“[Keith Allen] Brown and four other inmates at Idaho’s Kuna facility are suing major beer companies, blaming their crimes on alcoholism and claiming that the companies are responsible because they don’t warn consumers that their products are addictive.” The laudatory Nicholas Kristof column practically writes itself, though one should note that the inmates “do not have attorneys and drafted the lawsuit themselves.” [Idaho Statesman]
- “It’s time for the ABA to deregulate law schools” [Richard Painter, Legal Ethics Forum]
- Curb schadenfreude please, it’s just class action entrepreneurship: “Law Schools Sued for Lying About Lawyering” [NY Magazine]
- “AALS President: Law Professors Should Be ‘Cheerleaders’ for ‘Our Way of Life.'” [Instapundit]
- “Widener Law settles with Prof. Lawrence Connell” [William Jacobson, Legal Insurrection, earlier here, here, here, etc.] Sensitivity camp at U. of Idaho Law [ATL] Peter Wood on Teresa Wagner case [Chronicle]
- Perspective of a practitioner turned professor [David Hricik] Claim: proliferation of “soft” curriculum really isn’t something to worry about [Brad Wendel] “Justice Scalia makes up with University of Chicago” [Chicago Sun-Times]
- “The coming crash in legal education” [Richard Bourne, Creighton Law Review/University of Baltimore/SSRN via Caron] Could law schools recover from adversity the way dental schools did? [Eric Chiappinelli, Faculty Lounge] “Why Occam’s Razor cuts in favor of making law an undergraduate degree” [Russ Pearce, LEF]
- US News changes rating methodology, and law schools’ part-time day programs suddenly dry up [Caron]
- Attention New Yorkers: if you missed my talk Tuesday at Fordham on Schools for Misrule, I’ll be back in town next Wednesday (Feb. 22) for a 1 p.m. talk at Brooklyn Law School before that school’s Federalist Society chapter; also that evening at Yale with distinguished Prof. John Fabian Witt commenting.
So now everyone will be happy dept.: The only bone-marrow donor program in Idaho’s capital of Boise is closing down. It seems the National Marrow Donor Program has enacted regulations requiring local programs either to recruit at least 1,000 minority donors a year or to hire a full-time recruiter by way of showing a good-faith effort toward that goal. But there aren’t enough minorities in the Treasure Valley to hit the numerical target and the program at St. Luke’s Mountain States Tumor Institute isn’t big enough to support the full-time hire, so now the nearest local option for potential donors will be an institution in Spokane, Washington. (Idaho Statesman and more, Idaho Business Review, Seattle Times) (via Taranto).
More: The national program, however, denies that its regulations require the hiring of a recruiter and says its local minority recruitment goal is 575, not 1,000: Taranto, Aug. 11.
We and many others criticized a law firm in October for taking the position that its cease and desist letters, also known as nastygrams, were copyrighted and thus could not be posted intact on the web by its targets. However, if a press release from that law firm is correct, a federal court in Idaho has just indeed taken the position that cease and desist letters may be covered by copyright law. Such a ruling, if upheld, would make it more difficult for the targets of bullying tactics by lawyers to rally online support for their cause. (TechDirt, Jan. 25; Slashdot, Jan. 26; Dozier Internet Law press release, PRWeb, Jan. 24).
More: “if a press release from the law firm is correct” turns out to be a big if: according to Ron Coleman at Likelihood of Confusion, as well as our own commenters, the Idaho federal court ruling falls far short of establishing any such proposition about these letters’ being copyrightable. See also: Victoria Pynchon, IP ADR blog, TechDirt later post, Paul Alan Levy @ CL&P. And yet more: Marc Randazza, Eugene Volokh.
“Threatened with a potential defamation suit, two individuals have apparently retracted their claimed characterization of a Spokane, Wash.-area law firm formerly known as ‘Wetzel & Wetzel’ as ‘Weasel & Weasel.'” Jim MacDonald, president of the Bayview, Idaho Chamber of Commerce, “read a letter of contrition” at the chamber’s regular monthly meeting “as demanded” by the offended lawyers. Does this mean we’re going to get in trouble with our earlier references to Cruel & Boring, We’ll Getcha & Mangle Ya, Huge Cupboards of Greed, etc.? (Martha Neil, ABA Journal, Oct. 25; Herb Huseland, “Bayview News: Law firm claims slander”, Spokane Statesman-Review, Oct. 25).
