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Monthly Archives: March 2006

Is there also an exception for giant tools?

Back in 2003, Jay Leno showed Claire Walter’s photograph, sent in by her employer, and mocked the apparently unflattering picture during his Headlines segment of “The Tonight Show.” Ms. Walter was not pleased with this, so she took up the most favorite of American past-times and filed a lawsuit against NBC, Leno, “The Tonight Show” and her former employer. Her lawsuit claimed that these defendants had violated her privacy rights under New York’s civil rights law (which bans the commercial use of a living person’s name or picture without their consent) and had intentionally inflicted emotional distress.

The trial court initially dismissed the intentional infliction of emotional distress claim as to the NBC defendants, and earlier this month an appellate court dismissed that claim as to her former employer. The appellate court also dismissed the privacy right claims against the NBC defendants (although the privacy claim against her ex-employer remains because the photograph included the company’s name and phone number and the court was unconvinced that the company did not intend it to be used as an advertisement). In dismissing the privacy rights claim against the NBC defendants, the court noted that the New York law bans “nonconsensual commercial appropriation” but that there is an exception for the reporting of newsworthy events. The court then ruled that comedy and satire fall within this exception to the privacy rights, even if the comedy in question does not relate to “legitimate” news.

Now I don’t question the logic of New York Appellate Division, 4th Department in interpreting the New York law. I do question an underlying fallacy, however, which is that anything Leno does should qualify as comedy and satire.

The Daily Memo 3/31/06

homeland.jpgThe smoking bans march on - as of today you can’t smoke in most St. Paul establishments and as of Monday there will be no smoking in many indoor D.C. joints. (Twin Cities Pioneer Press & DCist)

homeland.jpgA plethora of companies have been sued in Los Angeles for allegedly exaggerating how much protection their sunscreen (”the snake oil of the 21st Century”) provides. (CNN)

homeland.jpgSeveral allegations have been raised against Walgreens because of pharmacy medication having labels referring to the customers as “crazy,” “psycho” and “shady.” (Sun-Sentinel)

homeland.jpgA New York lending company has asked the court for permission to sell a 17-acre ranch belonging to Don “Sonny Crockett” Johnson because he has allegedly defaulted under his deed of trust. (LawInfo)

homeland.jpgWhile the MPAA aggressively tries to curb internet piracy, one of the websites in its sites, TorrentSpy, is firing back. (TechDirt)

Those boobs weren’t made for walking…

In New York, three women are unhappy with their breast implants, because they feel the implants are too big, and they have filed malpractice lawsuits against the doctor, an Upper East Side plastic surgeon. The women allege a variety of problems resulting from the too-large breasts, including deformities, leaks, aching ribs and depression. One of the women says that the doctor dreams “for every woman to have a D cup,” which is why she believes he turned her B-cups into double-D’s. Another of the women also claims to have made it clear that she did not want to be as large as a double-D, yet he made her a double-D anyway.

I have no problem believing that this doctor might be obsessed with large breasts, particularly in the post-Pamela-Anderson years. But I would suggest that he contemplate the nature of beauty a little more, and realize that large breasts are not the be-all end-all. He should go find a nice garden and meditate on the beauty of Angelina and Jessica for a while. In fact, since it is Friday, I think we should all leave work early and ourselves contemplate the beauty of Angelina and Jessica.

Going to the chapel and we’re … not so fast

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled today that same-sex couples who hail from states where gay marriage is banned cannot legally marry in Massachusetts. The SJC, which was the first court in the nation to legalize gay marriage three years ago, upheld a 1913 state law that forbids nonresidents from marrying in Massachusetts if their marriage would not be recognized in their home state - the law had been challenged by eight same-sex couples from surrounding states.

Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney - who has 2008 presidential aspirations - applauded the ruling, noting: “We don’t want Massachusetts to become the Las Vegas of same-sex marriage. It’s important that other states have the right to make their own determination of marriage and not follow the wrong course that our Supreme Judicial Court put us on.”

What Romney fails to mention, however, is that the 1913 law in question was actually a law designed to prevent interracial couples from coming into Massachusetts to get married, which begs the question: Did the governor in 1913 also applaud the ruling for preventing the Commonwealth from becoming the Las Vegas of mixed-race marriages?

