Tuesday, August 21, 2007

New Jersey Jail Inmates Given Laptops For Their Computer Assisted Legal Research (CALR)

Source: Crime and Justice News, August 21, 2007.

"Bergen County, NJ, jail inmates who want to brush up on their legal defense online can do so now from their cells, a move that officials say is a first nationwide, says The Record of Hackensack, NJ. Jail officials have begun rolling out the first batch of 80 laptops - each about the size and heft of a large hardcover novel - to some of the 1,000 inmates who occupy the near-capacity lockup. About $100,000 has been spent so far from an account funded by profits from items purchased from inmates, such as toothpaste and candy bars, to buy the $1,200 notebooks and install wireless connections. "

The primary reason for the move is safety. 'There's a risk each time you open a cell door,' said Bergen Sheriff Leo McGuire, "and our library was getting too busy." Before, inmates who wanted to use the Westlaw research service had to file into the jail's law library, where 12 computers are crammed into the same space as guards and stacks of legal texts. "We should remember that in most cases, the individuals [in jails] aren't guilty, so they're still on trial," said Edward Barocas of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey. 'They should be afforded their research time, no matter how they get it.' Fred Wilson of the National Sheriffs Association said it was the first he had ever heard of such a move. "Knowing the sheriff, he's completely investigated any dangers in giving prisoners those pieces of equipment' Wilson said. 'I think it's interesting. It's an innovative idea.' "

The Record of Hackensack (NJ)

New York Law Journal Decisions of Interest August 21, 2007

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NEW YORK COUNTYAttorney's FeesCourt Finds Plaintiffs to Be 'Prevailing Parties' As They Succeeded on Central Claim in This Action Town House Stock LLC v. Coby Housing Corp.

NEW YORK COUNTYJudgesJudicial Screening Panel Member Denied Motion For Judge to Recuse Himself From Current Action Rosado v. Edmundo Castillo Inc.

RICHMOND COUNTYCivil Practice‘Simple, Pragmatic’ Test Shows Little League Engaged In Continuous and Systematic Course of Business Baggs v. Little League Baseball Inc.

NASSAU COUNTYCivil PracticeCourt Denies Defendants' Motion to Renew, Reargue Court's Prior Order Denying Vacatur of Default Star Industries Inc. v. Innovative Beverages Inc.

NASSAU COUNTYCivil RightsAgency's Finding That a Hearing Must Determine If School District Violated HRL §296(14) Is Upheld East Meadow Union Free School District v. New York State Division of Human Rights

SUFFOKD COUNTYReal PropertyBidder's Application to Vacate Foreclosure Sale, Have Down-Payment Returned Is Granted Entirely Champion Mortgage v. Knight

U.S. COURT OF APPEALS, SECOND CIRCUITGovernment$6,700 Fine for Violating Iraqi Sanctions Act Stands; All Travel Transactions Are Not Exempt Karpova v. Snow

U.S. COURT OF APPEALS, SECOND CIRCUITCriminal PracticeSentence Is Vacated, Remanded; Court's Notice Of Upward Departure from Guidelines Insufficient United States v. Patrick M. Cole

U.S. DISTRICT COURTSOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORKCriminal PracticeSubpoena Served by Plaintiff to Non-Party Is Quashed; No Notice to Defendant Given Smith v. Masterson

U.S. DISTRICT COURTEASTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORKCivil PracticeCourt Finds Gun Dealers Tap Interstate Market; Court Has Personal Jurisdiction in Negligence Suit City of New York v. A-1 Jewelry & Pawn Inc.

