- Canada free speech: Islamic group files complaint against Halifax newspaper over cartoon of burka-wearing terror fan; two more libel suits aimed at online conservative voices; growing furor over complaint against Steyn/Macleans [National Post]
- More than 5,000 students committed crimes last year in Philadelphia schools, but none were expelled — consent decrees tying system’s hands are one reason [Inquirer]
- U.K.: Man threatened with legal action for flying pirate flag as part of daughter’s birthday party [Guardian]
- Bankruptcy judge doesn’t plan to accept at face value Countrywide’s claim that it generated false escrow documents by mistake in foreclosure [WSJ, WSJ law blog]
- Amid bipartisan calls to step down, Ohio AG Marc Dann [Apr. 19, May 6] hires an opposition researcher [Adler @ Volokh] on top of Washington lobbyist [Legal NewsLine], after being rebuked by judge for political suit [Dispatch]. And where’s that ethics form on the Chesley flight? [Dayton Daily News]
- Missouri med-mal claims fall sharply after legislated damages curb [Springfield News-Leader]
- More on Dartmouth prof Priya Venkatesan, the one who wants to sue her students — as suspected, she’s a devotee of deconstructionist Science Studies [Allen/MtC; earlier]
- Covert plan to sabotage Chinese economy? [Wilson Center event]
- What, never? Well, hardly ever: Docs continue to assail notion that various complications such as patient delirium, clostridium difficile infection, iatrogenic pneumothorax, etc. — not to mention falls — are “never events” [KevinMD various posts; earlier]
- Mich. high court agrees anti-gay-marriage amendment bars municipal health benefits for domestic partners, just what key proponents had claimed it wouldn’t do [Rauch @ IGF, Carpenter @ Volokh, earlier]
- Private service rates the safety of charter air providers — but can it afford the cost of being sued after giving a bad rating? [Three years ago on Overlawyered]
- “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.
We told you it was dangerous to criticize Ottawa lawyer and “human rights” commission enthusiast Richard Warman, and we were right: he’s now sued four leading conservative bloggers in Canada and one website, Ezra Levant, Jonathan Kay/National Post, Kate McMillan/Small Dead Animals, Kathy Shaidle/Five Feet of Fury, and Free Dominion. Lawsuit target Ezra Levant has details, as does Michelle Malkin, not yet a target perhaps because she is American. [2010 update: Patterico, Ken at Popehat]
In related news, the Ontario Human Rights Commission has decided not to pursue a complaint against Maclean’s, the country’s best-known magazine, for publishing a book excerpt by well-known writer Mark Steyn. (Press release via Small Dead Animals, SteynOnline).
A helpful reader sends along the following information about the offense of “structuring”, which federal investigators are reportedly looking at closely in connection with the Spitzer affair:
If Spitzer structured cash transactions to evade reporting requirements, he may be guilty of a felony. 31 U.S.C. 5324 prohibits certain actions by any person who acts with the purpose of evading the reporting requirements of Section 5313 (Currency Transaction Reports). The definition of structuring for purposes of currency transaction reporting is found at 31 C.F.R. 103.11(gg). The elements of the structuring regulations are:
A person acting alone, in conjunction with others, or on behalf of others,
Conducts or attempts to conduct,
One or more transactions in currency,
In any amount,
At one or more financial institutions,
On one or more days,
For the purpose of evading the reporting requirements of 31 C.F.R. 103.22 (requiring CTRs).
The definition is specifically written to include those transactions which occur beyond a single business day and transactions which are conducted through more than one financial institution, but only if the purpose of the transaction(s) is to evade the reporting requirements.
The reader adds: “The IRS Manual on the BSA structuring provisions is here.”
More: Kerr @ Volokh, WLS @ Patterico, Daniel Gross @ Slate , Mark Steyn (“Almost every white-collar federal offense – wire fraud, mail fraud – boils down to ‘paying for the train ticket'”), American Lawyer, ABC News, as well as my new piece @ NRO.
Yet more, from Eric Turkewitz: “It seems likely that an amount in excess of $10,000 must be at issue if this is what was being investigated, which means more of a mess than Eliot already has. And to tickle the bank to act, it may be a sum well in excess of that amount, because I wouldn’t think an investigation would be opened if they simply saw two transactions of, say, $6,000 each a few days apart. There could be substantially more at play here.”
- “Of all the body parts to Xerox!” Another round of stories on efforts to reduce liabilities from office holiday parties [ABA Journal, Above the Law, and relatedly Megan McArdle]
- New edition of Tillinghast/Towers Perrin study on insurance costs of liability system finds they went down last year, which doesn’t happen often [2007 update, PDF]
- Vermont student sues Burger King over indelicate object found in his sandwich; one wonders whether he’s ruled out it being a latex finger cot, sometimes used by bakery workers [AP/FoxNews.com]
- Good discussions of “human rights commission” complaints against columnist Mark Steyn in Canada [Volokh, David Warren and again @ RCP, Dan Gardner; for a contrasting view, see Wise Law Blog]
- Having trousered $60-odd million in fees suing Microsoft in Minnesota and Iowa antitrust cases, Zelle Hofmann now upset after judge says $4 million in fees should suffice for Wisconsin me-too action [Star-Tribune, PheistyBlog]
- Australian rail operator will appeal order to pay $A600,000 to man who illegally jumped tracks, spat at ticket inspectors, hurt himself fleeing when detained [Herald Sun]
- Lawyers’ fees in Kia brake class action (Oct. 29, Oct. 30) defended by judge who assails honesty of chief defense witness [Legal Intelligencer]
- Who deserves credit for founding Facebook? Question is headed for court [02138 mag]
- Yes, jury verdicts do sometimes bankrupt defendants, as did this $8 million class action award against a Kansas City car dealer [KC Star, KC Business Journal]
- Dispute over Burt Neuborne’s Holocaust fees is finally over, he’ll get $3.1 million [NY Sun]
- So long as we’re only fifty votes behind in the race for this “best general legal blog” honor, we’re going to keep nagging you to vote for Overlawyered [if you haven’t already]
- Joe Nocera’s recent column on the Vioxx settlement infuriated loyalists of the plaintiff’s bar, and they won’t like his new one on lead paint litigation much better [NY Times]
- Trial of Overlawyered favorite Jack Thompson over ethical charges leveled by Florida bar wraps up, but judge won’t rule right away [GamePolitics earlier, more recent posts]
- Two joggers hit by driver alongside Pacific Coast Highway will share $49 million from city of Dana Point — allegedly the bike lane was too wide — so now here come the concrete barriers [LA Times]
- Do makers of anti-PC documentary “Indoctrinate U.” owe cash to Indiana U. for infringing on its logo? [Maloney, OpinionJournal, Coleman] Update Dec. 11: settled.
