“A French judge has ruled against a blogger because her scathing restaurant review was too prominent in Google search results.” Caroline Doudet “was sued by the owner of Il Giardino restaurant in the Aquitaine region of southwestern France after she wrote a blogpost entitled ‘the place to avoid in Cap-Ferret: Il Giardino'”. [BBC]
- “Battle of the tort reform flicks”: trial-bar-backed “Hot Coffee” documentary said to be more entertaining than U.S. Chamber-backed “InJustice” [TortsProf, Abnormal Use, Daily Caller, Frank/PoL, Above the Law, Fisher, LNL] Memo to liberal studio heads: c’mon, now’s the time to greenlight more business-bashing flicks [Alyssa Rosenberg, TP]
- Interlock makers join forces with MADD to lobby for new federal DUI mandates [Luke Rosiak, Wash Times] More: Greenfield.
- Consumer found liable after posting gripes about driveway contractor on Craigslist [Minneapolis Star-Tribune] P.S.: Default judgment, not merits [h/t ABA Journal]
- Angelos law firm obtains $1 billion+ punitive award in Exxon Baltimore gasoline leak case, bringing total to $1.5 billion+ [AP, earlier]
- Taiwan: “Jail Time (And $7000 Fine) for Saying a Restaurant’s Dishes Were ‘Too Salty'” [Volokh]
- Headed for SCOTUS? Sixth Circuit panel strikes down Michigan law banning discrimination in higher ed admissions and other state activities [Gail Heriot, Daily Caller; Hans Bader, CEI]
- Court in British Columbia includes C$30,000 in damage award for injury plaintiff’s purchase of medical marijuana for pain management [Erik Magraken]
- Speaking of prostitutes and politicians, Deborah Jeane Palfrey has come to recognize that Montgomery Blair Sibley (Oct. 29; May 4; etc.) may not be the best lawyer for her. [WTOP via BLT]
- Update: Nearly two years later, trial court gets around to upholding $2 million verdict in lawn-mower death we covered Jun. 16 and Aug. 18, 2006. [Roanoke Times (quoting me); opinion at On Point]
- In other lawn mower news, check out Jim Beck’s perceptive comment on a Third Circuit lawn-mower liability decision.
- Update: Willie Gary wins his child-support dispute. [Gary v. Gowins (Ga.); Atl. Journal-Const.; via ABA Journal; earlier: Nov. 2]
- Tobacco-lawyer Mike Ciresi drops out of Minnesota senate race. [WCCO]
- Belfast court quashes libel ruling against restaurant critic. [AFP/Breitbart]
- Trial-lawyer-blogger happy: jury returned $1.25 million med-mal verdict for death of totally disabled person suffering from end-stage renal disease, pulmonary hypertension, oxygen dependent lung disease, and obesity, after rejecting businessperson from jury “for cause” because he was head of local Chamber of Commerce. [Day]
- Car-keying anti-military attorney Jay Grodner faced the law in January; here’s the transcript. [Blackfive]
- Anonymous blog post not reliable evidence of factual allegations. [In re Pfizer, Inc. Sec. Litig., 2008 WL 540120 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 28, 2008) via Roberts, who also reports on fee reduction in same post]
- Clinton’s nutty mortgage plan. [B&MI (quoting me)]
- A supposed DC cabbie’s take on DC v. Heller. [DC Cabbie blog]
A hearing officer has recommended a reprimand for Boston judge and libel-suit winner Ernest B. Murphy over those “fascinatingly repellent” letters he sent to the publisher of the Boston Herald demanding a settlement of what proved a winning $2 million libel suit (Jessica Van Sack, “Public reprimand urged for Judge Murphy”, Boston Herald, Nov. 21; see Sept. 28, etc.). The operators of the Irish Pub & Inn in Atlantic City, New Jersey are suing the publishers of Philly magazine over their description of the tavern as a “dive bar”, and aren’t buying the magazine’s claim that the description was intended as complimentary. (Michael Klein, Philadelphia Inquirer “Inqlings”, Nov. 18). And a New York lower court judge has declined to order Google/Blogspot to divulge the identity of “Orthomom”, whom a Lawrence, N.Y. school board member had sought to sue on the theory that it was defamatory to have termed her a “bigot”. (Nicole Black, Nov. 18, with links to other blog coverage).
More: And Eugene Volokh (Nov. 27) posts today on a disturbing case from Canada in which a lawyer involved in the shutting down of “hate speech” websites proceeded to sue for defamation — successfully so far in the Ontario courts — over having been called (among other things) an “enemy of free speech”.
