Ed. note: This new column is about sports and the law. You can read the introductory installment here.
In June of 2005, my girlfriend asked if we could go see War of the Worlds. Tom Cruise was flying high, engrossed in a love that would last forever, and starring in a blockbuster that was getting okay reviews. While I was never a huge fan of popcorn movies, I relented. After two solid hours of explosions and other loud noises, I walked away surprisingly impressed with the effort. While the Academy may ignore this film, I thought, I had had a damned good time. The very next weekend, I visited home and caught up with my father. I told him that I thought War of the Worlds was pretty enjoyable and, since I knew he had seen it with my mother recently, I asked him if he agreed. His face puckered sourly and he muttered “No…no.” Then I launched into a litany of guesses, all wrapped in a pseudo-intellectual pose, as to why he disliked the film. Well, sure, it was a silly action movie, but you could do far worse. Spielberg may have “grown up”, but he was still a populist director at heart and quite good at directing the kind of movies that Michael Bay was consistently f**king up. And sure, it wasn’t deep and didn’t leave me with anything besides the faint memory of two enjoyable hours. But wasn’t that enough? Dad patiently sat there as his son prattled on for a bit. When I was finally winded, he said “You want to know why I hated that movie? You know that scene in the beginning where Tom Cruise is playing catch with his son?” Sure, I replied. “Well, Tom Cruise throws a baseball like a goddamned girl. He pushes the thing. PUSH. PUSH. How did you not catch that!? It’s plain as day. And I’m supposed to think he’s a hero!?”
Every time the NFL or the NCAA gets involved in the law these days, you can bet there is going to be some pungent BS coming from heads of our national sports. Whether it’s the NCAA slamming Penn State without due process, or the NFL allegedly defaming one of its players (after punishing him without due process), sports leagues treat the law like so many high school jocks treat nerds: keep punching it until it stops talking.
Usually, the sports leagues look most ridiculous when they try to legislate the morality of their employees. As if anybody besides children and the easily deceived really care how their favorite players live on Monday through Saturday, so long as they come to play on Sunday.
Sundays are of course important. Because in addition to civic pride and fantasy points, there are quite a lot of Americans who have real money on the line when it comes to football. That’s a fact NFL executives are very well aware of… why do you think the league requires teams to make detailed injury reports before the betting lines are set?
But the NFL has to keep up appearances that they oppose gambling on their games, which is why they have objected to Governor Chris Christie’s entirely reasonable proposal to bring sports betting to New Jersey.
Yeah, non-gamblers might be surprised to learn that New Jersey doesn’t already allow sports betting, but you wouldn’t have the Sopranos if gambling was legal in the Garden State….
* Obama’s win for health care reform didn’t result in a polling bump for him, but it did result in an even higher disapproval rating for SCOTUS, at least as far as Republicans are concerned… [POLITCO; CBS News]
* … which may be why Chief Justice John Roberts escaped to “an impregnable island fortress” to avoid the Right’s fury, criticism, and scorn as soon as he could after the ACA opinion dropped. [New York Times]
* “[W]e have learned from the mistakes that were made.” That lesson only cost a few billion dollars. GlaxoSmithKline will pay $3B in the largest health-care fraud settlement in U.S. history. [Wall Street Journal]
* After losing a bid to quash a subpoena, Twitter has to turn over info about an #OWS protester’s tweets. OMG, please respond to that thing in 140 characters or less. [Bloomberg]
* Unlike most recent law school grads, Yale Law’s Vanessa Selbst hasn’t been hedging her bets in bar prep classes. Instead, she went all in, played her cards right, and won $244K at the World Series of Poker. [ESPN]
* Divorce really does bring out the best in people. Alec Baldwin says that if given the chance, he would murder his ex-wife Kim Basinger’s lawyer “with a baseball bat.” Gee, tell us how you really feel. [New York Post]
For some women, designer shoes are like works of fine art. With soles that can warm any fashionista’s soul, designer shoes are things to be cherished, nay, worshipped. And if you’re wise, you already know better than to mess with a woman’s shoe collection — especially a woman whose million-dollar shoe fetish inspired her to brand her groin area with a red-soled Louboutin tattoo. But unfortunately, some men still haven’t gotten the memo.
