A disciplinary hearing for a suspended Nevada state judge has been postponed, after she reported she felt ill.
The Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline suspended the hearing in its fifth day after Clark County District Court Judge Elizabeth Halverson’s lawyer said the diabetic judge experienced a hypoglycemic, or low blood sugar, episode.
The hearing is due to resume next Thursday and Friday in Las Vegas.
Further Update: More from our Halverson-obsessed tipster, after the jump.
Just a quick reminder about an interesting event, previously mentioned in these pages, which is taking place in a few hours. The ABA Journal, which just profiled U.S. News “rankings czar” Bob Morse, is hosting a live chat with him this afternoon. From Edward Adams of the ABA Journal:
Morse will be taking questions from the public on ABAJournal.com on Friday, April 11, from 3 to 4 p.m. ET. We hope you and your readers will participate.
More from the Journal:
Robert Morse, the man who created the law school rankings for U.S. News, offers an olive branch to law school deans who have long complained about the effect of the rankings on legal education. “Deans are welcome to call me or come by my office in Washington,” Morse says. “I want to work with them to improve the rankings.”
Some deans and former deans think they should engage the magazine, rather than just complain about it. “I think rankings need to be changed, and the only way that will happen is if law school deans sit down with Bob Morse for honest discussion,” says Nancy Rapoport, who resigned as dean of the University of Houston Law Center after her school dropped almost 20 points in the rankings. “I would attend a meeting like that without hesitation.”
So unhappy law school deans, here’s your chance. You can already submit “questions” — defined in academia as rambling screeds, concluded with “and what do you think of all this?” — by clicking here. Or just visit the ABA Journal’s home page at 3 PM Eastern time.
Additional links about the U.S. News rankings not mentioned in our earlier coverage, after the jump.
[B]elow is an email the Iowa law students received yesterday from Dean Jones about the new US News & World Report rankings. Apparently our dean is setting up small group meetings with the students. No faculty. No other administration. Methinks this may be somewhat of a divide and conquer strategy. These meetings may be in part a result of the newly formed Facebook group “Stop the Bleeding at Iowa Law.”
My favorite part, though, is that the “faculty” have dubbed their concern about the rankings “Project Apollo.” Well, if they’re not going to do anything about it, at least they can come up with a secret, clever code name, so it looks in hindsight like they’ve been planning D-Day part 2. Bravo profs and administration, you’ve really impressed me this time.
For the return on investment — a Biglaw job for $13k a year in tuition (for the top of the class) — many students were OK with the shortcomings of this law school. [But] with T3 looking over our shoulder, some fellow students are contemplating jumping ship….
It’s hard to justify leaving for debt-ridden T25 greener pastures when L. Rev. and a market-paying job in the City are likely. No one likes to be on the Titanic, though.
The message sent to the Buffalo student body by interim dean Makau Mutua, after the jump. Update (10:50 AM): Add the University of Minnesota Law School to the list of institutions whose deans are sending out school-wide emails about their declining rankings:
Students at the University of Minnesota Law School received this email today from the two interim co-deans. It’s pretty hilarious that they try to claim we are still a top 20 school even though we are now ranked #22. It’s particularly amusing that they have decided to “address the particular factors that caused a decline this year.”
The email from the school’s two interim co-deans, after the jump. Update (11:10 AM): From a source at UNC School of Law:
Since you’re posting panicked USN&WR reactions, add this one to your list. You know it’s bad when you have to respond in Latin.
Relax, folks. We are aware that the 2009 law school rankings of U.S. News & World Report have leaked, in advance of their official Friday publication date. They’re all over the blogosphere and the message boards (links collected below).
We’ve been sitting on this item for a little while — coordinating with our other posts this morning, taking into account our traffic patterns, etc. There is a method to our madness.
Ideally we’d hold this item even longer (which would allow us to do a more detailed write-up). But it’s clear that you’re all dying to talk about the rankings RIGHT NOW. And we don’t want to get any more emails and comments of the “why aren’t you writing about U.S. News” variety.
So here you go. Rankings and discussion, after the jump (i.e., click on the “Continue reading” link below).
As many of you may recall, from our prior coverage of him, Jonathan Lee Riches is in a South Carolina prison until 2012 for wire fraud and conspiracy. He’s killing his time by filing a ridiculous number of ridiculous lawsuits in courts across the country, nicely summarized in this overview of his oeuvre, in the Fulton County Daily Report:
Thirty-nine percent of the 491 cases filed so far this month in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia have been filed by one man: Jonathan Lee Riches.
