Friday, November 19, 2004

More on the 225th anniversary of William & Mary Law

This press release includes the following account of Attorney General Kilgore's remarks on the occasion of the 225th anniversary party for the William & Mary law school, my alma mater:

"Attorney General Kilgore spoke on [a] much more personal level, being himself an alumnus of the William and Mary School of Law, class of 1986. He jokily mentioned the teaching vigor of, then Professor, Tim Sullivan at 8 in the morning in his contracts class. He also mentioned Dean Butler's property class. He continued in his joking manner and said, she taught the rule against perpetuities so well, that the first thing his twin brother did when elected to the Virginia legislature was to abolish it. Changing his tone to one of reverence, the Attorney General spoke of the great history of the law school, at one point calling it the alma mater of the nation."

The mention of Professor Butler causes me to recollect that she was the law school professor of whom I was the most afraid during the first semester. I think that the reason what that I learned somehow that she had been a math teacher. To this day, she figures prominently whenever I have the "Exam Dream," which generally ends with the happy realization that I have no more exams and that, in fact, calculus is not a subject on which examinations were generally given in law school.


Here are the collected mugs of the affiliated bloggers, most of whom I've read for a while.

Used to be a blonde myself

Walter Olson has this post which chronicles a opinion in which it was held that blondes are not a protected class under Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act.

The only blonde joke I can ever remember is this one:

"Two blondes walk into a building. You'd think at least one of them would have seen it."

Plaintiff in Richmond gets $500,000 award for eye surgery without anesthesia

The Richmond paper reports here ("Doctor, group at fault in surgery," 11/19/04) on the jury verdict in a medical malpractice case tried in the Circuit Court for the City of Richmond.

Four opinions from the W.D. Va.

In Meredith-Clinevell v. Department of Juvenile Justice, Judge Conrad of the W.D. Va. held, among other things, that the Eleventh Amendment bars state employees from suing the Commonwealth under the Fair Labor Standards Act for unpaid overtime.

In Greene v. Reliance Standard Life Ins. Co., Judge Wilson ruled that a disability insurer abused its discretion in its use of the Dictionary of Occupational Title's definition of "salesperson" for purposes of determining eligibility for disability benefits of the plaintiff, a former industrial equipment salesman.

In Fuller v. Camus, a case removed from Roanoke City Circuit Court, Judge Wilson dismissed with prejudice the plaintiff's claims against the United States and remanded the individual claims to state court.

In Brown v. Principi, Judge Wilson dismissed the plaintiff's employment discrimination claims, in part for failure to prosecute, as she had failed to participate in discovery, failed to show up for court hearings, and failed to abide by the Court's scheduling order.

Judge Flannagan awards $2,500 for Roanoke city manager in defamation case

The Roanoke paper reports here ("Burcham wins in her lawsuit against online columnist," 11/18/04) that retired Judge Flannagan found for the Roanoke City Manager Ms. Burcham and awarded damages of $2,500 in a defamation case against an online newspaper.

More on pro se litigants

This story from contrasts the handling of pro se appeals in the Ninth Circuit and the Fourth Circuit, and includes some comments from Fourth Circuit Judge Paul Niemeyer.

The artice notes:

"The 4th Circuit has a three-tier method for dealing with pro se cases, Niemeyer said.

First, a staff attorney reviews a self-representing litigant's appeal and gives an oral or written presentation to a three-judge panel, which either recommends it for further review or dismisses it. At the second phase, staff lawyers send a lengthy memo to a three-judge panel recommending the case for oral argument.

At the third phase, a lead judge has moved the case to oral argument, and at that point assigns an attorney to argue it."

No constitutional violations in case of alleged gun at school

In Wofford v. Evans, the Fourth Circuit in an opinion by Judge Wilkinson, joined by Judge Williams and District Judge Titus, affirmed dismissal of the constitutional claims brought against Botetourt County School Board and various school officials in connection with its response to information that a student had brought a gun to school.

