Celebrities

Anna Nicole Smith 3 Anna Nicole Smith photo photograph pic picture Above the Law Above the Law.JPGHere’s an interesting analysis of the underlying merits of the litigation over J. Howard Marshall’s estate. It contains some bome bad news for Anna Nicole Smith’s infant daughter, Dannielynn.
From a Legal Times piece by Professor Horace Cooper (who narrowly missed being a colleague of Kiwi Camara, and probably isn’t unhappy about that):

[T]here is little chance that this child will inherit millions. Why? Because Anna Nicole Smith’s legal claims on J. Howard Marshall’s estate were always tenuous.

And once the courts act, they will likely extinguish the claim altogether. That means Dannielynn is more likely to be saddled with legal bills and other debt from litigation associated with her mother’s estate than she’s likely to inherit any portion of Marshall’s estate.

We’ll spare you Professor Cooper’s detailed examination of the case, which deploys such fancy-pants legal terms as “de novo” and “res judicata.” We’ll just give you his bottom line:

A separate trial in the Bahamas is going forward to determine who Dannielynn’s biological father is. Once that is answered, will the biological father continue his efforts to secure custody after all the legal claims on the Marshall estate are extinguished?

I predict that once those claims are finally exhausted, even King Solomon himself might not have the wisdom to find a father for this baby.

And Judge Larry Seidlin is no King Solomon.
Anna Nicole’s Daughter Is No Million-Dollar Baby [Legal Times]

It seems that LLM students are an endless source of stories — and not just those continually squabbling Harvard LLMs. In advance of our upcoming visit to Columbia Law School, here’s an amusing little anecdote about LLMs at CLS:

John Coffee John C Coffee Above the Law blog.JPGI was amused to learn last semester that Columbia Law Professor John Coffee is a rock-star to LLMs. Last fall Coffee held a review session before his Securities Law final. The review session was your basic, bland review of the material covered. The session ended and the class did the customary applause. I stood up to leave, when I saw a few “LLM gunners” approach Professor Coffee. I assumed they were just going to ask him questions, but then I saw him pull out a pen and began signing their casebooks.

I practically fell to the floor laughing. I know Coffee is a Corporate God, but come on. Do you really get your Con Law book signed by Larry Tribe or your Admin book signed by Tom Merrill? Besides, how could you worship someone that turned to teaching only after he failed in becoming a partner at Cravath?

[Ed. note: That last sentence is merely the speculative opinion of our tipster. Another CLS source tells us, "There are some who claim that, but I don't believe there is any real basis for it."]

Coffee is an extremely colorful professor. You really should do a small piece on him and you’ll get some interesting stories.

If you have anything funny or interesting to share about Professor Coffee, please feel free to email us (subject line: “John Coffee”). Thanks.

Are you an in-house counsel concerned about skyrocketing legal fees? Hire TMZ.com to audit the bills you get from outside counsel.
Yes, TMZ — the celebrity gossip website. As they show in their recent dissection of the legal bills submitted by Debra Opri to Larry Birkhead — one of Anna Nicole Smith’s former lovers, who claims to be the father of her daughter Dannielynn — they’re pretty good at finding dubious charges.
Then again, you don’t need to be a forensic accountant to locate the questionable items in Opri’s gargantuan bill:

bloomin onion Blooming Onion Outback steakhouse Above the Law blog.jpgLarry Birkhead got a Fed Ex on Saturday, and it was not good news. It was a bill for legal services from Debri Opri, the lawyer he fired two weeks ago. The total: $620,492.84.

Opri billed her services out at $475 an hour. Here are some of the charges…

- On February 24, 2007, while Opri and Birkhead stayed at a private residence in Ft. Lauderdale during the Florida hearing, Opri billed $600 for Seafood World. We’re told she brought four trays of lobster to the house. The bill says, “Dinner gift/Ft. Lauderdale house stay.” But it was no gift to Larry. That same day, she billed $211 for items at Publix grocery store.

- Opri billed Birkhead $4,265 for Cingular roaming service while she was in the Bahamas.

- March 8, 2007, Opri billed $161.65 for an Outback Steakhouse dinner. And get this — the bill was for $111.65. Opri left a $50 tip and billed Birkhead, who wasn’t even there!

