There are a couple of interesting employment discrimination suits floating around the blogosphere today. One is continuing on behalf of a dead, obese woman. The other involves leaky breasts. Sound like fun?
The claim that is being pursued by the estate of a dead woman is slightly more newsworthy because the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is taking the position that a worker for a non-profit was fired because she had a disability. According to the EEOC — in my head, the EEOC sounds like Jame Gumb (a.k.a. Buffalo Bill) — Lisa Harrison was fired for being a great big fat girl.
Harrison died after filing the suit, but it is being carried on by her estate.
We’ve talked before about how fat people are on the fast track to protected class status. Protected class status is one thing, but are we sure we want to call fat people disabled?
Hippocrate “Cheecho” Mertsaris: Does he have a weakness for judicial buttocks?
In a few weeks, an interesting trial will be getting underway in Queens Criminal Court here in New York. The underlying incident should provide fodder for either a Lawyer of the Day or a Judge of the Day — but it’s not clear which.
The episode giving rise to the criminal charges was reported back in May by the New York Daily News:
A disabled lawyer accused of touching the rear end of a Taxi and Limousine Commission judge is blaming it on his cerebral palsy. Queens prosecutors have charged Hippocrate Mertsaris, 35, with sexual abuse and sexual harassment for allegedly grabbing the woman’s inner thigh and buttocks during a meeting in her Kew Gardens offices.
Mertsaris’ lawyer, Wyatt Gibbons, admits his client touched the woman but denies it was sexual. “He whacked her in the butt but it wasn’t sexual abuse,” Gibbons said. “He has spastic movements.”
Apologies for the tardiness — this news is from last month. But it’s about the bar exam, which is still fresh in the minds of many, so it’s fair game.
Some of you who took the New York bar exam last week complained of a loud, distracting, feedback-type noise in one of the rooms at the Javits Center. There were also reports of cell phones going off during the test.
Wouldn’t you have liked a room of your own, quiet and distraction-free? Or maybe an extra day to take the bar exam? From the West Virginia Record:
West Virginia’s Board of Law Examiners printed its examination in big type for Shannon Kelly last year, gave him a room to himself and allowed him an extra day to complete the test, and he blames them for his failure.
Kelly sued the examiners July 21 in U. S. District Court at Charleston, demanding four days to finish an exam that most law school graduates finish in two days.
“He has severe deficits in processing speed, cognitive fluency and rapid naming,” wrote his attorney, Edward McDevitt of Bowles Rice McDavid Graff and Love in Charleston….
Kelly received a score of 253 last year, 17 points fewer than he needed to pass the exam. He had asked for four days to take the exam, but the board had granted three.
We don’t mean to sound callous or, even worse, politically incorrect. But if one has “severe deficits in processing speed, cognitive fluency and rapid naming,” one should perhaps explore professions other than law. Some people just aren’t cut out for it. E.g., Paulina Bandy (who failed the California bar exam thirteen times, before passing on try #14).
Meanwhile, in other complaints about bar exam administration:
Thought you might be interested. Prefer to be anonymous lest it sound like I’m whining.
One of the rooms of CA Bar test takers received five additional minutes as a consequence of the earthquake. This was the room with the metal grate and bakery. [Ed. note: Bakery???] Older male Caucasian announcer.
Ballroom A/B/C, with an older, white-haired, female Caucasian announcer, got no extra time.
When traveling abroad for the first time, it seems every American is struck by the brilliance of creating paper money with a correlation between the size of a bill and its value. “That must be nice for blind people,” we think.
Well, the D.C. Circuit thinks the same way. In a 2-1 ruling (PDF) issued today, it affirmed a district court decision holding that the U.S. discriminates against blind people with its uniformly-sized bills.
The American Council for the Blind sued the Treasury Department six years ago. If the decision stands, vending machines everywhere will have to be redesigned!
That seems like a better defense than the one the Treasury Department used. From the Associated Press:
The U.S. acknowledges the design hinders blind people but it argued that blind people have adapted. Some relied on store clerks to help them, some used credit cards and others folded certain corners to help distinguish between bills.
The court ruled 2-1 that such adaptations were insufficient. The government might as well argue that, since handicapped people can crawl on all fours or ask for help from strangers, there’s no need to make buildings wheelchair accessible, the court said.
Apparently, that huge ugly number five on the new five-dollar bill was the Treasury Department’s first stab at meeting the needs of the blind. Unfortunately, it discriminates against good aesthetic taste.
What do you think of the decision?
I previously wrote (here and here) about Oscar Pistorius, the Olympic hopeful who was ruled ineligible to compete in the Beijing Games by the International Association of Athletics Federations (“IAAF”) because he uses Cheetah Flex-Foot prosthetic legs. With help from Dewey & LeBoeuf (disclosure: my previous employer) as his pro bono counsel, Pistorius recently challenged the IAAF’s ruling in the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
On Friday, a three-person arbitration panel ruled in Pistorius’s favor, finding that Pistorius’s prosthetics do not provide him with “an overall net advantage” in violation of IAAF Rule 144.2(e). This opens the door for Pistorius to compete in South Africa’s Olympic trials using his prosthetics. The panel reserved the right to change its ruling if new scientific evidence emerges.
