Disasters / Emergencies

Springfield, Massachusetts, is a city that’s home to the Basketball Hall of Fame, and my alma mater, Western New England University School of Law. I had the (dis)pleasure of living in Springfield for five years, and from earthquakes to tornadoes to purse snatchings, I thought that I had seen it all. Boy, was I wrong!

Apparently I escaped the slums of downtown Springfield just in time to avoid a stripper explosion (not an actual stripper explosion; that would be glittery and fabulous). No, as you may have heard over the holiday weekend, there was a massive natural gas explosion in Springfield that leveled a strip club, damaging numerous other buildings in the city’s entertainment district, about two blocks over from my old apartment.

At first, no one knew what could have caused the gas leak that triggered the blast, but now fingers are being pointed every which way. This may sound like a 1L Torts hypothetical, but who’s liable for the explosion?

Did the strippers grind so hard on the pole that they ignited a spark that set the blaze? Did the babies shrieking in the daycare center next door to the strip club (yes, seriously) inspire a childcare worker to light a match and burn that mother down?

Let’s get some insights from our readers on who will be held ultimately responsible for this calamity….

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Do you remember the BP oil spill? Environmental disaster, engineering fail, news media miss… except for Aaron Sorkin and his amazing hindsight reporting. You know, the BP oil spill.

Yesterday, BP accepted criminal responsibility for the Deepwater Horizon explosion and agreed to pay $4.5 billion in fines and restitution. That’s a record. And, sure, that $4.5 billion is less than a quarter’s worth of profits at BP, but what are you going to do?

And BP isn’t done paying for this. Civil penalties will be coming to a theater near you.

But is all this too much? BP has been selling assets and firing staff to pay for these penalties. On the other hand, something tells me that they’re still going to aggressively drill for oil wherever they’re legally allowed to do so….

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Lower Manhattan took some hits from Superstorm Sandy.

President Barack Obama is coming to New York City today to check in on the city’s recovery from Superstorm Sandy.

Maybe he should check out some of the law firms downtown. While most New York-area law firms focused on getting people back to work as quickly as possible after the storm, some shops continue to experience more structural issues.

Not that those firms are talking about it. I guess some firms don’t like to admit that anything can go wrong in the Financial District….

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* In a move to “end the vacancy crisis,” one week after being reelected, and one day after the Senate returned to session, Barack Obama nominated seven people for open seats on federal district courts, including two S.D.N.Y. slots. [Blog of Legal Times]

* Dewey know how much the Los Angeles Dodgers will have to pay the now defunct firm for its work on the team’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy case? About $13M — the equivalent of their pitcher’s salary, or 62% of their first baseman’s pay. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Which Biglaw firms in the Am Law 200 are the most LGBT friendly? Overall, of the 145 firms that participated in the Human Rights Campaign’s survey, 71 received perfect scores. Absolutely fabulous! [Am Law Daily]

* The American Bar Association’s Task Force on the Future of Legal Education wants to know what should be done about law schools. This is a time to keep it simple, stupid: change EVERYTHING! [National Law Journal]

* The New York Court of Appeals invoked the Major Disaster Rule for the first time ever, allowing out-of-state attorneys to perform pro bono services for Hurricane Sandy victims. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* William Adams, the Texas family court judge who got caught beating his daughter, returned to the bench yesterday after a year-long suspension. At least he won’t get physical abuse cases, anymore. [Fox News]

* John Coffey, Senior Status Judge of the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, RIP. [Journal Sentinel]

* “[T]here is only so far you can go when representing clients.” David Tamman, the ex-Nixon Peabody partner who was “thrown under the bus” by the firm, was found guilty of helping a client cover up a $20M Ponzi scheme. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* You surely must remember former UT Law dean Larry Sager and his controversial $500K forgivable loan. Well, as it turns out, the school is now condemning the practice as inappropriate, and calling for its permanent suspension. [Texas Tribune]

* Someone finally sued a power company over its horrendous response to Hurricane Sandy. The Long Island Power Authority should’ve seen this lawsuit coming, but was woefully unprepared. Figures. [Bloomberg]

* I can haz copyright infringement? Internet memes are all the rage — we even had our own contest — but you may find yourself wading into dangerous intellectual property waters with improper use. [Corporate Counsel]

* Papa John’s is facing a $250M class-action lawsuit for spamming its customers with text messages advertising deals. With share prices dropping, it must suck to be Peyton Manning right now. [CNNMoney]

Paula Broadwell

* Deep in the heart of Texas, plans are in the works for the state’s secession from the nation via online petition. The most likely White House response? Probably something like this: “HAHAHAHAHAHA!” [Hillicon Valley / The Hill]

* Paula Broadwell, better known as ex-CIA director David Petraeus’s side piece, has officially lawyered up. This guy had better watch out, because he kind of looks a little bit like her former flame. [Washington Post]