Tipping $50 on a $100 tab, and passing the charge through to your client? Seems inappropriate.
But that Bloomin’ Onion is pretty delish — despite rumors that it’s what really killed Anna Nicole Smith….
Debra Opri Bills Birkhead King’s Ransom [TMZ.com]

* Screenwriter mistaken for a terrorist saves his ass by pretending to have written an episode of Scrubs. I totally saw that on 24. [LA Weekly]
* [Heart] anything without legal consequence. [WRAL]
* I declare a moratorium on the word “songstress.” [New York Post]
* If you’re a fan of the “long-lost classic” Killer of Sheep, or if, indeed, you have ever heard of such a film, you are in luck. [Info/Law]

* SCOTUS considers whether to open new Gitmo appeals. [New York Times]
* Meanwhile, Secretary of Defense Gates calls for Gitmo closure. [
CNN]
* Spears and Federline have reached a divorce settlement, so no crazy litigation for now. [MSNBC]
* Sorority that allegedly kicked out unattractive members sues University for totally being not cool about it. [AP via Dispatch]
Have a good weekend, and Go Buckeyes!

* A hilarious read if you’ve been there, even if I tell you that the punchline is that this 70-year-old rich lawyer dude with 40-year-old sheets now has a 22-year-old Russian girlfriend. [New York Times]
* I think I heard a colleague at one of my first jobs say he wanted to f*&k me like an animal. It was a good thing I didn’t find any cause of action, because it turns out it was just that Nine Inch Nails song playing in his cubicle. [Workplace Prof Blog]
* You are actually a day older than you think, a fact hopefully irrelevant to ATL readers. [Volokh Conspiracy]
* Groupies are much less trouble. [MSN Music]

* Since charges have been dropped, we can only hope nothing more severe than spray painting occurred. Those poor goats and sheep, always such pervert-magnets. [LoHud.com (The Journal News)]
* I think the Vietnamese president lost a bet to our president. [Jurist]
* This, hopefully, will not offend anyone. [New York Times]
* The upside is that such drama is indispensable to country song-writing, so better her than me. [AP via Yahoo! News]

naomi campbell Above the Law Legal Tabloid.GIFUnless required to do so as part of court-ordered community service. But even when scrubbing toilets, she still looks like a million bucks. From the NYT:

First there was a cry, then a murmur, and finally a swoon. Naomi Campbell, the millionaire fashion model, emerged yesterday from a grimy Department of Sanitation garage in a floor-length evening gown, marking the end of her court-ordered community service.

She waved with her right hand, pulled up the shimmering silver gown with her left, smiled for the cameras and then ducked into her Rolls-Royce limousine, a silver Phantom costing at least $340,000. She did not say a word.

This runway girl was definitely “working it” — with a broom:

From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., she swept, mopped and wiped at the garage, which has garbage and recycling facilities. She received no preferential treatment, [Sanitation Department officiall Albert] Durrell said. Ms. Campbell ate pizza from Grimaldi’s in Brooklyn, like the others in her work crew.

Yes, Mr. Durrell acknowledged, Ms. Campbell did clean toilets. No, he said, she did not have to be taught how to use a mop or broom. Ms. Campbell “was on her hands and knees at some point cleaning the walls and floors on the second floor,” he said.

One of Campbell’s community service colleagues described her as “wonderful” and “a pleasure to work with.” Who says rehabilitation is dead?
After 5 Days of Mopping and Scrubbing, What Else Would a Model Wear? [New York Times]
Nice and clean [New York Daily News]
The pleasure’s all mine, Naomi [New York Daily News]

Eminem Marshall Mathers Above the Law blog.jpgPeople in certain lines of work — e.g., litigation, rapping, blogging — develop pretty thick skins. If you get attacked, insulted, and criticized on a daily basis, you stop noticing it pretty quickly.
So why is Eminem so sensitive?
(He claims he’s going to court to protect his 11-year-old daughter, Hailie, from being exposed to negative comments about her father. But we suspect she has plenty of other issues.)
Eminem goes to court to shut Kim up [Detroit News via Drudge Report]

* May we recommend that the IRS get a myspace page? [TaxProf Blog]
* Quirkiness belies dysfunction: Woody Harrelson’s father, convicted of murdering a federal judge, dies in prison. [AP via MSN]
* You may think people who buy hardbacks on an Oprah endorsement deserve their fate as victims of the great James Frey Swindle, but I have a heart. Losers, get your money back! [Gawker]
* I’m the kind of person who hates being hugged by non-friends without my permission, but this does seem a little inappropriate. [New York Daily News]
* News flash! No one remembers anything from the bar anyway. [PrawfsBlawg; Conglomerate]

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