Wednesday, February 29, 2012


The CardMunch free app from LinkedIn quickly converts business cards into mobile contacts. iPhone users take a photo of business cards, tap a button to upload the photo, and wait for the app's transcribers to create the contact. The app stores contacts and business cards in a "cover-flow" scheme. Robert Ambrogi of has more in his review for the ABA Tech Show to be held next month.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

New Dog Law in Ohio

We discussed House Bill 14 back in November.  Last week, Gov. John Kasich signed the bill, which will take effect in 90 days.  Among other things, it ends the classification of pit bulls as inherently vicious dogs.

Toledo Blade


Monday, February 27, 2012

Love in the Age of Contracts

For law students, it is a truth universally acknowledged that a binding contract requires consideration, a bargained for benefit or detriment. As suggested by a law school classic, Hamer v. Sidway, merely refraining from the exercise of legal rights, such as smoking, can count as consideration.

What about love? Last week, in Williams v. Ormsby, the Ohio Supreme Court held that love alone does not qualify as consideration: “merely moving into a home with another while engaging in a romantic relationship is not consideration for the formation of a contract.”

Justice Pfiefer concurred with the facts only, but in his view, the facts involved more than the couple in question resuming romance. Rather, the couple’s history led him to a conclusion not far from Hamer v. Sidway: “Among the consideration that Williams and Ormsby offered for the second agreement was the voiding of the first agreement, which denied to each of them rights that the first agreement granted.”

For the full story, read the opinion and the Columbus Dispatch reporting.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Class Action Against Westlaw, Lexis Over Use of Briefs

Two attorneys have filed a class action complaint against West Publishing and Reed Elsevier (the parent company of LexisNexis) in a New York federal district court, alleging copyright infringement for the use of attorney-authored filings on Westlaw and Lexis. See coverage from the Wall Street Journal, The Volokh Conspiracy, and Above the Law.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Stolen Valor Act Argument

Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in United Stated v. Alvarez, the Stolen Valor Act case previously discussed here.

News and commentary:


New York Times

Washington Post

The Volokh Conspiracy

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Top Ten Legal Movie Lines

The editors at Bloomberg Law have selected what they consider the ten "funniest, most moving, or most inspiring" lines from legal movies. Viewers of the clips can vote for their choice. In the running are lines from The People vs. Larry Flynt, To Kill a Mockingbird, and My Cousin Vinny (the current leader).

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Ohio Asks for Waiver from NCLB

Ten states have requested (and have been granted) waivers from No Child Left Behind.  Now, Ohio and at least 27 other states are also seeking waivers.

No Child Left Behind at the U.S. Department of Education

NCLB at the Ohio Department of Education

Columbus Dispatch (and here)


Monday, February 20, 2012

iProBono App

The Arkansas Access to Justice Foundation recently released a free iPhone app called iProBono, billed as the "first interactive pro bono mobile app." The app allows licensed Arkansas attorneys to browse potential pro bono cases by legal topic and county, and to request a case directly "with a push of a button." The release was partly in response to steep cuts in state and federal funding for legal aid programs. A preview of the app is available at the iTunes store. This model seems destined for replication.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Underwear Bomber Sentenced Today

We previously posted on Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the "underwear bomber," here.

Today, Abdulmutallab was sentenced to four life sentences plus sixty years, by U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds in Detroit.  Five people aboard the flight made victim-impact statements.  Judge Edmunds stated that Abdulmutallab "has never expressed doubt or regret or remorse."

Detroit Free Press

Detroit News

Wall Street Journal

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Senate Floor Webcast

Live viewing of proceedings on the floor of the U.S. Senate is now possible on the Senate's website. The Senate has archived video for sessions so far in 2012. View proceedings on the House floor at with archived sessions from January 2009. C-SPAN also provides coverage of House and Senate activity. Thanks to the Law Library of Congress for the tip on the Senate's webcasts.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

"Adverse Possession" on the Rise

Several news and legal sites have reported a rise in claims of "adverse possession."  However, these types of cases may not appear in the textbooks.  The people attempting to claim homes in Texas, Colorado, and Florida have been accused of squatting and breaking and entering. 

Remember, students, pay attention in Property!

