WeirdOfTheNews
 

 
A regularly updated guide to random legal news that I find interesting -- and hope you will too. And links! Always links!
 
 
 

 
 

Friday, November 29, 2002

 
Secondhand Smoke Harmless?

I doubt that it's harmless (as this article argues) but it's probably not as bad as it's been made out to be.

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

 
Two Disbarred Attorneys Turned Newspapermen Fined For Defamation

On the one hand: What is with these people? Isn't getting disbarred enough? On the other: Since when is defamation a criminal, rather than a civil, offense? Doesn't this epitomize state controlled speech? Read all about it here.
 
The Firefighter's Rule

The "Firefighter's Rule" -- a sub-species of the assumption of the risk doctrine that sometimes prohibits public safety officers from recovering in tort for injuries sustained in the line of duty -- is a pet issue for me, as one of the biggest cases I ever worked on turned on its application. Recently in Coos Bay, Oregon, three firefighters died tragically when a fire in an auto parts store ballooned unexpectedly, causing the roof to collapse. The unexpected ballooning was allegedly caused by wood in the structure that had become unnaturally dry and flammable due to years of exposure to an incinerator used to burn waste grease from the store's machine shop. This tragic accident is recounted here. I'd be willing to wager that a published opinion on "The Rule" will eventually emerge from this mess. My condolences to the firefighters' families and colleagues.
 
Rhyming Judge Dissed by Peers

A Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice was taken to task today in an opinion by two of his fellow justices, including the Chief Justice. In principal, I think rhymed opinions are okay, but I have to agree that Justice Eakin's poetry is pretty bad. Read all about it here. UPDATE: (12/2/02) You can read Justice Eakin's effort in its entirety here at How Appealing, together with some amusing commentary.
 
Boalt Hall Dean Resigns

The Dean of Berkeley's Boalt Hall school of law has resigned after allegations that he sexually harassed a former student, according to this. It says that "students checking their lockers Wednesday found a memo from John P. Dwyer saying he was resigning as dean and as a professor 'with profound sadness.'" UPDATE: Here's more about this (somewhat cryptic) story. Here's another update, though still without much new substantively. UPDATE: (12/2/02): Here come the salacious details . . . .

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

 
Jury Verdicts Grow, and Tort Reform Movement Follows

law.com reports on the trend toward ever-larger jury awards, and those who would like to see the trend stopped, in this article.
 
Brobeck Seeking "Loyalty Oath" From Partners

Things at Brobeck seem to be getting increasingly grim, as reflected in this article.

Monday, November 25, 2002

 
Death By Hacking?

This article discusses a worrisome bit of language in the newly-signed 484-page Homeland Security Bill that provides a sentence of up to life in prison for "cyber murder."
 
WeirdOfTheNewsSUCKS.com

WIPO rules that "sucks" websites, typically critical of the companies whose names they append "sucks" to, do not infringe the companies' trademarks. Read all about it in this article.
 
When Law Firms Collide

Read here about some of the problems that can arise when large law firms merge.
 
Bush's Response to Bin Laden's Letter

Here's a tongue-in-cheek look at a possible response by the President to the alleged Bin Laden letter.
 
California Declines Jurisdiction Over Texas Website

The California Supreme Court held today, in a four-to-three decision, that California does not have personal jurisdiction over a Texan defending intentional tort claims regarding his posting of reverse-engineered DVD encryption codes on a passive website. He had no connection to California, but did admit knowing that the information he posted could harm DVD copyright owners, the majority of whom he knew to be operating in California. The decision, Pavlovich v. Superior Court, says that's not enough to drag him into court in California, though it does note that "[o]ur decision today does not foreclose [plaintiff from suing Pavlovich] . . . . Pavlovich may still face the music—just not in California." (The link above is to an Adobe Acrobat version of the opinion. For plain text, try here instead.)
 
Chief Justice Roulette

Dahlia Lithwick of Slate writes about handicapping retirement possibilities at the Supreme Court.

Sunday, November 24, 2002

 
"A Glimpse Into His [Bin Laden's] Mind"

Britain's The Guardian has published a translation of what is purported to be a letter from Bin Laden "explaining" his position regarding killing non-Muslim civilians. I don't vouch for its authenticity, and I hesitate to spread his propaganda (as if anyone reads this site . . . .), but it makes a chilling (and lengthy) read. Kind of reminds me of Ted Kozinski's anti-technology screed . . . .

 

 
   
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