Friday Links


“I accuse the JSA of treason!” exclaims Batman on the cover of America Vs. The Justice Society #1, published not so long ago in 1985. Technically, wouldn’t the proper caption be “United States v. The Justice Society?” We here at Abnormal Use don’t practice in the federal criminal courts, but we seem to recall that it is always the “United States” listed as a party in that type of litigation. And does Batman have enough evidence as required by the U.S. Constitution? Whatever the case, here is the somewhat confusing plot summary from, of course, Wikipedia:

The series was set on Earth-Two and began with the discovery of Batman’s diary (The pre-Crisis Earth-Two Bruce Wayne had been murdered by a criminal named Bill Jensen prior to this adventure as indicated in this story) which indicated that the Justice Society was guilty of treason during World War II and conspired to cover-up their treason after the war was over. The group is put on trial and their history is reviewed. All the historical adventures involving the JSA are remembered, and details are added. It eventually reveals that the diary is a hoax created by Batman in an effort to have the JSA apprehend Per Degaton at a future time that Batman believed he would not be alive for.

Here’s what the drummer of the band Tool told Rolling Stone about the litigation his band is facing: “We’re going to trial and we want to crush them. But every time we’ve gotten close to going to trial, it gets postponed and we’ve wasted money and time and it has just drained our creative energy. We bought an insurance policy for peace of mind, but instead we would have been better off if we never had it and just dealt with the original lawsuit.”

GWB’s own Stuart Mauney has been appointed to a one year term as a member of the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs Advisory Committee. The ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs has the mandate to educate the legal profession concerning alcoholism, chemical dependencies, stress, depression and other mental health issues. Don’t forget:  You can follow Stuart on Twitter here. (Oh, and speaking of Stuart, you should go back in time and read his “Burned At Mediation By My Own Facebook Post!” blog entry from 2012.

Finally, there was a great turnout last night at the North Carolina Legal Geeks event at Charlotte, North Carolina’s Unknown Brewing Company. North Carolina attorney Clark Walton spoke to the group about digital and smartphone forensics. If you’re into legal technology issues, you might consider following @NCLegalGeeks on Twitter.

Friday Links


As our editor recently tweeted, we here at Abnormal Use recently stumbled across the comic book cover above, that of Avengers #228, published way, way back in 1983. “At Last! The Trial of Yellow Jacket!” the cover proclaims. If you only know The Avengers from the recent films, you may be unfamiliar with Yellow Jacket a/k/a Hank Pym a/k/a Ant Man a/k/a as Giant Man a/k/a Goliath. He’s also the creator of the villainous robot Ultron (who will apparently be the main menace in the upcoming Avengers film sequel). Anyway, the producers of the Avengers films didn’t see fit to include Pym in the films, despite his status as a founding member of the group in the comics. Let’s just say, though, that he had some issues, as you might suspect from the cover above. Visible in the courtroom are She-Hulk, Captain America, Hawkeye, Thor, and Janet Pym a/k/a The Wasp, whose troubled marriage to Hank was explored in the comics for years. Here’s a summary of the issue we located:

While both the Avengers and the general public anxiously await the outcome of Hank Pym’s trial for treason, Egghead again reforms the Masters of Evil and sends them to the courthouse to free Hank. During the resultant battle with the Avengers, the newly recruited Radioactive Man unleashes a gamma ray burst which changes the She-Hulk back to Jennifer Walters, thus turning the tide in his allies’ favor. Despite the heroes’ best efforts, their opponents succeed in spiriting Hank away, while deliberately leaving behind a brainwashed Shocker to assert that the former Avenger planned his own escape. Now believing that he can never be cleared, the captive Hank is seemingly coerced into aiding Egghead’s latest scheme.

An Avenger on trial for treason, eh? How about that? In fact, we once wrote about this trial back in early 2013. For that edition of Friday Links, please see here.

In case you missed it, South Carolina Bar President Cal Watson penned an editorial entitled “Lawyers fight for America’s founding principles” for The State newspaper. You can read it here.

You know, we write a lot about McDonald’s litigation and hot coffee, but we’ve never written about bears at McDonald’s.

