2nd Circuit

Isn’t Jewel v. Boxer a great case name? Doesn’t it sound like one of the classics of the 1L curriculum, right up there with Pierson v. Post, Hawkins v. McGee, and International Shoe?

It is definitely a case that lawyers ought to know. This appellate decision, handed down by a California court in 1984, remains the leading case on how to divvy up attorneys’ fees generated by cases that were still in progress at the time of a law firm’s dissolution. Dewey care about this case? Absolutely.

But Jewel might not maintain its status as the key precedent on so-called “unfinished business,” at least if one judge has anything to say about it. Check out an interesting ruling that just came down from the Southern District of New York, arising out of one of the biggest Biglaw bankruptcies of recent years….

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What happens when a child star’s fame fizzles out? Like many one-hit wonders, they’ll try to keep their careers afloat by starring in new roles, but sometimes the spark is just gone. While some try to remain relevant by serving as crime commentators on truTV, others just try to keep their names out of crime blotters. Still others have been trying their hands at the other side of the law.

For example, you’ve surely heard that Jeff Cohen, otherwise known as Chunk from The Goonies, is now a truffle-shuffling lawyer. Josh Saviano, aka Paul Pfeiffer from The Wonder Years, is now a lawyer too (sans the geeky glasses).

Yet another notable child star has moved past the practice of law to enter the classroom, but the law school where he teaches is a long way from the Paradise City….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “From Child Star to Law Star: Meet Professor Charles Korsmo”

* “I’ve been a restaurant waitress, a hotel hostess, a car parker, a nurse’s aide, a maid in a motel, a bookkeeper and a researcher.” This SCOTUS wife was well-prepared to give a graduation speech at New England Law. [Huffington Post]

* Sniffling over lost profits is the best way to get a court to take your side. Biglaw firms have asked the Second Circuit to consider reversing a decision in the Coudert Brothers “unfinished business” clawback case. [Legal Intelligencer]

* James Holmes, the alleged Aurora movie theater gunman, is being evicted from his apartment. Guess he didn’t know — or care — that booby-trapping the place with bombs would be against the terms of his lease. [Denver Post]

* The ABA has created a task force to study the future of legal education, and its work is expected to completed in 2014. ::rolleyes:: Oh, good thing they’re not in any kind of a hurry — there’s no need to rush. [ABA Journal]

* Indiana Tech, the little law school that nobody wants could, has hired its first faculty members. Thus far, the school has poached law professors from from West Virginia, Florida A&M, and Northern Illinois. [JD Journal]

* When divorces get weird: is this lawyer’s soon-to-be ex-wife hacking into his law firm email account and planning to publish privileged communications online? Yep, this is in Texas. [Unfair Park / Dallas Observer]

* Breast-feeding porn: yup, that’s a thing, so start Googling. A New Jersey mother is suing an Iowa production company after an instructional video she appeared in was spliced to create pornography. [Boston Globe]

* If someone from your school newspaper asks you for a quote about oral sex, and then you’re quoted in the subsequent article, you’re probably not going to win your invasion of privacy lawsuit. [National Law Journal]

Back in 2010, we presented our readers with one of life’s great unanswered questions: is cheerleading a sport?

This important question was asked of Judge Stefan R. Underhill of Connecticut, when the women’s volleyball team of Quinnipiac University sued in an effort to stop the school from dissolving the team, alleging Title IX violations. Quinnipiac claimed that it made up the loss of the volleyball team with opportunities in other sports, including more than two dozen positions on the school’s cheerleading team.

But much to the chagrin of cheer moms everywhere (yes, that’s a thing, and soon there will even be a reality TV show about them), Judge Underhill ruled that cheerleading is an activity, and not a sport.

But did you think that cheerleaders — and their university funders — would just give up the fight? Think again, because they pledged to fight, fight, fight with all their might, all the way up to the Second Circuit.

What news does the Second Circuit have for us on this issue today?

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Judge Paul Watford

Congratulations to the newest member of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the Honorable Paul J. Watford. On Monday, Watford, currently a 44-year-old partner at the super-elite Munger Tolles & Olson, was confirmed to the federal bench. The vote was 61-34, and it came after a bit of drama in the Senate.

It’s surprising that Watford’s nomination was so contentious, given that he has a number of backers from the right side of the aisle. As noted by the San Francisco Chronicle, “[h]is supporters included conservative UCLA law Professor Eugene Volokh, who has described Watford as brilliant and ideologically moderate, and attorney Jeremy Rosen, former president of the Los Angeles chapter of the conservative Federalist Society” (and a noted appellate lawyer, who has appeared before in these pages).

That’s not all. Watford clerked for Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, one of a handful of prominent conservative or libertarian judges on the (generally liberal) Ninth Circuit. If you look at the ranks of former Kozinski clerks, you’ll see many members in good standing of the vast right-wing conspiracy (and some who are not, like Paul Watford — who went on to clerk for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and was nominated to the Ninth Circuit by a Democratic president).

Now that the handsome Watford has joined his superhottie boss on the bench, we have a trivia question: Who is the circuit judge with the most former law clerks to join him on the Court of Appeals during his lifetime?

