News and information Archives

Sean Summers and the clash between free speech and basic human needs

When Rev. Fred Phelps and members of his Westboro Baptist Church picketed a U.S. Marine's funeral in Maryland in 2006, with signs reading, "You're going to hell," "Thank God for dead soldiers," and "America is doomed," it didn't take long for the story to spread across the nation. The father of the soldier, Albert Snyder, who lives in York, Pennsylvania, sued, and today arguments for Snyder v. Phelps will be presented in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, which is tasked with deciding whether Phelps can claim freedom of speech protections for his actions.

Dan Stormer takes privacy argument to Supreme Court

The first Monday of October marks the start of a new term for the U.S. Supreme Court, and on Tuesday, the court will hear arguments for NASA V. Nelson, which addresses an employee's constitutional right to informational privacy. The case stems from a lawsuit filed by 28 scientists and engineers who are contract workers at the NASA-owned Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

Talent abounds among applicants for BP litigation steering committee

Last Monday was the deadline for lawyers to apply for a prized spot on the plaintiffs' steering committee that will lead the multidistrict litigation against BP over the oil spill. Deciding who will make it onto the panel won't be easy. So far, there have been over 300 lawsuits filed by more than 100 lawyers, many of whom have appeared regularly on a Super Lawyers or a Rising Stars list. These talented lawyers include:

  • Kurt Arnold: Arnold & Itkin, Texas Rising Stars (2005, 2006, 2009, 2010)
  • Richard Arsenault: Neblett, Beard & Arsenault, Louisiana Super Lawyers (2007-2010)
  • Dawn Barrios: Barrios, Kingsdorf & Casteix, Louisiana Super Lawyers (2007-2010)
  • Daniel E. Becnel: Jr., on behalf of his firm, Becnel Law Firm, Louisiana Super Lawyers (2007, 2010)
  • Scott Bickford: Martzell & Bickford, Louisiana Super Lawyers (2007 -2010)
  • David Boies: New York Super Lawyers-Metro Edition (2007-2010)
  • Anthony (Tony) Buzbee: The Buzbee Law Firm, Texas Rising Stars (2004), Texas Super Lawyers (2004, 2008, 2009, 2010)
  • Elizabeth Cabraser: Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, Northern California Super Lawyers (2006-2010)
  • Brent Coon: Brent Coon and Associates, Texas Super Lawyers (2007-2010)
  • Lewis "Mike" Eidson: Colson Hicks Eidson, Florida Super Lawyers (2006-2010)
  • Calvin Faynard: Fayard & Honeycutt, Southern California Super Lawyers (2007-2010)
  • Thomas Girardi: Girardi Keese Southern California Super Lawyers (2004-2010)
  • Ervin Gonzalez: Colson Hicks Eidson, Florida Super Lawyers (2006-2010)
  • Stuart Z Grossman: Grossman Roth, Florida Super Lawyers (2006-2010)
  • Stephen Herman: Herman, Herman, Katz & Cotlar, Louisiana Super Lawyers (2007-2010)
  • Rhon Jones: Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, Alabama Super Lawyers (2009-2010)
  • Mark Lanier: The Lanier Law Firm, Texas Super Lawyers (2003-2010)
  • Walter Leger Jr.: Leger & Shaw, Louisiana Super Lawyers (2007-2010)
  • Ronald Motley: Motley Rice, South Carolina Super Lawyers (2008-2010)
  • Mike Papantonio: Levin Papantonio, Florida Super Lawyers (2006 to 2010)
  • Ronnie Penton: Law Offices of Ronnie G. Penton, Louisiana Super Lawyers (2008-2010)
  • Joseph Rice: Motley Rice, South Carolina Super Lawyers (2008 -2010)
  • James Roy, Domengeaux: Wright, Roy & Edwards, Louisiana Super Lawyers (2007 -2010)
  • Christian Searcy: Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley, Florida Super Lawyers (2006-2010)
  • Christopher Seeger: Seeger Weiss, New York Super Lawyers (2006-2010)
  • Matthew Shaffer: Schechter McElwee Shaffer & Harris, Texas Super Lawyers (2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010)
  • James Singleton: Singleton Law Firm, Louisiana Super Lawyers (2007-2010)
  • Scott Summy: Baron & Budd, Texas Super Lawyers (2008-2010)
  • K. Luan Tran: Lee Tran & Liang, Southern California Rising Stars (2005-2007)
  • Perry Weitz: Weitz & Luxenberg, New York Super Lawyers-Metro Edition (2006-2010)
  • John Eddie Williams Jr.: Williams Kherkher Hart Boundas, Texas Super Lawyers (2003 -2010)

James Lobsenz: the lawyer who won Margaret Witt's reinstatement

Lesbian flight nurse Margaret Witt, who was kicked out of the military in 2004 when it was discovered she was in a relationship with a civilian woman, was reinstated to the Air Force Reserve last week, thanks in large part to the work of James Lobsenz of Carney Badley Spellman in Seattle.

Hollywood finds a friend in Thomas Dunlap

Seeing The Hurt Locker in the theater: $10. Buying The Hurt Locker on DVD: $25. Renting The Hurt Locker from Redbox: $1. Illegally downloading or sharing The Hurt Locker: up to $2,900--to settle with the Oscar-winning film's producer.

Stephen N. Zack's big summer

This is turning out to be one memorable summer for commercial litigator Stephen N. Zack of Boies Schiller & Flexner in Miami. In August he became the first Hispanic president of the American Bar Association, and in September he was named "Lawyer of the Year" by the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA).

Roger Clemens plays hardball

As a pitcher, Roger Clemens didn't merely get hitters out. He dominated them, brushed them back, threw at their heads. He sent messages. That dominating aspect of his personality apparently works less well off the field.

A Rising Star becomes a Real Housewife

Phaedra C. Parks has been on the Georgia Rising Stars list since 2005, and was featured in a cover story in 2007, but now is about to get really famous: she will be on the next season of Bravo's Real Housewives of Atlanta, premiering October 4th.

The lawyers arguing the historic Wal-Mart Case

The largest employment discrimination case in U.S. history, involving more than a million women accusing Wal-Mart Stores of unfair pay and promotions, could face the Supreme Court nearly a decade after the suit was filed. This case of national significance for class action law is being handled on all sides by attorneys selected to Super Lawyers lists. Theodore Boutrous Jr. (Southern California Super Lawyers, 2005 to 2010) represents Wal-Mart. Joseph Sellers (Washington DC Super Lawyers, 2007 to 2010) and Brad Seligman (Northern California Super Lawyers, 2005 to 2009) are among the lawyers representing the plaintiffs. Wal-Mart is asking the Supreme Court to review whether the suit should have involved individual filings rather than proceeding as a class action lawsuit, which could cost the retail giant more than $1 billion in damages.

Barnett Lands Another Book

Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts is now officially a DC power player: he has retained Robert Barnett of Williams & Connolly to shop his autobiography. Barnett, whom we featured in the cover story of 2007 Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers magazine, has successfully placed a number of political books on the best-seller lists, including offerings from Bill Clinton, Ted Kennedy and Tony Blair. Barnett's legendary for geting huge advances for his clients -- he got Clinton around $10 million -- so expect Brown to end up with seven figures.