Friday Links

  • It’s Friday, so as per usual, we bring you legal themed comic book issues. We’re a bit troubled by the revelation in Action Comics #900, issued late last month, in which Superman appears to renounce his American citizenship. How can a comic book superhero so closely associated with the United States of America do such a thing? We’re puzzled. We’re crestfallen. The only other person we can think of offhand who attempted to renounce his American citizenship was Lee Harvey Oswald. That’s not good company. What is Supes thinking? How does this affect the citizenship of Clark Kent? What does Lois think about this decision? Friend of the blog Ryan Steans offers his analysis here, while our pals at The Law and the Multiverse blog analyze the legal issues here.
  • Like many, we’re fans of the late, great novelist David Foster Wallace who, sadly, took his own life two years ago. Just a few weeks ago, Wallace’s last, unfinished novel, The Pale King, saw publication. We’re thankful that one of our readers writes in to report of a products liability lawsuit reference in Wallace’s mostly complete tome:

    Your readers may be interested in an amusing products liability case which appears in the recently published posthumous novel The Pale King by David Foster Wallace. On pp 200-207, a case is described in which a man’s arm is trapped in the doors of a subway train he is trying to catch, the fatal injuries that result, and the subsequent wrongful death litigation. That litigation is described as incredibly complex and such issues are raised as –

    1. “The manufacturer’s specifications for the doors’ pneumatic systems did not adequately explain how the doors could close with such force that a healthy adult male could not withdraw his arm” resulting in the manufacturer’s claim that the deceased “failed to take reasonable action to extricate his arm,” and the ensuing difficulties in refuting this claim.

    2. And, of course, the ever important question of whom to sue, and the conflict arising when the plaintiff realizes “that our legal team’s major criterion for arguing for different companies’, agencies’, and municipal entities’ different liability designations involved those different possible respondents’ cash resources and their respective insurance carriers’ record of settlement in similar cases—that is, that the entire process was about numbers and money rather than anything like justice, responsibility, and the prevention of further wrongful, public, and totally undignified and pointless death.”


  • Eric Turkewitz of the New York Personal Injury Law Blog predicts that the iPhone GS data controversy will lead to a flurry of subpoenas. He notes that the data would be handy in wreck cases and other contexts, as well. We wonder how receptive Apple would be to subpoenas from all over the country seeking such data. Will they be as resistant to such discovery as Facebook and other such sites? We shall see.
  • By no means is Abnormal Use a career site; we’re not here to help you find jobs. But friend of the blog Monica Handa offers these helpful tips for those seeking legal jobs in these trying and troubling economic times. As the hiring contact for her firm, Monica has seen her fair share of deficient resumes, so perhaps she knows a thing or two about the perils of job seeking and issues relating to such quests. An aside: We might add that when applying for a job at our firm, mentioning your adoration of Abnormal Use is a plus. It’s probably best that they don’t let us bloggers play any role in that process. Oh, well.


  1. Professor Alberto Bernabe says:

    Hello folks,

    I just wanted to quickly let you know that there is an interesting story related to renouncing the American citizenship as part of the Puerto Rican independence movement. As you probably know, Puerto Ricans are American citizens by birth, like all other Americans. But there's always been a debate as to the real status of Puerto Rico in relation to the US and under international law. At one point in the 1990s a famous political activist in PR publicly/officially renounced his US citizenship and claimed Puerto Rican citizenship. The government then denied him the right to vote in the next PR elections and he sued in the PR Supreme Court challenging the part of the law that required a person to be an American citizen to vote in the Puerto Rico elections. The Court had to decide whether there is such a thing as Puerto Rican citizenship. The court recognized Puerto Rican citizenship as a distinct legal status. The case is called Ramirez v Mari-Bras and can be found (in Spanish) in 144 DPR 141 (1997), 1997 WL 880836. For the English translation by Westlaw you can search using this cite 1997 PR-Eng 870,836.