Environment / Environmental Law

Eric Cuellar (left) and Justin Teixeira (right). Image via Gawker (click to enlarge).

Think of this as like the law school version of The Hangover — except that an animal apparently was harmed in the making of this movie.

Over the weekend, we covered the sad and disturbing story of two Boalt Hall law students who stand accused of killing a helmeted guinea fowl. This allegedly went down in a wildlife habitat at the (unfortunately named) Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas.

As we noted in an update, the bird was exotic rather than endangered (well, at least not endangered outside the Flamingo Hotel). But killing such a bird can still be charged as a felony, thanks to a 2011 amendment to Nevada law. And the Berkeley law students in question, Eric Cuellar and Justin Teixeira, have in fact been charged with felonies — conspiracy and the willful, malicious torture or killing of wildlife.

Let’s take a closer at the two men at the center of this flap. We’ve heard from some Above the Law tipsters who know them….

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David Otunga

* “Enough is enough.” Come on, Togut, did you really think all of the Dewey drama was going to end just because the judge approved your settlement plan? Now he’s trying to get the former partners committee disbanded. This won’t end well. [Am Law Daily]

* Covington & Burling was disqualified from representing Minnesota in the state’s anti-pollution case against ex-client 3M over a conflict of interest. A “conscious disregard” of professional duties? This is 1L stuff, really. [Twin Cities Pioneer Press]

* Remember J. Michael Johnson, the former dean of Louisiana College Law who resigned for a “great job offer” before the school even opened? He’s now senior counsel for the ultraconservative Liberty Institute. [Alexandria Town Talk]

* “If you’ve been hit by a table, ladder, or chair, call David Otunga.” What has this Harvard Law grad turned WWE wrestler been up to, aside from filming commercials at criminal defense firms? [City Sentinel]

* “The argument is absolutely absurd.” An ex-high school coach accused of having sex with a student wants Oklahomas’s ban on student-teacher relationships overturned as unconstitutional. [Alva Review-Courier]

Under what circumstances would you see Gibson Dunn and Keker & Van Nest going up against each other? They’re two of the top litigation firms in the country, known for racking up victories in trial and appellate courts across the land. But they don’t come cheap.

Well, what if the issue was the enforceability of an $18 billion judgment, obtained in a foreign jurisdiction, that the plaintiffs are trying to enforce here in the United States? A highly questionable judgment, which the defendants are challenging on the grounds that it was the product of fraud and falsified evidence?

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Big Bay Boom

* What kind of a Dewey pun will be used later today when we discuss this global “clawback” deal for former D&L partners? I dunno, but “Dewey know how f**ked we are?” seems rather appropriate at this point. [Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)]

* Judge Lucy Koh recused herself from a Facebook privacy lawsuit without providing a reason for doing so. Given that a petition to impeach her popped up online, she probably doesn’t want to piss off any other tech companies right now. [Reuters]

* Mississippi: a state where legislators want to protect women from unscrupulous abortion practitioners their own choices about their bodies. A judge has extended a temporary order to allow the state’s only abortion clinic to remain open. [CNN]

* Good news, everyone! Median starting salaries for recent law school graduates are no longer in the six-figure range due to an “erosion in Biglaw jobs.” Still think you’re going to make big bucks? [ABA Journal]

* A San Diego, California fireworks fiasco that lasted all of 15 seconds yielded not only a bunch of fabulously entertaining YouTube videos, but also great lawsuit fodder for environmental groups. [National Law Journal]

* Note to unemployed law school graduates in New Jersey: selling black-market kidneys isn’t a half-bad career choice, because if you get caught, you’ll likely only be sentenced to 30 months in prison. [Bloomberg]

What is this, I don't even...

* It looks like the Biglaw buzzwords for 2012 are “challenge” and “uncertainty.” Good! Great! Grand! Wonderful! Speaking of uncertainty, where are the spring bonuses? [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Kodak got the go-ahead for a $950M bankruptcy financing deal. Just think, if you had taken pictures using a film camera instead of a digital one, we probably wouldn’t be telling you about this. [Bloomberg]

* Rod Blagojevich will report to prison for his 14-year sentence on March 15, and he hopes to do so with “dignity” (i.e., no cameras). But you can be damn sure he’ll have his hair did, just in case. [Chicago Tribune]

* To be fair, the University of Maryland School of Law doesn’t really have time to worry about that parking job. The university might have to pay up to $500K in legal fees thanks to a lawsuit filed by the school’s environmental law clinic. [National Law Journal]

* Duncan Law’s got 99 problems, and another lawsuit is one. In addition to the school’s troubles with the ABA, a law student is suing because the school “negligently allowed her to enroll.” [Knoxville News Sentinel]

* George Seward, the founding partner of Seward & Kissel, has died at the age of 101. RIP. [Businessweek]

Wave goodbye to that ring.

