The Honorable James M. Brooks — a California trial judge and prior Judge of the Day honoree, with a history of getting himself into hotwater — might want to leave comedy to James L. Brooks.
Judge Brooks’s attempts at humor didn’t go over too well with the folks upstairs. From On Point News:
A California judge’s jocular behavior backfired as an appeals court ordered a new trial in an employment bias case, ruling that he had created a “circus atmosphere” and “a courtroom is not the Improv.”…
Brooks’s performance in the bias case against Ricoh Electronics suggests the CJP let him off lightly. The jury returned a defense verdict after a 31-day jury trial during which, the 4th District Court of Appeal said, the judge “allowed, indeed helped create, a circus atmosphere, giving defendants’ lawyer free rein to deride and make snide remarks at will and at the expense of plaintiffs and their lawyer.”
Among other things, Brooks flashed a hand-lettered sign saying “Overruled” when plaintiffs’ counsel Michelle A. Reinglass made objections. “It’s lightening things up,” he said when she objected to the sign.
The appellate court was not amused:
[A] courtroom is not the Improv and the presider’s role model is not Judge Judy. We can only imagine what was in the jurors’ minds as they endured a 30-plus day trial in this atmosphere or the impression of the judicial system they took away with them posttrial.
P.S. Please vote for Jordin Sparks in American Idol!!! Call 1-866-IDOLS-02, or text “VOTE” to 5702.
Even Professor Althouse, a diehard Blake Lewis fan, kind of agrees: “So, okay, let Jordin win. Blake will be fine. It will be better this way.”
Earlier this week, a California judge tossed out a lawsuit brought by a high school student who was disciplined by her school, and teased by her classmates, for using the phrase “That’s so gay.” From the Associated Press:
Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Elaine Rushing said she sympathized with 18-year-old Rebekah Rice for the ridicule she experienced at Maria Carrillo High School. But, the judge said, Rice’s lawyers failed to prove that school administrators had violated any state laws or singled the girl out for punishment….
The case filed by Rice and her parents in 2003 brought widespread attention to a three-word phrase that some teenagers use to mean “stupid” or “uncool,” but has come under attack as an insensitive insult to gay people.
The Rices argued that a teacher violated Rebekah Rice’s First Amendment rights by sending her to the principal’s office and putting a note in her school file. During a trial in February, Rebekah Rice testified she said “That’s so gay” as a response to other students asking her rude questions about her Mormon upbringing.
Regardless of the legal merits, it seems that young Rebekah could learn a little sensitivity. How would she feel if a classmate derided an ugly outfit of hers by saying, “That’s so polygamous”? Update / Clarification: We are NOT making fun of Mormonism. Please recall that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints actually REJECTS polgamy. Rather, we are making fun of the idiocy of playground insults (e.g., “That’s so polygamous” — which makes absolutely no sense). Judge Rules in ‘That’s So Gay’ Case [Associated Press]
JEEZ. What a tool.
An administrative law judge, Roy L. Pearson, is suing his dry cleaners. Over a missing pair of pants (subsequently found). For the insane sum of $65 million.
We kid you not. More details here.
Okay, we’re not completely shocked. Clownish antics from an ALJ? Heaven forfend.
No, we don’t have the highest opinion of administrative law “judges.” Roy Pearson should be flattered that news stories about his idiocy identify him as a “judge,” instead of a “petty and lame-ass federal bureaucrat.”
The defendant dry cleaners are represented by one Chris Manning. Is he Christopher C.S. Manning, of Manning & Sossamon, or Christopher N. Manning, the newly-minted Williams & Connolly partner? We’re guessing the former; but we’re hoping for the latter. We like the idea of the mighty Williams & Connolly steamrolling this prick pseudo-judicial moron.
More commentary from Overlawyered, here and here, and the WSJ Law Blog, here and here.
The second Overlawyered post provides a link to a reported opinion arising out of Roy Pearson’s divorce. The opinion reveals that Pearson and his ex-wife were having sexual relations very infrequently. Guess Pearson decided to go screw his dry cleaners instead.
