Adjunct Law Prof Blog

Editor: Mitchell H. Rubinstein
New York Law School

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mandatory Retirement U.S. Army Style

This is a wonderful Fox News story about a U.S. Solider who will have to retire in a few months because he is about to turn 60. He should be exhibit one against any form of mandatory retirement in the miltary or otherwise. Mandatory retirement in employment is often unlawful under the ADEA, but their are many exceptions. But, my point is that there should be no exception. People should be able to work or serve until they can't period.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein  

November 22, 2011 in Oddly Enough, Legal | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Marijuana Workers Join Teamsters Union

The Scramento Bee reported on September 20, 2010 via an AP story that 40 Marijuana workers voted to join the Teamsters Union. Apparently, they did more than vote to join the union as the employer has recognized the union in that it agreed to increase wages from 18 dollars per hour to almost 26 dollars per hour over a 15 month period. 

As I recall, it is still a crime under federal law to sell Marijuana whether it is used for medical purposes or not. However, the feds are not enforcing that law, at least in California when the Marijuana is being used for medical purposes. An interesting legal issue would arise with respect to the role of federal law (NLRA) in such circumstances if these employers are subject to the NLRA. Significantly, however, these employees are probably not protected under the NLRA as the NLRA excludes agriculatural workers from its protection. 

However, in Calfornia, such workers are protected under state law which created an administrative agency called the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board. I believe that this agency will protect these workers.  

Only in California!

Mitchell H. Rubinstein 

  

September 20, 2010 in Oddly Enough, Legal, Unions | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

NLRB Has A Facebook Page

Nlrb

Yes, its true, the National Labor Relations Board has a Facebook page, here. As far as I could tell, it is maintained by the Board itself as the documentation appears to be only press releases. However, though I obviously am a big supporter of technology, I think this is a bit too much. If it is an official site, then some employees are being paid to maintain it. While not much money is involved, every penny counts.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

April 4, 2010 in NLRB, Oddly Enough, Legal | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Legislators Move To Limit Cell Phones And Texting

Lawmakers Want To Limit Txt Msgs and E-mail is an interesting March 20, 2010 article from the Washington Post. In my day, teachers use to police school rules forbidding hats and baseball caps in school. Now, teachers have to prevent students from using cell phones, email and texting in class.According to this article, students are not the only ones who cannot use their phone to talk or text. According to this article, several state and local legislative bodies are considering similar rules. I wonder if they will also ban legislatures from wearing hats!

Mitchell H. Rubinstein


March 23, 2010 in Oddly Enough, Legal | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Fantasy Supreme Court

You have heard of fantasy football and fantasy baseball where individuals have fantasy teams which play against one another. Well, now there is fantasy Supreme Court where individuals can predict how the Court will rule. The web site is here. Now is your chance to be the 10th Justice. A CNN article about this web site is available here.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

March 22, 2010 in Oddly Enough, Legal, Oddly Enough, Non-Legal, Supreme Court | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

High Court Justices and Others Win Legal Writing Awards

High Court Justices and Others Win Legal Writing Awards

The Green Bag, the unconventional law review, has just announced its "Exemplary Legal Writing" awards for 2009. Among the winners are three Supreme Court justices: Chief Justice John Roberts Jr., Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and now-retired Justice David Souter. Souter's award is perhaps the most notable due to the brevity of what he wrote: a simple and elegant two-sentence concurrence in a mostly overlooked ruling from April.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

February 18, 2010 in Oddly Enough, Law School, Oddly Enough, Legal | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Snow Law

So, who owns that parking spot you clearing? Do you have a right to come back to it at night? That is the question raised in an interesting Feb. 9, 2010 Washington Post Blog article. There is no such thing as a right to a parking spot unless the government says so. Reportedly, some jurisdictions have so provided. As the article states:

Every snowstorm generates complaints about homeowners and business people who fail to do their part, as well as extensive debate about who's supposed to clear sidewalks, who's not doing the job and why freaking not? And for those who managed to liberate their cars from the Snowpocalypse of 2010, another tricky moral dilemma can lead to some volatile confrontations: If you dig your car out from its frozen tomb, do you then own that parking spot until the sun melts open the rest of the curbside space?

Washington's long history of relatively mild winters has left residents without a common sense of snow etiquette to help answer that question.

Boston has codified its citizens' right to benefit from their backbreaking snow-clearing labor; a city law says that if you dig out your car in a snow emergency, a lawn chair or trash can renders the spot yours for at least two days while you're away at work. In Chicago, blocking a parking spot is illegal, but city officials acknowledge an informal rule of dibs if you've done the digging.

