“Hawaii needs to rethink the ‘Steven Tyler Act.’ States can promote the right of privacy while ensuring freedom of speech.” [Josh Blackman/Ilya Shapiro, USA Today]
Protectionism for real estate agents [Coyote]:
In legislation that reminds me of stuff from the 1990s when businesses tried to fight Internet-driven disintermediation, Hawaii is proposing to force non-Hawaiians to use a local broker to list their rental properties. Apparently local residents can still list their properties on low-cost Internet sites, but folks on the mainland (also known as “the United States”) must use a high-cost locally licensed broker, who typically charge 50% of rental fees as a commission. … Only by structuring this law to apply to those annoying out-of-staters could it ever be passed.
- Congress again debates bad idea of race-based government for native Hawaiians [Ramesh Ponnuru, Ilya Shapiro/Cato; earlier here, etc.]
- “I could have been killed for blogging.” [Patterico, Scott Greenfield] Latest blogger “swatting” (bogus police call) hits RedState’s Erick Erickson [same] Incivility is a hazard for bloggers, but fear for families’ physical safety shouldn’t be [Jonathan Adler, Amy Alkon] Dear authorities in Montgomery County, Md. and elsewhere: you should know it’s not every day Radley Balko calls for tougher law enforcement. Earlier here and here.
- More dying from guns than from car crashes? Eugene Volokh skewers some misleading arguments from the Detroit Free Press;
- Mississippi: Judge dismisses Dickie Scruggs’s motion to vacate bribery conviction [AP; Tom Freeland and more]
- Washington Times kindly cites coverage in this space on Maryland “structuring” prosecutions [editorial]. Maryland delayed foreclosures and is now paying the price in slower housing recovery [Hayley Peterson, Examiner]
- Andrew Pincus defends arbitration and SCOTUS decision in Concepcion [NYTimes “DealBook”; NLJ] Effort in Florida to ease use of arbitration in med-mal disputes [Miami Herald]
- Michigan Supreme Court judge Diane Hathaway, elected via 2008’s most unfair attack ad, is now in a spot of ethical bother [Ted Frank]
- Melissa Kite, columnist with Britain’s Spectator, writes about her low-speed car crash and its aftermath [first, second, third, fourth]
- NYT’s Nocera lauds Keystone pipeline, gets called “global warming denier” [NYTimes] More about foundations’ campaign to throttle Alberta tar sands [Coyote] Regulations mandating insurance “disclosures” provide another way for climate change activists to stir the pot [Insurance and Technology]
- “Cop spends weeks to trick an 18-year-old into possession and sale of a gram of pot” [Frauenfelder, BB]
- Federal Circuit model order, pilot program could show way to rein in patent e-discovery [Inside Counsel, Corporate Counsel] December Congressional hearing on discovery costs [Lawyers for Civil Justice]
- Trial lawyer group working with Senate campaigns in North Dakota, Nevada, Wisconsin, Hawaii [Rob Port via LNL] President of Houston Trial Lawyers Association makes U.S. Senate bid [Chron]
- Panel selection: “Jury strikes matter” [Ron Miller, Maryland Injury]
- Law-world summaries/Seventeen syllables long/@legal_haiku (& for a similar treatment of high court cases, check out @SupremeHaiku)
- UK: “Premiums to soar as accident claims lawyers push up cost of motor insurance, MPs hear” [Telegraph]
- John Stossel on death by FDA [Reason] Disapproving stance on e-cigarettes might cost lives [Balko] Company abandons pioneering stem-cell research after running up $45 million in costs to win FDA approval of initial safety tests [Technology Review] NYT can be obtuse about regulatory costs [Cowen]
- No, we’re not allowed to let you out of the van to relieve the call of nature [Ted at PoL]
- “Economic Damages Are Affirmed Though Plaintiff’s Earnings Rose After Accident” [NJLJ]
- A shame about the business climate in Hawaii [Inverse Condemnation]
- “Massachusetts Lawyer Loses License for a Year for Charging $93.8K Contingent Fee, Absent a Contingency” [Martha Neil, ABA Journal]
- Movement “rapidly gaining steam” in U.S. to prohibit anonymous sperm donation [Glenn Cohen, Prawfs]
- Furor continues over insider trading by Congress [Roger Parloff/Fortune, Bainbridge (“unimpressed” with reform proposal entitled STOCK Act), earlier] Rep. Bachus disputes claims in Peter Schweizer book [AW, Perry]
- “Fort Hood victims’ families seek $750M from feds” [Kenneth Timmerman, Daily Caller]
- “Chicago Lawyer Sues Southwest, Says Airline Breached Free-Drink Coupon Contract” [ABA Journal]
- “Lawyer Solicitation: Penn State Sex Abuse Edition” [Turkewitz] Slate slags Merck CEO [Ted Frank]
- Akaka Hawaii-racialization bill, smuggled in through the back door? [Ilya Shapiro, background]
- Suits over Hurricane Irene electrical outages expected to spread [Connecticut Law Tribune, Chris Powell]
- Fiasco envy? “RIAA Thinking Of Backing Righthaven” [Masnick, TechDirt] “Righthaven ordered to pay nearly $120,000 in attorney fees, court costs” [VegasInc., Ars Technica, American Power Blog]
“Finding that Google has no duty to provide accurate content on its website, a Utah judge has thrown out the novel case of a woman who claimed that faulty walking directions on Google Maps caused her to be hit by a car.” [OnPoint News, earlier here, etc.] The same post, updating another story we’ve noted, reports that a bill to make guidebook publishers liable for some injuries to tourists has died in the Hawaii legislature.
