Client Sues Lieff, Cabraser

A bottled water company has sued Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, LLP — its own law firm — alleging that the firm took confidential information discovered in its representation in the water bottler’s unfair competition lawsuit against certain competitors, and used it as the basis for its own class action lawsuit against the same competitors, thereby devaluing the original lawsuit. Somehow, this doesn’t surprise me. Read all about it at Courthouse News Service.

College Student Busted for Posting DirecTV Papers He Pilfered from Law Firm

The FBI arrested the Russian student in LA for posting confidential papers that might allow hackers to circumvent DirecTV’s new security system and steal satellite TV signals. He allegedly stole the papers from a document imaging firm he worked for that was hired by Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue, a law firm representing DirecTV. Apparently, he did it for fun, not for money. Now he faces up to ten years in prison, and DirecTV faces the potential loss of a $25 million research program that developed the new security system. And Jones, Day has a red face. Read all about it here at UPDATE: Here’s more detail from the LA Times.

Gary Condit Suing Dominick Dunne For Libel

Condit apparently filed suit in federal court in Manhattan last week. How did I miss this story? In any event, Findlaw and CNN think it’s a bad idea, and I agree: “Condit should immediately withdraw his suit � for it is likely to hurt him far more than help him. Even assuming that Condit had nothing at all to do with Levy’s murder, his case is still a weak one. And discovery in the case could still prove very embarrassing for him, as well as hurtful to his wife and children. Moreover, even if Condit pursues his case to the bitter end, the damages he receives could be scant, at best.”

This Is Kinda Scary

According to this article, ocean-going freighters are notoriously difficult to track and are frequently re-christened and/or re-flagged. al Qaeda is said to be operating as many as fifteen of them. Coming to a port near you?

UPDATE: Supreme Court Jumps Into Internet Jurisdiction Case

The Supreme Court has issued a temporary stay in the case of the Texan computer guy who posted DVD “decryption” codes on the web, according to this. This is the case in which the California Supreme Court recently declined to assert jurisdiction over allegedly tortious acts that took place in Texas and Indiana, as discussed below. The ultimate issue is where web posters can be sued, given the reach of the “world wide” web. Wherever their websites can be accessed, or only where those websites are written and posted? The Australian Supreme Court recently answered the question with — essentially — “anywhere.” UPDATE to UPDATE The Supreme Court has dissolved the stay, after the defendant’s lawyers argued that the encryption codes the stay sought to keep secret have already been widely disseminated, and that the defendant had no intention of re-publishing them. The action is described here.

California Coastal Commission Ruled Unconstitutional

A California appellate court held today that, because the majority of the Coastal Commission’s members are appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the legislature, it cannot perform executive or quasi-judicial functions without violating the State Constitution’s separation of powers clause. Thus, the Commission is enjoined from “granting, denying, or conditioning permits, and from issuing and hearing cease and desist orders” — all things it habitually did. (The case is called Marine Forests Society v. Cal. Coastal Commission.)

The Coastal Commission is a hugely powerful and thoroughly politicized body. If I’m not mistaken, this is Big News in California. You can read the Third Appellate District’s opinion here (PDF). UPDATE: Here’s an article about the Court’s ruling.