9th Circuit

QE's Kathleen Sullivan as Lawyer Barbie

* Dewey know the firms that have been tapped to represent the groups that this failed firm owes money to? Yes, we do! Brown Rudnick for the unsecured creditors’ committee, and Kasowitz Benson for the former D&L partners. [Am Law Daily (sub. req.)]

* The Ninth Circuit is supposed to be issuing an order today regarding an en banc reconsideration request on the Prop 8 case. They really ought to slap a big fat denial on that motherf’er and call it a day so we get some SCOTUS action. [Poliglot / Metro Weekly]

* Matthew Kluger, most recently of Wilson Sonsini, has been sentenced to 12 years in prison, which is the longest sentence that anyone’s ever received in an insider trading case. Uh yeah, he’ll be appealing. [Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)]

* Hughes Hubbard & Reed has billed more than $17M in the first four months of its work on MF Global’s unwinding. Will the firm will be handing out spring “special” bonuses like they did last year? [Reuters]

* Mattel is appealing MGA’s $310M copyright award, claiming that the judgment was based on “erroneous billing invoices.” Don’t you call my billable hours into question, Kathleen Sullivan. [National Law Journal]

* Jerry Sandusky’s accusers will be named in court thanks to this judge’s ruling. But don’t worry — there’s no tweeting, texting, or emailing allowed in his courtroom. Like that’ll make a difference. [Legal Intelligencer]

* Trust me, I’m a lawyer: a now-disbarred Colorado attorney managed to scam a convicted con artist out of more than $1 million. Now that’s some pretty sweet karmic intervention for you. [Missouri Lawyers Media]

* A bus driver is suing a hospital because he claims that instead of treating his painful erection, the staff watched a baseball game on TV. Whatever, that was a really great Yankees game. [Associated Press]

Seriously?

* The bassist of The Vandals, an 80s punk band famous for songs like “Anarchy Burger (Hold the Government),” is running for judge in southern California. Man, I would love to see his campaign video. [The Atlantic]

* Congratulations to Judge Morgan Brenda Christen, the first Alaskan woman to join the Ninth Circuit. [Courthouse News]

* It’s hard out here for a transfer student. [Inside the Law School Scam]

* Can a judge force you to turn over your Facebook status updates? Inquiring minds want to know when you ate your grilled cheese sandwich, and when you fed your cat. [The Volokh Conspiracy]

* Do you think the Divorce Hotel takes a AAA discount? Are they available for corporate retreats? Do you need to book a separate bedroom for the kids? [Legal Blog Watch]

* Take note, future political candidates: when the going gets tough, the tough get going change their legal name to a website URL. [Legal Juice]

Really, judge? Really?

* Dewey have any cash to pay the people helping to wind down our firm’s business? Nope! Even though JPMorgan backed D&L’s $8.6M motion to fund the firm’s ongoing operations, Judge Glenn insisted that the bank “[r]oll [its] truck up and start collecting accounts receivable.” [Am Law Daily (reg. req.)]

* “Don’t tase my baby, bro!” SCOTUS has declined to review a case where the Ninth Circuit ruled that the use of a Taser on a seven-month pregnant woman constituted excessive force. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* “The jury has sent a note that they’ve reached… [dramatic pause] … a good stopping point.” Judicial humor lightened the mood after the seventh day of deliberations without a verdict in the John Edwards trial. [ABC News]

* Dharun Ravi finally issued an apology for his “stupid and childish” behavior, and he’ll be heading off to serve his 30-day jail sentence on Thursday. And you know, that jail sentence is joke enough for this blurb. [CNN]

* “Dumb Blonde” isn’t a name that Elizabeth Warren takes too kindly to being called. She much prefers the name that her Native American ancestors bestowed upon her: “Running Joke.” [San Francisco Chronicle]

* Four of the alleged victims in the Jerry Sandusky case have asked the court to protect their identities. It’s kind of like the Michael Jackson case, but everyone cares more because this one involves football. [Bloomberg]

* Hundreds of lawyers, notaries, and other legal professionals took to the streets in Montreal earlier this week to publicly protest Bill 78, a law that limits public protests. That’s so meta, eh Canadians? [Montreal Gazette]

Judge Paul Watford

Congratulations to the newest member of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the Honorable Paul J. Watford. On Monday, Watford, currently a 44-year-old partner at the super-elite Munger Tolles & Olson, was confirmed to the federal bench. The vote was 61-34, and it came after a bit of drama in the Senate.

It’s surprising that Watford’s nomination was so contentious, given that he has a number of backers from the right side of the aisle. As noted by the San Francisco Chronicle, “[h]is supporters included conservative UCLA law Professor Eugene Volokh, who has described Watford as brilliant and ideologically moderate, and attorney Jeremy Rosen, former president of the Los Angeles chapter of the conservative Federalist Society” (and a noted appellate lawyer, who has appeared before in these pages).

That’s not all. Watford clerked for Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, one of a handful of prominent conservative or libertarian judges on the (generally liberal) Ninth Circuit. If you look at the ranks of former Kozinski clerks, you’ll see many members in good standing of the vast right-wing conspiracy (and some who are not, like Paul Watford — who went on to clerk for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and was nominated to the Ninth Circuit by a Democratic president).

Now that the handsome Watford has joined his superhottie boss on the bench, we have a trivia question: Who is the circuit judge with the most former law clerks to join him on the Court of Appeals during his lifetime?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Some Federal Judicial Congratulations — and a Bit of Trivia”

How would you define excessive force? There doesn’t seem to be a precise definition, if only because it’s a matter of legalese. Generally speaking, the police shouldn’t be using force beyond what is called for under the circumstances, which is a somewhat subjective test.

