- A pack of gum, e.g.: “What the Proceeds of a BlackBerry Class Action Could Buy” [Rebecca Greenfield, Atlantic Wire]
- A million law firm ads later: “Pfizer’s Anti-Smoking Drug [Chantix] Isn’t Riskier Than Patches, FDA Says” [Bloomberg]
- Over 9/11 attacks: “Court Recommends al-Qaida Pay $9 Billion to Insurers” [NYLJ]
- Green alarmism over cosmetics — justified? [Dana Joel Gattuso, CEI; related here, here]
- Arpaio-Thomas follies continue in Arizona courtroom [Coyote, earlier]
- Upcoming: November 4 conference “Silenced” in D.C. on blasphemy laws and hate speech; Bruce Bawer, Nina Shea et al. [Federalist Society]
- “I dreamed I swayed the jury… in my Maidenform bra” [Retronaut, scroll]
It’s behind a pay screen, so I may never find out, but I have a sinking feeling this is not a parody.
In a Times (U.K.) column two and a half years ago, I should note, I scoffed at the idea that suits over technology “addiction” would get anywhere. That piece begins:
“Tech addicts may sue,” read the headline. Thus last month did an academic predict that obsessive devotees of handheld communications devices will at some point begin demanding damages from American employers. As one news account put it, “a corporation handing someone a BlackBerry on his first day of work could be seen as enabling, even accelerating, a serious addiction to technology.” …
[Updated/edited to reflect restoration of previously missing first paragraph in reprinted column]
I’m scheduled to be one of the guests on the popular Washington, D.C. public radio show today, during the 12 to 1 p.m. segment. We’ll be discussing BlackBerry legal issues, in particular, the degree to which employers are at risk of big retroactive wage-hour suits if they issue the communications devices to workers and then require (or even permit) them to use the devices for work purposes outside their normal hours. Our BlackBerry posts from this website can be found here. A while back I dismissed as unlikely, in the Times (U.K.), the notion of suits over BlackBerry “addiction” (truncated version here).
Otherwise, the employer may just be setting itself up for wage-hour suits based on the premise that the after-hours use constitutes uncompensated overtime, says Mitch Danzig, “an attorney in the San Diego office of Boston-based Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo. Danzig advises his clients to give BlackBerrys only to employees who are exempt from overtime laws. ‘Plaintiffs’ firms are trolling for this,’ he said. ‘Now what you’re seeing on [plaintiffs’] firms’ Web sites are, “Have you been assigned a BlackBerry or a phone? If so, give us a call.”‘” (Ashby Jones, WSJ law blog, Apr. 22; Tresa Baldas, NLJ, Apr. 28). More: Jeffrey Hirsch, Workplace Prof Blog.
- Coca-Cola’s sense of humor doesn’t extend to other artists’ parodies; shuts down movie release over single dream sequence showing Jesus drinking Coke. [Variety via BLT]
- Kevin MD on defensive medicine.
- Slip & fall case: “it would be unreasonable to expect the defendants to constantly clean the floors of their buses” during a snowstorm [McKenzie v. County of Westchester; Turkewitz]
- TV news and dumb lawsuit ideas series (earlier: Sep. 18), American Idol edition: Fox v. Vote for the Worst? [Above the Law]
- Shades of Myspace litigation (Feb. 15 and links therein): phone-chat dating service sued over rape of teenager [On Point]
- Updating Nov. 3 entry: Ninth Circuit vacates and will en banc review ludicrous Reinhardt decision in Smith v. Baldwin [Legal Pad]
“A state senator from Brooklyn said on Tuesday he plans to introduce legislation that would ban people from using an MP3 player, cell phone, Blackberry or any other electronic device while crossing the street in New York City and Buffalo.” (“Ban Proposed On Cell Phones, iPods In Crosswalk”, WNBC, Feb. 7). Comment: TechDirt, Global Nerdy, Bainbridge, Wired blog. A Blog for All rounds up links. Commenter Mike Knowland at Dvorak.org writes, “It won’t be enforced, but when someone gets hit by a car while breaking this law, the driver won’t be 100% at fault anymore.”
Business Week is urging us all to take seriously a lawsuit by IBM employee James Pacenza of East Fishkill, N.Y., sacked for improper internet use at work. Pacenza’s attorney has filed a $5 million wrongful-termination suit and is advancing web-addiction theories/excuses for his client. Business Week quotes various sources who are eager to predict some sort of emergent legal status for internet addiction — maybe as a covered condition under the Americans with Disabilities Act — but it all still seems pretty unlikely to me. (Catherine Holahan, “Virtually Addicted”, Dec. 14). On “BlackBerry addiction”, see Oct. 2, etc.
- Can reformers declare victory? [Point of Law; American Lawyer]
- Mississippi Supreme Court reaffirms: no litigation tourism for asbestos plaintiffs. [AP/Commercial Dispatch (h/t SB); Coleman v. A-Bex; Albert v. Allied Glove]
- More asbestos frauds in the Wall Street Journal. [Point of Law]
- LA judge will decide whether to censor Borat DVD. Earlier: Nov. 9. [Reuters]
- Guacamole dip fallout: “Is the goal here to get guac with more avocados or to create more work for the abogados?” Earlier: Dec. 6. [LA Times via Bashman]
- Quelle surprise: the tobacco settlement money is being treated by Missouri like general revenue, i.e., a tax. [Mass Tort Litigation Blog]
- Quelle surprise: Stephanie Mencimer caught exaggerating case for plaintiffs’ lawyers. [Point of Law]
- Epstein: What’s good for pharma is good for America. [Boston Globe]
- Heather Mac Donald: No, the cops didn’t murder Sean Bell. [City Journal]
- Well, suing several major Ontario Jewish organizations and releasing a press release that they’re all part of the Israel lobby is one way to convince people that you’re not a bigot, right? [Bernstein @ Volokh]
- The case against (and for) Jeff Skilling helps explain why CEOs are paid so much. [Point of Law; Kirkendall]
- Lame-duck Republican Congress wasting final hours with committee hearing on contract dispute, but one of the parties is famous, so it’s okay, right? [Kirkendall]
- Environmental group on the web speaks out against Dihydrogen Monoxide. [DHMO.org]
- The problem of Institutional Review Boards. [Carpenter @ Volokh; Point of Law]
- Will Danny DeVito play Gretchen Morgenson in the movie? NY Times and Sen. Grassley get snookered by unsuccessful trial lawyer. [Ideoblog; WSJ]
- New York Times web commenters are unimpressed with the fact that Nintendo needs to warn Wii users not to throw their remote. [The Lede]
- “The conventional wisdom is that we would be better off if politically powerful leaders were less mediocre. Instead, my view is that we would be better off if mediocre political leaders were less powerful.” [Kling @ TCS Daily via Kirkendall]
- “If Democrats allow lower prices here, they may even have to tolerate Wal-Mart.” [WSJ letter @ Cafe Hayek]
- Lindsay Lohan wants to enlist Al Gore in a lawsuit against her former assistant. [Defamer; Access Hollywood]
- Hey, we’ve slightly tweaked our right-hand sidebar. What do you think?
I was a guest this morning on the nationally syndicated radio show, discussing rumored BlackBerry lawsuits, wage and hour law, and class actions.