* New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg commissioned a report on SDNY Judge Shira Scheindlin in advance of her ruling on the NYPD’s controversial “hey, you’re black, come get a pat down” “stop-and-frisk” policy. According to the report, Judge Scheindlin is biased because she ruled against the NYPD in search and seizure cases 60% of the time. An alternative read is that the NYPD is really bad at following the Constitution. Occam’s Razor strikes again. [New York Daily News]
* STRIKE!: Legal Services NYC walked off the job this morning after rejecting new contract offers. [New York Law Journal]
* Pentagon Papers lawyer James C. Goodale thinks President Obama, whose administration seized phone records of journos, is worse than President Nixon, who tried to charge the New York Times for conspiracy to commit espionage. Because hyperbole is the awesomest thing in the world! [New York Observer]
* Tennessee law grad and judicial affairs director fired amid allegations she hooked up with Tennessee basketball player Trae Golden. [MStars News]
* After revelations earlier that Arkansas wasn’t “buying American” and instead getting its death penalty drugs from the UK, the pharmaceutical company announced it would cut off the supply, joining a number of drug companies that are practically slowing executions around the country by limiting supply. [YubaNet]
* After the post, check out the Biglaw firm using 4square way too much…
* What Dewey know about this failed firm’s bankruptcy case? According to Judge Glenn’s latest order, it seems like D&L’s Chapter 11 plan is on track for confirmation in late February, unless there are objections, of course. [Am Law Daily (sub. req.)]
* The Law School Admission Council is suing California because the state’s legislature banned the practice of alerting schools when applicants had extra time to complete the LSAT. How lovely that LSAC values the ability to discriminate. [National Law Journal]
* “It’s not like we let anybody in the door. We don’t.” Apparently Cooley Law’s new Florida campus has very stringent admissions standards. Oh really? What else is required, aside from a pulse? [Tampa Tribune]
* It’s now too constitutionally risky for cops to get all frisky: a federal judge ordered that the NYPD cease its stock-and-frisk trespass stops without reasonable suspicion of actual trespass. [New York Law Journal]
* Tamara Brady, the lawyer for the accused shooter in the Aurora movie theater massacre, is setting the stage for her client’s diminished capacity defense — because even the mentally ill can buy guns. [Bloomberg]
* Pfc. Bradley Manning of WikiLeaks infamy will receive a reduced sentence if he’s convicted due to his illegal pretrial punishment, like being forced to sleep in the nude. A true hero! [Nation Now / Los Angeles Times]
Today, playing the role of the scary black man, Jay-Z.
In a perfect dose of Friday news, a New York judge cited Jay-Z while allowing a lawsuit brought by public housing residents to continue against the City of New York.
The public housing residents and their visitors claim Fourth Amendment violations when visitors are detained as “trespassers” in public housing complexes. The city moved to kill the suit, but Judge Shira Scheindlin (S.D.N.Y. issued an 84-page opinion saying that the public housing residents could pursue their claims.
Normally, I throw my lot in with the segment of humanity who would rather be eating Brussels sprouts at a Phil Collins concert than reading 84-page public housing decisions. But Judge Scheindlin threw a Jay-Z reference into one of her footnotes. Fun! Unless you hate black people, in which case Judge Scheindlin is deeply subversive…
When we last wrote about the epic trademark war that Gucci launched against Guess in 2009, we noted that the case made headlines soon after the first filing. Apparently Gucci’s former in-house counsel, Jonathan Moss, had been engaging in faux lawyering, and he paid for it dearly — with his job.
Gucci v. Guess has been a dramatic roller coaster ride ever since, complete with men crying on the witness stand, and hours upon hours of in-court questioning for one company’s chief executive officer.
But as we noted in Morning Docket, a verdict has finally been reached in the case, and it looks like Guess will have to own up to its fashion faux pas with a payout of more than $4 million dollars in damages. But how will this ruling affect the fashion world at large? Let’s take a look….
