NY Lawsuit Poses Test of Same Sex Marriages

New York lawyer Neal Conrad Spicehandler died in the hospital three days after suffering a fractured leg when hit by a car on a hit-and-run spree. He was “married” to his partner John Langan under Vermont’s civil union law. Langan is now suing the hospital, and the suit will test whether Vermont’s civil union law will be recognized in New York, or whether it will be trumped by the federal “Defense of Marriage Act,” the NY Law Journal reports here.

9th Circuit Justice Kozinski’s Impartiality Questioned After Visit to Death Row Inmate

The California Attorney General’s Office is questioning whether Kozinski can continue to hear death penalty cases after he corresponded with and then met inmate Michael W. Hunter. This despite the fact that Kozinski is generally considered an unwavering proponent of the death penalty. Fellow Justice Reinhardt thinks “they have to be nuts” to seek Kozinski’s disqualification, the L.A. Times reports here (registration [free] required).

Litigation Can Be Fun!

In 1997, some Florida lawyers (including lead attorney Jack Scarola of West Palm Beach) convinced about fifteen plaintiffs to opt out of a class action against Prudential concerning life insurance sales, and to pursue their claims on their own instead. At first, the plaintiffs presented a unified front. But then things started getting ugly, and never stopped. Now there’s an astonishing tangle of litigation and cross-accusations, law.com reports here.

According to Frode, Pillsbury is Bad, Bad, Bad

Remember Frode Jensen, the Pillsbury Winthrop partner who was leaving for Latham & Watkins when Pillsbury management torpedoed him with a press release including allegations that he was unproductive and a sexual harasser? Well, he has sued, and the allegations of his complaint make entertaining reading. If half of what he says is true, Pillsbury is dumb, dumb, dumb.

Old Allegations Against Michael Jackson

I can’t attest to its veracity or authenticity, but The Smoking Gun has posted what appears to be the 1993 sworn declaration of the victim in the Michael Jackson child molestation case. Talk about some twisted allegations! Note: the document includes the alleged victim’s identity, which I’m not sure I approve of. You can read it for yourself here (or not).

Asbestos Litigation: “Better Than the Lottery”

Some workers interviewed at a mass asbestos screening conducted by a plaintiffs’ firm at their union hall had this to say:

“I saw the notice in the union newsletter and said, ‘Why not?'” said an automotive worker from Ford. Sitting on the tailgate of his shiny, new Chevy pickup and lighting a fresh cigarette off the one he had just finished, he added: “It’s better than the lottery. If they find something, I get a few thousand dollars I didn’t have. If they don’t find anything, I’ve just lost an afternoon.”

Standing nearby, a Boeing worker 10 days from retirement volunteered, “The lawyers said I could get $10,000 or $12,000 if the shadow is big enough, and I know just the fishing boat I’d buy with that.”

Asked if he’d ever worked with asbestos, he said, “No, but lawyers say it’s all over the place, so I was probably exposed to it.”

What they don’t realize is that by taking a small payment now, they sign away their rights to sue if they ever really get sick. And they’re sucking up a limited pool of funds that should go to those who really need it. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has a long article about it here .