* According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 400 new jobs were added to the legal industry last month. Talk about progress. That’s like a fraction of a job for every successful bar exam taker. [Am Law Daily]

* Biglaw firms in Washington, D.C. are racing to get more green. Sadly, we’re not talking about money or bonus news. We’re talking about tree-hugging, environmental hippie design initiatives. [Washington Post]

* Same-sex couples in New Jersey will get the chance to challenge the state’s civil union law. Here’s hoping that my home state gets with the program and allows gay marriage like our New York neighbors. [Star-Ledger]

* “Lawsuit-crazed groomzilla” Todd Remis isn’t happy with the media’s coverage of his wedding woes. We’re “turning this into a circus,” he says. Uh, you did that yourself, buddy. [Huffington Post]

* What’s the best way to get out of a possible 15-year jail sentence? It’s as easy as saying that you’re an illegal immigrant and getting yourself deported to Mexico. [ABC News]

* Kim Kardashian has a pricey clause in her prenup. She’ll have to pay her soon-to-be ex-husband the purchase price of her gaudy engagement ring if she wants to keep it. [New York Post]

The other day, President Obama announced a “new” plan to help ease the burden of student debts, except it wasn’t really new, and it didn’t really help.

The mainstream media parroted the administration’s spin on the proposal, but it makes sense that the White House would want to find some students who were also excited about the plan to reduce the Income Based Repayment percentage to 10% in 2012.

Well, they found one. And he’s a law student.

President Obama is tweeting about this new support….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “If This Is the Kind of Law Student Who Supports Obama’s Debt Relief Plans, the President Is in Trouble”

* The Supreme Court heard arguments yesterday in a lawsuit asking courts to force major companies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Sotomayor spent the entire oral argument asking attorneys how she could fit more Miami Sound Machine on her Zune. [New York Times]

* Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who can be seen every Thursday night on 30 Rock playing Kenneth the Page, shares none of Jan Brewer’s qualms about a “birther bill.” [Politico]

* The Ecuadorean Slapfight (also the name of my ska band in high school) between Patton Boggs, Gibson Dunn, and Chevron was squashed by a judge yesterday. [Reuters]

* Baker Hostetler is balling out of control on L’Affaire Madoff. [WSJ Law Blog]

Judge Vaughn Walker

* Tiger Blogger Vivia Chen wants white guys to be hunted like animals. [The Careerist]

* A copyright troll has found a way to exact a toll without actually owning any copyrights. No word yet on whether anyone has gained entrance into the boy’s hole. [Wired via ABA Journal]

* Alleged Wikileaker Bradley Manning is being transferred to another prison. Julian Assange celebrated the news by going dancing. [Fox News]

* Sponsors of Proposition 8 are mad that retired judge Vaughn Walker, who presided over Prop 8′s defeat in court, is giving lectures around the country that feature a three-minute clip of the trial. They say the video should remain in the closet. Or a desk drawer of some sort. [Los Angeles Times]

* I’m doing Non-Sequiturs today, since Elie is too busy marching on City Hall. [Reuters]

* A round-up of lawyer moves inside the Beltway — including another defection from Howrey (patent litigatrix Jennifer Dzwonczyk, to Venable). [Capital Comment / Washingtonian]

* Speaking of Howrey, Professor Larry Ribstein, a partnership law guru, has some questions about the handling of Howrey liabilities. [Truth on the Market]

* Apparently Cardozo Law ladies need sex as well as walking instructions. [Cardozo Jurist]

* RICO suave: Chevron turns the tables on those Ecuadorian environmental plaintiffs. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Congratulations to Orrick’s eight new partners. [Orrick]

* Larry Bodine offers some marketing advice to United Airlines — after a rather unpleasant interaction at LaGuardia Airport. [Larry Bodine's Law Marketing Blog]

* This week in A Round Tuit: the latest Obamacare ruling, the Egyptian uprising, and the shortcomings of the British legal media. [Infamy or Praise]

Ed. note: This post is by “Juggalo Law,” one of the two writers under consideration to join Morning Dockette as a Morning Docket writer. As always, we welcome your thoughts in the comments.

I have a confession to make. I don’t care at all about the environment. It’s true. Since I was in short pants, I’ve been aggressively indifferent to climate change, rainforests, oil spills and the plight of the Duck-Billed Platypus (“has feet like a duck…but it’s furry!”). This despite my parents’ solid liberal bona fides. This despite my presence at one Young Democrats meeting in 1998 (Earnest Goes to College).

And yet, guys? The Cooch is tripping. That’d be Ken Cuccinelli, the Attorney General of Virginia. Yesterday, a state judge blocked his request to subpoena documents from a college professor studying climate change. Take it away, BLT:

Cuccinelli, a Republican, said he wanted the records in order to investigate whether the researcher, Michael Mann, made false claims in connection with state grant funding. Cuccinelli is a skeptic of human causes of global warming, an area that Mann has studied at the University of Virginia and elsewhere. Mann is now a professor at Pennsylvania State University.

This caps a rather newsworthy couple of weeks for The Cooch. He’s managed to raise the hackles of many an interest group in protecting the rights of Baby Jesus and all unborn critters not named Jesus. In doing so, he’s undoubtedly established himself as a rising star in conservative circles.

But what of his latest…err crusade?

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