Judge Wilkinson wrote: "School officials must have the leeway to maintain order on school premises and secure a safe environment in which learning can flourish. Over-constitutionalizing disciplinary procedures can undermine educators’ ability to best attain these goals. Imposing a rigid duty of parental notification or a per se rule against detentions of a specified duration would eviscerate the ability of administrators to meet the remedial exigencies of the moment. The Constitution does not require such a result."

Thursday, November 18, 2004

McDonnell hits the road

The Richmond paper has this report ("McDonnell running for attorney general," 11/18/04) and the AP has this report on the formal start of the campaign of Del. Robert McDonnell as a Republican for Attorney General of Virginia in 2005.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Hunting for lawsuits in West Virginia

This story from one of the Charleston WV papers tells of how hunting season in West Virginia gives rise to much litigation.

The article quotes one fellow as saying: "If we continue this march of suing every aspect of our society, we'll be eating skinless chicken and drinking lukewarm coffee the rest of our lives."

On dealing with pro se litigants

May it Please the Court has this interesting post about pro se litigants, with many interesting links.

Mother's emotional distress claim preempted by birth-related neurological injury law

In Cooper v. Adler, a panel of the Virginia Court of Appeals in an opinion by Judge Frank joined by Judge Clements and Senior Judge Willis held that the plaintiff's mother's claim for emotional distress as the result of malpractice committed on her unborn child was barred by the Birth-related Neurological Injury Act.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Lawyer says his client thought Bush $200 bill was real

Backcountry Conservative has this delightful post describing a news story about a woman who protests her innocence even though she was caught trying to pass a $200 bill with the face of President Bush on it.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Squishiness and squirreliness

In this column about Tim Kaine, from the Charlottesville paper: "One wonders if Republican leaders will go as far as calling Kaine, or Catholic bishops and Jesuit priests for that matter, squishy or squirrelly for moral opposition to the execution of inmates in a state and nation in which DNA keeps governors saying 'oops' for having innocent men on death row."

Why did so many Virginia social services workers steal

The Newport News paper has this report ("Cases of Isabel food stamp fraud grow," 11/15/04) which speculates on the question of why so many social services employees are facing criminal charges for bogus food stamp claims in the wake of Hurricane Isabel.

One expert was quoted as saying that college degrees "don't necessarily lead to a higher moral system... or mean that you are more honest."

Burrow throws a party

The Roanoke paper reports here ("Burrow shares laughs with allies," 11/15/04) that D-Day Memorial fundraiser Richard Burrow had a big party with his friends on Sunday to celebrate his triumph over federal criminal charges that were tried in 2002 and again in 2004 before the U.S. dropped the case after a second hung jury.

Without the one-term limit, there would be fewer ex-governors

The AP reports here and the Washington Post reports here ("Gilmore Urges Panel to Change Va.'s Term Limit," 11/15/04) that Virginia's ex-governors agree that the one-term limit for the office of Governor of Virginia should be abolished.

This term limit makes as much sense to me as the limitations on the legislative and judicial branches, with the compressed legislative schedule and no appeal as of right in civil or non-capital criminal cases.

An Arbitron family

Starting Thursday, we are supposed to be logging our radio listening habits for Arbitron.

I always listen to the radio in the car and sing along, at top volume, until I get to wherever I'm going or until my wife tells me to stop. (I think my singing has made her a fan of talk radio.)


This post says the Commonwealth will soon have surplus of about $1 billion, the same amount as the tax increases from last session of the General Assembly, which the author says means $473.87 of overtaxation per household.

The BBC takes on Courtroom 21

This BBC article is mostly about Courtroom 21 at the William & Mary law school.

Cussing prosecutions in the Commonwealth

The Norfolk paper had this article ("Profanity cases frequent in courts," 11/14/04) about what someone who ought to know once recently described to me as "those cases where somebody called somebody a 'bitch.'" When I heard that, I had to laugh, because I had exactly such a case not too many years ago, for which I made a thorough study of the cuss word case law - yes, these cases are sometimes appealed.

How many new Fourth Circuit judges in the next 4 years?

The Richmond paper has this article ("What's next for 4th Circuit?", 11/14/04) about the three stalled nominations to the Fourth Circuit, and the possibility that one or more Fourth Circuit judges might be nominated by President Bush to the Supreme Court.