Legal Blog Watch

Consumerist (and update)

CBS Denver

Northwest Florida Daily News

Monday, February 13, 2012

President's Budget

After some delay, President Obama released his budget for fiscal year 2013 today. This release marks the first step in the Congressional budget cycle, kicking off a series of hearings, as explained in this brief CRS Report. The Senate Budget Committee will be examining the budget on Tuesday. Ohio merited at least a couple of mentions in the President's Budget, including funds to improve infrastructure along the Ohio River (p. 174 of .pdf) and funds to clean up nuclear waste in Ohio and several other states (p. 104 of .pdf).

Keep an eye out for a possible change to the budget process. Last week, the House passed HR 3521, Expedited Legislative Line-Item Veto and Rescissions Act of 2011. For background on line item veto proposals over the last couple of decades, see this CRS Report, Item Veto and Expanded Impoundment Proposals: History and Current Status.

Friday, February 10, 2012

CALI's Topics in Digital Law Practice Course Starts Today

CALI (Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction) is offering a free 9-week course titled "Topics in Digital Law Practice." Areas covered include:

The Virtual Law Office
Document Automation
Technology in the Courts
Unbundling Legal Service Delivery
Free Legal Research Tools
Contract Standardization
Online Legal Forms in Legal Aid
Unauthorized Practice of Law in the 21st Century
Social Media for Lawyers

See CALI for more details including registration. The first session (30-min. lecture, Q & A, interactive assignment) begins at 2:00 pm today. New CALI users must create an account using the OSU code.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Justice Sotomayor on Sesame Street

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor made a recent appearance on Sesame Street.  Justice Sotomayor explained that Justices "solve arguments," and proceeded to solve an argument between Goldilocks and Baby Bear, regarding a broken chair.

ABA Journal

The Volokh Conspiracy

The Huffington Post

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

California Same-Sex Marriage Ruling; Trial Video

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals released its opinion yesterday finding California's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. See the Los Angeles Times' thorough coverage as well as commentary from SCOTUSblog, the Volokh Conspiracy, and Concurring Opinions.

In a related ruling earlier in the week, the Ninth Circuit reversed the decision of the district court unsealing the video recording of the same-sex marriage trial proceedings. The Ninth Circuit based its decision on an "unequivocal" statement by the trial judge indicating that the recordings would not be publicly broadcast.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Proposed Ohio Bill Would Ban Smoking in Cars with Children

Senate Bill 27 was introduced last week: it would institute a $500 fine for smoking in a car in which a child under the age of six is a passenger.

S.B. 27

Analysis of S.B. 27 


Columbus Dispatch

The Marietta Times

Monday, February 06, 2012

Ohio's Black Laws

As February marks Black History Month, the Supreme Court of Ohio has developed an exhibit "documenting the history of Ohio's black laws," laws that prohibited African Americans from serving on juries or in the state militia, for example.

For a historical analysis of these laws, see the law library's copy of Stephen Middleton's The Black Laws: Race and the Legal Process in Early Ohio.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Love Story

Above the Law takes us into the weekend with a heartwarming law school love story (preview: it's a law professor-3L romance).

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Indiana Legal News

Two pieces of news from our neighbors to the west:

This week, Indiana became the 23rd "Right to Work" state.  Gov. Mitch Daniels signed the legislation yesterday.

Indianapolis Star

As well, a bill to teach creationism in public schools has passed the Senate by a vote of 28-22.  Opponents of the bill reference the 1987 Supreme Court decision Edwards v. Aguillard, holding that teaching creationism in Louisiana public schools was unconstitutional.

Indianapolis Star

Edwards v. Aguillard

Edwards v. Aguillard oral argument

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Ohio Bill Would Prohibit Left Lane Lingering

State Representative Ron Maag, R-Lebanon, has introduced HB 395, which proposes to increase the speed limit on Ohio interstate highways from 65 to 70 mph, and also make it illegal for drivers on interstate highways to stay in the left lane if not passing slower vehicles or exiting. See a brief article in the Columbus Dispatch as well as the bill analysis from the Ohio Legislative Service Commission. A 2010 article in the trucking industry publication, Land Line, notes that at least 20 states have similar left lane restrictions, citing the National Conference of State Legislatures.