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


Saturday, February 01, 2003

Tortious Bagels

A Florida couple is suing a McDonald's restaurant over a "tough" bagel that damaged the husband's teeth and the couple's marriage, according to this.
Divorcing Lawyers Fight Over Splitting Cases At Joint PI Firm

Remind me not to marry either one of these people. Divorces are ugly enough without the added dimension of having to divide a joint personal injury practice, as reported here.
Can Brobeck Avoid Bankruptcy?

This article suggests not. I am still in shock over what has happened. UPDATE: Here's another article from the San Jose Mercury News.
California Supreme Court To Weigh Whether Replacing Jurors Mid-Trial Amounts to Double Jeopardy

The jury in People v. Hernandez convicted Manuel Hernandez of 22 felony counts of sexual abuse against his own daughter, starting when she was only nine. But the trial judge had replaced a juror with an alternate mid-trial after the juror complained that she was "bothered by the prosecutor's tone and believed the judge was biased against the defense." When Hernandez appealed his conviction, the reviewing court found that the trial judge lacked "good cause" for replacing the juror, and that doing so had subjected Hernandez to double jeopardy. They set him free. Now the state Supreme Court is reviewing the case, and may issue an opinion outlining the circumstances in which jury members may be excused and replaced, and whether it constitutes double jeopardy. Read an article about it here.

Friday, January 31, 2003

Motion Written On Toilet Paper Flushed

The judge apparently read it in open court, but then refused to accept it, according to this. (Thanks to The Obscure Store for the link.)
Jury Awards $100 Million For Pool Accident

A Florida jury has awarded $100 million in damages to the family of a 2 year old girl who suffered permanent brain damage after falling into an unguarded swimming pool at the apartment complex where they lived, the AP reports here. The girl and her family have my sympathy, but $100 million is ridiculous. It makes a mockery of our justice system.

Thursday, January 30, 2003

Firm Hit With Hefty Verdict For Fire, Even Though Sprinkler System It Installed Was Never Completed and Could Not Have Prevented The Fire

Read about the $40 million plus verdict in favor of Mobil Oil and First Union Bank for the loss of their stored records here.
Argument In Favor of "Interest on Lawyers' Trust Accounts" (IOLTA) Program

Two proponents of the program, the constitutionality of which is currently under consideration by the Supreme Court, argue that the legal challenge to the program must fail in this article.
Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison Votes to Dissolve

A huge law firm that just two years ago was one of California's most profitable has imploded after merger talks with Morgan, Lewis collapsed, according to this. UPDATE Here's an article from Friday's New York Times. This is hard to believe, especially given the firm's arrogance in recent years. My condolences and best wishes to those who have lost their jobs.

Wednesday, January 29, 2003


Dahlia Lithwick of Slate reports here about the strange lawsuit against Google over its page-ranking monopoly.

Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Union's Discovery Abuses Earn Terminating Sanctions in Suit Against the Metropolitan Opera

Though represented by least three different law firms, plaintiff "Local 100, Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union" repeatedly failed to respond to discovery. Today, Federal District Court Judge Loretta A. Preska decided that the Court had seen enough, and terminated the Union's lawsuit for abuse of the discovery process, according to this.
Mattel Loses Fight Over Barbie Song

"I'm a blonde bimbo in a fantasy world/Dress me up, make it tight, I'm your dolly."

So sang the Danish pop group Aqua. The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to reconsider the Ninth Circuit's ruling that the group's song was not likely to confuse consumers, handing Mattel an embarrassing defeat, as reported here. UPDATE (2/1/03): Barbie issues a statement on the ruling, via Dahlia Lithwick of Slate.
Kazaa Countersues 27 Entertainment Corporations

Kazaa, the Australian-based company that lets users share music and video files, has countersued the 27 media giants that filed suit to shut it down. Kazaa "accuses the record labels and film studios of abusing their copyrights to improperly extend their monopolies into the emerging realm of internet distribution," as reported here. Good luck with that . . . .

In related news, the media companies may be about to go after individual Kazaa users. Find out here whether you should be worried.

British Internet Cafe Chain Loses Round Over Music Downloading

The recording industry sued, claiming customers were illegally downloading music and burning it onto CDs at the "sprawling chain of British internet cafes." A British judge has granted "summary judgment" (I have no idea what that means in Britain . . .) against the cafe, and the cafe chain's owner says he'll appeal, according to the International Herald Tribune.
Abandoned By the Bill of Rights?

Washington Times columnist Nat Hentoff thinks that's what happened to Yaser Esam Hamdi, an American citizen arrested in Afgahnistan and now held indefinitely on American soil without access to an attorney and without having been charged. The Fourth Circuit gave its blessing, and Mr. Hentoff thinks we should be alarmed, he writes here. The Fourth Circuit's opinion is here.

Monday, January 27, 2003

Should We Limit Civil Lawsuits By Those Who Are Injured By Their Own Crimes?

Sounds pretty logical, at least within limits. Here's an example of the problem:

"Disturbed, Angelo Delgrande shot and wounded his parents and himself in a June 1995 dispute. He then received surgery at a Westchester County, N.Y. hospital. That night, he yanked the tubes and monitoring devices from his body, then leapt off the second story of an adjacent parking garage in a suicide bid. He is now paraplegic. Delgrande sued the hospital for failing to treat his depression and keep him indoors. Last October, he won $9 million."

Read more about it here.


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