A proposed Hawaii law would assign liability to guidebook writers for some injuries at risky tourist sites [WSJ]
Do as we say, not as we do?
Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann is leading a group of 18 state Attorneys General seeking a ruling in the U.S. Supreme Court that employees can not be retaliated against by their bosses for filing a sexual harassment complaint.
The case comes at an ironic moment for Dann, as his office is investigating claims by two 26-year-old women who work at the Attorney General’s office that they were sexually harassed on and off the job by their boss, Anthony Gutierrez, a close friend of Dann’s who shared a Columbus condominium with him.
(“Dann Defends Woman Amid Own Office’s Sexual Harassment Flap”, Fox8 Cleveland, Apr. 16; Mark Rollenhagen and Reginald Fields, “Employee in Ohio attorney general’s office files police report”, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Apr. 19). Amid talk of a cover-up, Dann has also denied a request from the Columbus Dispatch under the state’s public records law “to review three months’ worth of e-mail messages between him and his then-scheduler, Jessica Utovich,” both of whose names turn up as possible witnesses in colorful text messages offered as evidence in the claims. “Dann in the past has said e-mails are public records and also has sought troves of messages from public offices when he was a state senator and the Democratic candidate for Ohio’s top legal office.” (James Nash, “Dann won’t release e-mails”, DispatchPolitics (Columbus Dispatch), Apr. 13; Julie Carr Smyth, “Sexual complaint probe at top cop’s office intensifies”, AP/Akron Beacon Journal, Apr. 18; Mark Naymik, “Dann has habit of hiring his friends; some have proved to be embarrassments”, Openers (Cleveland Plain Dealer blog), Apr. 12; Reginald Fields, “Dann employee files complaint with police”, Openers, Apr. 18).
After initial resistance, Dann did release some information that raised reportorial eyebrows:
In a surprising reversal, Attorney General Marc Dann’s office released 12 pages of notes that detail allegations of repeated sexual harassment and possibly an attempt to destroy text messages that may document the incidents. …
Dann’s Equal Employment Opportunity officer, Angela Smedlund, interviewed Cindy Stankoski and Vanessa Stout on March 31 about problems they had had with their boss, Anthony Gutierrez, who is Dann’s friend and former roommate.
Smedlund’s notes reveal the following:
Stankoski agreed to go out for drinks with Gutierrez last Sept. 10, but said she soon “felt tipsy and trapped.” She agreed to go to an apartment Gutierrez shared with Dann and Communications Director Leo Jennings III. She called and text-messaged friends that night.
In the margin, Smedlund wrote: “Leo & Tony destroyed texts Tony admitted to Charlie.” The notes do not identify Charlie’s last name.
Jennings and Gutierrez are now both on paid administrative leave.
(Laura A. Bischoff, “Dann’s office unveils documents detailing harassment report”, Lebanon, Oh. Western-Star, Apr. 16; Rollenhagen/Fields, “Reports show Dann was aware of Gutierrez’s history of troubles”, Cleveland Plain Dealer/Youngstown Vindicator, Apr. 18; Bertram de Souza, “Will Dann survive the crisis?”, StirFry (Youngstown Vindicator), Apr. 17). Perhaps unfortunately in retrospect, the noisily anti-business Dann had been lionized in the New York Times after his election as a possible “next Eliot Spitzer“.
More: Above the Law, John Phillips (“Other key words are pajamas, condo, inappropriate text messages, Hawaiian pizza, booze, passing out in a bedroom, unbuttoned pants upon waking up, and nothing on but his underwear.”), Law and More. Update: Dann’s emails with scheduler released (Dispatch via Genova)