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


Saturday, January 18, 2003

Supreme Court Nominee Bingo

In law school, we sometimes played a game called "asshole bingo." We'd make up cards with the pictures of the biggest blowhards in class - the people who always had to raise their hands and kiss the professor's ass - arranged randomly in a grid, and cross them off as each spoke up, hoping for "BINGO!" The current speculation about the next Supreme Court Justice somehow has a similar feel . . . .
N.C. Doctor Jailed for Ignoring Jury Duty

The doctor told the court he was too busy to show up. The judge told the doctor he was in contempt, and sentenced him to 10 days in jail and ordered him to undergo counseling, according to the AP via
Ninth Circuit Slams IRS

The Ninth Circuit has published an opinion extremely critical of the IRS, ruling in favor of the taxpayers whom the IRS tried to prosecute for participating in a tax shelter scheme. It seems the lawyers for the IRS perpetrated a fraud on the court that lasted for years. Both attorneys have been disciplined, and they may yet be disbarred. Read an article about it or read the Court's opinion itself.

Friday, January 17, 2003

Curious George Going to Court

Hanna-Barbera and the cheeky monkey say Universal Studios has been ripping them off, according to this. It remains to be seen whether Curious George's allegations have merit. But if they do, Universal may have messed with the wrong monkey. Just ask the Man in the Yellow Hat.
Stupid Criminals (And Whether "Lumberjacking" Is a Noun)

Read the latest rant from the always amusing California Justice William Bedsworth, presented by

Wednesday, January 15, 2003

Tom Cruise Wins $10 Million in Gay Defamation Lawsuit

The court awarded Cruise $10 million against gay porn star Chad Slater after he admitted that his allegations of having had sex with Cruise were false, and declined to defend the lawsuit, according to this. Good luck collecting.
Is the Entertainment Industry the Next Catholic Church In Terms of Sex Abuse Lawsuits?

Effective January 1, 2003, California enacted new Code of Civil Procedure section 340.1, which effectively lifts the statute of limitations completely on suits alleging childhood sexual molestation for a period of one year. Some cases alleging abuse as long as 30 years ago are going forward. Many think the entertainment industry, with its infamous "casting couches," is about to get hit as hard as the Catholic Church has been, according to this.
Medical Fraud in Asbestos Litigation?

This article discusses a study of claims of asbestos disease submitted by plaintiffs' firms to the Manville Trust, which was created and funded with $2 billion following the 1982 bankruptcy of Johns-Manville. The Trust pays out set amounts to those who file injury claims alleging exposure to its products. Among many disturbing findings, the study found one doctor who had diagnosed a staggering 30,467 claimants with low-level asbestos disease in a six-year period. According to my calculations, that works out to an average of about 21 positive diagnoses each day for six years! Sound fishy to you?
California Court Rules WWII Slave Labor Victims Can Still Sue

A Federal Court had ruled the law unconstitutional, but now a State Appellate Court has disagreed and held that plaintiffs can go forward with claims for things that happened over 50 years ago in foreign countries. The opinion can be read here (PDF).

Tuesday, January 14, 2003

Ex-Associate Sues Firm for Race Discrimination

Patricia Russell Brown says she was promised partnership when she lateralled to 750-lawyer Dorsey & Whitney in 2000. But she never got it, allegedly because she is black. She says no black associate has ever made partner there, and the firm has only three black partners in total, according to this.
Ousted Partner and $30 Million Claim at Clifford Chance

A partner in the Bangkok office has been ousted from Clifford Chance and has accused the firm of defamation, which is a criminal offense in Thailand, Lawyer News reports.
No Tax Deduction For Implants By Stripper

Sounds like a business expense to me, but a Swedish court disagreed, according to this.
Divided Supreme Court Says No Double Jeopardy When Tried Twice For Same Murder

The first jury hung, but the judge entered a life sentence. On retrial, a second jury convicted and sentenced David Sattazahn to death. The Court held that -- because the first jury hung -- the second trail was not double jeopardy, according to this. You can read the opinion here.
Another View of Illinois Clemency

I still think outgoing Governor Ryan is a hero for commuting all the death sentences. But here is another view.

Monday, January 13, 2003

Supreme Court to Hear Case Pitting States' Rights Against FMLA

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case in which a Nevada State employee was denied Family Medical Leave to care for his wife in violation of the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). At issue is whether the FMLA applies to state employees, according to this. UPDATE: Here's a detailed article about tomorrow's argument.
No Bankruptcy for Attorney With Student Loan Debt

Attorney James E. Stern tried for several years to make a living as a lawyer, but eventually gave up in frustration and moved to France with his French wife. He filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection, hoping to shed about $150k in educational loans. But the court found that he hadn't made the requisite showing, and refused to discharge the debt, according to this.


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