August 24, 2007
Best Proposed Legislation in the World
The ABA reports that four states are outlawing obnoxious bosses. Read about this important legislation here. When I worked at a large law firm years ago, had this law been in effect, I'd be in the Bahamas right now.
I'll get back to some more serious things shortly. Some things, though, I just can't pass on.
August 23, 2007
I am not making this one up
There's a wonderful coffee shop here in Macon called Joshua's Cup, and I try to get a cup of coffee there before classes to wake up. This morning, I picked up the creamer, and there was a newspaper article clipped out, underneath it, dated November 16, 2006. I don't know which paper it's from. The headline: "Dear assault case has unusual issues." Warning that, although it's statutory interpretation, it's also gross. The story read:
Prosecution of a case involving alleged sexual contact with a dead deer may hinge on the legal definition of the word "animal."
Bryan James Hathaway, 20, of Superior Wis., faces a misdemeanor charge of sexual gratification with an animal. He is accused of having sex with a dead deer he saw beside the road on October 11.
A motion filed last week by his attorney, public defender Fredric Anderson, argued that since the deer was dead, it was not considered an animal and the charge should be dismissed.
"The statute does not prohibit one from having sex with a carcass," Anderson wrote.
Judge Michael Lucci heard the motion Tuesday.
If anyone knows how this issue turned out, let us know. With luck, it won't be an oft-cited case.
August 22, 2007
The statute is not a model of clarity
I had some fun today and westlaw'ed that phrase (okay, "fun" is a word only a law prof would use to describe that activity). I figured that was a phrase a court would use to describe statutes that it found to be incomprehensibly mangled. It is, and it often leads to dissents: Benavides v. U.S., __ F.3d __, 2007 WL 2340780 (5th Cir. 2007) (split opinion on whether punitive damages in wrongful death case were taxable); L.A. Unified Sch. Dist. v. Sup. Ct., 60 Cal.Rptr.2d 445 (Cal. App. 2007) (holding that a city was a "person" under a statute which was "not a model of clarity" because otherwise it would lead to absurd results); Benesowtiz v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., 2007 WL 1826921 (Ct. App. N.Y. 2007) (answering certified question from Second Circuit on question of meaning of an insurance statute which was (ta da) "not a model of clarity").
I don't know why today that struck me as something to look for, but there you go. I haven't seen any "canon of construction for statutes that are not models of clarity," but I suppose it's coming.
August 20, 2007
CAFC Issues In Re Seagate: Statutory Issue Looms
Patent folks have been waiting for this, which analyzes waiver of attorney client privilege in patent litigation. The en banc decision is here. What I didn't expect at all was the majority's decision to re-interpret 35 USC 284 as it did, which inspired a concurring opinion that raises some serious problems with the majority's interpretation.
I don't think the case is clean enough for the Supremes to be interested, but 20 years from now...