Archive for the ‘Lawyering’ Category

260px-capitol_building_full_viewThis morning I will be testifying as the lead witness before the House Rules Committee on the authorization of litigation by the House of Representatives to challenge the unilateral actions of President Obama. The authorization makes it clear that the House will focus on the ACA changes. The hearing will begin at 10 am in H-313 in The Capitol building. It will be aired live on C-Span 3.

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Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw)-Weekend Contributor

We have heard the phrase for quite some time now.  “Corporations are people”.  It sounds so simple, but what does it mean in practice?  The corporate structure is designed to protect individual shareholder assets from creditors of the corporation.  If you maintain your corporate structure requirements and corporate book, the individual’s assets cannot be attached or claimed by a creditor of the corporation.

Corporations are also afforded special tax breaks and tax rates that individual persons cannot take advantage of.  How has the Hobby Lobby decision altered or not altered the corporate veil protection provided to corporations?  (more…)

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article-0-1F75612F00000578-313_634x427ESPN, the Yankees, Major League Baseball, and announcers Dan Shulman and John Kruk are being sued by Andrew Rector, 26, who says that he was defamed after the network showed him asleep at the New York Yankees-Boston Red Sox game and joked about his being “oblivious” to the game. While Rector says that the commentators called him “stupor, fatty, unintelligent, stupid,” those insults are not heard on the videotape below from the telecast. Rector is suing for $10 million.

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President_Barack_ObamaBelow is my column yesterday in the Sunday New York Daily News on the unfolding controversy over President Obama’s unilateral actions to circumvent Congress. The pledge of the President to “go it alone” has already resulted in court losses for the Administration and a growing separation of powers crisis. I testified (here and here and here) and wrote a column on President Obama’s increasing circumvention of Congress in negating or suspending U.S. laws. I ran another column recently listing such incidents of executive over-reach that ideally would have included this potentially huge commitment under Obama’s claimed discretionary authority. I happen to believe that the President is right in many of these areas but that does not excuse the means that he is using to achieve these goals.

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By Mark Esposito, Weekend Guy

abuAhmed Abu Khatallah’s boat docked yesterday and the reputed Benghazi attacks mastermind was met with a contingent of U.S. Marshals, Navy security and a phalanx of Justice Department types all eager to hear his gilded version of events and to usher him to a US federal courtroom near the White House where the processes of the US justice system could start slowly grinding now in earnest. He pled not guilty for anyone interested. Before his arrival, however, a cacophony of Republican lawmakers decided to weigh in on his treatment aboard the trans-Atlantic cruise ship, the USS New York, provided by the Navy.

As many know, Abu Khatallah was captured in a clandestine operation conducted by US special ops aided by shadowy figures from both inside and out of the Libyan power structure who lured him to a villa where US forces made the arrest. Abu Khattallah, designated by the State Department as a global terrorist, was regarded as a prime suspect due to his affiliation with a group he helped to found and known as the Ansar al-Sharia. A fundamentalist militia group that rose to power after the fall of Gaddafi, it has claimed responsibility for the attack against the U.S. Embassy and American school in Tunis, leading the Tunisian government to declare it a terrorist organization. The group has been implicated in attacks against Tunisian security forces, assassinations of Tunisian political figures, and attempted suicide bombings of locations that tourists frequent. Not exactly the kind of guys you bring home to dinner.

Abu Khatallah’s capture was coup for an administration looking to change the dialog on the Benghazi attack which left four Americans dead including US ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. Criticized for everything from the response (or lack thereof) to the attack by US security forces as well as even the characterization of  the attack itself, the administration has been attempting to change the narrative since 2012. In his new book, Blood Feud, excerpted by the New York Post, author Edward Klein claims President Obama pressured then Sect’y of State Hillary Clinton to issue a release stating the attack was a spontaneous uprising relating to an obscure internet video criticizing Islam.  Knowing the attack coincided with the anniversary of the 2001 attacks on US soil, Clinton bristled.  According to Klein, Clinton said, “Mr. President, that story isn’t credible. Among other things, it ignores the fact that the attack occurred on 9/11.” But the president was adamant. He said, ‘Hillary, I need you to put out a State Department release as soon as possible.” (more…)

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Wedding_cake_with_pillar_supports,_2009There is a new addition to prenuptial agreements that are a rather depressing sign of our times. A “social media clause” is being added to protect married couples from later embarrassing postings if things do not work out. The language of the clause is sweeping and, if you thought prenups took the romance out of marriages, this clause makes the whole enterprise downright scary.