There is an article in this somewhere.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

February 11, 2010 in Law Review Ideas, Oddly Enough, Legal | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Fantasy Supreme Court

You heard of Fantasy Baseball, Fantasy Football. Now there is Fantasy Supreme Court where contestants compete to be Chief Judge of Fantasy Supreme Court. From the web site:

This Fantasy League allows you to compete against your friends, colleagues, and adversaries to determine who has the greatest ability to predict the outcome of Supreme Court casesAt the end of the Term, you will be ranked against your fellow Associate Justices, and the winner will receive the venerable title of the Chief Justice of Fantasy SCOTUS.  With this title comes some to-be-determined prize, The Golden Gavel Trophy, and a feature on Josh Blackman's Blog that you can brag about to all your friends.

The more people that sign up, the more fun it will be, so please help this fledgling site and spread the word.

I hope you enjoy this Fantasy League as much as I will.

What a great idea! I just wish I had the time to play.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

Hat Tip Legal Writing Prof Blog

December 22, 2009 in Oddly Enough, Legal | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Stamps and Judges

I do not recall seeing judges on stamps. However, it is coming to a post office near you according to an article in the December 2009 ABA Journal.  The article is very short and does not explain who picked the judges or when exactly this is to occur. The article implies its for the holiday season.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein


December 5, 2009 in Oddly Enough, Legal | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Marijuana College

You read the title right. Michigan just legalized medical Marijuana. A 24 year old found Med Grow Cannabis College where for $485 you can learn how to grow Marijuana. This organization is not really a college, of course, but a business. Why then does it use the title College?? Though I have no doubt that there is a place for the use of medical Marijuana, I also have no doubt that its use will be abused. Hopefully, this business will teach its students how to dispense Marijuana appropriately. I would however, like to know where the founder of this business got his training. A Nov. 28, 2009 New York Times story about this business is available here. This business, which I refuse to call a college, has a web site which is available here.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

 


November 29, 2009 in Oddly Enough, Legal, Oddly Enough, Non-Legal | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Women In Combat

G.I Jane Breaks Combat Barrier is an interesting August 15, 2009 article from the New York Times.  While women are technically barred from combat, many commanders are getting around that. As the article states:

Before 2001, America’s military women had rarely seen ground combat. Their jobs kept them mostly away from enemy lines, as military policy dictates.

But the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, often fought in marketplaces and alleyways, have changed that. In both countries, women have repeatedly proved their mettle in combat. The number of high-ranking women and women who command all-male units has climbed considerably along with their status in the military.

“Iraq has advanced the cause of full integration for women in the Army by leaps and bounds,” said Peter R. Mansoor, a retired Army colonel who served as executive officer to Gen. David H. Petraeus while he was the top American commander in Iraq. “They have earned the confidence and respect of male colleagues.”

Their success, widely known in the military, remains largely hidden from public view. In part, this is because their most challenging work is often the result of a quiet circumvention of military policy.

Something tells me that military lawyers are behind all of this.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

September 23, 2009 in Oddly Enough, Legal | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Pants Judge Looses His Wrongful Termination Suit

Remember that Judge who sued his dry cleaners for millions after his pants were ruined? Well apparently he was later removed from his job as an ALJ. He brought suit in federal court alleging First Amendment violations and wrongful termination-presumably under D.C. law. The July 28, 2009 Washington Examiner ran a story stating that this law suit was dismissed, explaining:

U.S. District Judge Ellen Huvelle dismissed Roy Pearson’s claims that he was wrongly terminated for exposing corruption within the department where he worked as a administrative judge, the District’s Office of Administrative Hearings.

“This case is a classic example of a plaintiff pleading himself out of court by alleging a host of facts that only serve to totally undercut his claims,” Huvelle wrote in her 36-page opinion.

D.C. Attorney General Peter Nickles said he hoped the ruling would mark the end of the litigation by the “pants judge,” but he was expecting Pearson to appeal.

“This is a national and international embarrassment that a guy with nothing to say can go through court proceedings and waste the times and the resources of our judges and lawyers for so long,” Nickles said.

Pearson claimed that his firing violated his First Amendment right to free speech and the D.C. whistleblower laws. He argued that the city used the fact that he was being vilified in the media to cut him out of his $100,000-a-year job. He sought his old job back, in which he often ruled on disputes between city agencies, and more than $5 million in compensation. He could not be reached for comment Monday.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

August 1, 2009 in Oddly Enough, Legal | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Court Room Attire

At A Symposium of Judges, A Debate On The Laws Of Fashion is an interesting  May 22, 2009 article from the New York Times.  It is about a panel discussion between 7th Circuit Judges and lawyers about how one should dress in court. As the article states:

The sartorial discussion was part of a general exchange of views among judges and lawyers during the annual Seventh Circuit Bar Association meeting on Tuesday morning, but its impact is reverberating far beyond the conference room of the Westin Indianapolis as lawyers around the country join an online gender battle.

