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Teen Appealing Web Blog Free Speech Decision
Law Firm News | 2008/03/05 20:22
A high school senior who used vulgar language in reference to her school administrators is appealing the decision of a lower federal court and fighting for her right to serve as class secretary and to speak at her graduation in the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York.

Avery Doninger, 17, was barred from running for class secretary by Lewis S. Mills High School in Burlington, Conn. because administrators she had written in her personal blog that officials were “douchebags” because she thought they cancelling an event she had helped plan. She also called for others to take action against Superintendent Paula Schwartz and to “piss her off more” by writing and calling Schwartz. Officials discovered the blog two weeks after she had written and the teen was told to apologize to Schwartz, show her mother the blog and was told she could not run again for re-election as class secretary. Doninger won the position by write-in votes, but was not permitted to serve.

U.S. District Judge Mark Kravitz had said that because Doninger’s blog was addressing school issues and because it was read by other students, she could be punished by the school. However, in the appeal, Doninger’s attorney argued that schools should not be able to regulate what is done on the internet if it does not create a risk of disruption and because it did not take place on school grounds or during a school activity.

"It's just a bigger soapbox," her attorney, Jon L. Schoenhorn, told the Hartford Courant.

According to the Hartford Courant, Thomas R. Gerarde, the school’s attorney, said that the Internet has increased the impact of their words by how many people they can reach and that if student leaders make offensive comments about the school on the Internet, the school should be able to punish them.

"We shouldn't be required to just swallow it," he said.

He also contended that the blog did cause school officials to receive numerous phone calls and emails and that some students had considered staging a sit-in.

However, the Harford Courant reported, Judge Sonia Sotomayor said that "pedagogical rights can't supersede the rights of students off campus to have First Amendment rights."


Civil Rights & the Hawthorne Police Dept & The LAPD
Legal Interview | 2008/03/05 20:16

Civil Rights Litigation. Gary discusses alleged police brutality and alleged misconduct by the Hawthorne, California, and Manhattan Beach, California, police. Joining Gary is Scott Tierney, who alleges he suffered serious personal injuries during a booking process with the Hawthorne police. In this powerful interview, Gary and Scott provide riveting testimony about a series of allegedly grave actions by the police and the need to educate the public about these shocking details. Gary further addresses the broader problem of police misconduct and its threat to public safety and community trust. Police misconduct also includes accepting bribes, improper search and seizure, harassment and racism in law enforcement. Police misconduct violates the oath of peace officers and their responsibilities as public servants. Victims of police misconduct can be wrongfully convicted of crimes, lose property and freedom, and face social stigmatization. Police misconduct also creates distrust between police and the public they are meant to protect. Police misconduct often goes uncorrected because people do not understand their rights as citizens. Prevention of police misconduct by an informed public can avert violence, wrongful convictions, and abuse of authority. In general, police misconduct is the exception - most police officers are law-abiding citizens, but when police misconduct does occur, police departments can fail to address the problem in the appropriate manner.

Gary S. Casselman is a superb trial attorney with extensive experience in the fields of criminal defense, personal injury and police misconduct. He has authored and lectured about police misconduct litigation and is a court qualified expert in matters such as legal malpractice and enjoys membership in the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. Gary is also a member of the Consumer Attorneys of Los Angeles and Police Watch. He holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and a law degree from Southwestern University School of Law.

You can contact Gary at 310-390-4406

http://www.lawyers.com/garycasselman

or email gary.casselman2@verizon.net



Johnson & Perkinson Announces Class Action
Press Release | 2008/03/05 20:13
Johnson & Perkinson hereby announces the commencement of a class action lawsuit naming Superior Offshore International, Inc. ("Superior Offshore" or the "Company") (Nasdaq: DEEP). Individuals, families, trusts or other entities that purchased Superior Offshore common stock between April 20, 2007 and January 9, 2008, inclusive, have the opportunity to participate as Lead Plaintiffs in the currently pending class action litigation against the Company. To do so, you must apply to serve in that capacity by April 28, 2008.

Johnson & Perkinson, a litigation boutique law firm based in South Burlington, Vermont, has extensive experience prosecuting investor class actions and actions involving financial fraud. Attorneys Johnson and Perkinson are both former employees of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Dedicated to maximizing shareholder return, members of Johnson & Perkinson have prosecuted complex class actions alleging securities or consumer fraud/deception on behalf of investors/consumers against numerous public companies since 1985, resulting in the recovery of many hundreds of millions of dollars, and have been singled out for excellence by various courts. The firm is litigating, or has recently resolved litigation, as Lead or Co-Lead Counsel in securities class actions against Xerox, Priceline, Wireless Facilities, i2 and Xchange, and serves on the Executive Committee in the Global Crossing case.

The Complaint charges the Company and certain of its officers and directors with making a series of materially false and misleading statements in the Registration Statement and Prospectus issued in connection with the IPO, in violation of the Securities Act of 1933.

If you wish to discuss this action or have any questions concerning this announcement or your rights or interests with respect to these matters, please contact Johnson & Perkinson attorneys James F. Conway, III, Eben F. Duval, or Christopher Allen toll free at 1-888-459-7855; via email at email@jpclasslaw.com; through our website at www.jpclasslaw.com; or by mail at Johnson & Perkinson, 1690 Williston Road, P.O. Box 2305, South Burlington, Vermont 05403. Though Johnson & Perkinson has not filed a Complaint against Superior Offshore at this time, attorneys at Johnson & Perkinson can investigate your potential claims and help you decide if seeking appointment as a Lead Plaintiff is right for you. Your ability to share in any recovery is not affected by your decision to not seek appointment as a Lead Plaintiff.



Enron class-action firm bills for 247,000 hours
Press Release | 2008/03/05 20:11

A lawyer who helped reap a US$7.2-billion settlement for Enron investors says his firm deserves a record US$700-million in fees, due to the complexity and risky nature of the case.

"This is an extraordinary case and we did an extraordinary job," Patrick Coughlin, a partner with Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins LLP, the lead attorneys in the case, told a hearing in U.S. District Court in Houston.

The firm's founder, William Lerach, retired in August. He pleaded guilty to kickback scheme at his former law firm, but still stands to receive a multi-million-dollar payout from the Enron case.

Coughlin Stoia is seeking about 9.5% of the total settlement amount, which would equal nearly US$700-million.

Mr. Coughlin presented his case in an elaborate multimedia presentation to U.S. District Judge Melinda Harmon, who now must approve the fee award. The presentation included testimonials from former Enron employees and a clip from the Oscar-nominated legal thriller Michael Clayton.

Over the course of the case that lasted six years, Mr. Coughlin said his firm billed 247,000 hours, took 400 depositions and submitted 5,700 filings.

"We didn't leave any avenue unturned," he said.

Still, other attorneys took issue with the size of the award, arguing that more should go to investors.

"Class counsel has not proved the legitimacy of this fee request," Larry Schonbrun, who represents a single investor in the case, told the court.

The settlement was paid by banks including Citigroup Inc. that are accused of helping the energy trader hide financial misdeeds that led to its collapse. The settlement still lacks final approval from Judge Harmon.

Recently, a group of plaintiffs firms sought about US$460-million in fees following settlements in a securities fraud case against Tyco International Ltd.

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