Category Archives: Law: Everything Else


Warning: This Cereal May Be Hazardous to Your Rights

Warning: This Cereal May Be Hazardous to Your Rights

Really? Firms are going to try to expand browsewrap (or web-wrap) to liking them on Facebook? To opening a cereal box? So claims the NYT in When ‘Liking’ a Brand Online Voids the Right to Sue.

From the company’s viewpoint it’s a logical attempt to force consumers into arbitration so that buyers’ rights are more limited than in courts. This would allow the firms to flee liability — especially class action risk — no matter how deadly their products might be.

For courts, I hope very much this rights grab will be held to be unconscionable. Prospects in the 7th circuit must, however, been seen as poor given its approval of shrinkwrap terms for both licenses and sales in ProCD v. Zeidenberg (per Easterbrook). And of course the Supreme Court has been on a pro-arbitration tear for over a decade. This, though, should be a crunch too far.

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UMiami Law Students Doing Good

The Tampa Bay Times has a story about an “alternative spring break program” in which a group of UMiami Law students work in a mobile clinic to help undocumented long-time US residents get deferments from deportation. The story leads with my former Torts student and later research assistant:

Paulina Valanty arrived at the clinic for undocumented immigrants at St. Clement Catholic Church with more than a passing interest.

Valanty, 23, a law student at the University of Miami, used to live in the shadows, worrying about being deported.

“I was undocumented until I was 20. I was very afraid,” she said. “Any time I applied for anything and saw that little box that says ‘Social Security number,’ I was afraid. It was nerve-racking just looking at it.”

Valanty, who today is a citizen, regularly attends clinics like the one held at St. Clement on Tuesday to help young undocumented immigrants seek a change in their status.

Under a modification in federal laws last summer, undocumented immigrants who arrived here as children, brought by their parents, can apply for a deferment to avoid deportation.

Posted in Law: Everything Else, U.Miami | 15 Comments

What the Government is Doing for Us Today

Ban on loud TV commercials takes effect today. A rule that only the hardest-core libertarian or a heartless marketer could hate.

Does this mean that America’s naps in front of the TV will be longer now?

(via Slashdot)

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Chisom v. Jindal Update

Louisiana Governor Jindal will ask the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to review the decision in Chisom v. Jindal that I wrote about last week.

His office says his concern is purely jurisdictional, and has nothing to do with blocking the ascension of the first black Chief Justice in Louisiana. I suppose it might even be true; if one characterizes the issue as an interpretation of the state Constitution, it would be strange to have a federal court get the final say. But if one characterizes it as an interpretation of the federal consent decree, it doesn’t seem strange at all.

Posted in Law: Everything Else | 3 Comments

A Strange and Sad Dispute

Chisom v. Jindal is odd and sad. A federal district judge is required to adjudicate a dispute between Justices of the Supreme Court of Louisiana as to who has the most seniority. The most senior will become the next Chief Justice of that court.

At issue is the time-in-grade of Justice Bernette Joshua Johnson who, if all her years of service to the Louisiana Supreme Court are counted, will soon become Louisiana’s first black Chief Justice. Her first six years of service on the court were in a special seat created pursuant to a federal consent decree designed to remedy longstanding Louisiana racial gerrymandering of judicial electoral districts that had prevented black majority districts from electing a Justice of their choice.

The sad part comes not only from a state Supreme Court’s members being unable to settle this among themselves but from the fact that this dispute happened at all. At least from reading Judge Susie Morgan’s opinion in Chisom v. Jindal, this doesn’t even seem like a close case: the consent decree said that the new, temporary, seat that Justice Johnson occupied was to be “equal” to all the others and that she would “receive the same compensation, benefits, expenses, andemoluments of office as are now or as may hereafter beprovided by law for justices of the Louisiana Supreme Court.” Thus her seniority began there, and not when (after redistricting) Justice Johnson won further terms.

I don’t know what it means when state Supreme Court Justices are suing each, or choking each other (details here; further proceedings here), but it can’t be good.

Spotted via WSJ Law Blog.

Posted in Law: Everything Else | 6 Comments

A Very Cute Respose to Employer Demands for Facebook Passwords

I hereby (fictionally) resign is a great, if alas so far fictional, account of blowback from an employer’s demand for Facebook passwords.

Spotted via Emergent Chaos, Chaos Emerges from Demanding Facebook Passwords.

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