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Watch out for sentencing spin, warns Scott Greenfield.

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Conrad Black trial

by Ted Frank on March 19, 2007

One of the best white-collar-crime bloggers around, Tom Kirkendall, has a roundup of links on the Black trial, including to this Mark Steyn column. I’m staying out of this one: I have colleagues who know Black personally, my old law firm represents clients adverse to Black in civil litigation, and my law-school roommate is the lead prosecutor on the case. I will note, however, that if I were Conrad Black, I’d be awfully concerned about the number of potential jurors who assume someone is guilty just because they made a lot of money, especially given the prosecution’s inclination to introduce prejudicial evidence of expenditures. [New York Times; Globe and Mail]

Separately, this Economist commentary piece not only mentions the Black trial, but Larry Ribstein’s “Apple rule.” (cross-posted at Point of Law)

  • Forfeiture: “Defend the Right to Carry Cash and Travel Unmolested” [Eapen Thampy, Agitator]
  • Recent Japanese racketeering law, unlike our RICO, actually focuses on organized crime [Adelstein]
  • Sheriff’s flack to Fiona Apple: shut up and sing [Ken at Popehat]
  • Jimenez case: 99-year sentence, “substantial likelihood defendant was not guilty of this offense” [Jacob Sullum]
  • Conrad Black continues to speak out on barbarities of “prosecutocracy” [NY Sun]
  • “Are whistle-blowers the new IRS business model?” [Victor Fleischer, NYT DealBook]
  • “Minnesota Farmer Found ‘Not Guilty’ in Raw Milk Case” [Katherine Mangu-Ward, Reason]
  • Utah man shoots neighbor he thinks “telepathically raped” his wife, is ruled mentally fit for trial [CBS]

Deposed press lord Conrad Black is taking a public stand against the law enforcement and corporate-governance authorities that put him behind bars. [Andrew McCarthy/The New Criterion, earlier]

June 12 roundup

by Ted Frank on June 12, 2008

  • As I type this post, I’m listening to Andrew Frey argue Conrad Black’s appeal before Judge Posner and the Seventh Circuit. Posner seems to be confused over whether incorrect jury instructions can be prejudicial in a general verdict. [Bashman roundup; earlier]
  • “For years families bogged down in Harris County [Texas] probate courts have accused judges of bleeding estates of tens of thousands of dollars to pay high-priced lawyers for unnecessary work.” [Houston Chronicle; Alpert v. Riley (Tex. App. Jun. 5, 2008) (via)]
  • Company sets policy. Employee violates policy. Is corporation criminally responsible for employee’s act? [POL; FCPA blog; Podgor]
  • Merrill Lynch banker asks for investigation of Enron Task Force withholding of exculpatory evidence [Bloomberg]
  • When calculating the costs of medical malpractice suits, let’s not forget the noneconomic costs. “In the [John] Ritter case, the jury agreed with the defendant physicians and exonerated them of any liability. They were lucky. How lucky? They were able to spend four years with attorneys worrying about their future, including the potential that they would be ordered to pay tens of millions of dollars and be left penniless. So, they didn’t really win. They just lost less.” [EM News via Kevin MD via Dr. RW]
  • Nor should we forget the defensive medicine costs. [Kevin MD]
  • Legal reform = job creation. [American Courthouse]
  • According to Justinian Lane, if you’re reading this post, you’re a “spineless sycophant.” [Bizarro-Overlawyered]

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July 27 roundup

by Walter Olson on July 27, 2007

  • Grand jury declines to indict Dr. Anna Pou in Katrina hospital deaths, despite heavy breathing from Louisiana AG Charles Foti and TV’s Nancy Grace [Times-Picayune, more; 2005 CNN transcript; Health Care Blog, GruntDoc, Vatul.net]

  • Protection from lawsuits for “John Doe” security informants is back in anti-terror legislation moving through Congress, despite back-door effort to eliminate it earlier [Fox News, Malkin; earlier] Addendum: but it’s in altered, much-weakened form, says commenter Bob Smith;

  • U.K.: Top law firm Freshfields earns millions advising clients on employment compliance, yet “omitted to check that changes to its own pension scheme were legal” [Times Online]

  • Thinking of doing some guestblogging, for us or another site? Some good advice here [Darren Rowse via Kevin O'Keefe]

  • Even Conrad Black can have trouble affording lawyers, at least with feds freezing his accounts [PoL on Steyn]

  • Shouldn’t have let us become parents again: Florida jury awards $21 million in “wrongful birth” case [Fox News]

  • Possibility of gigantic reparations claims adds intensity to big lobbying fight in Washington over whether Turkey’s slaughter of Armenians in 1915 amounted to genocide [Crowley, New Republic]

  • Updating colorful coverage case (Jun. 22, 2005): dentist wins $750K verdict on insurer’s duty to defend him for taking gag photos of sedated employee with boar tusks in mouth [Seattle Times, more; dissent in PDF; Althouse]

  • Giuliani might use federalism to defuse culture wars [Brownstein, L.A. Times; disclaimer]

  • Virginia’s enactment of harsh traffic fines (Jul. 6) follows tryouts of the idea in Michigan and New Jersey, where effects included rise in unlicensed driving [Washington Post]

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July 23 roundup

by Walter Olson on July 23, 2007

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July 20 roundup

by Walter Olson on July 20, 2007

  • Despite seeming majority support in both houses, conference committee on the Hill drops protection against lawsuits for “John Does” who report suspicious security behavior to authorities [PowerLine, Malkin; see May 11, etc.]

  • U.K. town advises holders of allotment gardens: you could be liable if trespasser gets hurt vandalizing your trellises [Gloucestershire Echo; Cheltenham, Prestbury, etc.]