Friday Links (Fourth of July Edition)


Happy Fourth of July, dear readers! We assume that you, like us, are out of the office today, but we certainly felt obligated to prepare a patriotic edition of Friday Links for today! We hope that everyone has a safe and festive holiday weekend, and we encourage everyone to pause briefly to remember what happened 238 years ago today. In the spirit of the day, above, you’ll find the cover of Roger Rabbit #15, published not so long ago in 1991. We wonder if the children of today know of Roger Rabbit or still watch the classic 1980′s film, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? We certainly hope so. To visit our prior Fourth of July posts (and see some other spirited comic book covers), please see here, here, here, and here.

As always, we will return to regular posting on Monday.

Friday Links


We here at Abnormal Use never meant to cause you any sorry and we never meant to cause you any pain. (Those are lyrics we’re paraphrasing, as if you didn’t recognize them!). This past Wednesday, June 25, 2014, was the thirtieth anniversary of the release of Prince and The Revolution’s Purple Rain album. So, of course, we had to mention that on the blog this week. Above, you’ll find the cover of Rock N’ Roll Comics #21, published not so long ago in 1991. We encourage you, our dear readers, to revisit this album over the weekend and report back to us on Monday with your thoughts. Being law nerds, we decided to turn to the case law and see how often, if at all, the courts have referenced “Purple Rain.”

Although we harbored some initial doubts about dedicating a post to an album by Prince, in the end, we figured we would throw caution to the wind. So here we go.

If you plug the phrase “Purple Rain” into Westlaw, 17 cases appear in the results. Most of those cases reference night clubs, recreational drugs, or commercial tanning products named “Purple Rain.”

But we thought we’d share the three we found most interesting.

A relatively recent North Carolina federal court case, Controversy Music v. Mason, No. 5:09–CV–488–BR (E.D.N.C. June 24, 2010) involved a copyright action in the default judgement setting). The relevant paragraph:

Plaintiffs are the exclusive copyright owners of the three musical recordings—“Purple Rain”, “Yo, Excuse Me Miss”, and “Please Don’t Go”—specified in this case. Plaintiffs filed their complaint on 10 November 2009, alleging that Defendant infringed upon the specified copyrights by giving unauthorized public performances of their works on both specific occasions and in an ongoing manner at Club International, owned by Defendant. Plaintiffs allege that Defendant’s actions constituted willful violation of their rights, because the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP), of which Plaintiffs are members, advised Defendant several times of his potential liability for copyright infringement. By way of the instant motion, Plaintiffs seek statutory damages of $5,000 for each of the three copyright infringements, reasonable costs and attorney’s fees in the amount of $2,650.71, and a permanent injunction against Defendant prohibiting him from publicly performing any of the copyrighted materials in ASCAP’s repertory without authorization.

In CBS Inc. v. Pennsylvania Record Outlet, Inc.,  598 F.Supp. 1549 (W.D. Pa. 1984). The record store defendant was sanctioned for continuing to sell imported Canadian copies of Purple Rain – and other albums – after representing in a consent decree that it would not do so. The opinion has several references to agents of the Plaintiff buying copies of Purple Rain – and albums by Dio and Twister Sister – on various dates in 1984.

Back in 1989, the Amarillo Court of Appeals in Texas issued its opinion in Guss v. State, 763 S.W.2d 609 (Tex. App. – Amarillo, 1989, no writ). In that case, the defendant-appellant, charged with murder, appealed an issue relating to jury destruction. The defendant’s alias was “Purple Rain.” In fact, the full style of the case is Lisa Guss, A/K/A “Purple Rain,” Appellant, v. The State of Texas, Appellee.

So, dear readers, we recommend that you read the aforementioned three cases and find your cassette tape of Purple Rain and enjoy the weekend.


Friday Links

“Chaos in the Court!” proclaims the cover of Marvel Team-Up #51, published way, way back in 1976. In that issue, Spider-Man and Iron Man join forces to defeat a villain in a courtroom. Look closely in the top right hand corner and you’ll see the judge at his bench desperately attempting to dodge the bad guy. We can only assume that the people depicted fleeing at the bottom of the cover are lawyers or other courtroom personnel. We may need to investigate how this one turned out, but we suspect superhero battles violate the court’s local rules. If you’re curious, you can find a summary of this issue here.

