Archive for March, 2008

tn_13-07-07_14.jpgMax Mosley, President of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), is at the center of scandal that makes ex-Gov. Eliot Spitzer look like a junior leaguer. In the video shown below, Mosley is reportedly engaged in a five hour orgy with five prostitutes dressed as Nazi guards — a particularly embarrassing performance given the fact that Mosley’s father, Oswald, was the pre-war leader of Britain’s fascist “blackshirts” and even invited Adolf Hitler to his wedding. Update: Mosley prevailed in a court action in showing that the party did not have a Nazi theme and that his privacy was violated. (more…)

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t03506.jpg One can only imagine what Freud would do with this. Prince al-Walid bin Talal has announced the construction of a mile-high tower in the Saudi Arabian desert. (more…)

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coolclips_arch0221.jpg In yet another loss for the Bush Administration in the case of accused Rep. William Jefferson, the United States Supreme Court today denied its appeal on the issue of the constitutionality of its raid of a congressional office. (more…)

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There is a growing clamor on the Internet over an effort by some Texans to strip Scientology of its status as a religion — a move that would expose the Church of Scientology to both taxes and greater regulation. This move occurs as various countries continue to move against the Church and the Church is threatening lawsuits over the disclosure of confidential tapes and materials. Most recently, Wikileaks has made available the entire secret Operating Thetan (OT) documents — a move that could trigger another round of litigation by the Church. (more…)

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tn_18bats.jpg While after today some may complain about chronic indictment outbreaks at the Bush White House, here, service in Iowa’s Democratic Governor’s mansion may actually be a risk to your health. Officials now believe that a rare lung disease found among various employees is linked to bird or bat droppings at the mansion called Terrace Hill. Ironically, the headquarters of the American Lung Association has also been cited as a possible exposure point. The case would appear to fit neatly into the expanding cases involving “sick building syndrome.” (more…)

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tn_white-house_10.jpg It is beginning to look like all new hires in the Bush Administration receive with an office, security pass, and list of available criminal defense counsel. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson resigned today in the midst of a criminal investigation into favoritism in government contracts. He is only the latest in an impressive list of Administration officials fleeing on the heels on pursuing constables. (more…)

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10-year-old Nebraska girl Jayci Yaeger died not long after she was given her last wish: to see her father Jason Yaeger who is serving time on a drug offense. There remain questions about why federal officials in Yankton, S.D. fought any extended furlough for so long and only relented after a national outcry over their position. (more…)

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The struggle between reformers and religious fanatics in Saudi Arabia continues. Leading Wahhabi cleric Sheihk Abdurrahman al-Baraak called for the deaths of journalists Abdullah bin Bijad Al-Otaibi and Yusuf Abu al-Khayl after they published articles in Al-Riyadh newspaper, questioning the view that Christians and Jews are unbelievers. While in most nations this would be viewed as an interesting question for a scholastic debate, Abdurrahman al-Baraak would like it to end in a double beheading. (more…)

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tn_22-02-08_6a.jpg Walter L. Wagner and Luis Sancho have literally filed to save the world in a federal court in Hawaii. The men claim that a giant particle accelerator called the Large Hadron Collider (located outside of Geneva) will produce a little black hole or even a “stranglet” that will destroy not just the Earth but possibly the universe. While some details have to be worked out, the benefit of such a claim is that it guarantees standing and offers a pretty wide jurisdictional footprint. There is still some question of what the contingency fee would be in such a case. (more…)

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tn_tiger_2.jpg The litigation against the city of San Francisco began this week over the Christmas Day Tiger attack with papers filed by brothers, Kulbir and Paul Dhaliwal. As the claim below indicates, they are contesting claims of contributory negligence ad assumption based on their own conduct, contending that the 243-pound Siberian tiger named Tatiana was held improperly. (more…)

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Georgia Judge Marvin Arrington is accused of telling white lawyers to leave his courtroom and then lecturing young black defendants. He discusses his “mistake” in the video below. (more…)

