- 47% of those polled believe traditional media should offer equal time to opposing viewpoints. Although 57% polled say blog sites should not have to allow other viewpoints, 31% believe the government should “force” them to. Can you believe that? In a related story, help me in welcoming John Edwards as next week’s guest blogger. (“47% Favor Government Mandated Political Balance on Radio, TV”, Rasmussen Reports, Aug. 14).
- Speaking of John Edwards–is he the new Bill Clinton? Some may think he’s the right person to carry on his legacy. (“John Edwards is the new Clinton, Spitzer, Craig”, MiamiHerald.com, Aug. 13).
- I thought the law was well-settled that you could say ignorant, mean and hurtful things (and, shame on those who do). But, anyway the Oregon Supreme Court unanimously agreed. (“Oregon court says racist, insulting speech is protected”, OregonLive.com, Aug. 14).
- Also from Oregon–a young man’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit in the police shooting death of their son. “We were forced to go ahead and file this to shed light on the events of that night” his mother said. Shed light? So, what’s with the $14M demand? And, what’s this about him threatening police with a knife? (“Tigard teen’s family sues for millions in fatal police shooting”, OregonLive.com, Aug. 13 & Sep. 17 ’06).
- Let the plaintiff’s bar go to bat for you on this one–after a Utah school learned of a bat infestation it partnered with the county health department to exterminate them. Meanwhile, the district made intercom announcements asking students who may have had contact with bats to seek assistance, and made voluntary payments to seven students for rabies vaccinations. A student’s mother sues despite no evidence her son contracted rabies or suffered any other injury. (“Lehi Mom sues Alpine School District over bats”, Deseret News, Jul. 17).
Olympia, Washington attorney Legrand Jones refused to provide police his identification and was then arrested and charged with trespassing and obstructing a police officer. He told the media “I don’t have to show my papers on demand. I don’t live in that kind of world.” (I can’t refrain from pointing out that if you follow the Jones link above, it displays his accomplishments and photo next to a generic-type photo of a person being forcibly arrested. A potential client, perhaps?)
Seriously, though–I agree that if you’re minding your own business and accosted by a police officer demanding identification you have the perfect right to continue on your merry way. The story suggests a slightly different twist–that he was allegedly trespassing on Port property when approached by the police officer who then requested identification. Perhaps some law enforcement or criminal defense law experts out there can shed some light on Jones’ defense. (“Arrested lawyer argues people don’t have to show police ID”, AP/Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Aug. 7).
Update: Commenter gitarcarver identified a more comprehensive account of the allegations (“Olympia attorney argues against anti-war protest arrest”, The News Tribune.com, Aug. 12).
- Raft-flip mishap at Riviera Beach, Fla. water park: family’s collective weight far exceeded posted limit on warning signs, they’re mulling suit [Palm Beach Post]
- New Rigsby/Katrina depositions include sensational new allegations of Scruggs misconduct as well as touches of pathos [Point of Law]
- “Al Gore Places Infant Son In Rocket To Escape Dying Planet” [The Onion]
- So much coverage of Hasbro vs. Scrabulous but so little solid reportage by which readers might judge strength of copyright infringement claims [Obbie]
- City of Seattle spokesman says police actions in shootout with gunman might have “saved countless other lives”, which hasn’t saved city from being sued by injured bystander [Seattle Times]
- First the vaccine-autism scare, now this? “Mercury militia” crows after FDA agrees to move forward with statement on possible risks of dental amalgam, but maybe there’s not a whole lot for them to chew on [Harriet Hall, Science-Based Medicine]
- Of lurid allegations in paralegal Angela Robinson’s suit against Texas plaintiff potentate Richard Laminack, the most printable are the ones about chiseling fen-phen clients and not paying overtime [American Lawyer; Laminack response]
- U.K. attorney suing former bosses for £19 million: that wasn’t me at the interview, that was my alternative personality [Times Online]
- Allegation: Foxwoods croupier thought he could mutter lewd comments in Spanish about Anglo female patrons, but guess what, one was entirely fluent [NY Post]
- “Richard Branson claims to own all uses of ‘Virgin'” [three years ago on Overlawyered]
The Ninth Circuit has upheld a jury’s $15 million award to three Los Angeles Police Department officers who said they were wrongly arrested and made scapegoats in the notorious Rampart evidence-faking scandal. Two of the three officers who will share in the award were in fact convicted by a jury of obstruction of justice in an earlier case arising from the scandal, but the judge later concluded that she had committed an error at trial and set aside the verdict; the case was not reprosecuted. Which jury erred: the first, the second, or are there theories on which both might be accounted right? (Maura Dolan, “Federal appeals court upholds $15-million civil award for Rampart police officers”, Los Angeles Times, Jul. 15; Metropolitan News-Enterprise).
Perhaps it would have been too complicated for Enrique Chavez of Anaheim, Calif. to sue himself for allowing his three year old son access to the loaded gun in the back seat of his pickup truck. So he’s suing Glock instead. “Chavez, 35, is also suing the manufacturer of the gun’s holster and the retail stores that sold him the gun and the holster. He bought the gun at the Los Angeles Police Revolver and Athletic Club and purchased a holster made by Uncle Mike’s and Bushnell Outdoor Products from Turner’s Outdoorsman.” (“Officer hurt in accidental shooting sues gun maker”, AP/San Luis Obispo Tribune, Jul. 9 via Glock Talk Forum).
New Jersey: “An Essex County jury has ordered Newark to pay $4.1 million to the family of a murdered Seton Hall University student because of mistakes made by a police dispatcher and 911 operator during her abduction. The jury’s verdict came after the attorney for Sohayla Massachi’s family argued that prompt action by the Newark police may have prevented her murder after she was abducted by a jilted boyfriend in May 2000.” The jury attributed 25 percent of its $5.5 million award to Seton Hall and its security agency, Argenbright Security Inc., but those defendants had already settled. (William Kleinknecht, Newark Star-Ledger, May 16).
Milwaukee cop Robert Henry was fired after being caught on tape in 2002 roughing up an arrested suspect. A federal judge has now ruled against Henry’s lawsuit over his firing. However, that doesn’t mean taxpayers are off the hook for the wayward officer’s continued support: “Henry was not criminally charged, and he later successfully filed for lifelong disability payments after he said he suffered stress for being fired. He remains on disability leave from MPD.” (John Diedrich, “Proof & Hearsay” (Journal-Sentinel blog), Nov. 1).
The city known for ghost voters also has ghost parking signage, it would seem:
[Heather Thome] was dismayed when she returned to find a police officer had just written a ticket for violating a parking ban from 4 to 6 p.m.
“I asked him where the sign was,” said Thome, 35, a temp worker. “He said there used to be a sign on ‘that’ pole, and it hasn’t been there for two years. My logical question was, ‘How can you write a ticket?’ And he told me he doesn’t want to, but his boss tells him he has to go out every day and write tickets.” … She [appealed but] still was found liable.
All-New England edition:
- Massachusetts bar-exam flunker drops suit over gay-marriage question [Boston Herald, OnPointNews; see Jul. 7]
- “We cannot get rail service between Nashua and Boston because a cap on liability may be unconstitutional in New Hampshire thanks to the trial lawyers” [letter in Nashua Telegraph; earlier news story]
- Whodunit? Everyone, as in a certain Christie novel: Rhode Island nightclub fire lawsuits name 93 different defendants [New York Times; see Feb. 16, 2006]
- Update: skull-fragment-keeping officer Callahan departs the Norwalk, Ct. police force [Created Things; earlier Jan. 23 and Jun. 21]