Law blog roundup

Welcome to Monday, a day to remember a great American with a dream. Here are some news items to get the week started.

Martin Luther King Jr.– The suicide rate among lawyers is alarming.

– Documentary on legal opposition to same-sex marriage ban opens at Sundance.

– Does Hollywood have an edge before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals?

– Litigation does not survive plaintiffs’ deaths in Minnesota.

Law blog roundup

Welcome to Monday, the start of a week to be thankful for family, friends, fowl and football. Here are some news items to get the festivities started.

– Skier Bode Miller competes in a cross-country custody clash.

– Ten years ago this month the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in Maryland v. Pringle: a traffic-stop case involving attorneys with names you will recognize.

Yemeni court will decide if a couple can or can’t elope.

– Everything you wanted to know about the judiciary but were afraid to ask.


Legal pitfalls at holiday parties

office holiday partyThe Daily Record had its holiday party over the weekend, and yours might be just around the corner. But before you raise your glass in celebration of the season, I thought I’d pass along some thoughts on legal issues relating to work party soirees.

Getting toasted

What if you’ve had one too many drinks and need a lift home? Does your employer have to pay for your transportation? Your employer only has to keep you safe when you are on the clock, so if the party is not during company time the employer is most likely not responsible for providing a ride.

“Driving home is not normally considered part of the work day unless the employee is paid for that time,” notes John P. Hancock, Jr., a lawyer with Butzel Long in Detroit.

Dancing the Night Away

If you feel like cutting a rug after one too many eggnogs and then hurt yourself — or someone else — on the dance floor, does workers’ compensation apply?

Hancock said it depends on where the party takes place.

“If the company has the party at a restaurant or other public place and there is a cash bar rather than an open bar, the injuries resulting from intoxication may not be covered by workers’ comp,” he says.

“Each state is different, but if it is a party run and supplied by the employer and especially if it is on the company premises, it is likely any injuries at the party will be covered by workers’ comp,” Hancock added.

Ways to Recover

If you get hurt by a drunk coworker, there are a couple of legal recourses.

“The injured employee or bystander could always go after premises liability,” Hancock said. This means he could sue the owner of the property where the injury occurred. And you can sue for negligence.

Careful what you say….

Finally, make sure that you watch what you say, even though you are not in the office. Teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that aren’t extremly offensive likely won’t rise to the level of sexual harassment, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

“Harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted),” the agency has said.

Law blog roundup

david petraeusWelcome to Monday and a week that features Thanksgiving, a holiday dedicated to family, food and football.

Speaking of which, the Dallas Cowboys will play Washington’s football team on Thursday, which reminds me of a similar game in 1974. Two words: Clint Longley.

But I digress. Here are some news items to get your week started.

– A desperate housewife loses her appeal.

– A retired general hires an attorney.

– A California slaughterhouse agrees to a $300,000-plus settlement.

– A former Chicago detective gets an eight-year prison sentence for two drunken-driving deaths.

Law blog roundup

tomb of the unknown soldierWelcome to a Monday on which we continue to give thanks to those who fought to protect the freedom we hold so dear. Here are some news items to get the week started.

– Will Kirk Douglas play this London fraud defendant in the movie?

– Warning: This post is rated X (as we used to say before NC-17).

Mr. Mayor, are you recording this call?

– In Detroit, a convicted murderer may get the chance to clear his name after 23 years.

If it’s Straw Hat Day, can seersucker be far behind?

A gloomy day like today feels closer to winter than summer. But warmer days are ahead and, as Frederick Rasmussen points out in his always-entertaining Sunday Sun column, we’re days away from Straw Hat Day.

It seems Baltimore men of a bygone era took out their straw hats May 15, unofficially marking the start of summer the way a Memorial Day weekend traffic jam on the Bay Bridge does today.

“In those days it was the mandatory finishing touch for a man when dressing,” said Eddie Jacobs of the eponymous men’s clothing store. (As far as I know we are not related.)

Jacobs also noted that “June 1 to Sept. 1 was seersucker and cotton season.”

Rasmussen has more:

After an eight-month slumber, out from hat boxes and darkened closets emerged jaunty straw boaters, sometimes called butcher’s, sailor’s or skimmers, and Panamas, with their center crease and thin black band that circled the hat’s crown.

In turn, they became the crowning touch for the lightweight Palm Beach, linen and seersucker suits that men wore in an attempt to deal with Baltimore’s infernal heat.

Loyal readers know exactly where I’m going with this. Be on the lookout!

Tis’ the season for layoffs

Boy, it seems as if every day brings fresh chatter about the downward spiral of the legal industry.

For instance, today the NLJ had an article on whether law firms will conduct pre-Christmas layoffs. It contains this ulcer-maker from Altman Weil consultant Ward Bower:

I’ve been working with some firms that will be laying some people off, but the announcements probably won’t be made until early January,” Bower said. “The decisions have already been made, but I think that’s in consideration of the holidays.”

Now, go try and enjoy your eggnog with that on your mind.

You know, as I read these kinds of stories, I can’t shake a nagging feeling of déjà vu. Big layoffs, dire predictions, general malaise — where have we seen that before? (Thanks to Romenesko for the links.)

Oh, yeah. Right.

CARYN TAMBER, Legal Affairs Writer

Outsourcing love

flowers_edit.jpgHow about this: last weekend, I saw a feature story about up-and-coming grooms-to-be hiring a proposal planner to craft an elaborate marriage proposal.

Those in the wedding business are psyched about this extension of the almost $50 billion-dollar industry. (Except for maybe this party pooper).

With Valentine’s Day on Thursday, I wonder if people in the proposal-planning profession are swamped with swooning suitors? Or are most men turned off by the idea of another (admittedly unnecessary) nuptial expense?

If I were a wedding planner, I might seriously consider switching to proposals, given the option. Having a nervous male client seems like it’d be a lot easier than dealing with the “Bridezillas” of Baltimore.

For men desiring a simple V-Day solution that’s a bit… cheaper, one of our sister blogs has an idea:, an offshoot of 1-800-FLOWERS that will send “animated, scent-less bouquets to that special, but not completely special, someone, for way less than a dozen long-stemmed roses.” (By “way less,” they do mean waaay less: most of the bouquets are 2-3 credits, which I can only assume are interchangeable with dollars.)

If anyone sends an animated bouquet to their sweetie on Thursday, I’d love to know how it was received.


For the love of meat

raremeat3.jpgIf you haven’t been outside of your home since Christmas, you may not have realized that Valentine’s Day – the next Hallmark-sanctioned holiday – is only one month away. Egads! It’ll be here before you know it.

If you’re a woman who needs suggestions for your significant other, you may be glad to hear that our Assistant Business Editor has a lead on “the perfect gift for any man.”

In an email Ben Mook received from a PR rep for a popular Brazilian steakhouse on Pratt Street, Ben was assured that “Men everywhere will fall in love all over again when they are given an evening [here]… a place where they will be showered with 15 savory cuts of delicious meat, carved tableside by request with no limit to their hunger-driven desires.”

It may sound wacky, but it’s not as extravagant as the radio advertisement I heard earlier this week, which said that one dozen roses was no longer acceptable on Valentine’s Day — 50 is the new amount that symbolizes “eternal love.”

Have you heard any other business’s offbeat ad for V-Day?

JACKIE SAUTER, Multimedia Editor