In Pennsylvania, testifying experts usually are not deposed before trial; typically, their written reports are provided in advance of trial and delineate the substance and scope of their testimony. Attorneys often wish to communicate with their client’s expert and comment on drafts of the reports. Until April 2014, the law was not clear whether these communications were discoverable. This uncertainty made it problematic and potentially perilous for a party’s attorney to communicate with the party’s testifying expert, particularly in advance of the disclosure of the expert’s report. In Barrick v. Holy Spirit Hosp. of the Sisters of Christian Charity, No. 2014 WL 1688447 (Pa. Apr. 29, 2014), the Justices of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania took up the issue of the discovery of attorney-expert communications and split 3-3. This left intact the Superior Court’s bright-line rule preventing discovery of attorney-expert communications—a rule now to be applied by Pennsylvania trial courts.
Are Attorney-Expert Communications Discoverable in Pennsylvania? (Almost never) — Some Clarity from the Appellate CourtsBy Donald Kaufman
A few weeks ago, Pennsylvania learned that its justice system spends all its time trading porn over the Internet when it isn’t taking kickbacks for wrongfully jailing children. This all came to light as part of the ongoing investigation into Why-Did-None-of-You-Do-Anything-About-Jerry-Sanduskygate because of course it did. You can’t be expected to do anything about an inveterate child molester when you’ve got one hand… well, doing other things.
As of yesterday, Justice McCaffrey is temporarily out of a job courtesy of a salacious Per Curiam Order denouncing the alleged traffic in “highly demeaning portrayals of members of various segments of the population, including women, elderly persons, and uniformed school girls.”
Perfect. And it turns out trading porn is the least of the allegations against Justice McCaffrey….
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* In other LGBT legal news, New York City is likely to make it easier for transgender individuals to amend their birth certificates. [New York Times]
* The ABA has issued a new opinion addressing ethical issues raised during the sale of a law practice. [American Bar Association]
The scandalous “porngate” controversy has been brewing for a while now in Pennsylvania. If you’re not familiar with what happened, it seems that hundreds of pornographic and racy emails were exchanged between dozens of state government employees and officials from 2008 to 2012. The vast majority of those emails were sent or read on state email accounts. Thus far, the names of eight former employees of the attorney general’s office have been released as being involved in the erotic email exchange, and two people have already resigned from their positions.
Late last week, the chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court demanded information on whether any of the justices seated on his bench had taken part in any of the sexy email swaps. Days later, we now know that at least one of the justices may have been improperly banging his gavel alongside state officials.
Which justice allegedly traded sexually explicit emails with his colleagues?
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* Pennsylvania’s Governor Tom Corbett, who really wants to win his reelection vote in November, won’t appeal the decision striking down the state’s ban on gay marriage, making him the third governor to concede after a major loss in court. [Bloomberg]
* Sen. Ted Kennedy finally received his diploma from UVA Law, albeit posthumously. The school’s registrar kept it for more than half a century — they didn’t have his address. Lucky guy never received donation letters, either. [National Law Journal]
* An associate is suing her former boss for six figures after he allegedly sent her erotic emails about his fantasy workplace affair. Her fantasy of loan repayment may come true if she wins this case. [Oregonian]
* Apple’s general counsel Bruce Sewell gave some pretty great advice to recent graduates at GW Law: “Be someone [your boss] can talk to, rather than someone she can give orders to.” [Corporate Counsel]
* The New Mexico Law Review is dedicating an upcoming issue to articles related to Breaking Bad, which officially makes it one of the only law reviews whose pages will be read by human beings. [WSJ Law Blog]
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* A DLA Piper partner was cleared by the firm in connection with a string of sexist emails exchanged with a client because real lads don’t get in trouble for such trifling behavior. We’ll have more on this later. [Am Law Daily]
* Patton Boggs partners started voting on the firm’s merger with Squire Sanders yesterday. Apparently there’s at least one partner who will not be allowed to join the new firm because of prior conduct. Sucks to be you, guy. [Reuters]
* “It’s the best way to prepare for a whole variety of things.” Right now is one of the best times to go to law school, say California law school deans who really need to get asses in empty seats. [Daily Transcript]
* “We are a better people than what these laws represent.” Pennsylvania’s ban on gay marriage was struck down yesterday, making it the 14th victory in a row for the marriage equality movement. [Bloomberg]
* Showtime just bought a law firm comedy about “four smartass, workaholic associates” in Biglaw trying to make partner and avoid being murdered by the office serial killer at the same time. Uh, yeah. [Deadline]
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* The debt “vultures” are still circling Argentina’s carcass, but later this month, the justices of the Supreme Court will convene to decide whether or not they’ll take up the country’s bond case. [DealBook / New York Times]
* Judge Robert Wilkins managed to sail through his D.C. Circuit confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee with great ease, but let’s see what happens when he gets to the full Senate. [Blog of Legal Times]
* An in-house attorney in Pennsylvania was suspended from the practice of law for six months because he attached a camera to his shoe to secretly film up women’s skirts. What a classy dude. [Legal Intelligencer (sub. req.)]
