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


Saturday, January 25, 2003

Privacy of Rape Victims Clashes With Trial Rights

Sunday's New York Times has an interesting article about the clash between the privacy rights of sexual assault victims and the defense rights of those accused of assaulting them here.

Thursday, January 23, 2003

Weekly Quotations

This page from New York Lawyer has lots of pithy quotations about the legal profession, most of which are not flattering, but probably true. And they update it every Thursday!
"Clearly In Bad Faith"

CNN reports about Wednesday's (non)deposition of accused murderer/actor Robert Blake's bodyguard. Isn't civil discovery fun?

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

Circumcision Opponents Use the Legal System and Legislatures

The New York Times thinks this North Dakota case, in which a mother is suing after consenting to having her infant son circumcised (without complication), may be the tip of the iceberg in the anti-circumcision movement, it reports here.
McDonalds Fat Suit Thrown Out

In a 64-page decision, Federal District Judge Robert W. Sweet for the District of New York tossed the suit, saying McDonalds is not to blame when parents allow their children to eat too much fast food, when they know (or should have known) it isn't healthy. But the Judge gave plaintiffs an opportunity to amend and re-file, according to this from You can also read the opinion here (thanks to How Appealing for the link).
Hollywood Writers' Ageism Suit Dismissed

The suit alleges discrimination against screenwriters over the age of 40, and seems to have some compelling facts. But so far, the plaintiffs keep losing on procedural grounds, according to this.

Tuesday, January 21, 2003

Suit For $172 Million Filed In Federal Court In D.C. Over Car Accident In Nairobi Involving US Diplomat

Reuben Grey was killed and his son was seriously injured in the February 2001 accident. The UN concluded that the other driver, Dirk Dijkerman, the head of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) mission in Kenya, was driving on the wrong side of the road with his high-beams on after leaving a party, and that he left the scene of the accident. After getting no satisfaction in Kenya or from administrative claims against both the State Department and USAID, the family filed suit in Washington D.C. The case raises interesting issues, including the issue of diplomatic immunity, the Washington Post reports here.
Kim Jong Il Unfolds Into Giant Robot

This can't be good news . . . . (UPDATE: This "story" ran in The Onion a few weeks ago but their link to it now seems to be broken. As soon as they fix it I'll update here, as it is one of my favorite stories in a long time.)
$40 Million Punitive Med-Mal Award Erased In Texas

Despite egregious facts -- the surgeon was a narcotics addict and the patient suffered severe brain damage after nearly bleeding to death during surgery for a herniated disc -- the appellate court found plaintiff had not established that the hospital was "consciously indifferent" in allowing the surgeon to continue to perform operations, according to this.
WWII Slave Labor Cases Time-Barred, California Law Unconstitutional, Says 9th Circuit

Last week, the California State Court of Appeal held that the law allowing those forced to work during World War II to sue under a California statute was constitutional, and the lawsuits could go forward (discussed below). But today, the Ninth Circuit disagreed, holding the statute unconstitutional in this opinion.
Want Twenty Bucks?

If you bought a CD, vinyl album, or cassette between 1995 and 2000, you can recover up to $20 in this class action. Just follow the instructions and fill out the form you can find here. [At first I worried that this might be an urban legend, but some searching convinces me that it is not (see here and here). Please let me know if I am mistaken (my email's at the bottom of list of links on left).]

Monday, January 20, 2003

Steven Seagal: Action Hero, or Weak-Kneed Jackass?

Some allegedly mobbed-up guys and their lawyers are certainly making him look like the latter these days. And he ain't talkin'. CNN reports it here.
Judge Rules Comic Book Action Figures Are "Non-Human"

You gotta love the law. The fight was over import tarriffs, which tax "dolls" (human) more heavily than "toys" (non-human). As the Wall Street Journal reports here, some comic book fans are howling in protest over the ruling denying their heroes "human" status. But the Judge ain't budging, and it appears that she did her homework: "Judge Barzilay, through a spokesman, said that she would let her 32-page decision speak for itself. [S]he described in her ruling how she subjected many of the figures to 'comprehensive examinations.' At times, that included 'the need to remove the clothes of the figure.'"
Computer Thief Finally Nabbed

The 25 year-old Pakistani college dropout, who investigators say is "brilliant," used an incredibly elaborate scheme involving fake names, mail drops, and stolen credit card numbers to steal some $3 million worth of brand new PC equipment from US companies. He then resold the loot as legitimate merchandise through his Karachi business. After months of investigation, he was finally caught after being tracked down through his ISP. The International Herald Tribune reports the details here.
"Bush's Affirmative Action Briefs Walk Fine Line"

Here's an interesting article about the administration's position in the University of Michigan case, and whether its brief is likely to have an effect on the Supreme Court's ruling. UPDATE: Oral arguments in the case have been set for April Fools Day, 4/1/03.

Sunday, January 19, 2003

Fun Times At Supreme Court Oral Argument

Here's an article by Slate's Dahlia Lithwick about the Justices' antics at the recent oral argument in the case about whether the States can be sued under the FMLA, or whether the 11th amendment bars such suits (Nevada Dept. of Human Resources v. Hibbs). Read more about the case below.
Dog Law

In the wake of the San Francisco mauling death of Diane Whipple, prosecutors are getting tougher laws against owners whose animals attack. And in Illinois, dog owners are getting groundbreaking protection when their dogs are attacked, the ABA Journal reports.


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