* And then they came for the Steves, but there was no one left to speak for them. The day of reckoning has finally come for the men who are being blamed for cooking Dewey’s LeBoeuf. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Law firms in Manhattan are still recovering from Hurricane Sandy. Not for nothing, but all of the staff members at WilmerHale who were tasked with getting rid of all of the rotten food in the firm’s cafeteria should get a double bonus. Just saying. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Good news, underemployed law school graduates baristas! The First Circuit just affirmed your $14.1M tip-sharing judgment. Maybe now they’ll be able to afford the Starbucks diet. [National Law Journal]

* “This lawsuit is a massive fraud on the federal courts and defendants. It has now descended into farce.” Facebook is yet again seeking dismissal of Paul Ceglia’s ownership claims. [Threat Level / Wired]

* There may be five deciding factors when it comes to law school admissions, but serious candidates should focus on the two most important ones: LSAT and GPA. [Law School Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]

Kristen Saban

* With Eric Holder questioning his job, and Deval Patrick dining at the White House, perhaps we’ll see our second black attorney general. Or not, because one of the Governor’s aides says he’ll continue his reign as a Masshole. [Washington Times; Buzzfeed]

* When it came to sanctions for discovery violations in the Apple v. Samsung case, this judge was all about pinching pennies. Last week, both Quinn Emanuel and MoFo got taken to task over their apparently “sloppy billing practices.” [The Recorder]

* What’s the most inappropriate thing for a federal judge to say to jurors when delivering the news that a defendant of Asian descent killed herself after testifying? “Sayonara.” Ugh. [Careerist via New York Times]

* “Law school is very unforgiving, but classes must go on.” Law schools in the New York metropolitan area are still trying to make sure their students are safe and sound — and studying, of course. [New York Law Journal]

* Another one bites the dust: Team Strauss/Anziska’s lawsuit against John Marshall Law School over its allegedly phony post-graduate employment statistics has been dismissed with prejudice. [Chicago Tribune]

* Are you ready for some litigation? Lawyers for Nick Saban’s daughter are showing the sorority girl who sued her what it’s like to get rolled by the Alabama tide in a flurry of more than 40 subpoenas. [Times Leader]

* “We know in our hearts that for the United States of America, the best is yet to come.” Barack Obama was re-elected as president. Bring on the hope and change! No, seriously. [New York Times]

* In news that shouldn’t come as a surprise, regardless of who won the presidential race, there are still post-election voting issues that will likely be resolved in the courts. [Blog of Legal Times]

* But what we really want to know is who will be our country’s next attorney general. Because if anyone can fill Eric Holder’s shoes, it’s Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the S.D.N.Y. [WSJ Law Blog]

* In other important news, several states approved gay marriage ballot initiatives, and others legalized marijuana. But hopefully you don’t have a case of the munchies yet — federal law still says it’s illegal. [CNN]

* They helped American citizens “ba-rock” the vote: hundreds of law students from around the country rallied around the craziness of Election Day to volunteer their assistance to worthy causes. [National Law Journal]

* Biglaw firms in NYC are still reeling after Hurricane Sandy. While WilmerHale set up temporary offices last week, both SullCrom and Fried Frank could be out of commission for weeks. [Reuters; New York Times]

* At this point, in-house counsel are kind of like the McKayla Maroneys of the legal profession, because they are seriously unimpressed with outside counsel’s efforts to improve services and fees. [Corporate Counsel]

* Judge Theodore Jones, associate judge of the New York Court of Appeals, RIP. [New York Law Journal]

An awning taken down by Sandy.

Hurricane Sandy hit the legal world hard, as we’ve chronicled in these pages. And many lawyers and legal employers are still feeling its effects — quite literally. If you work at one prominent downtown law firm, for example, we hope you’re wearing thermal underwear.

As we mentioned on Friday, some individuals have been exploiting the Superstorm Sandy crisis to take advantage of others. The Justice Department and the SEC have issued warnings about various “Sandy scams.”

On the opposite end of the decency spectrum, some lawyers and law firms are stepping up to the plate and supporting Hurricane Sandy relief and recovery efforts. Let’s see what they’re doing — and give them some well-deserved kudos for their work….

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Manhattan is going back to work today. The power is on, pretty much. The subways are running, basically. And, well hell there’s money to be made, so get your asses to your desks.

While Staten Island is still a soggy disaster, Emperor Bloomberg has gotten the corporate centers of wealth generation back online in his “luxury city.” And so the city that never sleeps is waking up.

But just because we have power doesn’t mean there is heat. Yeah, the power is back on in SoPo, but in many places the heat isn’t yet working. (This is the case in Lat’s apartment; luckily he’s already in Nashville for an event tomorrow at Vanderbilt Law.)

So, I guess you need to be able to type with gloves on? A tipster at one Biglaw firm tells us a chilling story….

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