Friday, December 30, 2011

NFL Concussion Suits Overview

We've written recently about lawsuits against the National Football League related to its handling of player concussions. An article in today's New York Times discusses the "more than a dozen suits" filed by numerous retired players and their wives, and includes commentary by several sports law experts.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Jurors in the News

Interesting cases this month about jurors and jury duty:

The Arkansas Supreme Court ordered a new trial for a death row inmate due to the behavior of jurors.  During Erickson Dimas-Martinez's trial for capital murder and armed robbery, one juror fell asleep and another was tweeting about the case (and the quality of the courthouse coffee), even after being questioned by the trial judge.

Opinion here.

Chicago Sun-Times

ABA Journal

In Manchester, a juror was sentenced to 14 days in a young offenders institution (he served five days) for lying to the court about his whereabouts.  The 19-year-old student told the court he was sick, but was in fact seeing a show in London.

The Telegraph

Manchester Evening News

BBC News

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Spectator's Tort Suit Against Kobe Bryant Still Alive

The Cincinnati-based Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals recently reversed a district court decision granting summary judgment to Kobe Bryant in a case brought on behalf of a spectator at a 2005 Lakers-Grizzlies game. Bryant allegedly pushed his forearm into the spectator's chest and glared at him as Bryant returned to the court after falling out of bounds. The court affirmed the district court's decision granting summary judgment to Bryant as to an intentional infliction of emotional distress claim, but reversed the lower court's granting of summary judgment as to assault and battery claims. The court remanded the case to the district court for further proceedings.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Newt and the Courts

Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich's recent statements critical of the federal judiciary have produced some interesting responses. See recent articles by conservative columnist George Will, University of Chicago law professor Eric Posner, and Slate senior legal correspondent Dahlia Lithwick. See also the position paper posted on Gingrich's website.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

PACER App Reviews

Back in October, we discussed the new PACER app.  Here are several new reviews of the app:

Wall Street Journal Law Blog

iPhone J.D.

Here is the app, which is free for a limited time during the holidays.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Oyez Project on Health Care Oral Argument Length

On Monday, we wrote that the U.S. Supreme Court scheduled 5 1/2 hours of oral argument for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act cases. In a brief video, Professor Jerry Goldman of Chicago-Kent College of Law's Oyez Project puts this argument length in historical perspective. According to Oyez Project records, it's the longest scheduled argument since the 1970s. Brown v. Board of Education and Miranda v. Arizona are among the cases with longer oral argument sessions.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Underwear Bomber Asks for New Lawyer

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the "underwear bomber" of December 2009, has requested a new standby lawyer before his sentencing in January.

Abdulmutallab pleaded guilty on the first day of his trial to federal charges including conspiracy to commit an act of terrorism and attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.  He was representing himself, and made the decision to plead against the advice of his standby attorney, Anthony Chambers.  Abdulmutallab has now requested that a male, Muslim attorney assist him in understanding the legal issues surrounding his sentencing.

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan has a page with the latest news on the case.

Detroit Free Press

Washington Post

Monday, December 19, 2011

Affordable Care Act Oral Argument Set

The U.S. Supreme Court has scheduled 5 1/2 hours of oral argument over three days for the three Affordable Care Act challenge cases. The court will hear argument on March 26, 27, and 28, 2012, approximately two years after President Obama signed the bill into law. See the court's March calendar and CNN for more details. There's no word on whether the court ever responded to C-SPAN CEO Brian Lamb's letter requesting television cameras in the court room.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Ohio Death Penalty Hearing

Ohio Supreme Court Justice and Moritz alum Paul Pfeifer testified at a legislative hearing earlier this week in favor of repealing Ohio's death penalty law, which he helped create as a legislator in the early 1980s. See coverage from the Columbus Dispatch and the Toledo Blade. The Dispatch article includes a quote from Moritz emeritus professor of criminal law Larry Herman, who also testified. The House Criminal Justice Committee held the hearing on recently-introduced H.B. 160, which would abolish the death penalty in Ohio.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Distracted Driving

As the holiday season approaches, more and more people will be driving to the homes of family and friends.  The Department of Transportation's website on "distracted driving" provides a state-by-state map with the laws pertaining to calling and texting while driving.

Currently, the state of Ohio has no laws banning texting while driving.  As we posted in July, House Bill 99, which would ban texting while driving, is currently under consideration.

Several Ohio cities, including Columbus and Toledo, have banned texting while driving.

News and commentary:

Columbus Dispatch


PC Mag


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

New Chief Prosecutor at ICC

Fatou Bensouda of Gambia was recently chosen to be the next chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Court. Bensouda, currently deputy prosecutor at the court, will become the second chief prosecutor in the court's brief history, replacing Luis Moreno-Ocampo of Argentina whose nine-year term expires next year. The BBC provides extensive coverage. See also the New York Times and JURIST.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Old Law Books Become Floors, Bags, Art

Law books no longer in use are finding new lives.  Reporters, digests, and other books have been repurposed as bags, furniture, and even floors.

Hat tip: Legal Blog Watch

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Hearings on "Heartbeat Bill"

Hearings began this week on House Bill 125, which would prohibit abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected. 


Dayton Daily News

New York Times

ABA Journal

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

New NFL Lawsuit

A group of former National Football League players recently filed another concussion-related lawsuit against the league. The complaint includes allegations that teams routinely administered a blood-thinning drug making it more difficult for players to recognize concussion symptoms. See the complaint at Justia and related article from the New York Times.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Supreme Court of Canada Hears Important Copyright Cases

This week, Canada's highest court will hear multiple cases dealing with copyright of music, video games, and printed materials. 

You can listen to live webcasts of Supreme Court cases here.

Vancouver Sun

Toronto Star

Monday, December 05, 2011

Death of the PC?

Harvard Professor of Law/Computer Science Jonathan Zittrain thinks so. See his recent article in Technology Review.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

McDonald's and the San Francisco Ordinance

Today, a San Francisco ordinance takes effect, banning the inclusion of toys with fast food meals aimed at children, unless those meals meet certain nutritional standards.  McDonald's, however, has found a loophole--instead of including toys with Happy Meals, the toys can be added for a 10-cent charge.  The ten cents is then donated to Ronald McDonald House Charities.

San Francisco Chronicle

New York Times