We recently asked for your views on Ward v. Arm & Hammer, the civil action brought by a pro se prisoner against a leading baking soda manufacturer. If you don’t remember what the case was about, here’s the caption:
The District Court didn’t think highly of the case. And neither did you:
“Thanks to Ted Frank’s coverage, I learned that 28 U.S.C. 1915, the federal law covering prisoners seeking to file a case as a poor person, does not prevent a legally frivolous suit from being appealed in forma pauperis, unless the district court judge certifies that the appeal is not being taken in good faith, or the prisoner has had three prior suits that failed to state a valid claim, or were found to be frivolous or malicious.”
* Pity the petty, Tommy Bahama-wearing victims of the defectively long and narrow armrests of Metro-North commuter trains. [New York Times]
* Dr. Daniel goes to prison after lubing up the Beverly Hills ladies… in a bad way. [Los Angeles Times]
* Small firms are great and all, but can they afford the luxury of a Holiday Extravaganza in the cafeteria? [Build a Solo Practice, LLC]
* A crime against the Christmas spirit? No, just a mom charging her kid with petty larceny. [The Smoking Gun via CrimLaw]
* Remember that ninth-grade health ed presentation on the dangers of smoking, with the gross photos of cancerous lungs? That is when the statute of limitations should start running. (The SOL in trans-fat cases, because it’s only a matter of days now, should run the day you realize you can’t see your penis anymore.) [Point of Law]
* Thesauruses can still do the trick. Who knows if I would have passed AP English without one? On the other hand, one of the perks of public high schools is having your Cliffs Notes-cribbed essay graded by a teacher qualified only to teach woodshop and coach girls’ softball. [New York Times]
* What would the Supreme Court say about McDonald’s plans to patent its sandwich-making process? [CNN Legal Pad]
* Ah, law school flirting is just so cute. [Overheard in New York]
* While the poodles seem to be safe, babies, sadly, are not. [WCSH Portland]
* Blood money, in a way. Because someone killed my will to love. [Newsweek via Overlawyered]
“The government on Friday rescinded a 14-year ban on silicone gel implants for cosmetic breast enhancement, a decision praised by some for providing women with a better product but criticized by others who still question their safety. … After rigorous review, the [Food and Drug Administration] can offer a ‘reasonable assurance’ that silicone implants are ‘safe and effective,’ said Donna-Bea Tillman, director of the FDA Office of Device Evaluation.” (Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and Daniel Costello, Los Angeles Times, Nov. 18).
Silicone breast implants, available to consumers in most other countries, were driven from the market after a campaign of speculation and misinformation by trial lawyers and allied “consumer” groups, particularly Dr. Sidney Wolfe’s Public Citizen Health Research Group. The campaign resulted in billions in legal settlements over nonexistent autoimmune effects from the devices, none of which had to be repaid even after more careful scientific studies dispelled the early alarms.
If we were counsel to MTV, we’d advise them to include a warning each time they play the mesmerizing music video for “Hips Don’t Lie.” As Shakira’s hips undulate hypnotically to the beat, a warning should scroll across the bottom of the screen: “Don’t try this at home.”
Why? A failure to warn could subject MTV to a wave of lawsuits. If the 15-year-old daughter of a plaintiff’s lawyer pulls her groin while trying to “get her Shakira on,” expect MTV and Shakira to get served the next day.
If you find this far-fetched, consider this wacky lawsuit:
A New Jersey woman who fell off a wet bar and injured herself while dancing in a “Shake-It-Like-Shakira” contest is suing the Manhattan bar that sponsored the shake-off.
Megan Zacher, 22, of Delanco, N.J fell inside Calico Jack’s Cantina on 42nd Street at Second Avenue on July 8, 2006. Her lawyer, Lawrence Simon, said the fall caused a torn ligament in her left knee and required surgery.
And what’s the plaintiff’s theory of liability?
[Zacher] has filed suit against Calico Jack’s Cantina, saying the bar “knew or should have known that the ‘Shake It Like Shakira’ promotion was dangerous and likely to lead to injury.”
* Senate approves broad new rules to try detainees. [New York Times; Bashman linkwrap]
* Senate House grandstands over Hewlett-Packard as most witnesses take Fifth; libertarians celebrate that time wasted is time not spent passing new appropriations. [New York Times; WaPo]
* Verizon Wireless piles on against H-P. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Observers suggest Supreme Court cases over abortion might be contentious. You think? [Legal Times]
* Dozen Iraqi journalists arrested under new law against criticism of government. See? They’re already following in our footsteps up to the Alien and Sedition Acts! [New York Times]
* Belgium rules sifting of bank data illegal. [WaPo]
* California court hearing testimony over how many angels can dance on the pinhead of an anesthesized Death Row inmate. [Bashman linkwrap]
* Louisiana appellate court strikes down med-mal damages cap for failure to index to inflation, providing another excuse for doctors not to return to post-Katrina New Orleans. [Point of Law]
* New York Times writes thumbsucker on the Pirro marriage. [New York Times]
It’s been kind of a slow week, what with the upcoming Labor Day holiday and all. So today’s Lawsuit of the Day — by the way, these “of the Day” features aren’t exactly daily, just whenever we feel like it — isn’t that ridiculous.
