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Free speech roundup

by Walter Olson on May 2, 2012

  • “People’s Rights Amendment” paves way for government control of media and trampling of many other rights. Is your Rep a sponsor? [Volokh, more, Somin]
  • Indian skeptic charged with blasphemy for revealing secret behind “miracle” of weeping cross [Doctorow] “Arab world’s most famous comedian” jailed in Egypt on charges of “insulting Islam” [Volokh]
  • “Is the Real Intent of Cyber-Bullying Laws to Eliminate Criticism of Politicians?” [Coyote]
  • Timothy Kincaid: why I oppose the California “don’t say ex-gay” therapy-ban bill [BTB]
  • More on unreasonable IRS demands of tea party groups seeking nonprofit status [Stoll, Anne Sorock/Bill Jacobson, Houston Chronicle, earlier]
  • Denmark Supreme Court, 7-0, strikes down conviction of Lars Hedegaard for criticizing Islam in own home [Mark Steyn] Institute of Public Affairs launches campaign to defend free speech in Australia [Andrew Bolt case earlier] Free speech in Britain looking the worse for wear [Cooke, NRO] Belgian court throws out lawsuit seeking ban on allegedly racist “Tintin” comic book [Volokh] Group files criminal complaint against Swiss magazine over cover story on Roma crime [Spiegel]


  • Arbitrator: felonious Montgomery County, Maryland cops should keep disability pay [Examiner] “Cop who took naked photos of rape victim can keep pension” [NY Post] Cop who pepper-sprayed UC Davis protesters is still on job, and maybe that’s how they’d have it [Radley Balko]
  • “Billions in retroactive liability” in pharma detailer wage/hour action before SCOTUS [Marcia Coyle, NLJ] And USA Today chose a faulty “worker discontent” theme on wage/hour case, since as class actions these suits are lawyer-driven;
  • Australia: “Worker injured during sex gets compensation payout” []
  • “Courts are finally starting to apply ADAAA—and it ain’t pretty” [Jon Hyman] ADA: “Judge Rules In Favor of Fired Employee With Bipolar Disorder” [ABC]
  • NLRB goes after Hyatt on employee handbook language [Gary Shapiro, Examiner] Union claims Indiana right-to-work law violates Thirteenth Amendment ban on slavery [James Sherk, NRO]
  • EEOC: sex discrimination law bars bias against transgender employees [AP, Hyman] “EEOC Obtains Substantial Settlement in Obesity Discrimination Suit” [Disabilities Law]
  • Law journal prediction: adherents of racism will claim Title VII protection [Lawrence D. Rosenthal, Temple L. Rev. via Workplace Prof]

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Anti-antipodean harassment? “An Australian community warden whose colleagues greeted him with ‘G’day Sport’ is taking his racial abuse case to the European Court of Human Rights.” [Telegraph; Dymchurch, Kent, U.K.]


Zip that beak

by Walter Olson on February 23, 2012

Twitter has been sued in Australia for defamation, based on a user’s allegedly defamatory tweet [WSJ Law Blog]

February 22 roundup

by Walter Olson on February 22, 2012

  • Florida courts allow probe of finances of MDs who treat many injury plaintiffs [Dolman Law Group; Crable v. State Farm]
  • Booster clubs: “Does Title IX Reach Voluntary Donations?” [Joshua Thompson, PLF, earlier here, here]
  • Freedom to Discriminate in Choice of Roommates: 9th Circuit case of Fair Housing Council v. [Eugene Volokh; related from David Bernstein h/t commenter wfjag]
  • PI firm employee “disliked sending clients to [chiropractors] because insurers were more reluctant to settle those claims” [ABA Journal]
  • “Bill introduced to de-criminalize the Lacey Act” [Paul Enzinna, PoL; earlier on Gibson Guitar and wood imports here, here] More: on the raids [Balko]
  • “Australia: A Cautionary Tale of Litigation Financing?” [WSJ Law Blog]
  • Constitutional law book review: Jay Wexler, “The Odd Clauses” [Greenfield, Lowering the Bar]


In the mail: “Bad Dad”

by Walter Olson on February 17, 2012

We blogged about this case in 2008, and now Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist Dave Lieber has turned it into a book. From the description:

A newspaper columnist investigates the shenanigans of a small-town police department — then pays a price for it. After he orders his misbehaving 11-year-old son to walk home from a local restaurant, police arrest the dad for two felony counts. A true-story thriller about parental responsibility, small-town corruption and the consequences of being a public figure.

And: should an Arkansas mother whose son had been thrown off the regular school bus for misbehavior face child endangerment charges for making him walk 4.5 miles to school instead? [Alkon] From Australia, should police warn parents for letting a 7-year-old visit a local shop alone, and a 10-year-old ride a bus unaccompanied? [Sydney Morning Herald via Skenazy]


The official Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is menacing businesses with audits, “substantiation notices” and potentially stiff fines if they tell customers — even over the phone or in emails — that future price hikes on goods or services are the result of the nation’s newly adopted carbon tax. I discuss at Cato at Liberty (& Mark Hemingway, Weekly Standard).