Among the defendants to his 192 suits are former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer and his wife, Silda; the firms Pepper Hamilton and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom; the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; Hooters of America; Norwegian Cruise Lines Inc.; and investment banker Bruce Wasserstein. Riches’ celebrity targets include actors Anne Heche, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones; musicians Cyndi Lauper and Eddie Van Halen; and Braves pitcher Tom Glavine.
Riches has alleged that Eliot Spitzer “used the fines [from corporate convictions] to pay for prostitutes,” that the MacArthur Foundation froze Riches’ inmate account and funneled the money to Spitzer; and that Pepper Hamilton took a $1 million retainer from him and other inmates, but used the money to gamble on the New York Giants.
We wonder if the suit against Cyndi Lauper was about the mental anguish suffered when “Time After Time” gets stuck in your head.
Federal district courts across the country are annoyed at the waste of their man hours and money in processing the complaints. Is he crazy or crazy like a fox? He’s garnered a great amount of media attention, as detailed in his Wikipedia entry (and we’ve written about him extensively in these pages). We surmise that he may be setting himself up as a media commentator on frivolous lawsuits.
Some of Riches’ prior complaints have been dismissed, including a $662 trillion suit filed in the Northern District last summer against Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick. The suit alleged that Vick was attempting to “kidnap” Riches’ mind and to force him to lose weight, and demanded that the $662 trillion be delivered — in “British gold” shipped via truck — to the front gates of the prison where Riches is incarcerated.
Noting that a trio of other Riches’ suits — in federal courts in Michigan, South Carolina and Florida — had been dismissed as frivolous, Senior U.S. District Judge Willis B. Hunt Jr. dismissed the suit against Vick in August. He cited 28 U.S.C. §1915(g), the “Three Strikes Rule,” which says a prisoner is prohibited from bringing federal civil actions in forma pauperis if, while incarcerated, he has had three other suits dismissed on the grounds of frivolity, malice or failure to state a claim.
There is, however, an exception. The prisoner may file, the statute says, if he’s in imminent danger of physical injury.
“[T]his Court finds that none of Plaintiff’s farcical assertions in the complaint, including his claim that Michael Vick threw snowballs at his car, qualify as a claim of imminent danger of serious physical injury,” Hunt writes in Riches v. Vick, No. 07-13940-J.
A Haitian woman is suing one of the world’s largest law firms for $75 million, claiming that the firm used her only as window dressing because of her race, fired her for complaining about it, and finally blacklisted her in the New York law community.
Caroline Memnon, who is black, says in the lawsuit that despite her $125,000 salary as an associate at the New York office of London-based Clifford Chance LLP, she was never given any real work….
After firing her in 2002, Clifford Chance, known at the time as Clifford Chance Rogers & Wells, “surreptitiously ‘blackballed’ [her] within the community of New York law firms,” the suit says….
“We believe this claim to be without merit and will be contesting the case,” a Clifford Chance spokeswoman said.
Did Clifford Chance “blackball” her? Or did they just give her a less-than-stellar job reference, which employers are certainly entitled to do? [FN1]
Two other law firms, Chadbourne & Parke and Manatt Phelps & Phillips, both offered Ms. Memnon employment and then withdrew their offers, according to the lawsuit….
[Ms. Memnon] was hired by Sullivan & Worcester’s New York office and began working in February 2007. Sullivan & Worcester terminated her employment that March, though she billed 143 hours in her first three weeks there, which is above the firm’s expectation of 150 hours a month, the suit says.
The shortness of her stay at Sullivan makes one wonder if other issues are at work here. Could Caroline Memnon be another Charlene Morisseau — although probably less fabulous, since the divalicious Morisseau is in a class by herself?
[FN1] Does anyone else remember that Curb Your Enthusiasm episode where Larry David “recommends” someone for a job with Richard Lewis? Larry intends to make the recommendation a tepid one — “recommend,” in scare-quotes — but Richard doesn’t pick up on that. Law firms may be more attentive to such nuances. Woman Sues Law Firm Over Blacklisting [New York Sun]
Marc J. Randazza fills us in on the Texas sex toy ban, just struck down by the Fifth Circuit. According to Marc, the arguments for outlawing the sale of toys for your pleasure-parts are thus:
(1) If the Texas dildo law is invalidated as an improper encroachment upon personal liberty, this will open the floodgates, and laws on bigamy and incest will be struck down too.
