Alcohol

Luckily for all the non-Mormons in Idaho, the state doesn't find references to grand tetons offensive to anybody.

It’d be one thing if the state of Idaho banned all alcohol because the state sports a large Mormon population and Mormons don’t drink. That might raise a Con Law question or two, but before we could even litigate it out, the state’s many non-Mormons would rebel against the religious theocracy preventing them from drinking. (They wouldn’t call it a “theocracy” because some Grover Norquist-type would convince them that “redistributive taxes” had empowered a “Communist regime,” and the good people of Idaho would blame the black guy, but I digress.)

Banning all alcohol would be too obvious of an imposition of religious dogma upon a secular concern.

Instead, Idaho is trying to get away with a smaller encroachment of religion upon the public sphere. The state of Idaho has effectively banned the sale of one particular kind of vodka because the state believes the company’s marketing campaign is offensive to Mormons.

And no, the marketing campaign is not “drink some of this vodka and then go make fun of Mormons,” or anything the state could reasonably fear might affect the public safety of the citizens of Idaho….

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We’ve been dealing with a lot of negativity around here recently, what with the implosion of Dewey, the stress of finals, Texan lawyers flying off the handle. Seems like things are getting a little out of control. So, everyone, let’s just slow down and enjoy a nice story about drinking. Specifically the story of the recent Sixth Circuit decision about good old Kentucky bourbon.

The case involved an intellectual property dispute between Maker’s Mark and Jose Cuervo tequila. And the ruling begins with an epic six-page discussion about the history of whiskey.

I’m not complaining, but the opinion might have worked better as a history lesson…

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It’s springtime, and you know what that means: the Above the Law tips inbox has started overflowing with lurid tales of Barrister’s Ball debauchery. To start the season off on the right foot, we’ve got story for you from a law school that’s been on our watch list before for alcohol-related offenses.

Apparently students at this Massachusetts law school don’t know how to hold their liquor, much less how to properly budget for a such boozy extravaganza. This event is rumored to have cost the Student Bar Association more than $20,000, with overbudget expenses alleged to have reached the $8,000 mark.

Not too shabby for an affair where various bodily fluids were spilled. The ensuing drama all played out on the school’s online forum, where the following message appeared:

Can we all make a pact not to post this to ATL like someone did with those crazy booze swilling alcoholic 1Ls (now 2Ls)?

Alas, it seems that the kids at this school aren’t good at holding their secrets, either….

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Amanda Bynes

* With help from Fenwick & West, Facebook snatched up Instagram in a $1B deal that closed in just 54 hours. That’s a big accomplishment, but the bigger one was valuing a company that helps f**k up your photos at such a high price. [Am Law Daily]

* Senator Dick Durbin is trying to collect stories about soul-crushing law school debt in an effort to reform lending laws, but law students and new lawyers aren’t speaking up about the problem. Hey, Dick, it’s time to start reading Above the Law. [National Law Journal]

* Apparently sarcasm is lost upon mention of George Zimmerman, so let’s play this one straight. The man who shot and killed Trayvon Martin has set up a website to solicit money for his defense fund. Actually, that’s a pretty great punchline on its own. [MSNBC]

* A judge has refused to reduce accused “Millionaire Madam” Anna Gristina’s $2M bail. With her alleged clientele, you’d think she’d be able to afford it. Come on, John Edwards gets $400 haircuts. He’s probably willing to pay top dollar for his call girls. [Bloomberg]

* Amanda Bynes wasn’t drunk on alcohol, she was drunk on emotions, claims her daddy. That’s a defense that will totally stand up in court on a DUI charge. [New York Daily News]

Belvedere Vodka is still suffering a hangover from the rapey ad it broadcast on its Twitter and Facebook feeds last month. Alicyn Packard, the terrified-looking woman who refuses in the ad to “go down smoothly” on an obliviously-happy bro, has filed a lawsuit in L.A. Superior Court against Belvedere parent company Moet Hennessy USA, reports KTLA. She claims emotional distress after the company used her image without her consent in “an ad that’s so offensive to so many.” (And yet so funny to so many others.)

The ad was up on Twitter and Facebook for only an hour before someone came to his or her (let’s be honest, it was probably “his”) senses and deleted it. But as with heavy drinking, it only takes an hour to make an embarrassing spectacle of yourself….

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I work as a lawyer so I can afford Gold Label so I can forget that I work as a lawyer.

Facebook status update of a person who graduated from a top 10 law school and now works at a large law firm.

Robert Ringley

Throughout our coverage of Robert Ringley, the Ave Maria School of Law student accused of attempted murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, many have offered up their comments about the alleged occurrence, and thoughts about law school in general. This comment was perhaps the most fitting of them all:

Law school is a mental illness factory. If you go in healthy, you’ll come out bitter, angry, and depressed. If you go in unhealthy… well, you risk coming out a murderer.

Yesterday, some described Ringley as easygoing, funny, and carefree. But were those traits just used as a cover-up to mask Ringley’s darker side? We’ve got some additional insights on the alleged perpetrator’s state of mind, plus news on his status at Ave Maria Law….

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Robert Ringley

Earlier this week, we brought you news about Robert Christopher Ringley, the second-year student at Ave Maria School of Law who stands accused of shooting at and threatening to kill two of his classmates — Christopher Graves and Samantha Morris — during an alleged drunken bender.

In case you missed our coverage, Ringley has been charged with attempted murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Prior to his arrest, Ringley allegedly shared his feelings with Morris, his soon-to-be ex-girlfriend, while pacing back and forth with a gun:

“Just tell me you love me. I love you. I can kill myself. I can kill you. It’s simple.”

Creepy and melodramatic. Not a good way to keep a failing relationship intact, bro. So, who is the man who stole Ave Maria’s long-worn shroud of infamy from Andrew Shirvell, former Michigan assistant attorney general and outspoken opponent of homosexuality?

A former classmate has stepped forward to give us all the details….

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Robert Ringley

Law school, copious amounts of alcohol, and unrequited love are the ingredients necessary for a very dangerous cocktail, the effects of which can lead to much more than just a bad hangover.

Just ask Robert Christopher Ringley, a man whom we believe to be a second-year student at the Ave Maria School of Law.

Early Friday morning, Robert Ringley was charged with attempted murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after allegedly threatening to kill and shooting at two of his Ave Maria Law classmates.

What caused Ringley’s alleged of acts violence, and what’s love got to do with it? Let’s take a closer look at some of the allegations….

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Gerald Ung (left) and Edward DiDonato Jr. (right)

This shouldn’t come as a shock; we predicted it last February, when the criminal case ended in acquittal. But Eddie DiDonato Jr., a former lacrosse star at Villanova and the son of a prominent partner at the Fox Rothschild law firm, has filed a civil lawsuit against Gerald Ung, the Temple Law School student who shot DiDonato in January 2010 in the Old City section of Philadelphia.

Gerald Ung isn’t the only defendant. DiDonato is suing a half dozen other parties, relying on various theories of liability. Let’s think of this as a Torts final exam: Who else might DiDonato be suing besides Ung? What causes of action can you see?

Let’s take a closer look at the lawsuit, filed on behalf of DiDonato by one of Pennsylvania’s leading personal injury lawyers….

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