November 2007

Are You Serious, Counselor?

by Lee Gesmer on November 29, 2007

One of the many oddities of the legal profession is that judges have to take truly bizarre allegations seriously, and use detailed legal logic to dismiss them. This is like watching Aristotle being forced to debate John Cleese during a Monty Python revival festival. You see this most often in pro se lawsuits brought by prison inmates who are challenging their convictions or treatment during incarceration. You see it a lot less often in the rarified world of intellectual property litigation. However, a case decided earlier this year is a good example of this in just that context.

Harding Earley (the Harding firm) is a law firm ouside Philadelphia. It defended a client in a case alleging trade secret misapropriation and trademark infringment, brought by Healthcare Advocates, Inc. However, by doing so the Harding firm itself attracted the wrath of Healthcare Advocates, and was sued by Healthcare for copyright infringment and various related claims.… Read the full article

Recent Cases Under the Communications Decency Act

by Lee Gesmer on November 27, 2007

My partner Joe Laferrera recently wrote this article on the Communications Decency Act (CDA) which provides important legal protections to internet service providers. I have written often on this topic (see here, here and here) and Joe’s article discusses two recent cases applying this important law, one protecting a web site from liability, the other refusing immunity.

. . . But although Section 230 of the CDA provides broad immunity for online service providers, that does not mean that there are no legal risks inherent in the business of providing online services on the web. … continue reading

Read the full article

SJC Briefs Available Online

by Lee Gesmer on November 26, 2007

Recently, I wrote an entry describing how ScotusBlog was making available online every brief filed in the Supreme Court (where the Court has accepted cert.). Now, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court is making all briefs filed in its cases availabe on the SJC website. These resources are a windfall to practitioners, who can study the research and arguments made by other attorneys, rather than tackling difficult legal issues cold. These resources (unimaginable in the pre-Internet age) can, if used properly, make practitioners both more efficient and more sophisticated in evaluating effective legal arguments.… Read the full article

Oral Argument in the Demoulas Ethics Case

by Lee Gesmer on November 21, 2007

This falls squarely under the “what were they thinking” category. I’ve written about the attorney discipline proceedings in the Demoulas case here and here. Oral argument before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court took place on October 4, 2007. These arguments may be viewed in full here (Crossen) and here (Curry). When the SJC issues its rulings on these two appeals, the door will finally close on this scandal, ten years after it first opened. The Justices’ questioning of the attorneys for Messrs. Crossen and Curry was surprisingly gentle, and their questioning of the BBO’s attorney quite aggresive. If I were in Crossen or Curry’s shoes, I would be cautiously optimistic following this hearing.… Read the full article