Woke up this morning, got myself a gavel…

scalias.jpgEarly Monday morning, it was widely reported that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia flipped off a reporter while leaving a Sunday mass. Later on Monday, the Boston Herald corrected/clarified the story, reporting that:

…Scalia had a special blessing of his own for those who question his impartiality when it comes to matters of church and state.
“You know what I say to those people?” Scalia, 70, replied, making an obscene gesture, flicking his hand under his chin when asked by a Herald reporter if he fends off a lot of flak for publicly celebrating his conservative Roman Catholic beliefs.
“That’s Sicilian,” the Italian jurist said, interpreting for the “Sopranos” challenged.

Unhappy with the negative press he got as a result of this article, Scalia sent a letter to the Herald yesterday, trying to clarify that the motion is not obscene, but simply a Sicilian gesture meaning: “I couldn’t care less. It’s no business of mine. Count me out.” Scalia also chided the article’s author, and the Herald staff, for “watching too many episodes of the Sopranos.”

We have it on good authority that Justice Scalia may be watching a little too much of “The Sopranos” himself, considering that he has been referring to the Supreme Court’s most liberal member, Associate Justice John Paul Stevens, as “a Big Pussy” for some time now.

Update: The Boston Herald stands by its original story and has now presented a photo of the gesture in question:


No superheroes allowed!

Since 1981, comic book companies Marvel and D.C. have jointly owned a registered trademark for the term “super heroes” in connection with goods and services including, among other things, comic books, iron-on transfers, pencils and notebooks. Some argue that the joint ownership of this mark by competitors is invalid because it violates the principle that trademarks should indicate a single source, while others argue that trademarks can be jointly owned despite this foundational principle of trademark law. Regardless of the mark’s validity, DC and Marvel have used it to scare off others’ use of the term - for example, the critically acclaimed comic book “Super Hero Happy Hour” had to change its name to “Hero Happy Hour.” No word on whether the Sci Fi channel’s impending “Who Wants to be a Superhero” reality show is going to face any problems (although it appears to fall outside of the scope of Marvel and DC’s listed goods and services).

It seems to us that this mark would not pass muster if challenged in court, if for no other reason then the fact that term has become generic. However, unless and until the mark is invalidated, we suggest that you refer to superheroes as “magnificent, incomparable, exalted, popular, principled and prestigious protagonists.” Kinda’ catchy.

The Daily Memo 3/29/06

homeland.jpgFor now, at least, you are once again free to sell sex toys in Georgia. (Law.com)

homeland.jpgLast week, a woman accused of kidnapping her children took the stand and questioned herself. (Star-Telegram)

homeland.jpgNew York’s attorney general has filed a lawsuit against the owner of FreeiPods.com, alleging that the site’s sale of e-mail addresses may be the biggest intentional internet-privacy breach ever. (Washington Post)

homeland.jpgOn the heels of last week’s smoking ban news, Massachusetts’ Supreme Judicial Court has ruled that smoking can be banned in private clubs and meeting halls. (Boston.com)

“Every time Catherine would turn on the microwave, I’d piss my pants and forget who I was for about half an hour.”

Last week, Randy Quaid - known best as Cousin Eddie in the National Lampoon’s Vacation movies - filed suit against the makers of Brokeback Mountain, alleging he was suckered into taking a reduced rate because Brokeback was expected to be marketed as an art-house film, instead of blockbuster gay western. In the film, Quaid has a bit part as a homophobic rancher who hires the characters played by Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal; and though the budget for the film was a meager $14 million, the marketing budget was more than double that.

According to the New York Times, the complaint alleges that the defendants, “in this case Focus [Features] and its recent co-presidents David Linde and James Schamus, ‘have enriched themselves to the tune of approximately $160 million in worldwide gross box office receipts on the back of actors who were convinced to cut their fees purportedly to ensure that the film reached the screen.’”

I don’t know how much Quaid was actually paid, but seriously: How much is this guy possibly worth? The last decent flick he appeared in was Kingpin - nine years ago - and it’s not like Cousin Eddie has a cult following, either. Quaid should just be bloody thankful that he was even offered a part in a film that actually got noticed, instead of another television movie about a natural disaster or a bit part in a Hollywood dud. Indeed, there’s enough sour grapes in his complaint to start a damn vinyard.

