Friday Links

  • “[W]hile the Beastie Boys might disagree, the First Amendment does not imply a ‘right to party’ dissociated from expression.” URI Student Senate v. Town of Narragansett, — F. Supp. 2d —-, No. 08-207, 2010 WL 222587, at *6 n.4 (D.R.I. Jan. 22, 2010) (internal link obviously added) (Link courtesy of The Volokh Conspiracy). Nice, but can it compete with the 1987 Fifth Circuit Talking Heads opinion? We here think not.
  • The Cal Biz Lit blog offers its analysis of some recent uses of California’s Proposition 65, which empowers private plaintiffs to sue certain companies who are allegedly exposing persons to “chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer” or “chemicals known to the State of California to cause reproductive or developmental harm” without a “clear and reasonable warning.” The blog notes how this provision was recently used to extract settlements from manufacturers of purses made of vinyl and leather, which sometimes contain lead.
  • The VLW Blog reports on the very recent Sutton v. Roth, L.L.C., No. 08-1914, 2010 WL 235143 (4th Cir. Jan 21, 2010) (unpublished), a ruling the TortsProf Blog is calling a “sequel to the McDonald’s coffee case.” Apparently, the Plaintiff alleged that when he bit into his sandwich, “the grease from the inside of the chicken sandwich spread out all over [his] bottom lip, [his] top lip, down onto [his] chin.” According to The VLW Blog, the Plaintiff sued McDonald’s and its franchisee for $2 million, but a federal district judge granted summary judgment for McDonald’s and judgment as a matter of law for the franchisee, who had to face a brief trial on the merits. (Perhaps the franchisee didn’t earn summary judgment because one of its employees remarked that “[t]his is what happens to the sandwiches when they aren’t drained completely.”). The district court did, however, grant the franchisee’s motion in limine to exclude that statement, which became one of the Plaintiff’s appellate points. Last week, the Fourth Circuit reversed both orders and remanded the case back to trial. (The opinion is here [PDF]).
  • This week, Brian A. Comer at the South Carolina Products Liability Blog began the first in a series of posts on South Carolina warning law.
  • The South Carolina Bar has made available online the full report of its Young Lawyers Division Social Media Task Force. Initially submitted to the Bar’s Board of Governors in November of 2009, the report was presented to the Board at last week’s South Carolina Bar state convention by our own Jim Dedman, who chaired the task force. Included in the report are recommendations on how the State Bar can use social media to better communicate with its members. You can see the full report here (PDF).

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