June 29 roundup

  • New FASB regulation may provide fodder for trial lawyers: publicly disclose your internal analysis of liability (thus giving away crucial settlement information and attracting more lawsuits), and/or face lawsuits when your disclosure turns out to be incorrect. [CFO.com; CFO.com; NLJ/law.com ($); FASB RFC]
  • NBC settles a “You-made-me-commit-suicide-by-exposing-my-pedophilia” lawsuit. [LA Times; WSJ Law Blog; Conradt v. NBC Universal]
  • A victim of overwarning? 17-year-old loses hat on Six Flags Batman roller-coaster ride, ignores multiple warning signs to jump multiple fences into unauthorized area, retrieves hat, loses head. [FoxNews/AP; Atlanta Journal-Constitution; TortsProf]
  • Lots of Ninth Circuit reversals this term, as per usual. [The Recorder/law.com]
  • A no-Twinkie defense doesn’t fly in a maid-beating case. [CNN/AP via ATL]
  • The Chinese government demonstrates that it can enforce laws against IP piracy when it wants to [Marginal Revolution]
  • “Justice Scalia said he thought that the United States was ‘over-lawed,’ leading to too many lawyers in the country. ‘I don’t think our legal system should be that complex. I think that any system that requires that many of the country’s best minds, and they are the best minds, is too complex. If you look at the figures, where does the top of the class in college go to? It goes into law. They don’t go into teaching. Now I love the law, there is nothing I would rather do but it doesn’t produce anything.'” [Telegraph]
  • Above the Law commenters decidedly unimpressed by my looks. Looking forward to feminists rushing to my defense against “silencing insults.” [Above the Law]


  • As to the maid beating case.

    We recently had the Duke lacrosse case where a woman used an accusation of rape to avoid psychiatric treatment. One has to truly test allegations of rape or brutality. The testimony in this case has the fantastic quality of the testimony in the embarrassing day-care cases. I am dismayed that judges so easily get caught up in hysteria. It puts the lie to our being a civilized society.

  • In the maid-slavery case there is plenty of evidence in addition to the testimony of the maids. For example, their testimony that their passports were taken away from them was corroborated by a search. Confiscation of passports of alien employees is a red flag for abuse – there is no legitimate reason for it. At least one of the maids has scars all over her body and unhealed knife wounds. A door in the house was stained with the blood of one of the maids. This is nothing like the Duke lacrosse case.

  • In addition to physical evidence, the maids accounts are corroborated by other witnesses. Note the following from the New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/03/nyregion/03slavery.html):

    The case is unusual, advocates say, because there were other witnesses to corroborate some of the women’s claims. Among them was a woman who worked for Mr. Sabhnani’s perfume company, which is based in an office attached to the Muttontown house. She said she was shocked one day to see Samirah crawling up the basement stairs, bleeding from the forehead. The woman testified that Samirah and Enung told her that Mrs. Sabhnani had beaten her.

    A landscape contractor testified that Enung approached him furtively one morning, raggedly dressed, pointing to her stomach and uttering one of her few English words: “Doughnut,” he recalled her saying. “Doughnut.” He gave her the half-dozen doughnuts he had in his truck.

  • Sadly, after reading this site for so many years my very first thought was that I believe we will end up hearing that the decapitated kid was not a “victim of overwarning” but instead a tragic victim of the attractive nuisance, and his family being present to supervise him will be found irrelevant.

  • In the NBC To Catch A Predator case–why aren’t the group “Perverted Justice”, the group’s members involved in the setup, the police department that had its SWAT team there at the house, and/or Chris Hanson, the reporter, also in the lawsuit as defendants?

  • Mr. Posner,

    The maid case would be like the Duke case if the accusations are being used for ulterior motives. In the Duke case the New York Times actually advocated against the innocent players. Should not one be suspicious of their reporting in this politically charged case?

    It is wrong of you to dismiss the real data from the child care cases, especially the Little Rascals case where a 20 (plus or minus) cook was sentenced to life on the basis of fantastic charges. It was horrible.

    As to wittinesses: The ladies in the nail shop all saw bruises along the hair line of Mrs. Lorena Bobbit, the lady who was acquitted of maiming her husband, at exactly the place where hair color would stain the skin. One lady said that she knew Mrs. Bobbit was troubled because she dabbed on nail adhesive in lieu of brushing on nail adhesive.

    I think it is obvious that the maids hyped there stories and that these tales are given credence by activists for politcal purposes. To me the case stinks.

  • Mr. Nuesslein,

    You seem to be responding to someone else. I said nothing whatever about the child care cases. All that I said, to which you offer no response, is that in the maid slavery case there is considerable evidence, both physical and in the form of testimony of other parties, other than the testimony of the alleged victims. You will find the same facts recited in accounts by various reporters and newspapers, not just the New York Times.

    Bill Poser

  • Mr. Posner,

    The book “Until Proven Innocent” documents how the New York Times and other newspapers reported with a bias against the players. Evidence was reported that was not true or not germain. It was said that the Lacrosse players were spoiled hooligans, a charge that just wasn’t so.

    One also has to watch for a time compression bias. During my divorce, my wife compiled a seemingly endless list of my faulty behaviors. The marriage lasted 22 years and was quite normal almost all of the time. But it was not perfect. Hence the list.

    How does you see the doughnut story as proof of anything?

    One can get bad results in public opinion and the courts even with elaborate rules of evidence. True, you did not mention the day-care cases. But you were accepting of what seems to me to be dubious evidence, just as what happened in the Duke case and the day-care cases.

  • […] enthusiast and torts professor Bill Childs is stealing our thunder in his coverage of the recent Georgia Batman roller coaster decapitation of Asia LeeShawn Ferguson IV, so there’s no point in rewriting his excellent post instead of […]

  • I just read this post and lol’d at the silencing insults.