Legal Research

Credit Default Swap Explained

I just discovered OverHedged, a blog by Thompson Hine that covers hedge fund litigation. Earlier, I was reading a news article about credit default swap (CDS) agreements and started looking for some information on CDS litigation. Google directed me to this page regarding Aon Financial Products v. Societe Generale. Well-written and extremely insightful. A sign of a good blog is when you want to browse around and read their other posts.


Deal or No Deal

The New York Times reports that a new study compares the settlement offers and trial outcomes for plaintiffs and defendants who ended up going to trial. The study was performed by DecisionSet, a litigation and settlement research firm.

intellectual property

Corbis Sued for Copyright Infringement

When the RIAA sues some teenager for sharing music on Kazaa, it’s no longer news. After a while, the legal machinations gets old. Quick. So, when a media company gets sued for copyright infringement, that’s news. Or is it? While browsing through Pravda Studios, LLC v. Corbis Corporation et al., I came across a lot of the standard boilerplate:

This action is brought in response to a classic case of copyright infringement, specifically the unauthorized copying and commercial, for-profit use, copying, display and distribution of Plaintiff’s live action, motion picture, film footage entitled PRAVDA B-STOCK: SPAIN. 

This is a serious accusation. So, I had to find out what exactly Corbis had done to engage in a classic case of copyright infringement. To me, a classic case would involve Corbis ripping the video off someone else’s website and using it in their own marketing material. That’s classic. Instead, what really occurred was that Pravda allegedly submitted their video to Corbis, and Corbis allegedly lost it. Huh? That doesn’t sound like a classic case of copyright infringement to me.


You lost me at…T-Shirt

From the Complaint in Brittany Pitts v. Joseph R. Francis et al.:

Plaintiff was socializing with friends and new acquaintances on the beach in Panama City when she was approached by Defendant Joe Francis as an agent and representative of Defendant Mantra Films and Defendant MRA. Defendant Francis and another agent of the Defendants coerced Plaintiff into exposing her breasts while being filmed in return for a single t-shirt.

Joe Francis is the founder of Mantra Films, which produces the infamous Girls Gone Wild video series. Coerced I understand. However, coerced in return for a single t-shirt? What does that even mean?


BeOS is Better than Windows

From the Complaint filed in Daisy Mountain Fire District v. Microsoft Corporation:

Software companies offering superior operating systems and/or lower prices (namely, companies such as Digital Research, Inc. (“DRI”), International Business Machines (“IBM”), and Be, Inc.) were not able to compete with Microsoft because of Microsoft’s unlawful conduct.

C’mon. You can’t be serious. I’m no fan of Microsoft, but to claim that BeOS couldn’t compete because of Microsoft’s unlawful conduct is absolutely ridiculous. All this time, I thought BeOS was competing against Mac OS, not Microsoft Windows. Instead of resolving this problem in the courtroom, the Daisy Mountain Fire District (and similarly situated government entities, agencies and political subdivisions of the State of Arizona) can take a truly meaningful stand by supporting other operating systems, such as Mac OS X, Linux, or even the BeOS-inspired Haiku open-source operating system. And, it’s not like Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel are the only two choices out there. Google Apps anyone? Suing and getting a coupon back doesn’t change the market dynamics. Switching to alternative operating systems and applications does.

personal injury

Products Liability Watch: Butter-Flavored Microwave Popcorn

MedPage Today: Brochiolitis Obliterans Pops Up in Home Microwave. A microwave-popcorn addict who found the aroma of the freshly made snack to be irresistibly intoxicating has developed brochiolitis obliterans[.]

I had previously seen reports of workers in popcorn plants suffering respiratory illness from breathing in diacetyl, which popcorn manufacturers use to impart the flavor of butter to popcorn. However, this is the first time that I’ve read about it occurring in consumers. I wonder if we’ll be seeing “If you’ve been injured in a popcorn accident…” ads on late-night television. Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP does have a Butter Flavoring Lung Injury website.


Endangered Species in the Legal System

The Grizzly Bear, Bighorn Sheep and Humpback Whale. Now is a good time to add Doe Plaintiffs to the endangered species list. In Doe 1 et al. v. Ciolli et al., the plaintiffs alleged that the defendants defamed, harassed and threatened them on AutoAdmit, an Internet law school admissions discussion board.Seriously, what’s the point of filing the case as a Doe Plaintiff? When the complaint includes specific phrases with fairly unique combinations of words, someone typing those same phrases into Google can easily retrieve the name of the plaintiffs. Can doe plaintiffs truly be anonymous in this day and age?