We’ll lob you a softball so you can decide the answers to these important questions. Can you use a Taser on a pregnant woman? How many times can you do it? Once? Twice? Three times?

Now, if your initial reaction was something like, “Holy sh*t! Who does that?,” you must be thinking that the police would be crazy to tase a pregnant woman — especially a pregnant woman who’s two months away from her due date. She’d have to have done something egregious to warrant the use of such force.

But that’s not what happened to a pregnant woman in Washington who received the punishment for a mere traffic violation. And the police officers who inflicted her pain want to take the case to the United States Supreme Court….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “How Many Times Can You Tase a Pregnant Woman Before Your Case Winds Up Before the Supreme Court?”

Ed. note: Please welcome Matt Kaiser, our new Supreme Court columnist at Above the Law. His photo and bio appear after the jump.

This is my first column for Above the Law on the Supreme Court. In an effort to help me generate effective linkbait, the Supreme Court issued an opinion yesterday at the intersection of bankruptcy and tax law for farmers — Hall v. United States.

Basically, Hall means that, if you’re a farmer and you declare bankruptcy on your farm under Chapter 12 (“the one just for farmers”), and, while in bankruptcy, you sell your farm, you will still have to pay capital gains tax on the sale of your farm — any liability to the IRS is not dischargeable.

Perhaps the most exciting part of the opinion is that Ninth Circuit was affirmed. Though, in fairness, the Ninth Circuit opinion was written by Judge O’Scannlain, so it’s not as though the Supreme Court affirmed Judge Reinhardt.

Also, farmers who are in bankruptcy and sell their farms now have to pay tax on the profits from those sales. I’m sure much of the Midwest is rioting in response.

For those who practice tax law, bankruptcy, or farming law, you will definitely want to read the opinion and some of the write-ups on it.

But the most exciting part of the morning involved new members of the Supreme Court bar….

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The federal judiciary recently lost two of its most distinguished members. One was a trial judge on the East Coast, and one was an appellate judge on the West Coast (as well as the nation’s longest-serving federal appellate judge).

Both were leading lights of the Article III judiciary. They will be deeply missed by their courts; their clerks, current and former; and their colleagues….

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The Snooki Defense

* Aw, come on, Mort, Dewey really have to pay you $61M? In case you missed it last night, the only thing that made the former vice chairman’s departure memo dramatic was the insane amount that he claims he’s owed. [DealBook / New York Times]

* Congratulations to Jacqueline H. Nguyen on her confirmation to the Ninth Circuit. She’s the first Asian American woman to sit on a federal appellate court, so she’s earned our judicial diva title (in a good way). You go girl! [Los Angeles Times]

* Google might’ve infringed upon Oracle’s copyrights, but a jury couldn’t decide if it constituted fair use. Sorry, Judge Alsup, but with that kind of a decision, you can bet your ass that there’ll be an appeal. [New York Times]

* A Harvard Law professor has come to Elizabeth Warren’s defense, claiming that an alleged affirmative action advantage played no role in her hiring. And besides, even if it did, it only played 1/32 of a role. [Boston Herald]

* Classes at Cooley Law’s Tampa Bay campus began last night. Unsurprisingly, the inaugural class is double the size originally projected, because everyone wants to attend the second-best school in the nation. [MLive]

* Albany Law will be having a three-day conference on the legal implications of the Civil War. This could be a little more exciting if presenters wore reenactment garb and did battle when it was over. [National Law Journal]

* Jury selection is underway in a second degree murder trial that will forever be known as the case where a defendant first raised the “Snooki Defense.” He didn’t kill his wife… but her spray tan did. [CBS Miami]

* Of course no one likes the new pro bono requirement for would-be New York lawyers. But is it also an abuse of regulatory discretion? Maaaaybe… [Ricochet]

* Attorneys settle a personal injury case for $350,000, just minutes before the jury returns a $9 million verdict. All hell breaks loose, Satan rides in on a chariot pulled by dragons, all the light bulbs explode, and now they are arguing over whether to retry the case. [The Recorder]

* Texas bar exam results are out! [Texas Board of Law Examiners]

* The jury judge has spoken. Woe and mockery to those in Pennsylvania’s 49th Judicial District who fail to use the Oxford comma. [Constitutional Daily]

* Do robots dream of electric anti-Semitism? A new lawsuit filed by a French anti-discrimination group thinks so. The group is not happy that Google apparently suggests “Jewish” as an autocomplete result if you look up celebrities such as Rupert Murdoch and Jon Hamm. I wonder if Godwin’s Law applies to computers. [Daily Dolt]

* The Ninth Circuit rules that John Yoo must be granted qualified immunity in a lawsuit filed by an American who was allegedly tortured. [Thomson Reuters]

* Interesting employment law tidbit: you might be able to destroy a surprising amount of your employer’s property before you get fired (gavel bang: Amar’e Stoudemire). [Dealbreaker]

There’s nothing a lawyer likes better than winning a case — especially a case that’s been argued before the U.S. Supreme Court. It’s basically the crowning achievement of a successful career in the law. That being said, even the most gracious SCOTUS victor is entitled to do some gloating (even if the subject matter was particularly snooze-worthy, like qualified immunity).

But sometimes lawyers can go a little overboard with their victory dances. Sometimes lawyers will think up some really outside-the-box ways to shame the losing litigant — and, in the process, themselves.

And with that, allow us introduce you to our Lawyer of the Day, a man who decided it would be a great idea to write a letter to his opponent with the suggestion that he read the SCOTUS opinion “eternally from hell”….

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