Not many consumers are likely to confuse the two beers as they taste quite different. Even so: “The two companies have been in a legal battle since 1906. Today, the dispute is being waged through 61 suits in 11 countries.” [AP]
A federal judge has declined jurisdiction of the Oglala Sioux tribe’s lawsuit claiming that liquor sellers just over the Nebraska border are legally answerable for the harms of alcoholism on the reservation. The dismissal is without prejudice to possible refiling of the claims in state court; New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof had promoted the cause. [BBC]
I’ve got a piece out at Reason today in which I de-foam the Times columnist’s highly aerated assertions about beer sales near the Pine Ridge, S.D. Oglala Sioux reservation. And a followup at Cato: Kristof has written about the failures of the Drug War, so why does he not apply those lessons here? See also: NYT “Room for Debate” discussion. A different view: Eric Turkewitz.
- One for your “firefighter’s rule” file: firefighter perishes in blaze, his widow sues security alarm company [SF Chron, San Pablo, Calif.]
- And another: Nassau County, N.Y. cop injured by drunk driver while on duty is suing the county over Long Island Expressway design and signage [Newsday; Kenneth Baribault]
- Stop fighting over the $60 million in fees, judge tells feuding lawyers, your lawsuit has been over for four years now [Legal Intelligencer, corrugated paper antitrust class action]
- Public-health prof: red-light cameras “don’t work” and instead “increase crashes and injuries as drivers attempt to abruptly stop” [Bruce Schneier via Instapundit]
- Criminal prosecution of political attack ads? Time to rethink campaign finance law [Bainbridge]
- Teenagers send each other racy cellphone videos, and then their legal nightmare begins [Des Moines Register]
- Sounds interesting but haven’t seen a copy: “How To Get Sued: An Instructional Guide” by well-known blawger J. Craig Williams [Giacalone, Ambrogi]
- Mississippi AG Hood goes after MillerCoors over caffeinated alcohol drinks, but Anheuser-Busch hired Mike Moore and sprang big for DAGA, hmmm [Alan Lange, YallPolitics]
The state of Rhode Island and town of West Warwick, the last major defendants left in the lawsuits over the Station/Great White fire, agreed to throw $10 million apiece into the settlement pot, which now reaches $175 million, to compensate the 200 injured and survivors of the 100 killed in the 2003 blaze. The town of West Warwick, population just under 30,000, is expected to have to borrow heavily to enable its payment; it has a $4 million insurance policy, but defense litigation costs will be deducted before any of that money is made available for the settlement (RedOrbit/ProJo, more, AP/Firefighting News via Childs).
Dozens of private companies named in the suits had settled earlier, including many with peripheral or remote connections to the calamity, such as beer sponsor Anheuser-Busch, which together with a beer distributor agreed to pay $21 million, and radio operator Clear Channel, which paid $22 million. West Warwick will wind up paying much less than that, although its negligent contribution to the disaster (in failing to enforce key provisions of its own fire code) would appear immeasurably greater. Earlier posts here.
“Anheuser-Busch and a Cranston beer distributor have agreed to pay $21 million to settle lawsuits brought by survivors of a 2003 nightclub fire and relatives of the 100 people killed, according to court papers. The February 2003 fire at the Station nightclub in West Warwick began when pyrotechnics used by the rock band Great White ignited flammable soundproofing foam.” More than ninety defendants were sued, and the total of settlements has now topped $122 million from defendants “including Home Depot, which sold insulation used in the club, and Clear Channel Broadcasting, whose local rock radio station promoted the concert”. (“Rhode Island: New Settlement in Nightclub Fire”, AP/New York Times, May 24.)
Public Citizen’s blog announced that CSPI plans to sue the beverage sellers, asking for disgorgement of profits from flavored malt beverages, unless they agree to take them off the market. Their theory? By making flavored alcoholic beverages that taste good, they are effectively marketing to children. (Because, after all, adults don’t like beverages that taste good.) CSPI also claims that it violates FDA rules to sell alcoholic beverages that contain caffeine, which would be a surprise to every restaurant that offers Irish coffee.
