Weeding Out the Garden State: Poor New Jersey. Always being picked on. Yesterday's round-up of alleged corrupt public officials surely won't help things. Federal authorities arrested 44 people in what The New York Times called a sprawling corruption scandal that stretches from the Jersey shore to Brooklyn to beyond. Three New Jersey mayors, two state assemblymen and five rabbis were hooked and booked. Charges in the case include money laundering, bank fraud and bribery. And there's this: piles of cash—including $97,000 stuffed in a box of Apple Jacks cereal. And then this: one man in the scheme is alleged to have acquired kidneys for ten grand and resold the organs for $160,000.
Specter Pitches Pleading Standard Reform: Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa., introduced legislation this week that would direct federal courts to return to a more liberal pleading standard in civil litigation, The National Law Journal reports. Two recent Supreme Court decisions have raised the bar that pleaders must meet to avoid a swift granting of a motion to dismiss. In remarks on the Senate floor, Specter accused the Court's majorities of making an end run around precedent. As the NLJ reports: the bill, if considered, would likely be a lightning rod for debate among plaintiffs lawyers, consumer groups and businesses.
On Tap at the ABA Meeting: Attorney misconduct, intellectual property litigation and pro bono conflicts of interest are expected to be tops on the American Bar Association's agenda at the ABA's annual meeting, The National Law Journal reports. The ABA's House of Delegates, which includes 555 members, is expected to consider 36 bylaw and constitutional amendments. The meeting, in Chicago, runs from July 30 to Aug. 4.
Court Rules Against Hacker: The New York Law Journal reports that a computer hacker who navigated a network to acquire advance information about a company's financial reports can be sued for fraud under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 even though he owed no fiduciary duty to the company, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit ruled.
Targeting the Pop King's Doc: Michael Jackson's personal doctor, Conrad Murray, is identified as a suspect in the manslaughter investigation into Jackson's death, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times. The Times reports that a pair of search warrants filed in Houston show detectives are looking for "items constituting evidence of the offense of manslaughter that tend to show that Dr. Conrad Murray committed the said criminal offense." Said Murray's lawyer, Edward Chernoff, who was present during the execution of the search warrants: "I do not know what they are looking for, and I can't possibly tell you how anything they took in any way connects with the death of Michael Jackson."