Richard Posner

Litigation is not ping-pong.


Richard Posner

kirkland ellis logo.JPGIs the customer always right? In the legal profession, not necessarily. As a lawyer, sometimes your job is to talk some sense into your client — and to refuse to move forward if your client, ignoring your advice, orders you to prosecute frivolous (or borderline frivolous) litigation.

Perhaps this lesson needs to be learned by Kirkland & Ellis. The super-prestigious firm, known for its world-class litigation practice, recently got benchslapped by the Seventh Circuit. From Judge Posner’s opinion:

[T]he defendants’ motion for sanctions should not have been denied. The plaintiffs’ lawyers [at Kirkland] may secretly agree, for they make no attempt to counter the arguments for sanctions made in the defendants’ brief even though the district judge denied the motion without explanation. They follow suit by merely asking us, without explanation, to affirm the denial.

The motion complained that Carr is harassing the defendants with repetitive litigation, including a suit — this suit — that borders on the frivolous, even though he is an immensely successful lawyer represented on appeal by one of the nation’s premier law firms, Kirkland and Ellis, as well as by his son Bruce Carr of the Rex Carr Law Firm, which the plaintiff formed after the break-up of his old firm.

At least Judge Posner referred to K&E as “one of the nation’s premier law firms.” Slap that up on the Kirkland website?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A Benchslap for Kirkland & Ellis, from Judge Posner and the Seventh Circuit”

Posner.jpg* Judge Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit has turned Keynesian. [New Republic via Blackbook Legal]
* ‘Law & Order’ will tie ‘Gunsmoke’ this year for longest-running prime-time drama on television, but Dick Wolf is annoyed to have to move aside for Jay Leno. [Los Angeles Times]
* What’s the point of law firm deferrals? Written with lots of “expert sources” in the form of Daniel Indiviglio’s lawyer and law student friends. [Atlantic]
* Did you hear? The worst of the recession is over for law firms! [Law Society Gazette via ABA Journal]
* ACORN has filed a $2 million lawsuit against two conservative activists who secretly filmed its employees giving a pimp tax advice. ACORN says the video violates Maryland’s Wiretap Law. That’s nuts! [Courthouse News Service]
* There’s a deep bench at Harvard Law to fill Kennedy’s Senate seat. [ABA Journal]

Hal Turner Harold Turner blogger radio host.jpgWe’ve written before about Hal Turner, the infamous internet radio host who has been charged with threatening three federal judges. This week brings new information about him, from Wired:

A notorious New Jersey hate blogger charged in June with threatening to kill judges and lawmakers was secretly an FBI “agent provocateur” paid to disseminate right-wing rhetoric, his attorney said Wednesday.

Hal Turner, the blogger and radio personality, remains jailed pending charges over his recent online rants, which prosecutors claim amounted to an invitation for someone to kill Connecticut lawmakers and Chicago federal appeals court judges.

But behind the scenes the reformed white supremacist was holding clandestine meetings with FBI agents who taught him how to spew hate “without crossing the line,” according to his lawyer, Michael Orozco.

Unfortunately for him, Turner can’t blame the FBI for the comments that got him in trouble with the law. His claimed involvement with the Bureau ended in 2007, and his alleged threats against the Seventh Circuit judges were made in 2009.
More discussion about Turner’s case — plus comment from one of the threatened jurists, Judge Richard Posner — after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Hal Turner: Did He Threaten Federal Judges?”

champagne glasses small.jpgRejoice, wedding fans! We have some compelling mid-summer material for you this week: Wachtell, SCOTUS, lesbians, French nobility — read on for the details on all of that and more, as reported in the New York Times and filtered by us.
Our finalist couples:

1. Rebecca Gutner and Rodman Forter Jr.
2. Laura Hammond and Christopher Hemphill
3. Laure de Vulpillières and Vanessa Dillen

Admire these couples’ achievements, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Legal Eagle Wedding Watch 7.12: French Kissing”

Posner.jpg* New Jersey Internet radio talk show host arrested for blogging that federal judges Frank Easterbrook, Richard Posner, and William Bauer “deserved to be killed” after a recent decision on Chicago handgun ban case. [CNN]
* More Morgan Lewis Musical Chairs: Yesterday, the firm announced that it had tapped gas from Baker Botts. Good thing, because Morgan Lewis lost some energy to Pillsbury this week. [National Law Journal]
* We don’t know how Aaronson, Rappaport, Feinstein and Deutsch does in the courtroom, but it’s a big winner in the New York real estate market. [Observer]
* Nationwide (Law School) Layoff Watch: As predicted in May, layoffs have started at Harvard, despite HLS grads’ protest. [Boston Globe]
* The Fourth Circuit supports the ban on ‘partial birth’ abortions in Virginia. [Washington Post]

dahn yoga.jpg* California lawyer Ryan Kent has accused Dahn Yoga of being a cult and filed a class action suit against the Brain Wave Vibrators. [San Francisco Chronicle]
* Ross Mitchell spent just $38,000 on his online law degree and became his own first client. He won his lawsuit to be admitted to the Massachusetts Bar. [Boston Herald]
* Richard Posner is bearish on newspapers and bullish on draconian copyright protection for online news. Permission to link? [The Becker-Posner Blog]
* Is 12 years enough for Bernie? [Am Law Daily]
* Law school is great preparation for doing something other than law. [Legal Intelligencer]
* Musical chairs: Morgan Lewis taps gas from Baker Botts. [Am Law Daily]

Posner.jpgIt’s an exciting day here at ATL when we can find three excuses to cover the salacious beat (see #1 and #2). Judge Richard Posner brings us our third opportunity.

