By Dan Brillman
Suspended Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin and her sister Janine Orie were convicted of corruption yesterday in a Pittsburgh courtroom, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Orie Melvin and Janine Orie, her former administrative aide, were found guilty of using the justice's state-paid staffers to work on personal re-election campaigns in 2003 and 2008.
A sentencing date has not been set, but the two sisters are likely to serve time, says University of Pittsburgh law professor John Burkoff. He points out that a third sister, former state senator Jane Orie, is already behind bars for similar infractions. That fact will have a bearing on the judge's sentencing, he said. "I don't know how the judge could ignore it," Burkoff said. "I think they're going to get jail time."
Orie Melvin is currently suspended from the bench and faces possible removal by a state judicial board or impeachment by the state legislature if she doesn't resign first. She also faces disbarment from a third entity, the Disciplinary Board of the state Supreme Court.
By Anna Louie Sussman
Florida’s courts might be clogged with hundreds of thousands of foreclosure cases, but legislation designed to clear that bottleneck endangers homeowners’ basic rights, argues attorney Roy Oppenheim in U.S. News & World Report.
On Feb. 7, Florida legislator Kathleen Passidomo introduced a bill she says protects consumers by requiring banks and lenders to prove ownership of a mortgage before filing for foreclosure. Under the proposed law, foreclosure filings must be reviewed by courts immediately, without a hearing. If the court finds a complaint is bona fide, it’s up to the homeowner to prove that foreclosure should not go through.
Oppenheim, whose firm defends homeowners, argues that this legislation is unfair. “What (Passidomo) doesn't say is that the banks will be permitted to provide these certifications and the court will have to accept them on face as being truthful,” he writes. “The onus falls on the homeowner to prove that the banks are not telling the truth.” What’s more, he says, the 20-day window during which homeowners can challenge the bank doesn’t give a borrower enough time to find a lawyer and build a case.
“Missing documents, fraudulent assignments, fraudulent notaries, forged documents - are we really going to trust the same banks that fueled the foreclosure crisis by creating false documentation in the first place to do the right thing this time?” Oppenheimer asks.
By Caitlin Tremblay
Actress Lindsay Lohan has been denied her day in court over
a lawsuit she brought against rapper Pitbull.
According to The
Hollywood Reporter, Lohan sued Pitbull in 2011 over a lyric from his song
“Give Me Everything,” which goes “So, I’m toptoein’, to keep flowin’, I got it
locked up, like Lindsay Lohan.” Lohan claimed the lyric caused her emotional
distress and that it was a violation of her publicity rights.
U.S. District Judge Denis Hurley in New York disagreed and
dismissed her lawsuit, saying the song was a protected work of art, meaning the
lyric is covered by the First Amendment.
Lohan came away with a minor win, however, because the judge failed to sanction her for
filing a frivolous lawsuit, which Pitbull’s
lawyers had requested.
By Suhrith Parthasarathy
The music industry’s main
lobbying group says Google is doing little to hide sites offering pirated music,
Hill reports. In a new report, the Recording
Industry of America says that Google
searches for popular music continue to bring up illegal
sites, in spite of promises last August of a new algorithmthat would weed out pirates. Yet mp3skull.com and
other similar sites with illegal tunes continue to appear in the top 10 results for common music retailers at the
expense of legitimate websites such as Apple or Amazon, according to The
“We want fans to easily and quickly find the services that
are safe, secure and reward the artists that create the music we all
love," Steven Marks, RIAA’s general counsel said in a statement, but
“Google’s demotion program is not working." In response, a Google representative said in a statement that the company
has “invested heavily in copyright tools for content owners and process
takedown notices faster than ever,” and that the
company’s partnership and distribution deals benefit both creators and
usersand “generate hundreds of millions of
dollars for the industry each year.”
By Suhrith Parthasarathy
Two Canadians have been threatened with fines of nearly
$50,000 for designing a map for a popular videogame based on a
Montreal subway station (hat tip: Ars Technica). Diego Liatis
and Frédérik Denis spent nine months making a digitized version
of the Berri-UQAM station in the city for "Counter-Strike:
Global Offensive," an online videogame in which players join
either a "terrorist" or "counter-terrorist" team. The two men
were working on the map to prepare for a gaming competition held
at a local university, École de technologie supérieure de
Montréal, in early March. But before the map was officially
released, the Société de transport de Montréal sent the pair a
The Société de transport is worried about its customers'
fear of terrorism, Escapist Magazine reports. According to
Liatis, the transportation authority said in its letter that it
doesn't want its "copyrighted metro network" to appear in the
game and that it feared "the game could create panic among the
city's public transit users." The game's other programmer,
Denis, told the magazine that the situation is "ridiculous," as
terrorists could learn the details of the station much the same
way they did.
Summary Judgments for February 21
Summary Judgments for February 20
Summary Judgments for February 19
Follow us on Twitter @ReutersLegal | Like us on Facebook