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This is a case with shocking facts.

Few things fill a junior associate with more dread than a partner beginning a sentence with the following words: “There must be a case that holds….” Much of the time, there is no such case (especially when the issue concerns some annoying e-discovery dispute that no judge would ever want to write about).

But if a partner says to you, “There must be a case addressing whether an insurance company is liable for accidental death benefits when the decedent accidentally kills himself while engaged in masturbation that involves intentional self-electrocution” — well, now there’s a case that’s on all fours. With an electric cattle prod.

Keep reading, to learn about an ERISA opinion that is very… stimulating….

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(Or: The most interesting ERISA opinion ever.)

To be fair, this little brat could use some discipline.

Kids say the darndest things. More specifically, a lot of things children say don’t make any sense. That is why you smile and nod as your 5-year-old nephew rambles about the Lion King or Transformers or whatever toy is popular now.

Same goes for children’s drawings. That’s why teachers always say, “Great job Billy. That’s a really nice tree,” even though children are all terrible artists. Maddox might be the only person ever to be honest about children’s art.

But that’s okay. Because why in hell would a kindergartner be a great painter or a master orator? They have no idea what is happening in the world. And that’s why it was completely absurd when a 10-year-old was suspended from school for six days because he unsuccessfully tried to be funny and drew kind of a violent picture in class.

Yesterday, the Second Circuit upheld the dismissal of the lawsuit filed by the boy’s parents five years ago, but the dissenting judge’s opinion showed at least someone behind the bench still understands what it means to be a kid…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “This Ten Year Old Told a Bad Joke, But Was It Bad Enough To Earn Him a Six-Day Suspension?”

Judge Jed Rakoff

It is commonplace for settlements to include no binding admission of liability. A settlement is by definition a compromise. We know of no precedent that supports the proposition that a settlement will not be found to be fair, adequate, reasonable, or in the public interest unless liability has been conceded or proved and is embodied in the judgment. We doubt whether it lies within a court’s proper discretion to reject a settlement on the basis that liability has not been conclusively determined.

Having considered the various explanations given by the district court for its refusal to permit the settlement, we conclude that the S.E.C. and Citigroup have a strong likelihood of success in their joint effort to overturn the district court’s ruling.

– A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in a per curiam opinion granting a stay pending appeal in the SEC’s case against Citigroup.

(A quick refresher on this case, after the jump.)

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Benchslap of the Day: Second Circuit Rebukes Rakoff”

Cocaine is a hell of a drug.

Ed. note: Due to the Presidents’ Day holiday, we will be on a reduced publication schedule today. We will still be publishing, but less frequently than usual.

* “Based on history, it’s tough to make the case that there should be mandatory protection [for Supreme Court justices].” That may be so, but the fact that Justice Stephen Breyer was robbed by machete point should at least make the case for SCOTUS sword fighting lessons. [New York Times]

* Speaking of the wealthy and well-traveled Justice Breyer, a suspect has been identified in his robbery. [Associated Press]

* And speaking of the Supreme Court, this week the justices will hear arguments over the constitutionality of the Stolen Valor Act, which criminalizes lies about military service. Unfortunately, this means you will all have to wait to hear about the time Lat and I fought through 25 Taliban sharpshooters with only our pocket knives in order to save an entire orphanage from certain annihilation. [Fox News]

* Two female students at the University of Oregon School of Law accused a male student of drugging and raping them. How did the student body respond? A listserv flame war, of course. [Portland Oregonian]

* Attorneys representing survivors in the Costa Concordia crash claim that traces of cocaine were found in the hair of the ship’s captain. I’m not sure how, but this needs to be the basis for a Head and Shoulders commercial. [Philadelphia Inquirer]

* Heads are rolling over at ESPN after the network made several unfortunate references to a “chink in the armor” of New York Knicks phenom Jeremy Lin. Yes, we get it. Everyone’s a little bit racist. [ESPN via Deadspin]

* Judge Roger J. Miner (2d Cir.), RIP. [New York Law Journal]

Alison Fournier

* In trying to resolve the Texas redistricting problem, the Supreme Court has come to a realization: everything really is bigger in that state, including its congressional delegation. [Los Angeles Times]

* The Center for Constitutional Rights is suing to get video of the would-be 20th hijacker’s interrogations made public. Too bad no one really cares about this stuff unless it’s in a movie. [Washington Post]

* The Second Circuit has overturned former Mayer Brown partner Joseph P. Collins’s Refco conviction. He’s getting a new trial, and maybe this time around, the jurors will be less shady. [New York Law Journal]

* Talk about a crappy ROI. Alison Fournier, a former i-banker, is Gloria Allred’s latest litigant. She claims that a drunken pervert groped her abroad thanks to Starwood’s lax hotel security. [Reuters]

* A judge has ordered that the leader of EquuSearch’s jurisprudential hymen be ruptured at deposition by Casey Anthony’s defense team for no more than seven hours. Ouch. [Boston Globe]

* Why are CUNY Law’s bar passage rates so low? Apparently New York’s second-worst law school has standards that are similar to the town bicycle’s morals and orifices — loose. [New York Post]

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