Administrative Law Judge Roy Pearson is still pressing (harhar) his $54 million lawsuit over a pair of pants. From the Washington Post’s Marc Fisher:
Despite a clear finding by D.C. Superior Court Judge Judith Bartnoff that Pearson’s case against Custom Cleaners had no merit and that the cleaners’ possible misplacing of a pair of Pearson’s pants was not worth a penny to the plaintiff, Pearson is back.
He wrote to defense lawyer Christopher Manning this week to let the Chung family know that Pearson plans to file today a motion arguing that Bartnoff failed to address Pearson’s legal claims and asking the judge to reverse her verdict in the case.
If you can stomach it, read the rest after the jump.
In addition to handing down some big opinions, yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review a number of cases. As noted by SCOTUSblog’s Lyle Denniston, the Court denied certiorari in a significant antitrust case, as well as a pair of test cases raising constitutional issues in the immigration context.
But the most important cert denial was surely Aisha v. Madonna, No. 06-1389. A blurb about this battle of the mono-monikered musicians, from a reader:
Over at the Washington Post’s Offbeat blog, Emil Steiner is liveblogging Pearson v. Custom Cleaners — aka “The Case of the $54 Million Pants.” Check it out by clicking here (and scrolling down — no, farther down).
Here’s Steiner’s account of the plaintiff’s testimony:
If I had $54 million in my pocket, I’d almost give it to Roy Pearson to end this thing. Pearson took the stand this afternoon in his trial against Custom Cleaners, and it wasn’t exactly spellbinding.
Pearson went into seemingly every minute detail of life: his history of community service, his weight gain as a middle-aged man, his financial woes and his painful divorce. Even the opposing defense counsel was rubbing his eyes and suppressing yawns.
But the judge let Pearson tell his story, taking occasional notes, always with a somewhat bemused expression on her face. I could almost see the thought bubble over her head: Take as much time as you need to orchestrate your circus. (Though if circuses were this slow, Barnum & Bailey would be out of business.)
Then, just before 3:30, Roy L. Pearson broke down, appeared to almost cry, and quickly requested a break. Would it be heartless to ask whether he had been bored to tears?
Jeez. Should we lay off Judge Pearson? Until now, he struck us as a raging asshole rather unsympathetic plaintiff. But now it sounds like he may have… issues.
Does Roy Pearson need $54 million? Or does he just need a good therapist — and the right combination of prescription drugs? Pearson v. Custom Cleaners: The Plaintiff Testifies (and Breaks Down!) [Offbeat] Offbeat Blog [Washington Post]
* When the backdrops for crazy shootings tend to be God-forsaken backwaters (or suburbs), it’s reassuring to know that New York City is still home to plenty of wackjobs. [Gawker; Village Voice; Braunstein recap here]
* I love it when a guy makes good on the “You can’t make me!” threat. [QuizLaw; The Smoking Gun]
* Silly little lawsuits do not suit hip hop. Bring back the thuggery, I say. [All HipHop News]
* The CHiPs guys would never do this, but things are different down South. [Chicago Sun-Times]
* He’s short, a biter and, in all likelihood, soon to be single–single line, girls. [CNN]
* When I was in college, plagiarism was something special we saved for papers. But kids have told me that in an age of blogs and other electronic content, original thought is so very quaint. [Ivygate Blog]
* Blonde Justice loves them crazy folks. [Blonde Justice]
* I think I was totally brainwashed into liking The Daily Show; at the height of its popularity, I thought, man that is a funny show, even though I had seen maybe five minutes across a few episodes. [PrawfsBlawg]
* No jello or mud was involved… [Local6.com]
* …or he would have been on the scene. I know he’s probably had something up the butt before, but I keep forgetting if this guy has ever been in prison. [WJHG.com]
The Cravath partner who uses Scotch tape to Biore herself during a deposition. The Sullivan & Cromwell partner who allegedly tells a gay associate to “bend over” and pick up a document. The partner that you’re probably working for right now, who makes one insane demand after another.
What is UP with these people? How can they be so clueless? Why are they completely unable to appreciate how their words and actions will be received?
One theory about why powerful partners act the way they do can be gleaned from this NYT op-ed, by Richard Conniff, author of The Natural History of the Rich. Conniff suggests, in a nutshell, that power turns people into inconsiderate a**holes. Here’s an excerpt:
Researchers led by the psychologist Dacher Keltner took groups of three ordinary volunteers and randomly put one of them in charge. Each trio had a half-hour to work through a boring social survey. Then a researcher came in and left a plateful of precisely five cookies. Care to guess which volunteer typically grabbed an extra cookie? The volunteer who had randomly been assigned the power role was also more likely to eat it with his mouth open, spew crumbs on partners and get cookie detritus on his face and on the table….
The researchers went on to theorize that getting power causes people to focus so keenly on the potential rewards, like money, sex, public acclaim or an extra chocolate-chip cookie — not necessarily in that order, or frankly, any order at all, but preferably all at once — that they become oblivious to the people around them.
Are you one of those associates who does whatever a partner asks of you, quickly and without complaint, no matter how unreasonable? You may be part of the problem:
[T]he people around them may abet this process, since they are often subordinates intent on keeping the boss happy. So for the boss, it starts to look like a world in which the traffic lights are always green (and damn the pedestrians). Professor Keltner and his fellow researchers describe it as an instance of “approach/inhibition theory” in action: As power increases, it fires up the behavioral approach system and shuts down behavioral inhibition.
So next time a certain partner asks you to coordinate an armada of town cars to ferry deal documents to her at home, “Just Say No.” You’re standing up not just for yourself, but for generations of unborn associates.
