September 2006

* Bill Childs disses AEI’s parties. He just doesn’t appreciate a good formal gala. [TortsProf Blog]
* FAA regulations: comply with weirded-out flight attendant at all times, no matter how irrational she is. [Prettier Than Napoleon]
* Apple claims right to word “podcast”; next: all soundwaves between 4500 and 6000 MHz. [Overlawyered]
* Blogs can be used against you in court. Duh. [Boston Globe via Elefant]
* Soon to be issued to all incoming associates. [The Billable Hour]
* The first judicial citation to CuteOverload.com. [Volokh]
* Two new books attack string theory; class action lawsuit against Stephen Hawking’s “Brief History of Time” inevitable. [New Yorker]
* “I keep forgetting how women are disadvantaged by having to write a research agenda, but I am sure they have to be. Somehow. Always disadvantaged.” [Kate Litvak comment on PrawfsBlawg]
* Dom Deluise is not only still alive, but can legally sue his litigious ex-daughter-in-law’s lawyer. [Overlawyered]
* Weird Al Yankovic also alive, has aspirations of Jeremy Blachman-dom. [Overlawyered]
* Some might call it clever marketing of E. coli lawsuits, but I say it’s spinach and I say to hell with it. [Wall Street Journal]
* It’s not too late to download my law review article, and move me higher on the dowload rankings. [SSRN]
* Protest demands recognition of zombie legal rights: “What do we want?” “BRAINS!” “When do we want it?” “BRAINS!” [Boing Boing]
* Upcoming deadline #1: The statute of limitations for suing Merck over Vioxx expires for many many putative plaintiffs today. Court clerks will be busy as attorneys forum shop. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Upcoming deadline #2: The Days of Awe end Sunday, and Yom Kippur starts Sunday night. Stephen Colbert offers a toll-free number, 1-888-OOPS-JEW, if you wish to atone to him. The recorded disclaimer alone (and Colbert’s addendum afterwards) makes it worth it, but you get what you pay for. [News From Me]
* It has nothing to do with the law, but how can we avoid mentioning this important press release on Kazakh-Uzbek relations? [Borat.tv]

Peter Lattman reports that Croesus-wealthy litigatrix Susan Loggans has put her Pacific Palisades mansion on sale for a pricy $26.9 million, three times what she paid for it.

Situated on two lots measuring approx. 2.5 usable acres this totally private and gated tennis court and equestrian estate is a paradise of its own. The home measures approx. 10,000 sq. ft. with 7 Bedrooms & 7 Bathrooms, extraordinary kitchen and a spectacular great room. The master has 2 large baths and walk-in closets with incredible views of the grounds which include enormous lawns, tennis court and pool. Across a bridge over its own year-round stream one will find a full orchard with plums.

The increased sales price reflects, in part, the additional 3,000 square feet of outdoor marble terraces added by the Loggans family.
Loggans is famous for litigation, but more often as a party than as an attorney. She sued the previous owner of her California home, an Austrian-American movie star named Arnold Schwarzenegger, calling the property a “nightmare.” One looks forward to the transfer disclosure statement Loggans will provide the lucky buyer. The Loggans-Schwarzenegger result is confidential, but Loggans had no luck in a lawsuit over a different real estate transaction; Chad Rogers (who works for Paris Hilton’s father) won $746,098.85 from Loggans over an allegedly unpaid commission and associated attorneys’ fees for an earlier sale of a Malibu beachfront home.
14209 Evans Road property listing [Realtor.com]
14209 Evans Road [Google Map]
Pumping Up Arnold’s House [Wall Street Journal ($)]
Arbitration demand: Loggans v. Schwarzenegger [The Smoking Gun]
“‘Schwarzenegger sold us a mouldy home for $8m’” [Telegraph (UK)]
“Paris Hilton’s Daddy Scores Big in the Los Angeles Superior Court” [press release]
Pricey Real Estate & the Law[WSJ Law Blog]
Susan Loggans web site

