TOP COURTROOM MOTION PICTURES

In the spirit of the many lists of “top” whatever in the entertainment industry, I decided to write about my favorite courtroom films. Before doing so, I decided to do “research” — so I purchased some movies that I had not seen before and some others that I had not seen in a while. It was gruesome research watching all these films. But someone had to do it.

After the jump, I’ll give you some thoughts on my favorites and my views on what real-life trial lawyers can learn from the fictional ones.
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JURIST ONE STEP CLOSER TO BECOMING FIRST FILIPINO-AMERICAN STATE SUPREME COURT JUSTICE

My practice and this blog is focused on entertainment, media and intellectual property litigation. However, the past week — an historic one for the Filipino and Asian American legal community — was consumed by the confirmation process for California Court of Appeal Associate Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye and her nomination to become the first Filipino-American justice of the California Supreme Court, and first Asian-American Chief Justice of California. On Wednesday, August 25, 2010, Justice Cantil-Sakauye’s confirmation hearing before the Commission on Judicial Appointments took place at the California Supreme Court in San Francisco. I was privileged to testify in support of Justice Cantil-Sakauye’s nomination on behalf of the Philippine American Bar Association.

More on my testimony and Justice Cantil-Sakauye’s hearing after the jump.
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JUDGES, ACADEMICS AND PRACTICING LAWYERS GATHER FOR YEARLY CONFERENCE

 

The 2010 Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference took place last week in Maui, Hawaii with United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy as the keynote speaker. The Ninth Circuit holds a judicial conference every year in one of its districts — Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon or Washington. (The Ninth Circuit also includes Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.) I was privileged to serve as a Lawyer Representative of the Central District of California from 2004 through 2008, attending conferences in Spokane, Washington, Huntington Beach, California and Honolulu, Hawaii. This year, I was invited as an “ex officio” Lawyer Representative.

After the jump, I’ll share some thoughts about the conference and its importance to the legal profession.
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THE IMPORTANCE OF A STRONG LAWYER-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP

The lawyer-client relationship can — and should — be among the most intimate relationships — grounded in mutual trust and respect, with open and honest communication. A client comes to the lawyer with a problem — the lawyer learns all of the facts and charts the course to a solution — and both are on the same page as they work together towards the resolution of the problem. However, as with any other personal relationships, it’s no surprise that lawyers and clients can hit rough patches in their journey — even when the relationship is a “good” one. This post is about examples of what can happen when the lawyer-client relationship deteriorates into an adversarial one.

There are many factors to consider when deciding whether to file litigation. I’ve previously touched on certain “downsides” to such litigation — the potential that the litigation will spiral out of control or that the litigation will result in unintended consequences and embarrassing disclosures. This post is about the downside to strategic litigation choices — including the decision to file a lawsuit in the first instance — and how those choices can affect, positively or negatively, the strength of any lawyer-client relationship.

After the jump, two recent lawsuits between lawyers and clients — including one case involving one of my mentors — illustrate the importance of full and open communication between lawyers and clients during any litigation.
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WHEN DOES A LAWYER GET TO DITCH A CLIENT

Mel GibsonMel Gibson’s recent diatribes — lending credence to the widely held view that he’s a racist and abuser of women — provoke an old but interesting debate about lawyers’ duties to clients and when a lawyer can “fire” a client. Last week, Matthew Belloni of The Hollywood Reporter wrote a post on his THR, Esq blog about Gibson’s lawyer, Tom Hansen, staying “loyal” to Gibson — unlike Gibson’s agents who dumped him.

THR’s post was about deal lawyers. One lawyer, quoted (anonymously), says that he/she “couldn’t represent someone who I didn’t personally believe in” and that “a lawyer should be judged by who he chooses to get into business with — and who he stays in business with.” Interesting.

After the jump, why I disagree with this sentiment.
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GOVERNOR SCHWARZENAGGER NOMINATES JUSTICE TANI CANTIL-SAKAUYE TO BECOME FIRST FILIPINO-AMERICAN ON STATE SUPREME COURT

July 22, 2010 is an historic day for the Filipino-American legal community. Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye of the California Court of Appeal has been tapped to become California’s first Filipino-American Supreme Court justice and the first Asian American woman to head any state supreme court. As the President and Chief Executive Officer of the PABA Foundation — the fundraising arm of the Philippine American Bar Association — it’s a proud day for me and the entire Filipino-American legal community.

View the Governor’s press conference here.You can read PABA’s press release celebrating Governor Schwarzenagger’s historic announcement here. You can also read the press release of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) about Justice Cantil-Sakauye’s nomination here.