Judge Posner issued a ruling [PDF] Friday in a patent infringement case involving “sex aids” companies. Posner brings his dry humor and excellent wit to the decision, starting off by defining the nature of the business the plaintiff and the defendant are in:

Both firms produce what the parties call “sex aids” but are colloquially referred to as “sex toys.” A more perspicuous term is “sexual devices,” by analogy to “medical devices.” The analogy lies in the fact that, like many medical devices (thermometers for example), what we are calling sexual devices are intended to be inserted into bodily orifices, albeit for a different purpose.

Never before has patent infringement been so sexy… and sex toys so un-sexy:

The devices are generally in the shape of rods of various curvatures and are made out of rubber, plastic, glass, or some combination of these materials. Until the plaintiffs began manufacturing their patented sexual devices, glass sexual devices were made out of soda-lime glass, the most common form of glass.

We are not as well-versed in the nature of sex toys as is Judge Posner. We didn’t realize there were such things as glass dildos — despite the presence of this commenter in our threads — but apparently there are, and they have been around for a long time. The plaintiffs in Ritchie (Know Mind Enterprises/Topco) v. Vast Resources Inc. claimed to innovate the glass dildo design, obtaining a patent for those made with borosilicate glass (the stuff used by Pyrex). Adding silica makes the devices “slippery,” “lubricious,” and “resistant to heat, chemicals, electricity and bacterial absorptions.” While we like chemistry in bed, electricity might be a bit much.

Ritchie sued Vast Resources for violating its patent, and making their own slippery glass rods. The Seventh Circuit, in Judge Posner’s opinion, reversed the lower court’s decision in the plaintiff’s favor, ruling that Pyrexing sex devices is not patentable. It’s an “obvious” invention, an example of “modest, routine, everyday, incremental improvements of an existing product or process that confer commercial value… but do not involve sufficient inventiveness to merit patent protection.”

Posner is a judge on the Seventh Circuit but sat on this Federal Circuit case by designation. Like us, Posner likes writing on salacious topics. After all, having penned the book Sex and Reason in 1992, Posner is a judicial sexpert.

Decision [Federal Circuit]

Slippery Sex Toys Aren’t Inventive, U.S. Court Says [Bloomberg]

Slick Glass Dildos are an “Obvious” Improvement! [The Legal Satyricon]

Judge Posner at the Federal Circuit: Patent on Sex Aid is Obvious [Patent Law Blog]

Mr. Mom washes kids.JPGYou never know where you’ll find sexism in our society and our profession. It knows no party or ideology.

But it has no place in court. In a decision yesterday, 7th Circuit Judge Richard Posner took a shot at a plaintiff’s attorney who thought this was still 1950.

The case, Thorogood v. Sears Roebuck, was perfectly set up for a sexist wisecrack by an attorney cheap enough to take it. The case involved stainless steel clothes dryers that nonetheless caused rust stains on some clothing. A massive class action suit was mounted against Sears because “stainless steel” was not used for every part of the appliance.

During oral argument, the plaintiff’s attorney suggested that the all-male bench “ask their wives” about the problems associated with rust stains from dryers.

Posner did not find this funny. Writing for the majority (and holding for Sears) Posner shot back:

At argument the plaintiff’s lawyer, skeptical that men ever operate clothes dryers–oddly, since his client does–asked us to ask our wives whether they are concerned about rust stains in their dryers. None is.

Nice.

Prior ATL articles have shown that some men really expect their wives to do all the laundry, but they are a dying breed (I think). There’s no way that attorney would have joked about women washing clothes if there was a woman on the 7th Circuit panel.

Hopefully, getting smacked around by Posner will teach this attorney that he should not make sexist remarks in open court regardless of the gender diversity on the bench.

Thorogood.SearsRoebuck.Opinion.pdf

Earlier: And No, She Doesn’t Do Windows

Posner.jpgProcrastination is a terrible habit, and the internet is truly the great enabler. How many hours of productivity are lost to YouTube each year?
Judging from Law Firm March Madness traffic, lawyers are definitely among the office workers looking for distraction. Slate has gathered “procrastination rituals” from various professionals. One of the contributors is Judge Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit. His ritual is not to procrastinate:

Procrastination is very unhealthy. It causes problems for the people who are counting on you to complete things in a timely fashion and it makes your own life more difficult…. It helps to be a little compulsive. Then you feel uncomfortable if something is hanging over you — that’s the opposite of procrastination, a compulsion to complete things and get rid of the albatross hanging over you…. I have that compulsion.

And that’s why he’s Richard Posner: circuit judge, law professor, author of almost forty (40) books, prolific blogger, and one of the world’s top 100 public intellectuals. And he even manages to sleep, about six hours a night on average.
“Don’t procrastinate.” Like so much good advice, it’s hard to follow. But we’ll try. Just after we’re done reading this article about a scientific formula for procrastinating, searching the videos that come up on YouTube when you search “procrastinate”, listening to the Posner-Lat podcast, and playing our turn in Scrabulous…
Procrasti-Nation [Slate.com]

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