Don’t worry about investing in a Ponzi scheme as long as you are smart or lucky enough to recoup your money before the whole thing falls apart. That is the upshot of U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff’s decision to significantly limit the amount of money trustee Irving Picard can seek from New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon.
It’s a huge decision. Because a professional sports franchise is involved (and I’m using the term “professional” very loosely when talking about the Mets), how this impacts Wilpon and the team on the field will dominate most of the headlines and discussions about the ruling.
But make no mistake, Judge Rakoff’s ruling will have a major effect on how much money is ever recovered for victims of Madoff’s shenanigans, and could have an effect on the future liability for all investors in Ponzi schemes….
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* Should we allow circuit judges to sit by designation on the U.S. Supreme Court? Here’s an interesting idea from Professor Gerard Magliocca. [Concurring Opinions]
* Hey Yalies: Did your alma mater accidentally make your name and Social Security number available to the public? (I got a letter about this; I guess it was legit.) [Gawker]
* Employment lawyers, any thoughts on this type of workplace behavior? [Fashionista]
* To those of you who want us to moderate comments more aggressively — we do moderate, but only in extreme cases, when brought to our attention — consider these wise words from Professor Paul Campos (aka ScamProf): “Law in general and law school in particular is already too full of fake politeness, fear-induced groveling, craven appeasement of dubious authority figures, unappetizing obsessions with hierarchical status, and other forms of soul-crushing inauthenticity.” So there. [Inside the Law School Scam]
Fortunately, you gave me so much paper. Otherwise, I would have had to watch a Mets game, which would have been a very painful process.
– the eminently quotable Judge Jed Rakoff (S.D.N.Y.), praising the thorough briefing by lawyers involved in the legal battle between the Bernard Madoff trustee, Irving Picard, and the owners of the New York Mets, Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz.
* Drowning in loan debt? There’s a niche for that! A Connecticut lawyer is paying off his $160K of law school loans with a client base comprised of — you guessed it — lawyers. [Hartford Business Journal via ABA Journal]
* In New York, new “while black” violations seem to pop up every few months. Apparently, riding in a taxi is now a friskable offense. [Metropolis / Wall Street Journal]
* More and more women are climbing the law school deanship ladder, but what I really want to know is why all of these successful women are trying to make themselves look so butch. [National Law Journal]
* Those of you who are
trying to lawyer-proof your rapey behavior taking the New York bar exam may want to check out this article about DSK’s sexy past for a refresher on the rules of evidence. [Reuters]
* “An inveterate scam artist whose misconduct extends across decades and borders.” Facebook’s answer in the Ceglia case makes it sound as if this dude is a movie villain. That would sound great in a trailer. [Not-So Private Parts / Forbes]
* A former Ropes & Gray attorney caught up in the Galleon Group insider trading scandal, Brien Santarlas, testified yesterday that he was paid thousands of dollars for tips. Then, he was told “to dispose of the phone — break it in half, submerge it in water and put it in a garbage can.” He was also told to “Fart on it, dredge it in panko bread crumbs, and talk mess about its momma.” [Bloomberg]
* Maria Shriver has retained prominent divorce attorney Laura Wasser, but has not decided whether to divorce Ahnuld or not. Every decent Arnold Schwarzenegger joke has been done, so here’s Jean-Claude Van Damme dancing. [CBS News]
* An Oregon woman has won her fight to get high and carry a handgun. A three-episode arc on Cops is still being negotiated. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Vivia Chen continues her impeccable trolling with a post on lawyers who were voted “most likely to succeed” in high school. Money quote: “If you’re in law, odds are slim that you came within breathing distance of cheerleaders or star athletes.” [The Careerist]
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* The Supreme Court heard arguments yesterday in a lawsuit asking courts to force major companies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Sotomayor spent the entire oral argument asking attorneys how she could fit more Miami Sound Machine on her Zune. [New York Times]
* Tiger Blogger Vivia Chen wants white guys to be hunted like animals. [The Careerist]
* Sponsors of Proposition 8 are mad that retired judge Vaughn Walker, who presided over Prop 8’s defeat in court, is giving lectures around the country that feature a three-minute clip of the trial. They say the video should remain in the closet. Or a desk drawer of some sort. [Los Angeles Times]
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* Former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling’s appeal was denied by the Fifth Circuit. While he remains the smartest guy in the room, the room consists of him and a half-wit cellmate whose only discernible talent is making Prune-o. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Bruce Fein, an attorney who worked on Clinton’s impeachment and called for Bush’s impeachment as well, has drafted articles of impeachment for Barack Obama. His high crime and misdemeanor? Time theft. [Politico]
* An Ohio man has been charged with a misdemeanor for barking at a police dog. When asked why he was barking at the female dog, the man calmly replied, “Bitch owes me money.” [CBS News]
* The government rested its case in the Raj Rajaratnam trial yesterday. Of additional note is the fact that Rajabba sits ten feet behind his defense table, partially obstructed from the jury box. You can’t completely block Rajabba from view. You can only wish to contain him. [New York Times]
* The government has warned attorneys for former Madoff employees not to use money that might be associated with Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. That includes, for their own health, any ass pennies. [ABA Journal]
* The Fourth Circuit rules in favor of a pundit-professor, in a case about the free speech rights of faculty members at public universities. [Chronicle of Higher Education]
* Charlie Sheen is trying to trademark his catchphrases now. He’s overexposed like a frostbitten penis — is there anything funny left to say about him at this point? (We might try; check in later.) [Forbes]