* “Bring me Solo and the Wookiee. They will all suffer for this outrage.” Rajabba the Hut seems to have had a second Goldman Sachs tipper. Say hello to Rajat Gupta, who has pleaded not guilty. [Bloomberg]
* Counsel in the Gucci v. Guess trademark case wrapped up their closing arguments in court yesterday. It’s generally not a good thing when the judge interrupts you to question your late filing. [Businessweek]
* Uh, apparently there’s a legal battle concerning intellectual property having to do with a Three Stooges porn parody. I personally shudder to think of how Curly is portrayed. [Hollywood, Esq. / Hollywood Reporter]
* After taking a blow from that fake beef lawsuit, Taco Bell’s sales are up thanks to its Doritos taco. Because getting your fingers covered in orange crap totally makes up for the “taco meat filling.” [Washington Post]
Litigators at large law firms spend an inordinate (and depressing) amount of time on discovery disputes. They bombard poor magistrate judges with motions to compel. They bicker over deposition timing and location. They compile massive privilege logs. They file letter briefs with the court, explaining their entitlement to certain documents that opposing counsel is withholding, without justification.
Partners who work on such matters often say to their associates, “Find me a case in which a judge sanctioned a party for failure to comply with discovery obligations — preferably a case in which the non-compliance is exactly what opposing counsel is doing here, and ideally featuring soaring rhetoric about the importance of following discovery rules.” The associate spends several hours on Westlaw or Lexis, then returns empty-handed; there was nothing quite on-point. There was certainly no soaring rhetoric.
This shouldn’t be surprising. Do you think successful lawyers give up the practice of law in order to keep dealing with discovery-related headaches, for a fraction of what they earned in the private sector? Of course not. Federal district judges prefer to write published opinions about Sexy Constitutional Issues, leaving their magistrates to oversee the discovery playpen. In the rare discovery-related cases that do go up on appeal, federal circuit judges affirm as quickly and summarily as possible, so they can get back to the fun stuff. [FN1]
If you’re a Biglaw litigator searching for a published opinion addressing discovery issues, well, today is your lucky day. Check out this great opinion, just handed down — not by a mere magistrate or district judge, but by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit….
Ed. note: Gabe Acevedo will be covering LegalTech for Above the Law this year. If you are interested in communicating with someone from ATL about LegalTech coverage, please contact Gabe at email@example.com. Thanks.
It seems that judges are no longer afraid to unleash the power of the gavel when it comes to e-discovery violations.
Back in April 2010, we bestowed Lawyer of the Day honors upon Jonathan Moss, former in-house counsel to Gucci. There was a question, however, as to how much of a “lawyer” Moss was.
During his seven years working at the luxury fashion house, Moss did not have an active law license: he was a graduate of Fordham Law and a member of the California bar, but with “inactive” status. As a result, during the discovery process in some trademark litigation, opposing counsel from Guess? challenged Gucci’s assertion of attorney-client privilege over communications to and from Moss. The reasoning: because Moss wasn’t entitled to practice law in any jurisdiction, due to his inactive status with the California bar, the attorney-client privilege did not extend to communications with him.
A federal magistrate judge sided with Guess, concluding that Gucci’s communications with Moss weren’t privileged — and subject to disclosure. Yikes. After conducting an investigation that confirmed Moss’s inactive bar status, Gucci fired him in March 2010.
But now a federal district judge — Judge Shira Scheindlin, that delicious judicial diva of Zubulake fame — has set aside the magistrate’s order, and granted Gucci’s motion for a protective order….
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In a land that is right here and in a time that is right now, a technology has arisen so powerful that it can replace basic human document review. Is it time to bow down before our new robot overlords?
First, here’s a little story about me: my life in the legal world began as a paralegal. My first case was a GIANT patent infringement case that was already six years old and had involved as many as five companies, multiple US courts, the ITC and an international standards committee. I knew nothing about any of this.
On my first day, my supervisor (a paralegal with at least eight other cases driving her crazy) sat me down in front of a Concordance database with a 100,000+ patents and patent file histories. “Code these,” she said. I learned that “coding”, for the purposes of this exercise, meant manually typing the inventor’s name, the title of the patent, the assignee, the file date, and other objective data for each document. I worked on that project – and only that project – for at least the first six months of my job. After a week or so, time began to blur.
What I know, in retrospect and with absolutely certainty, is that as time began to blur, so did my judgment. So did my attention to detail. If you could tell me that I did not make at least one mistake a day – one inconsistent spelling, one reversed day and month, one incorrectly spaced title – I frankly would need to see your evidence. I would not believe it. The human mind is trainable but it is not a machine.
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