Logourl black
From our private database of 14,000+ case briefs...

Cheffins v. Stewart

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
825 F.3d 588 (2016)


Facts

Simon Cheffins and Gregory Jones (plaintiffs) bought a used school bus and transformed it into a replica of a sixteenth-century Spanish galleon called La Contessa. The replica included extensive wooden decking and a mast. The plaintiffs first assembled the replica at the site of the Burning Man Festival, an art festival held in Nevada each year. After the bus’s transformation into La Contessa, the bus remained mobile. It was used to transport people around the Burning Man festival. It was also used as a venue for concerts and some weddings. La Contessa made an appearance at three Burning Man Festivals. Between festivals, it was stored on a tract of land in Nevada. Initially, this land was held in life estate by Joan Grant. However, Grant abandoned her life estate in the land, and Michael Stewart (defendant) took possession of the land. La Contessa remained on Stewart’s land for approximately one year. Then Stewart burned off La Contessa’s wooden structures and had a scrap metal dealer haul away the underlying bus. The plaintiffs sued Stewart for violating the Visual Artists Rights Act (VARA), 17 U.S.C. § 106A, alleging that Stewart illegally destroyed a protected work of visual art. The district court held that La Contessa was a work of applied art rather than a work of visual art. Because works of applied art are not eligible for protection under VARA, the district court dismissed the plaintiffs’ VARA claim. The plaintiffs appealed.

Rule of Law

The rule of law is the black letter law upon which the court rested its decision.

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

Issue

The issue section includes the dispositive legal issue in the case phrased as a question.

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

Holding and Reasoning (O’Scannlain, J.)

The holding and reasoning section includes:

  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

Concurrence (McKeown, J.)

The concurrence section is for members only and includes a summary of the concurring judge or justice’s opinion.

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 178,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,000 briefs, keyed to 188 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.