U.S. DISTRICT COURTSOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORKEmploymentEmployment Discrimination Suit Survives; 'Swierkiewiez v. Sorema' Notice Standard Is Met Palmer v. New York State Office of Court Administration

LAW.COM Newswire Highlights

If you are already an online subscriber to New York Law Journal you should be able to click on any of the links provided below, sign in, and access the full text of articles listed

Patent Defendants Score Big at Federal Circuit
The Recorder
Tech company general counsel, who routinely wrestle with claims of patent infringement, can breathe a sigh of relief, thanks to a Federal Circuit decision Monday that makes it far more difficult to accuse a company of willful patent infringement, a claim that can result in triple damages. The ruling also made a crucial clarification regarding waivers of attorney-client privilege. The Federal Circuit received nearly two dozen amicus briefs on the issue.

Class Action Suits Seeking Medical Monitoring Filed Over Recalled Mattel Toys
The Legal Intelligencer
As with other defective Chinese products of late, U.S. consumers are looking for some accountability from the domestic importers. Two similar class actions have been filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and Los Angeles County Superior Court. Both suits seek to compel Mattel, the importer of millions of Chinese-made toys that have been recalled due to lead paint and small magnets, to pay for lead testing for children who may have been affected by the toys.

D.C. Circuit: Grand Jury Witnesses Can Review Testimony
Legal Times
In a decision that's drawing notice throughout the criminal defense bar, the D.C. Circuit has become the first federal appeals court to hold that grand jury witnesses have an unqualified right to review their testimony in ongoing investigations. Defense attorneys say the ruling could induce more witnesses to testify and curb prosecutorial overreaching. But the government argues it will encourage information-sharing among co-defendants and their attorneys, particularly in white-collar and racketeering cases.

DLA Piper Lawyer Helps Free Former Classmate From Chinese Prison
The American Lawyer
Jared Genser and Yang Jianli have found their lives intertwined. Students at the Kennedy School of Government 10 years ago, Genser was inspired by Yang to become a lawyer and ultimately to found Freedom Now, a group whose highly targeted campaigns have scored an impressive record of helping to free prisoners of conscience. It was largely thanks to Freedom Now that Yang was able to leave a Chinese prison earlier this year and to return to the United States on Saturday as a free man.

5th Circuit Certifies Major Insurance Questions to Texas High Court
Texas Lawyer
Insurance disputes have occupied much of the Texas Supreme Court's time of late, and the 5th Circuit likely has just added to that caseload. The circuit sent the state high court two certified questions that need to be decided in a construction-defect case with potentially far-reaching implications. If the Supreme Court accepts the case, it must decide what triggers an insurance company's duty to cover a damage claim that occurred during the policy period but was discovered years after the policy ended.

Two Prominent Attorneys Subpoenaed in KPMG Case
Legal Times
Two of Hogan & Hartson's most prominent attorneys -- Prentiss Feagles, co-director of the firm's tax practice, and Paul Rogers, a partner in the firm's health practice -- have been subpoenaed at the request of KPMG's lawyers at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, who are defending their client over work done on behalf of Bernard Salick. Salick is a Los Angeles physician and entrepreneur who filed suit in California in 2005 against KPMG after shady tax shelters were sold to him by the company.

Animal Shelter Puts the Bite on Attorney for Allegedly Diverting Widow's Contributions
The Legal Intelligencer
A Pittsburgh no-kill animal shelter has filed a five-count lawsuit against a Pittsburgh attorney, alleging that he illegally reduced its portion of a wealthy widow's multimillion-dollar estate. Animal Friends Inc. claims in the suit that Gregory Harbaugh abused his power-of-attorney status and diverted $1.2 million from four charitable organizations to three other charitable organizations with which he or his wife has financial ties.

Lead Paint Litigation Is Beginning to Fade
The National Law Journal
A series of recent rulings have stymied public nuisance claims made by dozens of cities and counties to recover damages related to lead paint, which has been found to cause learning disabilities in children. Lawyers for the paint and pigment companies highlighted the rulings as part of a definitive shift against public nuisance claims.