(2) Striking down the law “impermissibly overrides state lawmakers’ settled ‘authority to regulate commercial activity they deem harmful to the public’” (naturally citing a dissenting opinion from the 11th Circuit).
Marc slams the arguments for his own well-articulated reasons at the link. To us, the first argument is a slippery (heh) slope argument, which is usually a weak logical tactic. The second argument is stronger, although we’d like to see a list of reasons why sex toys are so harmful.
It is still illegal to sell sex toys in Alabama. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an Alabama case in 2007 on the subject, so the lower court’s ruling (upholding the ban) remains intact. This quote, from Alabama store owner Sherri Williams (the store’s name is “Pleasures”) sums up the passion of people across the Southland who find the ban ridiculous:
“My motto has been they are going to have to pry this vibrator from my cold, dead hand. I refuse to give up,” she said.
We respectfully submit that the powers-that-be at O’Melveny & Myers need to “chill” (as Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) recently told former President Bill Clinton).
The folks at OMM apparently have some totalitarian tendencies. We heard they no-offered a summer associate from last year based on this individual’s personal blogging about the summer associate experience (which didn’t even mention the firm by name). And now we hear this rumor (by phone and by email, from multiple sources):
[T]he firm is furious about (true) comments sent to ATL about the firm’s poor performance and underhanded layoffs. Apparently, the fire rages so much so that OMM is dead set on a witch hunt to find the associate(s) who leaked the goings on to ATL.
Both the firm’s tech department and outside techies have been enlisted to figure out which associate’s computer the comments were sent from. OMM associates are now scared to even check your site while at work (though of course are keeping in the loop through home computers).
We contacted the firm for comment. We haven’t heard back from them as of the time of this posting.
We know next to nothing about labor and employment law. But to the labor lawyers among you, here’s a hypothetical:
You’re a lawyer at a major law firm. You provide negative information about your employer to ATL and/or post a comment on ATL (or a similar message board), complaining about the terms and conditions of your employment (e.g., salaries, bonuses, fringe benefits). Your employer finds out what you did, and promptly fires you.
You’re a lawyer — a well-educated, highly-paid professional ($160K+). You are not a member of a union; your office doesn’t have one.
You want to sue your former firm for firing you. Do you have any claim that your conduct was collective activity protected under the NLRA? Might you have any other cause of action, under federal or state law?
Maybe our friends at Workplace Prof Blog can enlighten us. Or if you’re a labor and employment lawyer, feel free to opine in the comments.
P.S. We’re experiencing mysterious technical difficulties this afternoon, so this may be our last post in a while. Maybe OMM is hacking ATL? Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of O’Melveny & Myers (scroll down)
Okay, it’s not a “layoff,” since it’s not due to economic pressures. Rather, it’s due to his being a total asshat judicial record and temperament — and maybe a certain infamous lawsuit he filed.
From the Washington Post:
Roy L. Pearson Jr., whose $54 million lawsuit against a Northeast Washington dry-cleaning shop was rejected in court, is about to lose his job as an administrative law judge, sources said last night.
A city commission voted yesterday against reappointing Pearson to the bench of the Office of Administrative Hearings, which hears cases involving various D.C. boards and agencies. Pearson, who was up for a 10-year term, had tried to hold on to the job.
Expect the litigious Pearson to fight any refusal to reappoint him:
If the panel carries out its decision against reappointing him, Pearson, 57, could take the case to the D.C. Court of Appeals. In a separate filing, he is asking the appellate court to overturn the decision in the dry-cleaning case.
The sources said that had Pearson’s term not ended this May, at the height of his battle with the dry cleaners, he might have kept the job. His term has expired, but Pearson has remained on the payroll, making $100,000 a year as an attorney adviser for the Office of Administrative Hearings.
First the case of the $54 million pants was dismissed. And now another ridiculous but amusing lawsuit, previously covered here and here, bites the dust.
From a piece by Sheri Qualters for the National Law Journal:
The federal court battle over a Massachusetts bar examination question about homosexual marriage has ended with the court accepting the plaintiff’s voluntary dismissal of the case.
On Oct. 9, a Massachusetts federal judge granted Stephen Dunne’s request to dismiss his case against the bar examination testing agency, the state Supreme Judicial Court and four individual justices over a question on the state’s bar exam concerning homosexual marriage.
In a lawsuit filed in June, Dunne claimed he failed the Massachusetts bar examination because he didn’t answer a question about homosexual marriage.
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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.
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