Weirdness

This one is going to get really weird, really quickly. See if you can spot the civil rights violation.

Issue 1: City council of Alexandria, Virginia, approves a permit for a new barbecue restaurant.
Issue 2: The restaurant will have an open-air, gas grille.

Did you see the potential violation? No? Well, you’re just not thinking like a lawyer — or, at the very least, you’re not thinking like an insane person. The Alexandria Gazette Packet reports:

Del Ray Attorney Ed Ablard is challenging the restaurant as a violation of his civil rights. Because the gas-fueled smoker will release particulate matter into the air, his suit charges, his civil rights will be violated.

Is a white man claiming that a barbecue joint is somehow racist towards white people? No, it’s way more crazy than that…

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Looking for confidential minded person that is a people person and well manicured. We do some work with the adult entertainment business so it is not for everyone. Looking for the classic super manicured secretary at a younger progressive firm.

– a Craigslist ad for a legal secretary in northern New Jersey

Donald Duck tends to be cranky; he’s not the most friendly of the Disney characters. But a Pennsylvania woman, 27, contends that Donald got way too friendly with her during a 2008 trip with her family to Epcot Center.

In a complaint posted by the Smoking Gun, April Magolon claims that she asked Donald for an autograph — who actually asks people in costumes for autographs? — and that he then grabbed her boob, “molested her,” and then made gestures “indicating he had done something wrong.” Magolon’s suing in excess of $50,000 for negligence, battery, and infliction of emotional distress. More bad news for Donald: We’ve heard that Daisy Duck is considering filing for divorce.

Gawker picked up the story and pointed out that creepy behavior on the part of Disney’s costumed characters is a bit of a trend.

The legal papers includes [sic] a helpful list of other Disney character transgressions, like the time Tigger molested a 13-year-old girl. In other news, a guy just wrote a memoir about dealing drugs while costumed as Winnie the Pooh at Epcot, and how his co-workers were furries who liked to have kinky sex in their costumes.

Disney characters are not without their defenders, though. As Mickey Mouse has not appeared to put in a good word for his furry and feathery friends, William Saletan at Slate stepped in and did some investigative reporting. He says that this may in fact be a false Tigger trigger…

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The alleged foot tapper

A pair of motions are bouncing around email inboxes this week, thanks to the “foot-tapping lawyer.” (This has nothing to do with Larry Craig, so read on without fear.)

It all started in July, when Florida law firm Rasco Klock sent a paralegal to Wilmington for a deposition. The firm is representing a plaintiff suing an insurance company, but one of their lead attorneys, Juan Carlos Antorcha, had to remain in Miami and conduct the deposition by video, with the paralegal handling the exhibits in person.

During the deposition of a witness for the defense, a strange noise caught the attention of the Perceptive Paralegal. After hearing clicking, he peeked beneath the table and saw a defense attorney’s foot tapping the foot of the deponent. He snapped a photo with his smartphone and sent it to Antorcha, who confronted the defense and halted the deposition. Rasco Klock then filed a very angry motion for sanctions, accusing the defense attorney of coaching the witness through foot tapping.

From the motion:

Before accusing a lawyer of acting in an unethical and unprofessional fashion, a fellow lawyer must think long and hard. Was the breach intentional? What were the circumstances? Was there any sense of contrition? Could the offending lawyer believe that his conduct had been appropriate?

The lawyer accused of foot-tapping is Brown Sims shareholder Kenneth Engerrand. On every single page of the 13-page motion for sanctions against him is the incriminating footsie photo…

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But not because they brought a megalomaniacal murderer into the world. We’re not talking about Adolf Hitler, the deceased German dictator, but about Adolf Hitler Campbell, a little boy living in New Jersey.

The idea of some poor kid running around with the name “Adolf Hitler” might be amusing on its own, but the story here is also serious and sad. The AP reports:

A New Jersey couple who gave their children Nazi-inspired names should not regain custody of them, a state appeals court ruled Thursday, citing the parents’ own disabilities and the risk of serious injury to their children.

The state removed Heath and Deborah Campbell’s three small children from their home in January 2009. A month earlier, the family drew attention when a supermarket refused to decorate a birthday cake for their son, Adolf Hitler Campbell.

