Weblog Entries: Civil Law

Addressing Novel Legal Issues in Virtual Property

There is a growing debate over the "virtual property" that gamers can accumulate in online video games, and how legal systems should deal with this new form of property. Attorneys Richard Raysman and Peter Brown discuss some of the novel legal issues raised by this unique species of property, and how major gaming companies are starting to deal with those issues.

Originally by Law.com - Tech Law Practice Center, 12:28 PM  Read more »

Dell Website Blunder Results in Bargains for All

According to an article in The Age, ‘[a] website blunder by Dell Australia has allowed hundreds of customers to order 250GB hard drives for AUD$8.80, almost [$200] less than the actual price.  Read more »

Legal Ethics Agitprop and the Ford Pinto

Basically every private law subject I’ve taken in law school has had something to say about the Ford Pinto case.  Read more »

Former GIO Executives Guilty of Breaching Directors' Duties

Three former directors of GIO Insurance Limited have been found guilty of breaching their duties during AMP’s heated takeover of the company between 1998 and 1999.

Originally by CCH Australia, 2:44 PM

Child Refugee Sues Australian Government For Detention Trauma

In a landmark case, a young Iranian refugee is seeking compensation for the time he spent in two of Australia's immigration detention centres.

Originally by ABC News: Politics, 9:53 PM

The High Court on Ratification

Hopes that the High Court would make a definitive ruling on ratification of breach of directors' duties in the Carabelas case have been dashed. But Yee-Fui Ng, from Clayton Utz, still found some valuable clues to the judges' thinking on the issue.

Originally by CCH Australia, 11:13 PM

Directors Liable for Debt Incurred Without Contract

A debt can be incurred by a company and the directors held liable for allowing it to trade while insolvent even in the absence of a formal contract for work, the NSW Supreme Court has found.

Originally by CCH Australia, 11:13 PM

ASIC Puts Spotlight on Insolvency

The corporate regulator has scored many runs in its policing of insolvency in the past year and would continue to play on the front foot, ASIC commissioner Berna Collier has warned.

Originally by CCH Australia, 11:13 PM

Bankruptcy and Family Law: Creditors vs Family Interests

'In the countdown to the new bankruptcy and family law regime, Dr Tom Altobelli tackles the most difficult question that will be faced by the Family Court: who gets priority, family members or creditors?'

This is a very interesting issue, particularly in light of current mortgage practices. Read on for more.

Originally by CCH Australia, 11:13 PM

The Impact of Non-Compete Clauses in IT Employment Contracts

'Microsoft's suit against Kai-Fu Lee and Google is based off of the thought that in some circumstances people can't avoid sharing or relying on trade secrets from their former employer when moving to a competitor.  Read more »

Woolworths' Supermarkets Acquisition Fuels Competition Concerns

'The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is concerned about the effect of Woolworths’ proposed acquisition of eight Action supermarkets on competition in local retail markets.'

Originally by CCH Australia, 11:28 AM

Federal Judge Rejects Antitrust Claim Against Wireless Companies

'Cell phone users have long faced a frustrating expense: [t]heir old phones become useless as large wireless companies require customers to use specific makes of phones. In 2002, several wireless customers filed suit in federal court, alleging that the practice constituted unlawful "tying," in violation of the Sherman Act. On Tuesday, a judge dismissed the case, granting the summary judgment motion filed by Cingular Wireless, Verizon Wireless and AT&T Wireless Services, among others.'  Read more »

The Future of Cyberlaw

‘Cyberlaw’ is a phrase I have adopted to signify the application of jurisprudence in any electronic context. As a descriptive label, it has since been succeeded as the buzzword of choice by such phrases as ‘communications law’, ‘IT law’ and, more recently, plain old ‘internet law’ — as well as its more specific sub-branches, including copyright law, private international law, and so on.  Read more »

A Different Kind of Property Right

'Although broadly categorized as personal property, Internet property has characteristics of both tangible and intangible property. Consequently, attorneys must take the special nature of Internet property into consideration when attempting to resolve legal difficulties relating to an Internet transaction, says Jonathan Bick.'

Originally by Law.com - Tech Law Practice Center, 12:27 PM

A New Form of Medical Liability: Impunctuality?

The ABC is reporting that doctors could be sued for being late to appointments, according to several lawyers:

The Downs and South West Law Association's Darryl Cox says some people are waiting up to an hour for appointments, costing them time and money and doctors need to stop over-booking.  Read more »

Clayton Utz Lawyers Accused of Witness Coaching in <em>Kazaa</em> Trial

The Australian is reporting that a complaint has been received about three Clayton Utz lawyers involved in the Sharman License Holdings trial, acting for the developer of the popular KaZaa file-sharing software. According to the complaint, the lawyers are alleged to have influenced the testimony of an expert witness, Professor Keith Ross.  Read more »

On The Importance of Proofreading

See here for a particularly egregious example of a court filing that has not been properly proofread. Compare, in particular, the phrase ‘disc herniation’ on p 2 with its corresponding incarnation on p 1. Whether malapropism, typographical error, or simply the joke of a bored clerk, the attorneys concerned must be considerably embarrassed.  Read more »

Perry Mason, Meet Your Expert Technology Witness

Lawsuits over who can profit from ideas are increasingly a foundation of the technology industry, touching off a race to assemble teams of expert witnesses.

Originally by NYT > Technology, 9:27 PM

eBay faces court over contact lens dispute

Ebay is facing legal action for allegedly "aiding and abetting" the sale of contact lenses via its website without the involvement of a qualified optician.…

Originally by The Register - Internet and Law: eCommerce, 9:51 PM

Electronic Conveyancing Another Step Closer

The New South Wales Department of Lands has announced that its transition to an electronic register of land titles will be complete by December 2006. The transition is a massive undertaking, involving the digitisation of some 66 000 paper certificates of title and issuance of transaction access credentials to several thousand conveyancers and legal professionals.  Read more »

Nanoparticles in the Workplace: Risks and Liability

'As the [American] National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health develops guidelines for working with nanomaterials, experts say the nanotechnology sector is ahead of the curve when it comes to understanding job-related risks, and is doing far more early research than other industries. One expert says the asbestos industry, which doled out staggering sums of money for liability lawsuits, paid the price for a failure to fully understand the product's dangers before putting it on the market.'  Read more »

Law Firms Not Liable in Alleged Web Hacking Case

'Two law firms that allegedly surreptitiously accessed an expert witness's password-protected Web site to show a judge that the witness violated a gag order cannot be held liable under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, ruled a federal judge who dismissed the suit. The occupational illness expert had accused Keller & Heckman and its attorney Douglas Behr of hacking into his site by acquiring a password and sharing it with Jones Day lawyers in the midst of a landmark toxics trial.'  Read more »

On French Internet, Copyright and DRM Policies

Two recent news stories highlight the development of French internet policy. France is traditionally billed as the ‘safe haven’ of P2P users — portrayed as having a liberal, permissive copyright regime and consumer-friendly anti-circumvention laws.  Read more »

Liability for Epilepsy Caused by Video Gaming

An attorney is gathering information on epileptic seizures related to video games. Can a lawsuit be far behind?

Originally by Ars Technica, 1:51 PM

Lawyers Pose Health Risk: Study

Saw this chuckleworthy piece over at Overlawyered:

A team of researchers led by Richard Gun, visiting research fellow at Adelaide University, ‘has found patients who engage a lawyer after receiving their injury are five times less likely ever to return to work.’ They also appear to suffer more pain and for longer periods than accident victims who do not have lawyers.  Read more »