Criminal Attorneys Provide Post-Game Analysis of Padilla Case
Daily Business Review
On Thursday, a federal jury in Miami found Jose Padilla and co-defendants Adham Hassoun and Kifah Jayyousi guilty on all counts of conspiring to support terrorism overseas. They face life in prison. Many of Miami's prominent criminal attorneys sat in on all or part of the trial to watch the lawyering, support their defense lawyer or prosecutor friends, or just out of sheer curiosity. What did they think of the legal strategies and judging? Here is the post-game analysis.

Rights Cases Multiply Against Corporations
The National Law Journal
An upswing in global operations and a 9th Circuit decision allowing vicarious liability claims for violations of international human rights norms in Alien Tort Claims Act cases have opened the door to more cases. A recent ruling in an Alabama federal court underscores plaintiffs' uphill battle. The decision in what may be the first jury trial on alien tort claims should be heartening to corporate defendants, said Baker Botts' William Jeffress, who defended U.S. coal mining company Drummond Co. in the case.
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Conflicting SEC Rule Proposals Will Add to Confusion Regarding Shareholder Participation in Director Nominations
Special to Law.com
Last month the SEC published an interpretive release and two proposed rules that reflect a split among the commissioners regarding shareholder access to the director nomination process. This development follows a recent problematic decision by the 2nd Circuit in AFSCME v. AIG. However, says Torys partner Joris Hogan, the SEC's initiatives have sent conflicting signals to public companies that are considering whether to change the method whereby directors are nominated for election to the board.
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HP Scanjet 7650n Slows the Paper Chase
It's difficult for a small to medium-size law firm to keep up with the resources of a large firm. Imagine the David vs. Goliath struggle when a large law firm brings its litigation resources to bear on a small firm. To even the odds, small firms need to get smart about business processes and technology and reduce the time and energy they use to manage paper. Toward that end, Hewlett-Packard's one-two punch knocks paper into a digital format and places it onto the network with its Scanjet 7650n.
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Monday, August 20, 2007

A Quest to Get More Court Rulings Online, and Free

Source: NYTimes.com, August 20, 2007.

A Quest to Get More Court Rulings Online, and Free
"The domination of two legal research services [lexis nexis and westlaw] over the publication of federal and state court decisions is being challenged by an Internet gadfly."

Stock Market and Analysis of Google

For a source of stock market opinions and analysis, see (GOOG).

Person of Interest--A Suspect, Or Something Else?

Source: Crime and Justice News, August 20, 2007

"Willie Clark is what the cops call a "person of interest" in the slaying of Denver Bronco Darrent Williams in the early-morning hours of New Year's Day. What exactly is a 'person of interest,' asks the Rocky Mountain News. 'It's 21st century-speak for suspect,' said Denver attorney Scott Robinson. Police say the terms aren't always interchangeable. Though persons of interest often graduate to suspects and are charged with a crime, police may use the phrase because they're trying to find someone of a certain description who happened to be near the scene of a crime. "

Rocky Mountain News

As FBI Deals With Terror, Crime Up On Indian Lands

Source: Crime and Justice News, August 20, 2007.

"Drug prosecutions are down at Indian reservations around the U.S. as the FBI emphasizes antiterror work, says the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. The result: A drug epidemic and related crime wave are plaguing Indian communities. White House cuts to the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration have been disastrous for tribes because the bureau in Indian Country acts like a local police department, making the felony arrests. Tribal police don't have legal authority to arrest non-Indians or charge anyone with felonies. The maximum term in reservation jails is one year."

. Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Crime Rises; Adding Police Looms As Most Popular Response

Source:Crime and Justice News, August 20, 2007.

Newsweek's Web site offers its take on the crime- report increase issued by the FBI, the first back-to- back increases in the national violent-crime numbers since the early 1990s. The recent surge has cops concerned that if nothing is done quickly, the bad old days of high crime and widespread fear might return. 'It's like a cancer patient,' says Los Angeles Police Chief Bill Bratton. 'You think you are clear, and then [the tumor] comes back again.' "


Colorado Wiretaps Hit 10 Year High; Used Mostly in Drug Cases

Source: Crime and Justice News, August 20, 2007.