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The Cola Wars, Part II: This Time, It’s Sports Drinks!

On Monday, Pepsi’s Gatorade division filed a federal lawsuit against Coke’s Powerade division, claiming that Coke is using deceptive and false advertising in promoting Powerade. Specifically, Pepsi contends that Coke’s ads claims that Powerade, because it has less calories than Gatorade, can make you run faster. Pepsi argues that Powerade cannot compete with Gatorade’s ability to refresh athletes.

Coke is reportedly contemplating a lawsuit of its own on the basis that Pepsi is not really the “choice of a new generation.” Coke contends that the choice of a new generation, and of most generations, is Jessica Alba. Coincidentally, Jessica Alba is also more refreshing than either Gatorade or Powerade.

The Daily Memo - 3/24/06

homeland.jpgUCLA has been sued by a body parts dealer over alleged civil rights violations connected to a 2004 probe regarding allegedly stolen body parts. (FindLaw)

homeland.jpgAn interesting discussion regarding Ticketmaster’s sketchy clickwrap contracts. (Gripe Log)

homeland.jpgA California judge has smacked the wrists of Los Angeles officials for not being up-to-snuff in complying with a 2001 consent decree requiring reformation of the LAPD. (CNN)

homeland.jpgA man is convicted on rape, on the third try, despite trying to blame his twin. (Boston Globe)

“Gilligan, my boy, these coconuts are mine.”

In 1995, H. Beatty Chadwick was sent to jail for being in contempt of court. Chadwick was involved in an apparently bitter divorce proceeding and had allegedly squirreled away $2.5 million in various overseas hidey-holes. He refused to tell the court where this money was, and although he claimed the money was lost in overseas investments, the court did not find this credible and threw him in the clink for contempt of court. Flash-forward to the present and Mr. Chadwick remains in jail, now believed to hold the record for prison time served for civil contempt of court. Recently, a three-judge panel ruled that Chadwick is still not cooperating with an ongoing financial probe, and should continue his prison vacation.

It seems to me that this hidden money isn’t doing Chadwick a lick of good while he’s sitting behind bars. So why not fess up and at least be outside? It’s sort of like Thurston Howell III refusing to give the Professor a coconut to make a radio to help get them home, rationalizing that the coconuts would be worth too much money on the mainland to be used as a radio.

The Daily Memo - 3/23/06

homeland.jpgWhat happens if someone uses my wireless internet to do illegal things? (TechDirt)

homeland.jpgIn England, a teacher is suing her city council because it would not replace a busted-up chair which made “fart” noises every time she sat on it. (Guardian Unlimited)

homeland.jpgThe Supreme Court has refused to hear a case that would have provided an opportunity to further clarify the identification of obscene speech. (Justice Magazine)

homeland.jpgEarlier this week, a federal judge ordered a stem-cell web site to be shut down for infringing the copyright of a competitor. (Kansas City Star)

The authors of this article disavow responsibility for the 24-year-old joke included herein

Turner Films has been sued by the family of an 8 year old girl who appeared in last summer’s “Into the West,” which was produced by Steven Spielberg and aired on TBS. The girl, who is a member of the Mescalero Apache tribe, had her hair cut to look more like a boy. However, the show’s stylist allegedly cut the girl’s hair without consulting the family, who would’ve vehemently refused to allow the girl’s hair to be cut. This is because the haircut violated the tribe’s beliefs and traditions, which forbid the cutting of a girl’s hair before a Coming of Age ceremony that takes place during puberty.

If the stylist really did do this without consulting the family, that’s rather appalling. I mean, even if there wasn’t a tribal issue here (if, for example, she was just a regular Hollywood brat being thrown into the movies by her parents), it seems a bit cavalier to chop of all that hair without consulting the parents. Maybe the folks who work for Turner and Spielberg should follow the time honored adage, before doing things like this with kids on the set, to “phone home.”