Here it is (via the New York Law Journal):
A medical student who injured his pinky horsing around in the snow and then sued a state hospital for malpractice has lost his case in the Court of Claims.
Judge S. Michael Nadel said David Kern could not establish a prima facie case of malpractice, in part because his own expert — a neurologist on the faculty of SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, where the claimant was studying — gave the court next to nothing to work with.
The weakness of plaintiff’s expert testimony was the biggest problem with the case. But this didn’t exactly help matters:
Mr. Kern admitted that he had taken part in a SUNY talent show just weeks after the injury–a videotape introduced by the defendant showed him playing the piano and singing a rendition of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird” at the show…
“Free Bird”? It’s all over. That’s a pretty challenging song. Remember when Bo Bice sang it on “American Idol”?
(Any Beverly Hills 90210 fans out there? This reminds us of the time that Brenda (Shannen Doherty) got into a car accident with the lady who claimed she got a serious case of whiplash. Brenda goes over to the lady’s house to apologize, and sees the lady aerobicizing in her living room — sans neck brace!!! That episode was classic…)
Hey look, don’t get us wrong; the main problem here was with plaintiff’s expert testimony. We’re not belittling all lawsuits over injured pinky fingers. After all, we’d be screwed without ours; we love the semicolon!
And don’t forget Dr. Evil. If you injured his pinky finger, the compensatory damages could amount to… 1 MILLION DOLLARS!!! Claim Over Med Student’s Hurt Pinky Denied [New York Law Journal]
* Allegations of bill padding at Holland & Knight. An isolated occurrence — or more widespread within Biglaw? [WSJ via WSJ Law Blog]
* The secret to success: Wake up early. Like really early — try 3 a.m. That Ann Althouse is a machine! [Althouse]
* Here’s a link for those of you who don’t think we need tort reform. It’s a long post, but well worth reading. (And it’s not Ted Frank’s fault that the reporter got so much wrong.) [Overlawyered via Volokh Conspiracy]
* We think that judicial clerkships are fabulous — for clerks, for judges, and for this great nation of ours. But Raffi Melkonian disagrees — and makes some interesting points. [Crescat Sententia]
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: [email protected].
Since late last year, things have been booming in Hong Kong / China in cap markets, especially Hong Kong IPOs. M&A deal flow has recently been getting a bit stronger as well. Although one can’t predict such things with any certainty, all signs are pointing to a banner entire 2014 for the top end US corporate and cap markets practices in Hong Kong / China. This is not really new news, as its been the feeling most in the market have had for a few months now and things continue to look good.
The head of our Asia practice, Evan Jowers, has been in Hong Kong for about 10 days a month (with trips every other month to both Shanghai and Bejing) for the past 7 months (Robert Kinney and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong again March 15 to 23), and spending most of his time there meeting with senior US hiring partners at just about all the major US and UK firms there, as well as prospective candidates at all associate levels and partner levels, and when in the US, Evan works Asia hours and is regularly on the phone with such persons, as our the other members of our Asia team. Our Yuliya Vinokurova is in Hong Kong every other month and Robert is there about 5 times a year as well. While we have a solid Asia team of recruiters, Evan Jowers will spend at least some time with all of our candidates for Asia position. We have had long standing relationships, and good friendships in some cases, with hiring partners and other senior US partners in Asia for 8 years now.
Are you challenged by the costs and logistics of maintaining your office, distracting you from the practice of law?
Many small firms are successfully moving part—or even all—of their practice to a virtual setting. This even includes multi-jurisdictional practice spanning several states and practice areas, although solo and small partnerships are still the largest adopters of virtual law.
Can you do the same? The new article Mobile in Practice, Virtual by Design from author Jared Correia, Esq., explores how mobile technology bring real-life benefits to a small law firm. Read this new article—the next in Thomson Reuters’ Independent Thinking series for small firms—to explore how a mobile practice:
Everyone is talking about the importance of Social Media in Corporate America. But it is relatively safe to say that most law firms and lawyers are slightly behind the social curve. Most lawyers, at minimum, use LinkedIn, for networking. Some even use Twitter for pushing out short, pithy content, while many have Blogs, where they write their little hearts out. The adage “it is better to give than to receive” is not always true though in the world of Social. In the Social World – it is best to listen, give back and engage.
Social Media is a communications tool that can deeply educate you about the needs and wants of your clients and prospects when used in conjunction social media monitoring and sharing tools.
Take this quick quiz and see if you know how to use Social to help you engage more with your clients or to better service the ones you have.