Quentin Tarantino Suing Gawker Over Leaked Script
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Quentin Tarantino has filed a copyright lawsuit against Gawker Media for allegedly facilitating the dissemination of copies of his unproduced script, The Hateful Eight.
Last week, the famous director was outraged after details about the Western circulated. He was so irate that he told the media that he wouldn’t be making the picture as his next film.
Soon afterwards, Gawker’s Defamer blog linked to the 146-page script under a post titled, “Here Is the Leaked Quentin Tarantino Hateful Eight Script.”
Should Rap Lyrics Be Admissible Evidence?
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It seems hard to justify the use of lyrics like this as anything other than a cynical attempt to influence the jury with what is likely unfair character assassination. Any “gangster rap” artist is going to have lyrics in their songs that read like the manifesto of a criminal. That, however, does not make that person a criminal. Music is art, after all, and nobody goes around suggesting that Gwar actually wants to eat your children, that Martin Scorsese is part of the mob, or that John Carmack murders uber-demons in his spare time. Gangster rap has grown up and been commercialized so that it’s as authentic as Kraft American Singles cheese and mostly as palatable. Some gangster rappers are as “gangster” as the teenage surburbanite children who listen to it so faithfully. In the case of Skinner, the other evidence used against him was testimony by witnesses that told more stories than Stephen King. Still, he was convicted by the jury, though that conviction was later overturned.
Fake It ‘Til You Make It’ Huh???
Interesting take on the Young Upstart vs. the Seasoned Professional. While us Young Upstarts really know nothing, the truth is that law school and early experiences teach you to Fake It Till You Make It, and we are all guilty. I agree with the author completely. In reality we all start(ed) from the bottom and can learn quite a bit from each another.
We often feel that the legal community is split into two factions: the Young Upstarts vs. the Seasoned Professionals. The Young Upstart wants nothing more than to dive in and practice law and to learn and do everything, right now, today. He looks at the Seasoned Professional in sheer terror and hopes that no one notices that he doesn’t exactly know what he is doing.The Seasoned Professional looks at the Young Upstart and thinks, “Dear God! They’ll let anyone take the bar exam! His mere presence in the courtroom is malpractice!”
The fact is, we ALL fake it ’til we make it. We ALL start from the same place. Today’s Young Upstart is tomorrow’s Seasoned Professional. The Seasoned Professional got that way by making mistakes and learning by doing as a Young Upstart. We all start with a metaphorical dirt lot and shovel and build our proverbial houses from the foundation up.
See, Are We Faking It ‘Til We Make It?’ for the complete article. Very interesting read.
Who really owns an LLC’s blog entries?
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Though the question presents itself under very unfortunate circumstances, the issue is worth pondering.
Dear Rich: I am part of an LLC that owns a blog. One of our officers was the active blog contributor. She died last year. Some of the other officers would like to publish her blog posts, but we are unsure who owns the copyright – the LLC or her heirs?
Five Questions Asked and Answered for Legal Technology News
Just before Thanksgiving, Ari Kaplan Advisors conducted a flash telephone survey of 26 predominantly administrative professionals from Fortune 500 (or Global 500) companies with knowledge of, and responsibility for, their organization’s electronic discovery protocols and litigation practices. Half of the respondents were either the director of legal operations or the director of electronic discovery. They shared their views on the key trends that are likely to shape e-discovery in 2014, which should be noted before you review product offerings at LegalTech New York from Feb. 4 to 6 at the Hilton New York, 1335 Avenue of Americas, New York, N.Y.
1. Do you anticipate the volume of litigation to change significantly in 2014 and 2015 versus 2013?
Answer: Litigation volumes will increase.
Read more: Five Questions Asked and Answered for LegalTech New York
When a Witness Has Selective Memory
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Some witnesses have a crystal clear memory about events unfavorable to your client, but express sweeping memory loss on other contemporaneous events. Here’s how to attack such selective memory.
The following line of questioning can be used in both criminal and civil cases. Even if it doesn’t get concessions from the witness, it will remind the jury of the frequent untrustworthiness of memory.
The Risks of Innovation Through Technology in Legal Practice
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With the increased use of technology in legal practice, it is imperative that we remain aware of current best practices and precautions. While the use of such technologies may increase productivity, we must first be sure to protect our client and business.
Lawyers have always been innovators; any time an attorney crafts a novel legal theory or creates a contract to manage a new type of risk, he or she is innovating. Business innovation, though, has been less common among lawyers, but in recent years, technology has driven and empowered attorneys to pursue innovation in all areas of their practices. Faced with competitive pressures from lawyers and other legal service providers throughout the world, cost-cutting mandates from clients, and a need to remain relevant, attorneys are adopting technologies for research, collaboration and communications at an astonishing rate.
These technologies, however, are not without risks of their own. Attorneys may face ethical and business risks, and may entangle their clients in risks as well, through misuse or misunderstanding of innovative technologies. Among the biggest potential pitfalls:
See the link for more, The Risks of Innovation Through Technology in Legal Practice.
