Tag Archives: Civil rights

The Supreme Court’s Results-Oriented Summary Judgment Precedent

Civil procedure in the federal courts has changed dramatically over the past few years, primarily through the Supreme Court’s manipulation of doctrine to encourage lower courts to dismiss tort, class action, antitrust, and civil rights cases. As I wrote a year ago in a guest post at TortsProf:   [A]s the courts become increasingly obsessed with deciding complicated cases by reference to procedural doctrines that ask the court to leave its expertise in the law and feign expertise in complex factual situations, courts run an increasing risk of becoming wholly unmoored from the facts of the disputes they are trying ... Continue Reading

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A Trial Lawyer’s Guide To Taser Lawsuits

I suppose it’s unsurprising that criminal defense lawyers and plaintiff’s lawyers would all have concerns about the use of Tasers — the Taser victims and their family members end up in our offices — but even prosecutors and municipal and state defense lawyers (speaking off the record, of course) express dismay at the frequency and manner in which Tasers are used.   By Amnesty International’s count, since 2001 over 500 people have died in the US as a result of Taser use. Police departments have just begun admitting there’s a problem. Cincinnati’s police chief has admitted Tasers can kill. Seattle ... Continue Reading

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New Medical Malpractice “Tort Reform” Just Another Pack of Lies

Insurance-Funded Congressional Representatives Again Try To Deny Justice For Patients Injured By Medical Malpractice Some bad ideas just will not go away. A few days ago The Pop Tort noted that the new, anti-patient Congress was holding hearings on medical malpractice liability. If they had listened to the excellent testimony of Joanne Doroshow, Executive Director of the Center for Justice & Democracy, they would have realized that injured patients need more, not less, legal protection. But the “hearings” were a sham anyway, and a few days later the insurance-backed members of Congress introduced a new plan to strip away the ... Continue Reading

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Can Shirley Sherrod Sue Andrew Breitbart For Defamation?

Talking Points Memo reports the latest on the Shirley Sherrod fiasco: Shirley Sherrod said this morning on CNN that she would like to "get back at" Andrew Breitbart. Asked if she would consider a defamation suit against Breitbart, the conservative blogger who posted the edited clip that got her fired, she said, "I really think I should." "I don't know a lot about the legal profession but that's one person I'd like to get back at, because he came at me. He didn't go after the NAACP; he came at me," she went on. To recap the underlying facts here: ... Continue Reading

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Texas Lowers The Medical Malpractice Bar Again, Tries To Imprison Nurses For Reporting Dangerous Doctor

All the signs were there: [Dr. Rolando G. Arafiles Jr. had] a pattern of improper prescribing and surgical procedures — including a failed skin graft that Dr. Arafiles performed in the emergency room, without surgical privileges. He also sutured a rubber tip to a patient’s crushed finger for protection, an unconventional remedy that was later flagged as inappropriate by the Texas Department of State Health Services. ... Dr. Arafiles was sending e-mail messages to patients about an herbal supplement he sold on the side. ... The hospital administrator, Stan Wiley, said in an interview that Dr. Arafiles had been reprimanded ... Continue Reading

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A Mountain Dew, A Body In The Trunk, and The Wacky World Of Probable Cause and Qualified Immunity

Sometimes, a police officer's hunch is right: Columbia [Missouri] Police Officer Jessica McNabb pulled over then-19-year-old Daniel Sanders at Stadium Boulevard and Audubon Drive for running a red light and failing to use his headlights at night. Sanders didn't have a license. He asked for an attorney almost immediately. After a search of the trunk, McNabb found the body of Sanders' mother beneath a tire — next to a new shovel with the price tag still on it. Sometimes not: Jordan Miles, who is black, thought his life was in jeopardy when three white men jumped out of a car ... Continue Reading

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Citizens United v. FEC: The Supreme Court Invalidates A Law That Doesn’t Exist

[UPDATE: The WSJ Law Blog rounds up reactions by the parties, while SCOTUSBlog rounds up reactions from the media and bloggers.] [UPDATE II: For a peek behind the corporate curtain, see the memo that Republican election lawyer Benjamin L. Ginsberg (of Patton Boggs) is circulating. I think he's going too far in his conclusions; as much as he and his clients would like corporations' electioneering to drown out candidates' and parties' own communications, the disclosure requirements — which were upheld by the Court 8-1 — put a significant damper on that, since the money can still be traced to some extent, and since voters can ... Continue Reading

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Investigation By Former Judge Implicates Destruction Of Evidence In World Bank / D.C. Protests Case

Years ago, Jonathan Turley, professor at George Washington University Law School, found himself unable to decide whether he wanted to be a professor or a litigator, so he cloned himself to be able to do both. I am only half-joking; even after factoring in big firm co-counsel (including associates, paralegals, assistants, et cetera), being lead counsel on major litigation is no joke, particularly if you're up against a well-funded opponent who not only defends the rightness of their conduct, but who conceals and destroys the truth lying at the heart of the case. Take, for example, Rayming Chang et al. ... Continue Reading

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Ex Parte Blogging, Part II: The Supreme Court Should Circulate Draft Opinions For Public Review

Following up on yesterday's post about "ex parte blogging," i.e. the possibility that the Supreme Court might see a newspaper editorial, article or blog post about a pending case, let's consider the supposed worst-case scenario, in which a Justice sees an editorial, article or blog post which has an effect on their interpretation of the case. So what? The Student Note that started the discussion at Balkinzation and Prawfsblog based its analysis on the Kennedy v. Louisiana fiasco, in which a military-justice blogger revealed a significant error in the Supreme Court's opinion, resulting in new briefing and a modification to ... Continue Reading

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The Simple Solution To Judicial Immunity In The Luzerne County Corruption Case

Ashby Jones at the Wall Street Journal reports on absolute judicial immunity: In January, federal prosecutors filed fraud charges against Mark A. Ciavarella and Michael T. Conahan, judges on the Luzerne County, Pa., Court of Common Pleas. Prosecutors alleged that the judges sent numerous juveniles to detention centers over several years in exchange for more than $2.6 million in kickbacks from the former co-owner of two centers. After the criminal charges, several lawyers filed civil suits seeking monetary damages on behalf of dozens of children and their families against the judges and other defendants. They alleged, among other things, that ... Continue Reading

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