- Police in city of Manchester, U.K. say they’ll record attacks on punks, Goths as hate crimes [AP]
- If claiming severe permanent injuries from auto mishap, best not to place well in a marathon six months later [West Virginia Record]
- “Altering or deleting a Facebook account during litigation may be … spoliation of evidence” [Paul Kostro, Brian Wassom, Jim Dedman]
- Note to Trademark Office: “breastaurant” is not trademarkable [David Post; earlier here, here, and here]
- Iowa Rep. Bruce Braley, a Litigation Lobby stalwart, seeks Senate seat of retiring Harkin [DMR, earlier]
- Meta? Lawyer files suit over a suit [the Brooks Brothers kind] [Staci Zaretsky, Above the Law]
- Judge Shadur: “the most egregious fraud on the court … encountered in [my] nearly 33 years on the bench.” [Courthouse News]
- Do you enjoy reading Overlawyered? Check back later today, after 9 a.m. Eastern, for a major announcement about the site!
Ryan Koopmans summarizes a baffling Iowa Supreme Court case in which a 4-3 majority of justices decided a bowling alley owner could be sued for having thrown a customer out for insulting a second customer, who — after reacting calmly at the time — then went out to the parking lot and committed violence on his provoker:
So what are the takeaways from the Hoyt decision? For bar and restaurant owners: It’s not enough to kick out an aggressive bar patron; unless you want to pay the cost of litigation and a full trial, your employees should call the police every time one patron taunts another, or, at the very least, they should personally escort every trash-talker to his car.
The takeaway for police departments: You’re going to need more officers.
Teresa Wagner had sued the University of Iowa’s law school alleging bias against her as an ideological conservative, but a jury ruled against her on most counts, and now the judge in the case has denied her retrial motion and granted the university’s motion to dismiss the remaining count. [AP via Adler; court opinion; comments by lawprofs Herbert Hovenkamp of U of I and David Bernstein of George Mason; earlier on this case, on which I was quoted in the press a number of times.]
- California Supreme Court: fee shift in disabled-rights claim can go to winning defendant, not just plaintiff [Jankey v. Song Koo Lee, Bagenstos/Disability Law]
- That’s Olsen with an “e”: “Lawmaker wants to protect cities from frivolous lawsuits over A.D.A.” [California Assemblywoman Kristen Olsen; L.A. Times] “Gas stations confront disabled-access lawsuits” [Orange County Register] Serial ADA filer hits New Orleans [Louisiana Record] ADA drive-by suits in Colorado and elsewhere [Kevin Funnell]
- And this lawyer follows a see-no-evil policy regarding ADA filing mills: “I refuse to pass judgment on other attorneys here.” [Julia Campins]
- Child care center could not turn away applicant with nut allergy because Iowa disabled-rights law said to have expanded its coverage of categories when the U.S. Congress expanded ADA, though Iowa lawmakers enacted no such expansion [Disability Law]
- Feds join in LSAT accommodation suit [Recorder]
- Official in San Francisco’s mayoral Office on Disability files disability-bias claim [KGO]
- “Testing employees for legally prescribed medications must be done carefully” [Jon Hyman]
- Conservative-turned-away case: “Jurors say they saw hiring bias at U. of Iowa” [Des Moines Register, Caron, Adler/Volokh] Wagner will seek retrial [Daily Iowan]
- David Lat on the GMU Law conference on law school and lawyer markets [Above the Law, earlier]
- ABA accreditors defend, but tinker with, standards for minimum law school libraries [Caron]
- “Comparative notes on German legal education” [Darryl Brown, Prawfs]
- Spinoff of Miller-Jenkins case: Janet Jenkins sues Liberty U. School of Law charging assistance to custody-nappers, dean calls suit frivolous [ABA Journal]
- “Law Schools Now 5-0 in Placement Data Fraud Lawsuits by Alums” [Caron] Charles E. Rounds, Jr. reviews Brian Tamanaha book [Pope Center]
- Does Peoria, Ill. need a new law school? Surely you jest [Campos]
- Ted Frank on Whirlpool front-loading washer class action [PoL] $1.5 million for attorneys, $41,510 for class? Judge balks at Amex gift card settlement [same] EasySaver coupon settlement “conservatively” values coupons at 85% of face value [same]
- Cy pres: Roger Parloff on tech-defendant class-action cy pres [Fortune] Privacy groups nominated for cy pres windfall in Facebook settlement [Wired, PoL]
- “Class-Action Lawyers Face Triple Threat At Supreme Court” [Daniel Fisher at Forbes; related, Michael Bobelian]
- Georgia high court: company could be on hook for $456 million for sending junk faxes [UPI] Will unwanted text-message class actions be the sequel to junk-fax litigation? [Almeida, Sedgwick via WLF]
- “Class action summer camp” series from Andrew Trask includes refreshers on key concepts such as typicality, adequacy, etc.
- “Supreme Court Hears Arguments in Comcast” [Wajert, earlier]
- City of Des Moines class action: we owe it to ourselves [Iowa Appeals] For another case where there was high overlap between plaintiff class members and those expected to pay damages, see Sept. 2, 1999 [Milwaukee tainted municipal water system]
Mary Reichard interviewed me about Teresa Wagner’s suit against the University of Iowa law school for the broadcast show “The World and Everything In It.” More on the Wagner case and its recent mistrial here, here, etc. Also on the politics of law faculties: is it believable that roughly 19 percent of law professors are going to vote for Romney, or is that number implausibly high? [Prof. Bainbridge; Tom Smith, Right Coast]
“A federal jury rejected Teresa Wagner’s First Amendment claim that the University of Iowa College of Law denied her a faculty position due to her conservative politics, but deadlocked over her Equal Protection claim that she was passed over in favor of less qualified candidates. The U.S. Magistrate Judge declared a mistrial on the 14th Amendment claim.” [Paul Caron, TaxProf, with many links; earlier here, etc.; Bainbridge, more, related on faculty political leanings]
Between 2006 and 2011 the Iowa Civil Rights Commission engaged in a practice of filing housing discrimination charges against landlords, which it would then settle through “donations” that went directly to the commission rather than the state’s general fund, reports Jason Clayworth at the Des Moines Register. “The requests came after sting operations in which representatives of the commission would, for example, pose as prospective tenants and tell landlords over the phone that they needed a service dog for anxiety reasons and quiz them as to whether a pet deposit would apply to them.”
The Associated Press covers the pending lawsuit against the University of Iowa by Teresa Wagner, who believes she was shot down for a job teaching legal writing because of her outspokenly conservative views (earlier here, here, and here). A federal trial starts Monday in Davenport, Iowa.
One sentence misses the mark slightly in conveying my views. As I should have taken pains to make clear, the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, as a decision, is by no means sacrosanct in legal academia; law professors both right and left, young and old, criticize it often for its reasoning, as a political blunder, and on other grounds. What is a good bit less common — and especially rare among younger academics aiming for tenure offers at law schools with no religious affiliation — is a passionate stand against abortion in itself, like Ms. Wagner’s.
The university, for its part, disclaims political bias and apparently intends to argue that Ms. Wagner did not perform as well at the interview stage as her lawyers contend. As I told the AP, while I have no doubt that political bias is rife — in 2007, Iowa’s law faculty is recorded as having had 46 registered Democrats and only one registered Republican — I have severe doubts that the courts will improve matters by peering over the hiring committees’ shoulders. (& TaxProf with links; Des Moines Register “Juice”; Prof. Bainbridge)