October 25, 2006
Favorite Halloween Legal Cases
With Halloween coming up, I've been thinking--what are professors' favorite Halloween-themed cases? My vote is Stambovsky v. Ackley, the famous NY "haunted house" case. See my post from a year ago on the case. Let me know what's your favorite Halloween case.
UPDATE: A Canadian law professor passes along Nagy v. Manitoba Free Press, (1907) 39 S.C.R. 340 (S.C.C.), in which a newspaper disparaged a house by calling it haunted.
UPDATE 2: The "haunted house" went on the market in Fall 2011. See the listing.
October 20, 2006
Indecent Exposure Laws Apply Only to Men?
From AP: In the category of bad interactions between older women and 14 year old boys who are neighbors, a 40 year old woman tired of hearing her 14 year old neighbor play basketball. So, to discourage him, she stripped within sight of his basketball venue, and threatened to strip again every time he played basketball. The boy told his parents, who called the cops, who cited her for indecent exposure. The court dismissed the citation because the relevant statute applies to someone who "exposes his person," which the judge said covers only men, not women.
Oddity #1: How does a judge read "person" to mean "male genitalia"? That might be a more defensible interpretation if the statute restricted exposure of "manhood" or something unambiguously male. (The reference to "his" should be irrelevant given a separate statutory provision that says masculine gendered words should be read as gender neutral).
Oddity #2: Why did the woman think that disrobing would discourage the boy from playing basketball?
Oddity #3: Why did the teenager complain about his neighbor's nudity? Don't get me wrong, underage teenage boys need to be protected from sexual predation and other risks. But realistically, most teenage boys would consider this situation a windfall, even if the nudity was committed with the most malicious intent.
Eathufu.com -- Was it a Scam?
You may recall that last year I blogged on a website called Eathufu.com, which offered tofu designed to taste like human flesh. At the time, I wondered if this was just a big joke. Now, a year and a half later, there are some people who believe it may have just been a scam. The Eathufu website is down (according to Wikipedia, it's been down since the summer 2006), and apparently there are unhappy customers. According to the Wikipedia entry, "At present, no confirmed or reliable claims can be found of anyone's having received Hufu purchased via the company's home page."
October 13, 2006
Battle over Goldmensex.com
I previously blogged on the battle over Goldmansex.com. Goldman Sachs successfully won a UDRP to reclaim this name, although I think I had better standing to object than they did. The registrant of Goldmansex.com, feeling a little screwed by the process, has decided to tangle with the tiger again, registering Goldmensex.com (notice the "e" instead of an "a") and trying to argue that this presents a different case. Probability of a successful defense? Zero.
October 11, 2006
Patent Lawyer Gets Statue
No question that the Wright brothers deserve credit as innovators. But what about their patent lawyer, Harry Toulmin, who wrote the patents that survived a brutal patent battle? The greater Dayton community has recognized his heroic efforts as well, erecting an 8 foot bronze statue of him in Springfield, OH. (The AP story).
October 10, 2006
Nonagenarian Gets Law Degree
From AP: Allan Stewart, a 91 year old man, got a law degree in Australia. Talk about fulfilling a lifelong dream. Welcome to the profession!
October 06, 2006
Slinky Factory Tour
I have many "life goals" I want to achieve before my time is up. Some of these are conceptual and hard to measure, such as--be a great father, husband and family member/friend and make a positive contribution to society. Others are "check the box" in nature, such as my decades-long quest to climb 100 of the tallest peaks in Southern California. (In 15 years, I've climbed 54).
Today, I checked one of those boxes. My wife and I have collected Slinkies for the last 12 years. I explain why here. We now have over 300 Slinky-related items. Naturally, for more than a decade, I've had a burning desire to visit the mother ship, the source of my joy, Slinky nirvana--the Slinky factory.
I finally made my pilgrimage. This weekend, I am at a conference in Pittsburgh, about 90 miles from the factory. So I arranged my schedule with a free morning. Early this morning, I hit the road to Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania.
As I drove into town, I was surprised to discover that Hollidaysburg doesn't do anything to celebrate the Slinky. No "Home of the Slinky" sign. No Slinky-themed burger joint. No stores selling Slinky T-shirts. There were not even any signs pointing the way to the Slinky factory (in fact, it's pretty hard to find--it was mismarked on Google Maps, and the factory is nestled between a forest and a junkyard). It's as if the town doesn't care that it's home to one of the major brands in the world.
There are no direction signs in part because the Slinky factory doesn't cater to visitors. They don't offer tours, have a visitor's center or provide a factory outlet/store (they used to but they closed it down). I drove past the junkyard to a poorly marked and unremarkable building, pulled off the street onto some unmarked asphalt, and walked in the door.
There was a display case of some slinky items in the foyer, but inside the door, there was no receptionist. On the right was a conference room with various Slinky items strewn about. On the left was a large but sparsely populated cube farm. A woman asked if she could help me. When I said that I was looking for the Slinky outlet, she told me that it was closed.
My quest could have ended there, but I took a gamble. A number of years ago, my wife had called the factory looking for an item we saw on eBay called "Slinky art" (or sometimes called "Slinky pooh")--the extrusion of plastic Slinkies at the end of a job to clean the line. She spoke with a woman named Charlene who helped her order this as a special treat for me. I remember my wife mimicking her voice, and I had a hunch I was talking to Charlene. So I asked if she was Charlene, and that provided an ice-breaker that allowed for a little dialogue.
A man walked over and Charlene introduced him as Tom James, the son of Richard and Betty James (the inventor and initial owners of the Slinky) and the manager of the enterprise. We started chatting a little. I asked if they had any more Slinky art, and he invited me back into the factory to rummage through their bin. He issued me some goggles and off we went.
Unfortunately, the factory was relatively quiet. They manufacture Slinkies 4 days a week (20 hours/day), and I came on an off-day. They were manufacturing some third party branded Slinkies-as-schwag, so I got to see the Slinkies being "printed" and then baked. Otherwise, the factory was rather unremarkable, except it had a lot of inventory for the holiday season.
All told, Tom and Charlene generously gave me about a half-hour of their time. I walked out the door a very satisfied Slinky loyalist. I also walked out with a number of goodies: an item of Slinky art (we picked one of the smallest we could find--most of them were a couple of feet tall, too big to carry on the plane); the 14k gold Slinky in a wooden box; a not-yet-shipped colored metal Slinky in a box autographed by Betty James; some Slinky-branded coloring books; and some great memories.
October 03, 2006
New Family Photos
Over 100 unedited family photos for your perusal. Among others, I like the Dina tush shot, the Dina thumbs up, and the sequence showing the (messy) interaction of a one year old baby and a piece of ice cream cake. For the record, I purchased the Hawaiian outfits (on my trip to Hawaii in August) for the kids, but even I--Mr. No-Fashion-Sense--know that it's not a good idea to combine a tie dye shirt, Hawaiian shorts, and pastel blue Croc shoes.
Kaplan Loses SJ Motion in Antitrust Lawsuit--Rodriguez v. West Publishing
In the ongoing lawsuit about Bar/Bri's alleged antitrust violations in the bar exam preparation market, Kaplan has lost its motion for summary judgment. My last entry about this case was about the Bar/Bri class action website.