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Banker: “It should be illegal to start bank runs by spreading mistaken alarms about deposit soundness.”

Ag guy: “It should be illegal to falsely impugn the safety of America’s food supply.”

Hollywood celeb: “It should be illegal to call somebody fat on TV.


“Estate Says $2,105, IRS Says $434,000,000.” [TaxProf]


If you pay an athlete or other celebrity for the right to depict them in a poster or videogame, do you have a right to show an accurate rendering of their tattoo without further seeking permission from the original tattoo artist? It’s widely agreed that tattoos enjoy some degree of copyright protection, most obviously so in the case where an infringer has swiped an original design for purposes of tattooing someone else. Damages, at least, would be available in such a case, though it might prove hard to persuade courts to exercise the power accorded them by 17 U.S.C. § 503 to order the “impounding and disposition of infringing articles.” [Ira Boudway, Bloomberg BusinessWeek]


“Mr. Smith says he is simply trying to get the truth out about New York’s powerful. … But I came to believe that his intent could well be to tell fanciful stories in hopes of drawing media attention to extract settlement payments in his lawsuits.” [Andrew Ross Sorkin, New York Times]

If you Instagram, Tweet or otherwise disclose anything that goes on there, it’d better be good, because you could be on the hook for $5 million in liquidated damages. [TMZ]


A New Jersey man claims that he was injured by an insomnia therapy recommended on TV by the high-profile Dr. Mehmet Oz, involving the use of microwave-heated raw rice in a bag to warm the feet. Instead the man got third-degree burns, according to his lawsuit. [Associated Press/]

“Hawaii needs to rethink the ‘Steven Tyler Act.’ States can promote the right of privacy while ensuring freedom of speech.” [Josh Blackman/Ilya Shapiro, USA Today]


Lance Armstrong as litigant

by Walter Olson on January 19, 2013

The disgraced cyclist, like quite a few celebrities (and non-celebrities), had filed defamation actions against persons over statements he had good reason to know were true. That’s not just a violation of his adversaries’ rights, but an inherently sanctionable use of the courts [Michael McCann/Sports Illustrated via Turkewitz; Emily Bazelon/Slate ("Armstrong 'sued so many people that by his own admission he can’t remember their names'")]


A Fort Lauderdale attorney “Announces He Is Taking on All Celebrity Criminal Cases in Florida” [Scott Greenfield]

And a reaction from @SupremeHaiku: Florida lawyer/ Will defend the defenseless/ If they are famous.


March 5 roundup

by Walter Olson on March 5, 2012

  • Trial lawyer TV: mistranslation, plaintiff’s experts were instrumental in “Anderson Cooper 360″ CNN story trying to keep sudden-acceleration theory alive [Corp Counsel, Toyota, PDF, background]
  • “Can I get a form to file a police complaint?” No. No, you can’t [Balko]
  • Madison County lawyer runs for judgeship [MCRecord; earlier on her columnist-suing past]
  • RIP Dan Popeo, founder and head of Washington Legal Foundation [Mark Tapscott, Examiner]
  • Louisiana: “Church Ordered to Stop Giving Away Free Water” [Todd Starnes, Fox via Amy Alkon]
  • Developer of “Joustin’ Beaver” game files for declaratory judgment against singer Justin Bieber’s trademark, publicity claims [THR, Esq.]
  • “Why are Indian reservations so poor?” [John Koppisch, Forbes] “Payday loans head to the Indian reservations” [Katherine Mangu-Ward, Reason] Tribal recognition: high-stakes D.C. game where lobbyists get the house rake-off [Chris Edwards, Cato]

Because the best way to show that it’s Not About the Money is to ask for $200 million [TMZ]

This listicle from PopCrunch does remind us that it was only a few months ago that Lindsay Lohan filed a ridiculous lawsuit against E-Trade over an ad that included a “milkoholic” named Lindsay. Also on the list: a David Geffen suit against Neil Young for making “uncharacteristic and uncommercial” music, and the ‘Heeeere’s Johnny” portable-toilet fracas.

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“A year after ‘Kung Fu’ actor David Carradine died from a dangerous sex practice, his wife has filed suit, claiming he would still be alive if he hadn’t been left alone in a hotel that night.” California attorney and Overlawyered favorite Mark Geragos is representing Anne Carradine. [ABC News]


Says it didn’t properly advise him beforehand that he needed to buy lots of coverage. []


On Super Bowl Sunday, E-Trade ran one of their annoying talking-baby commercials; this one featured a blond baby named “Lindsay” (the 380th most popular baby-girl name in 2008) that another baby calls a “milk-aholic.” This, says 23-year-old Lindsay Lohan, was a violation of the rights to her “name and characterization”; she’s sued in Nassau County, New York state court, and is asking for $100 million. The advertising agency says Baby Lindsay was named after someone on the ad team. [lawsuit via TMZ; NY Post; Reuters]

Commenter Richard Nieporent reminds us of the similar Spike Lee vs. Spike TV silliness.


They’re one reason the litigation system gets a bad reputation, notes Ronald Miller.