Monday, September 26, 2005

For Your Information: Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District

Washington Post coverage of the first day of trial here. The plaintiffs called their first expert witness, which we'll learn some about during discovery.

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What got me clued into the case: A Web of Faith, Law, and Evolution in Suit, from the New York Times. I found the last line rather poignant, and applicable to litigation in general: "There's no way to have a winner here," Mr. Rehm said. "The community has already lost, period, by becoming so divided."

And, as if just in time, Boalt Hall shows off it's dog in the fight here. From what I've read of the parties' counsel, Prof. Johnson is not involved, but it's clear that his research laid the foundation for this suit.

I lost my WestLaw password along the way (foolishly, since it's best for getting trial documents like motions and complaints, as Prof. Swift showed), but here are Lexis cites the decisions made so far in the case (note how many motions get decided by written decision by a judge in a complex trial long before the trial starts!):

2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3693 (May 10, 2005) (ruling denying both motion to intervene by parents of children and a motion to dismiss). Note that this motion to dismiss is not "on the merits." Defendants wanted to dismiss for ripeness (now is not the time to hear ths case), lack of standing (the plaintiffs are not the ones to bring this case), and to specifically dismiss the state law claims for being duplicative. All three grounds to dismiss were denied.
2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14998 (July 27, 2005) (denying textbook publisher's motion to intervene, i.e., get in on the trial, because they asked too close to the date of trial as to prejudice all parties).
379 F. Supp. 2d 680; 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15732 (Aug. 2, 2005) (granting in part and denying in part a motion to quash, i.e., cancel, a subpoena, i.e., a court order to give testimony, arising from a discovery dispute between the parties). As you will learn next week, discovery is meant to run smoothly and not involve running to court and complaining. Of course, put enough on the line and parties will risk angering the judge.
2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19295 (Sept. 7, 2005) (requesting permission to intervene to film the trial; denied). Should trials be televised? What about ones that the entire nation is immensely interested in?

And local media attention for today's beginning trial date:

Science vs. religion disquiets small Pa. town, Philadelphia Inquirer (registration required)
Intelligent design court battle begins, Associated Press.
and an on-line debate between law professors on the issues in the case, here

And, last but not least, all of the papers filed in the case! Complaint, answer, etc. all posted here

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