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ht_faith_healing_080329_ms.jpg Parents of a 15-month-old baby have been criminally charged in her death after they allegedly refused to get medical assistance due to their faith-healing religions. Carl Worthington, 28, and Raylene Worthington, 25, have been charged in the death of their daughter, Ava, on March 2. It is only the latest of a litany of such disturbing cases. (more…)

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Seven women who belong to a bizarre Christian Doomsday cult called the True Russian Orthodox Church emerged from their cave on Saturday — apparently tired of waiting for the end of the world after months. They may have hope, however, a filing in federal court asks for an injunction of a Department of Energy-funded experiment that is expected to destroy the Earth. (more…)

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dog1.gifThe Texas Supreme Court has issued an very interesting and important new tort ruling: the state’s “first free bite” rule does not excuse an owner of the duty to intervene and render aide once an attack begins. The ruling for dog-bite victim
Genevia Bushnell not only alters the understanding of the one-free-bite rule but alters the “no-duty-to-rescue” rule. (more…)

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Former Solicitor General Ted Olson, a Republican backing McCain, and Harvard Law Professor Laurence H. Tribe, a Democrat backing Barack Obama, have issued a paper finding that John McCain is “natural born” under the Constitution. (more…)

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15734757_240x180.jpg15736181_240x180.jpg Jennifer Latham was arrested yesterday is an extraordinary crime in Florida. After parents allegedly stopped her from stealing their baby while pretending to be a nurse, she simply grabbed another baby and walked out of the hospital. She was caught later and the baby returned. She now faces charges that could keep her in jail for decades. (more…)

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Another story out of Afghanistan reinforces the view that the Taliban and extremists are reasserting their authority –even in or near the capitol. Radio Zafar near Kabul was burned to the ground for being “un-Islamic” due to its programming and “morally corrupt” practices — which appears to include the hiring of women and playing of music. (more…)

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Larry Silverstein, president and CEO of Silverstein Properties, the developer of the World Trade Center in New York is seeking $12.3 billion in damages from the airlines and other companies for damages related to the September 11 terrorist attacks. The defendants include American Airlines, United Airlines, Continental Airlines and Boeing. (more…)

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Across the country, there is an expanding trend of state supreme courts limits the use of class actions, punitive damages, and industry-wide liability theories. This week brought another major such ruling out of New Jersey. In Tarr v. Bob Ciasulli’s Mack Auto Mall, the court ruled that punitive damages can only be used to punish a defendant and not simply to deter others. For sexual harassment plaintiff Carol Tarr, it means a remand on the issue. (more…)

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marijuana-leaf-21p0207.jpg “Real Time With Bill Maher” is not usually the forum for legislative proposals, but Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) used it to announce legislation in Congress that would strip the federal government of its authority to arrest for some cannabis violations. (more…)

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artefraimdiveroliwplg.jpgCongress is set to investigate a contract under which the Defense Department contracted with 22-year-old Efraim E. Diveroli’s AEY Inc. for $200 million to supply ammunition to the Afghan Army and police. Instead of supplying Hungarian bullets, the company allegedly committed a series of false statements to supply shoddy Chinese products. (more…)

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The federal bureau of prisons finally relented to overwhelming public condemnation over its refusal to release a father to be with his dying daughter. People were aghast at the federal prison officials refusing a dying 10-year-old girl, Jayci Yaeger, her last wish: to spend time with her dad who is serving time for a drug offense. (more…)

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A case in Fayetteville, Arkansas could prove very interesting as a family has sued a high school bully and may soon sue the school district over a prolonged and dangerous pattern of bullying directed against 15-year-old Billy Wolfe. It appears that the school district left this family few choices other than litigation after their son was repeatedly attacked as a type of collective sport for bullies in this high school — and school officials seemed remarkably passive and unsympathetic in the face of the resulting injuries (even after viewing the video below). Notably, the Wolfes are not alone in seeking legal action when school official fail to act. (more…)

