Frank v. Gaos: Is the Cy Pres Legal Doctrine Appropriate in Class Action Lawsuits?

Photo Credit: https://mashable.com/2012/12/09/apple-google-kodak-patents/#CB0topbhtuqV

By: Ellen Larson
Associate of Product Development and Marketing, American Journal of Trial Advocacy

          A case on the United States Supreme Court docket this fall is Frank v. Gaos.[1] Frank will address the appropriateness of a district court’s approval of settlement funds in a class action lawsuit against Google to go to non-party charitable institutions, rather than class members, under the cy pres legal doctrine.[2] Continue reading “Frank v. Gaos: Is the Cy Pres Legal Doctrine Appropriate in Class Action Lawsuits?”

Law Office Study Apprenticeship Programs: How Kim Kardashian Hopes to Become An Attorney

Photo Credit: Dave McNary, Alice Marie Johnson, Former Inmate Kim Kardashian Helped Pardon, Sets Movie, TV Deal, Variety (Feb. 6, 2019, 10:59 AM), https://variety.com/2019/film/news/alice-marie-johnson-kim-kardashian-movie-deal-1203130201/.
Kim Kardashian West with Alice Johnson, Former Inmate

By: Jean Talbott
Senior Associate Editor, American Journal of Trial Advocacy

Introduction

          Kim Kardashian has made media headlines yet again announcing her plans to become a lawyer.[1] Kardashian plans on accomplishing this goal through “reading the law,” which prior to 1870 was the only option for aspiring lawyers.[2] Kardashian attended Pierce College, where she completed 75 credit hours but did not finish college.[3] Continue reading “Law Office Study Apprenticeship Programs: How Kim Kardashian Hopes to Become An Attorney”

Social Media: The Constitution and Copyrights

Photo Credit: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/12-ways-to-improve-your-startups-social-media-marketing_b_5a2e0ee6e4b022ec613b8416

By: Elizabeth Hosmer
Member, American Journal of Trial Advocacy

            Social media has grown exponentially into a basic part of everyday American life, and it has become increasingly difficult to find someone who is “unplugged” and without some sort of social media account.[1] Continue reading “Social Media: The Constitution and Copyrights”

Don’t Touch My Hair and Don’t Discriminate Because of It Either: New York City Bans Racial Discrimination Based on Hair

Photo Credit: The NappStar Signature Style, Nappstar, https://nappstarrocks.com/.

By: Lindsey Phillips
Research and Writing Editor, American Journal of Trial Advocacy

            On December 19, 2018, a black high school student athlete was given an ultimatum: He could either cut his dreadlocks or forfeit his wrestling match.[1] Right before his match, Andrew Johnson was told by white referee Alan Maloney that neither his hair nor headgear was in compliance with New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association rules and regulations and that he would have to cut his hair immediately if he wanted to compete in his match.[2] Continue reading “Don’t Touch My Hair and Don’t Discriminate Because of It Either: New York City Bans Racial Discrimination Based on Hair”

Antitrust and Amateurism in Sports: Are Scholarships “Enough” to Compensate Collegiate Athletes?

Photo Credit: http://footballscoop.com/news/nike-adidas-or-ua-who-wears-what-in-fbs/

By: Jacey G. Mann 
Committee Chair, American Journal of Trial Advocacy

           This conversation has been circulating for years: Should collegiate athletes be paid for their services and for the use of their likeness, or are they already compensated enough? Historically, the courts have refused to get involved in such cases. This refusal may be related to personal biases with particular athletes or teams; Continue reading “Antitrust and Amateurism in Sports: Are Scholarships “Enough” to Compensate Collegiate Athletes?”

Permitless Carry: The Rapid Expansion of Concealed Carry across America

Photo credit: https://www.canva.com/photos/misc/MADGxzuSiLs-black-and-gray-semi-automatic-pistol-near-holster/

By: Bobby McNeill
Member, American Journal of Trial Advocacy

          On March 11, 2019, the state of Kentucky became the 16th state to enact legislation implementing permitless carry, also known as “constitutional carry.”[1] Kentucky’s legislation imposes no formal application process, requiring only that a person seeking to carry a concealed firearm be 21 years of age and “otherwise able to lawfully possess a firearm.”[2] This legislation represents a growing trend in which many states are scaling back their regulation of the concealed carry of firearms. Typically, under constitutional carry laws, those wishing to conceal and carry a firearm may do so without submitting an application, undergoing a background check, obtaining a permit, or taking any mandatory training courses. Continue reading “Permitless Carry: The Rapid Expansion of Concealed Carry across America”

Litigation Watch in the Wake of Hurricane Michael

Photo Credit: Brandon Miller and Brandon Giggs, Michael the Strongest Hurricane to Hit the Continental US since Andrew, CNN (Oct. 11, 2018; 9.46 am) https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/09/weather/hurricane-michael-stats-superlatives-wxc-trnd/index.html.

