October 25, 2007
Chambers v. God
For anyone interested in having a copy of the pleadings in this case, you may download them with the links below.--Counseller
October 24, 2007
Intervenors and supplemental jurisdiction
In Exxon v. Allapatah, the Supreme Court held that, so long as there is no defect in the citizenship of the parties, a federal court can exercise supplemental jurisdiction over a claim for less than the jurisdictional amount by a plaintiff joined under rule 20. Exxon was a 1367(a) case, which did not fit the diversity carveout of 1367(b) because that carveout does not cover claims by plaintiffs joined under Rule 20 (and because it was a single-defendant case). But what if the second claimants were seeking to intervene instead of being named as plaintiffs in the original complaint? That situation is covered by the carveout, as made clear by Allapatah, the text of the statute, and the Northern District of Oklahoma in a recent decision you can find here. --RR
We posted here about Gil Seinfeld's article The Puzzle of Complete Preemption and interviewed him about it here. Paul E. McGreal responds to Seinfeld's position (and that of Trevor Morrison in Complete Preemption and the Separation of Powers) in his brand new paper In Defense of Complete Preemption, published in the University of Pennsylvania Law Review. The abstract follows.--Counseller
Recent writings by Professors Gil Seinfeld and Trevor Morrison criticize the Supreme Court's complete preemption doctrine as misguided and unconstitutional, respectively. Professor Seinfeld suggests reforming the doctrine around field preemption, and Professor Morrison rejects complete preemption as inconsistent with separation of powers. This response defends the Supreme Court's doctrine as it currently stands: A state law claim arises under federal law (and so may be removed to federal court) when a federal statute both preempts the claim and supplies an exclusive federal remedy. This doctrine is a sensible application of the well-pleaded complaint rule that prevents improper circumvention of federal question jurisdiction.
October 23, 2007
Worth A Read
You might want to take a look at Air Measurement Tech, Inc. v. Akin Gump from the Federal Circuit. In a case of first impression, the court determined that a legal malpractice claim based on alleged errors of patent prosecution and litigation constituted a "civil action arising under any Act of Congress relating to patents" under 28 U.S.C. section 1338(a) because the plaintiffs right to relief necessarily depended upon a substantial question of federal patent law where the plaintiff had to prove patent infringement in order to satisfy the "case within a case" element of a Texas legal malpractice claim.--Counseller
October 22, 2007
More Money or Less Work?
We posted here and here about surveys that paint a less than rosy picture of life as an attorney. No doubt a "work/life" imbalance is at the core of much of the dissatisfaction expressed in the surveys. As you know, associate salaries are on the rise again, but not all associates are happy about it. Some first-year associates in New York now bring down $250,000 annually, and starting associate salaries at the larger law firms in cities like Chicago and Houston have jumped to $160,000 or even $170,000. It's easy to understand why partners think of the associate pay hike as a necessary evil at best, but even some associates aren't happy with the pay increases because they know that with an increase in pay comes an increase in billable hour requirements.
In this piece, the ABA Journal reports that a handful of law firms are creating two tiers of associates in response to associates' differing views on the issue of increase pay for increased work. In one tier are those associates willing to work more for the increased pay and in the other are those who would sacrifice the pay increase for a lower billable hour requirement. Many associates will be electing to work less and earn less if the ABA Journal's February 2007 survey, "The Time-Money Trade-Off," is accurate. According to the survey, 84.2% of the nearly 2400 associates surveyed said they would be willing to earn less if it meant they could also bill less.--Counseller