- Casselberry, Fla. cop who sued parents after boy’s near-drowning in pool has now lost her job following public outcry over the incident [Orlando Sentinel; earlier]
- Lawyer who says he was defamed by commenters on DontDateHimGirl.com is back in court [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Ambrogi, On Point; earlier here, here, etc.]
- Outspoken blog of BU prof Dr. Michael Siegel ticks off “tobacco control” activists [Beam, Globe]
- Warning label alert: old Sesame Street episodes unsafe for children? [Stier, Wash. Times]
- Furor mounts in and out of Canada over “human rights” complaint against Maclean’s over Mark Steyn book excerpt [Wente, Globe and Mail; Eteraz, UK Guardian; Steyn, NRO; Kimball]
- Judge rejects lawsuit by animal rights group challenging UCSF animal testing [SF Chronicle]
- New at Point of Law: How do all those big cases wind up in Judge Jack Weinstein’s court, anyway?; latest Richard Epstein podcast is on antitrust, Microsoft, AT&T, etc.; abuse of the Family and Medical Leave Act; welcome new contributor Marie Gryphon; Yale Law clinic sues Yale-New Haven Hospital; bar official dismisses concerns about cy pres slush funds; breastfeeding accommodation on the job, via lawsuit?; just what New York needs, a new state law school at Binghamton; and much more.
Reminding us once again that our neighbor to the north lacks a First Amendment-strength guarantee of free speech, and stands in very great need of one: Canada’s largest non-profit Islamic body, the Canadian Islamic Congress, has launched human rights complaints against the prominent magazine Maclean’s and its editor-in-chief over a book excerpt from Mark Steyn, the well-known conservative columnist. “Complaints were submitted to Human Rights Commissions in B.C. and Ontario on the grounds that ‘the article subjects Canadian Muslims to hatred and contempt,’ according to a CIC press release. In the release, the CIC labels Steyn’s article as ‘flagrantly Islamophobic.'” (Kate Lunau, “Canadian Islamic Congress launches human rights complaints against Maclean’s”, Maclean’s, Nov. 30)(& welcome visitors from Steyn’s own SteynOnline).
A press release from their lawyers, Manning & Sossamon, announces that the Chung family of Washington, D.C is closing Custom Cleaners, their dry cleaning establishment. They continue to operate a separate location under the name of Happy Cleaners and last year closed one known as Parks FabriCare. According to the release, the family decided to close Custom Cleaners “due to the revenue losses and emotional toll resulting from the Pearson v. Chung lawsuit”. More: Marc Fisher @ WaPo, WSJ law blog, Betsy Newmark, Joe Gandelman, Mark Steyn.
Mark Steyn throws down the gauntlet:
Last week the New York Times carried a story about the current state of the 9/11 lawsuits. Relatives of 42 of the dead are suing various parties for compensation, on the grounds that what happened that Tuesday morning should have been anticipated. The law firm Motley Rice, diversifying from its traditional lucrative class-action hunting grounds of tobacco, asbestos and lead paint, is promising to put on the witness stand everybody who “allowed the events of 9/11 to happen.” And they mean everybody – American Airlines, United, Boeing, the airport authorities, the security firms – everybody, that is, except the guys who did it.
According to the Times, many of the bereaved are angry and determined that their loved one’s death should have meaning. Yet the meaning they’re after surely strikes our enemies not just as extremely odd but as one more reason why they’ll win. You launch an act of war, and the victims respond with a lawsuit against their own countrymen.
But that’s the American way: Almost every news story boils down to somebody standing in front of a microphone and announcing that he’s retained counsel. Last week, it was Larry Craig. Next week, it’ll be the survivors of Ahmadinejad’s nuclear test in Westchester County. As Andrew McCarthy pointed out, a legalistic culture invariably misses the forest for the trees. Sen. Craig should know that what matters is not whether an artful lawyer can get him off on a technicality but whether the public thinks he trawls for anonymous sex in public bathrooms. Likewise, those 9/11 families should know that, if you want your child’s death that morning to have meaning, what matters is not whether you hound Boeing into admitting liability but whether you insist that the movement that murdered your daughter is hunted down and the sustaining ideological virus that led thousands of others to dance up and down in the streets cheering her death is expunged from the earth.
Whether or not you reside in the U.K., the range of reading material available to you regarding the tangled banking relationships of the Middle East is being shaped and constrained by the London libel courts. (Gary Shapiro, “Libel Suit Leads to Destruction of Books”, New York Sun, Aug. 2; Mark Steyn, “The vanishing jihad exposés”, syndicated/Orange County Register, Aug. 5; earlier here and here).