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July 20-22 -- Don't rock the Coke machine.   "A couple whose 19-year-old son was crushed to death by a Coke machine as he rocked it to extract a free can has filed a $1-million lawsuit in a Quebec court" against the soft-drink company, the vending machine's makers and operators, and the university he was attending.  "Kevin Mackle of Etobicoke, Ont., was discovered in December, 1998, pinned beneath a toppled machine in a residence stairwell at Bishop's University in Lennoxville, Que.  A coroner's investigation concluded that after a night drinking beer to celebrate the end of exams, Mr. Mackle was trying to shake a soft drink loose when the 420-kilogram machine tipped over.  An autopsy found he died of asphyxiation and had a blood-alcohol level slightly above the legal limit for driving."  (Graeme Hamilton, "Family sues Coca-Cola over son's death", National Post, July 11).

July 20-22 -- Rand study finds no boost in accident rates from no-fault.   A new Rand Corporation study "refutes a common criticism of no-fault auto insurance -- that it may increase the accident rate by reducing drivers' incentives to drive carefully.  An analysis of accident trends in the United States between 1967 and 1989 found no statistically significant relationship between states' adoption of a no-fault system and the fatal accident rate, overall accident rates, and other measures of driver care."  (David S. Loughran, "The Effect of No-Fault Automobile Insurance on Driver Behavior and Automobile Accidents in the United States," RAND Institute for Civil Justice, 2001 (summary) (full study)).

July 20-22 -- ADA's busiest complaint-filer.  National Law Journal profiles Miami lawyer John D. Mallah, who with his partner since 1998 "have sued at least 740 businesses -- car dealerships, fast food franchises, drug stores, run-down motels -- claiming that they had failed to make their facilities accessible to the disabled, as required under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)" (see Jan. 26, Feb. 15b, March 7, May 18, 2000).   Most of the suits were brought on behalf of a activist who directs a local disabled-rights group and who also happens to be Mallah's uncle.  "According to Mallah, most of his access cases yield $3,000 to $5,000 in [legal] fees," which defendants pay him as a condition of settling cases.  (Bob Van Voris, "South Florida's ADA Industry", July 9).

July 20-22 -- "Man sues Rite Aid over stale jelly bean".   From Maine: "A Winslow man who said he broke his false teeth on a stale jelly bean is suing Rite Aid Corp. and a Maryland candymaker, seeking new dentures plus damages.  Clayton Weeks, 62, has asked for a total of $9,000 to replace the dentures and for pain and suffering, said his lawyer, Gregory J. Domareki. ... 'He has lost 15 pounds ... What is it worth not having your teeth for four months?'," Domareki said of his client (AP/Boston Globe, July 13).

July 20-22 -- Back from summer break.   We figured our visitor traffic would plunge over the last week and a half since we'd warned that we wouldn't be posting updates.  To our surprise it dropped only modestly, clocking around 3,500 pages served per weekday, not so far below the 5,000 a day clip we'd been hitting before.   Thanks for your support!  (And maybe we can take more time off.)

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