* Senate approves broad new rules to try detainees. [New York Times; Bashman linkwrap]
* Senate House grandstands over Hewlett-Packard as most witnesses take Fifth; libertarians celebrate that time wasted is time not spent passing new appropriations. [New York Times; WaPo]
* Verizon Wireless piles on against H-P. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Observers suggest Supreme Court cases over abortion might be contentious. You think? [Legal Times]
* Dozen Iraqi journalists arrested under new law against criticism of government. See? They’re already following in our footsteps up to the Alien and Sedition Acts! [New York Times]
* Belgium rules sifting of bank data illegal. [WaPo]
* California court hearing testimony over how many angels can dance on the pinhead of an anesthesized Death Row inmate. [Bashman linkwrap]
* Louisiana appellate court strikes down med-mal damages cap for failure to index to inflation, providing another excuse for doctors not to return to post-Katrina New Orleans. [Point of Law]
* New York Times writes thumbsucker on the Pirro marriage. [New York Times]

Justice Douglas played poker with FDR, as Justice Scalia noted in his refusal to recuse himself over his duck-hunting trips with Vice President Cheney. Scalia himself has a famous poker game that once included regular attendees Justice Rehnquist and William Bennett. Judge Kozinski often hosts poker nights for law students when he’s on the road. Blogging law professors Stephen Bainbridge, Victor Fleischer, and Josh Wright have admitted to the poker jones. Northwestern professor Steven Lubet tried to cash in on the Father’s Day market with his book Lawyers’ Poker: 52 Lessons that Lawyers Can Learn from Card Players, which is getting recent publicity. And I’m reliably informed that once upon a time before they got cold feet, the DC office of O’Melveny & Myers had a summer-associate program where a bus was chartered to Atlantic City, and attorneys played intense hold ‘em games on the ride using $100-bills as chips.
Other poker-playing attorneys are more noted for their poker-playing. Greg Raymer had a day-job as a patent attorney at Pfizer when he took down the $5,000,000 first place prize at the World Series of Poker main event tournament in 2004; as Evan Schaeffer noted, years earlier, Raymer suggested that attorneys made better poker players.
Another poker-playing attorney is Russell Rosenblum, a former Kirkland & Ellis summer associate. Rosenblum has his own real estate practice in Maryland, owns a handful of Five Guys burger franchises, has enough incriminating photos of Washingtonian magazine editors to get five separate mentions in the magazine (including two profiles) in the last five years, and has a couple of six-digit prizes for final-table finishes in big poker tournaments, including the 2002 World Series of Poker main event.
Know other notable poker-playing law-talking people? And are Republicans really better players than Democrats? Play along in the comments.

Good morning. David Lat is in Bumrungrad International Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand for the weekend for what has been euphemistically called “elective surgery.” Rest assured, D-Lat will return Monday, safe, sound, and happy to blog, if having to sit on a comfy pillow to do so, and we should all be supportive of the very difficult decisions involved.
In the interim, Lat has asked me to fill in a few posts this Friday, and I’ll start by introducing myself. My name is Ted Frank. Some fifteen years ago, I correctly identified the sequence at which Victoria, William, Xavier, Yolanda, and Zachary were seated at a circular table, filled in all corresponding ovals correctly, and was rewarded with a wheelbarrow of money to attend law school in a variety of bad neighborhoods in Connecticut and Massachusetts and Illinois. Because law interested me as a public-policy mechanism, I picked up a copy of The Economics of Justice while I was in a Chicago bookstore visiting that school, and smitten enough to decide to go there on what they called a “Public Service Scholarship.” A year of clerking and a dozen years of BigLaw taught me that litigation incentives actually create miserable public-policy results, and I’ve been writing about this problem on Walter Olson’s Overlawyered blog since 2003 and the Point of Law blog since 2004. In 2005, the American Enterprise Institute invited me to run their Liability Project directing research on the tort system and its effects; it’s a pay-cut, but the issue is important to me, and then there’s the whole Jewish guilt thing over not yet having done the public service I had hypothetically been awarded a scholarship for. And all of this has culminated in today’s guest-blogging opportunity on Above the Law, surely the highlight of my career, and worth a tenth of a point if Lat ever scores my wedding. More after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Guest-blogger checking in”

