Benchslaps

Could this investigation spell doom for Beau Brindley’s legal career?

“At the Law Offices of Beau B. Brindley, it is our policy to respond to all criminal charges with a relentless attack on the government. We aggressively pursue every case as if we were the accused.”

Those words, from the website of prominent Chicago defense lawyer Beau Brindley, have proved prescient. Now Brindley might get to feel exactly what it’s like to be in the shoes of the accused.

As we mentioned yesterday, Brindley finds himself the subject of a federal criminal probe. What are the allegations against him?

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* Donald Trump is suing to get his name removed from the Trump Plaza and Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City because his reputation is tarnished by tacky façades dedicated to giving off the mere illusion of success. [Bloomberg Businessweek]

* Beset by corruption allegations, Governor Cuomo is using funds out of his campaign war chest to fund his defense rather than squandering taxpayer dollars. Ball’s in your court neighboring state governor. [North County Public Radio]

* Beau Brindley, a benchslap legend, is now the subject of his very own federal criminal probe after allegedly encouraging a client to lie under oath. A tipster told us last year “this won’t be the last you hear of [Brindley].” How prophetic. [Chicago Sun-Times]

* The woman given a forced blow job simulation for the glory of a 7-inch Burger King burger is speaking out. [Copyranter]

* The Women’s World Cup is scheduled for next year in Canada, but a number of high-profile players are threatening — with the help of Boies, Schiller & Flexner and Canadian firm Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt — to sue FIFA for discrimination over its plan to subject the women’s tournament to artificial turf. Are you suggesting FIFA is a disastrously flawed organization? Get out. [Fox Sports]

* Guess what? Your insurance company isn’t made up of the worst people on the planet. Unless you use this insurance company. Because then, maybe it is. [Gawker]

* A Harvard Law grad wanted to install an intercom so he invented a system known as “Nucleus” that does the job for less than $200. [Technical.ly Philly]

* If you’re interested in the fun and exciting world of startups, head on out to Legal Tech SF’s Startup Weekend. It’s August 15-17 at Airbnb headquarters. I assume after August 17 the location reverts to the headquarters of some other company. [Legal Tech SF]

Litigators get away with a lot of obnoxious stuff during discovery. For better or worse, the pre-trial discovery phase of civil litigation is every lawyer’s opportunity to relive those times when parents leave kids alone for the first time: every slight, disagreement, and jealousy on a slow boil explodes into anarchic back-biting once there’s no authority figure around to enforce civility. Bring on the mean-spirited letters and smack-talking RFAs.

When it comes to depositions, it doesn’t always reach “fatboy” levels, but a federal deposition isn’t a deposition until someone threatens to call the magistrate — though never does.

Which is why this benchslap, where a federal judge levies a sanction straight out of elementary school, is so appropriate….

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Rarely are the stakes of a benchslap elevated to the level of life and death.

And yet, a federal judge made just such a life and death call recently in swatting down an annoying lawyer wasting the court’s time with a litany of discovery disputes.

Thankfully, despite the stakes it’s a pretty funny benchslap….

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We overuse the word “childish” when discussing the behavior of lawyers. This dispute though is so utterly childish it can be summed up as “Teacher! Denise swore!” and “But, Dan did it first!”

Rare is the opinion with the word “a**hole” (though without the wusstrisks we use on this site) in the opening sentence. But that’s what you get when a judge levels a benchslap against one side for “intemperate language,” which is apparently a thing that lawyers shouldn’t use.

Now lawyers can be a salty bunch, so it takes a serious outburst to earn the ire of a federal judge. And this woman doesn’t disappoint, allegedly drafting an aggressive email peppered with “intemperate language” combined with shady tactics and outright lying. It’s a cocktail of behavior that deserves consideration if you’re looking for case studies for a professional responsibility course. As the judge writes in his opinion, this is one where the lawyer should have hit “delete” instead of “send.”

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So it’s come to this. We live in a world where the headline “Lawyer Smacks Judge Repeatedly With Flyswatter” had to be written. That jumble of words came together to honestly describe an actual event.

