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Fifth Circuit

A big win for the oil company before a Fifth Circuit panel, fighting what it says is systematic large-scale fraud in the Gulf Coast spill economic-damage settlement. [Bloomberg News, earlier here, here, etc.]

EEOC v. Boh Brothers

by Walter Olson on October 2, 2013

EEOC v. Boh Brothers is a new Fifth Circuit en banc decision allowing liability on a theory of hostile workplace environment sex discrimination arising from crude and aggressive locker-room banter in an all-male workplace (on facts differing somewhat from those in Oncale v. Sundowner, the 1998 Supreme Court case countenancing such liability). The dissent by Judge Edith Jones, p. 46 at footnote 3, cites my “Sentence First, Verdict Afterward,” from the July issue of Commentary magazine, on the federal government’s unhealthy interest lately in developing legal doctrines that pressure private institutions into adopting speech codes aimed at protecting listeners’ sensitivities.

Don’t miss the “Etiquette for Ironworkers” parody legal memo on p. 58, either. How many dissents include a parody legal memo?

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October 8 roundup

by Walter Olson on October 8, 2012

  • Karma in Carmichael: serial Sacramento-area filer of ADA suits Scott Johnson, often chronicled in this space, hit by sex-harass suit by four former female employees, with avert-your-eyes details [Sac Bee; News10, autoplays] One of Johnson’s suits, over a counter that was too high, recently helped close Ford’s Real Hamburgers, a 50-year-old establishment. [KTXL/The Blaze]
  • Fifth Circuit reverses decision holding Feds liable for Katrina flood damages [Reuters]
  • “Your right to resell your own stuff is in peril”: SCOTUS takes up first-sale doctrine in copyright law [Jennifer Waters, MarketWatch on Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons]
  • Rubber room redux: “New York Teacher Live-Streams $75,000 Do-Nothing Job” [Lachlan Markay, Heritage] Teacher charged with hiring hitman to kill colleague should have been fired decade ago [Mike Riggs]
  • “George Zimmerman sues NBC for editing 911 audio to make him sound racist” [Jim Treacher, Daily Caller]
  • Prof. Mark J. Perry has moved his indispensable Carpe Diem economics/policy blog in-house to AEI;
  • New York will require newly licensed lawyers to do pro bono [WSJ, Scott Greenfield, Legal Ethics Forum]

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Judges roundup

by Walter Olson on July 12, 2012

The good, the bad, and the beyond belief:

April 16 roundup

by Walter Olson on April 16, 2012

  • Although I’m known as a foe of everything John Edwards stands for, I hope he beats this campaign finance rap [Atlantic Wire]
  • Michael Bloomberg launches demagogic new campaign against Stand Your Ground laws, calling to mind the recent critique of the NYC mayor’s paternalist dark side by Conor Friedersdorf in the Atlantic;
  • Jerry Brown frees grandmother dubiously jailed in shaken-baby death [Slate, earlier]
  • As Scruggs (Dickey not Earl) still pursues vindication, Alan Lange looks back on Mississippi scandals [YallPolitics]
  • Deservedly favorable profile of Fifth Circuit judge Jerry Smith [NOLA]
  • In which I tell off Bill Donohue’s Catholic League for its double insult last week to gays and to adoptive parents [IGF]
  • “The Ninth Circuit was, believe it or not, correct” [Ilya Shapiro and Trevor Burrus, Cato, on administrative law case arising from NLRB rules change on drug rep overtime]

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January 26 roundup

by Walter Olson on January 26, 2012

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People are talking about the Fifth Circuit’s opinion (written by Judge Jerry Smith) in the “disgruntled cheerleader mom” case:

Reduced to its essentials, this is nothing more than a dispute, fueled by a disgruntled cheerleader mom, over whether her daughter should have made the squad. It is a petty squabble, masquerading as a civil rights matter, that has no place in federal court or any other court. We find no error and affirm.

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Hello? Guantanamo? It’s not as if you’d expect any sort of consistent policy on these matters from the imaginatively named Alliance for Justice. But it’s still strange that they’d open the door to future attacks on their own favored judicial nominees based on clients they represented long before reaching the bench. [Joel Cohen and Katherine Helm/Law.com, NLJ] More: John Steele at Legal Ethics Forum takes a different view, and I comment.

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I can’t say I’ve made a study of Judge Graves’ overall career as a jurist in the Mississippi state courts, but if his record presiding over the notorious O’Keefe v. Loewen trial is at all typical, his wouldn’t exactly be a name high on my list. [AP/Law.com]

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June 1 roundup

by Walter Olson on June 1, 2010

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USA Today on the Fifth Circuit’s recent ruling on a Katrina case, Comer v. Murphy Oil. More on the case at Point of Law here, here, and here.

Protect “a letter to [a] girlfriend [stating] that a prison officer had sex with a cat” but do not protect mailing a prosecutor “a note written on toilet paper” saying “Dear Susan, Please use this to wipe your ass, that argument was a bunch of shit! You[rs] Truly, George Morgan.” (Morgan v. Quarterman (5th Cir. 2009)). W.C., sending us the case, comments, perhaps only semi-facetiously:

(i) He said “very truly yours.” Maybe he was trying to help her. He was at least sincere.

(ii) I wouldn’t mind doing a similar stunt to opposing in a case I have currently. I too would do so from a helpful perspective. Is that so wrong?

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And Larry Ribstein reasonably asks: What about Jeff Skilling?

And a Fifth Circuit panel eats him alive.