- “Plaintiffs’ Attorneys to Get $800,000 in Preliminary Settlement, Class Members Receive Zero” [Calif. Civil Justice covering Bluetooth settlement in which Ted was objector; earlier here and here]
- “Lawyer Jailed for Contempt Is Freed After 14 Years” [Lowering the Bar, earlier]
- Money makes the signals go ’round: another probe of red-light cameras yields few surprises [Chicago Tribune, Chicago Bungalow, Bainbridge on Washington, D.C.]
- Previously little-known company surfaces in E.D. Tex. to claim Apple, many other companies violate its patent for touchpads [AppleInsider via @JohnLobert]
- Child endangerment saga of mom who left kids at Montana mall is now a national story [ABC News; earlier post with many comments; Free Range Kids and more]
- Meet Obama Administration “special adviser on ‘green’ jobs” Van Jones [“Dunphy”, McCarthy at NRO “Corner”]
- Irrationality of furloughs at University of Wisconsin should provide yet another ground to question New Deal-era Fair Labor Standards Act [Coyote]
- Australia’s internet blacklist is so secret you can’t even find out what sites are on it [Popehat – language] Oz to block online video games unsuitable for those under 15 [BoingBoing]
- British TV regulators field many complaints about performers’ setbacks on reality contest shows [Guardian via Marginal Revolution]
- “Judge Tosses Much of Campaign Contributions Case Against Katrina Lawyer” (Pierce O’Donnell, said to have reimbursed employees for donations to Edwards race) [NLJ, earlier]
- Patrick Fitzgerald, U.S. Attorney in Chicago, threatens to sue publisher over contents of forthcoming book [WSJ Law Blog, NY Mag “Intelligencer”]
- Late-night neighbor dispute: “Honking horn not constitutionally protected” [Seattle Times]
- “Strippers Sue to Be Classified as Employees, Not Independent Contractors” [NLJ]
- Boston-based James Sokolove, biggest legal pitchman, is planning to get even bigger with $25 million ad budget [Wicked Local via Ambrogi]
- What more satisfying for a lawyer than to win an anti-SLAPP motion against someone trying to silence one’s client? [Ken @ Popehat]
- “Despite crazy rules, convoluted taxes and rampant lawyers, America is still a great place to do business” [The Economist]
There is a horrifying tale on Consumerist about a family that missed a flight to visit their dying mother in the hospital because a ticket agent refused to help them because it was time for her break. What the story doesn’t tell you, and what none of the commenters seem to realize, is that it’s the trial lawyers that put United Airlines in that situation.
Oregon labor laws California labor laws require workers to be permitted to take breaks; plaintiffs’ attorneys have made a multi-million-dollar cottage industry out of class action lawsuits against employers where customer service was permitted to take priority and workers occasionally didn’t take their breaks. (In California, the penalty for failing to provide a ten-minute break is an hour of pay.) To avoid this, the employer has to enforce the break period stringently, because they can potentially be held liable even if the employee voluntarily avoids the break.
When guestblogging at this site not long ago, Daniel Schwartz of the Connecticut Employment Law Blog contributed a highly popular post about the class-action lawsuit filed by three professional wrestlers (“Raven”, “Chris Kanyon”, and “‘Above Average’ Mike Sanders”), a lawsuit based on the theory that the three had been improperly categorized as independent contractors while in reality standing in the position of employees to Connecticut-based World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. Now he’s posted a couple of substantial updates at his blog (Oct. 4, Oct. 8) introducing the litigants, attorneys and judge, describing how the suit can be expected to unfold, and explaining why its outcome might turn out to be important for those other than wrestlers and their fans.
What would Andre the Giant have thought about a new lawsuit just removed to federal court on Friday? Three wrestlers, Scott Levy (better known as Raven), Christopher Klucsarits (known as Chris Kanyon) and Michael Sanders (“Above Average” Mike Sanders), have brought a class-action lawsuit against the Connecticut-based World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. company alleging that they have been misclassified as “independent contractors” instead of employees. They are seeking unspecified “financial benefits” that would have come with being an employee. WWE has denied the claims in a 10-Q filing but has not filed a formal response yet. Of course, Overlawyered has chronicled lawsuits like this before — previous a group of strippers also claimed that they were not independent contractors. (You can read more about the claims and download the lawsuit directly at my site here.)
I’m scheduled to be one of the guests on the popular Washington, D.C. public radio show today, during the 12 to 1 p.m. segment. We’ll be discussing BlackBerry legal issues, in particular, the degree to which employers are at risk of big retroactive wage-hour suits if they issue the communications devices to workers and then require (or even permit) them to use the devices for work purposes outside their normal hours. Our BlackBerry posts from this website can be found here. A while back I dismissed as unlikely, in the Times (U.K.), the notion of suits over BlackBerry “addiction” (truncated version here).
- “I believe it’s frivolous; I believe it’s ridiculous, and I believe it’s asinine”: Little Rock police union votes lopsidedly not to join federal “don/doff” wage-hour lawsuit asking pay for time spent on uniform changes [Arkansas Democrat Gazette courtesy U.S. Chamber]
- Must-read Roger Parloff piece on furor over law professors’ selling of ethics opinions [Fortune; background links @ PoL]
- Too rough on judge-bribing Mississippi lawyers? Like Rep. Conyers at House Judiciary, but maybe not for same reasons, we welcome renewed attention to Paul Minor case [Clarion-Ledger]
- American Airlines backs off its plan to put Logan skycaps on salary-only following loss in tip litigation [Boston Globe; earlier]
- U.K.: Infamous Yorkshire Ripper makes legal bid for freedom, civil liberties lawyer says his human rights have been breached [Independent]
- In long-running campaign to overturn Feres immunity for Army docs, latest claim is that military knowingly withholds needed therapy so as to return soldiers to front faster [New York Rep. Maurice Hinchey on CBS; a different view from Happy Hospitalist via KevinMD]
- Profs. Alan Dershowitz and Robert Blakey hired to back claim that Russian government can invoke U.S. RICO law in its own courts to sue Bank of New York for $22 billion [WSJ law blog, earlier @ PoL]
- Minnesota Supreme Court declines to ban spanking by parents [Star-Tribune, Pioneer Press]
- Following that very odd $112 million award (knocked down from $1 billion) to Louisiana family in Exxon v. Grefer, it’s the oil firm’s turn to offer payouts to local neighbors suffering common ailments [Times-Picayune, UPI]
- AG Jerry Brown “has been suing, or threatening to sue, just about anyone who doesn’t immediately adhere” to his vision of building California cities up rather than out [Dan Walters/syndicated]
- Virginia high school principal ruled entitled to disability for his compulsion to sexually harass women [eight years ago on Overlawyered]