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devlin_pageMassLawLogoMartin Odemena, a former law student at the Massachusetts School of Law, has taken the school to court over a D that he received in contracts. Odemena maintains that Professor Joseph Devlin clearly stated in his syllabus that a quiz would not count toward the final grade and then counted the score. It is an ironic position for Devlin (left) who specializes in drafting contracts. The result was that Odemena was suspended for academic performance and was unable to transfer to another school. He is suing for more than $100,000. The case is Odemena v. Devlin et al.

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305px-USA_PFC_BoweBergdahl_ACU_CroppedBelow is my column yesterday in the Chicago Tribune. It remains unclear whether Bowe Bergdahl will be charged. However, the allegations are mounting over his disappearance from his base. This column explores some interesting possible defenses and their historical context. Bergdahl returned this week to the United States, a move that will likely magnify these questions for the Administration.

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By Mark Esposito, Weekend Guy

130227203059-supreme-justices-horizontal-galleryCarol Anne Bond was overjoyed to learn that her best friend, Myrlinda Haynes, had become pregnant. That joy was short-lived when she learned that the father was none other than her husband,Clifford Bond. The Philadelphia woman embarked on a course of revenge that would result in federal charges for deploying chemical weapons and a trip to the United States Supreme Court. Passed in 1998,  the Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act, enabled Congress to enforce the terms of an  international treaty banning deployment of some chemical weapons. Taking advantage of that law, federal prosecutors charged Bond with obtaining two chemicals which together or separately could have killed her pregnant rival.

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By Charlton Stanley, Weekend Contributor

500px-Seal_of_the_United_States_Supreme_CourtOn this day in 1892 Homer Plessy was arrested for refusing to leave his seat in the “whites-only” car of a train. The resulting court case, which Plessy lost, generated one of the most disgraceful decisions the Supreme Court of the United States ever made.

On June 7, 1892 thirty year old Homer A. Plessy boarded a train in New Orleans. A short time later, Plessy was arrested and removed from the train at Press and Royal streets by a private detective with arrest powers. The detective had actually been hired by the Comité des Citoyens (Citizens’ Committee of New Orleans), a civil rights group of which Plessy was a member. They were challenging Louisiana’s 1890 separate-car law.

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gavel2We have previously discussed of former Broward Circuit Judge Ana Gardiner who had a secret intimate relations with a prosecutor trying a capital murder case in her court in 2007. She has now been disbarred despite her earlier resignation from the court. That is far harsher punishment than what was received by former assistant state attorney Howard Scheinberg, who was suspended for two years due to the relationship.

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150px-General_Motors.svgI previously wrote on the scandal at General Motors (GM) over its lethal defect in the ignition switch on various models. Now General Motors has fired 15 employees and disciplined five others after an internal investigation by attorney Anton Valukas. The move raises some interesting litigation issues going forward in the controversy with both civil and criminal elements.

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Unknown-2I have previously written about my concerns over the elimination of basic rights of due process at universities for students accused of sexual assault or harassment under pressure from the Obama Administration. That pressure continues to build this year with the Obama Administration investigating dozens of universities and threatening to take away federal funds if they do not remove certain protections under their rules of adjudication. Now a North Carolina judge has issued a rare order enjoining Duke University from expelling a male student, Lewis McLeod, who was accused of raping a female freshman. The concern over the lack of due process afforded the accused is of course a continuation of the criticism of Duke over its handling of the infamous Duke lacrosse team case. I have previously written about my view that Duke abandoned not just those students but any sense of due process or fairness in joining the mob accusing them of raping a stripper.

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Unknown-1gavel2If the judges over in Broward County are having trouble staying sober, it appears that anger management may be the challenge for judges in Brevard County, Florida. Judge John Murphy has been accused of saying that he wanted to throw a rock at a public defender and then saying that he wanted to meet him behind the courtroom to “beat your ass.” According to public defender Andrew Weinstock, he proceeded to try to do precisely that. However, no criminal charges have been brought against Murphy and there is no reported judicial discipline proceeding.

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rosenthal-judge-thumb-200x200fl-judge-gisele-pollack-dui-arrest-20140502-001Broward Circuit Judge Lynn Rosenthal (left) has been arrested for DUI after she not only alleged struck a car while driving drunk but it turned out to be a cruiser of the Broward County Sheriff’s Department. She is the third such judge in the county to be arrested. Last November, yet another Broward judge, Cynthia Imperato, was busted for DUI. Broward County Circuit Judge, Gisele Pollack (right) was arrested two weeks ago. Pollack’s case however raises an interesting issue. She has objected to a suspension under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and asked that she be placed on paid leave to overcome a “disease.” For the county citizens, the line of hammered (gaveled?) judges does not exactly instill faith in the court system.

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