- Represented by repeat Overlawyered mentionees Cellino & Barnes/The Barnes Firm, this injured upstate New Yorker got a settlement of $35,000 which worked out after expenses to — are you ready? — $6.60 [Buffalo News]
- Not yet a laughingstock: AMA backs off idea of labeling video-game addiction [Wired News, L.A.Times/CinciPost, HealthDay/WilmNJ]
- Restaurant critics fear losing their physical anonymity, which means a Bala Cynwyd eatery has a sword to hold over the Philadelphia Inquirer reviewer it’s suing [PhilaWeekly] (More: AP/CNN)
- Dad of the year? Father who didn’t have much contact with 30-year-old son during his life shows up to claim half his $2.9 million 9/11 compensation award [NYDN, NYLJ, PDF brief courtesy Taranto/WSJ]
- Fie on goodness: Geoffrey Fieger engages Harvard’s Dershowitz to try to quash federal grand jury probe, and he’s still battling Michigan judges too [DetNews]
- In suburban D.C. middle school, high-fiving could mean detention under no-touching rule [Washington Post, AP/CNN]
- Law firm whistleblowers? Ex-employees allege billing fraud in tobacco suit by high-flying Kansas City, Mo. trial lawyer [Legal NewsLine]
- U.K. government panel bans egg ad as not encouraging healthy eating [Times Online, Guardian, Telegraph]
- Lawprof is keen on expanding tort law to open door for more suits against schools over kids’ bullying [Childs]
- 1,001 ways to self-publicize: one is to become a “trial groupie” [Elefant]
- Guess what? This site just turned eight years old [isn’t it cool]
Now it’s Australia where food writers are getting nervous: the country’s High Court decided that Sydney Morning Herald critic Matthew Evans had defamed the Coco Roco restaurant in 2003 in a review:
The flavours of the limoncello oysters “jangled like a car crash”, he wrote, while the sherry-scented apricot white sauce on a steak was a “wretched garnish”.
Overall, he concluded that “more than half the dishes I’ve tried at Coco Roco are simply unpalatable”.
The ruling does not however preclude the defendants from offering defenses as proceedings continue in the case. (Deborah Cameron and Helen Westerman, “Ruling leaves sour taste for food critics”, Melbourne Age, Jun. 15; Barbara McMahon, “Review of meal that ‘jangled like a car crash’ deemed defamatory”, The Guardian, Jun. 16). Eoin O’Dell at the Irish law site Cearta.ie has assembled a substantial links list on this and earlier restaurant-review lawsuits from various countries (Jun. 16). Previously at this site: Mar. 10, etc.
New York Times legal correspondent Adam Liptak has a good article summing up the state of play on legal actions arising from unkind reviews of eateries, including several cases familiar to our readers (Feb. 27, Philadelphia; Feb. 10, Belfast; Jan. 3, 2006, Dallas)(“Serving You Tonight Will Be Our Lawyer”, Mar. 7). More: PhilaFoodie.
That’s Romenesko’s summary of this news item about a lawsuit by Chops Restaurant against food critic Craig LaBan over a review published in the city’s best-known newspaper, which the item rudely refers to as the InqWaster (Dan Gross, “Chops sues LaBan”, Philadelphia Daily News, Feb. 21). More on lawsuits over restaurant reviews: Jan. 3, 2006 (Dallas); Feb. 10, 2007 (Belfast).
“The Irish News must pay £25,000 plus court costs to a west Belfast Italian restaurant owner after a jury found a food critic’s review to be defamatory.” (“£25K for food critic’s poison pen”, BBC, Feb. 8). Journalist Caroline Workman, in a review of Ciaran Convery’s restaurant Goodfellas, had “described his staff as unhelpful, his cola as flat, and his chicken marsala ‘so sweet as to be inedible'”. Guardian restaurant critic Matthew Norman described the jury verdict as “very worrying news”: “You really cannot overstate the imbecility of a libel jury: what we really need now is a sustained campaign against our ludicrous libel laws.” (Maev Kennedy, “Critics bite back after restaurant reviewer sued for calling chicken too sweet”, Guardian, Feb. 10).
Restaurateur (see comments) Phil Romano has agreed to drop his lawsuit against the Dallas Morning News over its review of his local eatery, Il Mulino, in exchange for the paper’s promise to run a second review of the restaurant in coming months. “While [reviewer Dotty] Griffith handed out 4-star ratings for service and ambience, Mr. Romano took offense at her criticism of some of the restaurant’s main dishes, including entrees featuring its Bolognese and vodka sauces.” We covered the case Aug. 24, 2004. (“Restaurateur, News settle review lawsuit”, Dallas Morning News, Dec. 17)(via Romenesko).