2009 Roundup, Part Two: “We Are All Tarnished by Your Stupidity”

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  • In November, Pressler and Pressler, a collections firm in New York, dragged the wrong "Mark Hoyte" into court and then tried to blame him for not proving the firm wasn't wrong.  "You didn't send any written proof of [your] claim that it was not you?" a Pressler lawyer asked Hoyte.  He hadn't.  "So without any written proof that it's not you, you would expect someone just, you know, to go on [your] say-so?!" the lawyer demanded.  The judge sided with Hoyte and said he would sanction the firm.
  • Michigan's Attorney Discipline Board suspended an attorney whose female clients alleged he had suggested they could pay his fees by taking a turn on what he called the "couch of restitution."  The story was posted on the ABA Journal's website, where creative commenters suggested alternative terms such as "futon of forgiveness," "rug of recompense," or "mattress of mitigation."
  • Also creative was the argument by an adult bookstore in Tennessee that a law preventing it from serving alcohol was overbroad and violated the First Amendment.  East Brooks Books basically argued that a bookstore does not pose the same risk as an establishment featuring the "explosive combination" of nude dancing and alcohol, so the regulation was not justified.  Among other things, the Sixth Circuit said it was not sure "speech" was being targeted at all by the regulation.