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Applying Law School Lessons to the Year’s Stories

December 21, 2007

As we are here just a few days before Christmas and the end of the year, it is worth noting that maybe our law school professors were on to something.  Maybe all those lessons they teach us, particularly when we were just innocent first year law students, actually make sense.   

 Note how we can apply the lessons we learned in law school to some of the city’s and region’s stories over the past year:

* Don Imus is fired from his job after making some comments about the Rutgers women’s basketball team.  The lesson he should have known about?  Don’t slander or defame people, particularly when you’re doing it on a syndicated radio program that reaches millions and your targets are innocent college-aged women.

* Rick’s Steaks goes to court to stay in the Reading Terminal and prevent eviction.  The classic real property lessons are dusted off.  Is Rick’s a tenant at will, an occupant at sufferance or a periodic tenant.  At least the Rule against Perpetuities isn’t implicated (or is it?).   The best part of the dispute is probably the great headlines that have been generated: “Sandwich war continues to sizzle,” “He’s steaking his claim in court,” and my personal favorite, “Reading Terminal Market: Rick’s Steaks widout?”

Jocelyn Kirsch and Ed Anderton are arrested for stealing identities of neighbors, forgery and a bevy of other crimes.   If they had gone to law school (it’s conceivable Jocelyn could have claimed she did, considering all the other stories about her), they would have known about the torts of invasion of privacy, and specifically, intrusion of solitude, as well as conversion.  Criminal law would also have warned them of the litany of charges they now face. 

* CBS 3 anchor Alycia Lane is arrested in New York City for punching a police officer.  Well, I think you don’t need to go to law school to know that you shouldn’t punch a cop.  But what Alycia may not have known because she didn’t have the benefit of law school is that the simple act of verbally threatening the undercover officer would alone make her possibly liable for the tort of assault. 

So in this holiday season, let us be thankful to our law school professors.  They taught us well and prevent us from being entangled in some of the problems as those who weren’t so “fortunate” to go to law school.  Have a Merry Christmas!

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