Law Religion Culture Review

Exploring the intersections of law, religion and culture. Copyright by Richard J. Radcliffe. All rights reserved.

Monday, November 28, 2005

It Follows, Part II.

Lewis Perdue, the litigant suing Dan Brown over The Da Vinci Code, informed me that "he has filed for appeal because the District Court judge made a number of significant errors, both in fact and of law." He further stated that his "appeal brief needs to be filed by Dec 21."

Mr. Perdue indicated that he will make his opening brief available, and I plan to summarize the issues once furnished. Stay tuned.

Friday, November 25, 2005

It Follows.

Lawsuits often follow success.

In the wake of a successful book or film, plaintiffs routinely claim that the successful work derived from their earlier intellectual property.

The Da Vinci Code proves the point, but with a twist. Author Dan Brown and his publisher initiated the lawsuit, instead of waiting to be sued. In short, they sued Lewis Perdue, who claimed that The Da Vinci Code ripped off his books, Daughter of God and the Da Vinci Legacy. Beaten to the courthouse, Perdue counterclaimed against Brown, Random House, and those entities involved in the upcoming film to the tune of $150 million.

The Court recently issued its decision here. The Court contrasted the works and found Brown's novel sufficiently dissimilar to rule in his favor.

Money quote: "A reasonable average lay observer would not conclude that The Da Vinci Code is substantially similar to Daughter of God. Any slightly similar elements are on the level of generalized or otherwise unprotectible ideas."

(Via: MassLawBlog.)

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Guaranteed Winner.

I caught a sports talk show this morning. During the show, an advertisement offered a "guaranteed winner" for sports betting purposes. What was the guarantee?

You get the rest of the season free if you lose.

If you lose, do you want to continue getting this quality of advice?

Friday, November 18, 2005

"In God We Trust"?

Here's the brand new lawsuit suing Congress and others to remove "In God We Trust" from U.S. coinage and currency. (

This lawsuit comes from the same individual who brought the "Pledge of Allegience" lawsuit, challenging "under God". Here's some background from his website, including his ordination and church.

(Via: Restore our Pledge of Allegiance.)

Friday, November 11, 2005

Ave Maria.

Ave Maria is more than a song.

It's a distinctive new law school dedicated to "offer[ing] an outstanding legal education in fidelity to the Catholic Faith as expressed through Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture, and the teaching authority of the Church." (here.)

Launched in 2000, Ave Maria School of Law has already garnered full American Bar Association accreditation--in the shortest possible time (here). Its first class scored the highest bar passage rate in Michigan--eclipsing U. of M. (here). Among its other distinctives: Judge Bork serves on the faculty.

The school may become even more distinctive.

"Mr. Monaghan, the founder of Domino's Pizza and the school's principal benefactor, has announced plans to build a large Catholic university outside Naples, Fla., along with a residential community. Will the law school move to Naples too, from Ann Arbor? The school's dean, Bernard Dobranski, acknowledges that the board is 'open to consideration of the idea.'


"A May 2004 speech by Mr. Monaghan, given at a conference on business ethics, would seem to confirm this speculation. 'We'll own all commercial real estate,' Mr. Monaghan declared, describing his vision. 'That means we will be able to control what goes on there. You won't be able to buy a Playboy or Hustler magazine in Ave Maria Town. We're going to control the cable television that comes in the area. There is not going to be any pornographic television in Ave Maria Town. If you go to the drug store and you want to buy the pill or the condoms or contraception, you won't be able to get that in Ave Maria Town.'"

(Via OpinionJournal.)

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


On Monday, I had breakfast at a local eatery, which I frequent about once a week. With that frequency, I got to know some of the people working there (albeit superficially).

One "server" (as they are called there to my slight discomfort)--"David"--always intrigued me because he presented a perfect contradiction (at least superficially). Smiling and good natured, he always seemed in take pride in doing good work. The arm "tat" (partially occluded by his shirt) and studded belt didn't seem to fit.

He just informed me that seven "servers" quit, including him. I asked why. He said they quit in unison because of how they were treated by management. He denied that it was money. I have no way of knowing if that's the case, but a couple of additional reasons led me to believe it wasn't about the lucre.

First, another "server" had told me the same thing the previous week. However, she characterized it as a "management" problem, and further said she wasn't quitting. She wanted to keep her job for the money, she allowed. Second, identifying the seven, I knew a couple of them. Since they were long timers, I doubted that money issues suddenly arose, which would cause them to leave when the wages had been acceptable for such a long period of time.

This scenario reminded me of Max DePree's superb, Leadership Is An Art. Paraphrasing a bit, DePree argued that employees are essentially volunteers. They are volunteers because they can leave whenever they want, as a general matter.

It caused me to wonder what "tax" would be visited upon the eatery for its mistreatment of its loyal employees. The recruitment and training of their replacements cannot be inexpensive, and there is no guaranty that the new employees will be able to satisfy the customers to the extent the others had. This in turn may lead to more turn over, and hence, more recruitment and training. It might even lead to its customers losing their appetites for their food.

An encouraging word, or other token of appreciation, can be so inexpensive, but in the long run, so valuable to leaders and managers and ultimately the organization.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Disappearing Act.

Nothing disappears quicker than food from a law firm's kitchen. Except perhaps Dodgers fans in the seventh inning.

Exhibit A comes from the witty Whitten:

"Last night I worked late in preparation for a trial today. At 9:45 pm, I just sort of assumed I was the only one in the office...I went to the break room at one point to see if anyone had left some food I could steal. Lo and behold I found a box of confections leftover from the a.m. and helped myself to a blueberry cake donut. After I took the first bite, my phone rang, so I set the donut down on the counter next to the microwave.I subsequently forgot about my donut and walked back to my office. When I came back about ten minutes later, I found that only about one bite was left of my donut. I searched the office for the individual that had crossed that line between man and bum. Nobody was there."

Exhibit B comes from somewhere in our office:

"I'm back from Tejas and back in the office. And while I was gone, somebody was drinking my tea. Tazo China Green Tips. Apparently, someone is under the impression that my Tazo China Green Tips are community tea. C'mon people, that stuff doesn't grow on trees." (Via: the write-on.)

Exhibit C comes from a mentor of mine. Marvelling at the rapidity with which food stuffs would disappear from his law firm's kitchen, he decided to test how low the bar would be for pilfering. So he grabbed a mature half loaf of Wonder bread from home and left it out at 8 in the morning. By noon it was gone. Stale plain white bread, folks.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Not Quite the Ultimate Sanction, But Close, Part III.

Remember the high-profile case where Alan Sporn obtained a million dollar judgment against Home Depot, USA, Inc. that I wrote about here and here?

(Recapping Sporn, Plaintiff Alan Sporn sued Home Depot and “John Doe”. The gist of Mr. Sporn's complaint was that "John Doe" used Sporn's identity to obtain credit from Home Depot. He also alleged that the company made monthly credit inquiries of Equifax, a credit reporting agency, and because of these frequent inquiries, he was unable to obtain “the best rates of interest” and suffered damages as a result.)

Mr. Sporn reported that he was awarded an additional $109,000.00, in sanctions.

In addition, Mr. Sporn informed me that Home Depot could have "avoided the entire case had they not ignored [him] when [he] first contacted them. Good customer relations with an apology, a letter to Equifax to reverse the 12 inquires and perhaps a $200 gift certificate would have done the trick."