Tobacco / Smoking

With Murdoch gone, British media can return to doing what it does best.

* A federal judge tossed out a law requiring tobacco companies to put graphic warning labels on cigarette packages. If paying $7 a pack doesn’t stop you from buying smokes, I don’t think nasty photos will either. [CNN]

* SCOTUS won’t deal with Arizona’s controversial immigration law for a couple months, but the Eleventh Circuit will hear oral arguments about Alabama’s even stricter law today. But why would you immigrate to Alabama, of all places? Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* The Seventh Circuit ruled that police can search a cellphone for its number without a warrant. Judge Richard Posner compared it to law enforcement’s ability to open a pocket diary and copy the owner’s address. The bigger question is: do drug dealers keep diaries? [Wall Street Journal]

* James Murdoch, the News Corp. heir apparent, has resigned in the wake of the News of the World scandal and related lawsuits. Now everyone can just go back to reading British tabloids for the Page Three Girls. [Los Angeles Times]

* RIP Lynn D. “Buck” Compton, the prosecutor who secured a conviction of Robert F. Kennedy’s assassin, and the Army paratrooper portrayed in the book and HBO miniseries “Band of Brothers.” [Washington Post]

When you stop smoking, the cigarettes don’t get together to figure out how to kill you anyway.

Benjamin Wittes, on a panel at the National Lawyers Convention of the Federalist Society, responding to the observation that smoking and traffic accidents cause more deaths in a year than 9/11.

(Julian Sanchez discusses what the web is for, after the jump.)

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Quote of the Day: Dangerous Addictions”

* Sammy Alito and the roots of a compassionate constitutional conservatism. By Emily Bazelon. Foreblurb by Juggalo Law. [New York Times]

* A U.S. vulture fund is having problems collecting a certain debt from the Democratic Republic of Congo via certain chinamen. Yes, I know that’s not the preferred nomenclature. But these men actually do build railroads. [Bloomberg]

* This business professor thinks law firms should start acting like real businesses. Somewhere, a theater professor thinks law firms should just start acting. [Washington Post]

* This fascinating story’s many intimations about State Senator Carl Kruger make it difficult to discern who is doinking who. Sorry, doinking whom. Whom is doinking whom. [New York Times]

* It is spring, which means the New York Mets are feisty. Silly Mets. [New York Post]

* The FDA is weighing whether to ban menthol cigarettes. Good thing Elie already quit. What’s that? You didn’t smoke menthols, Elie? Wow, this is awkward… [Chicago Tribune]

* The Barry Bonds trial is going to be a heavyweight fight. However, most of that weight will be located in Bonds’s head. [San Francisco Chronicle]

As regular readers know, this is usually the time of year I go to Vegas, blow my bonus, and come back to work a week later angrier than ever.

Well, this year, it’s going to be different. Oh, don’t worry, when I return to Above the Law’s pages on March 14th, I’m sure I’ll be all kinds of pissed off. It just won’t be because a security guard prevented me from committing suicide by MGM lion enclosure.

No, for my vacation — which begins now and ends a week from this coming Monday, in case you’re wondering — I am going to start the process of quitting smoking….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Elie’s Vacation Memo: Time To Turn Over a New Leaf (And Try Not To Smoke It)”

* If the Muslim Brotherhood gains power in Egypt, they will impose sharia law. Just like Oklahoma! [ABC Online]

* Lindsay Lohan took to Twitter to announce that she “was not raised to lie, cheat, or steal.” Well, nature it is. [msnbc.com]

* Arizona is suing the federal government over the porous border. Mr. Obama, build us a wall! [Reuters]

* Barry Bonds, he of the enormous dome piece, had the number of felony charges against him dropped to five. Hauling that gargantuan cranium about. I’m not kidding, that boy’s head is like Sputnik. [ESPN]

* Mario will mediate the Madoff / Mets mess. [New York Post]

* How to fix the criminal justice system? I say gulags. Mostly because I like the word gulags. [The BLT via WSJ Law Blog]

* Hospitals have begun turning away job applicants who smoke. This guy thinks hospitals are acting like a bunch of weiners. [New York Times]

Smokers are not crazy. I know it seems like we’re crazy. I know what non-smokers think: “Why would you put something in your body that you know will give you cancer?” It’s not like the explanation is particularly complicated: 1) it’s a narcotic and people get addicted, and 2) some people aren’t terribly worried about dying.

Is that really so hard to understand? Not everybody wants to live “healthily.” Not everybody is desperate to live to 100. And some are prone to get addicted to drugs. That’s not crazy.

