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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!

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“Wayne County, Mich. Judge Kathleen MacDonald slapped a Dearborn man with an injunction ordering him to take down his Facebook comments critical of a class-action settlement of a case against McDonald’s for selling non-halal meat.” [Daniel Fisher, Forbes; Paul Alan Levy, Public Citizen; Ted Frank, PoL] More: Blue Dog Thoughts.

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With a new law, Vernon County, Wisconsin has put itself at the forefront of attempts to regulate disparaging email, online chat, blogs, Facebook posts (specifically cited by one advocate at a hearing), and Twitter. The law seems to be a product of the media hype over “cyberbullying.” [Popehat, Volokh]

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December 4 roundup

by Walter Olson on December 4, 2012

  • Wendy Murphy brings her believe-the-accuser shtick to the University of Virginia [KC Johnson, Minding the Campus]
  • UK: foster parents in Rotherham might want to take care not to belong to the wrong political party [Telegraph]
  • “The Disappearance of Civil Trial in the United States” [John Langbein, Yale Law Journal & SSRN]
  • “Liability Is ‘Wrong’ Solution for Rating Agencies” [Mark Calabria, Cato at Liberty] Mere days later: “Sixth Circuit Rejects Ohio Pension Fund Suit Against Rating Agencies” [Adler]
  • “Yes, it is now illegal to be fully nude in San Francisco *unless you are in a parade*” [Lowering the Bar]
  • Once lionized in press: “Former Ohio AG Loses Law License for 6 Months Over Ethics Violations While In Office” [ABA Journal, Adler]
  • Facebook says it may go after some lawyers who’ve repped adversary Ceglia [Roger Parloff, Fortune]

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“Facebook and Twitter have landed several Britons in court and even jail recently. Critics decry the trend as a worrisome overreaction.” [L.A. Times]

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A Facebook observation

by Walter Olson on November 3, 2012

Many politically active people “like” candidates and causes to which they are in fact ardently opposed, since following the opposition’s Facebook stream can be a smart way to keep tabs on what it’s doing. But as a result Facebook keeps feeding us sponsored posts — often very misleading ones — that follow the formula “[my friend] likes [candidate/cause X]“.

By the way, if you’re on Facebook, you really should be liking Overlawyered, here. That’s true even if you can’t stand the site and just want to keep tabs on its nefarious ways.

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“Paul Ceglia, who sued Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in 2010, claiming he was promised a 50% share in the social media company, was arrested on Friday. His alleged crime: doctoring, fabricating and destroying evidence to support his claims. The feds described his lawsuit as a multi-billion dollar scheme to defraud Facebook and Mr. Zuckerberg.” [Joe Palazzolo, WSJ Law Blog, Donna Tam, CNet]

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From the summary: “Judge throws out multibillion dollar suit arising from obscure CD-and-audiotape rental law, saying there’s no evidence anyone was actually harmed by Pandora’s integration with Facebook two years ago.”

The suit [by class action firm Edelson McGuire] claimed violations of an obscure pre-Internet era Michigan law, which says a company “renting or lending” sound recordings may not disclose details about customers’ transactions without their written permission. Because it specifies $5,000 penalty per violation, the possible damages could total in the tens of billions — far more than Pandora’s actual $1.8 billion market capitalization.

The judge, however, said the law did not create a right of action on behalf of unharmed consumers, and also was unpersuaded that the music-streaming service was “renting or lending” songs. [Declan McCullagh, CNet]

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…is now approaching 1,000 “likes.” Won’t you help push it over by “liking” it now, recommending it to friends, and sharing a few posts?

July 2 roundup

by Walter Olson on July 2, 2012

  • Thank you, San Francisco rent control, for our almost-free Nob Hill pied-a-terre [Nevius, SF Chronicle]
  • Switzerland: be sure the preschoolers have a nice saw to play with [Suzanne Lucas]
  • DOT regulation forbids workaround that could end drivers’ “blind spot” [Technology Review via Stoll]
  • CFAA madness: “How a federal law can be used to prosecute almost anyone who visits a website” [Jacob Sullum]
  • “Judge halts Facebook fishing expedition before it can grow into a suit” [Daniel Fisher]
  • Finding too many of us subsidy-resistant, Feds pursue ad campaigns hawking food stamps [Veronique de Rugy, NRO]
  • Yoo-hoo, Institute for Justice: State regulation restricts competition for moving van service in Connecticut [New London Day via Raising Hale]

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Jon Hyman finds the National Labor Relations Board’s policy on social media in the workplace a “bungled mess.” More: Reed Smith.

June 1 roundup

by Walter Olson on June 1, 2012

  • Most embarrassing lawsuit Hall of Fame (plaintiff’s decedent division) [Atlanta Journal-Constitution, cardiology med-mal; more]
  • Latest twist in ongoing speech-chilling saga worthy of attention from PEN: attorney Aaron Walker is charged in Rockville, Md. after a court interprets his blogging about an adversary as a violation of a peace order [Hans Bader and more, Eugene Volokh, Scott Greenfield with comments from Maryland lawyer Bruce Godfrey, Patterico, Popehat, and many others; earlier here, here, and here.] And Ken at Popehat, in a perhaps not unrelated development, puts out a call for a pro bono criminal lawyer to protect a blogger in M.D. Fla. and M.D. Tenn.
  • California lament: Facebook must pay hefty bribe to be allowed to hire more employees [Coyote]
  • “The burdens of e-discovery” [Ted Frank/PoL]
  • Strangest judicial campaign video of the year? [Jim Foley, candidate for Washington Court of Appeals, Olympia; Above the Law, followup]
  • Massive wave of disability claims among returning vets [AP]
  • We keep loading up company compliance/ethics folk with new regulatory responsibilities. How’s that working out? [Compliance Week]

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You can do that here (and if you’re on Twitter, follow the site as well as @walterolson)

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Teasing in social media

by Walter Olson on April 14, 2012

A study finds kids don’t share academics’ level of alarm about “cyberbullying,” and concludes that they (the kids) need their consciousness raised [Michael Aynsley, OpenFile Vancouver] And from Lenore Skenazy: “You Can Be Anti-Bullying and Still Not Buy Into New Bullying ‘Crisis’

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Spread the happy news: I’ve finally installed share buttons so that you can “Like” Overlawyered posts on Facebook as well as share them on Twitter and Google Plus. And if you’re a Facebook user, please remember to “Like” the entire page here.

Great news: thanks to Zach Graves and Cato’s new media department, Overlawyered finally has a working Facebook page with post updates and everything. Please take a moment to Like it now (& Tom Freeland (“Overlawyered celebrates discovery of world’s dumbest Facebook user by joining Facebook”)).

A Minnesota man named Aaron (no relation) Olson has met with no success in legal efforts to force his uncle to remove “innocuous [but surely awkward] family photographs” with snarky captions. [Christopher Danzig, Above the Law; Venkat Balasubramani/TMLB]

February 17 roundup

by Walter Olson on February 17, 2012

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