* Massive open online courses are trending in the world of higher education, and some law schools — e.g., Harvard and Northwestern — decided to get on the bandwagon while the getting’s good. [National Law Journal (sub. req.)]
* “I’m prepared to drop everything and go to law school,” says the man appealing his age discrimination suit against Baylor Law School because his GPA predates grade inflation. [Texas Lawyer (sub. req.)]
* The man who represented cast members of the Real Housewives of New Jersey was arrested for the unauthorized practice of law. We bet these “reality” TV stars wish they had a real lawyer. [Bergen Record]
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* The NSA has violated the Constitution for years, you say? And it’s been misleading the FISA court about all of its domestic spying activities? As of this moment, the NSA is on double secret probation! [New York Times]
* Imagine how the New York stop-and-frisk case would have turned out if it had been before SCOTUS. The “human toll of unconstitutional stops” may not have been weighed so heavily. [Opinionator / New York Times]
* “[N]o one has a crystal ball,” but right now, it’s highly likely that the Supreme Court will take up another gay marriage case. Perhaps it’ll be the one that’s currently unfolding in Pennsylvania. [Legal Intelligencer]
* According to a recent survey conducted by Randstad, about 60 percent of lawyers are proud to be members of the legal profession, which is impressive(!) considering how unhappy they are. [The Lawyer]
* Birds of a feather really do flock together. Philip Alito, son of Justice Samuel Alito, will join Eugene Scalia, son of Justice Antonin Scalia, at Gibson Dunn’s Washington, D.C. office. [Blog of Legal Times]
* Even though the vast majority of his race-based claims were dismissed on summary judgment, this “token black associate” still has a respected Biglaw firm up against the Ropes. [National Law Journal]
* Law school applications are plummeting, but top law schools haven’t started scraping the bottom of the barrel — their applicants’ LSAT scores have remained relatively competitive. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]
* I am Chelsea Manning, I am a female.” Considering (s)he was just sentenced to 35 years in prison,
Bradley Chelsea Manning picked a great time to make this announcement to the world. [Chicago Tribune]
* You dare call the Duchess of Dumplins racist and sexist? When it comes to Paula Deen’s new legal team from Morgan Lewis, five are women, and four are black. Take that, Lisa Jackson. [Am Law Daily]
- Attorney Misconduct, Clerkships, Deaths, Drugs, Education / Schools, Gay, Gay Marriage, Legal Ethics, Martin Lipton, Money, Morning Docket, Murder, Police, Privacy, SCOTUS, Sentencing Law, Shira Scheindlin, State Judges, State Judges Are Clowns, Supreme Court, Supreme Court Clerks
* As it turns out, the National Security Agency oversteps its legal authority thousands of times each year, but that’s only because it’s a “human-run agency.” [Washington Post]
* Federal judges have come together to bemoan sequestration. “We do not have projects or programs to cut; we only have people.” Eep! Don’t give them any ideas. [National Law Journal]
* Ready, set, lawgasm! The comment period for proposed amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure opened up yesterday, and yet again, e-discovery rules are on the table for debate. [Forbes]
* NYU professors want Martin Lipton to step down from the school’s board of trustees, but the Wachtell Lipton founding partner has had a honey badger-esque response — he don’t give a s**t. [Am Law Daily]
* As was widely expected, Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s army of New York City lawyers will soon take the first step to appeal Judge Shira Scheindlin’s stop-and-frisk ruling. [New York Law Journal (sub. req.)]
* A West Virginia judge was federally indicted for attempting to frame his secretary’s husband with drug charges. Did we mention that the secretary is the judge’s ex-lover? Quite dramatic. [Charleston Gazette]
* Consortium: Not just for straight couples. A same-sex couple in Pennsylvania is trying to appeal the dismissal of a loss of consortium claim in light of the Supreme Court’s Windsor ruling. [Legal Intelligencer]
* Christian Gerhartsreiter, aka poseur heir Clark Rockefeller, was just sentenced to 27 years to life in prison in a California cold-case murder. Maybe Lifetime will make a sequel to that god-awful movie. [Toronto Star]
* Jacques Vergès, defender of notorious villains and perpetual devil’s advocate, RIP. [New York Times]
Tuesday was the first day of the bar exam. That means now we get to share “stupid bar exam stories.” Yay!
Our first batch of bar exam adventures can be summed up by the student who hired a guy on TaskRabbit to sit in a café all morning and save her a seat for lunch near the Jacob Javits Center. It sounds extreme, but that bar exam is all about extremes.
Anyway, the girl was trying to get other students to go in with her on her bar exam “valet,” and she described TaskRabbit this way: “Task Rabbit is also available to run any emergency errands (if you need advil, tampons, or extra pencils from the store) during the lunch hour and while we are in the exam.”
As it turns out, at other testing centers, we had people who kind of needed emergency tampons and pencils….