- AT&T sued for $1 billion for allegedly misclassifying managers [Hyman, American Lawyer]
- Shaken-baby-syndrome angle deserved more attention in Baucus-girlfriend-for-U.S.-Attorney flap [Kos, Freeland, earlier]
- Awful: “Holocaust Denier Sues Survivor” [South Florida Sun-Sentinel via Faces of Lawsuit Abuse “worst lawsuits of 2009” poll which you can take here]
- Bizarre new twist in rogue Philly cop unit story [Balko, earlier here, here, etc.]
- More on the first “Bruno” lawsuit against Sacha Baron Cohen [Lowering the Bar, earlier]
- False accusation as academic career booster: “The Rot at Duke” [Stuart Taylor, Jr., National Journal]
- Claim: Netflix recommendation algorithm contest exposed a subscriber’s privacy to her detriment [Singel, Wired]
- No “Continuing Duty to Investigate Accuracy” of Newspaper Article Posted on Web Site [Volokh on Jenzabar case, earlier here and here]
- Federal judge throws out wrongful-termination suit filed by pants suit judge Roy Pearson, he’ll probably appeal [D.C. Examiner] More: Lowering the Bar.
- Sebelius signs documents providing lawsuit immunity for swine flu vaccine developers [Orato]
- How Sacha Baron Cohen keeps from getting sued, part umpteen [The Frisky]
- More on British Chiropractic Association’s defamation suit against skeptic Singh [Citizen Media Law, Orac/Respectful Insolence; earlier here, here, and here]
- Next round of lawsuits against Dov Charney’s American Apparel may allege “looks discrimination”, though that’s probably not actually a relevant legal category [Gawker, Business Insider, earlier here, etc.]
- Demand that Chicago set aside municipal contracts for gay-owned businesses [Sun-Times]
- “Grandstanding anti-Craigslist politicians still not satisfied” [TechDirt, TG Daily]
- Judge Kozinski: this is America, behaving disrespectfully toward a cop isn’t a crime [Greenfield]
Beyond Borat, bringing barristers bounteous business. [WSJ Law Blog]
Rev. Jeremiah Cummings of Orlando wants $50 million from Lionsgate for his unflattering portrayal on screen, saying Bill Maher and his filmmaking team did not level with him about the kind of movie they were making. However, as Matthew Heller notes, similar remorse suits over Sacha Baron Cohen’s “Borat” mostly flopped, with eight of nine thrown out before the discovery stage.
The “Borat” star, per AFP, “has sold Fox film studios a comedy, ‘Accidentes,’ about an ambulance-chaser-turned-hero, which he will produce and possibly star in, Variety magazine said Tuesday. The film is about a personal injury lawyer who becomes a hero among Los Angeles Hispanics for successfully defending a worker against a wealthy employer, but who in the process becomes the enemy of the city’s elite.” And see Defamer Australia with related graphic: “El Mejor Abogado”.
- Plenty of reaction to our Tuesday post questioning the NYT school-bullying story, including reader comments and discussion at other blogs; one lawprof passes along a response by the Wolfe family to the Northwest Arkansas Times’s reporting [updated post]
- Geoffrey Fieger, of jury-swaying fame, says holding his forthcoming criminal trial in Detroit would be unfair because juries there hate his guts [Detroit News]
- Another Borat suit down as Judge Preska says movie may be vulgar but has social value, and thus falls into “newsworthiness” exception to NY law barring commercial use of persons’ images [ABA Journal]
- Employer found mostly responsible for accident that occurred after its functionaries overrode a safety device, but a heavy-equipment dealer also named as defendant will have to pay more than 90 percent of resulting $14.6 million award [Bloomington, Ill. Pantagraph]
- New Mexico Human Rights Commission fines photographer $6600 for refusing a job photographing same-sex commitment ceremony [Volokh, Bader]
- “Virginia reaches settlement with families of VA Tech shooting victims” [Jurist]
- Roger Parloff on downfall of Dickie Scruggs [Fortune]
- Judge in Spain fined heavily and disbarred for letting innocent man spend more than a year in jail [AP/IHT, Guardian]
- Hard to know whether all those emergency airplane groundings actually improved safety, they might even have impaired it [Murray/NRO “Corner”, WSJ edit]
- “Freedom of speech is an American concept, so I don’t give it any value” — tracking down the context of that now-celebrated quote from a Canadian Human Rights Commission investigator [Volokh]
- Who was it that said that lawyers “need to be held accountable for frivolous lawsuits that help drive up the cost of malpractice insurance”? Hint: initials are J.E. [three years ago on Overlawyered]
- Speaking of privacy, consider what happens when lawyers get a hold of your email. (When will we see law professors eager to create new causes of action consider the privacy-destroying implications of ediscovery?) [Fulton County Daily Report/law.com; Toronto Globe & Mail; Point of Law] Earlier: Jan. 9 and links therein.
