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Archive for November, 2010

Reconsidering Online Defamation Damages

Last week I covered the Vigna v. Levant case and mentioned that comments are a poor way to gauge readership for the purposes of damages, which some readers agreed with.

A recent article in the Alberta Law Review by Matthew Nied discusses this further, Damage Awards in Internet Defamation Cases: Reassessing Assumptions About the Credibility of Online Speech. Nied is a recent UVic graduate, former Law is Cool contributor, and author of the Defamation Law Blog, which is currently on hiatus while he clerks at the B.C.S.C.

Nied proposes that given the hyperbole frequently found online readers . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Technology: Internet

US Homeland Security Seizing Domains

The US Department of Homeland Security is in the process of seizing control of a number of domains that infringe on copyrighted media or “enabling selling counterfeits of trademarked goods.” Here’s the screen capture from the BitTorrent Search Engine, post capture:

TorrentFreak has a running list of other seized domains. And here’s a quote from the Torrent-finder owner:

“My domain has been seized without any previous complaint or notice from any court!” the exasperated owner of Torrent-Finder told TorrentFreak this morning.

“I firstly had DNS downtime. While I was contacting GoDaddy I noticed the DNS had changed.

. . . [more]
Posted in: Technology: Internet

The Friday Fillip

You’ve got to have standards. Not the kind that castles and ships fly or that armies carried into battle (see, e.g., the Battle of the Standard, in reference to which the word was first used in English to mean flag, the OED tells us, because a versifier there wrote: ‘it was there that valour took its stand to conquer or die’), but growing out of that notion of a centre from which commands are issued all the way to a measure of uniform quality. Modern life is so complex that it’s standards or chaos, it seems to me.

Some . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Data Dumps: The Bane of E-Discovery

Everyone knows you’re not supposed to do a data dump in e-discovery. But oh boy, is there a temptation to drown the other side in a case with an avalanche of useless data. Too often, law firms and their clients succumb to this temptation.

In SEC v. Collins & Aikman Corp. (S.D.N.Y. 2009), the SEC dumped 1.7 million records (10.6 million pages) on the defendant saying that the defendant could search them for the relevant evidence and asserting that it didn’t maintain a document collection relating specifically to the subjects addressed. As the court correctly noted, Rule 34 of the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Canadian Forum on Civil Justice Is Moving to York University

The Canadian Forum on Civil Justice, based at the University of Alberta, has announced that it is moving to York University.

The Forum undertakes research to improve the civil justice system for Canadians by:

  • collecting in a systematic way information relating to the system for administering civil justice;
  • carrying out in-depth research on matters affecting the operation of the civil justice system;
  • promoting the sharing of information about the use of best practices;
    functioning as a clearinghouse and library of information for the benefit of all persons in Canada concerned with civil justice;
  • developing liaisons with similar organizations in
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research

Law and Humanities Blog

We’ve not yet mentioned on Slaw the Law & Humanities Blog, “A blog about law, literature, and the humanities,” run by Christine Corcos, a law prof at Louisiana State. (Daniel Solove, a GWU law prof and author of The Future of Reputation, among other books, is nominally a member but, so far as I can tell, wrote one post a long time ago.)

The main focus seems to be on literature, and the posts typically point to recent publications, such as:

  • Stephen R. Alton, Texas Wesleyan University School of Law, has published The Game is Afoot!:
. . . [more]
Posted in: Reading

Cumulative Pollution a Charter Breach?

Ecojustice, formerly Sierra Legal Defence Fund, has launched a lawsuit on behalf of Aamjiwnaaang First Nation members, Ron Plain and Ada Lockridge, alleging that the cumulative effects of government approved pollution in Sarnia’s Chemical Valley amounts to a violation of their human rights under sections 7 and 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The case is an application for judicial review, attempting to strike down Ministry of the Environment action that allowed Suncor to increase production (and presumably emissions) from its refinery in Chemical Valley. Suncor had been required to limit production at the facility . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Airport and Port Employees May Be Subject to Expanded Searches

According to a report from, Canadian Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart is investigating a government plan to give Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) officers expanded powers to search airport and port employees in new customs-controlled areas. The plan aims to curtail organized crime, drug trafficking and contraband items by cutting down on port employees’ involvement in the trades.
Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Listening, Really Listening, to Corporate Counsel

I’ve spent a lot of time listening to corporate counsel over the past few weeks. The examples they give of how their external law firms “don’t get it” never cease to amaze me. For instance, the GC of a large financial institution said she was once told by her litigation counsel, “Look, it’s our factum; that argument stays in.” Not only did the argument not stay in, but neither did the law firm! 

I’m sure most readers will think, “No one in our firm would be that stupid.” So let me ask you this: if an important client offered to . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

System for Conducting Criminal Background Checks Revamped but Employers Still Face Challenge

The RCMP has recently made changes to the national system for accessing information about individuals’ criminal records. This post describes the relevant background and the changes, with a focus on what is relevant to employers .

Background on CPIC and background checks

The Canadian Police Information Centre or “CPIC” is an information system through which Canadian law enforcement agencies obtain information on crimes and criminals from an RCMP administered national database. The national database contains a range of information useful to law enforcement, including records about hybrid and indictable offences. “CPIC agencies” (local police forces) voluntarily report information to the . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Substantive Law: Legislation

80 Lawyers Caught in Collection Scam

♬ Red alert! Red alert!
It’s a catastrophe..♬

Lyrics and music by Buxton Ratcliffe, recorded by Basement Jaxx.

It reads like a bad lawyer joke. How many lawyers does it take to get caught in a fraud scam? Apparently the number is 80. The ABA Journal reported on Nov. 22, 2010 that Federal prosecutors have indicted 6 people in a $32 Million dollar internet collection scam that caught 80 lawyers in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Alabama and Georgia. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management