Nauseating Things

Earlier this week, we told you about a class action lawsuit filed against Taco Bell over its taco fillings. The lawsuit alleges that Taco Bell inaccurately claims to be selling “seasoned beef” when in fact it is selling “taco meat filling.”

We didn’t think Taco Bell would take these allegations lying down. The WSJ Law Blog tells us that Taco Bell lawyers are thinking outside the bun box and contemplating a countersuit.

But today brings news of a more traditional response from the fast food giant: an all-out media blitz to assure customers about the quality of its food.

Taco Bell is issuing press releases, taking out full-page ads in newspapers, and even has their president talking about the Taco Bell “seasoned beef” recipe on YouTube. Sadly, Taco Bell isn’t available on SeamlessWeb here at the office — so I can talk about the ad campaign, but can’t experience it in my belly…

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I’m not going to lie: I love Taco Bell. It’s my favorite fast food. One of the most consistently annoying aspects of my life is that I’ve never lived near a Taco Bell. I always have to go out of my way to get it.

Now, generally my wife and I learn how to cook things that we like but don’t have easy access to. I can turn my kitchen into a lobster holocaust zone. We buy beef and grind it ourselves to make Shake Shack burgers. I’ve even once had a chef from a restaurant in Vegas email me a recipe of a dish I particularly enjoyed.

But I’ve never, ever come close to recreating the taste of a Taco Bell taco. Oh, I can make tacos, and they are tasty, but I can’t get the Taco Bell thing right.

Now I know why. I’m using real beef. Taco Bell is apparently using… something else…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “You Didn’t Really Think You Were Eating ‘Beef’ at Taco Bell, Did You?”

I don’t remember the moment I first learned how to wipe my ass without hurting myself. I don’t think I received a special present or accolade for that momentous life event. But perhaps my parents did take notice in this way:

MOM: Our little boy just successfully wiped himself without incident!
DAD: Good. Maybe you were right when you prevented me from taking him out back and shooting him.

The point is that successfully using toilet paper is a basic skill in civilized society. If you have an accident while administering toilet paper to yourself, it’s the kind of thing you really want to keep to yourself.

Unless, of course, you think you can get money out of the mishap. America baby, the only place where hurting yourself while performing basic hygienic practices can lead to a tort payday.

A Michigan woman broke her hand while trying to get toilet paper out of a dispenser in a restaurant bathroom. And now the Michigan Supreme Court has ruled that her case can be presented to a jury….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawsuit of the Day: Woman Breaks Hand Trying to Wipe Bum”

From partner to pedophile. From Super Lawyer to Super Creep. It’s time for an update on the story of Aaron Biber, the high-profile Minneapolis lawyer who was going to be the next president of the Minnesota State Bar Association but is now going to be a prison inmate. For a very long time.

Aaron Biber first appeared on our radar screen in December 2009, when we named him a Lawyer of the Day. At the time, Biber — a partner at the prominent Minnesota firm of Gray Plant Mooty, and co-chair of its antitrust practice — was charged with molesting a 15-year-old boy.

The charges were true, and Biber pleaded guilty to first-degree criminal sexual conduct back in July. Last week, Biber was sentenced.

What kind of sentence did he get? And what additional disturbing details have emerged about his heinous crime?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Closing the Loop on Aaron Biber, Prominent Partner Turned Pedophile”

Picture, if you will, my lawyer friend, Caitlin. She’s a mid-level finance associate at one of New York’s biggest lawyer factories. She’s been at the Big Law game long enough to be depressed on the good days and on the hunt for sturdy noose material on the bad days — which is to say most days. But, as luck would have it, after months of furtive interviews, she finally got an offer a couple of weeks ago to go in-house at a media company that most people I know, including me, would kill to work for.

So, when we went out to drinks last week to celebrate, I was expecting her to be ecstatic. I was expecting her to have quit the firm within five minutes of getting the offer. What I wasn’t expecting was three hours of listening to her waver, almost to the point of tears, about whether she should take the job.

I kept pressing her — what was it about this job offer that was making her so torn? The (awesome, non-billable) hours? The (cooler) people? The (less mind-numbing) work? Finally, after four Belvedere-tonics, she leaned across the table and lowered her voice.“It’s just… I’m just afraid…” She darted her eyes around and leaned in closer, lowering her eyes.

“I’m just afraid of what it’ll be like to feel…” she whispered, “…poor.”

The offered salary of the new in-house gig? $120,000 a year.

And now, a couple of weeks later, I’m still not sure what’s more disturbing: the fact that this friend — a worldly, educated, smart, able person — truly thinks that a single lawyer living in New York City on $120,000 could feel “poor” — or that fact that she’s absolutely right….

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Snoopy works from home instead of going to the MetLife Building.

