Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Legal Linkage

The Iowa Supreme Court posted two cases over the holidays: PEPPMEIER v. MURPHY concerns vicarious liability -whether summary judgment in favor of an agent bars the plaintiff’s claim against the principal when the claim is that the principal is liable for the agent’s actions on the basis of respondeat superior. Of course, it also concerns an operation to restore "perky" nipples, so hey . . . Anyway, the short answer is yes.

STATE v. RAMIREZ is an appeal from a first-degree murder conviction based on ineffective assistance of counsel for failing to specify an absence of malice on defendant’s part as one of the grounds in a motion for judgment of acquittal. The Court found that the evidence was sufficient beyond a reasonable doubt to sustain the finding of the jury that defendant acted with malice, given the facts. (Defendant had gotten himself a pistol in Columbus, Nebraska, then drove to Iowa where he confronted his ex-girlfriend in the parking lot of her employer. When his suggestion that a reconciliation might be in order met with a less-than-warm reception, he whipped the gun out of his waistband and shot her in the head.)

Blawg Review #38 is up on Notes from the Legal Underground. He did something a little different: created New Year's resolutions for legal blogs, then posted the Blawg Review articles as good examples. The resolutions:
Resolution 1: Mix It Up
Resolution 2: Prove You Have a Personality
Resolution 3: Be a Better Writer
Resolution 4: Write for the Computer Screen
Resolution 5: Use Photos
Resolution 6: Don't Be Obscure
Resolution 7: Build a Community
Resolution 8: Experiment with New Weblogging Ideas
Resolution 9: Don't Let Your Weblog Make You Crazy

He's got some good points, which I intend to incorporate . . . Someday. Maybe.

Arbitrary and Capricious notes "What Not to Say at Sentencing."

How Appealing has a post on a Pennsylvania grandparent's visitation case: Grandparent visitation gone loco. The quote:
"No state defines 'grandparent' as a person standing in loco parentis to an individual who is a parent. An extensive review of case law from these states reveals, to my knowledge, no reported decision interpreting 'grandparent' to include a person standing in loco parentis to a parent. This apparently leaves the majority as the only court rendering a published decision interpreting 'grandparent' to include a person standing in loco parentis to a parent." And earlier in his dissenting opinion, Justice Eakin wrote: "There is no evidence the genesis and evolution of the in loco parentis concept contemplated or intended granting a person who stands in loco parentis to an individual the corresponding status of 'in loco grandparentis' over the individual's children."

Why do I keep thinking there's a tongue-twister in there somewhere?

Overlawyered reports that the restraining order on David Letterman has been lifted. To see the copy of the rather psychotic application for restraining order, head to the Smoking Gun. A sample:
And three days before Thanksgiving ’93, in code, over the TV he asked me to marry him in a 2 or 3 second spot teaser before the Show aired: “Marry me Oprah”. (Oprah had become my first of many code names.) I was stunned. That night, on the Show, he pointed to the ring finger in his monolog (sic), and every following night, he indicated that he didn’t want to wait long for an answer. (as time passed, the code-vocabulary increased and changed, but in the beginning, things like “C” on baseball caps referred to me, and specific messages through the songs sung by his guests, were the beginnings of what became an elaborate means of communication between he and myself . . .

Oooookaaay. The ex parte restraining order had raised the interesting issue of whether or not Letterman was now allowed to own a gun under federal law, which the law professors over at the Volokh Conspiracy analyzed in this post and came up with an answer: "Accordingly, if the complainant has simply bothered to hire a New York process server to serve Letterman with a copy of the complaint, it would now be illegal for him to possess a firearm. If the court properly sents Letterman an order to appear at the hearing for making the TRO permanent, and Letterman fails to do so, and the court makes the restraining order permanent, then Letterman will be committing a federal felony if he every holds gun in his hands." (See the post for the analysis and links to the law.) Anyway, the point is moot as to Letterman, but I'm wondering what might happen if someone kinda sorta did the same thing to someone in the gun lobby, like say Charlton Heston? Could be fun to watch. Not that I'm an instigator or anything.

Law.com has this: Functionality' of Hooters Girls at Issue in IP Appeal. Overlawyered posted on the original suit here. The issue: whether a reasonable juror could confuse WingHouse girls, who are dressed in all-black shorts and tops, with Hooters girls, who wear orange shorts and white tops. However, the US District Court judge who heard the case ruled that the "Hooters Girl" persona is "primarily functional" and therefore is not entitled to trade dress protection. According to the Law.com article, the ruling said that that the "Hooters Girl" was "the very essence of Hooters' business," whose "predominant function is to provide vicarious sexual recreation, to titillate, entice, and arouse male customers' fantasies." Hey, who says the law isn't fun? You may remember that I posted the link to the bootleg copy of the Hooter's Handbook awhile back. My take:
Oh, and while showing your cleavage up top is encouraged, they apparently don't want to be seeing anything of the buttocks. Daisy Dukes are right out. (Guys? Did they ask your vote on this one? It seems a tad weird to me.)


And, finally, the big, exciting news from the Wall Street Journal blog: Article III Groupie Expected to Become Wonkette. You may remember Lat wrote the "Underneath Their Robes" blog in the female persona . . . then outed himself in an inside scoop to the New Yorker. From the article:
A3G, as she calls herself, writes like a boozy d├ębutante, dishing about the wardrobes, work habits, and idiosyncrasies of the “superhotties of the federal judiciary” and “Bodacious Babes of the Bench.” The author is keen on the new Chief Justice, writing, on one occasion, “Judge Roberts is lookin’ super-hunky tonight, much younger than his 50 years. . . . The adorable dimple in his chin is making A3G dizzy.” In contrast, she had doubts about Harriet Miers, posting a “Hairstyle Retrospective” and noting, “If Harriet Miers wins confirmation, maybe Supreme Court justices should start wearing powdered wigs.” Her posts on the new Supreme Court nominee, Samuel Alito, have included a report—a “judicial sight-ation” — of the Judge stopping in at a Newark pizza shop, and a sizing up of Alito’s teen-age son: “Since he’s 19, A3G is permitted to say: he’s a hottie!” . . . In real life, A3G is a thirty-year-old Newark-based assistant U.S. attorney named David Lat. “The blog really reflects two aspects of my personality,” he said over lunch recently. “I am very interested in serious legal issues as well as in fun and frivolous and gossipy issues. I can go from the Harvard Law Review to Us Weekly very quickly.” Lat, who has a boyish face, lives in Manhattan and commutes to New Jersey, and he writes his blog entries in his spare time.

The article led to the temporary suspension of UTR, and caused a minor fury of speculation over whether Lat's would be the latest cautionary tale about blogging and employment ramifications. But the blog's back on line now, and I have to say his writing would be ideal for Wonkette. BTW - Anybody else looking to pay someone for writing this kind of fun bullshit insightful analysis? I've got a few ideas . . .

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