Friday Links

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As you know, we here at Abnormal Use love courtroom themed comic book covers. After posting comic book covers for nearly five years, though, we are always on the lookout for ones we’ve missed. Well, we’re not entirely certain what is occurring on the cover of My Secret Life #26, published way, way back in 1958. We have a witness either taking or leaving the witness stand, a judge apparently about to strike his gavel, and a mysterious hand, perhaps that of a lawyer, holding a pair of glasses.

Did you watch “Bad Judge” last night? If so, any thoughts? If you missed Nick Farr’s review of the first two episodes, click here.

You know, since today is the first Friday in October, perhaps it is a good day to revisit U2′s October album, released way back in 1981.

Our favorite legal tweet of the week is, of course, related to famed cartoon lawyer Lionel Hutz:

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“You have the right to remain silent! Anything you say can and will be used against you!” a law enforcement official advises Superman, who foolishly decides to waive those rights immediately. “I’m guilty!” Superman exclaims. Um, perhaps he should have retained counsel? This scene comes from the cover of Action Comics #556, published way, way back in 1984, but certainly long enough after the Warren Court jurisprudence for Supes to be aware that he shouldn’t make such declarations of guilt. Oh, my.

Well, it appears that a 2012 post made Reddit last week. How about that?

Don’t forget: You can follow Abnormal Use on Facebook here and on Twitter here. Drop us a line sometime, will you?

Our favorite legal tweet of late (dealing with signature lines in lawyer emails):

Friday Links

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So, Superman says, “Robots of the jury, you cannot condemn Luthor for a crime against your world. Despite his evil past, he is innocent! And I will prove it with the next witness!” And then Luthor thinks to himself, “Superman must be mad to defend me! All the evidence proves I’m guilty!” So, that’s the dialogue on the cover of Action Comics #292, published way, way back in 1962. Now, perhaps things are different with robot juries on other planets, but considering his history on Earth, why is Supes volunteering to meet a burden of proof here? Doesn’t the robot society value the presumption of innocence? What gives? And by the way, who is Superman’s next witness? Surely, it’s not Luthor himself?

Apparently, according to this tweet, someone at the Conference of Government Mining Attorneys this week dissed the movie Armageddon!

If you’re a reader of this site, you may know that we maintain a Facebook page for this blog. You can find that here. Guess what? We here at Gallivan, White, & Boyd, P.A. have now also established a Facebook account for the firm more generally. You can access that you Facebook page here. We hope you’ll check it out.

Our favorite legal tweet of late:

Friday Links

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Above, you’ll find the cover of Action Comics #286, published way, way back in 1962. As you can see, Superman stands before “The Jury of Super-Enemies,” a body composed of Saturn Queen, Cosmic King, Brainiac, Lightning Lord, Electro, and of course, Lex Luthor. We’re thinking that perhaps Supes should have simply waived his right to a jury trial if these villains were to serve as the fact finders. In fact, imagine how bad the venire panel must have been for old Supes to end up with this lot serving as the jurors.

Okay, so footnote 7 of this recent Texas Supreme Court case cites to and quotes The Big Lebowski. We’re not entirely certain what to think about that, but now we’re anxiously awaiting a Miller’s Crossing citation. (Hat Tip: Paul Szoldra at Business Insider).

The music site Loudwire offers an article entitled “10 Infamous Rock Lawsuits.”

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You might recall that back in April of 2011 we interviewed Brian Dale Allen Strouse of The Lawsuits, a Philadelphia rock band. Well, The Lawsuits are releasing a new EP, Tumbled, later this month. (That’s the cover depicted above.). For more information, see here.

A reader directs us to “Understanding North Carolina’s Proposed Constitutional Amendment Allowing Non-Jury Felony Trials” by Jeffrey B. Welty and Komal K. Patel. If you’re in North Carolina, you may want to read it before election day.

Our favorite recent tweet must be this one:

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You know, we must ask what exactly is occurring on the cover of Adventure Comics #370, depicted above and published way, way back in 1968. Our heroes face “The Devil’s Jury,” suggesting perhaps that Superboy did not retain a jury consultant. “Legionnaires, for numerous acts of anti-crime, I sentence you to the Devil’s Island of Space!” exclaims the sorcerer jurist. That sounds unpleasant. Why is it that villains are always sentencing people to vile punishments at mock tribunals? Why are they concerned about the appearance of due process? This makes little sense.

Apparently, Thomson Reuters is officially retiring Westlaw Classic. We don’t know what we are going to do without it.

Okay, the rock band Kiss is being sued by a security guard claiming injuries arising from confetti. Yes, you read that correctly: confetti. For more on that, see here.

