If hell is war, then it looks like the smoldering pits in Iraq and Afghanistan. And more than 800 American service members are suing a company that dumped tires, batteries, medical waste and other materials into burn pits there and released toxins into the air. The survivors allege the smoke caused stomach illnesses, neurological problems, cancers and other health issues; twelve died. A trial judge dismissed their cases last year, but their lawyers told the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals that the war is not over. The question, in some quarters, is whether they have a chance at all. 'Quintessential Military Decision' The New York Times told the story, which started in 2008. Dozens of lawsuits by hundreds of veterans nationwide were consolidated in one federal court. The plaintiffs sued military contractor KBR, Inc., alleging negligence for exposing them to toxic emissions. But the trial judge threw out their case, concluding that the contractor acted on behalf of the government … [Read more...] about Veterans Appeal Burn Pits Cases Against Military Contractor
Somewhere in the Bible or the movies, there are Seven Deadly Sins -- not 70. But that's how many new ethics rules will be imposed on California lawyers this year. Technically, it's only 69 but that would make the first sentence really wrong. Actually, it would have been 70 but the state Supreme Court rejected one. It means attorneys can get away with at least one thing. Harassment, Discrimination and Sex Leah T. Wilson, executive director of the State Bar, said it's the biggest overhaul of ethics rules in nearly 30 years. In the #MeToo era, some would say, it was a long time coming. One concern involves harassment and discrimination by lawyers. Now the State Bar will open investigations without waiting for civil or criminal findings. The new rules will also require attorneys who face discrimination discipline to report themselves to state and federal agencies that enforce anti-discrimination laws. Rule 3-120, the rule against sex with clients, will be stricter. It will be unethical … [Read more...] about New Ethics Rules: What’s Changing, What’s Interesting?
Schrodinger's Cat is probably the most famous thought experiment in the history of, well, thought experiments. It poses that -- after being placed in a sealed box with a flask of poison and a radioactive source -- the cat will be alive and dead at the same time. Theoretical physicists love this stuff, but Futurama makes it much more fun. It basically sets up the moment when reality collapses into one possibility or another. So why should non-theoretical physicist lawyers care? One Possibility When it comes to the future, the possibilities may seem endless. But the law is more black-and-white than that. You're innocent or guilty; there is no in between. It's like saying you're half-pregnant; the law just doesn't work that way. In legal tech, the future seems almost certain. Robots will take your law job; blockchain will be infused into smart contracts; and cyberpirates will continue to raid and pillage. Well, maybe not all of that. But this is literary license at work here; it's not … [Read more...] about Why Should Lawyers Care About Schrodinger’s Cat?
For Barbara Underwood, her appointment as New York's acting attorney general must have been a pleasure and a pain. One week, she was sworn in as the first woman to hold the post. The next week, legislators were interviewing other candidates for the permanent job. That's because the governor named Underwood to replace Eric Schneiderman, who recently resigned in disgrace. Now the legislature has voted to have her fill out his term. End of the Year On a vote of 190 to 1, the legislature named Underwood as the state's 66th attorney general. She was one of a dozen candidates, but said she would not run for election at the end of the term this year. "I've served in many roles in government throughout my career, but I believe this job -- at this moment in history -- is the most important job I have ever had," she said after the vote. On the eve of state party conventions, state assembly members and senators considered other candidates. Democrat and Republican leaders will choose nominees … [Read more...] about Underwood Approved as Interim NY Attorney General
A lawyer by trade, Scott Boras turned his skills to negotiating sports contracts. In the process, he landed billions for his clients and earned hundreds of millions for himself. Forbes named him back-to-back "The World's Most Powerful Sports Agent." But that's not important to you right now. What you want to know is, how do you get there. As a wise man -- not Jerry Maguire -- once said, "No matter where you go, there you are." Get Started It's no joke, but everybody starts where they begin. In other words, if you want to become a sports agent, then you better get going. With a law license, you are already ahead of the game. It's a prerequisite for some league certifications, but more than the basic educational requirements for most agencies. Sports agents, like lawyers, advocate for their clients and protect their interests. That typically means advising them, negotiating contracts, and servicing their legal needs. It may also include managing financial interests and public … [Read more...] about Can a Lawyer Become a Sports Agent? Of Course!
