Trial Notebook


Judge ponders puzzling paradox about appellate scrutiny

Concurring in a reversal and remand because of certain errors in a district judge’s detailed 33-page analysis of a trade dress claim, 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Gregg Costa searched for a rationale justifying a puzzling paradox about disparate levels of appellate scrutiny.

IP News Challenge


Minimum creativity examined in lawsuit over Katy Perry song

Question: How low is the minimum threshold of creativity for copyright protection?

Racial Justice

Ramon Ocasio-8-11-22,ph01

The NAACP defends the right to live, lays foundation for Black Lives Matter

Professor Megan Ming Francis’ book “Civil Rights and the Making of the Modern American State” is an important contribution for anyone thinking about the quintessential question: how did a marginalized community prompt the federal government to intervene in state criminal court proceedings?

For the Defense

Patrick Eckler-8-10-22,ph01

High court needs to resolve split over nursing home arbitration agreements

It has long been the practice in this space to discuss the grants and denials by the Illinois Supreme Court of petitions for leave to appeal, but here we are going one step further to discuss a case in which a petition will likely to be filed, plus two other issues that need resolution.

Insurance Matters

Don Sampen-8-9-22,ph01

Court OKs settlement between claimant, insured represented by same counsel

The 1st District Appellate Court recently held that a $6 million settlement agreement between a claimant and insured was reasonable and in good faith even though both parties were represented by the same attorneys.

Cotter’s Corner

Daniel Cotter-8-8-22,ph01

Conduct unbecoming? Alito heads to Italy for a victory lap in wake of Dobbs

In an appearance criticized by many, Justice Samuel Alito, showing rare judicial facial hair, gave a speech in Italy about the Dobbs decision and foreign leaders. He noted that for some, it had not worked out so well.

Opening Statement


‘Devil Wears Prada’ needs advice on ‘How to Succeed’

In order to assure that my opinion will not be compromised, I never look at another person’s review or comment about a production before writing my own column.

Opening Statement


Small Michigan theaters make a great getaway for Chicagoans

So, here we are again — in the middle of a long and hot summer, awaiting the opening of the Chicago theatrical season and I’m looking for something to fill my weekly column.

Opening Statement


‘Priscilla Queen of the Desert’ will have you clapping hands and stomping feet

As I prepared to review “Priscilla Queen of the Desert,” a musical about three drag queens traveling across Australia, I thought of recent criticism and opposition to LGBTQ issues at a time when the right-leaning Supreme Court decided to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Opening Statement


Movie puts an electric twist on long-held views of Elvis

As summer drifts on, we have had a couple of pleasant entertainment surprises in recent months outside the live stage.

Opening Statement


‘My Fair Lady’ brings musical bliss to Cadillac Palace

When I started writing this column more than 30 years ago, I had spent a number of years creating political and social satire shows for the Chicago Bar Association. However, I had little experience critiquing live theatrical productions for a daily newspaper.

Opening Statement


‘Life After’ has flickers of Sondheim, if not the lush melodies

When Stephen Sondheim passed away last fall, the world lost one of its greatest composers and lyricists. Sondheim had done it all. He composed music, wrote books and songs — the whole shebang. There were others like him (Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern and Cole Porter) but they were few and far between, and not many from the current crop of emerging songwriters could measure up to him.
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