Morning Docket


* A state agency publicly admonished retired Superior Court Judge John M. Watson for being rude in court, citing a case “in which he repeatedly mocked attorneys.” The agency claims Watson’s actions threaten the “integrity of the judiciary.” [Los Angeles Times]

* A federal judge “opened the first hearing into the government’s justification for holding suspects at the naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.” This hearing was made possible by a Supreme Court ruling in June that Gitmo detainess “can seek their freedom through federal habeas corpus cases.” [New York Times]

* In an effort to keep thier son on life-support, parents of a 12-year-old boy with brain cancer will take the Children’s National Medical Center to court. The hospital argues that keeping him alive is unethical because he has “no brain activity,” but his parents, Orthodox Jews, say that is not how their religion defines death. [The Washington Post]

* A jury ruled that the former administrator of Grafton, Mass was not sexually harassing his secretary when he stared at her breasts so often that she had to hold a piece of paper in front of her chest when walking through the office. His doctor said he has an eye condition, lucky guy. [On Point]


* A puppy named Afro was rescued from a burning law firm in South Africa, and his owner promptly “smothered him with kisses.” [Independent Online]

* Google dumped its needy girlfriend Yahoo, forgoing their advertising partnership instead of going to court to fight an anti-trust law suit filed by the US justice department. Yahoo is disappointed to say the least. It seems totally unreasonable. Google, a monopoply? [Financial Times]

* Yesterday, SCOTUS discussed whether or not an Eritrean prison guard should be given asylum in the United States, even though he participated in torturing and killing inmates. The guard says he should be forgiven because he performed these acts under “duress.” A similar case with a Nazi prison guard served as precedent. [The New York Times]

* What’s in a name? Democrats swept the courts in Harris County, Texas. If that surprises you, consider the Houston Chronicle’s explanation for why four republicans kept their seats: their democratic opponents had unusual names. [Houston Chronicle]

* Labor union workers were among those dancing in the streets Tuesday night. The landslide Democratic sweep on Tuesday promises to change labor laws. [Market Watch]

iStock_000005179735XSmall.jpg[Ed. Note: Check back throughout the day for election shenanigans updates.]

* Vote. Even if your boss tells you that clocking a full fourteen-hour-day at your miserable law firm is more important, remember that this is a historic election no matter who wins. Check out this fun New York Times piece on election night.

* In some states, people waiting in line after the polls close may not get to vote. [Abc News]

* Federal attorneys nationwide are in charge of processing reports of any voting problems on election day. Here are some numbers to call: [Courthouse News Service]

* Just in time for the election, Sarah Palin was cleared of any wrongdoing in the Troopergate scandal. [Los Angeles Times]

* The Supreme Court will hear arguments in a dispute between the broadcast networks and the Federal Communications Commissions over a government ban of “fleeting expletives.” The FCC prohibited bad language, after Cher, Bono, and Nicole Richie used profanity at awards ceremonies in 2002 and 2003. [The Associated Press]

* “Google Inc. and Yahoo! Inc. scaled back their proposed Internet-advertising agreement to win support from U.S. antitrust officials.” []

* More recession madness: Law firms everywhere are discounting their fees. But most lawyers don’t care because they practice for love of the law, and money is no object. []

bug shivers ewww.jpg* Readers who plan to become ambulance chasers might want to read this. The Supreme Court hears arguments today in a case involving the FDA. “At issue is whether the federal government can limit lawsuits by consumers…who have been harmed by prescription medications.” [NPR]

* UBS clients issued claims over “100 percent principal protected notes” that are now almost worthless. [

* Virgin Atlantic fired 13 members of the cabin crew for making fun of passengers on Facebook and complaining about cockroaches on aircrafts. [Sky News]

* The Supreme Court hears a case that “could determine how tribes recognized after the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act are allowed to buy, give and use land.” [Associated Press]

* Three years after the mysterious murder of D.C. attorney Robert Wone, police release disturbing details alleging a cover-up by Wone’s roommates. [Washington Post]

* R.I.P. Studs Terkel Esq. [Ideoblog]

Halloween pumpkins.jpg* Texan Toxic Tort attorney Fred Baron has died. His profile went national this year due to his support for John Edwards (and his mistress) and his campaign to secure an experimental drug to treat his cancer. [Dallas Morning News]

* New York AG Andrew Cuomo is on the case of big executive bonuses in the wake of the bank bailout. [New York Times]

* New York divorce lawyers aren’t very good at making their marriage work. [Newsday]

* Ohio may be the new Florida this election. [New York Times]