(Okay, this advice would probably get you fired. But wouldn’t it be satisfying to tell her off? It might almost be worth losing your job to say to her, “I graduated from a top law school. I got offers from every top firm I applied to. Do I look like a Dial-A-Car dispatcher?”) The Rich Are More Oblivious Than You and Me [New York Times]
When we wrote about her amusing court filing earlier today, we redacted her name. But since she has shown that she has no problem with being identified, even going so far as to comment on our prior post, we’re happy to shout her name from the blogospheric rooftops: ALISON MAYNARD.
Alison Maynard, who ran unsuccessfully for Colorado Attorney General as a Green Party candidate, is known in some circles as “Sunny” Maynard. And with her hilarious motion, Sunny Maynard has brightened the days of thousands of lawyers around the country.
This is why we’re naming her our Lawyer of the Day. Congratulations, Ms. Maynard!
For those of you who didn’t read our prior post, here’s the relevant excerpt from Maynard’s motion:
In the hours since we posted it, we’ve been bombarded by several lengthy email screeds from Maynard. Because most of them contained the words “water rights” and “bill of costs,” they were initially banished to the “Boring Stuff” subfolder of our “Junk Mail” folder.
But we dutifully rescued them, and we even read them. Some excerpts, as well as links with biographical information about Alison Maynard, appear after the jump.
* Domenici asked for ousting of New Mexico U.S. Attorney. [New York Times via How Appealing]
* Descendants of ex-slaves not welcome in Cherokee Nation. [Jurist]
* Prosecutors decide to pass on attempted murder charge for astronaut in kidnapping case; CNN decides to use a more flattering picture. [CNN; compare with CNN (2/05/07)]
* And speaking of unflattering pictures… [CNN]
* Breyer to appear on NPR “comedy” show. [AP via Yahoo!] Update: In case you were hoping to attend the “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” taping, you should note that it has been pushed back by a week.
We sure do love pro se litigants. Like the guy who filed this notice of appeal. Or the loon who filed this lawsuit against Arm & Hammer. And, of course, there’s Aaron Charney (although he now has counsel).
Today we introduce you to Michael Melnitzky, who served as the principal art conservator at Sotheby’s for almost three decades. From the NYT:
[W]hen his wife filed for divorce in 1994, Mr. Melnitzky became something else: a litigator. A prolific one. And although he has no law degree and only himself as a client, he has never been busier.
Through a series of self-fashioned lawsuits and appeals, issues that might have been settled with his divorce have gone on for 13 years, 3 years longer than his marriage.
He has sued virtually everyone involved: one of his former lawyers, his wife’s lawyer, three banks, five judges and a psychiatrist appointed by the court to evaluate his mental health. In unrelated cases, he has sued a neighbor, a thrift shop, the city and his former employer. And he has almost always lost.
Unlike so many pro se litigants, Melnitzky is neither incarcerated nor impecunious. But in terms of his psychology, he fits the pro se profile:
At a recent hearing, an opposing lawyer called him a “serial litigator” who was turning the legal system into a “hobby” at the expense of the people he sued.
Mr. Melnitzky takes exception to such characterizations, as he does to the mention of obsession.
“It’s not an obsession; it’s a cause,” he said. “Would you call the fight against Nazis an obsession?”
Melnitzky is a Holocaust survivor. But despite that fact, we respectfully question whether it’s appropriate to compare the worldwide struggle against Fascism and genocide to litigation over a watch collection (even a very nice one — it includes timepieces by Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin). The Marriage Lasted 10 Years. The Lawsuits? 13 Years, and Counting. [New York Times]
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past seven years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney are still in Hong Kong and will stay FOR THE REMAINDER OF THIS WEEK. We still have a handful of available slots for meetings with our Asia Chronicles fans. If we have not been in touch lately, reach out and let us know when we could meet! There is no need for an agenda at all. Most of our in-person meetings on these trips are with folks who understand that improving a legal practice through lateral hiring is an information-driven process that takes time to handle correctly.
Regarding trends in lateral US associate hiring in Hong Kong, we of course keep much of what we know off of this blog. Based on placement revenue, though, Kinney is having one of our most successful years ever in Asia. We are helping a number of our law firm clients with M&A, fund formation, cap markets, project finance, FCPA and disputes openings. These are very specific needs in many cases, so a conversation with us before jumping in may be helpful. As always, we like to be sure to get the maximum number of interviews per submission, using a well-informed, highly targeted, and selective approach, taking into account short, medium and long-term career aims.
Making a well informed decision during a job search is easier said than done – the information we provide comes from 10 years of being the market leader in US attorney placements at the top tier firms in Asia. There is no substitute for having known a hiring partner since he/she was an associate or for having helped a partner grow his or her practice from zip to zooming, and this is happily where we stand today – with years of background information on just about every relevant person in all the markets we serve, and most especially in Hong Kong/China/Greater Asia. So get in touch and get a download from us this week if we can fit it in, or soon in any case!
The legal industry is being disrupted at every level by technological advances. While legal tech entrepreneurs and innovators are racing to create a more efficient and productive future, there is widespread indifference on the part of attorneys toward these emerging technologies.
When the LexisNexis Cloud Technology Survey results were reported earlier this year, it showed that attorneys were starting to peer less skeptically into the future, and slowly but surely leaning more toward all the benefits the law cloud has to offer.
Because let’s face it, plenty of attorneys are perhaps a bit too comfortable with their “system” of practice management, which may or may not include neon highlighters, sticky notes, dog-eared file folders, and a word processing program that was last updated when the term “raise the roof” was still de rigueur.