This morning we reported on bedbugs at Winston & Strawn’s New York office. Alas, the problem might be much larger than we initially anticipated.

That’s because Winston & Strawn is located in the iconic MetLife building, at 200 Park Avenue in Manhattan. After this morning’s post went up, a spokesperson from Winston told us that all inquires about the bed bugs were being referred to the building’s landlord, real estate giant Tishman Speyer.

Are bedbugs crawling around the whole MetLife building? We don’t know yet; Tishman Speyer hasn’t returned our phone calls.

But if bed bugs are a threat to all the tenants of the MetLife building, there are three other law firms that could be getting very itchy…

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I recently wondered, on Twitter, whether it’s only a matter of time before everyone in Manhattan has bed bugs. Bedbugs are like death and taxes: they will get you eventually, and the only question is when.

For lawyers and staff in the legendary Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, the answer may be: soon. An employee in the office informs us that a bedbug-sniffing canine was brought into the 80 Centre Street building this afternoon — and that the dog alerted to the presence of bedbugs in multiple locations. Furthermore, rumor has it that (1) the powers-that-be in the office have known about bedbugs at 80 Centre Street for at least a week, and (2) the main building, at One Hogan Place, has had bedbugs for even longer.

(Right now Robert Morgenthau is probably thinking to himself, “Thank God I left that dump for Wachtell.” Morgenthau’s sucessor as DA, Cyrus Vance Jr., is probably scratching himself.)

“Several offices apparently came back positive for bed bugs,” said our source. “But, bizarrely, they are only going to fumigate those specific offices — not the entire building, like they should.”

Um, why the heck not?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Move Over, Muppets: Bedbugs Take Manhattan (D.A.’s Office)”

A couple of weeks ago, we reported on a bit of a bedbug breakout in the Brooklyn D.A.’s office. We thought it was kind of funny, but people who work in that office are not laughing. Instead, emails have been flying around the office — and one message in particular is both informative and hysterical. It’s just hard to decide if it’s hysterical (haha) or hysterical (dogs and cats living together).

The emails are coming from someone who calls himself or herself “Not Taking Bed Bugs” (“NTBB”). This individual is mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. NTBB is trying to incite some collective action from the employees in the Kings County District Attorney’s Office:

Please photograph every bed bug bite you get. Keep records of where in the office you were when you noticed it. Always inform [Lady Scapegoat] via email – exactly how many bites. She needs your help. She needs to know. They need a “paper trail” to document the progress.

Keep your own record of bed bug sighting and always inform [Lady Scapegoat] via email immediately exactly where and when. She needs your help. She needs to know. They need a “paper trail” to document the progress.

IF YOU ARE ANXIOUS FROM BED BUGS, PLEASE CALL IN SICK. ANXIETY IS A DISEASE WITH A MEDICAL DIAGNOSIS.

Also a disease: mass hysteria…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Bed Bugs v. Brooklyn D.A.’s Office: Round 2″

Joshua Gessler

Today brings bad news for Arnold & Porter — or maybe make that Arnold & Porno. If the allegations are true, the venerable Washington-based law firm has been employing a lawyer who made child pornography, starring a 15-year-old girl.

A 41-year-old associate in the Tysons Corner office of A&P, Joshua Gessler, has been charged with one count of producing child pornography and five counts of possession. The accusations, reported last night by NBC Washington, are on the lurid side.

Gessler connected online with a 15-year-old prostitute back in April, according to an affidavit in support of a search warrant, and offered her $200 to meet up — with the condition that she not be “camera shy” (i.e., that she be willing to be photographed).

Josh Gessler allegedly brought some equipment to their get-together. And we’re not talking about a camera and a tripod….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyer of the Day: Arnold & Porter Associate Accused of Kiddie Porn Production”

Over the weekend, we linked to the Gothamist story about the bed bug problem plaguing the Kings County D.A.’s office. The bed bug epidemic is sweeping New York. Yes, California, have your laughs. Just know that in New York we slough off bed begs; in California, the Earth itself will scratch you off into the ocean.

Still, your Manhattan-based Above the Law editorial team is well-protected from the brunt of this plague, as the New York Daily News reports:

Ten percent of respondents in Queens, Staten Island and Brooklyn reported bedbugs at work, as did 8% of Bronx residents, but just 3% of Manhattanites were afflicted.

And I bet those 3% of Manhattanites are the ones who fall for the occasional “come to my [party / wedding / wake] in Brooklyn, it’s not that far” email. Idiots. If God wanted us to cross rivers and risk the savages of the outer boroughs, he would have provided more helicopter pads.

Oh we kid, Kings County, ’cause living in Brooklyn is like living in Manhattan, only not nearly as cool. And because when the Kings County D.A.’s Office has a bed bug problem, they send out some hilarious emails.

And we’ve gotten our hands on those emails…

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