"The number of phones secretly wiretapped by Colorado law enforcement hit a 10-year high last year, leading to large drug busts statewide while raising concerns about the privacy of innocent people, reports the Rocky Mountain News. The increase was led by the U.S. Attorney's Office, which used 108 wiretaps in its first year under U.S. Attorney for Colorado Troy Eid. That's four times the number used in the 12 months prior to Eid's August 2006 arrival. State prosecutors got permission to use 43 wiretaps in 2006 - more than in the previous nine years combined, says an annual report by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. "

Rocky Mountain News

Black Male Los Angeles County Homicide Rate 30 Times U.S. Average

Source: Crime and Justice News, August 20, 2007.

"Homicides are down sharply in Los Angeles County this year, possibly by as much as 14 percent countywide, says the Los Angeles Times. Still, the stubborn problem of deadly violence grinds on in poor neighborhoods at a rate far above the U.S. average. An online project of The Times called the Homicide Report has tracked Los Angeles County homicides since the beginning of the year. The project has yielded a vivid statistical outline of the county's homicide problem -- at least 520 killings by early August. It has chronicled some of the damage that rippled through families and communities rent by deaths that happened before their time."

"Homicide hits hardest among Latinos and especially among blacks. Latinos are killed at more than three times the rate of whites, while blacks succumb to homicide at three times the rate of Latinos. Adult males are the eye of the storm. The national homicide rate is about six deaths per 100,000 people each year. But for Latino men in their 20s in Los Angeles County, the rate is 52 deaths, and for black men, 176 deaths. In human terms, that means that losing a son to homicide, a remote possibility in some neighborhoods, looms as a daily threat in others. "

Los Angeles Times

AOL Relaunches Truveo Video Search Site

Source: InformationWeek Daily Newsletter, August 20, 2007.

AOL Relaunches Truveo Video Search Site

"A new version aims to be a one-stop video destination for user-generated clips and professionally produced video."

New York Law Journal Decisions of Interest August 20, 2007

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U.S. COURT OF APPEALS,M SECOND CIRCUITCriminal PracticeHobbs Act Requires Jury to Find Robbery of Drugs, Drug Proceeds, Affects Interstate Commerce United States, appellee v. Otis Parkes, defendant-appellant

NEW YORK COUNTYTortsJudge's Defamation Claims Against Time Warner Dismissed; Claims Against Newspaper Proceed Rivera v. NYP Holdings Inc.

NEW YORK COUNTYContractsBreach of Implied Covenant of Good Faith, Fair Dealing Claim Can Stand Without Contract Breach Gross v. Empire Healthchoice Assurance Inc.

NEW YORK COUNTYTortsRescuer's Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress Suit Allowed to Proceed Against ConEd Cronin v. Consolidated Edison Co. of New York Inc.

KINGS COUNTYCivil PracticePlaintiffs Had Sufficient Excuse for Delay; Leave To File Late Notice of Claim Against City Granted Matter of Rothenberg v. City of New York

NASSAU COUNTYTrusts and EstatesDecedent's Will Did Not Grant Wife Right to Sell Co-op, Only Life Estate And Remainder to Daughter Estate of John Mantineo

NASSAU COUNTYCriminal PracticeAccusatory Instrument Sufficient For PL §240.21 Charge, Insufficient For PL §140.10(a) Charge People v. Terrence J. Martinez

U.S. DISTRICT COURTSOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORKBusiness LawAllegations At Motion to Dismiss Stage Sufficient To Attribute Fraudulent Statements to Defendant Glidepath Holding BV v. Spherion Corp.

U.S. DISTRICT COURTSOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORKCivil PracticeContract Suit Is Transferred To Washington; Locus of Operative Facts, Several Witnesses Reside Age Group Limited v. Regal Logistics Corp.

