June 12 roundup

  • As I type this post, I’m listening to Andrew Frey argue Conrad Black’s appeal before Judge Posner and the Seventh Circuit. Posner seems to be confused over whether incorrect jury instructions can be prejudicial in a general verdict. [Bashman roundup; earlier]
  • “For years families bogged down in Harris County [Texas] probate courts have accused judges of bleeding estates of tens of thousands of dollars to pay high-priced lawyers for unnecessary work.” [Houston Chronicle; Alpert v. Riley (Tex. App. Jun. 5, 2008) (via)]
  • Company sets policy. Employee violates policy. Is corporation criminally responsible for employee’s act? [POL; FCPA blog; Podgor]
  • Merrill Lynch banker asks for investigation of Enron Task Force withholding of exculpatory evidence [Bloomberg]
  • When calculating the costs of medical malpractice suits, let’s not forget the noneconomic costs. “In the [John] Ritter case, the jury agreed with the defendant physicians and exonerated them of any liability. They were lucky. How lucky? They were able to spend four years with attorneys worrying about their future, including the potential that they would be ordered to pay tens of millions of dollars and be left penniless. So, they didn’t really win. They just lost less.” [EM News via Kevin MD via Dr. RW]
  • Nor should we forget the defensive medicine costs. [Kevin MD]
  • Legal reform = job creation. [American Courthouse]
  • According to Justinian Lane, if you’re reading this post, you’re a “spineless sycophant.” [Bizarro-Overlawyered]


  • Yeah! I’m a spineless sycophant.

  • Spineless sycophants of the world unite!

  • Spineless sycophants… let’s file a class action suit claiming defamation against Justinian. I certainly feel defamed. And since my name is on this comment, it’s clear that I’m not just some anonymous reader.

  • John, I agree. I feel emotionally distressed.

  • I’m ok with being called names. I’m especially ok when the name calling is done by a liberal. To paraphrase Ann Coulter, you know you’re getting to the truth when liberals start stomping their feet and calling you names; like little children who function outside the boundaries of reason, what more do they have than a good tantrum?

  • You mean as opposed to republicans, who are always so rational, and never emotional?

    Oh, sorry, I thought you were in the same planet I was.

  • I didn’t make any mention of a political system in which a few govern many; I also didn’t make reference to any major political party.On a psychological note, we’re all emotional. Some just have a way of managing them (emotions) better than others.

  • Just so we’re clear on two things: First, not all Overlawyered readers are spineless sycophants. Just those who “fawn over his every word and look to him to validate their narrow world view.” And second, I’m hardly a liberal. I’m as pro-gun as it gets, I’m anti-immigration, I have no moral objections to the death penalty, and no one has ever accused me of being politically correct.

  • Oh, you mean you didn’t use “liberal” as a short-hand for “small-minded, overly emotional Democrat”?
    Mea culpa

  • Since you bring it up, I do notice a trend among my Democrat friends, and the blogs of their ilk that I read, which has the stench of small-mindedness and excessive emotion. I may not be the only one who has made this observation. Full disclosure: Limbaugh is on my little radio as I type this. I could spin my observation and assert that liberals are highly expressive and will go to any length to defend their principles. I find this also to be true (well, most of the ones I know or read, anyhow) and also true of our man, Justinian Lane. But it just doesn’t capture and convey what I’ve come to believe. That’s why when I read Coulter’s book, I enjoyed so much cognitive consonance that it stuck with me, and continues to do so, several years later. But let’s be clear: Plenty of Republicans (and republicans) whine and toss names. Most conservatives (and classic liberals) that I know and read, go to great lengths and in my experience, pride themselves (ourselves) on not tossing names or letting emotions drive actions. It’s sort of an unwritten rule in our crowd that doing so yields undesirable results – I’d argue it’s one of our canons. The spin on that is: We’re cold and unimaginative.

  • Actually, while I was poking fun at the characterization, I agree with you about true conservatives and classic liberals. Too bad there are so few of either.

  • Does anyone know who or what this “Justinian Lane” character REALLY is? A trial lawyer, supports liberals, male, ANYTHING??

    Lane . . . Lane . . . LANE . . . ????

  • Lane is a 1L at Thomas Cooley Law who makes up his mind and propounds a wild-eyed blog post first, looks for evidence second, and then thinks about his argument third if at all. While he’ll sometimes shift his argument to fit new evidence that he hasn’t considered when it becomes too plain his argument doesn’t hold water, he won’t ever admit he’s wrong or that he’s shifted from his original starting point, and his later iterations of the justification for his position are sometimes even more thoughtless than his original argument. (Of course, that sort of attitude that clamps its hands over its ears and shouts “LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU” when faced with reality seems to be part of the ethos at Cooley, which, though consistently ranked as a fourth-tier law school by all objective observers, regularly releases a made-up set of law school rankings that rates itself as better than Stanford Law.)

    I’ve certainly met a number of law students who’ve had one year of law school and think they know everything already and don’t even begin to realize what they don’t know, and Justinian is one of those sorts. His legal analysis skills are poor: if he blogs about something other than another blog post or a newspaper article, such as contractual or statutory language, or the argument in a judicial opinion or brief, he consistently demonstrates that he doesn’t understand what he’s talking about. There’s an anonymous commenter on his site called “Lawyer” who very amusingly takes Lane to task. I wish she commented here more often instead, because she’s the best part of that site, and ends up causing me to waste far too much time there.

    My best guess is Lane is trying to create an anti-fan club for me the way his wife has for Rachael Ray. He needs to aim higher in life.

  • According to his site, he’s an undergrad. While I clearly find his position to be about as useful as mosquito repellent in the arctic, I have to give him points. If he is your typical “college kid,” he does his homework. I’m sure the villains over at ATLA (or whatever euphemistic name they’ve recently donned in disguise) have him on the short list of future Caesars.

  • “Company sets policy. Employee violates policy. Is corporation criminally responsible for employee’s act?”

    With no other info, I’d probably say no. But reading a bit, we find the company claims it derived no benefit from dumping – whilst the alternative was to use equipment which I assume is fairly costly to operate. And, just how would the employees benefit? A minor time saving, which I admit would be an occasional temptation, but as an ongoing policy I certainly lean toward it being a below-the-table deal from some level of management (not necessarily principals).

    OTOH, it looks like the only proof[s] on offer are the fact that dumping was done (physical evidence) and the confession[s] of crew (which seem not to have involved stating “I did it for the money so-and-so gave me”). No proof company was actively involved; the circumstantial evidence seems fairly convincing, but is it actually enough to support the conclusion?

  • Just saw this because of my “best of” post.. I’m not a Cooley Student. I’m a Michigan State Law student. As we had discussed a long time ago, I considered going to Cooley for the 100% scholarship, but decided against it because of the reputation you bring up.