May It Please The Court
Quote of the Day - Computers make it easier to do a lot of things, but most of the things they make it easier to do don't need to be done.
New Sources for Legal NewsThis blawg features legal news with some occasionally snappy commentary on that news. But, if you're looking for a site that has a steady stream of legal news, check this one out: LawyerNews.com.
It's a bevy of legal news, with some weblawgs as well, thrown in for good measure. You can bet I'll be looking at it to get ideas for this blawg.
What Goes Down Must Come UpAnd you thought the National Geographic was all pretty pictures and naked tribespeople (non-sexist remark) in Africa.
It's also known for science news. Like this little tidbit.
I know, you've been sitting at home wondering what happened to all of the carbon dioxide that we've been releasing into the air since the industrial revolution started several hundred years ago. Obviously, you've thought, it can't all have ended up in the atmosphere.
And you'd be right. Half of it has ended up in the ocean, along with other chemicals. Of course. After all, the oceans take up two-thirds of earth. Where else would it end up? Certainly not in Saturn's rings - they found oxygen there. Certainly not.
What does all of this research portend? Plankton will die, and corals will die. So what, you say?
They're at the bottom of the food chain. Contrary to the laws of laws of physics, what goes down, must come up.
Solutions? I don't have any.
"I want a raise." "You're fired."You've at least thought it, if not said it outright to your boss. No, it's not take this job and shove it. It's "I want a raise." or "you're not paying me enough."
Presumably, that's what Jorja Fox and George Eads did when they went to the producers of CSI. I know, I don't normally write entertainment news, but I'm a big CSI fan, and the story is over contract disputes.
According to news reports, they've been fired for asking for more money.
"How could that be?" you ask. After all, you've probably done the same thing. Well, it's Hollywood. Need I say more?
Technically, it likely works something like this. They're in their fifth year of a seven-year contract. They ask for more pay. It's likely those demands were each a breach of contract. Kind of like a counteroffer to an existing contract, which the employer had no obligation to accept. But more likely, there was a provision in the contracts that prevented increased demands. The "greed provision," as more commonly known.
In other words, take your demand and shove it.
Cell Phone Boycott? Wouldn't Work Here.Not happy with cell phone coverage? Tired of high cell phone bills?
Try boycotting. They're doing it in Lebanon, and expect to have some success - costing the government (who runs the service there) $2.8 million in lost revenues.
I think if we tried it here, people would think it was like the gas boycott hoax. Or was it real and people just said it was a hoax?
I'm going to go home and watch The Matrix, and call my friends.
On my cell phone.
Oil Industry, Coastal Commission Battle Over RegsThe Western States Petroleum Association sued the California Coastal Commission over the CCC's attempts to enforce its pollution rules on drilling platforms in federal waters.
That lawsuit just sounds wrong. But, the oil industry may have a good argument. The South Coast Air Quality Management District tried to regulate air quality with its fleet rules, but the Supreme Court shut down that argument (see the last link).
There are big stakes in this dispute - there are about about 4,000 oil and gas platforms in the Gulf of Mexico that other states could try to regulate if California is successful. There are only only about 22 rigs in federal waters here in California. Here's a primer on oil rig pollution.
The USEPA regulates oil platforms in federal waters, and the oil industry claims the Coastal Commission is engaged in a turf war. The Commission claims the oil rigs are dodging legitimate pollution regulations.
My money's on the oil industry on this one.
Is Your Attorney Really an Attorney?An "attorney" in the Bronx Public Defender's Office "practiced" for four years, handling thousands of cases.
The quotes are there for a reason. Turns out the "attorney," Diane Shamis, is not an actual attorney. The bar association found out when one of her clients filed a complaint against her, and she didn't show up on the list of attorneys.
That was their first clue. Apparently, the Bronx Public Defender's Office, who is not returning phone calls asking for comments, failed to check her credentials when they hired her. When the PD found out, she was fired on the spot.
Now, they're calling the thousands of clients to let them know about the mixup. It is unclear whether the cases will be relitigated or overturned.
Shamis faces up to a year in jail. Perhaps, though, it's not that much of a mixup. Her attorney, Marvin Raskin, said she graduated from law school and passed the bar, but did not fill out the proper paperwork to get her credentials. "At this point in time, we are attempting to resolve the issues of admission to the bar as expeditiously as possible given the circumstances of this unfortunate situation," Raskin said.
You can check your attorney's credentials here for California attorneys.
My Learned Friends, Want to be A 1L?We're back to First Year Law School, and torts class. Specifically, the learned intermediary rule.
The rule deals with the sufficiency of warnings. In this instance, it deals with side effects and injuries that result from taking prescription drugs. Drug manufacturers warn doctors, and doctors are in turn obligated to warn consumers. Or so you would think.
One consumer, Robert Larkin, took drugs manufactured by Pfizer. He contracted toxic epidermal necrolysis and Stevens-Johnson syndrome. He sued Pfizer.
Pfizer had warned Larkin's doctor of the possibility of both of these side effects. The company defended the case on the basis of the learned intermediary rule, and claimed that it wasn't their responsibility to warn Larkin, it was the doctor's.
Larkin lost. The Kentucky Supreme Court held for Pfizer, and endorsed the Rule (Subscription needed to view). By a 4-3 vote.
It was a close one, but still a win for the manufacturer. Now, I assume, Larkin will sue the doctor, who likely doesn't have as deep a pocket as Pfizer.
Keyboard Wars - To Split or Not To SplitI have one, and you may too. Microsoft's split keyboard, that is. You may not know, but apparently, Microsoft doesn't own the patent for that keyboard.
Typeright Keyboard Co., Inc. of Carlsbad, California sued Microsoft in 1998 over the alleged violation of its patent. Microsoft won the first round. Typeright appealed, and reversed Microsoft's win. Chalk one up for the little guy. They used some pretty cool graphics to help win their case.
Microsoft, on the other hand, said that there were German designs for a split keyboard that predated Typeright's patent by about 10 years.
The case will now go back to a jury in San Diego to decide. We'll keep watching.