The Daily Memo - 3/22/06

homeland.jpgWhile the RIAA would like full access to dig through suspected pirates’ computers, a judge has agreed that this goes a little too far. (Techdirt)

homeland.jpgIf you don’t review your bank statements within a year, you might not get back that missing $4.6 million. (May It Please The Court)

homeland.jpgThe Supreme Court has declined the opportunity to allow Puerto Ricans to vote in presidential elections. (BBC News)

homeland.jpgYesterday, the Supreme Court ruled that a 1995 federal law shields public companies from investor class-action lawsuits claiming the company provided misleading information, although it does not shield companies from such lawsuits by individual investors. (FindLaw)

“A penny for your thoughts” might get a little more expensive

Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard arguments in LabCorp v. Metabolite regarding the scope of what is patentable subject matter. This case is troubling in that one of the parties has patented a fact (as paraphrased by Michael Chrichton, that “elevated homocysteine is linked to B-12 deficiency, so doctors should test homocysteine levels to see whether the patient needs vitamins”) and wants a royalty from anyone who uses the fact, makes the fact public, or even thinks about the fact.

This is actually a troublesome and fascinating case which we’ll devote more attention too once the Supreme Court issues its ruling. But in the meantime, be careful what you think about, because you may owe a licensing fee!


Last December, Britney Spears filed a $20 million lawsuit against US Weekly magazine because of a story it published about an alleged sex tape of her and her much derided husband, Kevin Federline. Spears alleged that there was no tape and that the details of the article were false. US Weekly responded by filing a motion seeking to have the case dismissed, and last Thursday a California Judge said she was not ready to rule on US Weekly’s motion yet and that more information was needed. Thus, the Court gave Spears’ attorney an opportunity to depose an US Weekly editor and a former attorney, although the Spears camp is not going to be allowed to depose the article’s author or the article’s alleged source. The next hearing is set for May 3, at which time the Court will likely rule on the motion.

For the love of all that is good in this world, as much as I hate celebrity lawsuits, I really hope that Spears wins this case. Not because I care about the outcome of the case, per se. Rather, if she is successful, it means that there probably is not a tape showing Spears and Federleezy doing dirty things, and the world would be a better place for the nonexistence of such a tape. After all, as I understand it, for every person who see Britney Spears having sex, an angel loses its wings.

The Daily Memo 3/21/06

homeland.jpgGo copulate yourself, you gerundive of “copulate” and a related noun involving the maternal parent! (FindLaw)

homeland.jpgA federal appeals court has ruled that Tennessee can issue “choose life” anti-abortion license plates, without also offering a pro-choice plate. (CNN)

homeland.jpgThe US Patent and Trademark Office has updated its website and now allows for patent applications to be filed online. (Patent Baristas)

homeland.jpgOklahoma considers lifting a ban on the sale of alcohol on election days while the polls are open. (KOCO)

homeland.jpgYesterday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in connection with a case focused on whether victim statements to 911 operators and police officers are inadmissible because they are not made under oath or subject to cross-examination. (Law.com)

Under no means should you smoke ‘em if you got ‘em

Last Friday, in a Los Angeles suburb (Calibasas), the most restrictive anti-smoking law in the nation went into effect. The town ordinance bans smoking from most outside areas, including on sidewalks, on patios, and in the common areas of apartments. In fact, smoking outside is generally only permitted in private areas that don’t adjoin public spaces, designated smoking areas or in an area that is at least 20 feet away from any travel path. As reported in the LA Times:

By [Friday] afternoon, under cloudy skies, cagey smokers were playing a game of cat-and-mouse with mall security. They were smoking in darkened alcoves, hiding their lighted cigarettes under patio tables and shooing away telltale traces of smoke.

It sounds like smokers are only about five years away from turning into little Gollums, finding themselves hiding out in caves with their cigarettes, lovingly hissing about their “precious smokeses.”

Site:www.google.com “good news, bad news”

Google got some good news on Friday in its current battle against the Department of Justice. The government had subpoenaed billions of URLs and individual user search queries, and Google was fighting the need to comply with this subpoena. The federal judge overseeing the case ruled that Google did not have to turn over any individual search queries to the government, and that it only had to supply 50,000 URLs rather than the requested billions. Google is obviously very pleased by this, interpreting the ruling as meaning “that neither the government nor anybody else has carte blanche when demanding data from internet companies.”