P.S. Australian lawyer Stumbling Tumblr adds, “there’s no indication in the story whether weasels had also threatened proceedings”.
In two cases in the last few months, federal judges have ordered the government to pay the defense costs of failed health care fraud prosecutions.
In Nevada, Judge Robert C. Jones awarded about $300,000, about 30% of the defense costs, to an Idaho doctor, finding that the losing case was frivolous because, the American Medical News reports, the government’s experts contradicted other experts in the case. (There is presumably more to the story than this, as the same is true in nearly every criminal trial involving expert testimony.) Half the claims were dismissed before trial, and the others were adjudged not guilty by a jury. The government has appealed. (Amy Lynn Sorrel, “Judge rules criminal fraud case against Idaho doctor is frivolous”, Aug. 20) (h/t P.N.).
And, in Texas, Judge Lynn Hughes awarded $391,000 to an Oklahoma attorney to cover part of his defense costs after being wrongly prosecuted on 54 counts of health insurance fraud. The court criticized prosecutors for misleading the grand jury and a “reckless disregard for the truth.” Again, the government will appeal. (AP/Tulsa World, “U.S. ordered to pay OKC attorney”, Aug. 13).
It takes a hard person to pick on the family of a dead child — but that’s why I’m here. In 2001, Tegan Rees, a 2-year old boy living in Idaho, was beaten to death by his mother’s fiance. The boy’s father had previously reported to Idado child welfare authorities that he saw bruises when he picked up his son from his ex-wife, but when they investigated, they decided it wasn’t abuse. That was just a few weeks before the boy was murdered. So, naturally, he sued the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare for $1 million.
Last week, the jury ruled 10-2 in favor of the state agency (AP, Mar. 11). The grandmother’s reaction?
“I’m just sickened,” Christie Rees told the Post Register. “I’m embarrassed that I live in Idaho. I thought finally Tegan would get justice.”
Justice? Keep in mind that the person who actually killed the boy was convicted of first degree murder, and sentenced to 22 years to life in prison.
I guess sometimes it really is about the money.
From “Decision of the Day: A daily summary of the best (and worst) of federal appellate decisions” (Jul. 3):
Money Can’t Buy Love, Or Permission to Land Your Personal Jet
Tutor-Saliba Corp. v. Hailey, 04-34524 [PDF](9th Cir., July 3, 2006)
Poor Ron Tutor. All he wanted to do is land his personal jet at an airport in Hailey, Idaho. The airport wouldn’t let him due to weight restrictions, so he was forced to fly in a less comfortable private jet. As a result, Tutor’s vacation at his Sun Valley home got off to a very bad start. Tutor sued the airport and the City of Hailey on various grounds, including under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for allegedly violating his rights to due process, equal protection, and interstate travel. The district court predictably found these claims were frivolous and awarded partial fees to the defendants, totaling $88,000 (in addition to costs of around $70,000). On appeal, the Ninth affirms the decision to award fees but remands to the district court for recalculation. Am I the only one who hopes the district court finds a way to increase the fee award on remand?
“Decision of the Day”, incidentally, was launched by “Robert Loblaw” in October, and can be found here.
P.S.: In email, Prof. Childs advises that site author “Robert Loblaw” quite possibly may have borrowed that screen name from a similarly named lawyer-character on “Arrested Development”, who can be viewed here.
The official recruitment of cosmetologists as informants (and as intermediaries steering customers to approved “domestic-violence” programs) continues, with programs reported in Florida, Idaho, Oklahoma, Virginia, Ohio and Maine, as well as Nevada and Connecticut (see Mar. 16 and Mar. 29, 2000). It’s not just black eyes or lacerations that the salon employees are supposed to be on the lookout for, either. A customer’s protestation that “he would not like that”, as a reason to turn down a new hairstyle, might be a sign of “controlling behavior” that needs watching. (“Salons join effort to stop violence”, Bangor Daily News, Jun. 15) (via van Bakel).