I've waited way too long to extend a warm blogosphere welcome to Tim Murray's "The Carbolic Smoke Ball: News the Mainstream Media Doesn't Want You to Know."

A couple of trivia notes:

Via his nom-de-blog, Judge Rufus Peckham, Tim borrrows the identity of one of the most heavily criticized U.S. Supreme Court Justices in all of history. (Peckham, J., wrote the majority opinion in the infamous "freedom of contract" case, Lochner v. New York.) Which is not to say that he's the worst ever (and he even has his defenders, up to a point), but he's a contender.

The title of the blog borrows the device that was at the center of one of the most famous contract law lawsuits of all time, the English case of Carlill v Carbolic Smoke Ball Company [1893] 1 QB 256. The defendants offered a device called the "Carbolic Smoke Ball" for sale and offered the sum of 100 pounds to anyone who used the device and later got the flu. The plaintiff used the device, got the flu, and sued for his 100 pounds. The court found for the plaintiff.

Tim doesn't come by all of this history merely by accident. He's not only a talented lawyer himself but also the son of John Murray, a man who has done a bit, here and there, for the University of Pittsburgh and Duquesne University, among other places, and who knows just about everything that there is to know about contract law.


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Pittsblog 2.0 is written by Mike Madison, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Send email to michael.j.madison[at] Mike also blogs at, on law and technology. Chris Briem of Null Space drops by from time to time.

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