The Iowa Capital Dispatch has uncovered evidence that a holiday heavyweight might be moonlighting as a prosecutor in the Hawkeye State.
A search of online court records in April revealed that hundreds of criminal cases in Polk County had been switched from an assistant county attorney to “Easter Santa Bunny.”
The cases were reassigned as part of a realignment inside the county attorney’s office, with “Easter Santa Bunny” a placeholder name chosen by IT staff in the county’s judicial department.
The placeholder name was supposed to be viewable by clerks, lawyers, and judges but not the public. A member of the county clerk’s office described the kerfuffle over the placeholder name as “a nightmare for me.”
The Easter Bunny myth originated in Germany, where, according to folklore, the “Easter Hare” would judge whether children had been good or bad and dole out colored eggs, candy, and toys.
Source: AP, Iowa County Dispatch
On the Radar
Birthday Party Leads to $450,000 Verdict
In April, a Kentucky jury found that a medical laboratory engaged in disability discrimination when it fired a man who has panic attacks.
The events giving rise to the lawsuit began when the laboratory organized a workplace birthday party for the man in 2019. The man had asked the laboratory not to organize a party, because of his anxiety disorder.
But the message got lost and when the man unwittingly walked in on the party he had a panic attack. He fled the party and ate his lunch in his car in the parking lot.
He had another panic attack when he met with his supervisors the day after the party. Because of his behavior during that meeting, the laboratory fired the man.
The jury awarded the man $450,000 – $150,000 in lost wages and $300,000 for distress.
By the Numbers
– The associate attrition rate for 2021, according to a survey of 125 law firms in the United States and Canada.
Law firms that participated in a survey conducted by the NALP Foundation for Law Career Research and Education reported hiring 7,278 associates in 2021, up 162% from 2020, when they hired 2,772. Of the 7,278 hires, 53% were lateral.
Associate departures also rose between 2020 and 2021, from 2,876 to 4,503. The 26% attrition rate for 2021 jumped 10 points from 2020, according to the survey. Last year’s attrition rate was the highest recorded in the survey’s 15-year history.
Among the reasons for associate departures in 2021 were pursuing specific practice interests (19%), taking a different type of legal job (17%), better pay (12%), and geographic relocation (10%).
Source: ABA Journal
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Brickbusters Awarded Patent for Pet Sensor
A team of Wisconsin students who invented a sensor system to monitor pets’ health have been awarded a patent.
The eight students were in middle school in East Troy when they entered their invention in the 2017 First Lego League, an international science competition.
Calling themselves the Brickbusters, they placed in the top three out of 32,000 teams.
The team named their invention “Friendchip.” It’s a sensor that monitors a pet’s temperature, blood sugar, and movement, to improve human and pet interaction.
First Lego League is designed to introduce children to STEM learning.
Source: Foley & Lardner LLP, WISN 12
Limit the Sale of Your Personal Data
Most major phone providers track your phone and web history, anonymize the data, and then sell that information to third parties.
For instance, a phone carrier could take all web search history of its users in Milwaukee in the prior month and sell that data to a marketing company, which could use the information to sell targeted ads.
The best way to limit the sale of your information is to contact your phone carrier and ask what information is being collected on you and how to limit the sale of that information.
Usually, you can limit the sale of your information by logging into your account through the phone carrier’s website, finding the privacy and settings options and then the advertising or sale of personal data option, and completing the form (or selecting the optional toggle) for the carrier to not sell your personal data.
This won’t stop your phone carrier from tracking your data – you’ll still receive untargeted ads from third parties (unless the targeted ads stem from another data source, such as a social media application).
Additionally, some of the services provided by the phone carrier or separate applications that need your data to operate properly might be affected. For instance, data security and privacy settings might block applications from being able to see your preferences or location. That would lead to non-specialized recommendations – you wouldn’t be offered the best hamburger places in Madison, say, for people who often search for best hamburger locations in their home cities. Alternatively, the application or service might not work at all.
Source: Christopher C. Shattuck, Practice Management Advisor (Practice411™), State Bar of Wisconsin.
By the numbers
Two-thirds Supported Jackson Nomination
According to a Marquette University Law School poll conducted in March, 66% of adults said that they would support the nomination of Kentanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court if they were U.S. Senators.
Forty-six percent of respondents said Brown was “very qualified” and 42% said she was “somewhat qualified.” Twelve percent said she was “not qualified.”
Ninety-five percent of Democrats supported Brown’s nomination; among Republicans the number was 29%. Sixty-seven percent of independents supported Brown’s nomination.
For related stories, see “We’ve Made It” in the May 2022 Briefly column (95 Wis. Law. 15) and “U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson Represents All Americans” in this month’s Final Thought column.
Source: Marquette University Law School Poll