Folklaw 14 July 2006

03 March 2012 By Lawyers Weekly

Company blamed for employee’s crimeA US judge cut from $100 million to $10 million the punitive damages that Kristin Rossum would have to pay in a civil trial for murder by poison of her…

Company blamed for employee’s crime

A US judge cut from $100 million to $10 million the punitive damages that Kristin Rossum would have to pay in a civil trial for murder by poison of her husband, Gregory de Villers.

The distinctive feature of the verdict, mind you, was that the jury assigned 25 per cent responsibility for the murder to Rossum's employer, San Diego County, which employed her as a toxicologist and was blamed for letting her steal the drugs she ended up administering to him.


Where does the long arm of responsibility reach these days? What about the priest who so rashly married them all those years ago? Folklaws mind boggles.

T-shirt maker seeks damages from bear hunter

German businessman Peter Nesselthaler was so disappointed that his advertising star — a bear called Bruno - had been shot in the woods near Bavaria, that he decided to sue the hunter who shot him for damages. Bruno was shot just one day after Nesselthaler printed hundreds of Bruno T-shirts with the slogan, 'You'll never catch me'.

Hunters had been given permission to shoot the bear, but Bruno seemed to have a charmed life as he remained on the run. Hundreds of tourists, as well as hunters, had flocked to the area hoping for a sighting. Hoteliers in the area also bemoaned the loss of their “free advertising” for the region. Nesselthaler, from Munich, planned to demand damages for all the merchandise he had printed in order to cash in. Not a chance, Folklaw reckons.

In-temper advocacy

Lawyers Weekly Discover

As RollonFriday would have it, UK silk and Addleshaw partner Mark Clough QC got a lashing of a judge's tongue in the Sony v HMRC case. Lord Justice Chadwick, presiding over the case, took offence when Clough remarked that a judge had "deliberately misinterpreted" part of a previous decision. "Fearless advocacy is one thing,” warned His Honour, “intemperate advocacy is another.” Chadwick also decided that Clough’s skeleton argument for Sony was "of inordinate length" and featuring a "frequent and unnecessary resort to hyperbole". Just showing ‘em who’s boss really.

Japan sees run on ‘free’ cigarettes

A total of 1,800 packs of cigarettes were found stolen from a tobacconist in Toyota city in Japan, two days after 3,300 packs were pilfered from a grocery store in the same prefecture, Kyodo reported. Ciggies obviously became hot property after tax increases forced tobacco companies to increase their prices by 20 yen per pack. But the price hike takes it only to about $3.50, after tax and all. Let’s get this in perspective.

The lawyer's Dilbert

An American novel about the most tyrannical hiring partner in the world will be coming out towards the end of this month, Anonymous Lawyer: A Novel. Author and Harvard Law graduate Jeremy Blachman writes in the voice of the partner from hell, who sends email to his associates before the weekend, warning them they might have to come in on their days off, just to stop them getting "too comfortable".

Not a lot of work going on, but “Anonymous Lawyer” plans just to “get them to freak out a little bit, cause a little bit of discord at home. It's never a bad thing. They'll work extra hard tomorrow, and then maybe I'll only pick two or three of them who have to stay redoing a memo that's already been done, instead of the entire team." Brilliant.

Apparently Blachman's 'fictional' tirades on the blog that inspired the book are forever being echoed by emails telling him he is describing their reality. Unfortunately, like Dilbert, the nasty people making life difficult for associates aren't the ones who are going to buy and read the book from cover to cover.

Folklaw 14 July 2006
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