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Charles B. Sears Law Library SUNY Buffalo Law School

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Posts Tagged ‘Lawsuit’

No One’s Forgetting the Alamo

Posted on: | by Christine Anne George |


Everyone has a trigger. For Swifties, it’s erroneously calling out T.S. for poor grammar. For me, it’s saying that Tom Hagen is a superior (fictional, movie) lawyer to Atticus Finch. For Texans…well surely you remember the Alamo.

Perhaps you know of of the Alamo through one of the many movies depicting the San Antonio landmark (my personal fav is 1955 Disney jam Davy Crockett: King of the Wild Frontier) or a folk song or just straight up Texas history. The fort that looks much smaller than you would think IRL is an important site from the Texas Revolution, which ultimately gave birth to the Republic of Texas. The Alamo was the little fort that could, holding out against the Mexican army during a thirteen day siege. The Alamo fell on March 6, 1836, but lived on as a rallying cry for Texans.

Obviously, there is a deep affection for the pivotal landmark and desire to protect it. If you want proof, ask Ozzy Osbourne. Efforts to preserve the Alamo for future generations began back in the late nineteenth century when the Daughters of the Republic of Texas raised the funds to buy the site. All went well for about a century or so until an ownership change in 2011. The Texas legislature passed a bill removing ownership of the Alamo from the DRT and giving it to Texas General Land Office. There was a power-sharing relationship between the GLO and DRT until earlier this month when Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush said that the DRT was out.

Well now the DRT are fighting back, bringing a lawsuit against the GLO and Bush over the archives at the Alamo—over 30,000 books, papers, and artifacts. The collection was established in 1945, with the DRT claiming that it owns a large portion of what makes up the research library.  According to the President General of the DRT, the lawsuit isn’t to get the items back, but rather to have a say in how they are handled, so as to make sure that donors’ wishes are honored.

The battle is afoot and all I can say is don’t mess with Texas, and no I have no idea which side that applies to.

Duking It Out

Posted on: | by Christine Anne George |


I will admit to a slight obsession with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge since the royal wedding, but just as there is one fictional lawyer for me (who you can now take to the beach in ebook form—thanks, Harper!) there is only one Duke. Do I need to give you three guesses, Pilgrim? Obviously I’m talking about Marion Robert Morrison, better known as John Wayne. Fun fact—John Wayne starred in the “print the legend” masterpiece, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance,  which contains my second favorite fictional lawyer, Ransom Stoddard. So when I hear that certain institution of higher learning is putting its dukes up against the legend who brought Sean Thornton and Rooster Cogburn to life, its’ going to catch my attention.

Duke University and John Wayne Enterprises—Wayne passed in 1979, but his heirs are keeping up the legacy—have been squaring off over the word “Duke” for years now. (Back in ’05, the University objected to the heirs’ trademark application to use the name Duke for a restaurant.) Now the University is objecting to John Wayne Enterprises’ plans to expand into the bourbon market.  The heirs have taken the University to court, arguing, “Duke University does not own the word ‘Duke’ in all contexts for all purposes.”

Them’s clearly fightin’ words. I’m not sure how this one is going to shake out, but I am fairly certain that you don’t want to mess with the Duke.

Major Coinage

Posted on: | by Christine Anne George |


It’s tearin’ up my heart to believe anyone can harbor any true rage in a world where there’s a rumored ‘NSYNC reunion in the works, but those are the breaks. In lawsuits with damages, there are two potential outcomes—either you’re the one who just got paid,  or you’re the one doing the paying. As for the ones who have to pay up, sometimes they just…pop.

Have you heard the one about the angry ex-wife who decided to pay her $50.12 divorce settlement in pennies with some beans and rice thrown in on the side? The entire settlement wasn’t in pennies though—the ex-wife took out the cost of the plastic bins (about $3) that held the pennies, beans, and rice, but was kind enough to include the receipt, should her ex-husband want to return them. Apparently there is one lawyer who weighed in on this trending story and offered to go after the $3 since those plastic containers aren’t legal tender.

However, one does have to offer a hat tip to that ex-wife who succeeded where another had failed. Back in July, two Southern Illinois law offices received a settlement payment in protest fashion. It was a $150,000 payment that appeared in the form of 7,500 pounds of quarters. Why quarters? “Because I couldn’t do it in pennies,” was the response.

It appears that both Washington and Lincoln have gotten a lot of face time this summer. But what about FDR and Jefferson? I think that the faces of the dime and nickel respectively feel they need love and attention from settlement payers.

The Bill of Rights and Middle-Child Syndrome

Posted on: | by Christine Anne George |


Quick—what’s the Third Amendment? It’s taking you a minute, isn’t it? (No judgment if it takes you a while to recall because you have to use process of elimination to get there—it’s what I had to do.) Unlike its fellow Bill of Rights siblings, the Third Amendment, otherwise known as the Jan Brady of the bunch, doesn’t really get much play.

The First Amendment is the typical eldest child. It’s the one everyone remembers right off the bat. It’s invoked in numerous opinions and is in regular rotation in the news. While the Second Amendment has been a favorite of gun enthusiasts, it also had a bit of tongue-in-cheek fun  with all of those puns about the First Lady and her fashion choices. The Fourth Amendment has been getting some press with recent NSA revelations.  (It also has ties to a Jay-Z track.) As for the Fifth Amendment…well, if you tune in for any police or legal procedural (or have seen Godfather Part II) , you’re going to be familiar with the Fifth Amendment. But what about #3?* It appears that the Third Amendment is currently having a moment in the 36th State.

On July 10, 2011, in the course of handling a domestic violence call, the Henderson (a Las Vegas suburb) Police decided that they needed to use Anthony Mitchell’s house to get a “tactical advantage” over their suspect.   When Mitchell refused to allow the use of his home, he was subsequently arrested and charged with obstruction. The charges against Mitchell—and his father, Michael, whose home on the same street was also commandeered without his permission—were eventually dropped.  Though there are several causes of action in the current suit—including false arrest and imprisonment, assault, and conspiracy—invoking the Third Amendment is very interesting because it requires a determination of whether or not a police officer could be considered a soldier.

You’re finally getting some spotlight, Third Amendment. Enjoy it before your siblings take it back.

*Yes I realize that there are five other amendments in the Bill of Rights, but bringing them into the mix would have totally blown the metaphor.

Good Example of a Horrible Warning?

Posted on: | by Christine Anne George |


In one of my favorite books, a wise and perhaps slightly disturbed character offers this adage: If you can’t be a good example then you’ll just have to be a horrible warning. It’s interesting to think about, but seems like it could be kind of messy to put those two diametrical opposites into practice. Especially if you don’t think that your actions constitute the horrible warning, but school officials do.

Back in Georgia in 2011, a Fayette County school administrator, Curtis Cearley, gave a presentation about “the dangers and often permanent nature of Internet postings.” So far so good, right? Wrong. After showing a cartoon where a mother had to explain her old Facebook profile where her hobbies include bad boys and jello shots to her child, Cearley’s presentation featured a photo of then 17-year-old senior Chelsea Chaney, wearing a bikini and standing next to a replica of Snoop Dogg (as he was known then).  The picture was said to have the caption “Once it’s there, it’s there to stay” and Cearley identified Chaney by name.

Chaney claims that being forced into the “horrible warning” category damaged her reputation and is now suing Cearley and the school dist