The topic was first raised by a federal judge, Joan H. Lefkow of the Northern District of Illinois, as the panel discussed good and bad trends in courtroom practice. Judge Lefkow said some women should dress more appropriately in court. According to an article in the National Law Journal and from the accounts of others in the room, she said one lawyer had shown up for a jury trial in a velour outfit that looked for all the world as if she was “on her way home from the gym.”

While the lawyer won her case, Judge Lefkow suggested to the judges and lawyers in the room that unseemly clothing in court was the kind of issue that should be the subject of quiet conversation in law firms.

That simple comment gave way to lively contributions from other participants, who quickly shifted the subject from schlubby to sexy.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

June 19, 2009 in Oddly Enough, Legal | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Employee terminated after accessing Facebook from her a home after claiming to be too ill to use a computer at work

Source: BBC World News, April 25, 2009

Employee surveillance using the employer’s on-site security cameras is becoming an important issue in terms of employee privacy and the expectation of employees to privacy at the worksite.

For example, employees were threatened with disciplinary action after being observed by a surveillance video camera engaged in sexual intercourse while they were supposed to be working at their respective duties [DiMichel v South Buffalo Railway Company, 80 NY2d 184].

In a case involving allegations of the abuse of sick leave, People v Robert Patino, motion for appeal denied, 81 N.Y.2d 792, a Nassau County police officer was convicted of "disability fraud" after a jury found that he had collected sick leave payments for more than three years while he was able to work. Patino was charged with sick leave abuse and falsifying his application for General Municipal Law Section 207-c disability benefits. Although Patino claimed that his back injury prevented him from performing even light duty work, it was reported that he was video taped doing a number of physical activities including bending and diving.

Now BBC World News reports that an employee’s activity on a computer may result in disciplinary action against the individual.

An employee claiming to be suffering migraine headaches had told her employer, Nationale Suisse, that she needed to lie in a darkened room and could not use her computer while at work.
The company said its discovery that the employee’s using a computer while at home to access “Facebook” destroyed its trust in her and dismissed her.

Nationale Suisse was reported to have created a fictitious Facebook persona that become "friends" with the employee, allowing the company to monitor her online activity. Nationale Suisse’s rationale for its action: “those who are well enough to use Facebook with a migraine are well enough to work with a migraine.”

Reprinted with Permission New York Public Personnel Law

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

June 2, 2009 in Oddly Enough, Legal | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Bitter Lawyer Entertaining Web Site

Ok, its Memorial Day weekend, so its time for something light. How about this wonderful new web site I just discovered www.Bitterlaw.com. It is run by former big firm lawyers with one goal in mind-to entertain. Some of the material they have up is as follows:

 What do Ted Bundy and Teddy Roosevelt have in common?  They both dropped out of law school and went on to make something of themselves.  Er?  While each the stories behind their notoriety is quite different, there's an undeniable bond that exists within this brotherhood of 11 law school dropouts.

Check out "11 Famous Law School Dropouts" here:
http://www.bitterlawyer.com/index.php/columns_detail_comment/eleven_famous_law_school_dropouts/?cat_id=13

Also posted this week, an interview with Brian Koppelman -- Fordham Law graduate and co-writer of "Rounders," "Ocean's 13," and his new movie, which opens in theaters today, "The Girlfriend Experience," directed by an up-and-coming director named Steven Soderbergh.  Ever heard of him?

Read Koppleman's interview here:
http://www.bitterlawyer.com/index.php/interviews/koppelman_the_screenwriter_experience/?entry_id=1034

Check this web site out.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

May 22, 2009 in Legal Humor, Oddly Enough, Legal | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Slow Computer Boot-Time Suit

Laptop Mag  at page 112 (April 2009), reported in a brief blurb (no link to the story online) that employees at AT&T, Cigna an United Health Group are suing their employers for the time they have to spend waiting for Windows to boot up. They claim that this amounts to 15-30 minutes per day.
The mag does not go into any detail about the plaintiffs legal theory. My guess is that this is a wage and hour claim for either OT or the min. wage under the FLSA. My guess is that these employers do not count the employees as working until they actually log in to their network.
If I am right, is this a good FLSA case. Is this any different than employees having to wear a uniform or have a long commute to work. Something to think about-maybe even an interesting article may come out of this story. Are my students getting the hint that this might be a good paper topic??