NINTH CIRCUIT OVERTURNS MATTEL’S TRIAL COURT VICTORY AGAINST MGA ENTERTAINMENT IN BATTLE OF THE DOLLSThe Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals filed an opinion today reversing a multi-million dollar verdict and injunction in favor of Mattel, maker of Barbie dolls, against upstart competitor MGA Entertainment which makes the Bratz doll line. The case has garnered much attention as two highly popular doll lines and their manufacturers battled each other in federal court in Los Angeles. Chief Judge Alex Kozinski’s entertaining opinion today likely will have far reaching consequences beyond toymakers — affecting copyright infringement, trademark infringement and constructive trust litigation.

You can read and download Judge Kozinski’s opinion here. More on his opinion after the jump.
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ACTRESS CLAIMS BABY GIRLFRIEND COMMERCIAL IS ABOUT HER

Actress Lindsay Lohan is once again in the news. This time, however, it’s not because of what Lohan and her running buddies have done in some nightclub, or the latest in the ongoing feud between Lohan and her father. Instead, Lohan has made the news by filing a $100 million lawsuit against the online stock trading company, E*Trade, over their “milkaholic” baby girlfriend commercial.

Lohan’s break as an actress came in the 2004 motion picture “Mean Girls.” After that film, Lohan tried to expand her influence into the music arena, releasing a couple of albums to mixed reviews. Lohan graced the cover of Vanity Fair magazine (right) with a pictorial spread that evoked images of Marilyn Monroe. However, instead of becoming a “triple threat” — actress/model/singer — Lohan has become more widely known for being fodder for tabloids and paparazzi. With stories about her lesbian lover and their widely reported breakup, stints in rehab, car accidents, public feuds with her father and “overexposed” pictures of Lohan all over the ‘net, Lohan is now the symbol of young Hollywood and their unabashed desire to have a good time.

Now comes Lohan’s latest foray into the news: a $100 million dollar lawsuit against E*Trade for their latest “baby” commercial. After the jump, I’ll detail why Lohan’s lawsuit has the feel of a publicity stunt. And if you haven’t seen the commercial which debuted during the Super Bowl, you can view that after the jump as well.

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HOW VIEWERS ARE IMPACTED BY “TAPE DELAYED” COVERAGE OF 2010 VANCOUVER OLYMPICS

As a sports fan in California, “watching” the 2010 Olympics has been a frustrating experience. NBC has provided the west coast with little live coverage. So those of us who live in the “tape delayed” part of NBC’s coverage map have a choice: (a) cease using communication devices and social media to avoid learning of results; or (b) watching the television coverage in spite of knowing the result.

I received a message on Twitter from a reporter from the Los Angeles Times asking if I would speak on the record about the issue. Never one to turn down an opportunity to speak my mind, I agreed. The LA Times article appears here.

My thoughts on the implications of tape delayed coverage on viewers after the jump.
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NY FEDERAL JUDGE RULES THAT ALLEGEDLY DEFAMATORY STATEMENTS ABOUT ANNA NICOLE SMITH’S ATTORNEY/COMPANION SHOULD BE PRESENTED TO A JURY

Last Wednesday, on August 12, 2009, a federal district court judge in New York ruled that the defamation case filed by Anna Nicole Smith’s former attorney and companion, Howard K. Stern, against the publisher and author of the book “Blonde Ambition: The Untold Story Behind Anna Nicole Smith’s Death” should proceed to trial against the author, MSNBC investigative reporter, Rita Cosby. Judge Dennis Chin’s decision provides several interesting legal tidbits as well as a glimpse into the media frenzy that followed Smith and her death.

“Blonde Ambition” made several explosive revelations about Smith, Stern, and Larry Birkhead, Smith’s other love interest and father of her baby, Dannielyn. Cosby wrote among other things that (a) Smith caught Stern and Birkhead having oral sex with each other at a party in Los Angeles, (b) Smith remarked that Stern was gay, (c) Smith watched a sex tape of Stern and Birkhead on a regular basis as witnessed by her nannies, (d) Stern regularly “pimped” out Smith to others to have sex with and (e) Stern played a role in Smith’s death. As expected, these revelations made Cosby’s book an instant best-seller. However, also as expected, Stern was none too pleased with the contents of that book — and sued Cosby and her publisher for defamation in New York.

The following are the highlights of Judge Chin’s decision. You can see a copy of Judge Chin’s ruling here.
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