Category Archive: Lawsuits

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The 9th Circuit and the Immigration Ban

Last week, the Ninth Circuit upheld the lower court’s temporary restraining order on the Trump administration’s travel ban. If you listen to some news outlets, you’ve probably heard this described as an activist decision by politically motivated judges. To those on the other side of the issue, this was a much needed check by the judiciary on a rogue executive. But for all the opinions being bandied about, it is important to understand what the Ninth Circuit’s decision actually did — and didn’t — do.

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CREW v. Trump

Soon you’ll start your law school journey. If you’re unfortunate enough to have to take constitutional law in your first year, you’ll be very happy to find out about Erwin Chemerinsky, the author of the most widely used con law supplement around. Don’t buy the casebook, buy Chemerinsky’s supplement instead.

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Trials of the Century: Bush v. Gore

The 2000 Presidential Election—where Bush beat Gore, taking 271 Electoral College Votes to Gore’s 266, but losing the popular vote by about 500,000 votes (at least officially) —brought us Bush v. Gore.

An automatic machine recount revealed that the margin of victory in Florida was only 327 votes in favor of Bush. In the American winner-takes-all electoral system, this meant that Bush would take all of Florida’s 25 electoral votes and with them the presidency.

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The Real Housewives and the Bottomless Cesspit that is American Pop Culture

As the Bard once said, “What’s in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Lucky for William Shakespeare, he died centuries before the debut of reality show/unmistakable sign of the impending Apocalypse, The Real Housewives.

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Graduate sues Thomas Jefferson School of Law: Is this the new normal?

I believe in the market. People generally know what they want and how much it’s worth to them. Or they should. So it’s buyer beware. But around the time of the Financial Crisis—give or take a few years—the market for legal education was dysfunctional, and some think it’s still so.

The main issue was that schools, from the prominent to the struggling, were fudging their employment statistics and costs of attendance. Common tactics included lumping part-time, non-legal jobs, and law school funded jobs into a school’s employment rate, and leaving off living costs during winter and summer break. That’s misleading when attending law school could cost students $100,000 a year, including cost of living. Part-time non-legal jobs ain’t gonna cut it.

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Buy low, sue high.

Increasingly in the United States, there is a trend toward third-party litigation financing — in other words, allowing a non-participant in a lawsuit to “buy shares” in a plaintiff’s case. In return for this investment, the company or individual will receive a portion of any settlement or award. Before you read further, does this strike you as a good idea? Well…

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The Case of the Devious Defecator

Today’s story from the legal world begins with piles of human excrement – and yes, we mean that literally. The piles in question were mysteriously left around a warehouse in Atlanta. The case of the “devious defecator” (the judge deserves endless credit for that name) ends with a lawsuit and a jury awarding a judgment of $2.25 million to the plaintiffs. That’s a pretty big pile of, uh, cash. But don’t let that scare you away from your next workplace prank – the company is the one that’s going to have to pay.

Atlas Logistics supplies products to grocery stores. In 2012, someone repeatedly defecated in one of the company’s warehouses near Atlanta. For some reason, management fingered two employees as their number two suspects.

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Judge Slapped with $2.2 Million Suit when Driveway Feud Turns Ugly

Justice Barbara Wilson of Southampton, NY is being sued by neighbor Tony Gugliotta for defamation. The story begins as a fairly standard argument over a shared driveway, a portion of which Judge Wilson claims is hers. While surveys show that the part of the driveway in question belongs to Mr. Gugliotta, Justice Wilson claims adverse possession or “squatter’s rights” to the disputed ground.

While perhaps not the Platonic ideal of how we might expect a judge to act (who chains an SUV to a porch column? More importantly, who chooses that shade of yellow?), things didn’t get really interesting until the April 13th meeting of the Southampton Village Architectural Review Board and Historic Preservation.

First, I’d be remiss if I didn’t direct you to the videotape of the meeting, the opening music of which would do John Tesh proud.

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Pro Stone-o: The Burgeoning Marijuana Legal Field

I typically break some unhappy news to my students on the first day of the course. I teach in the Bay Area, after all, so the matter is highly pertinent.

“…and, yes, I do recommend you lay off your sticky green habits while studying for the LSAT.”

I’m not really in a position to pile invective on such recreation. But, as I always tell my students, it’s probably safe to say that you’re not doing your short-term memory or your assiduity any favors when you’re toking regularly.

But as some of my recent students have delighted in pointing out, there is an important intersection between marijuana and the law, and it’s growing rapidly.

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LSAC’s Disability Discrimination Settlement: What it Means

We wrote at the beginning of the year about how, due to a ruling by California courts, LSAC could no longer disclose which scores were taken under accommodated testing conditions. The catch was that the ruling only applied to LSAT test-takers in California.

Well, sound the trumpets and ring the bells, because that’s no longer the case. LSAC settled with the U.S. Department of Justice, agreeing to fork over $7.73 million (no wonder it costs so much for simple changes like switching testing centers!) and to stop flagging the LSAT scores of test-takers who received extra time.

On the one hand, it’s a policy change that makes sense. The point of allowing test-takers with ADHD to take the test with extra time was to level the playing field, and if those LSAT scores are flagged, it’s not at all clear whether the playing field was actually leveled.