at the same time.

Prince’s Reasoning
A simple IOU note, or sticky notes, in the form of a letter saying “I promise to pay back my loan” in a fixed time frame is not a legal consideration to enforce a promise from the person who is making the promise (promissor)
**FOLLOW UP FROM CLASS: The fact is Johnson will be paying off his student loan debt regardless of any intervening factors. So his notes don’t count for anything. There is no benefit for Johnson or detriment to Otterbein. And Otterbein did not give a promise in an exchange for Johnson’s Promise. This is not a Bargain; more of a gratuitous promise

Court: A note to repay a student loan should be in the form of a promissory note. And any other forms should have an implicit duty to apply its proceeds to proper corporate objects that would rise upon acceptance. A promissory note is a valid consideration

Judgment of Trial Court is reversed favoring the Plaintiff (instead of the Defendant)

Prince’s Takeaways

  • Know what is a legal consideration to enforce a promise
  • Don’t write a letter to your university promising to pay off your student debt in a fixed time frame. Under this case, a Promissory Note is more acceptable than a letter promising to repay your student loans. This is paying money as gift which is not a legal consideration
  • In Contracts, you will learn that reasonable people are not entirely reasonable in their words or actions when they strike deal–so we have rules to remedy “contract breaches” such as this one
  • This case was back in 1885, and a lot has changed. So don’t take it true to fact
  • Usually its the plaintiff (Johnson) that sues the defendant first. But since this decision came from the Supreme Court of Ohio, I guess the parties may have switched roles when they litigated up the state court system (In this case there is no mention that Johnson sued Otterbein first, just that he appealed)
  • $100 dollars is pretty reasonable for a student today to pay off his/her student loans!

To learn how to work from and make money online go to

Week In Review

Motivation Mondays: Treat Every Misfortune As A Gift

Weekly Political Tweet: Remembering JFK

ThrowBack Thursdays: Fabrison’s Cafe–My First Coffee Review

Saturday Book Read: w/ Sharine Jones Chapter End of Chapter 1 (Love) 

Weekly Spiritual Digest: Do Not Fade Away w/ the World

Networking: My Talk w/ Attn. Mark Fischer; At the 3rd Annual Social Media Event at UMass


Prince’s Daily Journal will be observing the Thanksgiving Holiday Season and as such we will not be posting the following items:

  • Daily Newsfeeds (Mon-Fri)
  • Motivation Mondays
  • Talk Tuesdays
  • Weekly Political Report or Tweet
  • ThrowBack Thursdays
  • Saturday Book Read w/ Sharine Jones
  • Weekly Spiritual Digest
  • Week in Review

Please feel free to browse through Prince’s site for previous stories, interviews, and pictures. Also expect new posts from his page “Prince’s Travels” under San Diego, Ca.

Thank you and Happy Holidays!

My Talk w/ Attorney Mark Fischer


Here I am again catching up with my good friend Attn. Mark Fischer, who was nice enough today to take time away from his busy schedule to chat with me. We reminisced our first interview together; talked about his recent travels to NY and the UK; and he answered some of my personal questions about law school and his profession as a copyright and entertainment lawyer–he also liked my personal statement (w/ a little tweeking of course). He says the workload of a lawyer is the same as a good tailor or doctor. What is important is qualitative work (not quantitative); and the path that put yourself on to give you success. Thanks Mark for the wonderful advice and the little push I needed to apply for law school. If you haven’t read his interview story go to 50 Shades of Law and click Mark Fischer.

Instagram: #princesdailyjournal #entrepreneur #networking #law #lsat #friends #music #studio #entertainment #good #writer #writing #blogging #work #success #love #life #study #talk #art #hollywood #ny #uk #awesome #creativity #education


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Talk Tuesdays with Attorney Mark Fischer, Entertainment Lawyer and Copyright Litigator. Mr. Mark Fischer is the first lawyer to be featured on my new interview section, "50 SHADES OF LAW." This section allows you to learn more about the law profession and the people behind their chosen field of law.

To read Mr. Fischer's interview story, and how he is combining his passion for the Arts (Music, Writing, Entertainment, etc) with his law degree, click on the link below.

Attorney Mark Fischer


Talk Tuesdays w/ Roy AfriQue, Event Planner and CEO of AfriQue Events


Talk Tuesdays w/ Roy AfriQue. I have had the pleasure to know and work with Roy and I am happy to feature him as an “Interesting Person” on my website. Learn about his humble beginnings as a promoter and how he is bringing people together on the same dance floor. To read click on the link below.

His Story as a Promoter and How He Is Bringing People Together

Week In Review

Daily Newsfeed: Antoinette Tuff prevents Mass School ShootingBradley Manning asks for a sex change; San Diego Mayor Filner is resigning; Syria uses chemicals weapons; Jett Jackson T.V. Star Lee Thompson Young commits suicide; and America celebrates its 50th Anniversary of “I Have A Dream” March to Washington, D.C.

Talk Tuesdays: Attorney Mark Fischer: Partner, Copyright Litigator, & Entertainment Lawyer for Duane Morris LLP

Weekly Political Tweet: The Sentencing of Intel Leaker, Army Pfc.Bradley Manning

Meet The Candidates: Ramon Soto, Boston City Council At-Large Candidate

ThrowBack Thursdays: Photographer Artur Andronic

Networking: Meet The Candidates: Jack Kelly, Boston City Council At-Large

LSAT CHRONICLES: Carrying My Books in My Back Pocket

Prince’s Travels: Las Vegas


Fancy Friday

Talk Tuesdays w/ Roy Afrique, Boston Event Planner & CEO of AfriQue Events

Motivation Mondays, Weekly Political Tweet, Meet The Candidates, Networking, ThrowBack Thursdays, Weekly Spiritual Digest, LSAT CHRONICLES