First they won’t let him have Leningrad; now he can’t get a birthday cake. Poor Adolf Hitler just can’t catch a break.

So what did the New Jersey appellate court decide?

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I know, I know — it sounds like the perfect third-year law school course. But I’m not talking about a way for 3Ls to get an easy A; I’m talking about the apparent proliferation of law blogs devoted to mixed martial arts (MMA). Writes Bruce Carton of Legal Blog Watch: “I’m not exactly sure what this development means for the current state of legal blogging, but just know this: There are now two blogs dedicated to mixed martial arts law!”

Carton highlights Mixed Martial Arts Law Blog and Fight Lawyer. There’s something perfectly satisfying about lawyers writing about the laws that pertain to beating the crap out of each other. You could imagine cooks writing about what meal you should have before you knock another cook over the head with a frying pan. It just fits very nicely with the profession.

But aside from lawyers writing about MMA, let’s not forget that we’ve seen a number of attorneys actually practice the fine art of choking another man into submission….

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It’s an entry-level luxury vehicle. It’s the sort of car you might see a first-year lawyer driving.

– Jalopnik editor Ray Wert, discussing Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s Acura TSX. Since Zuckerberg has professed not to believe in privacy and has helped to eradicate it with Facebook, Gawker gave him the paparazzi treatment, and discovered that he (and his car) are not actually very interesting.

Barack Obama's purported birth certificate - click to enlarge.

Orly Taitz and the Birthers aren’t the only people obsessed with Hawaiian birth certificates. A young lawyer by the name of Adam Gustafson — a 2009 graduate of the Yale Law School and former vice president of the Yale Federalist Society, who’s currently clerking in Hawaii for Judge Richard Clifton (9th Cir.) — is making a federal case over them.

And Chief Judge Susan Oki Mollway, the district court judge who wound up with the case, is not impressed. She recently dismissed Gustafson’s complaint — in forceful fashion:

This case is an example of why people who overreact to situations are accused of “making a federal case out of nothing.”

Plaintiff Adam Gustafson and his wife… proceed pro se against various state officials. The Gustafsons complain about having been asked to state their race and any Spanish origin on a birth certificate registration form submitted in October 2009 for their Hawaii-born daughter. The Gustafsons articulated to the State their objection to a birth certificate identifying their races.

The court has no quarrel with the Gustafsons’ wish for a birth certificate devoid of such information. What follows, though, shows questionable judgment.

Ouch — quite the benchslap. Gustafson’s boss, Judge Clifton, should keep Gustafson far away from any appeals of decisions by Judge Mollway.

Filing a federal lawsuit in Hawaii, while clerking in Hawaii for a federal judge? It’s gutsy of Gustafson. At least he won’t have to travel far for any appearances.

So what about Gustafson’s case reflects “questionable judgment”?

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Usually, we find conversations with lawyers to be very engaging. But in this video short, Ron Livingston does not:

The Responsibility Project

The video was produced as part of a corporate undertaking — The Responsibility Project — devoted to “exploring what it means to do the right thing.” So, what is it trying to say exactly?

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No, that’s not a typo; we’re not talking about firefighting. We’re talking about fart fighting. From our sister site, the fabulous Fashionista:

There’s no graceful way to introduce this product, so we’ll just cut to the chase: “Subtle Butt” is a disposable patch of fabric with an “activated carbon layer… to which stench adheres and gets neutralized.” Except there’s nothing subtle about farting.

In short, Subtle Butt is a small square of fabric you stick to your underwear just in case you lay a real stinky egg. If it’s loud, you’re on your own. Subtle Butt does nothing to muffle sound. Gross.

This product sounds like a gas — and very useful for lawyers. Imagine you’re in a marathon negotiation session for a billion-dollar merger, or deposing the opposing party’s CEO, and that Mexican food you ordered from Seamless Web has given you flatulence.

Do you really want to waste precious (billable) time by stopping the proceedings and stepping out of the conference room, just to toot your own kazoo? If Subtle Butt has you covered, just let it rip — and cough really loudly or drop binders on the floor, to cover up the noise.

In light of Subtle Butt’s utility for attorneys, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the inventor is a lawyer….

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