In a hand that professional poker player Beth Shak probably wishes she hadn’t been dealt, her ex-husband has decided to go all in with claims made in a new lawsuit against her. Hedge fund manager Daniel Shak, of SHK Asset Management, isn’t hedging his bets when it comes to allegations that his ex-wife hid a costly collection of designer assets in a “secret room,” thereby shielding her from forking over the big bucks in their divorce settlement.
What does this pretty poker player’s ex-husband seek, and just how many pairs of shoes does Beth Shak own?
* The first day of jury deliberations in the Rajat Gupta insider-trading case ended without a verdict. Benula Bensam’s boredom is epic — the poor girl can’t even blog about the trial anymore. [Bloomberg]
* Baker & McKenzie is celebrating its 50th year in Toronto, Canada by handing out spring bonuses luring in lateral hires. Welcome aboard to Kent Beattie, formerly of Slavies Davies. [Globe and Mail]
* You can run, you can hide, but you can’t escape Sandusky’s love. Alleged Victim No. 9 testified that he screamed for help in vain while staying in the former coach’s allegedly “soundproof” basement. [CNN]
* It’s hard out here for a shoeshiner: Cooley Law grads suing their alma mater over allegedly misleading employment statistics may face an “uphill battle” when it comes to fraud allegations. [WSJ Law Blog]
* The CEO of Caesars Entertainment has proclaimed that he has “tremendous confidence” that online poker will become legal in the near future. So much for keeping your poker face on that one, eh? [MSN Money]
* Imagine my surprise when I found out that a yet another man in Springfield, MA, was arrested for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. Here’s the surprise… the dangerous weapon was wasabi sauce. [TIME]
* While “Dewey remains a great firm with terrific lawyers” for the time being, check back in after five percent of the firm’s attorneys have been laid off. Then tell us how great and terrific things are, we dare you. [DealBook / New York Times]
* The University of St. Thomas School of Law really “take[s] data accuracy very seriously.” That’s why the employed at graduation rate the school reported to U.S. News was off by 47.7 percentage points, right? [National Law Journal]
* John Edwards has a judge’s permission to use Rielle Hunter’s lawyers at his campaign finance trial. Mmm, there’s nothing like getting some legal sloppy seconds from your former mistress. [Bloomberg]
* After two days of deliberations, jurors in the Dharun Ravi privacy trial still haven’t reached a verdict. Just think, if he had taken the plea, he wouldn’t be worrying as much about deportation right now. [New York Post]
* If Hemy Neuman’s delusions about Olivia Newton-John were about getting physical, instead of getting murderous, maybe he wouldn’t have been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. [CNN]
* It’s the most wonderful time of the year: March Madness! Are NCAA bracket pools legal in your office? It depends. Either way, all I know is that I’ll be betting on Lehigh. Go Mountain Hawks! [Businessweek]
* Former Quarles & Brady partner Jeffrey Elverman has been sentenced to five years of probation for swindling money from a little old lady. Does that count toward PPP? [Journal Sentinel]
* K&L Gates is suing a casino in Macau to recover client funds that were allegedly gambled away by former partner Navin Kumar Aggarwal. Silly Biglaw firm. Don’t you know the house always wins? [Am Law Daily]
* “I am not a lawyer. I’m a server. Lawyers do lawyer things. Lawyers work at law firms. Lawyers do public policy work… Lawyers don’t serve pizza.” Ah, the plight of the New York Law School graduate. [CBS News]
* Cooley Law: you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave. A former student’s suit over the school’s alleged attempt to keep him from transferring was dismissed this week. [National Law Journal]
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