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Florida: one bar, one list, one wince It was a nondescript envelope and it had a Florida Bar mailing label, so, Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer Raag Hari Singhal told the Miami Herald, he opened it. Inside was a brochure about the genetic superiority of Europeans, anti-Semitic cartoons, an essay titled “Building a New, White World” and a letter suggesting that lawyers join the National Alliance, an offshoot of the American Nazi Party, to “counter abusive lawsuits.” “I can’t understand why the bar is giving my name and address to people who are threatening me,” said Singhal, ex-president of the Broward County Criminal Defense Attorneys Association. Bar leaders respond that, no, they didn’t know that the police list the National Alliance as a violent hate group when a representative phoned to order the mailing labels at 10 cents each. But it wouldn’t have mattered if they had. Bar President Miles McGrane said that, because Florida has a mandatory bar, it’s a quasi-governmental agency required under the public records act to give members’ names on request. The bar’s public relations woman said fewer than 300 lawyers got the mailing. A news account said thousands. There’s a question over whether the label-selling service is all that mandatory. But no one challenged bar counsel Paul Hill when he said, “We can’t be selective.” Some bars that we contacted suggest that the less said, the better. Louisiana’s bar has a “Mailing List Agreement” for those who want addresses. At Oklahoma’s, Executive Director John Morris Williams said cryptically, “We limit access to member information. We are selective to provide the information to members or to persons providing services to members.” Then again, he added, it’s awfully easy to find lawyer directories. Allies of a kind If anybody qualifies as “beleaguered,” it’s conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh. But this had to be the unkindest cut for the Great Bloviator. Last November, Florida prosecutors seized Limbaugh’s medical records to investigate whether he had violated drug laws when he bought painkillers. That’s an invasion of every Floridian’s right of privacy, according to an unsolicited defense of Limbaugh that the American Civil Liberties Union submitted to the court on Jan. 12. The judge agreed to keep the records sealed and granted the ACLU amicus curiae status. “We welcome the ACLU,” said Limbaugh in his broadcast with what sounded like sincerity. The Miami ACLU recorded the whole thing so it can send proof to any computer equipped with Real Player. Litigation for fun Leave it to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to remember the right to the pursuit of happiness. In a Jan. 15 opinion by Judge Barry Silverman, the court upheld workers’ comp benefits for Michael Ilaszczat, who had hip surgery after off-duty shenanigans at a place called the Tiki Bar on Johnston Atoll in the Pacific. The horseplay was “foreseeable,” the opinion stated, because the two-mile atoll, which the United States holds under the Guano Islands Act, heaven help us, has limited recreational opportunities. It turns out that a whole line of “it’s no fun there” cases goes back more than half a century and memorably includes a 1962 opinion about a woman injured during a late-night rendezvous in a parked car hit by an out-of-control weapons carrier in Guam. Still, on Jan. 14, the 5th Circuit’s decision in Lee v. American Airlines denied damages under the Warsaw Convention to a man who said he lost out on a “refreshing, memorable vacation” when he was forced to stay in a terminal without restroom facilities.

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