U.S. DISTRICT COURTSOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORKAttorneys' FeesAttorney Is Awarded $38,091 for Legal Fees Instead of Requested $74,312 Chernis v. Swarzman

U.S. DISTRICT COURTSOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORKCriminal PracticeReview of Claims Is Procedurally Barred On Adequate, Independent State Law Ground Haynesworth v. Fischer

U.S. DISTRICT COURTSOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORKCivil PracticeCourt Refuses to Add Restrictive Term Not Stated on Record to Settlement Agreement Medinol Ltd. v. Guidant Corp.

New York Law Journal Leading Articles August 20, 2007

If you are already an online subscriber to New York Law Journal you should be able to click on any of the links provided below, sign in, and access the full text of articles listed

Monday, August 20, 2007
Free Breaking News: Top Spitzer Aide Retains Lawyer for Albany Probes
Judge Permits Bias Lawsuit Against Courts
Proof of Interstate Commerce Nexus Vital To Hobbs Act Conviction, Circuit Stresses
Claims Narrowed Over Failure to Name Proper Parties

LAW.COM Newswire Highlights

If newsfeeds are shown on the left side of your screen, the News articles listed below can be viewed in full text by first clicking on the Law.Com Newsfeed and then scrolling down to the appropriate article. If newsfeeds are not displayed on the screen try going to http://www.law.com/newswire/ and searching for the items of interest.

Who Represents America's Biggest Companies
Corporate Counsel
For this year's Who Represents America's Biggest Companies survey, Corporate Counsel combed through public records to tally which law firms were being used by the Fortune 250. We found one essential truth at big law departments: Reputation and firepower matter most when something's really important. Just as a cardiac patient will seek the best doctor, companies in litigation or seeking protection of their IP assets will hire the best, and they won't sweat the hourly rate.
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Issue of 'Strategic Recusals' Arises in Key Supreme Court Case
Legal Times
Now that Solicitor General Paul Clement has weighed in on what could be the biggest securities case before the Supreme Court in decades, the next big mystery is how many justices will participate. Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. and Justice Stephen Breyer initially recused in the case, but rumors are circulating that one or both might rejoin. The notion of justices "unrecusing" causes discomfort among some ethics experts. But a new -- and little-noticed -- federal law may be encouraging the practice.
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SEC Charges Brocade's Former CFO in Backdating Case
The Recorder
Internal strife at the SEC tanked a proposed settlement with Michael Byrd, the former CFO of Brocade Communications. Upset that a million-dollar deal proposed by the SEC's enforcement division wouldn't have barred Byrd from being an accountant at other public companies, the SEC's accounting division scuttled the agreement, said lawyers briefed on the case. Byrd was a key figure in the criminal trial that ended with a conviction of former Brocade CEO Gregory Reyes for backdating stock options.

Firm Kills Billable Hour for First-Year Associates
The National Law Journal
The billable hour: demanding, disparaged and now dead -- at least at one Atlanta-based law firm. Ford & Harrison, a 190-attorney labor and employment firm, has tossed out billable hour requirements for first-year associates. The program aims to close the practical-skills gap of law school education and increase value to clients. "Everyone sits around and complains about the problems," said C. Lash Harrison, managing partner of the firm. "I figured, what the heck, maybe we can try something."

Fired Firm Alleges Client, Co-Counsel Sabotaged Fee
Texas Lawyer
When a legal malpractice suit against Dallas securities attorney Phillip W. Offill Jr. and his former firm settled, the parties seemed happy, but that satisfaction was short-lived. Now a firm that represented plaintiff Consolidated Sports Media Group in that case has filed its own suit against CSMG, its co-counsel and others, alleging it was cut out of the deal. But the new suit raises a separate issue: whether it discloses too much information surrounding the confidential settlement in the prior case.