And screw them he has. The Chungs have been so traumatized by the ordeal that they are thinking of closing their dry cleaning shop and moving back to Korea. Happy now, Your Honor? Judge Sues Cleaner for $65M Over Pants [Associated Press] Roy L. Pearson, Jr. [Office of Administrative Hearings] The $65 million pants: Judge Roy Pearson [Overlawyered] Judge Sues Dry Cleaners for $65 Million [WSJ Law Blog]
False arrests: they’re not just an American phenomenon. From ABC News (via Drudge, of course):
An Afghan tribesman with an uncanny resemblance to Osama bin Laden has now been arrested twice, both times following reported sightings and massive manhunts for the al Qaeda leader, Pakistani intelligence officials tell ABC News.
Over six feet tall and with the same angular nose as bin Laden, Sher Akbar comes from an Afghan village, Bagh e Metal, in an area where U.S. officials believe bin Laden has been hiding.
Best part of the article:
[A Pakistani intelligence] official said an extensive investigation involving Pakistani and U.S. intelligence officers found that the look-alike has no connection to bin Laden, but that local residents had tried to collect rewards based on Akhbar’s resemblance to bin Laden.
Recently I moved out of an undocumented sublet. … [T]he three subletters, myself included, lived at the apartment. A friend of mine crashed on the couch while he established himself in NYC for about a month. He paid for professional cleaning, picked up toilet paper, paper towels, and generally helped out where he could when he could. Now after I have moved out the other two subletters are seeking damages for him staying there. Damages in the neighborhood of ¼ of the rent for three months, treble damages on top of that to cover lawyers fees, and financial reimbursement for the repainting of the room that I stayed in.
To my knowledge, these guys don’t have a pot to piss in. If they had asked nicely for some cash from the guy I’m sure there wouldn’t have been an issue. However, with a lawyer sending certified mail to my work, to say I’m angry would be an understatement. What (if anything) are these guys able stand on in regards to real estate law?
This is the kind of situation that Professor Bob Ellickson, on whom LEWW had a massive crush in law school, would identify as a “love triangle.” Love triangle cases, Ellickson said, are the ones where the parties spent years and years in court fighting over something seemingly trivial, leading the reader to suspect that there was something else going on underneath the facts–some major grudge or mental instability that didn’t make it into the case book.
The dominant company in the bar exam test prep market, Bar/Bri, has been sued for alleged violations of federal antitrust laws. That class action lawsuit may be settling — and you might be a class member entitled to settlement proceeds. Click here for more info.
Are Bar/Bri’s legal woes over? Not necessarily. Given how painful it can be to sit through some of their classes, it’s only a matter of time before BarBri gets sued again. We’re sure some enterprising plaintiffs’ lawyer can come up with a tort theory for suing Bar/Bri, on behalf of all students who have had to suffer through their courses.
If you think such a lawsuit would be frivolous, then watch this video from the 2005 Virginia Law Libel Show (the same folks who brought you that Beastie Boys parody). The idiocy has been exaggerated for comic effect — but not by much. Enjoy.
We don’t write much about American Idol. We leave that subject to the experts, like Ann Althouse.
(You can read Professor Althouse’s take on last night’s show over here. Also, she shares our admiration for Sanjaya Malakar. Read her persuasive defense of Malakar over here.)
Today, however, we have a legal angle for writing about Idol. We have a video clip to pass along.
It’s already been nicely summarized by Vote For the Worst, a website that urges its readers to vote for the Idol that the website creators view as the least talented. So we’ll just quote from their blurb:
This is hysterical. On The O’Reilly Factor, civil litigator Danielle Aidala makes incredibly stupid arguments about how she could sue this website. The arguments are actually even stupider than the rationale from the 12 year olds who write to us, so it’s a pretty funny way to waste five minutes if you’re bored.
And here’s the video. It’s also up on YouTube, where it’s described as follows: “Danielle Aidala is a babe.”
(We agree with that sentiment — which may explain how Aidala wound up on Fox News. Fox seems to specialize in giving airtime to attractive female commentators with, umm, provocative or contrarian views.)
P.S. Danielle Aidala, in case you’re wondering, went to NYU for undergrad and Fordham for law school. Here’s her New York Times wedding announcement. She is not to be confused with Dianna Abdala, of “bla bla bla” fame.
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