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Court and legal news roundup

everything you need to know about California attorney disciplinary proceedings

This week in legal news

  • Minnesota lawyer suspended for lying on resume
  • Big Law firms are beginning to specialize in autonomous vehicles
  • After the plaintiff failed to respond, the defendant in a TCPA suit was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction

Lawyer suspended for 6 months by Minnesota bar after lying on resume

Lillian A. Ballard of Minnesota was suspended for 6 months after making false statements in her job search. She admitted that the allegations against her were true and agreed to the suspension.

According to the Minnesota Supreme Court, Ballard made false statements on a resumé submitted to two law firms and gave one of the law firms a forged law school transcript. She also made false statements to a person working in the recruiting department of one of the law firms and to the director of the Minnesota Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility. (Via ABA Journal)

Reports do not specify the false statements that Ballard made on her resume or in person.

Autonomous vehicles are increasingly common as a specialty for Big Law firms

As technology advances, more law firms are embracing the new opportunities. One emerging area is centered around autonomous vehicles.

Big Law firms are competing to gain traction in this emerging area of law as new regulations are implemented and states begin to test their legal frameworks. The intersection of autonomous vehicle technology and the already complicated automotive sector is creating a spike in demand for legal expertise.

“We’re at an inflection point now where we’ll see more [state] frameworks around use and commercial operations of vehicles and rules of the road,” said Peter Stockburger, the co-leader of Dentons’ autonomous vehicles practice. “That is where there are challenges and opportunities.” In particular, the challenge of bringing these vehicles to the market in a way that creates public trust presents a host of legal questions, which is also driving demand from operators and tech companies offering transportation solutions or convenient services such as ridesharing. (Via

While there are many legal questions yet to be answered, major law firms see this as a promising opportunity. They are moving quickly to position themselves as experts before demand increases.

Defendant dismissed for lack of jurisdiction after plaintiff fails to file any affidavits or declarations

In Johnson vs. Charter Communications, Inc., the defendant’s motion for dismissal was unexpectedly granted after the plaintiff failed to present any opposing evidence.

The plaintiff claimed that calls from the defendant violated TCPA. In an attempt to have the case dismissed, the defendant claimed that neither they nor any of their agents had made the challenged calls, therefore there was a lack of jurisdiction. When the plaintiff failed to respond at all, the court was compelled to dismiss the case.

While that seems straightforward enough, because the issue of jurisdiction turned on a “foundational fact”–i.e. whether something had taken place with respect to California–all the Plaintiff had to do was oppose with a declaration stating she had received the phone call she described in the complaint. In other words the motion had about a 0.001% chance of success. (Via National Law Review)

The court entered a cautious record stating that they could not assume the truth without an affidavit, they were obligated to dismiss what should have been a “relatively easy” case for the plaintiff.


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