But Friday wasn’t all sunshine and lollipops for Google, as another disgruntled site has filed a lawsuit for being blacklisted from Google’s search rankings. The suit, brought by a website which provides information about children, is seeking to have its case turned into a class action lawsuit brought on behalf of all sites that have been blacklisted since 2001. Google has faced similar lawsuits in the past - for example, a company once sued Google after its search ranking fell, but the case was dismissed after Google successfully argued that its search formula was protected free speech. This time, it’s the company suing Google who is claiming speech violations, arguing that Google is wrongfully punishing these blacklisted sites, reducing their traffic and limiting their speech. In addition, the company argues that Google has become an essential part of internet business, and its actions of pulling websites from the listings without any warning causes those websites significant harm. To avoid this harm, the company argues, there should be more transparency and openness in Google’s operations, particularly its tightlipped search and sorting algorithms.

Seem to me that this lawsuit is an utter clunker. The free speech argument is a non-starter, since the right of free speech in the First Amendment is about the fact that the government can’t limit your expression. Doesn’t say anything about non-public entities. And the notion that Google is an essential part of internet business may be true, but there’s no legal ground for taking the jump that it must therefore operate differently then other businesses and expose protected trade secrets. I’m as skeptical as the next guy of companies that get too big for their britches (which Google is getting awfully close too), and I do think Google should give companies warnings before kicking them out of the search listings, but that doesn’t mean you can just bring the hammer down on them, wily nily. My suggestion to these blacklisted sites is that maybe they should stop doing stuff that gets you blacklisted. How ‘bout that?

Support a rare thing - a good Congressional bill

Congress is considering an amendment to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the Digital Consumers’ Rights Act, which would allow you to circumvent copy-protection measures for personal non-infringing uses. You can show your support of this legislation, HR 1201, via the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s website.

Might as well … Jump!

The New York Times had an interesting piece in its Sunday edition examining why so few women make it as partners in big law firms. Though law schools are graduating equal numbers men and women these days and law firms are absoring new associates in numbers that reflect that balance, the percentage of female partners is still barely one in 10. The Times surmises that it’s not simply because of child-rearing; rather, in many cases women don’t make partner because they intelligently leave for other careers or opt to explore different ways to practice law. The other major reason, however, is grounded in biases and not, as one would figure, discrimination.

Of course, the Anonymous Lawyer kids that it might be because women don’t want to deal with men or that they know something that men don’t. One woman in the Times piece even argues that “women are held to higher standards, and if they don’t jump up and down like a man would at a meeting they aren’t seen as partnership material.” Knowing the nerdy white, male heirarchy at law firms as we do, however, we figure that “jumping up and down” would probably work to the benefit of many female associates, particularly if they aren’t wearing a bra.

Sad. But, even in 2006, it’s probably true.

The Daily Memo - 3/17/06

homeland.jpgA federal judge has dismissed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Google, brought by a man claiming that Google violated his rights by creating an archive of material he posted to a Usenet group. (ZDNet)

homeland.jpgJustice Ginsberg, like Justice Sandra O’Conner last week, is playing politics in the court, assailing the GOP after she and O’Connor purportedly received death threats.

homeland.jpgA San Francisco judge has ruled that Google must comply with a Federal Trade Commission subpoeana and turn over a user’s e-mails from his Gmail account, including previously deleted messages. (CNet)

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George Romero’s Sleep Eaters

New York attorney Susan Chana Lask has filed a lawsuit on behalf of so called “sleep eaters,” people who claim that the popular sleep pill, Ambien, causes them to eat at night but wake up with no memory of it. As reported by the New York Times, sleep eaters “sometimes sleepwalk into their kitchens, claw through their refrigerators like animals and consume calories ranging into the thousands,” and then wake up in a pile of food crumbs with inexplicable heart burn. Prescribed more than 26 million times last year, most Ambien users experience no side effects, but an estimated number of users in the thousands experience some form of sleep disorder, from sleep eating to hallucinations, violent outburts, and sleep driving.

I don’t know much about the merits of the case, but the concept just screams George Romero. It would be a perfect bookend to a career that included the zombie classics Day of the Dead and Dawn of the Dead: A real life documentary on sleep eaters, who abuse Ambien and go on brain-eating benders only to awake with no memory, other than the trickles of blood drooling on their pillow.

