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


Saturday, January 04, 2003

Boy Who Killed At Age 12 Serving Life Without Parole

The New York Times has an interesting article about the tragic case of Lionel Tate, now 15.
Dogs, Cats, and Courts

Here are stories about a pair of lawsuits concerning a cat in California, and one concerning a dog in New Jersey.
Israeli Arab Porn Video Inflames Community Passions

This article reminds me that I'm glad I live in America.
Interesting Slate of Cases Up For Supreme Court Review

Next Friday, the Supremes will decided whether to grant review in a slew of interesting cases, including a free speech case arising from the Columbine massacre. Read all about it here from
Disney Sues Blockbuster for $120 Million

The suit alleges that Blockbuster failed to make proper payments under the revenue sharing arrangement it had with Disney and its subsidiary Buena Vista Home Entertainment, according to this.
Disturbing Search Requests (Redux)

As noted below, the Disturbing Search Requests website is one of my favorite diversions. There, smartass bloggers like me post the strange search requests that web surfers type in to search engines to find our websites. I'm now proud to report that WeirdOfTheNews is among the top websites worldwide for the searches "free oral sex peeping letters" and "swimming pool bikini mom." WooHoo! UPDATE: I'm now number four for the search "sexless marriages" on Google!!!

Friday, January 03, 2003

Why Juries Suck

Here's an interesting article (actually, I think it's a chapter from a forthcoming book) about the process of picking juries and how it contributes to outrageous awards in civil cases and absurd results in criminal ones. (Thanks to for the link.)

Thursday, January 02, 2003

Dyslexic May Attempt To Pass NY Bar Exam for Sixth Time After Winning Protracted Court Battle

Reading the full story requires a subscription, but the synopsis says: "After failing the New York state bar exam five times, Marilyn Bartlett is considering a sixth attempt, now that the long-running matter of Bartlett v. New York State Board of Law Examiners has been settled in her favor. Bartlett, whose reading ability is severely impaired by dyslexia, will be granted twice the ordinary two days' time to complete the bar exam, if she takes it again."

On the one hand, I say go Marilyn! I'm all for accommodations for the disabled and equal rights and whatnot. On the other hand, what client wants a lawyer "whose reading ability is severely impaired by dyslexia"? Doesn't most of this job consist of extremely careful reading (and writing)? I suppose she can hire an assistant to help overcome the problem . . . . The story can be accessed here.
Client Sues Lieff, Cabraser

A bottled water company has sued Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, LLP -- its own law firm -- alleging that the firm took confidential information discovered in its representation in the water bottler's unfair competition lawsuit against certain competitors, and used it as the basis for its own class action lawsuit against the same competitors, thereby devaluing the original lawsuit. Somehow, this doesn't surprise me. Read all about it at Courthouse News Service.
Parents of Murdered Girl Sue Convicted Killer on Eve of Sentencing

The parents of murdered 7 year-old Danielle van Dam have filed a civil suit against her convicted murderer, hoping to freeze his assets and prevent him from profiting from his crime while he awaits his expected sentence of death by lethal injection, according to this story from CNN.
College Student Busted for Posting DirecTV Papers He Pilfered from Law Firm

The FBI arrested the Russian student in LA for posting confidential papers that might allow hackers to circumvent DirecTV's new security system and steal satellite TV signals. He allegedly stole the papers from a document imaging firm he worked for that was hired by Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue, a law firm representing DirecTV. Apparently, he did it for fun, not for money. Now he faces up to ten years in prison, and DirecTV faces the potential loss of a $25 million research program that developed the new security system. And Jones, Day has a red face. Read all about it here at UPDATE: Here's more detail from the LA Times.

Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Gary Condit Suing Dominick Dunne For Libel

Condit apparently filed suit in federal court in Manhattan last week. How did I miss this story? In any event, Findlaw and CNN think it's a bad idea, and I agree: "Condit should immediately withdraw his suit – for it is likely to hurt him far more than help him. Even assuming that Condit had nothing at all to do with Levy's murder, his case is still a weak one. And discovery in the case could still prove very embarrassing for him, as well as hurtful to his wife and children. Moreover, even if Condit pursues his case to the bitter end, the damages he receives could be scant, at best."

Monday, December 30, 2002

This Is Kinda Scary

According to this article, ocean-going freighters are notoriously difficult to track and are frequently re-christened and/or re-flagged. al Qaeda is said to be operating as many as fifteen of them. Coming to a port near you?
2002 Was "The Year of the Corporate Scandal" -- Will 2003 Be Worse?

The Christian Science Monitor ponders that question here.
Blacks Six Times More Likely Than Whites To Get Prison Time -- In GREAT BRITAIN!

This article makes me think. I wonder what the statistics are in the U.S.? Britain lacks our shameful history of slavery and Jim Crow -- but seems (from these statistics) to have similar problems with racism. Hmmmmm . . . .
UPDATE: Supreme Court Jumps Into Internet Jurisdiction Case

The Supreme Court has issued a temporary stay in the case of the Texan computer guy who posted DVD "decryption" codes on the web, according to this. This is the case in which the California Supreme Court recently declined to assert jurisdiction over allegedly tortious acts that took place in Texas and Indiana, as discussed below. The ultimate issue is where web posters can be sued, given the reach of the "world wide" web. Wherever their websites can be accessed, or only where those websites are written and posted? The Australian Supreme Court recently answered the question with -- essentially -- "anywhere." UPDATE to UPDATE The Supreme Court has dissolved the stay, after the defendant's lawyers argued that the encryption codes the stay sought to keep secret have already been widely disseminated, and that the defendant had no intention of re-publishing them. The action is described here.
Lawsuit May Follow When Sex Goes Wrong

Though the Japanese are typically not very litigious, lawsuits over extramarital affairs, sexless marriages, and "train molestations" are a new trend, according to this
California Coastal Commission Ruled Unconstitutional

A California appellate court held today that, because the majority of the Coastal Commission's members are appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the legislature, it cannot perform executive or quasi-judicial functions without violating the State Constitution's separation of powers clause. Thus, the Commission is enjoined from "granting, denying, or conditioning permits, and from issuing and hearing cease and desist orders" -- all things it habitually did. (The case is called Marine Forests Society v. Cal. Coastal Commission.)

The Coastal Commission is a hugely powerful and thoroughly politicized body. If I'm not mistaken, this is Big News in California. You can read the Third Appellate District's opinion here (PDF). UPDATE: Here's an article about the Court's ruling.
Ich Bin Ein Tort Lawyer

Foreign tort plaintiffs are forum shopping in America -- here in a case involving the Austrian tunnel fire that killed 150, according to this article from Forbes.

Sunday, December 29, 2002

Possible Supreme Court Retirements and Appointments

The New York Times reported Thursday about possible openings on the Supreme Court and the Bush Administration's possible picks in this article.


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