One-on-One with Delaware’s Two Kings of Criminal Law
During my clerkship in the New Castle County Court of Common Pleas, there were two criminal defense attorneys who stood apart from the pack. Two attorneys whom law students watched intensely, eager to derive anything they could from an observation. The two attorneys, at one point, represented Tom Capano in Delaware’s most popular murder trial. Those two attorneys are Joe Hurley and Eugene Maurer, Jr. – Delaware’s kings of criminal law.
The first voir dire (jury selection) that I observed was that of Joe Hurley. Amazingly, I still have my notes. Many of my thoughts are validated by the conversation between Hurley and Maurer. I remember thinking Hurley was a bit dismissive to his peers, but incredibly sharp with the judge and jury. He was great at commanding the room and phrasing things in plain language, a skill known to many as, “dumbing it down”. All the while maintaining a wry, clever, and edgy kind of humor, keeping it interesting.
Hurley’s client was accused of resisting arrest and assaulting an officer. His client was a fairly large intimidating man, but Hurley did not shy away from the facts. Instead, Hurley used his client’s size and demeanor to his advantage. Like a skilled Aikido fighter, he motivated your mind’s initial impression, connecting it with assumptions the police must have made at the time in question. To use force first or risk danger. The tactic took a strong defendant and made him appear vulnerable to the jury. He was now the victim, but not in a corny charitable case sort of way, but an unfortunate victim of circumstance. Needless to say, at the closing of the case Hurley obtained a positive verdict from the jury for his client.
While I was not so fortunate, to sit in on one of Maurer’s cases, I did have the opportunity to review a large number of his motions and briefs to the court. His style was revered. Extremely confident but not cocky.
Reading the conversation between the two, one can identify numerous similarities: Impeccable Work Ethic, Confidence, Self-Awareness, and Respect. All excellent traits. But, even Delaware’s top criminal minds made mistakes in their career. In fact, Hurley’s history shows that a large number of plans may not work, but with hard work and dedication one may become successful. While the independent causes for the success of the two men may be argued, one thing is for certain, their work ethic is superior to all and second to none. They both possess extreme confidence in their ability, along with a strong sense of respect and self-awareness. Mr. Hurley may come off as arrogant but it appears that he is quite aware of tactics and Maurer’s confidence, while a bit more polished, remains glaring.
I question whether this interview would have been possible early on in their careers? Its no coincidence that they were able to converse candidly, often complimenting and insulting each other in the same breath. The awareness of themselves and their opponent developed over time. Lessons reinforced through experience and crossing paths paved the way for an intimate but humorous conversation. The result is priceless and I am thankful to Delaware Today for featuring such a great article. I only hope that one day I to can take part in a similar conversation with one of my peers…
See the interview by Delaware Today here (begins in the middle of article).
No Mercy for Pro Se Litigant
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Pro se parties normally enjoy relative leniency from the courts. But in a recent case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, an unrepresented party’s behavior was so egregious with respect to discovery obligations and compliance with court orders that the appellate court affirmed a more than $1 million default judgment, including punitive damages, against the pro se litigant. The ruling reinforces the importance of being responsive to opposing counsel and the court.
Judge fears $765 million concussion settlement not enough
For months we have heard that the $765 million dollar proposed settlement between the NFL and over 4,500 retired players, who sued the league for hiding the dangers of concussions, is not enough. Today, Judge Brody agreed.
Judge Anita B. Brody of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania rejected the proposed settlement because the league and the plaintiffs’ lawyers had not produced enough evidence to convince her that $765 million would cover the potential costs for 18,000 retirees over the 65-year life of the agreement.
“I am primarily concerned that not all retired N.F.L. football players who ultimately receive a qualifying diagnosis or their related claimants will be paid,” Brody wrote.
The players’ lawyers have said that economists and actuaries they hired said that there would be sufficient money available.
“Unfortunately, no such analyses were provided to me in support of the plaintiffs’ motion,” Brody said. “In the absence of additional supporting evidence, I have concerns about the fairness, reasonableness and adequacy of the settlement.”
See, NY Times Article.
From here, if nothing else, the initial payments to the retired players will be delayed. The NFL and the plaintiff’s lawyers will need to provide evidence showing that the proposed settlement amount is sufficient to pay the retired player’s claims. A Special Master will likely review the documents and advise the Judge of his/her opinion. If those efforts are unsuccessful, the two sides will be forced to rework the agreement by adding more money to the settlement or adjusting the payout categories.
Either way, there is still much work to be done in this groundbreaking case. The decisions made here “will provide a framework for the settlement of other concussion-related lawsuits, including those brought by former hockey players against the N.H.L. and by former college football players against the N.C.A.A.” Today’s order shows that Judge Brody is well aware of the implications and wants to ensure that this is done correctly.
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