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Doing a double-take after Supreme Court’s Jack Daniel’s holding, 9th Cir. reverses itself in Punchbowl News trademark case

Last updated on January 18, 2024 by Tim Kowal
The 9th Circuit was bound by its trademark precedent holding an exception to the Lanham Act for expressive works, which was why in Punchbowl, Inc. v. AJ Press, LLC, No. 21-55881 (9th Cir. Jan. 12, 2024) it affirmed a summary judgment against plaintiff greeting-card maker in favor of a news website—both going by the name...Read More >>

A Tranquil High Court? And other legal cases & trends this week ending June 16, 2023

Last updated on June 16, 2023 by Tim Kowal
Here are some legal trends and trivia from this week: U.S. Supreme Court: Liberal justices' 'dissent rate' lowest since Roberts joined in 2005. (Wash. Examiner) But women are underrepresented at oral argument at the Supreme Court: just 20 women—19% of the 103 total advocates— argued before the justices. (Ben Shatz) ⏳Cal. Supreme Court is taking...Read More >>

San Berdo Supervisor Challenge Not Moot, Split Appellate Court Holds

Last updated on June 14, 2023 by Tim Kowal
The voters of San Berdardino passed Measure K in 2020 to limit supervisors to a single four-year term at a monthly compensation of $5,000. The trial court invalidated Measure K as unconstitutional. But the Court of Appeal in San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors v. Monell (D2d4 May 25, 2023) --- Cal.Rptr.3d ---- held the...Read More >>

Judge’s biased statements could be raised in disqualification statement a year later

Last updated on June 7, 2023 by Tim Kowal
A challenge to a trial judge for cause is subject to waiver if not filed at the earliest practicable opportunity. North American Title waited a year in ****************************************North Am. Title Co. v. Sup. Ct. (Fresno) (D5 May, 19, 2023 No. F084913) --- Cal.Rptr.3d --- (2023 WL 3560761), before accusing the judge of bias for his...Read More >>

Botched cat euthanization claims can go forward, appellate court holds

Last updated on June 5, 2023 by Tim Kowal
Animal harm can be difficult to adjudicate in people courts. But the cat owner in Berry v. Frazier (D1d3 May 15, 2023 No. A164168) --- Cal.Rptr.3d --- (2023 WL 3445168), who was allegedly defrauded by her vet into a “horrific and painful” form of euthanasia for her pet, was able to reverse the order dismissing...Read More >>

Manson follower wins, Fr. Serra loses in Cal. courts: Legal News This Week Ending June 2, 2023

Last updated on June 2, 2023 by Tim Kowal
Here are some legal trends and trivia from this week: Justice Jackson, still in first year on SCOTUS, pens solo dissent in labor case Glacier Northwest v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters. First time a first-termer has penned a solo dissent since Justice Thomas in 1991. (Via Adam Feldman) Manson follower Leslie Van Houten, who took...Read More >>

Gorsuch on Covid policies and other Legal News for Week Ending May 26, 2023

Last updated on May 26, 2023 by Tim Kowal
Here are some legal trends and trivia from this week: Justice Neil Gorsuch called COVID emergency orders among “the greatest intrusions on civil liberties in the peacetime history of this country. Executive officials across the country issued emergency decrees on a breathtaking scale,” referencing orders, sometimes backed by criminal enforcement, requiring home quarantine, shuttering schools,...Read More >>

Fed courts ending remote access, and judges in the news—Legal News Week Ending May 18, 2023

Last updated on May 19, 2023 by Tim Kowal
Here are some legal trends and trivia from this week: ️Remote access in federal courts to end on September 21, 2023. (Reuters.) ‍⚖️Former Chief Justice talks about her legacy, SCOTUS ethics, and programs to address “historical racism”. (Via David Ettinger.) This is how a judge politely says “your arguments are bad and you should feel...Read More >>

Early filing deadlines coming, poor bar bass rate, and Maxine Waters loses her SLAPP appeal: Legal News for May 11, 2023

Last updated on May 12, 2023 by Tim Kowal
Here are some legal trends and trivia from the week ending May 11, 2023: 5:00 filing deadlines coming! The Third Circuit adopted a rule that requires filings be submitted by 5 pm on the due date. Fed. R. App. P. 26(a)(4)(B) sets the deadline for electronic filings in a court of appeals to be midnight...Read More >>

Legal News & Tidbits: Gun ban ok, but not gas ban, and a worry about diversity on the bench

Last updated on May 5, 2023 by Tim Kowal
Courts upheld a gun ban but overturned a gas ban, and found yet another strange application of section 998 offers. Judges and clerks are more becoming more racially diverse, but come from a very short list of schools. And PJ Rubin talks about the best kind of oral argument. Cal. Ct. App. says California’s ban...Read More >>

Appellate Tidbits: Senate to face off against court reporters, and new Notice of Appeal form coming

Last updated on April 24, 2023 by Tim Kowal
Here are some recent news items of interest to attorneys and court-watchers: California courts spent nearly half-billion dollars on court reporters, but that’s not enough. (Via Ben Shatz.) So if a court reporter isn’t available, SB 662 would allow electronic recordings to create the appellate record. Stiff court reporter lobby opposition expected. (Via Ben Shatz.)...Read More >>

Appellate Tidbits: AI passed the bar exam, Cal. Supremes throwing shade, a strategy to protect arb awards, and new fed court stats

Last updated on April 14, 2023 by Tim Kowal
Here are some recent news items of appellate interest: It's official: AI has passed the Uniform Bar Exam. GPT-4, the upgraded AI program released earlier this week by Microsoft-backed OpenAI, scored in the 90th percentile of actual test takers. (Look for two new California Appellate Law Podcast episodes on ChatGPT and AI in the law.)...Read More >>

"So far as the beginnings of law had theories, the first theory of liability was in terms of a duty to buy off the vengeance of him to whom an injury had been done whether by oneself or by something in one's power. The idea is put strikingly in the Anglo-Saxon legal proverb, 'Buy spear from side or bear it,' that is, buy off the feud or fight it out."

— Roscoe Pound, An Introduction to the Philosophy of Law

Show neither partiality to the weak nor deference to the mighty, but judge your fellow men justly.


"It may be that the court is thought to be excessively legalistic. I should be sorry to think that it is anything else."

— Hon. Sir Owen Dixon, Chief Justice of Australia

"Counsel on the firing line in an actual trial must be prepared for surprises, including requests for amendments of pleading. They cannot ask that a judgment afterwards obtained be set aside merely because their equilibrium was slightly disturbed by an unexpected motion."

Posz v. Burchell (1962) 209 Cal.App.2d 324, 334

"Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws."

— Plato (427-347 B.C.)

"At common law, barratry was 'the offense of frequently exciting and stirring up suits and quarrels' (4 Blackstone, Commentaries 134) and was punished as a misdemeanor."

Rubin v. Green (1993) 4 Cal.4th 1187

"A judge is a law student who grades his own papers."

— H.L. Mencken

"Moot points have to be settled somehow, once they get thrust upon us. If an assertion cannot be proved, then it must be settled some other way, and nearly all of these ways are unfair to somebody."

—T.H. White, The Once and Future King

"Upon putting laws into writing, they became even harder to change than before, and a hundred legal fictions rose to reconcile them with reality."

— Will Durant

"God made the angels to show Him splendor, … Man He made to serve Him wittily, in the tangle of his mind."

— Sir Thomas More in Robert Bolt's A Man for All Seasons

“It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is today, can guess what it will be tomorrow. Law is defined to be a rule of action; but how can that be a rule, which is little known, and less fixed?”

— James Madison, Federalist 62

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