diarmuid o'scannlain diarmuid f o'scannlain.jpgATL sends its warmest congratulations to Judge Diarmuid F. O’Scannlain,* of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit! This month, Judge O’Scannlain celebrates twenty years on the federal bench. During two decades of distiinguished service, Judge O’Scannlain has established himself as a shining star in the federal judicial firmament.**
We had the honor and pleasure of clerking for Judge O’Scannlain during the 1999-2000 judicial year. He was a wonderful boss to us and our co-clerks, and he continues to be a great mentor and friend to this day. (He’s also quite handsome, in a Paul Newman sort of way; see photo at right.)
This weekend, Judge O’Scannlain is celebrating his federal judicial “anniversary” with a reunion of his law clerks. In a few hours, we’ll be leaving for the airport to catch a flight to Portland, Oregon.
We’ll be spending much of today in an airplane. But fear not, ATL readers: we have arranged for a brilliant and hilarious guest blogger to entertain you in our absence. We’ll be back over the weekend or on Monday.
Happy Friday!
* Not that you’d be calling him by his first name (unless you’re a fellow Article III judge), but in case you’re curious, “Diarmuid” is pronounced DEER-mid. See here. “O’Scannlain” is pronounced o-SCAN-lin.
** Also celebrating his 20th judicial anniversary this month: Justice Antonin Scalia, a good friend of Judge O’Scannlain (and regular recipient of O’Scannlain clerks in his chambers). Justice Scalia received his commission as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court on September 25, 1986; Judge O’Scannlain received his Ninth Circuit commission the following day.

David lat David B Lat Dave Lat shirtless pic photo photograph Above the Law.jpg* We were taught growing up that when someone pays you a compliment, the appropriate response is gratitude. So thank you, QuizLaw!
Unlike those grumpy feminists — e.g., Jessica Valenti, adversary of Ann Althouse — we soak up compliments graciously. And we enjoy being objectified. Toward that end, here’s a shirtless photo of us. [QuizLaw]
* Call us un-American and terrible human beings, but we really don’t like dogs — not even to eat. So we support the idea of subjecting them to criminal punishment. [PrawfsBlawg]
* Oh, and we don’t like cats, either. [ABC 7 News]
* Chicago-Kent law students: When Professor William Birdthistle isn’t teaching you the finer points of securities regulation, he’s getting drunk off his ass enjoying — or at least writing about — the world’s most expensive cocktails.** [Forbes]
* This video is really more weird (borderline creepy) than it is funny. But the production values are excellent — especially for a law student council campaign video. [Concurring Opinions]
* Howard K. Stern, lawyer-cum-paramour of Anna Nicole Smith, may actually be a pretty shrewd attorney. He certainly knows his Bahamian family law. [PerezHilton]
* SCOTUS spouse we’d most like to grab drinks with: Martin Ginsburg. Close second: Martha Alito.*** [TaxProf Blog (2nd paragraph)]
* Apparently we’re not the only ones who are intrigued by Brian Leiter. [PrawfsBlawg]
** Please don’t misinterpret our good-natured ribbing of Professor Birdthistle, a former co-clerk and one of our closest friends.
*** We’re serious about this. Sources tell us that the nation got a very erroneous picture of Martha Alito from her husband’s confirmation hearings, when she fled the hearing room in tears. Apparently she’s a blast to hang out with and has a great sense of humor.