The Center for Medical Progress released a video from inside Planned Parenthood that brought on a social maelstrom. The video, which showed the abortion providers talking about selling fetal tissue, shocked legislators, the media and others. But privacy rights lawyers and a coalition of Planned Parenthood groups fought back. In Planned Parenthood Federation of America v. Center for Medical Progress, the plaintiffs say the anti-abortion activists wrongfully captured the videos by posing as investigative journalists. Over objections by the defendants, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said the case will go forward. Anti-SLAPP The defendants tried to kill the lawsuit early by filing a motion to strike based on California's anti-SLAPP statute (in case you don't know, SLAPP stands for Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation). A trial judge denied the motion, and the Ninth Circuit affirmed. The appeals panel said the trial court properly declined to evaluate the factual … [Read more...] about 9th Circuit Stops SLAPP Shot at Planned Parenthood
Advertisers often gets a bad rap for making print and online newspapers a mess to read. However, for seventy inmates in Florida's prison system, prison officials have refused to deliver the monthly Prison Legal News publications to the inmate subscribers because of the ads in the paper. Surprisingly, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has sided with Florida's prison officials in ruling that denying the paper to the inmates is not a First Amendment violation. However, because the Florida prisons failed to provide a sufficient notice to the publisher, as required by their own rules, both the district and circuit courts found that the publisher's due process rights were violated. When Ads Tempt Bad The ads that the prison and courts found to be too risky to allow inmates access to included solicitations for three-way calling services, pen-pal services, cash-for-stamps services, and other types of advertising geared towards helping inmates engage the outside world. Despite what First … [Read more...] about Florida Bans Prisoner Newspaper Over Ads
In a lengthy, 75-page decision, judge Naomi Reice Buchwald of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York just ruled that the President's blocking of Twitter users from the @realdonaldtrump account violates those users' First Amendment rights. The decision goes into painstaking detail about not just the legal merits, but also into the technical details of how the platform works. In short, the court found that a government official's Twitter page is in fact a public forum when used by the government official, officially for official purposes. Curiously though, the ruling of the court fell short of ordering the President to unblock those he has already blocked. Above the Tweet While Twitter may not be a traditional public forum, the court's decision carefully weaves prior precedents to show that it can still fit the bill. And while the defense sought to defeat injunctive relief through claiming the court couldn't issue an injunctive order against the President, that … [Read more...] about Judge: Trump Blocks on Twitter Violate First Amendment
Word Tamer is a site for learning the process of developing characters, settings, and plots. Word Tamer is set up as an interactive journey through a carnival of literary devices. As students move through the carnival they develop characters, develop a setting, and develop a plot for their stories. At each stop in the Word Tamer carnival students can print out the words they have written. Along the way there are videos to help students understand the roles of characters, settings, and plot development in crafting a good story. Applications for Education I first learned about Word Tamer many years ago from Kristen Swanson. Kristen recommended Word Tamer because she thought that the narration and graphics make the site UDL-friendly. I think that Word Tamer has potential to get reluctant writers started on their way to crafting creative stories. … [Read more...] about An Interactive Story Building Lesson
Whether you like it or not, Google is slowly pushing everyone who uses the old version of Google Sites into the new version. For some people this is a source of great stress and for others it's not a big deal at all. If you're a G Suite for Education domain administrator you've probably fielded a few questions about how to make the switch from the old version to the new version of Google Sites. Today, Google announced a new option for G Suite domain administrators to preview a conversion tool for Google Sites. What today's announcement really means is that the conversion tool that has been available to some current users of classic Google Sites through Gmail accounts will become available to Google Sites users within G Suite domains. According to today's announcement the Google Sites conversion tool within G Suite domains will be available starting this week and will roll out to end users by June 19th. It's important to note that not all sites will be eligible for conversion … [Read more...] about Google Offers a Sites Conversion Tool