Sippy Cup Judges, Banned Happy Meals, and Blowing the Cap Off BP Oil Law Suits

by Mike Mintz on November 4, 2010 · 0 comments

in martindale.com connected

Here’s what you missed this week in Connected:

Forget the Dress Code Debate: Let’s Talk about the Coffee Cup Code

Racine County (Wisconsin) Circuit Court Judge Gene Gasiorkiewicz is a tough cookie with some strict rules in his courtroom: “Ties and coats must be worn; shorts and flip-flops are a big no-no; ditto for cleavage and short skirts. And, oh yeah, no unapproved coffee cups.”  Yes, coffee cups.  The judge has issued standard coffee cups to be used in his court, which some are calling “glorified sippy-cups,” in his mission to restore “dignity and decorum” to the courtroom.

My son follows the sippy cup code.

Is he really on a worthy mission or is it just a judicial power trip?  Tell us what you think.

Automated Dispute Resolution Tools

Can automated dispute resolution tools like Cybersettle accelerate the business process, or are they cheap alternatives that will only cause more expensive problems for lawyers to fix down the line?  According to Vanessa DiMauro, “it is believed that from a business perspective, a tool like this could be extremely valuable for an insurance company and a slew of other industries who need to process rote claims and could do so more efficiently and cost effectively using (such) tools,” but she wonders whether this will have a negative impact on the legal profession.

What do you think: can a robot do a lawyer’s job (and if so, what will happen to all the lawyer jokes?), or do we need to redefine what a “lawyer’s job” is?

2011 DirectWomen Board Institute Members Announced

24-women were selected to serve on the DirectWomen Board Institute, a program designed to identify and promote qualified women lawyers to serve on corporate boards of public companies.  Their ranks include General Counsel from NPR, Chief Legal Officer of The Proctor & Gamble Company, a Justice from the Delaware Supreme Court, and many others.  Connect with members of this prestigious list of professionals by joining and networking in the National Association of Women Lawyers group.

BP and the OPA Liability Cap

In this post by Tom Hagy, we see just how deep the BP pockets go in their effort to financially clean up the worst environmental disaster in US history.  According to Hagy: “BP consistently has said it would pay all legitimate claims, regardless of the OPA statutory limit of liability. To this end, BP already has paid claims many times over the OPA limit and will live up to its public commitment to pay all legitimate claims made in connection with the Deepwater Horizon incident and the resulting oil spill.  Accordingly, BP has chosen to waive the statutory limitation on liability under OPA.”

Why would BP do this?  What’s the angle here?  Add your comments to Tom’s post (and anyone who Connects with Tom on martindale.com Connected can receive a 25% discount of admission to future HB Litigation Conference events!).

When is a Social Media Policy Too Broad? NLRB Sues Company for Firing Over Facebook Posting

Companies today need smart blogging policies that guide employees in what to say.  Everyone knows that, right?  But can a company be too broad in their blogging policy, reaching into areas of controlling employee behavior that are protected?  The National Labor Relations Board seems to think so, and has instituted a law suit on behalf of a fired employee to prove it.

Find out the basis of the suit, read about my take on it, and let us know whether you think the NLRB will win this case.  Tell us your thoughts on it.

Happy Meals Banned in San Francisco

Say it ain’t so!  Parents can no longer fork over $5.50 for a meal their kids won’t eat (mine just eat the ketchup) just to get the $0.50 toy that comes with it.  According to martindale.com Connected community manager Joe Walsh: “San Francisco has become the first major city in the U.S. to forbid restaurants from offering a free toy with meals that contain more than set levels of calories, sugar and fat. Hence, the traditional McDonald’s Happy Meal will not be found in the city by the bay beginning in December. Starting then, restaurants may only include a toy with a meal if the food and drink combined contain fewer than 600 calories, and if less than 35% of the calories come from fat.”

Is the ban reasonable or do parents need to take more responsibility for their kids’ diets (you try calming down a screaming 4 year old crying for that Toy Story 3 plastic toy!)?  Should the ban hit other cities or stay in the Bay?  Let us know.

That’s it for today’s Connected Round Up.  Members can get in on these discussions and more by clicking the links and commenting.  Non-members can check see all these discussions, but need to register to comment – it’s 100% free.

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