You need to read about this odd lawsuit involving Eddie Murphy.

An interesting – but likely doomed – argument: “Attorneys for two people convicted in a federal mortgage fraud case are asking for a new trial, in part because they say their clients’ rights were violated when prospective jurors who did not meet the dress code at the federal courthouse in Orlando were turned away by security.” For more, please see this news article by Lyda Longa of The Daytona Beach News-Journal.

If you’re feeling some nostalgia for New Coke, you might be in luck. Click here for a trip down memory lane. (Or, if you’re a young associate, and you’ve never heard of New Coke, click that link, as well.).

Don’t forget! We here at Abnormal Use are at the North Carolina Bar Association Annual Meeting in Wilmington, North Carolina today! If you see us, say hi!

Friday Links


Oh, my. It’s Friday the 13th, which means that we must pause in apprehension to consider the implications of such a frightful day. It also gives us an opportunity to talk about scary movies. Above, you’ll find the cover of Friday The 13th: Fearbook, published not so long ago in 2006 by Avatar Press. Trust us when we say that it one of the few Friday The 13th comic book covers we felt comfortable sharing with you, our dear readers. The rest, of course, were NSFW. On a similar occasion, back in 2013, we wrote:

It is Friday the 13th. Yikes. We thought about using the cover of one of the many Friday The 13th comic book adaptations in today’s post, but they were all too violent.

Very true. Earlier that year, we exercised a similar level of restraint:

By the way, don’t forget that today is Friday the 13th. Be careful out there, folks. (Please note that we resisted the urge to post the cover of a Friday The 13th comic book adaptation.).

In 2012, we posted a relatively tame Superboy cover but warned:

Today is Friday the 13th.  Beware.

All that said, on Friday, July 13, 2012, we dedicated our Friday Links post to the Friday The 13th film series, so please see here for that.

On an unrelated note, Plaintiff’s lawyers are now using Google Glass to create point of view “day in the life” videos for their clients to play before the jury. For more on that development, see here.

The TortsProf Blog notes that New York University law professor Cathy Sharkey has posted two new pieces to SSRN, including Tort-Agency Partnerships in an Age of Preemption and Agency Coordination in Consumer Protection. For more on that, please see here. We mention this, of course, because way, way back in March of 2011, we interviewed Professor Sharkey, and you can revisit that piece here.

Big news! Yoko Ono has settled a lawsuit!

Kevin Underhill’s funny book, The Emergency Sasquatch Ordinance, is now available as an e-book. See here for our interview with Kevin about this project.

Friday Links


What is happening on the cover of Public Defender in Action #8, published way, way back in 1956? It seems that Richard Manning, the title character, has been disturbed by something happening just outside of his office window. We see a police officer apparently pursuing another gentleman – who may or may not be Manning’s client.  Are we supposed to guess? What gives? (Note: We’ve previously mentioned the Public Defender in Action series here and here).

If you haven’t already, you may want to read this piece on the U.S. Supreme Court’s previously unknown practice of editing opinions after their release.

Who is going to the North Carolina Bar Association annual convention next week in Wilmington? Our editor Jim Dedman will be there, so say hi if you see him.

Our favorite headline this week: “Underground booze slushies not as innocent as they look.” That falls under food regulation, right?

Baylor University is threatening suit against the Baylor Alumni Association. To learn more about that dispute (and to read Ken Starr’s letter to the alumni group), see here.

Friday Links


Above, you’ll find the cover of Superman & Savage Dragon: Chicago #1, published not so long ago in 2002. The plot, according to Comicvine, is as follows: “When Superman’s greatest foes leave their native Metropolis and join Chicago’s notorious criminal organization, the Vicious Circle, the call is put out for the Man of Steel to save the day.” (We hope that Supes had the opportunity to shop at Reckless Records while he was in the Windy City.). Whatever the case, we bring this cover to your attention today because our editor is in Chicago today attending the DRI Product Liability Committee Fly-In planning meeting. If you happen to find yourself at the same meeting today, please be sure to say hello!

Apropos of nothing, here is a link to a rejection letter that U2′s Bono received from a record label in May of 1979.

If you handle minor settlements in the State of South Carolina, you may want to review this new order from the South Carolina Supreme Court.