  • School groundskeeper fired for illiteracy sues under ADA; suit’s future may depend on whether he can allege underlying predisposition such as dyslexia [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, StLRecruiting]

  • Large Pakistan bank should pay for my husband’s murder, says Mariane Pearl in lawsuit [NYSun]

  • Tell it to the EEOC, bud: Pennsylvania survey of law firm “diversity” finds plaintiff’s firms lag well behind their business/defense counterparts when it comes to hiring minorities [Legal Intelligencer first and second pieces]

  • Spare a tear for Gov. Spitzer, never realized public life would be such a rough and tumble affair [Kirkendall]

  • Trail of bogus auto accidents and “runners” leads to West Orange, N.J. lawyer and his law firm, say prosecutors [NJLJ; related New Jersey report on insurance fraud, PDF]

  • I’m interviewed re: the Giuliani announcement [Paul Mirengoff @ PowerLine] and publicity in National Journal is nice too [Blog-O-Meter]

  • Two Australian grave owners sue for damages over loss of feng shui [Melbourne Age]

  • You have to let me use your bathroom, I’ve got a note from my doctor [Robert Guest on Texas legislation]

  • New at Point of Law: University of Alberta lawprof Moin Yahya is guestblogging this week on Conrad Black trial, extraterritoriality, antitrust, etc.

  • Quadriplegic sues Florida strip club under ADA because its lap dance room not wheelchair accessible [five years ago on Overlawyered]

Updates

by Walter Olson on July 15, 2007

  • Reversing course, Rhode Island attorney general drops rape charge based on 32-year-old “repressed memory”, thus disappointing some advocates [Volokh; Jul. 10]

  • Massachusetts disciplinary panel files misconduct charges against Judge Ernest Murphy over the “bring me a check and keep quiet” surrender-Dorothy letter he sent to Boston Herald publisher during his (successful) libel suit [Ambrogi; Dec. 23, 2005, May 11, 2007, etc.]

  • California jury rejects tippling speeder’s lawsuit against landowner, automaker, town, etc. in the case we headlined “Shouldn’t Have Put Its Berm Where He Wanted To Skid” [Dec. 24, 2005; Douglas Domel v. DaimlerChrysler Corp., City of Santa Clarita, and Does 1 to 50, inclusive (PC030045Y), L.A. Superior Court, L.A. Daily Journal, no free link]

  • Nominal damages only against German teens accused of scaring ostrich into impotence [UPI/ScienceDaily; Mar. 6]

  • Dubious bill authorizing lawsuits against OPEC may be headed to President’s desk [W$J/CattleNetwork; Jun. 8]

  • Jury convicts press baron Conrad Black on four counts, acquits on nine [Telegraph; Kirkendall, Bainbridge, Ribstein; Mar. 19, Jun. 5]

  • Michigan Supreme Court reinstates reprimand against Geoffrey Fieger over abusive language [NLJ; Jul. 3, Aug. 2, 2006, etc.]

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June 5 roundup

by Walter Olson on June 5, 2007

  • Everyone’s got an opinion on Dr. Flea’s trial-blogging fiasco [Beldar, Childs, Adler @ Volokh (lively comments including Ted), Turkewitz (who also provides huge link roundups here and here), KevinMD]
  • Sidebar: some other doctor-bloggers have shut down or curtailed posting lately amid pressures from disapproving employers and patient-privacy legal worries [KevinMD first, second posts; Distractible Mind, Blogaholic]
  • Amusement park unwisely allows “extremely large” woman to occupy two seats on the roller coaster, and everyone lands with a thump in court [Morris County, N.J. Daily Record via Childs]
  • Prosecutors all over are trying to live down the “Duke effect” [NLJ]; how to prevent the next such debacle [Cernovich]
  • Bad for their image: trial lawyers’ AAJ (formerly ATLA) files ethics complaint against Judge Roy Pearson Jr., of $65 million lost-pants-suit infamy [Legal Times]
  • More suits assert rights to “virtual property” in Second Life, World of Warcraft online simulations [Parloff]
  • Plea deals and immunity in the Conrad Black affair [Steyn, OC Register]
  • Another round in case of local blog sent nastygram for allegedly defaming the city of Pomona, Calif. [Foothill Cities; earlier]
  • “There once was a guy named Lerach…” — Milberg prosecution has reached the limerick stage [WSJ Law Blog comments]
  • Government of India plans to fight Americans’ claims of intellectual property over yoga postures [Times Online; earlier here and here]
  • After car-deer collision, lawyer goes after local residents who allegedly made accident more likely by feeding the creatures [seven years ago on Overlawyered]

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Delaware Chancery Court Judge Vice Chancellor Leo Strine, a prominent figure in corporate law, recently was asked to rule on a petition for fees for lawyers who represented a minority shareholder in litigation involving fallen mogul Conrad Black’s Hollinger International. Per the WSJ:

“I feel queasy a lot of the times when I examine applications for attorneys’ fees,” the judge told lawyers in court. “But I have to get right in there, take my Maalox, ignore the vile smell.”

All of which was by way of paying a left-handed compliment to the fee petition before him, which by contrast in Strine’s view had the earmarks of legitimacy. (It was filed by minority shareholder Tweedy Browne Co. and its lawyers, Kirby McInerney & Squire and Bouchard, Margules & Friedlander).

The current case, he added, is different. It “isn’t even close to having an aroma that makes me queasy.”

(Elena Cherney, “When Investors Help Find Fraud, What’s It Worth?”, Wall Street Journal, Mar. 17)(sub).

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