If you’re still pining to live in a world of trial by combat, have we got the court for you. Consider this the logical progression from a world where judges feel free to physically benchslap attorneys in the hallway — because now the lawyers are fighting back and there are weapons involved.

Granted a plastic flyswatter lacks the heroic appeal of Prince Oberyn’s spear, but it’s a terrifying weapon nonetheless because nobody wants to be hit in the face with a flyswatter.

Watch the rise of alternative dispute resolution take another unsuspected swerve off the road in this closed circuit video feed….

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* Mitchell Epner breaks down the Donald Sterling trial, which kicked off today. Or “tipped off” today. [CNBC]

* Judge Kopf reviews Keith Lee’s The Marble and the Sculptor. Keith can take heart that His Honor didn’t tell him to STFU. [Hercules and the Umpire]

* MoloLamken offers its comprehensive review of the Supreme Court’s recently concluded adventures from the perspective of businesses. Spoiler alert: businesses did really, really well. [MoloLamken]

* Former seminary dean lied about his religious background and then tried to sue the guy who called him out on it. Benchslapping ensued in a fee decision: “Plaintiff’s sparse trickle of written argument gave way at the hearing to an overflow of objectively unreasonable claims…. Plaintiff either cast unsupported aspersions or asserted boldfaced contradictions, adopting whatever narrative best served him at the time.” In fairness, those sound like they might be assets in organized religion. [Religion Posts]

* If you want to know what’s up in the energy sector, Breaking Energy now has a “Law Firms Perspective” feed. [Breaking Energy]

* Discretion is the better part of valor: gamblers turned down around $1.5 million payout to sue casino for illegal detention… and then lost. [ATL Redline]

* I’ve said before that I find the concept of legal tattoos fascinating. This one is incredibly meta….

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* Judge Judy hears a case about Grindr. “Don’t pee on my leg… unless you’re into that.” [Gawker]

* Supreme Court retirements announced! [Legal Times]

* Most criminals don’t walk around in a giant yellow bird costume. This guy is not most criminals. [Lowering the Bar]

* The Washington Post credits blogger Josh Blackman with coining the term “benchslap.” Professor Blackman corrected the author. Let’s get a Kickstarter going to buy her a Black’s Law Dictionary (affiliate link) so she doesn’t make this mistake again. [Washington Post]

* The Chamber of Commerce didn’t win every case this term. But it came awfully close to perfect when it counted. [Constitutional Accountability Center]

* If you’ve been looking to complete your collection of Second Circuit bobbleheads, behold Judge Denny Chin! If this wasn’t sponsored by the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, I’d worry this pic was a little racist…. [Squareup]

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* Jury duty is the only major civic duty that no one ever talks about. Professor Andrew Ferguson would like to change that by encouraging jurors to speak up about their experience. Enjoy learning how the sausage of justice is made! [Huffington Post]

* Verizon threatens to sue Netflix for honestly reporting how bad Verizon’s internet speeds are. [DailyTech]

* Hey, after all those threesomes, Case Western Med School is the one in court over “professionalism” concerns. [Cleveland Plain-Dealer]

* Of course a case about using a chemical weapon on a mistress is named “Bond.” Let’s examine Justice Scalia’s curious concurrence, shall we? [Constitutional Accountability Center]

* Dragons and isolationism. Makes sense. [The Legal Geeks]

* Cybercrime is pretty costly. [Lawfare]

* The emerging schism in the LGBT community on whether the term “Tranny” is empowering or a slur. Of course this is Legal Insurrection coverage, so the conclusion here is everyone who’s not with the straight white male program should just keep quiet, but the issue itself is interesting. [Legal Insurrection]

* Judge Kopf was asked to review Uncertain Justice by Professor Tribe and Joshua Matz. He didn’t want to do it, but thankfully he changed his mind. [Hercules and the Umpire]

* Slate Money discussed the Second Circuit’s reversal of Judge Rakoff last week and cited Above the Law specifically for the word “benchslap.” [Slate Money]

* Congratulations to UC Hastings dean and occasional ATL columnist Frank Wu on his reappointment as chancellor and dean! [UC Hastings]

* Lawyer + Cat = Internet win. Here’s the pic that’s going viral… [Imgur]

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