But don’t try telling that to the New York police. They arrested a man and threw him in a psychiatric ward for smoking on his window ledge. They claim they were worried that he was going to jump from the window ledge he was smoking on. The window was two stories off the ground.

Now the NYPD is getting sued, because this smoker is also a lawyer…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyer of the Day: What Are You Going To Do, Arrest Me for Smoking?”

Philip Morris logo.jpgA Florida state court judge, Jeffrey Streitfeld, has decided that the largest individual award to a former smoker is excessive. The Daily Business Review (gavel bang: ABA Journal) reports on the good news for tobacco peddler Philip Morris:

Calling the $300 million jury verdict “excessive” and “shocking,” Judge Jeffrey Streitfeld said he would determine a lower award later against tobacco giant Philip Morris USA. He gave no indication when he would rule.

The landmark verdict was reached in November for Cindy Naugle, an emphysema patient who quit smoking in 1993.

There are few things that bother me more than smokers blaming tobacco companies for becoming addicted to their products. Does Philip Morris sell an illegal product? No. Do you need to be galactically stupid to smoke yet not know that smoking is dangerous? Yes. So what is the rationale for suing a company that produces a legal product you’d have to be epically dumb to not know is potentially dangerous?

As a smoker, I feel particularly qualified to say: it’s not Philip Morris’s fault if I get sick. It’s my fault. I take personal responsibility for my own health choices.

Personal responsibility. Seems like a winning argument, doesn’t it? Well, it’s pretty much the argument pursued by Philip Morris’s lawyers. And … it horribly backfired.

Judge Streitfeld has decided to step in to correct the lawyers’ mistake.

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david bernick kirkland.JPGKirkland & Ellis is known for its powerful litigators and leading litigation department. Though Gibson Dunn was happy to knock Kirkland from its Amlaw “Litigation Department of the Year” throne this year.
Kirkland is suffering another big knock this week. Litigation co-chair David Bernick has developed a tobacco addiction. Here’s a quote from Bernick included in an official firm statement and in an internal memo sent around the firm yesterday (both available in full after the jump):

“I have spent my entire career at Kirkland & Ellis and I am proud to have contributed to the growth and success of one of the top law firms,” said David Bernick. “I will remain close to my many friends and colleagues at the Firm, but I look forward to pursuing new challenges during the next phase of my career with Philip Morris International.”

After 31 years at Kirkland, Bernick is leaving to become senior vice president and general counsel of Philip Morris International, and he’s going very far away. He’ll be relocating from New York to Switzerland.
Bernick is a powerhouse at Kirkland. He has a smoking résumé. His firm bio recounts victories for big pharma, nuclear weapons plants, breast implants, and tobacco….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Musical Chairs: Kirkland Litigation Partner David Bernick to Philip Morris”

Smoking.jpg
If you live in NYC, you’re used to smoking being banned in almost every place of business; your law dates back to 2003. DC caught up in January of 2007. However, the pro-health laws have had a harder time down south where people get all hot and bothered when the government tries to tell ‘em what to do. Here in Tuscaloosa (‘Bama), the law bars smoking in restaurants before 10:00 pm. It’s a narrow victory for the non-smokers.

Professor Althouse posted today about the loophole in the Minnesota ban that allows smoking for “actors in theatrical performances.” Non-actors in Minnesota are trying to use the exception to get around their state’s ban.

We know we have readers all around the country. What’s the status of smoking in your town’s bars and restaurants? If there is a ban, is it enforced?

“The Tobacco Monologues” [Althouse]
NY State Smoking Ban Signed into Law [CNN]
DC Smoking Ban Approved [Washington Post]

* It’s a sign of the times when smoking laws have a better chance than public urination laws in justifying Operation Homeless. Or, Berkeley officials can ask Giuliani what he really did to clean up Times Square. [San Francisco Chronicle]
* Does anyone remember the dystopian Strange Days? Let that be a warning. [Feminist Law Professors]
* That ice cream girl/boy better not lean against or press down on the scale though. [Signs On San Diego]
* Why? Because I love the ongoing Brooke/Tom feud/reconciliation bit, and because I find it amazing that someone who has always been and is the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen inexplicably has absolutely no charm, warmth or grace. [AOL Entertainment]
* He’s a lightweight but he’s no lightweight. I’m rooting for this guy, because I’m a sucker (heh) for these kinds of inspirational stories. (If you’ve seen/read Friday Night Lights, you’ll know that one of the players went to Harvard before returning to Texas for law school and Odessa to practice.) [Yahoo! News]

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