Judge Calls $75 Trillion Damage Request in Limewire Request “Absurd”

Manhattan Federal Judge Kimba Wood Calls Record Companies’ Request for $75 Trillion in Damages ‘Absurd’ in Lime Wire Copyright Case. Not as absurd as Rebecca Black’s “Friday” – an Auto-Tuned stream-of-consciousness narrative that makes “Trapped in the Closet” seem like “A Day in the Life.” (subscription required)

UPDATE (10/26/12): I engaged in a little back-and-forth with Wikipedia over the validity of the $75 trillion figure. I managed to back up my reporting, though.

Pro Bono 2010

I wrote these four stories in my first few weeks as an intern at The American Lawyer. I got a lot of internal praise for these and I think they may have contributed to their decision to hire me on a full-time basis.

The Other Gay Marriage Case: Prop 8 in California may get all of the attention, but a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act brought by lawyers at Foley Hoag, Sullivan & Worcester and Jenner & Block could be the case to watch. By sheer luck, my story about the case (Gill v. Office of Personnel Management) was posted a mere half hour before the decision came down.

Solitary Men: Squire Sanders fights against 23-hour-a-day lockdown for the Angola Three.

A Scene from the Manchurian Candidate: Morrison & Foerster’s Gordon Espalmer represents victims of Cold War era mind-control experiments.

Innocence Beyond All Doubt: Law firms work to reverse the convictions of the “Norfolk Four.”

Battleground State: The Fight to Legalize MMA in New York (Part 6)

The Fighters

For Matt Serra, the former UFC Welterweight Champion, the worst part about training for a fight is having to give up pasta so that he can make the 170-pound welterweight limit. However, he loves to fight and can’t imagine himself doing anything else. “I’ve been studying jiu-jitsu since I was 19-years old, and I’m 35 now. I practice everything, but there’s something about jiu-jitsu that I love. It’s based on leverage and technique, and the fluidity of the moves from one transition to the other. I have a real love of the art of jiu jitsu, and I took to it like a fish to water,” said Serra, who won a gold medal at the 1999 Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Pan American championships.

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Battleground State: The Fight to Legalize MMA in New York (Part 5)

The Pundit

Bert Sugar is one of the world’s foremost authorities on boxing. A member of the Boxing Hall of Fame, Sugar has written over 60 books, including some on boxing; has edited The Ring, Boxing Illustrated and Fight Game magazines, and was named “The Greatest Boxing Writer of the 20th Century” by the International Veterans Boxing Association. The quick-witted and sharp-tongued Sugar, known as much for his one-liners as for his trademark fedora and cigar, has some strong opinions about MMA, but still thinks it should be legalized.

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Battleground State: The Fight to Legalize MMA in New York (Part 4)

The Politician

In Ratner’s eyes, the man holding the people of New York hostage is State Assemblyman Bob Reilly, a Democrat from Colonie. Reilly has been a steadfast opponent of legalizing MMA in New York and believes it is his responsibility to make sure MMA remains an illegal, outlaw sport. “First and foremost, it is a violent sport,” said Reilly. “It’s like pornography. Like the Supreme Court says, you know it when you see it. For example, I watched an event recently because I felt obligated to. One fellow was sitting on another’s chest and hit him in the head at least 14 times.”

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Battleground State: The Fight to Legalize MMA in New York (Part 3)

The Lobbyist

Marc Ratner spent 21 years with the Nevada State Athletic Commission, including 14 as its executive director. In the mid-1990s, when MMA was in its infancy, Ratner spoke out against it, saying that it would never be allowed in Las Vegas. In 2006, however, Ratner accepted a job with the UFC as its vice president of regulatory affairs. “I had the best regulatory job in the world,” said Ratner. “But what intrigued me about the UFC was that it was a brand new sport. I wanted to be on the ground floor, to be a pioneer and try to get it legalized. You can’t do that in basketball or boxing, since those sports have been around so long.”

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Battleground State: The Fight to Legalize MMA in New York (Part 2)

The Evolution

In many ways, the biggest knockout punch in MMA history didn’t come from Randy Couture, Tito Ortiz, Chuck Liddell, or any other of the sport’s biggest names, but from a United States senator. In 1996, Senator John McCain condemned the sport as “human cock-fighting” and sent letters to all 50 governors, urging them to ban MMA events in their states. McCain’s plea worked to a considerable degree as 36 states enacted bans, and the UFC nearly went out of business. However, in a 2007 interview with National Public Radio, McCain changed his tune, offering reserved praise for MMA. “They have cleaned up the sport to the point, at least in my view, where it is not human cockfighting any more. I think they’ve made significant progress. They haven’t made me a fan, but they have made progress,” said McCain.

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Battleground State: The Fight to Legalize MMA in New York (Part 1)

It’s a frigid February evening in New York City, and yet scores of fans have braved the cold weather to gather at the midtown Manhattan Hooters bar in order to watch the latest Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) pay-per-view event entitled “UFC 109: Relentless.” Indeed, it’s so cold that most of the waitresses wear long-sleeved shirts instead of their usual tank-tops.

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