By Dan Brillman
Villanova Law School, which was slapped by the American Bar
Association back in 2011 for falsifying admissions data, has
received a two-year probation penalty from the Association of
American Law Schools. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the
school will not face heavier sanctions partly due to its
self-investigation. Villanova hired the law firm Ropes & Gray to
conduct the probe and KPMG to audit its internal procedures.
The school admitted misreporting incoming students' LSAT and
grade-point averages, which affects its U.S. News ranking, for
an unknown period up to 2010. The school was ranked 101st in the
nation in the magazine's latest list.
At most the AALS could have banned the school from
conference participation and assistance with hiring faculty
Scalia book event turns controversial
By Caitlin Tremblay
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia visited Princeton
University last night to discuss his new book but instead ended
up making headlines for a comment he made comparing sodomy to
murder and bestiality.
A Princeton freshman asked the justice about his support of
laws banning sodomy and why he equates such laws with those
banning bestiality and murder, according to the Associated Press
(hat tip: Slate).
Scalia responded: "It's a form of argument that I thought
you would have known, which is called 'reduction to the absurd.'
If we cannot have moral feelings against homosexuality, can we
have it against murder? Can we have it against other things?"
Scalia said that he was not directly equating sodomy with
murder but was drawing a parallel between the laws banning both.
The student said he wasn't persuaded by Scalia's argument.
The justice's comments came just a few days after the
Supreme Court agreed to hear two cases involving gay marriage:
one on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act and
the other on California's gay marriage ban, Prop 8.
By Erin Geiger Smith
When it comes to law firm parties, it's hard to top those
hosted by Houston plaintiff attorney Mark Lanier.
Invites to this year's fete arrived in a functioning toy
train set, and those who accepted headed to the Lanier family
homestead on Sunday, where entertainment included an hour-long
concert from country superstars Faith Hill and Tim McGraw. There
was also a food tent filled with fajitas and barbecue and
carnival rides, reports the The Houston Chronicle. One partygoer
sent Summary Judgments a picture of a kiddie-only activity that
featured inflatable pools filled with clear balls big enough to
hold a child. Once inside the ball, the tot could run and spin
on top of the water.
But it wasn't all country singing and water games. "Former
vice president of Guatemala and world-renowned heart surgeon"
Jose Rafael Espada was also in attendance, the Chronicle says,
and he shared with other guests information about his medical
mission work. The party helps raise funds to supply and staff
health clinics in Guatemala, the paper reports.
By Suhrith Parthasarathy
The 50 or so descendants of Ernest Hemingway's cat,
Snowball, are subject to federal regulations, the 11th Circuit
Court of Appeals ruled on Friday. [Hat tip: The Christian Science Monitor.] That means the felines, many of which are
six-toed polydactyls, can no longer roam freely in Hemingway's
former home (now a museum), which is enclosed by a brick fence
in Key West, Florida. Instead, the animals need to be better
confined by the museum's operators, who must also hire a night
watchman to keep an eye on them and get an exhibitor's license,
in accordance with the Animal Welfare Act.
The case began in 2009 when a visitor to the Hemingway
museum complained about the way the cats were kept. The U.S.
Department of Agriculture investigated the museum and determined
that it had to comply with the act since its admission fees
covered seeing the cats and the animals were used in promotional
The museum filed a complaint in district court in Florida,
arguing unsuccessfully that Snowball's offspring do not have an
effect on interstate commerce and are not subject to federal
regulations. The museum has now lost again on appeal, with a
three-judge panel unanimously affirming the district court's
ruling. "The exhibition of the Hemingway cats is integral to the
Museum's commercial purpose, and thus, their exhibition affects
interstate commerce," Chief Judge Joel Dubina wrote. "For these
reasons, Congress has the power to regulate the Museum and the
exhibition of the Hemingway cats."
Ready for their close-up
By Erin Geiger Smith
There's a team of lawyers involved in every deal, including
the backroom showbiz negotiations that end up producing
comedies, dramas and blockbuster holiday films. So, which
left-coast attorneys were behind the scenes of this year's
biggest Hollywood hits?
Check out Variety's Dealmakers Impact Report 2012, where
some entertainment lawyers are singled out for their work this
year, either as "legal eagles" or as "corporate strategists."
There are shout-outs to big-firm lawyers like O'Melveny &
Myers partner Nancy Bruington, who represented Lionsgate in
arranging an $800 million revolving credit facility, and
Skadden, Arps, Slate Meagher & Flom's Brian McCarthy, who
"repped" (in Variety's words) Disney in its $4.05 billion
acquisition of Lucasfilm, home of the "Star Wars" franchise.
Several in-house types can show their bosses that they are
among the top "corporate strategists" in Hollywood this year.
The strategizing lawyers include David Galluzzi, chief counsel
of Marvel Studios, who burnt the midnight oil to sign director
Joss Whedon to helm "Avengers 2." Rita Tuzon, general counsel
of Fox Network groups, was noted for overseeing a team that
dealt with programming rights to the Los Angeles Dodgers and
handled problems surrounding the controversial show "Family
Summary Judgments would also direct you to take a glance at
the lawyers' head shots. Though many appear to be standard issue
firm fare, a few of the dealmakers seem to have upped their
By Eileen Daspin
A 16-year old high school student in Louisville, Kentucky,
who alleged she was sexually assaulted by two classmates in 2011
has won a battle over whether she can discuss details of the
attack, Newsweek reports. Savannah Dietrich's alleged assailants
were convicted in juvenile court of sexual abuse in the first
degree and voyeurism, but under a deal with the prosecutor,
Dietrich was barred by Judge Deana McDonald from discussing the
Dietrich told Newsweek that she felt the boys were getting
off easy in the plea agreement and started tweeting. "Protect
rapist is more important than getting justice for the victim in
Louisville," read one of Dietrich's tweets. "They said I can't
talk about it or I'll be locked up. So I'm waiting for them to
read this and lock me up," read another. A legal battle ensued,
with lawyers for the assailants seeking to have Dietrich held in
contempt, and Dietrich arguing that the plea agreement violated
her free speech rights.
Dietrich won out, and the court records eventually were
unsealed, allowing Dietrich to discuss the case with Newsweek.
Her assailants had to find a new school for their senior year
and also got a stiffer sentence. "Under their final plea deal,
issued in September, the felony crime can't be completely
expunged, as per the original deal, but can be downgraded to a
misdemeanor after three years if they stay out of trouble,"
according to the magazine.
Summary Judgments for December 10
Summary Judgments for December 7
Summary Judgments for December 6
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