Trials

When a tipster sent us an e-mail with the subject, “Court awards $700,000+ in sanctions for destruction of FB page,” I thought it sounded like it might be interesting. Because hey, that’s a lot of money.

I didn’t realize it would also be one of the most depressing legal news stories I’ve read since this tragic murder-suicide.

The three-quarters-of-a-million-dollar sanction award was levied against the widower of a woman killed in a car accident and the widower’s lawyer. The ruling was an abrupt table-turn for Isaiah Lester, who had previously won a $10 million wrongful death suit against the driver whose truck overturned and killed his wife.

Keep reading for the depressing details….

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Dr. Conrad Murray

With hundreds gathered outside of a courthouse in California (with a stunning lack of Michael Jackson impersonators), we can finally answer this lingering question.

Who’s bad? Dr. Conrad Murray.

Dr. Murray, the King of Pop’s doctor, has been found guilty of involuntary manslaughter.

What kind of sentence is Dr. Murray looking at?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Breaking: Conrad Murray Found Guilty of Involuntary Manslaughter in Michael Jackson Case”

It’s been a week of violence here at Above the Law. Between the murder-suicide guy and the judge who beat his disabled daughter, there’s been too much disturbing sadness.

Here at Above the Law, we prefer violence that is maybe, just a little, funny. For those who appreciate the lighter side of crime, we’ve got Joshua Monson. Here’s a guy who has stabbed his way out of his right to an attorney.

How do you lose this fundamental right to representation? Well, by stabbing all of your representation….

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Anwar al-Awlaki

Ed. note: In honor of Columbus Day (and Canadian Thanksgiving), we’ll be on a reduced publication schedule today. We’ll be back in full force tomorrow.

* If you are curious about that legal memo justifying the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, Charlie Savage describes its contents in this very interesting NYT piece. [New York Times]

* Ten years after the start of the anthrax attacks, some observers are asking whether Bruce Ivins, the Army microbiologist blamed for the attacks by the FBI, , was wrongly accused. [How Appealing]

Paul Bergrin

* Jury selection gets underway this week in the trial of notorious New Jersey lawyer Paul Bergrin (who’s being represented by a famous defense lawyer). [Newark Star-Ledger via WSJ Law Blog]

* Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard law professor turned U.S. Senate candidate, is making “a proper case for liberalism,” according to E.J. Dionne Jr. [Washington Post]

* Andrew Cohen’s review of Justice John Paul Stevens’s new book, Five Chiefs: A Supreme Court Memoir (affiliate link). [The Atlantic]

* In case you missed it last week, here is Proskauer’s response to the discrimination lawsuit filed against it by its former CFO, Elly Rosenthal. [Am Law Daily]

Here is Matt Drudge’s pithy commentary:

Amanda Knox testified in her own defense in the appeal (which is allowed in Italy; the appellate court can revisit the facts). She told the eight-member jury, in Italian, “I’m not a promiscuous vamp. I’m not violent … I have not killed, I have not raped, I was not there, I was not present.”

After 11 hours of deliberation, the jury issued its verdict, overturning the convictions of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito in the murder of Meredith Kircher, Knox’s former roommate. Congratulations to Knox and Sollecito, who now get to say ciao to prison.

Amanda Knox murder conviction overturned [MSNBC via Drudge Report]

Last week, more than a dozen high-profile mass torts attorneys lost a San Francisco jury trial against a small technology company. The jury decided the attorneys had illegally breached a document review contract during the high-profile Chinese drywall class-action litigation.

On September 19, the 14 defendants in Cataphora Inc. v Parker were ordered to pay $317,113 to the technology company in lost profits, plus attorneys’ fees.

“These guys are the worst of hypocrites that you can possibly find,” said Roger Chadderdon, technology counsel at Cataphora. “They claim to be trying to help the little guy, but what they’re doing is trying to put more money in their own pockets. Everybody knows that, but this is a case that illustrates it beyond what I have ever seen.”