Federal Circuit Denies Appeal by Attorney 'Wronged' in Court
The National Law Journal
A court's criticism of an attorney -- absent some formal judicial action, such as an explicit reprimand -- is "simply commentary" in the course of an action and not appealable, at least not in the Federal Circuit, according to a recent ruling. Judge William Bryson wrote for the panel that a court order intended to be "'a formal judicial action' in a disciplinary proceeding is an appealable decision, but that other kinds of judicial criticisms of lawyers' actions are not reviewable."

11th Circuit Applies Supreme Court High-Speed Chase Ruling
Fulton County Daily Report
Atlanta lawyer Craig T. Jones said that when the U.S. Supreme Court in April ruled against his case against a police officer over injuries suffered during a high-speed chase, he feared the decision "kind of sealed the fate" of a similar matter pending at the 11th Circuit. He may be right, as a panel last week concluded that they had "no doubt" the high court decision meant that a former officer didn't violate the rights of a man who the officer had been chasing and who died after the two cars collided.

Texas Court Denies Request to Disqualify BP Defense Lawyer
Texas Lawyer
The steering committee of lawyers representing plaintiffs suing BP over a deadly explosion at the company's refinery wants Houston lawyer Ronald Krist off the defense team. But a Texas appeals court has denied a writ of mandamus seeking to overturn a lower court's denial of a motion to disqualify Krist as counsel on the ground that his firm formerly represented four plaintiffs who sought damages from BP after the 2005 explosion. Meanwhile, the first trial in the BP litigation may begin this month.

Pa. Supreme Court Suspends Indicted Judge
The Legal Intelligencer
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has issued an order suspending from duty Superior Court Judge Michael T. Joyce, who was indicted last week on mail fraud and money-laundering charges. Joyce will not suffer a reduction or suspension of his salary or benefits, and can appeal the suspension. He was charged in connection with $440,000 in insurance settlements he received after his state-leased Mercedes Benz was rear-ended, after which he complained of constant pain and other effects, according to the indictment.

Cadwalader Lures Patent Litigator to Launch IP Practice
New York Law Journal
Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft has launched an intellectual property practice with a partner from IP boutique Morgan & Finnegan. IP is a new practice area for Cadwalader, best known for its capital markets area. In recent months, the firm has also recruited high-profile lateral partners to boost its antitrust and bankruptcy practices.

You Call That a Notice of Appeal?
Special to Law.com
Despite the relative simplicity of drafting and filing a notice of appeal, sometimes licensed attorneys as well as pro se litigants manage to foul up the process, writes Howard J. Bashman. The appellate litigator looks in particular at two recent federal appellate court cases that demonstrate the hazards for even an experienced practitioner.

Web 2.0 Won't Eat Your Mouse
New Jersey Law Journal
Successful law firms see the need for expedient knowledge management and author Susan Ward says Web 2.0 can fill the bill. Web 2.0 isn't just about software, it’s also about delivering services through dynamic applications in a free information market. The key to Web 2.0 is interactivity, social networking and collaboration where blogs, podcasts and wikis openly roam. Law firms should not fear Web 2.0 -- they should learn to utilize its technologies or lose market share, valuable time and efficiency.
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Sonnenschein Nath's Expansion Plan Proceeds Slowly
The National Law Journal
Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal is adding new partners at its fastest clip ever and has added three new offices this year, yet attorney head count is expanding only slowly toward a 2009 target of more than 1,000 lawyers. Despite signing up 20 lateral partners so far this year, the total number of attorneys at the firm has grown by five -- to 650 -- because some attorneys are exiting as the firm sharpens its strategic focus, says firm Chairman Elliott Portnoy.
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Saving Good Judgment From the BlackBerry Culture
Special to Law.com
In our current BlackBerry culture, 24/7 availability is assumed, and many view turning the BlackBerry off as professional sacrilege. But Jenner & Block managing partner Gregory Gallopoulos worries that an extreme emphasis on responsiveness jeopardizes a far more important attribute of professional excellence: judgment. He says lawyers and law firms need to resist the BlackBerry culture to the extent necessary to ensure that they don't permit their judgment to become impaired as they strive to be responsive.
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