They may not be as numerous as L.A.’s, but they include some individual doozies [Denver Post via Radley Balko; earlier]
“A police lieutenant, fired for covering up a hit and run crash involving a fellow officer [she] was involved in a relationship with, has been reinstated following an arbitration decision that chastised the city’s Police Commission.” Christine Burns also got six months back pay. The arbitrator found that Burns’s boyfriend had been treated leniently, drawing only a one-year unpaid suspension despite serious misconduct, which in turn deprived her of her right to be treated “evenhandedly and without discrimination.” [Connecticut Post]
And while we’re at it: Police union defends Denver cop fired for driving drunk at 143 mph [Tina Korbe, Hot Air; The Truth About Cars]
Today I’m talking to state legislators courtesy of the American Legislative Exchange Council. Next week I head off for luncheon talks about my new book Schools for Misrule before Federalist Society lawyers’ chapters in Greenville, S.C. on Wed. Dec. 7, and Charlotte, N.C. on Thurs. Dec. 8. And then the following week I keynote the annual luncheon of the Colorado Civil Justice League Dec. 13 in Denver. If you’re in the audience, do introduce yourself!
I’m currently planning speaking trips that will take me to Chicago Nov. 7-8, Greenville, S.C. Dec. 7, Denver Dec. 13, and possibly Phoenix Dec. 1. If you’ve got a speaker’s series or organization that’s in one of these places or an easy travel jump away, consider saving on travel expenses by booking me for a talk around these dates. You can contact me directly at editor – [at] – overlawyered – dot – com or Diane Morris at the Cato Institute: dmorris – [at] – cato – dot – org.
The guy had reposted a photo belonging to the Denver Post, a newspaper that’s among the clients of the copyright-enforcement mill [Westword via Romenesko, USWGO]
CPSIA has come at a steep price for the Northwest Denver Toy Library, which has had to throw out nearly 400 of the 500 toys in its stock because it has no way of being sure that they comply with the 2008 federal law. [9News.com Denver]
In Boulder, Colorado, hair salon owner Joy Douglas “received a $1,000 ticket from an animal-control officer for coloring her white poodle, Cici, pink by using organic beet juice.” Everyone seems to agree that the dye job is not physically harmful to the pooch, who is well cared for in other ways, but Boulder has a town ordinance against animal-dyeing, aimed at Easter-season tormentors of bunnies and chicks, and several residents ratted Douglas out. She says the idea of the pink fur was to raise awareness for breast cancer. (“Boulder’s pink poodle owner preps for legal fight”, Denver Post, Mar. 11).
This morning I was a guest on WTKK’s “Michael Graham Show” out of Boston to discuss the Spitzer scandal. I was also the guest of Mike Rosen on Denver’s KOA for a discussion of the case of the New York lawyer who’s suing casinos for $20 million after her out-of-control gambling ruined her career.
U. S District Court Judge Robert Matsch recently got so infuriated by the conduct of McDermott, Will and Emery attorneys Terrance McMahon and Vera Elson that he overturned a jury’s $51 million verdict, then ordered the lawyers to pay the fees and costs of the opposing lawyers, a sum that could total several million dollars. (Denver Post, Feb. 25)
From the decision (Medtronic Navigation, Inc. v. BrainLAB Medizinische, 2008 WL 410413):
In essence, the response from the plaintiff and MWE, through new counsel, is that the Court had the obligation to stop any trial conduct that stepped over the line of zealous advocacy. In short, they argue that they should not be held responsible for what they were able to get away with during the trial presentation. The adamant denial that there was any abuse of advocacy in this case is in disregard of what this Court has already concluded and displays the same arrogance that has colored this case almost from its inception. Throughout these proceedings Medtronic and the MWE lawyers have demonstrated that when they are faced with adverse court rulings, they proceed undeterred, with only superficial observance of the court’s determinations. Such conduct supports the conclusion that after the Markman rulings, Medtronic’s primary objective in pursuing this litigation was to put economic pressure on its competitor in the market.
Medtronic’s counsel proceeded cavalierly, with reckless indifference to the merits of Medtronic’s infringement claims. The continued prosecution of a claim after its lack of merit has become apparent warrants sanctions under § 1927. At trial, MWE’s conduct was in disregard for the duty of candor, reflecting an attitude of “what can I get away with?” Throughout the trial, the MWE lawyers artfully avoided the limitations of the patent claims and created an illusion of infringement. They did so with full awareness that their case was without merit.
Jeremy Meyer has this article in the The Denver Post about a proposed plan to offer pregnant teenage mothers 4 weeks of maternity leave as official school policy. It surely is commendable when schools allow new mothers time to be with their newborns and adjust to parenthood; yet to make such accommodations official policy essentially means that it becomes a right — and all rights are ripe for litigation.
60-year-old David J. Pfahler of Allentown, Pa., has filed suit in Denver “claiming Scott Swimm, then 7, was skiing fast and recklessly when they collided in January” at Beaver Creek. Pfahler wants upwards of $75,000 over a torn shoulder tendon which necessitated “physical therapy, vacation time, nursing and medical services provided by Pfahler’s wife, and other expenses”. Scott’s mother says he weighs 48 pounds “and couldn’t have been going more than 10 mph. ‘Who in the world sues a child?’ she said. ‘It just boggles my mind every day.’” (“Man, 60, sues boy, 8, over ski collision”, AP/Boston Globe, Dec. 20; Steve Lynn, “Boy, 8, sued in Beaver Creek ski collision”, Vail Daily, Dec. 19).
Following widespread public anger, the plaintiffs say they have been subjected to harassment in what their lawyer, Jim Chalat, calls an “electronic tar and feathering” (“Couple that sued Eagle-Vail boy hears complaints”, Vail Daily, Dec. 26; letters, Dec. 24; more coverage, Dec. 27 and Mark Wolf’s Rocky Mountain News blog; Obscure Store).
And, as the night follows the day, there descend the class-action shareholder lawyers, led in this case by San Diego’s not-at-all-tainted Coughlin Stoia of Bill Lerach fame. (“Crocs facing possible suit despite earnings hike”, Northern Colorado Business Report, Nov. 9; Keith DuBay, “Lawyers pounce on Crocs”, ColoradoBiz Magazine/Denver Post, Nov. 15). “Imagine that! Sandals seasonal? Who knew?” (Al Lewis, “Idiots’ lawsuit is nothing but a Croc”, Denver Post, Nov. 16).
It would appear U.S. District Judge Robert Blackburn has reached the end of his patience with attorney Mark E. Brennan, and then some. Throwing out a $1.2 million verdict obtained by Brennan against the city of Denver on a claim of age discrimination against a firefighter, Judge Blackburn condemned Brennan’s courtroom antics as “disgraceful” as well as “boorish and unprofessional”:
“In over 19 years on the bench, I have seen nothing comparable,” the judge wrote. “Such disrespectful cockalorum, grandstanding, bombast, bullying and hyperbole as Mr. Brennan exhibited throughout the trial are quite beyond my experience as a jurist, and, I fervently hope, will remain an aberration during the remainder of my time on the bench.”
(Daniel J. Chacon, “Judge points to lawyer’s antics in junking $1.2 million ruling”, Rocky Mountain News, Oct. 6). No response from Mr. Brennan is recorded yet in the news coverage assembled by Google. The dictionary, incidentally, defines “cockalorum” as “boastful talk; crowing”. P.S. Brennan’s response, as reported in the Rocky Mountain News (via ABA Journal); also more details at On Point News.