- German law firm demands that Wikipedia remove true information about now-paroled murderers [EFF] More: Eugene Volokh.
- “Class Actions: Some Plaintiffs’ Lawyers Fed Up, Too?” [California Civil Justice]
- Drop that Irish coffee and back away: “F.D.A. Says It May Ban Alcoholic Drinks With Caffeine” [NYT]
- Profile of L.A. tort lawyers Walter Lack and Thomas Girardi, now in hot water following Nicaraguan banana-pesticide scandal [The Recorder; my earlier outing on “Erin Brockovich” case]
- Federalist Society panel on federalism and preemption [BLT]
- Confidence in the courts? PriceWaterhouseCoopers would rather face Satyam securities fraud lawsuits in India than in U.S. [Hartley]
- Allegation: Scruggs continuing to wheel and deal behind bars [Freeland]
- Not much that will be new to longtime readers here: “Ten ridiculous lawsuits against Big Business” [Biz Insider] P.S.: Legal Blog Watch had more lists back in June.
German cops, however, got a surprise when they unmasked Ms. Moriarty.
The legal humor site has nominated its favorite stories of 2008. Among them:
- Judge denies Indian tribal immunity to supposed “Wampanoag Nation” that turns out to have been “founded in an Arby’s restaurant in Provo in 2003“;
- Colorado inmate hurt in attempted breakout claims state failed to make jail “reasonably escape-proof” (earlier);
- Australian parliament so rowdy that lawmakers asked to submit to periodic breath tests;
- EU issues noise protection rules setting decibel limit on playing of bagpipes (earlier);
- German lawmakers debate giving babies the ballot by reducing voting age to zero.
For quite a while I’ve been getting complaints that readers in other countries — Australia, in particular — are locked out of Overlawyered with a “403 — you don’t have permission to access the server” error message. (Similarly, see these bulletin board discussions from New Zealand and Germany). Reader Stephen Mepham from Australia wrote to alert me when he encountered this problem on switching to a new cable provider, and helpfully included his IP number (the 7188.8.131.527 thing). That allowed me to track down what had happened: in response to a series of spam and denial-of-service attacks, our hosting providers over the years have taken aggressive measures to exclude various large blocks of IP numbers (as well as country domains associated with spam and DOS attacks). I’ve now taken a few gingerly steps to relax these controls, which I hope should let more Australian readers access the site in particular. Should the attacks resume, of course, we’ll need to go back to tougher blocking.
If you’re a reader who’s encountered this problem or knows someone who has, give it a try again, and feel free to email me with a message along the lines of “Yes, now it works again” or “No, I still get blocked” — and try to include your IP address if convenient, which you can identify here.
“For the graffiti artists, copyright cases are a common problem. ‘It is very disappointing that copyrights of our work are often not respected’, [says German graffiti artist CanTwo,] who received damages from a music label using one of his pieces illegally some years ago. ‘Strangely enough, but people think that because our work is public and it is sometimes illegally painted, they could use it any way they want.'” (Markus Balser, WSJ Law Blog, Sept. 9).
- “Dog owners in Switzerland will have to pass a test to prove they can control and care for their animal, or risk losing it, the Swiss government said yesterday.” [Daily Telegraph]
- 72-year-old mom visits daughter’s Southport, Ct. home, falls down stairs searching for bathroom at night, sues daughter for lack of night light, law firm boasts of her $2.475 million win on its website [Casper & deToledo, scroll to “Jeremy C. Virgil”]
- Can’t possibly be right: “Every American enjoys a constitutional right to sue any other American in a West Virginia court” [W.V. Record]
- Video contest for best spoof personal injury attorney ads [Sick of Lawsuits; YouTube]
- Good profile of Kathleen Seidel, courageous blogger nemesis of autism/vaccine litigation [Concord Monitor*, Orac]. Plus: all three White House hopefuls now pander to anti-vaxers, Dems having matched McCain [Orac]
- One dollar for every defamed Chinese person amounts to a mighty big lawsuit demand against CNN anchor Jack Cafferty [NYDN link now dead; Independent (U.K.)]
- Hapless Ben Stein whipped up one side of the street [Salmon on financial regulation] and down the other [Derbyshire on creationism]
- If only Weimar Germany had Canada-style hate-speech laws to prevent the rise of — wait, you mean they did? [Steyn/Maclean’s] Plus: unlawful in Alberta to expose a person to contempt based on his “source of income” [Levant quoting sec. 3 (1)(b) of Human Rights Law]
- Hey, these coupon settlements are giving all of us class action lawyers a bad name [Leviant/The Complex Litigator]
- Because patent law is bad enough all by itself? D.C. Circuit tosses out FTC’s antitrust ruling against Rambus [GrokLaw; earlier]
- “The fell attorney prowls for prey” — who wrote that line, and about which city? [four years ago on Overlawyered]
*Okay, one flaw in the profile: If Prof. Irving Gottesman compares Seidel to Erin Brockovich he probably doesn’t know much about Brockovich.
The automotive innovation (“gently guides the car back in lane if it senses it drifting”) has promising enough safety implications that German insurance companies offer premium discounts of up to 20 percent when it is purchased as part of a package with adaptive cruise control and park assist. No prizes for guessing why Volkswagen isn’t offering it to U.S. buyers of the Passat. “What other cool stuff have auto manufacturers dreamed up, but left on the drawing board because they fear our sharks in expensive suits?” (Edward Loh, Motor Trend, Apr. 17).
(Re-posted from Point of Law.)
“A German court has awarded 3,000 euros ($4,100) in damages to a man who had to have the top of his skull replaced with plastic because of a faulty hospital fridge.” The plaintiff had sought 20,000 euros. [Reuters/MSNBC]
- Reversing course, Rhode Island attorney general drops rape charge based on 32-year-old “repressed memory”, thus disappointing some advocates [Volokh; Jul. 10]
- Massachusetts disciplinary panel files misconduct charges against Judge Ernest Murphy over the “bring me a check and keep quiet” surrender-Dorothy letter he sent to Boston Herald publisher during his (successful) libel suit [Ambrogi; Dec. 23, 2005, May 11, 2007, etc.]
- California jury rejects tippling speeder’s lawsuit against landowner, automaker, town, etc. in the case we headlined “Shouldn’t Have Put Its Berm Where He Wanted To Skid” [Dec. 24, 2005; Douglas Domel v. DaimlerChrysler Corp., City of Santa Clarita, and Does 1 to 50, inclusive (PC030045Y), L.A. Superior Court, L.A. Daily Journal, no free link]
- Nominal damages only against German teens accused of scaring ostrich into impotence [UPI/ScienceDaily; Mar. 6]
- Dubious bill authorizing lawsuits against OPEC may be headed to President’s desk [W$J/CattleNetwork; Jun. 8]
- Jury convicts press baron Conrad Black on four counts, acquits on nine [Telegraph; Kirkendall, Bainbridge, Ribstein; Mar. 19, Jun. 5]
- Michigan Supreme Court reinstates reprimand against Geoffrey Fieger over abusive language [NLJ; Jul. 3, Aug. 2, 2006, etc.]