Guess what? GWB’s own David Rheney was recently named Lawyer of the Year in Insurance Law for Greenville by Best Lawyers in America. See here on that story.

Here’s our favorite tweet of the week from Texas country musician Owen Temple:

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Okay, so above is the cover of Spider-Man: The Arachnis Project #3, published back in 1994.  The cover boldly proclaims: “The Jury is in and the verdict for Spider-Man is death.” Well, Spider-Man is certainly not in a courtroom. According to Wikipedia, “[t]he Jury is a fictional group of armored vigilantes in the Marvel Comics universe.” Get it? They’re armed vigilantes, and they call themselves “The Jury.” Sigh. In light of that, we suppose the cover above depicts Spider-Man exercising his peremptory challenges. Yes, you read that right. We tried to make a joke about a comic book vigilante group called The Jury. We’re sorry about that.

On a more serious note, the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina recently issued the following notice about its local rules:

The Local Civil and Criminal Rules for this district were amended effective August 20, 2014.  The amendments include numerous stylistic changes including changes to capitalization, punctuation, citation form, and sentence structure.  Two rules were modified substantively:  Local Civil Rule 83.I.07 (Withdrawal of Appearance); and Local Civil Rule 83.VII.07 (Application for Attorney Fees [in Social Security cases]).

The amended rules as well as redlined comparisons of the most recent amendments to the November 15, 2013 versions of the Local Civil and Criminal Rules are available on the court’s website (http://www.scd.uscourts.gov) under the “What’s New” and “Rules” tabs.

We have to hand it to the Popehat Twitter account, which has perfectly captured the ennui of Star Wars fans of a certain age in the tweet below. As you might guess from our posts here and here, we are sympathetic.

Finally, we hope everyone has an eventful and safe holiday weekend. We here at Abnormal Use will be watching college football.

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Above, you’ll find the cover of City of Heroes #5, published not so long ago in 2004. Apex, the superhero depicted on the cover, has received a jury summons (although we’re uncertain why he wears his costume to check his mail.). You may recall that the cover of the very recent She-Hulk #6 – published in 2014 – depicted that super heroine with a civil summons. In fact, at that time, our editor Jim Dedman speculated in a tweet that She-Hulk #6 might be the first comic book to depict a legal summons:

Well, obviously, in light of the City of Heroes cover above, the answer to that question is no. Alas.

You know, we never did write about Madonna potentially serving on a New York jury this summer. Did you hear about that? Apparently, she received some special treatment at the courthouse. What a voir dire that might have been! For more, see here.

By the way, speaking of legally themed tweets, here’s one of our recent favorites (authored by Colorado journalist Matt Sebastian):

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As we complete this week’s coverage of the twentieth anniversary of the Stella Liebeck McDonald’s hot coffee trial, we thought it might be fun to revisit some of our past hot coffee and food related posts. But first: Above, you’ll find the cover of McDonaldland Comics #102 which we felt we had to share in light of this week’s theme. We’re not entirely certain what Ronald McDonald is doing on the cover, but surely, he is being contributorily negligent. And with that, we return to the Liebeck case one last time this week to direct you to some links to our favorite blog posts on that and other hot food and beverage cases.

So, without further ado, here they are below (including the posts that ran this week on the subject):

The McDonald’s Hot Coffee Case: Revisiting The Eyewitness Trial Testimony” (Jim Dedman, August 13, 2014).

20 Years of McDonald’s Hot Coffee Case Rhetoric” (Nick Farr, August 12, 2014).

20 Years Ago This Week: The Stella Liebeck McDonald’s Hot Coffee Trial” (Jim Dedman, August 11, 2014).

The Stella Liebeck McDonald’s Hot Coffee Case FAQ” (Jim Dedman, January 25, 2011).

Spill the Beans: The Truth Behind Susan Saladoff’s “Hot Coffee” Documentary” (Nick Farr, January 24, 2011).

Abnormal Use Cited in Today’s New York Times on ‘Hot Coffee’ Documentary” (Jim Dedman, June 26, 2011).

Film Review: Susan Saladoff’s “Hot Coffee” Documentary” (Nick Farr, June 27, 2011).

Statutory Construction: What is a “Documentary” Film?” (Jim Dedman, October 13, 2011).

Thoughts on “Hot Coffee” Director Susan Saladoff’s Appearance on “The Colbert Report”” (Nick Farr, October 26, 2011).

The McDonald’s Hot Coffee Case: Distinguishing Between Facts and Theory” (Nick Farr, March 19, 2013).

Photograph of the Day: The Canadian Hot Coffee Warning?” (Nick Farr, April 24, 2013).

