April 26 roundup

by Walter Olson on April 26, 2013

  • Police in city of Manchester, U.K. say they’ll record attacks on punks, Goths as hate crimes [AP]
  • If claiming severe permanent injuries from auto mishap, best not to place well in a marathon six months later [West Virginia Record]
  • “Altering or deleting a Facebook account during litigation may be … spoliation of evidence” [Paul Kostro, Brian Wassom, Jim Dedman]
  • Note to Trademark Office: “breastaurant” is not trademarkable [David Post; earlier here, here, and here]
  • Iowa Rep. Bruce Braley, a Litigation Lobby stalwart, seeks Senate seat of retiring Harkin [DMR, earlier]
  • Meta? Lawyer files suit over a suit [the Brooks Brothers kind] [Staci Zaretsky, Above the Law]
  • Judge Shadur: “the most egregious fraud on the court … encountered in [my] nearly 33 years on the bench.” [Courthouse News]
  • Do you enjoy reading Overlawyered? Check back later today, after 9 a.m. Eastern, for a major announcement about the site!

{ 2 comments }

1 William 04.26.13 at 11:20 am

I do not understand what is overlawyered about deletion of social media accounts as possible spoliation of evidence. It seems evident on its face that in litigation deletion of such an account would be potentially sanctionable. Why would it be any different than deleting all of one’s emails or other electronic records?

2 Walter Olson 04.26.13 at 11:42 am

William’s question makes a good occasion to reiterate the periodic caution about how the appearance of a story on this blog does not mean that we necessarily deem it an instance of overlawyering or, if a legal action, less than meritorious. The stories here can have all sorts of lessons (and sometimes no lesson at all). In the case of the sanctions exposure that can apply to deleting a past Facebook link or photo while involved in litigation, the point is not somehow that that’s an unreasonable interpretation of today’s spoliation law — as William recognizes, it isn’t. But 1) it’s something a lot of lay people don’t realize and might be surprised by; 2) it can be the starting point for insight into how being caught up in litigation makes you less free as an individual, which in turn can lead to an appreciation of how the bloodless “transaction costs” discussed by theorists of litigation are only the beginning of the burdens the process imposes in real life.

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