Recently the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced a bill that would authorize federal judges to allow certain proceedings in their courtrooms to be photographed, recorded or broadcast.
(S. 410:Sunshine in the Courtroom Act of 2011)
This is a good thing.
Judicial proceedings are supposed to be public proceedings in all but exceptional cases. So long as there are safeguards to ensure decorum, nothing wrong with letting the public have a more intimate view of things.
“Sunlight” as the saying goes, “has antiseptic properties.”
I do anticipate some grumbling from bench and bar. But the fact is, we are officers of a public trust, if we can’t conduct ourselves accordingly in a courtroom, then the public has every right to question the profession.
In a multidistrict litigation accusing Pfizer Inc. and Warner-Lambert Co. LLC of off-label marketing of epilepsy drug Neurontin, a Massachusetts federal judge dismissed 166 plaintiffs in three lawsuits brought by one attorney, citing repeated discovery failures.
There are two lessons here:
1. Don’t mess around in federal court.
2. Attorneys should not bite off more than they can chew.
If you can’t handle your case obligations, reach out to other counsel in the community and joint venture.
Remember, it is all about the CLIENTS not the attorneys.
Thomson Reuters Corp. and staffing company Adecco were hit last week with a putative class action in California alleging they failed to pay proper overtime to writers for FindLaw’s website.
This will be an interesting case to watch. Assuming that the suit involves writers generating legal documents, there will be some powerful arguments that they are exempt.
On the other hand, the writers are definitely production worker, so in California, they may be entitled to non-exempt status if certain key tests are met.
J.P.Morgan Chase & Co. said this week, that a Southern California bank teller’s putative wage-and-hour class action should be transferred to a larger, similar case or be dismissed outright.
The court “granted Defendants Motion to Stay Action Pursuant to First-To-File Rule; (2) Inactivating Case Statistically. Pursuant to Rule 78 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Local Rule 7-15, the Court finds this matter appropriate for decision without oral argument. The Court granted Defendants Motion, and Ordered that a stay be issued in this case, pending court approval of a nationwide settlement in an earlier-filed action. ” 2:10-cv-10044-VBF -FFM
This is fairly standard. When there are multiple cases filed on the same point, the first filed generally becomes the lead case, with the others either consolidated or stayed. Courteous attorneys will respect the first filed cases. My own practice is not to muddy the waters if I have filed a subsequent action, though sometimes the first filed counsel appreciates the help and there is an opportunity to join forces.
This really is about helping the clients get their best chance at justice, after all.
According to the New York Times, a National Labor Relations Board office claims Thomson Reuters Corp. violated federal labor law with its Twitter policy.
“Labor law specialists say employees have the right to criticize or disparage their companies or supervisors as part of a conversation aimed at improving working conditions, but do not have the right to merely curse supervisors or make untrue, disloyal statements that damage a company’s reputation.”
Regardless of the legal right, it simply isn’t smart to bad mouth your employer using social media. That being said, the NLRB action indicates that American free speech principles remain alive and well, even if the speech is limited to 140 characters.
This week, a California appeals court granted the tobacco giant, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., a reprieve from paying $700,000 in attorneys’ fees in a dispute with the state. This case alleged Reynolds violated a settlement agreement by “ ‘using or causing to be used’ any ‘cartoon’ in the advertising, promoting, labeling or packaging of tobacco products“. Court of Appeals of California, Fourth District, Division One. No. D056589.
This goes to show the risk of the contingent fee. It is one thing to successfully bring a valid claim. It is another to actually recover money. Lawyers who do contingency fee work truly do risk their own capital and time to help people work out their disputes in a productive fashion, that is, in a justice system. Compare that free market system with what goes on in, say, China, and you begin to understand why the founding fathers put the right to a civil jury trial in our federal constitution.
DHL Express Inc. has agreed to settle a putative wage-and-hour class action brought in California federal court by former employees.
Once the parties agree to a settlement, the Court needs to approve it. The process is generally a motion for preliminary approval, where we explain the terms of the settlement to the Court, preliminary approval (or disapproval) by the Court, notice to the class about the terms of the settlement with an opportunity to object or opt out, motion for final approval and final approval (or disapproval) by the Court.
It can take quite awhile for the entire process, much more cumbersome than a conventional individual case.
More on Class Actions: 5 Tips for Understanding Class Actions