Clearly, tempers are still running hot. We’ve got more from both sides of the dispute, and a quick refresher on Chinese drywall, after the jump….

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Judge Peggy Ableman

Ed. note: Due to the Labor Day holiday, we’ll be on a reduced publication schedule today. We’ll be back to normal tomorrow. A restful and happy Labor Day to all!

* More about the Delaware benchslap that we covered last week (including the news that Judge Peggy Ableman’s pajama party did not go forward as proposed). [Delaware News-Journal]

* The federal government is suing 17 banks for almost $200 billion, blaming the banks for mortgage-backed securities that went bad. [Bloomberg]

* An interesting dissection of the legal fees that Dewey & LeBoeuf is running up as counsel on the Los Angeles Dodgers bankruptcy. [New York Times]

Roger Clemens

* Roger Clemens will face a second trial next year. Lester Munson, the esteemed legal analyst, explains why. [ESPN]

* “From One Bankrupt Firm to Another: Brobeck Asks Heller For $471,000.” [Am Law Daily]

* AT&T faces a tricky balancing act in dealing with the Justice Department’s challenge of the T-Mobile deal. [New York Times]

* If you’re confused about the current role of lawyer-turned-entrepreneur Michael Arrington over at AOL, in the wake of AOL’s acquiring his TechCrunch site, you’re not alone. [Digits / Wall Street Journal]

Many litigators have a bias against settlement. It’s understandable. There’s no glamor in settling cases. No one is ever going to make a TV show called “The Settler,” about a young but scrappy underdog lawyer who fiercely negotiates tough-but-fair settlement agreements and always remembers to allow a 21-day waiting period if the plaintiff is 40 or over. (On second thought … better call my agent.)

Forget TV and movies. No lawyer has ever come home with the exciting news about settling a lawsuit (at least, no defense lawyer). “Honey, I settled the Devens case!” “That’s great, dear. Now go mow the lawn.”

In the midnineties, I was a junior associate working on a contentious sexual-harassment case. While we were able to win partial summary judgment, the main claims headed to trial in federal court. During the negotiations before the trial, the partner from my firm had a conversation with the plaintiff’s lawyer, who was that sort of rough-around-the-edges attorney who prided himself on spending a lot of time in the courthouse.

Looking to put my boss in place, the guy took a shot at our firm’s litigation style. Here’s what he said …

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We have the makings of a trend: inappropriate contacts between participants in jury trials. These contacts can be problematic because a jury trial constitutes a delicate ecosystem, in which contacts and communications between actors are regulated strictly to ensure the fairness of the proceedings.

We recently mentioned a case where a juror got sentenced to community service after trying to friend the defendant on Facebook. Well, at least he didn’t try to “poke” her (although perhaps a desire to poke her is what prompted the problematic friend request).

Now we bring you news of, er, more intimate contact between a witness and a lawyer — which culminated in a mistrial….

UPDATE (11:00 AM): Photo of massage therapist Liudmyla Ksenych, a petite and pretty brunette, added after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Mistrial in Massage Parlor Prosecution After Masseuse Recognizes Defense Lawyer — as a Client….”

I am not proud to admit this, but it is possible that my three-year-old niece knows more about branding than I do. I learned this the other day when I was reading my niece one of her favorite books, Fancy Nancy.

For those of you who not know Nancy, she is a little girl who loves to dress fancy, act fancy and talk fancy. For example, this little girl does not say that her favorite color is purple. She prefers fuchsia, a word that is “fancy” for purple. Similarly, Nancy does not want a new hairdo. No, Nancy uses the fancy word “coiffure” instead. For some reason, my niece loves Nancy, but I think she is a showoff. When asked why she loves the know-it-all Nancy, my niece explained that she made things sound better.

Maybe my niece had a point. If you want your small firm to sound better, then use fancy words. As Nancy would explain, do not call yourself a “trial lawyer.” Everyone knows that “litigator” is fancy for trial lawyer. Or is it?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Size Matters: Fancy Nancy Has A Message For You”

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