Mitchell H. Rubinstein  

May 22, 2009 in Employment Law, Interesting Cases, Oddly Enough, Legal, Technology | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Vault's Office Romance Statistics

The results may surprise you. Available here.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein


 

May 14, 2009 in Oddly Enough, Legal | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Don't Yell At The Judges Law Clerk

Sometimes you just cannot make these cases up.Disbarred for Yelling at Law Clerk is a interesting story from legal blog watch about  Matter of Michael Moity Jr., ___F.3d___(5th Cir. April 6, 2009). An attorney yelled at the Judges law clerk over the phone who was inquiring about a missed court conference. The blog describes the phone conversation as follows:

Mr. Moity referenced a telephone message from the court which he acknowledged that he had not returned. Indeed, Ms. Blanke had placed two telephone calls to Mr. Moity in the days before the conference, one on Tuesday, September 19 and one on Wednesday, September 20. When Mr. Moity mentioned those phone calls, Ms. Blanke confirmed that she had indeed called him, and that both messages specifically referenced the Rule 16 conference. At that point, Mr. Moity started yelling and asking, in a very angry tone, whether Ms. Blanke had specifically included in her messages to his office that he was supposed to appear at the Rule 16 conference. Ms. Blanke asked Mr. Moity to calm down, and then asked if he was suggesting that it was her responsibility to call him and remind him about the conference. Mr. Moity stated he was not implying that, but then started questioning Ms. Blanke, in what she perceived to be a very ugly tone, why she hadn’t done so, since she was “already calling anyway.”

And that was just the start of the call. Later came this:

Ms. Blanke told Mr. Moity that there was no reason to get upset, that this was a professional phone call to assess why he had not returned the court’s phone calls and why he’d failed to appear at a court-ordered conference for the purpose of the court’s assessment of sanctions. At some point, Mr. Moity cut Ms. Blanke off in mid-sentence, yelling “Stop saying ‘Mr. Moity.’ You’ve said my name about 5 times, I know my name!”

The attorney was disbarred from appearing in federal court for one year.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

May 7, 2009 in Oddly Enough, Legal | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Some Lawyers Giving Up Blackberrys For i-Phones-Why??

Some Lawyers Give Up Blackberrys For i Phones is an interesting ABA Journal Blog March 24, 2009 story. As the article states:

Some lawyers are giving up their BlackBerrys for iPhones, preferring the latter gadget's big screen and slick interface. Others are holding on to their BlackBerrys because they offer greater e-mail capabilities. And some, like Weil Gotshal associate Amber Taylor, are using both.


I believe that this type of article is a little misleading in that it implies that i-Phones are preferred by lawyers. As the article states, some lawyers use i-Phones and some use Blackberrys. I do not believe you can draw any conclusions-particularly since Blackberrys and i-Phones are not the only game in town. Many lawyers I know use the Treo  which I used for years.

At the end of the day, it comes down to personal preference. Mine is with the Blackberry Bold.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

April 20, 2009 in Oddly Enough, Legal | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Individual Owns Orginal Copy Of Declaration Of Independence

Declarationofindependenceposters_4 Virginia Man Beats Maine In Declaration of Independence Smackdown is a very interesting Feb. 27, 2009 story from Wall Street Journal Law Blog. Its about an individual who bought this rare copy from a London book dealer in 2001 for $475,000.  Remarkably, the State of Maine sued him-claiming it was a public document and belonged to them. Guess what, they lost. As the article states:

In 2005, after receiving a tip about the sale, the Maine archivist, David Cheever, sued Adams, demanding the document’s return. The argument: the document was a “public record.” Maine contended the document never should have been sold because of a state law which presumes that public documents remain public property unless ownership is expressly relinquished by the government.

Virginia’s high court disagreed on Friday, saying that a lower court did not err in ruling that Maine didn’t prove the document was ever an official town record.

So how is a copy of the Declaration of Independence, which had originally been distributed throughout Massachusetts (which Maine was once a part of) to be read to its citizens, not a public record? Adams’s attorney argued that Wiscasset’s town clerk copied the text of the Declaration of Independence into the town’s record books on Nov. 10, 1776. It’s that transcription, not the document upon which it was based, that is the official town record, the attorney said. And that’s the argument the court ultimately bought.

If Maine still wants it, they are now going to have to pay for it, like anyone else. I wonder how much it is worth!

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

March 21, 2009 in Oddly Enough, Legal | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)