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


Saturday, May 24, 2003

Interesting Recruiting Idea/Opportunity

The Mississippi office of New Orleans based law firm Phelps Dunbar was having trouble recruiting top law school grads, given the competition from big city firms paying big city salaries. So they devised an interesting strategy. They target federal law clerks from top schools who want to teach, but need to gain experience and to publish before they are qualified. Phelps Dunbar aims to hire two such associates per year. They bill a reduced 1,500 hours a year (to allow time to write), make at least $75,000 plus bonus, and work on appellate briefs. Sounds like a win-win to me. Read all about it here.
"Being Blonde Is Not a Protected Group Under Title VII"

So says U.S. District Judge J. Curtis Joyner of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in an order dismissing Shramban v. Aetna Inc., a Title VII suit brought by a white, Jewish, blonde woman from Moldavia who claims she was harassed on the basis of her gender, race, religion or national origin, it says here.

Friday, May 23, 2003

Ninth Circuit Judges Appear None Too Happy With the U.S. Supreme Court's Three-Strikes Rulings

Howard Bashman of How Appealing has the scoop here. UPDATE: (5/27) The Recorder has picked up the story here.
Fee Award in Vitamin Class Action Leaves California Justices Hungry For Answers

"Late last month, appeal court justices in San Francisco did something unusual: They mailed out a letter asking lawyers in a massive vitamin price-fixing class action to explain a few things. Why, the 1st District Court of Appeal wanted to know, are so many law firms involved? How did the number of coordinated cases grow by 12 in one six-month period? How many out-of-state law firms are involved? Which of the defendants previously entered guilty or no contest pleas to criminal charges?" Read about the unusual request here.

Thursday, May 22, 2003

"The Matrix" As a Criminal Defense

Two defendants have already been found not guilty by reason of insanity by arguing that they thought they had been sucked into The Matrix, and others are currently trying the argument, it says here.
Woman Gets Jail For Playing Radio Too Loud

"Shawna Enyart, a 38-year- old mother of six, insisted throughout her trial that she tuned in her favorite talk shows at a reasonable volume while doing laundry with her garage door open. But many of her neighbors along Ludlow Street in Garden Grove [California] said the volume rattled their windows and made it hard to hear themselves talk." Finding that she lacked remorse, a judge sentenced her to ten days in jail, fined her $400, and ordered her to give the offending radio away, according to this.

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

$3M Award for Libel on Internet Upheld

"In its first case on Internet jurisdiction, the North Dakota Supreme Court has affirmed a $3 million libel award to a university professor who was defamed on a student's Web site. The ruling is the latest in an area of law -- Internet jurisdiction -- that judges are grappling with across the country. Wagner v. Miskin, No. 20020200," reports here.
Sesame Street Breaks Iraqi POWs

Iraqi POWs are being subjected to loud music from Metallica, Sesame Street, and Barney in an attempt to break down their resistance to questioning, the BBC reports here. Is it torture? Amnesty International says it may be.
James Brown, The Godfather of Soul, Pardoned

"In September 1998 [I think they meant to say 1988], Brown, high on PCP and carrying a shotgun, entered an insurance seminar next to his office in Augusta, Georgia, and asked seminar participants if they were using his private restroom, according to authorities. Police chased Brown for a half-hour from Augusta into South Carolina and back to Georgia. The chase ended when police shot out the tires of his truck," CNN reports here. And that wasn't the last time he was arrested. But now South Carolina has seen fit to pardon him.
Always Dreamed of Being a Policy Wonk?

Now you can, courtesy of, which reports on (and links to) a Cato Institute report re: "[Few Americans] have any idea about what the grand jury is supposed to do and its day-to-day operation. That ignorance largely explains how some over-reaching prosecutors have been able to pervert the grand jury, whose original purpose was to check prosecutorial power, into an inquisitorial bulldozer that enhances the power of government and now runs roughshod over the constitutional rights of citizens." Kind of interesting, if you ask me.


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