Benchslaps

In honor of the Simpsons marathon, let’s introduce each of these with a Simpsons quote.

* Dr. Hibbert: And hillbillies want to be called “Sons of the Soil,” but it ain’t gonna happen. — BofA wants that $1.3 billion verdict tossed as “unreasonable.” [Law360]

* Superintendent Chalmers: Oh, I have had it, I have had it with this school, Skinner! The low test scores, class after class of ugly, ugly children! — Suffolk University fired its president just days before school began. I’d like to think it was over their subway ads. In any event, the interim president seems to get the problem: “‘I don’t think there’s growth there,’ he said, referring to [law school] enrollment.” [Boston Globe]

* Homer: Barney’s movie had heart, but “Football in the Groin” had a football in the groin — College football kicked off last night (or Wednesday if we cared about Georgia State), so check in with the lawyer for the USC player who pretended he injured himself saving his nephew’s life. [Deadspin]

* Lionel Hutz: There’s the truth and… the truth! — Bracewell & Giuliani partner, Glenn A. Ballard Jr., got benchslapped in Texas for “an affront to this court, to the other parties and to judicial integrity.” Everything’s bigger in Texas. [Houston Chronicle]

* Chief Wiggum: You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say blah blah blah blah blah blah. — After Philip Seymour Hoffman’s overdose, the police actually arrested a jazz musician. He got no jail time after he hired a new lawyer, Alex Spiro, who went after the cops for taking advantage of his client. [NY Daily News]

* Jimbo: You let me down, man. Now I don’t believe in nothing no more. I’m going to law school. — Professor Campos wonders if American University law school will sue students who drop out or transfer? [Lawyers, Guns & Money]

Yesterday, a California appellate court overturned the lower court’s dismissal of a malicious prosecution claim against Biglaw mainstay Latham & Watkins. According to the opinion, the lower court was wrong on the statute of limitations, but the opinion also went out of its way to express just how likely the plaintiffs were to prevail on the merits of their claim that Latham doggedly pursued them on a “non-viable” legal theory.

Latham still has an opportunity to defend itself, but the language of this opinion is certainly not encouraging.

The plaintiff already recovered over $1.6 million in fees from Latham’s client, let’s see how they do against the firm…

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Court reporters put up with a lot. Not only are they largely condescended to by the often middling attorneys they deal with every day, but they have to listen intently to everything lawyers say all the time. And when they’ve managed to turn around two days worth of testimony into a transcript by mid-morning the next day, they get a courteous nod and a “what took you so long?”

The job really is its own circle of hell. The sort of thing that might make somebody type “I hate my job” over and over and over again instead of keeping up with the proceedings.

But not every court reporter is a martyr deserving of veneration. If, for example, a court reporting service just didn’t prepare transcripts in criminal cases for months on end, they may earn themselves a hearty benchslapping…

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Judge Richard Posner isn’t amused.

As we mentioned in Morning Docket and on Twitter, yesterday’s Seventh Circuit arguments weren’t fun for the defenders of Wisconsin and Indiana’s same-sex marriage bans. The three judges, especially Judge Richard Posner, were tough — very tough.

Chris Geidner of BuzzFeed, a leading chronicler of marriage-equality litigation, described the proceedings as “the most lopsided arguments over marriage bans at a federal appeals court this year.” Ian Millhiser of ThinkProgress called it “a bloodbath.”

That’s no exaggeration. Let’s check out the specifics….

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Burger King bounty for Biglaw.

* Judge Posner dished out a whole lot of benchslaps at yesterday’s Seventh Circuit arguments over Indiana and Wisconsin’s bans on same-sex marriage. [BuzzFeed]

* Major U.S. and Canadian law firms chow down on Burger King’s whopper of a deal with Tim Hortons. [Am Law Daily]

* A recent Delaware court ruling on attorney-client privilege might allow in-house lawyers to speak more freely about wrongdoing at their companies, according to Professor Steven Davidoff Solomon. [DealBook / New York Times]

* The corruption trial of former Virginia governor continues; yesterday Bob McDonnell’s sister took the stand. [Washington Post]

* A favorable evidentiary ruling for Aaron Hernandez. [Fox Sports]

* And good news for Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu, the two law professors running for governor and lieutenant governor of New York: the Times dissed their opponent, Andrew Cuomo, with a non-endorsement. [New York Times]

* I recently spoke with one of my cousins Joao Atienza of the Cebu Sun Star, about Above the Law and the world of legal blogging. [Cebu Sun Star]

Could this investigation spell doom for Beau Brindley’s legal career?

“At the Law Offices of Beau B. Brindley, it is our policy to respond to all criminal charges with a relentless attack on the government. We aggressively pursue every case as if we were the accused.”

Those words, from the website of prominent Chicago defense lawyer Beau Brindley, have proved prescient. Now Brindley might get to feel exactly what it’s like to be in the shoes of the accused.

As we mentioned yesterday, Brindley finds himself the subject of a federal criminal probe. What are the allegations against him?

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* Donald Trump is suing to get his name removed from the Trump Plaza and Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City because his reputation is tarnished by tacky façades dedicated to giving off the mere illusion of success. [Bloomberg Businessweek]

* Beset by corruption allegations, Governor Cuomo is using funds out of his campaign war chest to fund his defense rather than squandering taxpayer dollars. Ball’s in your court neighboring state governor. [North County Public Radio]

* Beau Brindley, a benchslap legend, is now the subject of his very own federal criminal probe after allegedly encouraging a client to lie under oath. A tipster told us last year “this won’t be the last you hear of [Brindley].” How prophetic. [Chicago Sun-Times]

* The woman given a forced blow job simulation for the glory of a 7-inch Burger King burger is speaking out. [Copyranter]

* The Women’s World Cup is scheduled for next year in Canada, but a number of high-profile players are threatening — with the help of Boies, Schiller & Flexner and Canadian firm Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt — to sue FIFA for discrimination over its plan to subject the women’s tournament to artificial turf. Are you suggesting FIFA is a disastrously flawed organization? Get out. [Fox Sports]

* Guess what? Your insurance company isn’t made up of the worst people on the planet. Unless you use this insurance company. Because then, maybe it is. [Gawker]

* A Harvard Law grad wanted to install an intercom so he invented a system known as “Nucleus” that does the job for less than $200. [Technical.ly Philly]

* If you’re interested in the fun and exciting world of startups, head on out to Legal Tech SF’s Startup Weekend. It’s August 15-17 at Airbnb headquarters. I assume after August 17 the location reverts to the headquarters of some other company. [Legal Tech SF]

Litigators get away with a lot of obnoxious stuff during discovery. For better or worse, the pre-trial discovery phase of civil litigation is every lawyer’s opportunity to relive those times when parents leave kids alone for the first time: every slight, disagreement, and jealousy on a slow boil explodes into anarchic back-biting once there’s no authority figure around to enforce civility. Bring on the mean-spirited letters and smack-talking RFAs.

When it comes to depositions, it doesn’t always reach “fatboy” levels, but a federal deposition isn’t a deposition until someone threatens to call the magistrate — though never does.

Which is why this benchslap, where a federal judge levies a sanction straight out of elementary school, is so appropriate….

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Rarely are the stakes of a benchslap elevated to the level of life and death.

And yet, a federal judge made just such a life and death call recently in swatting down an annoying lawyer wasting the court’s time with a litany of discovery disputes.

Thankfully, despite the stakes it’s a pretty funny benchslap….

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