Big Momma, The Shaggy Dog, and Danny Zuko Take on the Hell’s Angels

Flush from their successful lawsuit against the city of San Francisco for killing three of its guard dogs, the Hell’s Angels are heading back to the courtroom, and this time it’s taking on an entity even more powerful than the government: Walt Disney. The Hell’s Angels are suing the corporation for sullying its good reputation by using its name and its trademark in the upcoming Disney family film, Wild Hogs.

The Hell’s Angels assert that they never approved Disney’s usage of its name and trademarked death skull in publicizing the movie, which is purportedly a family comedy that John Travolta, Tim Allen, and Martin Lawrence are attached to. According to IMDB, the movie centers around “a group of middle-aged wannabe bikers look for adventure out on the open road, where they soon encounter a chapter of the Hell’s Angels.”

Though the merits of the case are still unclear, there is at least one certainty: If Wild Hogs is made, movie critics around the country - who have had their fill of Tim Allen, John Travolta, and Martin Lawrence of late - will be calling in en masse to request sick leave, vacation pay, FMLA, or anything else that will warrant the absence. Indeed, this may be the only instance we’ll ever encounter in which Roger Ebert files a “friend of the court brief” on behalf of the Hell’s Angels.

The Daily Memo - 3/13/06

check.gifThe latest edition of Blawg Review questions whether the idea has become a “bloated, link-whore-optimized version” of what it was originally intended to be. (Rethink(ip))

check.gifIn California, an appellate court has ruled that the state legislature meant it when it said that local counties could not pass court rules that are inconsistent with state-wide procedure. (May It Please the Court)

check.gifA court has ruled that a Philadelphia law, limiting ownership of potbellied pigs to slaughterhouses, veterinary clinics, animal shelters and licenses circuses, is valid. (Law.com)

check.gifIn a rare move, a judge issued a classified order which defense counsel is not even allowed to read. (NY Times)

check.gifFormer Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Conner says the U.S. is edging dangerously close towards becoming a dictatorship. (Guardian Unlimited)

check.gifA lawsuit raises concerns over colleges’ attempts to force involuntary suspension of depressed and suicidal students. (The Detroit News)

You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry!

Lou Ferrigno has brother. Brother run business. Business named Ferrigno Fitness of Greenwhich Township. Business have green awning, some green on walls. Business also have pictures of Lou. Lou angry. Lou say this all trademark infringement. Lou sue brother.

I suspect that this lawsuit will end very similarly to the end of every episode of “The Incredible Hulk” - soft piano music plays as Lou walks, sullenly because of his abject defeat, down an empty local road.

Crack is whack!

The ongoing and oft-discussed battle between Research-in-Motion and NTP regarding the Blackberry and its alleged patent infringement has finally settled. Despite the fact that the Patent and Trademark Office has shown that there is some question to the merit of NTP’s patents, Research-in-Motion agreed to pay NTP approximately $612 million to avoid having to shut down its Blackberry service and/or switch to a recently and hurriedly developed new system.

Of course, the result of this lawsuit is that the Crackberry service will continue uninterrupted. This means that you must continue to be on the lookout, when walking down the hallways of your office, for the person so engrossed in the e-mail they are reading or thumb-typing that they have no idea they are about the run you down. God bless modern technology.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to sue on my behalf

Gavin Bishop, a New Zealand author, wants to sue the makers of Mr. and Mrs. Smith, alleging that they stole the idea for the movie from his children’s book, 1997’s “The Secret Lives of Mr. and Mrs. Smith.” In his book, the Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie characters are not assassins, as they are in the flick, but are married spies who do not know about each other’s extra-curricular activities. In the author’s mind, the two works are “too close to be accidental.” Of course, the author fails to mention the very similar-albeit-shortlived “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” television show, which predates his own book by a year and is also about married spies (although they are only posing as a married couple). What Bishop does mention, however, is that he can’t afford to file a lawsuit on his own, but that he would welcome a lawyer taking the case up for him.

Interestingly, Bishop’s prequel to his “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” book, 1994’s “Six Friends who Drink Coffee Together” ended with the Mr. Smith character dumping one of the six friends to be with Mrs. Smith. No word yet on whether Bishop would like to make this part of his lawsuit.