With this matter resolved for now, let’s take a look at the big winners and losers from the litigation: Big Winners Oscar Pistorius: Finally eligible for South Africa’s Olympic trials, the Blade Runner is a step closer to competing against the world’s finest. In addition, he is also a step closer to earning the kind of endorsement dollars that would make even Dan & Dave envious. Ossur HF Company: The Iceland-headquartered supplier of the Cheetah Flex-Foot prosthetics is gaining all kinds of free publicity. Most of us have now heard of the Cheetah Flex-Foot. Can anybody name a competitor prosthetic? I didn’t think so. Dewey & LeBoeuf: Forget the goodwill that comes with pro bono representation. By winning this case, Dewey & LeBoeuf has expanded its sports-law footprint across the Atlantic Ocean, as well as opened the door to secure new business in international sports arbitration. Debevoise & Plimpton: Real kudos goes to the Court of Arbitration for Sport for their gutsy and articulate 18-page decision that does not pull its punches with the IAAF. David W. Rivkin, a partner in the New York and London offices of Debevoise & Plimpton, was one of the three named arbitrators in this dispute. His work could only look good for the firm.
Read the rest, after the jump.
A Denver lawyer has filed a complaint claiming the chief judge of the Colorado federal courts threatened to call authorities when she confronted him about parking in a handicapped space.
The lawyer, Jeanne Elliott, was paralyzed in 1986 when she was shot by an angry litigant. She told KUSA in Denver that she waited in her wheelchair behind the illegally parked SUV outside a Walgreens. Judge Edward Nottingham arrived and threatened to call the U.S. Marshals service when she didn’t move, according to her grievance (PDF) filed with the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. He later called 911.
* Like an aging babyboomer, L&O might be spending its golden years with its progeny… at TNT. Loyal fans, you will always find L&O-related news here. (And when I say “here”, I mean in Non-Sequiturs, because Lat does what he wants.) [Los Angeles Times]
* Oops, they f**ked up. (And when I say “they”, I mean both Ashley’s parents and the hospital.) [WFSB]
* JDs (or passing the bar) not required. [Sports Law Blog]
* Victory for teachers, held not legally required to baselessly bolster students’ self-esteem with good grades on such challenging homework as posters, book reports and “leaf projects.” [Charleston Daily Mail]
* Suggestion for replacement billboard: “At least our controversial billboard lasted longer than Britney Spears’ first marriage.” [ABC News]
* They may or may not be activist, but they sure aren’t very active. [New York Times via How Appealing]
* These people are going to hell… and maybe jail. [CNN]
* Does a U.S. court have jurisdiction to stay the execution of Saddam Hussein? [Jurist]
* Tie one on…online. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Legal challenges likely to sweeping illegal immigrant county ordinances in Cherokee County, Georgia. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution (free reg. req'd)]
* Judge: Paper money violates the Rehabilitation Act because blind people cannot distinguish between bills. [CNN; USA Today]
* John Turley digs into recent comments by (presidential candidate?) Newt Gingrich on freedom of speech. [MSNBC]
* “Oregon Lawyer Wrongly Arrested After Madrid Bombings Settles Lawsuit for $2 Million.” [Law.com; New York Times; Washington Post]
* Louis Vuitton sues Chewy Vuitton Vuiton… [WSJ Law Blog]
* … and Ringling Bros. sue Louis Vuitton. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Former Illinois governor and convicted felon George Ryan gets bail pending appeal from the Seventh Circuit. [Chicago Sun-Times]
Fantasy football after the jump…
In a land that is right here and in a time that is right now, a technology has arisen so powerful that it can replace basic human document review. Is it time to bow down before our new robot overlords?
First, here’s a little story about me: my life in the legal world began as a paralegal. My first case was a GIANT patent infringement case that was already six years old and had involved as many as five companies, multiple US courts, the ITC and an international standards committee. I knew nothing about any of this.
On my first day, my supervisor (a paralegal with at least eight other cases driving her crazy) sat me down in front of a Concordance database with a 100,000+ patents and patent file histories. “Code these,” she said. I learned that “coding”, for the purposes of this exercise, meant manually typing the inventor’s name, the title of the patent, the assignee, the file date, and other objective data for each document. I worked on that project – and only that project – for at least the first six months of my job. After a week or so, time began to blur.
What I know, in retrospect and with absolutely certainty, is that as time began to blur, so did my judgment. So did my attention to detail. If you could tell me that I did not make at least one mistake a day – one inconsistent spelling, one reversed day and month, one incorrectly spaced title – I frankly would need to see your evidence. I would not believe it. The human mind is trainable but it is not a machine.
Watch to find out what some of our subscribers received in their May box!
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We currently have a number of active openings for associate roles at US and UK firms in HK / China, Singapore and two new in-house openings. As always, please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org in order to get details of current openings in Asia, as well as to discuss the Asia markets in general and what we expect for openings later this year. Our Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney will be in Beijing the week of March 25 and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong the week of April 1, if you would like to meet them in person.
The US associate openings we have in law firms are in the usual areas of M&A, cap markets, FCPA / white collar litigation, finance, and project finance. The most urgent of our top tier (top 15 US or magic circle) law firm openings in Asia (among many other firm openings that we have in Asia) are as follows:
• 2nd to 5th year mandarin fluent M&A associates needed in Beijing and Hong Kong at several firms;
• Korean fluent 2nd to 4th year cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 5th year Japanese fluent M&A associates needed in Tokyo;
• 4th to 6th year mandarin fluent cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 4th year M&A / cap markets mix associate needed in Singapore.
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