Karma in Carmichael: serial Sacramento-area filer of ADA suits Scott Johnson, oftenchronicled 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]
Suing apps makers? “Entertainment Lawyers Go Wild for ‘Secondary’ Copyright Lawsuits” [WSJ Law Blog] SWAT raid on Kiwi copyright scofflaw? [Balko] Despite its editor’s views, NYT finds it hard to avoid breaching copyright laws itself [Carly Carioli, Boston Phoenix] “Contempt Sanctions Imposed on Copyright Troll Evan Stone” [Paul Alan Levy] More: “obscene materials can’t be copyrighted” offered as defense in illegal download case [Kerr]
Tenure terror: “Teacher in Los Angeles molest case reportedly paid $40G to drop appeal of firing” [AP]
Educator: please don’t bring lawyers to parent-teacher meetings [Ron Clark, CNN] Steve Brill: what I found when I investigated NYC teacher “rubber rooms” [Reuters] “The Six Dumbest Things Schools Are Doing in the Name of Safety” [Cracked] School waterfall liability [Lincoln, Neb. Journal-Star]
As predicted: “Dodd-Frank Paperwork a Bonanza for Consultants and Lawyers” [NYT]
New class action law in Mexico includes loser-pays provision [WSJ]
Newt Gingrich candidacy revives memories of his 1995 call for death penalty (with “mass executions”) for drug smuggling [NYT archive via Josh Barro; see also @timothy_watson "Sounds kinda like Shariah Law to me.")
"Cy pres slush fund in Georgia under ethics investigation" [PoL]
Meanwhile, some Andrew Sullivan readers point out that contrasts between the public and private sectors can be overdone, since it can be legally troublesome for private managers, too, to fire poorly performing workers. I wrote a whole book tackling related themes some years back.
An arbitrator has reinstated 75 teachers dismissed by the Washington, D.C. school system during their 2-year probationary period — not after achieving tenure — for such infractions as perennial absence or tardiness, “rude and aggressive” behavior and “sketchy or nonexistent lesson plans.” “[Arbitrator Charles] Feigenbaum said that the teachers had been denied due process because they were not given reasons for their terminations. It’s a mind-boggling decision that essentially affords probationary teachers some of the rights that protect tenured teachers.” [Washington Post editorial] For another indication of the legal constraints on employee selection faced by the D.C. schools, see this 2001 post.
In 1993, Chelsea High School teacher Stephen Leith shot to death his superintendent and wounded his principal and another teacher during a confrontation at the school. Leith was convicted of homicide and given a life sentence; from prison, he continued to pursue an appeal of his firing from Chelsea Public Schools, blaming his actions on medication.
“He murdered his superintendent. It’s crazy,” said Tom White, associate director of labor relations for [the] Michigan School Board Association.
“An Ohio public school teacher accused of burning the mark of a cross on students’ arms said Friday he dropped a lawsuit over his firing because it would have interfered with a public airing of his complaint in a different venue.” [AP via Ed Brayton, earlier]
A dismissed teacher’s case against the school system in Lowell is now before Massachusetts’s Supreme Judicial Court. Phanna Rem Robishaw, a native of Cambodia originally hired to teach bilingual programs, had received favorable evaluations for years but received an unsatisfactory rating in English fluency after the state began requiring that teachers be tested on that skill. An arbitrator reinstated her but a state court judge reversed the reinstatement, terming her performance on an interview test tape “utterly incomprehensible”. Robishaw’s lawyer says the arbitrator excluded the tape from evidence and that the judge should not have considered it, and that the judge failed to observe the presumption against overturning arbitration results. “In 2002, Massachusetts’ voters passed Question 2, requiring all school superintendents to attest to the English fluency and literacy of their teachers where ‘the teacher’s fluency is not apparent through classroom observation and assessment or interview assessment.’” [Lowell Sun]
Readers with long memories will recall the 1990s controversy over a hard-to-understand foreign-born teacher in Westfield, Mass. which led Massachusetts voters to adopt Question 2; I wrote about it for Reason here. By coincidence, presumably, Robishaw attended Westfield State College.
There are “almost certainly” many innocent persons in prison today wrongly convicted of shaking a baby to death [Radley Balko, Reason] Harris County, Texas forensic examiner under scrutiny [same, Reason "Hit and Run"] L.A. Times on forensics reform [same]
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