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Charles Smith has done something that thousands and mom-and-pop stores have failed to do in decades: he beat Wal-Mart. The computer store owner from Convers, Georgia prevailed after being sued by Wal-Mart in a trademark case seeking to shutdown his internet sites entiteld Wal-Qaeda and Walocaust. The lawsuit by Wal-Mart was always weak and seemed designed to harass a critic and try to force him to abandon his small website under a barrage of lawyers and motions. (more…)

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Larry C. Bynum, 30, is hardly what one might call a master criminal. Bynum is filmed in a series of disasters as he tries to break into a Fort Worth liquor where he proves more a danger to himself than the public. (more…)

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bbwolf1.gif This last week, I had the pleasure of teaching 150 second grade students from the Kent Gardens Elementary School in McLean Virginia. This was the final three such field trip to the law school by the second, third, and sixth grade class to learn about the Constitution and the law. They sat as the jury in a trial of the Big Bad Wolf (“B.B. Wolf”). What my students and I heard from the students was hilarious, particularly their understanding of the Constitution. (more…)

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In Wisconsin, another case of alleged religion-based abuse is being investigated after 11-year-old girl Madeline (“Kara”) Neumann died of untreated diabetes as her parents prayed for divine intervention. The last time Kara had reportedly been to a doctor was at age three. Notably, this follows just days after the death of 15-month old Ava Worthington in Oregon in a case that will test one of the new faith healing laws. (more…)

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tn_24-08-07_31a.jpg One of my students spotted the video below on a restaurant that is placing open beer taps at tables. The idea presents not just novel possibilities for parties but also lawsuits. (more…)

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Today, the Supreme Court will hear the case of Indiana v. Edwards and explore the question of the limits as self-representation — the subject of the column below. (more…)

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Wal-Mart has always been a target for many people who a monster corporation that strangles local stores and offers low-paying jobs with little benefits to locals. A story, however, in Jackson, Missouri has left many gasping. Wal-Mart has successfully sued Debbie Shank, a brain damaged former employee, for insurance money that she received before an award in a car accident case. Shank is not only struggling to survive but she lost her son recently in Iraq. (more…)

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clown19.gif In Rome, Italian police broke up a circus that makes you wonder about our progress as a species. The circus entertained Italians by having teenage girls swimming with piranhas and fending off snakes. (more…)

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In Omaha, Nebraska, federal wildlife officials secured a rare conviction against Jack McClanahan, 66, was convicted for butchering illegal shot game in his garage. (more…)

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In Missouri, prosecutors are considering criminal charges against Ronald Long after he shoot his wife, Patsy, in the chest while using his .22-caliber handgun to try to put holes in a wall. (more…)

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tn_23-08-07_10a.jpg In Connecticut, Garrett A. Dalton was hoping to win Hannah Montana tickets by running in women’s clothing and high heels for 40-yards. He now may lose his job and faces fraud charges. (more…)

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Virginia Tech massacre is offering $100,000 to each of the 32 families of victims killed in the 2007 shooting rampage of Seung-Hui Cho. The offer is a relatively low given the strong case of negligence by the University and the higher averages for wrongful death awards. (more…)

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India has come up with a novel idea to lure men into free vasectomies: give them guns. (more…)

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tn_6-12-07_07c.jpg In Alabama, Presiding Covington County Circuit Judge M. Ashley McKathan has long been criticized for his insistence on practice religion and law at the same time. Now, he is being cited for ordering 100 people to form a “circle of prayer” and then dropping to his knees in prayer in his courtroom. (more…)

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It is hard to express the anger that comes with the following story. It appears that after refusing to cut billions in pork and wasteful earmarks, Congress and President Bush have cut the NASA’s budget and forced scientists to curtail their research on Mars. Scientists planned to put one of the twin Mars rovers to sleep and to try to meet the shortfall. Now, after a public outcry, NASA has rescinded the order. (more…)