The Daily Memo 3/3/06

homeland.jpgLawyers in love. (Law.com)

homeland.jpgYesterday, a New Jersey judge ruled that Amazon breached a deal it had with Toys R Us by not honoring its agreement to allow Toys R Us to be the exclusive seller of certain toys, games and baby product’s on Amazon’s site. (FindLaw)

homeland.jpgA 16 year old boy was sentenced to four days in juvy for giving another boy a titty-twister and then refusing to write a letter explaining why he gave the boy a titty twister. (ABC News)

homeland.jpgThe Patriot Act was renewed by the Senate in an 89-10 vote, and will likely be voted on and approved by the House next week, making 14 of the Act’s 16 provisions permanent. (MSNBC)

homeland.jpgAfter getting busted for driving in the carpool-lane with a dummy passenger, a Colorado man was ordered to take the dummy and spend four one-hour session informing drivers that “The HOV Lane Is Not For Dummies.” It’s unclear why he has to have the dummy with him, specifically since the judge made sure to note that “the dummy is not charged with anything.” (Arizona Central)

Nothing says “I love you” like “stop playing kickball by our rules”

On Valentine’s Day, WAKA, the World Adult Kickball Association, celebrated the day of love by filing a lawsuit against DCKickball. The basis of WAKA’s claim is that DCKickball has infringed its copyrights by the unauthorized use of its kickball rules, such as the requirement that a team must be made up of at least 4 men and 4 women. DCKickball’s founder is also accused of defamation for referring to WAKA as “the Microsoft of kickball.”

Instead of fighting this out in litigation, wouldn’t it really make much more sense for WAKA and DCKickball to duke it out in a good ol’ fashioned game of bombardment? They can even use their own kickballs, so it’ll be nice and cheap!

Nobody Makes Me Bleed My Own Blood. Nobody!

A Sept. 18 trial date has been set in Los Angeles in the slander case brought against Paris Hilton by diamond heiress Zeta Graff. Graff, who used to date Hilton’s former fiance, Paris Latsis, is seeking $10 million in damages because, as she alleges, Hilton fed “vicious lies” about Graff to the press - specifically an item in the New York Post last July claiming that Graff went “berserk” from jealousy at a London dance club and tried to rip a diamond necklace from Hilton’s neck. Graff also states that Hilton said, “I’m going to destroy you,” after club managers refused to kick Graff out of their London establishment.

In her own deposition, Hilton admitted to making the story up, yet denied responsibility for leaking it to the media. “Whatever I write in email, it doesn’t mean anything. It is just words I write,” Hilton said. Asked about what she said about Graff, Hilton said: “I just said to her…she is old and should stay at home with her child instead of being at nightclubs with young people. And just that - I just - what else did I say? Just that she is not cute at all.”

Fortunately for Zeta Graff, self-imposed mental retardation is not a defense to slander.

If a second grade girl brings 12 packets of crack cocaine to school, amounting to a total of 0.6 grams and an approximate street value of $60, how much is each packet of crack cocaine worth?

Earlier this week, teachers found several second-graders at a Southwest Philadelphia school passing around small, pink bags of crack cocaine. It turns out one of the students, a seven year old girl, had had found the drugs in her backpack and simply brought them into the school. Local Philadelphians are obviously outraged at the incident, despite the fact that it has happened before.

Philly police have already raided the house where the young girl lives, and are questioning several adults connected to that house, but no arrests have been made. It seems to me that this girl and her family may have simply been following in the footsteps of model Kate Moss who, since having her own little cocaine scandal, has reportedly landed several million dollar endorsement deals worth more than her pre-coke endorsements.

**Oh, and the answer to today’s second grade math word problem is that each packet of crack cocaine is worth $5.

The Daily Memo - 3/2/06

homeland.jpgIn blaming attorneys for the over-proliferation of issued patents, the Wall Street Journal may not get how the patent process actually works. (Patently-O)

homeland.jpgThe United State federal government has sued the state of New York in an attempt to get New York to comply with a law requiring all states to update their voting machines. (FindLaw)

homeland.jpgA jury in Montana has refused to find that a school district was responsible for the death of two children, eleven year old boys, who died of alcohol poisoning when they played hooky and threw back a half a gallon of vodka. (Arizona Central)

homeland.jpgThe most prolific serial killer in New Jersey history, a nurse who pled guilty to killing 22 patients, has received eleven consecutive life sentences. (CNN)

Holy Redistricting, Batman!