* Here’s a horror story for you. Paralegal beheads a gang member, puts pieces of the body in plastic, and buries them. His attorney/employer is defending him, saying his paralegal “did not have a chance to call 911.” Happy Halloween! [Associated Press]

Biden speaks to Phillies fan.JPG* Nebraska doesn’t want your teenagers or kids from other states. The legislature will hold a special session to fix its safe-haven law. [New York Times]

* The DOJ declares Delta and Northwest Airlines man and wife. [Pacific Business News]

* Washington Judge Roger Fisher doesn’t want anything to do with scalded monkeys. [Seattle Times]

* A crazy different take on the effect of the financial crisis on law firms. It’s boom time for lawyers? [Los Angeles Times]

* Dell gets slapped with a $500 million class action suit, accused of discriminating against women and firing workers over 40. Well, come on, it is a tech company… [Dallas Morning News]

* It took a 46-hour baseball game, but Philly has their first champion since Rocky IV. Sober up by Tuesday okay? [ESPN]

google book search.jpg* Google Book Search is now on the path to officially kill the public library. Google will pay $125 million to settle two copyright lawsuits, and will move forward with making millions of books available online. [Bloomberg]

* A Nevada judicial candidate has sued the Las Vegas Review-Journal, claiming the newspaper defamed him and cost him the election. [Courthouse News Service]

* Austrian man drives drunk to protest drunken driving charges. [Reuters]

* One of President Bush’s biggest contributions from the last 8 years is a more conservative federal judiciary. And they’re young ‘uns, so they’ll be around for a while. [New York Times]

* Four months in prison for former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. And he owes the city $1 million. [Associated Press]

* Nixon Peabody steals welcomes 25 more lawyers from Taylor Wessing’s Paris office. [American Lawyer]

dracula.jpg* A Guantanamo prisoner and his attorney are boycotting their own trial. They have to be in court, but they aren’t saying a word. It was not the best strategy for voir dire. [Associated Press]

* Musical chairs: Colorado Assistant U.S. Attorney Haley Reynolds to head to Iraq. [Denver Post]

* Edward “frying pan” Halverson pleaded guilty to beating his ATL Judge of the Day Hall of Famer wife, and will spend the next 3 to 10 years in prison. Apparently, the fight was a result of delayed dinner plans. [Las Vegas Review-Journal]

* Auditors prepare to be sued. They are “classic litigation targets when finances go awry, and the swift collapse of seemingly sound financial institutions is expected to clog the courts for years to come.” [Compliance Week]

* If the Phillies end up blowing this thing, beleaguered Philadelphia sports fans will have an excellent cause of action for secession. [ESPN]

* A tale of a tax lawyer turned Dracula annotator. [Wall Street Journal]

voting above the law vote.jpg* Juror dismissed in the trial of Senator Ted Stevens. We hope she was the violent one. [New York Times]

* Yet another strip club lawsuit, but this time there are strips clubs on both sides. Déjà Vu and Little Darlings claim that competitors urged cabbies to divert potential clients by telling them the two clubs were “dumps full of old hogs and chicks with bullet wounds.” [Courthouse News Service]

* Sarah Palin is “going rogue.” And she’s a “diva.” And she “sees herself as the next leader of the party.” Unnamed McCain aides tell all! [CNN]

* Malaysia’s former prime minister finds himself shut out of the public space thanks to the press censorship he helped perfect as leader of the country for 22 years. So now he’s blogging. [International Herald-Tribune]

* While McCain and Obama duke it out in the battleground states this week, their legal teams prepare to wage voter fraud battles in courtrooms across the nation. [Reuters]

* New York finds private attorneys scheming their way into state pensions. [Newsday]


* The media talk about Obama and the expected clean sweep of the government has pumped up Democratic tires so much that they think they can do the impossible: appoint two Democrats to the Texas Supreme Court. [Dallas Morning News]

* The McCain-Palin efforts to recreate Florida 2000 in every state failed in Wisconsin. It’s a shame because the election has gone by way too fast, don’t you think? A mere 20 months? It is not enough. The media needs more. [New York Times]

* Regulators in Hong Kong will investigate failed investment devices that Lehman Brothers arranged. []

* Crystal Mangum, the stripper who claimed to be attacked by three Duke Lacrosse players, has written a memoir asserting that she was telling the truth. [Associated Press]

* Anne Hathaway’s ex-boyfriend Rafaello Follieri was convicted of fraud and sentenced to 4 1/2 years in prison. Everything about Follieri and his case is irrelevant, except for the fact that he dated Hathaway. [abcnews]

* New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is requiring an energy company to be honest to its investors about the financial risks of climate change. The Environmental Defense Fund is giddy with this regulatory victory. [Market Watch]

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