Smartphone Kill Switch Campaign Gathers Momentum

NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and mayor-to-be Bill de Blasio renewed their effort to pressure smartphone manufacturers to include a kill switch on their phones. The October press conference was the latest stage in Schneiderman’s ongoing campaign to convince manufacturers to improve the security features of their smartphones.

By the way, when did this Seagal movie come out? I know he’s made like 30 direct-to-DVD movies in the last few years, but I don’t remember hearing anything about this “masterpiece.” I can only imagine what the dialogue was like. “I brought my own kill switch,” said Seagal while pointing his gun at the camera. Then again, nothing is ever topping this one-liner.

Oh Canada!

Canada has a lot to prove as it prepares for the 2015 Pan Am Games to be held in Toronto.

My Canadian feature for the November issue of “The American Lawyer” and the January edition of “Corporate Counsel”:

If You Build It, They Will Come. A look at how Ontario used public-private partnerships (P3) to build the necessary facilities and infrastructure for the 2015 Pan American Games, and the law firms advising the province and companies involved.

It Takes a Village. The Pan Am Athletes’ Village, which holds the key to the long-planned revitalization of the Toronto waterfront, wasn’t a typical P3 project.

Preparing for the Pan Am Games is Keeping Canadian Lawyers Busy. Q&A with Infrastructure Ontario’s Eric Tilley, one of the in-house attorneys involved in the Pan Am P3 process. (subscription required)

Judge Narrows Challenge on Ban on Ultimate Fighting

U.S. district judge Kimba Wood trimmed a lawsuit brought by mixed martial artists in New York arguing that the state ban on MMA events is unconstitutional.

See also: Battleground State: The Battle to Legalize Mixed Martial Arts in New York.

Some fighting to legalize mixed martial arts in NY.

Suit Fights State Ban of Mixed Martial Arts.

Texas GOP Senate Hopeful Attacked by Primary Foe for Being Partner at “Liberal” Morgan Lewis

Is Morgan, Lewis & Bockius a hotbed of liberal activism? Yes, according to Texas lieutenant governor and U.S. Senate candidate David Dewhurst, who is making that claim as part of a his Republican primary campaign against Morgan Lewis partner Ted Cruz.

Unfortunately, the video of the ad is no longer available.

Suit Fights State Ban of Mixed Martial Arts

You usually don’t associate sports with the First Amendment. The UFC hopes the courts will do what the NY legislature has failed to do, thus far. On a personal note, this was the first time I’ve written about MMA since my J-School days.

Related posts:

Battleground State: The Battle to Legalize Mixed Martial Arts in New York.

Some fighting to legalize mixed martial arts in NY.

Not So Mandatory After All?

This was originally going to run in the October issue of The American Lawyer, but it got killed for reasons unknown. I liked the story, though, and thought it would have been a good one, so I figured I’d post it here:

When the U.S. Supreme Court decided AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion in April, upholding a mandatory arbitration and class action waiver clause in a consumer agreement, plaintiff’s lawyers and commentators reacted as if they had lost a loved one. The New York Times accused the Concepcion majority of barring Americans from enforcing their rights in court while Jeremy Heisler, a founding partner of Sanford Wittels & Heisler, called the decision “extreme” and feared the decision would have a chilling effect on employees reporting abuses.

But a funny thing happened on the way to mandatory arbitration land, where the results are secret, the rules of evidence and discovery are relaxed, and the costs are usually much lower than in litigation. Judges in both employment and consumer class actions have been refusing to follow Concepcion, often distinguishing their own cases on factual differences. In some cases, they’ve even attributed a broad consumer-friendly undertone to Concepcion.

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