- Speaking of privacy and reputation, Mary Roberts goes to trial, but Above the Law doesn’t mention our coverage (June 2004; Sep. 2005; Feb. 6; Mar. 19; May 17), and misses the juicy details.
- Oy: “Woman who ‘lost count after drinking 14 vodkas’ awarded £7,000 over New Year fall from bridge.” News from the compensation culture not entirely bad: damages were reasonable, and the court did hold the woman 80% responsible, the exact opposite of the McDonald’s coffee case. [Scotsman.com]
- No good deed goes unpunished: Sperm donor liable for child support, judge rules. [Newsday/Seattle Times]
- Bad attorney gets fired, sues DLA Piper for discrimination, represents herself pro se, demonstrates firsthand why she got fired: law firm wins on summary judgment. [ABA Journal; update: also New York Law Journal]
- Romney on tort reform; McCain on medmal. [Torts Prof Blog; Torts Prof Blog]
- Another day, another Borat lawsuit. I’m still waiting for the consumer fraud lawsuit from moviegoers upset that it was not actually a Kazakh documentary. [Reuters; earlier]
Jackpot justice of another kind
A man on the nickel slot machines wins over $1M despite the maximum payout of $2,500. The casino blames computer error. The story shows a picture of the stoic gambler in front of the cordoned-off slot machine.
Etiquette expert pranked in ‘Borat’ sues
Yes, another ‘Borat’ suit, here. As the story points out, why wait so long? Come on, folks, jump on the bandwagon!
Wrong doctor sued, pays out of pocket due to Med-Mal policy deductible
Sue the wrong doctor and drag out the litigation process, all to the detriment of the defendant. The story notes that courts rarely find suits are frivolous because “there’s almost always some grounds for a suit to be filed.” (Update: Jan. 6).
Here’s a Hollywood-themed edition of our irregularly-scheduled roundups:
- When Sacha Baron Cohen accepted his Golden Globe award for Borat, he famously thanked all the Americans who hadn’t sued him “so far.” Subtract one person from that list; a New Yorker identifying himself as John Doe, who clever people quickly outed as businessman Jeffrey Lemerond, has now filed a lawsuit, claiming that he was humiliated by his appearance in the film. (Has anybody ever tried compiling a list of people who claimed they wanted privacy but filed lawsuits which exposed their secrets to a wide audience?) The Smoking Gun has the complaint. (Previous Borat suits: Dec. 2005, Nov. 9, 2006,Nov. 22, 2006)
- A Beverly Hills store has settled its lawsuit against Us Weekly for refusing to give it free publicity. (Previously: Sep. 12, 2006, Sep. 22, 2006)
- Carol Burnett’s lawsuit against the Family Guy gets tossed. (AP) On Point has details and the judge’s opinion. (Previously: Mar. 21.)
- Two for the price of one: A couple of weeks ago, attorney Debra Opri sued her former client, Anna Nicole Smith-impregnator Larry Birkhead, for unpaid legal fees. Opri was last seen on Overlawyered sending exceedingly large bills to Birkhead, including thousands of dollars in cell phone charges.
Now, Birkhead is suing Opri for conversion, fraud and malpractice. He claims that she took at least $650,000 of money owed to him for various appearance fees and has refused to return it; he also claims that Opri told him she was going to represent him for free in exchange for the publicity she’d receive, and then turned around and billed him hundreds of thousands of dollars. No, I’m sure this won’t turn into (yet another) media circus. (AP, TMZ.)
- Judd Apatow, director of the movie Knocked Up, is being sued for copyright infringment by a Canadian author who claims he stole her book for his screenplay.
A few months in, Eckler says she’s worn out by the litigation. “Here’s what it comes down to: 1) Being a writer, especially a Canadian one, without access to an unlimited bank account, sucks. 2) Copyright infringement is highly technical and difficult to prove. 3) Universal/Apatow know they have resources I do not have, and that every time they simply do not return my lawyer’s phone call, it costs me money.
- Eleven year old boy, Dominic Kay, who directed a 15-minute movie starring Kevin Bacon, settles lawsuit against his neighbor, who helped finance the movie. “Kanter met Kay when her son played with him on a soccer team.” (L.A. Times)