ABA Journal

The National Pulse

433 ABA Journal The National Pulse articles.

How social media hijacked the Depp v. Heard defamation trial

Law firms are wondering what steps they can take to prevent bias like this going forward. And if they can’t prevent it, how can they use social media apps like TikTok in their favor?

Will mandatory arbitration be banned beyond in workplace sex assault and harassment complaints?

Forced arbitration has long been a controversial practice in the United States. At least one component of forced arbitration, however, has now ended.

Gaming the System? Inside the ‘Texas two-step’ strategy profitable companies use to file for bankruptcy

In recent years, Purdue Pharma, USA Gymnastics and Boy Scouts of America have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to avoid civil liability. But it is J&J’s use of a 1989 Texas statute on divisive mergers that is facing scrutiny in federal courts and in Congress.

Progressive prosecutors are encountering pushback

When Alvin Bragg Jr. ran for district attorney of New York County last year, he broadly promised to decline prosecuting some defendants arrested for low-level crimes, prioritize treatment for mental illness and drug abuse, and to end the use of cash bail.

Tennessee court pilots new ODR platform to mediate medical debt disputes

One Tennessee small claims court is attempting to address this issue by piloting an online dispute resolution platform to keep medical debt collection out of the courtroom. Through the platform, patients can communicate with the hospital or health center about payment options and ways to potentially reduce their bills, and they can use the pro bono services of a trained mediator to reach a settlement, if needed.

Cross-section: Pandemic-era challenges spur civil litigators to shift approach to representative juries

The coronavirus pandemic’s strain on the jury system is clear to civil trial lawyers. Some are even tailoring their trial strategies to account for how the threat of disease could be changing jurors’ attitudes toward serving and cutting into the pool of available jurors in ways that could sway their cases.

I Spy: As more companies surveil workers at home, do laws do enough to protect privacy?

When demand for employee monitoring technology soared as millions moved from the office to remote work during the coronavirus pandemic, class action lawyer Benjamin F. Johns took note. “When everyone went remote, it heightened the concerns about privacy. And while employees do have to give up some of their rights, just by virtue of the employer-employee relationship, they don’t give up all their privacy rights,” Johns says.

Shortage of forensic pathologists, coupled with COVID-19, has caused major delays in cases

Nonexistent ‘Critical Race Theory’ curriculum is caught in the crosshairs

More than 30 years ago, law professor Richard Delgado began writing law review articles emphasizing the pervasive and pernicious role of race in law and society. Delgado and other pioneering law professors called for a fundamental reorientation of legal studies on race. Concepts of how race impacts society and the legal system were at the forefront of the discussion, often through telling stories of those impacted by race and societal discrimination. These scholars became known as critical race theorists and their approach known as critical race theory.

For some civil rights lawyers, police body camera video can be hard to come by

Many civil rights attorneys seeking body camera video find police departments, officials and judges can stand in their way. Sometimes, according to lawyers and legal experts, the video is selectively released or edited. That can leave lawyers with little choice but to file a lawsuit and use discovery and subpoena power to obtain recordings, delaying justice for families wanting a more complete picture of what happened to their loved ones. Even so, police say there are good reasons to withhold, edit or redact footage to protect the privacy rights of people who appear on camera and prevent interference in ongoing investigations.

Is the right to assemble and demonstrate under threat?

Legislators who are now seeking to restrict protesters say the measures are necessary to establish law and order; provide security; protect businesses; ensure the free flow of highways; and distinguish between peaceful protesters and rioters. But free speech experts warn that the legislative trend against protesting is harmful to fundamental First Amendment freedoms.

As more courts use facility dogs, some defense lawyers object

In a justice system that can sometimes appear hostile, facility dogs can comfort child witnesses as they talk about the most traumatic experiences of their lives. Because the dogs lie at children’s feet in the witness box, jurors may never see them. But according to some defense lawyers, when judges say witnesses will be assisted by canines, that makes them appear more sympathetic or believable, violating the due process rights of their clients.

An increasing number of physicians are dismissing patients, but are they doing it legally?

Few physicians will admit to ghosting a patient. It’s the type of behavior that could lead to a lawsuit or a patient complaint to a state medical board. In some areas of medicine, patient dismissal rates are increasing, with physicians firing their patients directly and telling them to seek care elsewhere.

States drive a wave of bills affecting transgender youth

States have filed more than 250 bills affecting LGBTQ people this year—including more than 120 anti-trans bills. Opponents say the proposed legislation promotes discrimination and prejudice and could negatively impact trans youths’ mental health.

Judicial portraits and Confederate monuments stir debate on bias in the justice system

“It is my goal—and my duty as a judge—to provide a trial setting that is perceived by all participants as fair, neutral and without so much as a hint of prejudice,” Judge Martin Clark wrote in a 2015 order. “Confederate symbols are, simply put, offensive to African Americans.”

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