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Afternoon Briefs: Judge bans trick-or-treat warning signs; Johnny Depp settles fee dispute

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Federal judge sides with sex offenders in battle over trick-or-treat warning signs

A federal judge in Macon, Georgia, has granted a request by three sex offenders to stop a county sheriff from placing signs in the front of their homes warning trick-or-treaters to stay away. U.S. District Judge Marc Treadwell ruled the signs violate the offenders’ First Amendment rights because they amount to compelled government speech. Treadwell said their was no evidence that the offenders posed a danger to children. (, Courthouse News Service, NBC News, Oct. 29 opinion)

Johnny Depp settles fee dispute with former law firm

Actor Johnny Depp has reached an “eight-figure settlement” in a dispute over fees with his former law firm Bloom Hergott. A judge ruled last year that Depp could void an oral contract with a lawyer from Bloom Hergott because California law requires contingency agreements to be put in writing. (Variety, the Hollywood Reporter)

2nd Circuit upholds fraud conviction of former Katten partner

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the conspiracy conviction of Evan Greebel, a former income partner at Katten Muchin Rosenman accused of helping drug company CEO Martin Shkreli commit fraud. The New York-based appeals court rejected Greebel’s argument that jurors were wrongly instructed about a lawyer’s duty of disclosure to a corporate client. No matter what the duty, Greebel should have disclosed to his drug company client that it was committed to pay millions of dollars to investors defrauded by Shkreli, the appeals court said. (Law360, the New York Law Journal, the Oct. 30 2nd Circuit opinion)

Lawyer says judge should recuse himself for pejorative term ‘copyright troll’

A lawyer labeled a “copyright troll” by U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan says the words are a “pejorative schoolyard epithet” that require the judge to recuse himself from an infringement case. The lawyer, Richard Liebowitz, has filed more than 1,600 copyright lawsuits. (Law360)

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