The New York Times Reflects On Post-Liebeck Life” (Nick Farr, November 7, 2013).

Hot Queso Jurisprudence in Pennsylvania” (Jim Dedman, December 12, 2013).

Liebeck v. McDonalds Restaurants: The Original Coffee Product Liability Case” (Jim Dedman, April 24, 2014).

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Above, you’ll find the cover of McDonaldland Comics #101 which, really, has no apparent legal theme. However, we bring this comic book cover to your attention today because it is the 20th anniversary of the infamous Stella Liebeck McDonald’s hot coffee trial. That’s right, dear readers! Twenty years ago today, on August 8, 1994, that fateful trial began. The case would soon become the most well known American civil trial. Next week, we’ll be discussing the case in much more detail. In fact, we’ll have a week’s worth of coverage!

Apparently, there is a new brewery in the Carolinas called Legal Remedy Brewing Company. How about that?

We dug this article by Jena McGregor from The Washington Post simply entitled “The out-of-office reply, deconstructed.” We’ve been receiving a lot of these lately, and we’re pleased to learn that there is a philosophy of sorts to crafting them.

According to Scientific American, the State of California is now legislating the ability to operate driverless cars. Reports Corinne Iozzio:

The law is finally catching up to driverless cars. As of September 16, the state of California—home of auto newcomer Google—will require test drivers to have a special license, like a trucker or school bus driver. They will need to be employees or contractors of the car manufacturer, complete safety training, and have clean road records. Carmakers themselves will have to apply for a testing permit annually, install manual controls and override systems in each car, submit incident reports and secure $5 million in insurance.

By the way, remember back in 2011 when Scientific American name checked the Abnormal Use law blog? Yes, we do, too.

Oh, and our favorite tweet of late came from our GWB’s own Ron Tate, who commented upon a recent deposition experience:

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 Okay, so how’s this for a legally themed comic book cover? Above, you’ll find the cover of Uncanny X-Men #23, published just a weeks ago in 2014. The cover is simple: It depicts “The Last Will and Testament of Charles Xavier,” who we all know to be the leader of The X-Men. What is his testamentary intent? Did he comply with all of the formal prerequisites required of the execution of a will? Who were the witnesses to its execution? We assume that with such a fancy cover page that it is not a holographic will. We’ll review the issue and report back dear readers. In fact, this is the same comic book issue that we mentioned last week due to the fact that a part of the narrative is set in Charleston, South Carolina.

Here’s some news: In this month’s ABA Journal, our editor Jim Dedman offers two contributions to its “12 Movies With Pivotal Lessons Featuring Lawyers” article. As a part of that piece, he was asked to choose a significant legal scene from a film and identify some of the lessons that lawyers can learn from it. Of course, he chose to write about the expert witness sequence in My Cousin Vinny (a film to which we here at Abnormal Use dedicated a week’s worth of posts on the occasion of its twentieth anniversary back in 2012). As for his other contribution, he chose to discuss the wonderful Wilford Brimley scene in Absence of Malice.

Here’s how he describes the scene in Vinny:

In the final trial sequence, Vinny calls an unsuspecting Mona Lisa to the stand to testify as an expert witness for the defense. In so doing, he draws an objection from the prosecutor (Lane Smith), who rises to question Mona Lisa’s expertise. He then conducts a brief voir dire of Mona Lisa—which, curiously, takes place in the jury’s presence—to determine whether she is indeed qualified to testify. Impressed by the depth of her automotive knowledge, the prosecutor withdraws his objection and the judge permits her to testify. Through her testimony, Vinny wins an acquittal for his clients.

As for Absence of Malice, he sets the scene as follows:

No summary can do the final sequence justice; it must be seen to be fully experienced. As Gallagher’s efforts to “get even” begin to come to fruition, Wells convenes a meeting of all of those involved in the Gallagher affair—including the federal prosecutor, the district attorney (to whose campaign committee Gallagher has made anonymous contributions so as to cast doubt upon him), Carter and the newspaper’s lawyer—in an office conference room. The federal prosecutor attempts a mock cross-examination of Gallagher to prove his revenge scheme, but Wells takes over the meeting and queries Carter about her source into the investigation of Gallagher. Carter admits she received the information from the federal prosecutor, and following that admission, Wells—after commenting on the First Amendment and the purported reporter’s privilege—tells everyone where they now stand.

You’ll need to visit the ABA Journal‘s site to see the potential lessons from these films. You can read the Absence of Malice article here and the My Cousin Vinny article here.

By the way, we once tried to interview Mr. Brimley about his fateful scene, but alas, it was not in the cards. But it resulted in an interesting story about our attempts to do so, which you can revisit here.