“A judge has ruled that snooping trash collectors in Seattle cannot simply go through garbage bins without any sort of warrant to determine whether its citizens are putting food in the wrong place. It’s a win for the property-rights-focused lawyers of the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF).” [Scott Shackford, earlier] While the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in California v. Greenwood that an expectation of privacy does not apply to garbage, the Supreme Court of Washington has ruled that a provision in its own state’s constitution provides privacy protection that extends beyond the federal guarantee. [Eugene Volokh]
- Availability of Uber and Lyft at LAX airport tied up in lawsuits including one filed under CEQA, the California environmental-review law often used tactically to delay projects [Los Angeles Times]
- Twenty years after his classic contrarian article on recycling, John Tierney returns with another close look at its pros and cons [New York Times] Quit scapegoating plastic bags, they carry enough weight as it is [Katherine Mangu-Ward, Reason, related]
- California class action: Reynolds should have disclosed formaldehyde in vaping [Winston-Salem Journal] Authors of widely noted New England Journal of Medicine formaldehyde/vaping paper got “philanthropy to support research” from two big-league trial lawyers [NEJM paper, disclosure form, Joseph Nocera January, related April, August and recent New York Times columns, Michael Siegel]
- Federal court blocks EPA’s hotly disputed Waters of the United States (“WOTUS”) rule [Jonathan Adler; National Wildlife Federation (pro-rule); Todd Gaziano and M. Reed Hopper, PLF (against), American Farm Bureau Federation (same)]
- Environmental law firm intervenes in Louisiana governor’s race to tune of $1.1 million [Greater Baton Rouge Business Report]
- Same state: “BP oil spill settlement to reimburse millions Louisiana paid to politically connected law firms” [Kyle Barnett, Louisiana Record]
- Government subsidies for rebuilding hurricane-prone areas disproportionately aid the wealthy [Chris Edwards, Cato]
A group of privacy advocates is suing the city of Seattle, arguing that having garbage collectors look through people’s trash — to make sure food scraps aren’t going into the garbage — “violates privacy rights on a massive scale.”
“A person has a legitimate expectation that the contents of his or her garbage cans will remain private and free from government inspection,” argues the lawsuit filed [last] Thursday in King County Superior Court by the Pacific Legal Foundation.
“Starting Jan. 1, it will be illegal to throw food and food waste in the trash in Seattle, when a new ban takes effect to increase recycling and composting in the city.” [Seattle Post-Intelligencer] “Food waste” includes things like used napkins and pizza boxes with food residue clinging to them. Residents are subject to fines if more than ten percent of their trash flow consists of recyclables, defined as including food and its associated materials as well as glass, metal, and other items subject to recycling. So are ordinary businesses (Seattle restaurants already come under a separate regime of recycling rules) and apartment landlords, who notoriously have trouble monitoring and controlling what tenants throw in the bins.
Readers who live there: is it lawful in Seattle to engage a private garbage service that isn’t subject to the municipal service’s rules?
- California resists idea of charging market-clearing rate for water — too much like economics — and instead encourages tattling on neighbors [New York Times, Coyote]
- Academia smitten by notion of “climate reparations” [Peter Wood, Minding the Campus]
- Costly market intervention: “Minnesota doubles down on nation’s top biodiesel law” [Watchdog]
- Reusable grocery bags have their problems for sanitation and otherwise, but California contemplates banning the alternatives [Katherine Mangu-Ward, Steven Greenhut, Reason]
- Coming: film about Kelo v. City of New London eminent domain case [Nick Gillespie, Ilya Somin]
- 45 years later: the famous 1969 fire on the Cuyahoga became a fable for its age [Jonathan Adler on the Cuyahoga]
- Should beachfront owners have to open their land to all comers? [NY Times “Room for Debate”]
- Plus: “EPA has no business garnishing wages without due process” [Examiner editorial, earlier]
Joining Seattle and Brookline, Mass., the “Bloomberg administration is considering banning Styrofoam cups and containers — popular at thousands of delis and food carts across the city — as it prepares to roll out a major recycling announcement in the coming weeks, a Sanitation Department official said yesterday.” [NY Post] “At the end of 2006, the New York Post rounded up what is very likely a partial list of items the New York City Council banned or considered banning.” [Ed Driscoll, via]
- From attorney Bob Ambrogi, on Twitter: “This felt wrong: Shortly after heated call with lawyer saying he’d sue my client, he sent me invite to connect on LinkedIn.” Related: Amy Alkon.
- “Spot the lawsuit in this commercial” [Louis Vuitton vs. Hyundai; Trademark Blog]
- Video: “Community swimming pool closes due to lawsuit” [Hazleton, Pa.; U.S. Chamber Faces of Lawsuit Abuse series; plaintiff’s side of things]
- Recycling, found materials, and why so much “green building” won’t last [Sippican Cottage and followup]
- German ban on homeschooling not a compelling reason to grant asylum to affected family [Krikorian, NRO, Volokh]
- Ted’s Center for Class Action Fairness files objections to a Costco fuel class settlement; related reflections from the judge in the recent Honda case;
- “Photographing Public Art: A Legal Waltz in Seattle” [Citizen Media Law, earlier]
- “Big Bankruptcies’ Big Fees Raising Questions” [Asarco, Station Casinos; Baxter, AmLaw Daily]
Among the consequences of the District of Columbia’s ordinance meant to encourage recycling: a bookstore stops selling mints at the checkout counter to avoid being defined as a food store. [WSJ via Hodak Value] More: Washington Post on consumer reactions, via Katherine Mangu-Ward, Reason “Hit and Run”.