Blog Ipsa Loquitur

Abnormal Use is one of my favorite legal blogs, because they cover products liability cases. If your chainsaw falls apart mid-tree and decapitates your lawn gnomes, or if your car’s GPS tells you to drive off a cliff and you somehow think that’s a good idea, you and your bizarre lawsuit will end up on Abnormal Use.

Their Christmas coverage is pretty fantastic, too. Here’s Steven Buckingham on the classic (if being played for 72 hours straight once a year means it’s a “classic”) movie Miracle on 34th Street:

Written and directed by George Seaton, and starring Maureen O’Hara, John Payne, Edmund Gwenn and a young Natalie Wood, the 1947 film is ostensibly a Christmas classic, but really, it’s a cinematic exploration of some of the worst legal malpractice I’ve ever seen.

But please, Steven, tell us how you really feel!

Let’s start out with the most glaring mistake / “legal strategy”: The state calls Santa to the stand. Kringle’s lawyer does not invoke the privilege against self-incriminating testimony. In fact, he waives it while boldly proclaiming, “We have nothing to hide!” Trust me, guy, you’ve always got something to hide. In your case, it’s the fact that your client assaulted the shrink. You might want to sweep that under the rug. Luckily, because the state phoned its performance in, Santa gets away unscathed.

Read the rest at Abnormal Use. And remember, the only thing worse than suing Santa is suing Santa and losing. Merry Christmas!

Filed on under Legal Theory

MG Siegler, writing for TechCrunch, on Google’s fatal mistake with Android: making it open-source

Open. Open. Open. Open. Open. Open. Open. Open. Open.

Every chance they get, someone from Google brings this up as a huge advantage of Android over rivals like iOS. Never mind the fact that a good percentage of the time it’s pure marketing bullshit — why exactly isn’t Google Wallet on Google’s own Galaxy Nexus device? — even when it’s true, there are some very real downsides. The user experience angle has been debated ad nauseam. More interesting is what we’re seeing now. A downside for Google.

It’s an article that raises a lot of interesting points, and also the very stupid one that “Google is surprised that its open-source project is being used for other projects.” Even if Google has a silly definition of what it means to be open, that’s not really proof that the Kindle Fire is a failure of Android as a platform.

Filed on under The News

From Wired

In February, Super Bowl XLVI will be the first instance of the biggest game of the year to stream live over the web, via NFL.com and NBCSports.com. The game will also be available to stream on Verizon smartphones through the league’s wireless partner’s NFL Mobile app. (If you’re on another wireless carrier, you’re out of luck; Verizon’s got the exclusive.)

Awesome. Every day, we get a little bit closer to that glorious future when first-run TV happens on the internet, instead of just pirated first-run TV happening on the internet. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful for Netflix Instant and Hulu and South Park Studios and all that other good stuff.

Filed on under The News

A guy named Gilberto Sanchez claims he bought a pre-release copy of the Wolverine movie back in 2009, and uploaded it to popular file-sharing site MegaUpload. (MegaUpload is the one that’s currently in the crosshairs of SOPA, and claims it’s not a bad actor. This has pretty lousy timing.) His punishment? A year in jail:

“Although Fox was able to get defendant’s Wolverine workprint removed from his Megaupload account within approximately one day, by then, the damage was done and the film had proliferated like wildfire throughout the Internet, resulting in up to millions of infringements,” prosecutors said in court documents.

I think the real tragedy here is that millions of people might have sat through this movie. Those poor souls.

Filed on under The News

It’s called Dear Congress, Its No Longer OK To Not Know How The Internet Works:

I remember fondly the days when we were all tickled pink by our elected officials’ struggle to understand how the internet works. Whether it was George W. Bush referring to “the internets” or Senator Ted Stevens describing said internets as “a series of tubes,” we would sit back and chortle at our well-meaning but horribly uninformed representatives, confident that the right people would eventually steer them back on course. Well I have news for members of Congress: Those days are over.

Read the rest at Motherboard’s site. And consider donating to the EFF or Public Knowledge for the fine work they’ve been doing campaigning against SOPA.

Filed on under The News

This is the sort of thing my family will make fun of me and the rest of the world’s lawyers for over Christmas dinner. From Abnormal Use:

The plaintiff and his son participated in a pick-up softball game during a Boy Scout camping trip. Despite the fact that the score was not being kept officially, some of the fathers were playing “aggressively” and hitting the ball with “full swings.” Gasp. During one such play, the defendant, attempting to score from second base, collided with the plaintiff, who was blocking home plate. As a result of the collision, the plaintiff suffered a closed head injury and spent two days in the intensive care unit.

Thereafter, the plaintiff and his wife, personally and as guardian ad litem for their son, sued the Boy Scouts of America, the local Pack, and the defendant for personal injury, loss of consortium, and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

Personal injury? Sure, why not? Sounds like the guy got pretty messed up. Negligent infliction of emotional distress? Well, I guess that’s a given with any sort of injury like that; the son could be traumatized at watching his father get knocked out cold like that, or the wife could worry about her husband’s well-being and whatnot.

My favorite tort here, though, is “loss of consortium.” That’s the injury caused by loss of sexytimes. Literally. And you can get money for that. This guy got $1.5 million for loss of consortium when his wife was run over by a bus. It’s actually a really sad story, so don’t read it too close to bedtime.

Wife Hit By Bus is slightly more egregious than This Guy Is Too Into Softball, but loss of sexytimes is still loss of sexytimes. And besides, you already sound ridiculous for suing over a damn Boy Scout softball game, so it’s not like complaining that your sex life took a hit is really going to embarrass you further.

So what happened to the Worst Softball Player Ever? Well, his case got thrown out of court. Then he appealed, and the circuit court threw his case out of court. Then he appealed all the way up to the South Carolina Supreme Court.

Find out what happened at Abnormal Use.

Filed on under Legal Theory