By: Stephanie Smith
Member, American Journal of Trial Advocacy

Hurricane Michael made its way up the 14th Judicial Circuit on October 10, 2018.[1] This storm was the first Category 4 hurricane to make landfall in Florida’s Panhandle since 1851.[2] Top winds reached 155 mph.[3] Additionally, this was the third most intense hurricane to make landfall in the U.S. recorded history based on central pressure at 919 millibars minimum pressure.[4] To say the effects were devastating is an understatement; there were at least 72 fatalities, 57 of those in the United States.[5] Records show the storm had a high-water storm surge of 9 to 14 feet from Mexico Beach through the Apalachee Bay.[6] Total economic losses are estimated at approximately $25 billion.[7] These include privately insured wind and storm surge damage to residential, commercial, and industrial properties and automobiles.[8] Approximately a million customers in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina lost power.[9] Many community members went without power or internet for two months. Continue reading “Litigation Watch in the Wake of Hurricane Michael”

Full Moon, Full Breakfast, and Full Costs

Photo Credit: Mark Theoharis, How Much Are Legal Fees? – Costs of Hiring Different Types of Lawyers, Money Crashers, https://www.moneycrashers.com/legal-fees-hiring-lawyer-costs (last visited Mar. 20, 2019).

By: Gray Gilmore
Associate Editor, American Journal of Trial Advocacy

Because of the high cost of litigation, Congress allows for a party to recover costs as awards. Specifically, there are six categories of litigation expenses that qualify as costs, and parties are limited to these categories unless another federal statute provides otherwise.[1] Nowhere in the general costs statute allows for a cost award to include litigation expenses, such as jury consulting, expert witnesses, and e-discovery.[2] Continue reading “Full Moon, Full Breakfast, and Full Costs”

Concussion Litigation Leading Insurers to Discontinue Coverage for Head Injuries in Football

Photo Credit: Woodruff Health Sciences Center (2017). Emory physicians care for Atlanta Falcons on their journey to the Super Bowl. Available at: http://news.emory.edu/stories/2017/01/emory_docs_head_to_superbowl/ [Accessed 23 Feb. 2019].

By: Catherine Collins
Member, American Journal of Trial Advocacy

Introduction

Recently, ESPN released an article addressing an emerging issue which could potentially endanger the sport of football.[i] The article and coverage on ESPN’s Outside the Lines explains the dissolving insurance market in the contact sports realm regarding coverage for concussions and other head related injuries.[ii] The NFL no longer has general liability insurance covering traumatic head injuries, and only one insurance provider remains in the market for such coverage.[iii] Continue reading “Concussion Litigation Leading Insurers to Discontinue Coverage for Head Injuries in Football”

Who’s Paying? A Review of Rule 41(D)’s Authorization of Attorney Fee Awards

Image: https://silblawfirm.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Recovering-Attorneys-Fees820x400.jpg

By: Will Johnson
Associate Editor, American Journal of Trial Advocacy

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(d) governs situations in which the plaintiff voluntarily dismisses an action and subsequently refiles the same or similar case in a different jurisdiction.[1] In such situations, the rule permits the court to order the plaintiff pay all or part of the costs of the previously dismissed action.[2] Recently, an explosion of litigation concerning Rule 41(d) has left United States Courts of Appeals split on whether the rule allows for the recovery of attorneys’ fees as “costs” of the previously dismissed actions.[3] Typically, attorneys’ fees are not awardable as “costs” to the prevailing party under the so-called “American Rule” unless Congress has carved out an exception to the rule.[4] Notably, four different circuits have established strong stances on the award of attorneys’ fees pursuant to Rule 41(d) within the last two years after a sixteen year period of stagnation.[5] As a result, three prominent interpretations of Rule 41(d) exist, with three courts ruling attorneys’ fees are always awardable as costs,[6] one court ruling attorneys’ fees are never awardable as costs,[7] and four courts finding middle ground by ruling attorneys’ fees are awardable as costs if the underlying substantive statute of the action brought allows for the award of attorneys’ fees.[8] This article explores Rule 41(d) and its intent and provides a survey of each available circuit’s position of the award of attorneys’ fees as “costs” pursuant to Rule 41(d). Continue reading “Who’s Paying? A Review of Rule 41(D)’s Authorization of Attorney Fee Awards”