Popular commentator Andrew Bolt “was found guilty Wednesday of breaking Australian discrimination law by implying that fair-skinned Aborigines chose to identify as indigenous for profit and career advancement.” A judge “said he will prohibit reproduction of the offending articles,” and “Bolt and his publisher must meet with the plaintiffs to discuss appropriate court orders that would reflect the judgment.” [AP, earlier, Volokh](& Popehat)


September 16 roundup

by Walter Olson on September 16, 2011

  • House Judiciary holds hearing on asbestos-claim fraud and abuse, with Prof. Brickman headlining [Main Justice, Legal NewsLine, WSJ law blog, PoL, Brickman testimony]
  • Endangered species habitat in Nevada: “Elko County wants end to 15-year-old trout case” [AP]
  • “Why is the Eastern District of Texas home to so many patent trolls?” [Ted Frank/PoL, more] Tech giants say multi-defendant patent suits place them at disadvantage [WSJ Law Blog] Plus: “Patent company has big case, no office” [John O'Brien, Legal NewsLine]
  • Lawsuit settlement and the lizard brain [Popehat]
  • “U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Looks Into Eminent Domain Abuses” [Kanner, Somin] U.K.: “Squatters could be good for us all, says judge in empty homes ruling” [Telegraph]
  • Madison mob silences Roger Clegg at news conference where he releases new study of UW race bias [ABA Journal, Althouse]
  • Life in Australia: “Another motorized-beer-cooler DUI” [Lowering the Bar]


August 2 roundup

by Walter Olson on August 2, 2011

  • Yikes! “House Committee Approves Bill Mandating That Internet Companies Spy on Their Users” [EFF; Julian Sanchez, New York Post/Cato and podcast]
  • Australia courts skeptical about claim that sex injury is covered under workers’ comp [Herald Sun]
  • Well-off community doesn’t need annual HUD grant, seeks to sell it [Dan Mitchell]
  • Report: playful City Museum in St. Louis has taken down signs criticizing lawyers [Bill Childs/TortsProf, earlier]
  • Chicago neurosurgeons pay $4500 a week in med-mal premiums, blame lawless Illinois Supreme Court [Medill Reports] Supreme Court declines to review Feres doctrine, which shields military doctors (among others) from suits [Stars and Stripes] Why is the most widely cited number of medical-misadventure deaths such an outlier? [White Coat; more here, here, etc.]
  • After “Facebook broken heart” suit, will pre-nups for Mafia Wars relationships be next? [Tri-Cities Herald]
  • Another horrific report of poppy seed positive drug test followed by child-grabbing [Radley Balko]


“In the first fall at 6pm on August 21, 2006, Ms Hargreaves was going to get cough medicine from the fridge in her sock-clad feet…. The tribunal found both falls ‘arose out of Ms Hargreaves’ employment with Telstra’ which made them workplace injuries. Legal experts said the ruling could force employers to conduct workplace health and safety audits in the homes of the one-in-four Queenslanders who regularly work from their private residence for lifestyle reasons.” A law professor said employers “should not enter lightly into home work arrangements” because homes are “inherently dangerous places,” while a labor union spokeswomen said employers should not be able to “contract out” of safety and health obligations. [Courier-Mail; my related take a while back]


June 10 roundup

by Walter Olson on June 10, 2011

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April 6 roundup

by Walter Olson on April 6, 2011

  • Lack of defect poses problem for plaintiff: Toyota prevails in first acceleration case [NLJ]
  • Australia: writer Andrew Bolt on trial for alleged racially disparaging columns [Herald Sun, Crikey, The Age]
  • “Attorneys Put Themselves Before Consumers in Class Action over Faulty Computer Chip” [CJAC, Frank/CCAF on NVidia case]
  • Ruling by Federal Circuit is thinning out rush of patent marking cases [Qualters, NLJ, earlier]
  • Podcast: Lester Brickman and “Lawyer Barons” [PoL, earlier here and here]
  • “Are class actions unconstitutional?” [Lahav, Mass Tort Lit, on Martin Redish book]
  • “Free speech belongs on campuses too” [Ilya Shapiro, Cato, on Widener case, with kind mention of Schools for Misrule]
  • King Canute turns attention to dry land: states mull bills to forbid use of distressed properties as appraisal comps [Funnell]


Per some in Australia, it may be too dangerous an activity: “‘The mayor said they would like to issue us a permit but can’t because it raises health and safety issues, in case somebody fell over a child on the footpath or into the street,’ [a cafe owner] said.” [Free-Range Kids]

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“Companies with more than 100 workers will face spot checks and mandatory reporting on the numbers of women they employ and their position under tough new measures aimed at boosting gender equality in the workplace.” [The Australian]

Plus, related: Case against UK quotas for women on corporate boards [Bainbridge]

Australian authorities dropped a criminal tax investigation of actor Paul Hogan, whose 1986 starring role did much for the nation’s image. Now Hogan, who lives in Los Angeles, says his reputation and career have suffered. [Lowering the Bar]


November 15 roundup

by Walter Olson on November 15, 2010

  • Simon Singh on need to reform UK libel law [BoingBoing]
  • Complaint: Scalia’s too darned principled on religious liberty [rebutted by Ponnuru at NRO]
  • Air Force sued after teenage rave in abandoned bunker turns bad [PoL]
  • Scathing Kleinfeld dissent in Ninth Circuit Alien Tort case [Volokh, Fisher, Recorder]
  • “Law Firm Accused of Requiring Heels, Then Discriminating When Injury Occurred” [ABA Journal]
  • Parent’s angry letter to Kansas City school board complaining that teacher laid hands on son; best part are the demands [Something Awful forums]
  • Australia: “Iconic Merry-Go-Round Is Deemed an Insurance Liability” [Free-Range Kids]
  • “Meatpacker to pay $3m for using strength test” [five years ago on Overlawyered]


Australian writer David Broadbent explains to his daughter. [Free-Range Kids] Plus: Australian lawmaker told not to change lightbulb in his office.

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