FYI: GWB attorney Luanne Runge, Immediate Past Chair of the Greenville Chamber of Commerce, has been named a 2014 South Carolina Super Lawyer in the area of Business Litigation.  For more information, please see here.

Don’t forget! You can follow Abnormal Use on Twitter here and on Facebook here! Drop us a line!

Friday Links


Above, you’ll find the cover of Mr. District Attorney #64, published many, many years ago, and to be honest we can’t quite figure out what’s going on. Surely, whatever is happening, the title character has lost his prosecutorial immunity, right?

Okay, so this Swedish warning label for matches is pretty, uh, specific.

Perhaps we could purchase this piece of real estate that is now for sale and use it for our unofficial Abnormal Use headquarters? Any thoughts, dear readers?

Our editor, Jim Dedman, got a fine shout-out in a Steinbeckian post over at the Drug and Device Law blog. The post in question, “Travels with Bexis,” can be found here.

Tara E. Nauful and Dawn M. Hardesty offer this article entitled Dischargeability of Student Loan Debt in Bankruptcy. Wouldn’t that be nice?

You really should pause and read this opinion in Morland-Jones v. Taerk from a Canadian court. The judge apparently had little patient for the affluent litigants and their dispute as neighbors. Here’s an excerpt: “There is no claim for pooping and scooping into the neighbour’s garbage can, and there is no claim for letting Rover water the neighbour’s hedge. Likewise, there is no claim for looking at the neighbour’s pretty house, parking a car legally but with malintent, engaging in faux photography on a public street, raising objections at a municipal hearing, walking on the sidewalk with dictaphone in hand, or just plain thinking badly of a person who lives nearby. There is no serious issue to be tried in this action.” Of course, Kevin Underhill of the always funny Lowering The Bar humor blog on the case, so you must read his commentary here, as well.

Everyone, please have a safe holiday weekend!

Friday Links


You know, we just realized that we rarely, if ever, talk about the Fantastic Four on Friday Links. Let’s remedy that today. Above, you’ll find the cover of “The Trial of Galactus,” a collection of Fantastic Four comics involving, well, the trial of Galactus, the cosmic being who literally devours worlds. We suspect that was a doozy of a case (although we wonder what court might have jurisdiction to try Galactus). Here’s what Comicvine has to say about that story:

This is a trade paperback book that collects the stories of Galactus within the pages of the Fantastic Four from issues #242-#262. It features the story of the trial of Reed Richards among the sentient races of the known universe. Reed Richards is on trial for “saving” Galactus. By saving him, many worlds and the trillions upon trillions of life they supported were devoured.

In the course of the trial individuals come forth to testify their stories which reveal the birth and life and purpose of Galactus in the universe…

We’ll have to track that one down, we suppose, if only to learn about the “purpose” of Galactus (although it doesn’t sound like Galactus himself was the defendant). Oh, and see this March 2010 post of ours for our last big mention of the Fantastic Four.

So, you dig F. Scott Fitzgerald? Well, then, you need to do two things. First, check out this list of 22 books he recommend in a list from 1936. Then, go revisit our May 2013 list of Seven Court Opinions That Cite The Great Gatsby. That should take care of your Friday morning for you. Oh, and apologies for sounding like Buzzfeed for a moment or two there. We’ll do better in the future. We promise.

“Even I’m bored with the subject, and this type of case fits in my wheelhouse, and is especially important to anyone that tries cases in front of juries,” writes Eric Turkewitz of the New York Personal Injury Law Blog of the infamous Stella Liebeck McDonald’s Hot Coffee case. As you probably know, we here at Abnormal Use talk about that case a good bit. To read his full post on that subject, please see here.

Okay, so wreck cases are about to get more interesting. From Popular Science: “Volvo Puts Autonomous Cars In The Hands Of Consumers.” From Discover Magazine: “The Flying Car That Could Expedite Your Morning Commute.” From Mashable: “See How Google’s Self-Driving Car Navigates City Streets.” We’re really going to need to alter our discovery strategies for driverless and/or flying cars.

Asks @GideonsTrumpet: “At what point in your life do you have to be to sue Subway over the fact that their foot-long sandwiches are actually only 11 inches long?” A good question, that.