The Associated Press is covering the Supreme Court as it tackles the legality of the Texas redistricting plan, which was spearheaded by our old buddy Tom Delay to basically nullify the minority vote and keep the GOP entrenched in its Congressional power in Texas. From the questions presented by the Court, it doesn’t really look like the majority of the Justices seem to care, siding wtih the promoters of the new redisctricting plan. That new plan allowed Texas Republicans to shift congressional district boundaries enough in 2003 that 8 million people - including large blocks of Hispanics - were placed in new districts, represented by different U.S. House members.

But the real tittilating part of yesterday’s hearing involves Ruth Bader Ginsberg, who is apparently so outraged by the redisctricting plan that she decided to take a little nap during arguments. As told by the AP, “David Souter and Samuel Alito, who flank the 72-year-old, looked at her but did not give her a nudge.” And really, who could blame them? You don’t want to mess with Ruthie while she’s dreaming about moonpies and a naked Matthew McConaughey playing the bongo drums.

Well, at least we know what’s under her robe - jammies!

Apparently Hugh Hefner can’t have any girl he wants

While the March issue of Playboy features a picture of a bikini-clad Jessica Alba, it turns out that this was not a picture from a Playboy photo shoot. When Alba rejected Playboy’s request to appear on the magazine’s cover, Playboy allegedly resorted to fraudulently obtaining a promotional photo from Alba’s recent film Into the Blue and this is the photo appearing on the March cover. Needless to say, Alba’s attorneys are less than thrilled at the situation and have fired off a strongly worded cease and desist letter. And while the letter states that it is a “confidential legal communication and it is not intended for publication,” our friends at The Smoking Gun of course have a copy of the letter.

While Alba’s attorneys claim that her appearance on the Playboy cover has caused her “immeasurable harm,” they neglect to address the infinite abuse Alba’s career suffered by her appearance in Into the Blue…and in Fantastic Four…and definitely in Honey.

The Daily Memo - 3/1/06

homeland.jpgIn a turn of irony (considering this morning’s discussion of Playboy’s trouble with Jessica Alba), it appears that Playboy has itself sued two Miami Beach clubs which allegedly used unauthorized Playboy photographs in promoting in-club events. (FindLaw)

homeland.jpgWe may not know the First Amendment very well, but we know our Simpsons and American Idol! (BBC News)

homeland.jpgYesterday, the radio division of CBS sued Howard Stern, Stern’s agent and Sirius Satellite Radio for alleged breaches of contract and misappropriation, stemming from Stern’s move from terrestrial radio to satellite radio. (The Detroit News)

homeland.jpgOne trademark attorney’s take on the ten most interesting and important decisions issued by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board in 2005. (The TTABlog)

homeland.jpgIn Chicago, a class-action lawsuit has been filed seeking to force the Roman Catholic church to release the names of priests who are suspected of child abuse. (FindLaw)


Reuters is reporting that CBS’s radio division sued Howard Stern Tuesday, claiming its former star shock jock breached his contract with them when he moved to Sirius Satellite Radio. The lawsuit, which also names Sirius and Stern’s agent as defendants, claims that Stern improperly used CBS radio’s air time to promote his new show with Sirius, which began last month. Stern, for his part, claims that the lawsuit is based on a “personal vendetta” and was filed to “bully” him. He also noted that CBS condoned his references to Sirius on the air.

I’m not sure what’s up CBS Chairman Les Moonves’ ass - the guy had 14 months of Stern after he signed onto Sirius, a period in which CBS radio had the ability to censor anything Stern said. I suspect this has a lot more to do with the failings of Stern’s replacements, Diamond David Lee Roth - who lost his luster sometime around 1985 - and Adam Corrolla, the only guy as overexposed as Stern is. I suppose Moonves is just trying to set Stern up as his scapegoat, but the most likely result is an on-air assault against Les and CBS over at Sirius. And now that Stern is FCC-free, his tired, shock-free diatribes against “The Man,” will now include a litany of profanities, which will make them no more amusing or shocking than bringing two lesbians into the studio to make out for the 4,123rd time in his career.

Congratulations CBS. The publicity you have given Stern has invited even more attention onto the one man in the world who needs it even less than our Vice President.