July 28 roundup

  • Wild hypotheticals were grist for complaint: “Widener law professor cleared of harassment charges” [NLJ, earlier here, here, here]
  • Ninth Circuit: Facebook didn’t breach user’s right to accommodation of mental disability [Volokh]
  • House Judiciary hearing on litigation and economic prosperity [Wajert]
  • “University of Michigan to stop worrying about lawsuits, start releasing orphan works” [Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing]
  • PBS airs “The Story Behind Wacky Warning Labels” [Bob Dorigo Jones]
  • Fifth Circuit “candy cane” religion-in-schools case controversial among conservatives [David Upham, NR Bench Memos]
  • Great moments in public records law [Cleveland Plain Dealer, earlier related]


  • The professor was cleared of racial harassment charges, but then found guilty of “retaliation” for his indignant reaction to the charges.

    Overlawyered previously discussed the way “retaliation” lawsuits and charges can violate free-speech rights here:


    Here is a Supreme Court case illustrating that freedom of speech and petition protects some so-called “retaliation” against liability:


  • The retaliation charge against the professor looks an awful lot like the Martha Stewart prosecution in that if you can’t get a citizen on a substantial charge, just twist the law to allow a conviction based on presumed guilt of a substantial charge. The harassment charge must have been really weak as racially tinged disputes quickly become irrational. Remember Mario Cuomo’s reaction to the ridiculous Tawana Brawley claim and the reaction of the Duke University to Crystal Magnum’s charges against Duke students.

  • With regard to the Facebook situation with accommodation for mental disability: Could a smart lawyer invoke DMCA section 230 to try to knock down ADA lawsuits against either content providers and/or service providers? (For that matter, could such a strategy have been used in the Target.com case?).

    Failing that, what about using a reverse ADA-discrimination defense, such that to accommodate under many circumstances may/would discriminate against the non-disabled users of the site or provider?

  • […] hypotheticals and has spiraled into a major embarrassment for the Delaware institution. Earlier here, […]