Nina Jankowicz is back. After a public outcry forced the Biden Administration to kill its infamous Disinformation Government Board, Jankowicz became famous or infamous as the head of the board. She became an instant Internet sensation due to a musical number in which she sang “You can just call me the Mary Poppins of disinformation” in a TikTok parody of the song “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.” After her brief stint in the Biden Administration, Jankowicz reportedly registered as a foreign agent with an British group to continue her disinformation work. She is now reinventing herself as the Mary Poppins of defamation and ostensibly seeking $100,000 to sue Fox News for defamation.
Just when you thought that the Kyle Rittenhouse case was over . . . it is back. Gaige Grosskreutz who was shot in the arm by Kyle Rittenhouse during the Kenosha riots in 2020 is now suing him as well as Wisconsin police and officials. Grosskreutz effectively repeats his earlier rejected claims that he was merely trying to protect others and had his hands up when Rittenhouse shot him. The difference is that this civil lawsuit will be resolved under the lower standard of proof by a preponderance of the evidence (rather than beyond a reasonable doubt). Nevertheless, the case could prove messy for Grosskreutz whose criminal background and actions that night could undermine his claims. Indeed, the most damaging witness against Grosskreutz may prove to be himself. Continue reading “Grosskreutz v. Grosskreutz? Survivor from 2020 Kenosha Shooting Sues Kyle Rittenhouse”→
In my torts class, I teach “Dram Shop” cases where bars and restaurants are subject to civil liability for “overserving” customers. These lawsuits are generally brought by third parties who are injured in car accidents by drunk drivers. In that sense, a Texas case has all of the classic elements of a Dram Shop case: Dylan Molina drank eight high-alcohol drinks in roughly three hours before leaving and getting into a wreck that killed a police detective and seriously injured his family. The difference is that the bartender, Cala Richardson, 26, is being criminally prosecuted for overserving Molina.
Various intelligence and defense figures including former Defense Secretary Mark Esper have suggested trying to capture the Chinese surveillance balloon to analyze its equipment and any content. China admits that this may be its balloon but denies that it is used for surveillance. It says that it was lost accidentally due to weather. So the balloon may be ours but it was lost. However, the government is likely to oppose anyone collecting or using information from the balloon. That sounded vaguely familiar. Indeed, Abbe Lowell may have a new client (Indeed, a client with past dealings with his current client, Hunter Biden).
Update: After the United States shot down the balloon, China appeared to send out a Lowell-like message that “China will resolutely uphold the relevant company’s legitimate rights and interests, and at the same time reserving the right to take further actions in response.”
There is an interesting case this week involving an adjunct professor at George Washington Law School, where I teach. Hdeel Abdelhady, who teaches part-time in the areas of international trade and Islamic law, sued the university for a variety of torts, including allegations that counsel for the university made overtures to an administrative judge about securing a federal judgeship. Her claims were dismissed by Judge Trevoer McFadden who found that they were foreclosed by worker’s compensation as well as failing to state a claim on various torts. At the time of the ruling, Abdelhady was proceeding pro se, which also proved an issue for the court to address.
Auburn University has lost a major case involving free speech after a jury ruled in favor of Prof. Michael Stern, a tenured economics professor. The jury ruled that Auburn retaliated against Stern for his public criticism of the school’s treatment of student athletes, particularly their alleged favored treatment in the College of Liberal Arts. Notably, the jury awarded punitive damages against the university, a relative rarity for juries but well deserved in this case. Continue reading “Stern Rebuke: Auburn University Hit With Punitive Damages in Free Speech Case”→
Parental rights are becoming one of the defining issues for 2024. Building from Glenn Youngkin’s 2021 gubernatorial victory in Virginia, school boards races and educational initiatives have become some of the most fiercely contested areas on local and state ballots. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D., Cal.) weighed in this week into the area with a curious attack on parents demanding more say in the education of their children. The California Democrat insisted that it is akin to “Putting patients in charge of their own surgeries? Clients in charge of their own trials?” These were curious analogies to draw since patients and clients are in charge of the key decisions in their surgeries and trials. What Rep. Swalwell is missing is called informed consent.
It is a little early to do our Christmas torts column, but this scene out of London is worth sharing: people had to flee giant rolling baubles that broke free of a decoration. The two giant baubles then rolled menacingly through a part of London.