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Weekly Briefs: 'Copyright troll' lawyer is suspended; law grad who married Japanese princess fails bar

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‘Copyright troll’ lawyer is suspended in NY

A New York appeals court has suspended a lawyer once deemed a “copyright troll” because of the large number of copyright complaints that he filed on behalf of photographers. The Appellate Division’s Second Judicial Department of the New York Supreme Court suspended lawyer Richard Liebowitz as reciprocal discipline for a federal court’s interim suspension. The Southern District of New York’s Committee on Grievances had imposed the interim suspension in November 2020, citing Liebowitz’s “repeated disregard for orders from this court and his unwillingness to change despite 19 formal sanctions and scores of other admonishments and warnings from judges across the country.” In one case, he lied to a judge about the date of his grandfather’s death when explaining why he missed a court date. Liebowitz’s lawyer, Michael Ross of the Law Offices of Michael S. Ross, told Reuters that his client was disappointed that he was suspended before the federal court grievance committee heard his case on the merits. (Reuters, Bloomberg Law, the Nov. 3 opinion)

Law grad who married Japanese princess wasn’t on bar pass list

The Fordham University School of Law graduate who married Japan’s princess last month has apparently failed New York’s bar exam. Kei Komuro took the exam in July, but he wasn’t on the pass list released Oct. 28. The overall pass rate for the exam was 63%. He is currently working as a law clerk at Lowenstein Sandler in New York. (Reuters)

OSHA vaccine rule released

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration released its vaccine rule governing businesses with more than 100 employees Thursday. The rule requires covered businesses to require workers to get vaccinated or to wear a face mask and test negative COVID-19 on a weekly basis. Workers have until Jan. 4 to complete their vaccine regimen, and unvaccinated workers must begin wearing masks Dec. 5. One issue that could be raised in legal challenges is whether COVID-19 is still a “grave danger” justifying the rule, enacted under emergency temporary standards. On Friday, more than two dozen Republican-led states filed lawsuits challenging the requirement. (Law360,, the Volokh Conspiracy, the New York Times, Bloomberg Law)

Only 1 Black juror chosen for trial in Ahmaud Arbery slaying

The jury hearing the case against three white men accused of killing Black jogger Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia is made up of 11 white people and one Black person. Defense lawyers repeatedly used peremptory challenges to strike potential Black jurors, leading to objections by prosecutors. Judge Timothy Walmsley said Georgia law limited his ability to change the jury because defense lawyers gave race-neutral reasons for their strikes. (The Associated Press, NPR, the New York Times)

Maine endorses right to grow and eat chosen food

Voters in Maine approved a state constitutional amendment Tuesday that says people have a right to grow, raise, produce and consume food of their choosing. Proponents say the amendment will help fight hunger and give power to individuals, rather than companies. Opponents say the amendment could weaken laws preventing animal cruelty and protecting food safety. (Courthouse News Service, the Washington Post)

DOJ reopens access to justice office

The U.S. Department of Justice announced last week that it is restoring its Office for Access to Justice. The office will have a $6 million budget and will focus on litigation positions and federal policies regarding equal access to justice. ABA President Reginald Turner said in a statement the association welcomed the announcement. The office had been shut down during the Trump administration. (Reuters, Bloomberg Law, Department of Justice press release, ABA press release)

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