1. They’re both having A REALLY CRAPPY Thursday.
2. They both like to SPY ON OTHER PEOPLE (e.g., fellow board members, husbands).
3. OMG: They have THE EXACT SAME HAIRSTYLE!!!
patricia dunn pattie dunn pat dunn jeanine pirro.JPG
(Gavel bang: David Minkin)
Hearings Open on H.P.’s Spying: Patricia Dunn Testifies [New York Times]
Pirro Hits Trail After Inquiry Emerges [New York Times]
Jeanine Pirro: Probe Me? Probe You! [Gawker]
Only in New York: Jeanine Pirro, Non-Discreet Stalker [Jossip]

hp logo revised.gifWe are guilty of dereliction of duty. We’ve neglected to write about the Hewlett-Packard leak investigation scandal, now unfolding in all of its glory before Congress. (Yes, that Congress: a body that knows all about unethical behavior, illegal conduct, and mind-blowing stupidity.)
We’ve been avoiding this scandal for two main reasons. First, it’s a story that Peter Lattman and the WSJ Law Blog have really owned from the get-go. In fact, today Lattman is hanging out in Washington — our usual base of operations — to cover the House committee hearings on Capitol Hill. (Guess we’ve traded places; we’re up here in New York, a few blocks away from Lattman’s office.)
Second, L’Affaire HP has been such a total s**t show — from the very start, but somehow managing to get worse each day — that blogging about it presents no challenge. There’s very little opportunity for us to add value. Reading wire reports about the scandal is already pretty mortifying (and entertaining). Do you really need a side order of obnoxious commentary when the entree itself is so rich?
But HP is the big news story of the day. It’s one that our big brother is covering extensively. And we’ve received a bunch of emails asking for our thoughts on it. So fine, we will write about the HP spying scandal.
Actually, guess what? We just did. Fancy that!
DealBreaker’s HP coverage
WSJ Law Blog’s HP coverage
House Pursues Inquiry as H.P. Counsel Quits [New York Times]

jessie liu jessie k liu kathryn haun kathryn r haun.JPGLast week we wrote about the A-team of legal talent that Assistant Attorney General Kenneth L. Wainstein is assembling over at the Justice Department’s new National Security Division. Wainstein’s top hires include several members of the Elect, including high-flying legal eagles Brett Gerry (Silberman/Kennedy) and John Demers (O’Scannlain/Scalia).
A press release issued this morning announces Kenneth Wainstein’s other front office hires. And they include two brilliant and beautiful women (whom we have had the pleasure of meeting): Kathryn Haun (left), counsel to the AAG, and Jessie Liu (right), deputy chief of staff.
Those who followed UTR’s Superhotties of the Federal Judiciary contest — which, by the way, we will be reinstituting here at ATL — may recall Haun. She’s the blonde hottie who was photographed wrapping her arms around her former boss, Ninth Circuit judge Alex Kozinski (click here, scroll down). Back then we compared Haun to Naomi Watts; but upon further reflection, we’re thinking Cybill Shepherd.
Don’t let Haun’s dazzling beauty — a beauty that has ensnared multiple male members of the Elect — distract you from her accomplishments. Haun is one of the Elect herself, having clerked for Justice Anthony M. Kennedy. She was also an associate at Sidley & Austin, and most recently was an assistant U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia (a post she is being detailed from to come to the NSD).
Liu, who will be Ken Wainstein’s deputy chief of staff, is similarly high-powered. Her gleaming resume includes Harvard College, Yale Law School, a clerkship with Chief Judge Carolyn Dineen King (5th Cir.), and a stint at Jenner & Block. Most recently, Liu was an assistant U.S. attorney in the District of Columbia, where she acquired a wealth of trial experience.
The luminous Liu and her disturbingly brilliant husband, law professor Michael Abramowicz — see NYT wedding announcement here — have two children. Great job, great husband, great kids. Who says you can’t have it all?*
Congratulations to Katie Haun, Jessie Liu, and Ken Wainstein’s entire team at the NSD!
* But please don’t hate Liu for her charmed life; she’s also one of the nicest and most wonderful human beings you’ll ever meet.
Kenneth L. Wainstein Sworn in As First Assistant Attorney General for National Security Division [DOJ press release]
Earlier: Congratulations to Ken Wainstein!

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