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2190248533_6ffd62f705_o.jpg Sidney Blumenthal, a top aide to Hillary Clinton and a past aide to Bill Clinton, will plead guilty in New Hampshire to drunk driving. It makes this a particularly bad day for the Sen. Clinton. She is being pummeled by questions over her Iraq vote after the death count passed 4000. Gov. Richardson not only endorsed Obama but criticized her campaign for “gutter” tactics. And then there is the release of the video below debunking a claim that she made concerning a landing in Bosnia under sniper fire as first lady . . . and its only Monday. (more…)

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There is a fascinating case emerging from Oregon. Someone posted a couple of hoax ads on Craigslist that announced that Robert Salisbury had left the area and that all of his possessions were free for the taking, including a horse. Salisbury found people ransacking his home and tried to stop people who had their trucks filled with his belongings. They refused to give them back and in doing so could be (and should be) charged criminally and sued civilly. As for Craigslist, it is notable that this is not the first time this type of hoax has been perpetrated through its site. (more…)

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10_62_kwamekilpatrick_320.jpg10_63_christinebeatty_320.jpg

Prosecutors have charged Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick with perjury and other criminal counts tied to his effort to conceal and deny an affair with his former aide, Christine Beatty. Beatty was hit with perjury and obstruction charges as well. Things are likely to get worse before they get better for both of the defendants. (more…)

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Now, this is reality TV at its best. This month, Indians were glued to their television as India’s leading tantrik or black magician Pandit Surinder Sharma tried repeatedly to kill atheist Sanal Edamaruku first with a death-causing tantra and then later with the “ultimate destruction ceremony” on live TV. This display was the result of a high-ranking government official Uma Bharati (former chief minister of the state of Madhya Pradesh) accusing her political opponents of using tantrik to cause disasters in her life. (more…)

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Not since Sandy Berger have socks figured so prominently in a major Washington scandal. It appears that former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer may have been fingered by Republican political operative Roger Stone. Strangely, Stone’s lawyer cited the fact that Spitzer never took off his knee high socks during a sexual encounter as a key factual element to prove the accuracy of the source. (more…)

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There were many objections to arming pilots after 9-11 — not the least with the danger of intentionally adding a gun to flights that could be taken by terrorists or mishandled by pilots. For those critics, a US Airways flight from Denver will likely be cited often: a pilot accidentally discharged his weapon in the cockpit during the flight.

plane8.gif (more…)

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tn_th_tiger31.jpg               In our expanding video library of large cats in action, this video is simply astonishing. It shows an attack by a tiger of a man on elephant in India. What is clear is that nature tourism in India is not subject to the same tort liability rules as in the United States. (more…)

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In the continuation of a grotesque practice, a 15-year-old boy was crucified in the Philippines to mark the death of Jesus Christ. Of course, such practices would be strictly criminal in the United States with no leeway given under claims of free exercise. (more…)

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The Supreme Court will hear an important case on self-representation this coming week in the case of Ahmad Edwards. The case out of Indianapolis could well re-define the limits of self-representation in cases where a defendant is viewed as mentally unstable. (more…)

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For years, critics have pointed to a notable pattern of the members of the Ohio Supreme Court voting overwhelmingly with campaign donors. One justice, Terrence O’Donnell voted 91 percent of the time with her campaign donors. One Justice complained that campaigning in Ohio made him feel like a “hooker,” pandering before special interests with cases before the Court. This is not unique, as noted below. (more…)

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This week saw another fatality among hunters after Michael Shane Hasting shot and killed Randall Williamson. Williamson was sitting in a tree when he was felled by Hasting. (more…)

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In New Delhi, All India Muslim Women Personal Law Board is trying to improve the status of Muslim woman in the new “Shariat Nikahnama” that would allow women to divorce their husbands when they have affairs with other woman and to stop the practice of allowing men to divorce their wives via SMS or emails. (more…)

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