Monday, August 29, 2011

Missouri Judge Blocks Law Restricting Teachers' Facebook Use

Last week we wrote about a challenge by Missouri teachers to a state statute restricting their use of Facebook and other social networking sites. The statute bans online "friendships" with under-18 current or former students. In a preliminary ruling, a Missouri trial court judge blocked implementation of the statute.

See analysis from the Volokh Conspiracy.

See also the text of the recently enacted statute, Missouri Revised Statutes section 162.069.4, at pages 14-16 of SB 54.

Friday, August 26, 2011

National Same-Sex Household Snapshot

UCLA's Williams Institute provides a national snapshot of same-sex households in the U.S. based on 2010 Census data. See also a recent piece by D'Vera Cohn of the Pew Research Center discussing the accuracy of same-sex household counts.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Columbus and Indianapolis Law Firms to Merge

Columbus-based law firm Schottenstein Zox & Dunn will merge with Indianapolis-based law firm Ice Miller, effective January 1, 2012. The combined firm, which will operate under the Ice Miller name, will have a total of over 300 attorneys in six offices.

More:

The American Lawyer Daily

SZD Press Release

Crain's Cleveland Business

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Teachers' Group Challenges Missouri Facebook Law

Missouri Senate Bill 54, the Amy Hestir Student Protection Act, is set to take effect next week. The bill provides, among other things:

By January 1, 2012, every school district must develop a written policy concerning teacher-student communication and employee-student communications. Each policy must include appropriate oral and nonverbal personal communication, which may be combined with sexual harassment policies, and appropriate use of electronic media as described in the act, including social networking sites. Teachers cannot establish, maintain, or use a work-related website unless it is available to school administrators and the child's legal custodian, physical custodian, or legal guardian. Teachers also cannot have a nonwork-related website that allows exclusive access with a current or former student. Former student is defined as any person who was at one time a student at the school at which the teacher is employed and who is eighteen years of age or less and who has not graduated.

-SB 54
On Friday, a teachers' group filed a lawsuit, claiming the law is unconstitutional, and so vague that teachers cannot know what conduct is permitted and what is not.

News and commentary:

Forbes

Daily Tech

Kansas City Monitor

Monday, August 22, 2011

Class Action Concussion Lawsuit vs. NFL

Vermont sports law professor Michael McCann provides initial analysis on SI.com of the class action concussion lawsuit filed last week against the National Football League. Plaintiffs include former Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon. See court documents including the complaint (starting at p. 7) filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Old Bailey Trials on the Web

An online archive called The Old Bailey provides access to reports and summaries of 197,745 criminal trials taking place at central London's Old Bailey criminal court between 1674 and 1913. The site descibes its contents as "the largest body of texts detailing the lives of non-elite people ever published." See the recent story in the New York Times for more on this freely available resource.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Study on Medical Malpractice Claims

This week, the New England Journal of Medicine published a study on medical malpractice risk. The abstract, tables, and article from the NEJM can be found here.

The study measured the proportion of physicians who face a malpractice claim every year (according to specialty), the proportion of claims leading to a payment, and the size of payments.

More news and commentary:

Wall Street Journal Law Blog

MSNBC

ABA Journal

Monday, August 15, 2011

Mubarak Trial No Longer to be Televised

We wrote earlier this month that former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's murder and corruption trial would be shown live on Egyptian state television. As JURIST is now reporting, the presiding judge recently ordered an end to this practice. See additional coverage from the Washington Post. See also coverage of Mubarak's Aug. 3 appearance including video from Al Jazeera.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

More on the TSA

Another TSA lawsuit: Student Aaron Tobey protested TSA procedures by stripping to his shorts at Richmond International Airport, revealing part of the text of the Fourth Amendment written on his chest.

Tobey was detained, arrested, and charged with disorderly conduct (the charge was dropped). He is now suing the TSA and others for violation of his First and Fourth Amendment rights.

Complaint

More:

Washington Post

Richmond Times-Dispatch

As well, the TSA is starting a pilot program at Logan International Airport in Boston, with Behavior Detection Officers questioning travelers and looking for suspicious behavior.

More:

Boston Herald

MSNBC

My Fox Boston

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Law Revision Counsel's New U.S. Code Website

The Office of the Law Revision Counsel has released a beta version of its new U.S. Code website. In Custodia Legis describes some of the key features. Email comments and suggestions for the site to uscode@mail.house.gov.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Should Therapy Dogs Be Allowed in Court?

Speaking of therapy dogs, a golden retriever named Rosie is in the news after comforting a 15-year-old girl as she gave testimony in her father's trial for raping her. The lawyers for the father are now planning to appeal the use of Rosie.

From The New York Times:

The new role for dogs as testimony enablers can, however, raise thorny legal questions. Defense lawyers argue that the dogs may unfairly sway jurors with their cuteness and the natural empathy they attract, whether a witness is telling the truth or not, and some prosecutors insist that the courtroom dogs can be a crucial comfort to those enduring the ordeal of testifying, especially children.


Hat tip: The Volokh Conspiracy

Another courtroom dog (News on 6 (Oklahoma))

The Courtroom Dog Controversy: Unfair Cuteness? (Animal Planet)

Monday, August 08, 2011

Cost of Victory at U.S. Supreme Court

Bloomberg Businessweek presents an interesting graphic about the cost of one litigant's recent win at the U.S. Supreme Court. Partial spoiler: it was over $1 million.


hat tip: Legal Research Plus

Friday, August 05, 2011

SCOTUSblog Health Care Commentary

As a special feature this week, SCOTUSblog is featuring essays by legal scholars on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. There is much to talk about, especially after the Sixth Circuit opinion issued earlier this summer that included a separate concurrence by Moritz grad, the Hon. Jeffrey S. Sutton. The essays are archived here.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Sentence for Ex-Soldiers: 6,000 Years

Yes, that's six thousand years. Each.

Four former soldiers were sentenced Tuesday by a Guatemalan court, for their roles in the massacre of over 200 people in 1982, during the country's civil war.

With a sentence of 30 years for each victim, plus 30 years for crimes against humanity, each man was sentenced to 6,060 years.

The Guatemala Times

Los Angeles Times Blog

CNN

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Another Monty Update

After a successful trial run, Yale Law Library has added the therapy dog "Monty" to its revered permanent collection. Monty was apparently voted prom king and received an invitation to the school's commencement program. Good dog!

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Top Stolen Cars in Ohio and the Nation

The National Insurance Crime Bureau has released its list of the top stolen vehicles. In Ohio, the 2000 Dodge Caravan was the most-stolen car. In good news, the total number of car thefts has declined.

For more information about stolen cars in Ohio and other states, see the lists here.

News:

Dayton Daily News

WTAM1100

Forbes blog

CBS MoneyWatch

Monday, August 01, 2011

Hosni Mubarak Trial To Be Televised

According to JURIST, the judge presiding over the trial of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak announced today that the trial, scheduled to begin on Wednesday, will be televised. Mubarak faces various charges including murder and the attempted killing of protestors.