Innocent bystanders have paid the bulk of settlements to date in the catastrophic fire caused by Great White’s pyrotechnic display that killed 100 people at The Station nightclub in Providence, Rhode Island. The latest victims are a television station, WPRI, and a cameraman who will contribute $30 million to a settlement fund: WPRI’s Brian Butler is accused of impeding the crowd’s exit through the front door, though Butler’s contemporaneous account suggests that he probably saved some lives at the time. “Dozens of defendants remain, including … Anheuser-Busch Inc., which sold beer at the concert; and Clear Channel Communications, which owns a Providence radio station which ran advertisements promoting the show.” (Andrea Estes, “Tentative deal set in R.I. fire case”, Boston Globe, Feb. 2; “Tentative $30 Million Settlement in Club Fire”, AP/NY Times, Feb. 2). Earlier: Feb. 2006 and Nov. 2 (Home Depot pays $5M for failure to warn, though their foam is different than the foam that caught on fire).
Score another one for personal responsibility: 29-year old St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Josh Hancock killed himself in April when he drove — faster than the speed limit, drunk, on a cell phone, and not wearing a seat belt — into a tow truck stopped on the side of a road. Obviously, we ought to blame… everyone except Josh Hancock for this. Three and a half weeks after the accident, his father has filed suit in St. Louis against: the restaurant where Hancock was drinking, the manager of the restaurant, the tow truck driver, the towing company, and (!) the driver of the stalled vehicle that the tow truck was assisting, for having the temerity to get his car stuck on the side of the road.
So far, he hasn’t sued the Cardinals or Major League Baseball, but, while praising the team, his lawyer pointedly refused to rule out suing them.
Clearly, his father’s attorney isn’t all that creative; think of all the other people responsible for this accident:
- The cell phone manufacturer; Hancock couldn’t have been talking on the phone if they hadn’t been so negligent as to invent it, or if they had placed warnings on the side of the phone about not using it while driving.
- Hancock’s girlfriend — she was on the other end of the phone. Plus, he was driving to meet her.
- The owners of the bar he was driving to in order to meet his girlfriend. If they had been closed, he wouldn’t have been driving there; if they were easier to find, he wouldn’t have had to give his girlfriend directions.
- The car rental company; Hancock was driving a rented SUV… because he had just had an accident in his own car. If they hadn’t rented him the SUV, he couldn’t have been driving it.
- Anheuser-Busch, it goes without saying; no alcohol, no accident.
- The Cardinals, for not trading him to another team; if he hadn’t been in St. Louis, he couldn’t have crashed.
While it’s hardly unusual nowadays to blame bars for injuries caused by serving drunk patrons, those suits typically involve injuries to third parties. It’s not clear to me from a quick perusal of Missouri statutes that the bar can be liable for injuries caused to the drinker himself, but the key may be in this sentence from the Post-Dispatch story, quoting the complaint filed: “The intoxication of Joshua Morgan Hancock on said occasion was involuntary.” Yes, they forced the alcohol down his throat.
I wonder if the tow truck company will countersue for the damages Hancock caused to their truck by crashing into it. That would be poetic justice, at least.
Update: KMOV has a copy of the complaint. (PDF)
Not only that, but she assumed the whirring video cameras were just for onlookers’ personal use. Certainly she wasn’t expecting the spring break footage to turn up in commercially available compilations. So Monica Pippin is now extracting legal settlements from entities including Playboy and Anheuser-Busch; however, the Daytona Beach hotel at which the contest took place objects to being sued on the grounds that it “had no role in producing or distributing the videos and did not profit from them”. (Kevin Graham, “Lawsuit says video exploits teen’s naivete”, St. Petersburg Times, Apr. 28). Similar: Sept. 28-30, 2001; Mar. 6-7, 2002.