After a thorough scolding by the judge — to say nothing of some of us on the commentary side — the celebrity-friendly environmentalist group is cutting its losses. [DelmarvaNow] An official with the University of Maryland’s environmental law clinic defends the school’s stand here.
I’m in the Baltimore Sun with an op-ed about the University of Maryland’s ill-chosen decision to represent the Waterkeeper Alliance in what was intended to be a landmark environmental case against an Eastern Shore farm family. Earlier here, etc. (& welcome Glenn Reynolds/Instapundit readers)
P.S. Welcome listeners from Baltimore’s WBAL, which had me as a guest Friday afternoon to discuss the suit. Research assistance thanks to Ryan Mulvey, Cato intern.
On Maryland’s Eastern Shore yesterday, federal judge William Nickerson ruled against a lawsuit alleging that Alan and Kristin Hudson’s family farm and Perdue Inc. violated the federal Clean Water Act. The plaintiffs, the Waterkeeper Alliance led by celebrity environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy Jr., had hoped to establish that big food processors, in this case Perdue, could be held liable for the purported pollution sins of “contract growers” like the Hudson family. Aside from its considerable factual weaknesses, for which the judge criticized the plaintiffs, the case had touched off a furor in Maryland because the University of Maryland law school’s environmental clinic had entered the lists on behalf of Waterkeeper and its long-shot theory; Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley had sent a critical letter to the university saying it had contributed to an “injustice” against the Hudsons. The university law clinic says it’s reviewing the judge’s order in search of grounds for appeal. [Beth Moszkowicz/Daily Record, Charlene Sharpe/DelmarvaNow, MeatPoultry.com; earlier coverage, CBS Baltimore, Mark Newgent/Red Maryland; Maryland Coast Dispatch; pro-defense SaveFarmFamilies.org; legislative reaction, NLJ and more]
P.S. Don’t miss this from John Steele at Legal Ethics Forum, quoting the judge’s concluding paragraph:
The Court has no disagreement with Plaintiff that the Chesapeake Bay is an important and vital resource, that it is seriously impaired, and that the runoff from factory farms, including poultry operations, may play a significant role in that impairment. Nor does the Court disagree that citizen suits under the Clean Water Act can play a significant role in filling the void where state regulatory agencies are unable or unwilling to take appropriate legal action against offenders. When citizen groups take up that mantle, however, they must do so responsibly and effectively. The Court finds that in this action, for whatever reason, Waterkeeper did not meet that obligation.
- Per Chevron, Kerry Kennedy getting undisclosed percentage of the take, potentially in millions, to side with plaintiffs in Ecuador suit [NY Post] Long New Yorker take-out on case [Patrick Radden Keefe]
- Freetail Brewing fields a nastygram: “How to Comply With a Cease-and-Desist Letter But Still Win” [Lowering the Bar]
- I.e. boycotts illegal? Odd Minnesota law bans economic “reprisals” based on “political activity.” [Volokh]
- “Chris McGrath v. Vaughan Jones: An Unpleasant Peek Into U.K. Libel Law” [Popehat; suit over science-and-theology book review] Related: “You Can’t Read This Book: why libel tourists love London” [Nick Cohen, Guardian, on his new book]
- Business experience isn’t be-all or end-all for presidential qualifications, but might avert some policy howlers [Kling]
- “Arbitration Is Here to Stay and One Lawyer Says That Is Good for Consumers” [Alan Kaplinsky interview, Mickey Meese/Forbes, PoL]
- Off-topic random thought: “Iranian nuclear scientist who moonlights in Broadway Spider-Man cast” must be world’s most uninsurable job description;
- “D.C. Lawmakers Propose Requiring Students to Apply to College” [Fox]
- Peter Schweizer: “To RFK, Jr: I’m No Sock Puppet, But You Sir Are a Bootlegger” [Huffington Post; some background on America’s Most Irresponsible Public Figure®]
- Will legal campaign succeed in shutting down natural gas fracking? [WLF, David Oliver, CL&P, Abby Wisse Schachter/NYP]
- Nice work if you can get it: key figure in dubious Chevron-Ecuador expert report slated for National Academy of Sciences reappointment [WizBang, earlier]
- EPA’s move-cement-production-to-China plan runs into uncooperative judge [Josiah Neeley, Daily Caller]
- Spare that tree? Environmentalists battle Montana underbrush clearance aimed at preventing catastrophic fires [William Perry Pendley, MSLF] More on trees and power outages in Connecticut [WSJ, related earlier]
- New book on Endangered Species Act reform [James Burling, Federalist Society]
- Rural property owners foot the bill for California green policies [Steven Greenhut]
- “What are you in for?” “Backed-up toilets” [Shannen Coffin, NRO]
- Time to put teeth back into sanctions: more on reintroduction in Congress of LARA, the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act [Wajert, Wood, more, earlier]
- RFK-Jr.-&-friends watch: Environmentalists wrangle in court over “keeper” monicker [Coleman]
- More on Chicago school that bars home-brought lunches [Adler, Welch, earlier]
- Definition of “cyber-bullying” in newly passed Arkansas bill could imperil legitimate speech [Volokh] Related: Harvey Silverglate video.
- Thoughts on a new Hungarian constitution [Ilya Shapiro, Cato at Liberty]
- Court reveals Righthaven’s operating agreement with client newspaper chain [Legal Satyricon, PaidContent, Las Vegas Sun]
- Cops: Ohio man stole gavel from judge [Lorain Chronicle-Telegram, Smoking Gun]
Six years late, the online publication is throwing in the towel on a notorious venture into antiscientific claptrap by America’s Most Irresponsible Public Figure®, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Meanwhile, Carter at Point of Law reports that the newly civility-aware celebrity environmentalist will be headlining a “Progressive Voices Cruise” of the Caribbean that by total coincidence will also feature attorney Michael Papantonio, with whose Levin Papantonio injury-law firm the hothead scion has long been associated, a connection curiously absent from his current Wikipedia page and most other coverage (& welcome Jonathan Adler readers).
- When naming a new law, please, no acronyms, no victim names, and no assumptions about what it will accomplish [WSJ Law Blog on Brian Christopher Jones’s recommendations] More: Wood.
- America’s Most Irresponsible Public Figure® — that would be RFK Jr. — sounds off on Tucson massacre [Hemingway, Examiner]
- More press attention for CPSC’s dubious consumer complaint database [Washington Post; my take last month]
- An appellate win for Internet anonymity in Pennsylvania [Levy, CL&P]
- Santa Clara lead paint case: Supreme Court won’t review government misuse of contingency lawyers [Wood, ShopFloor]
- DC cops’ “post and forfeit” policy deserves scrutiny [Greenfield]
- “Philosophy Explains How Legal Ethics Turn Lawyers Into Liars” [Kennerly]
- “Marshall, Texas: Patent Central” [six years ago on Overlawyered]
Things you’re missing if you’re not keeping up with my other site:
- Despite New Yorkers’ outrage over railroad retirement disability abuses, Cuomo probe accomplishes little;
- Founded by America’s Most Irresponsible Public Figure® RFK Jr., the Waterkeeper Alliance is with reason a highly controversial group. Should the University of Maryland be enlisting students regularly in its litigation campaigns?
- NYT relies on plaintiff lawyer source in accusatory story about Pope, then has to walk the story back;
- Louisiana judge: “gradual”, “environmental” insurance exclusions don’t apply to bad-drywall claims;
- New CPSC product complaint database could invite erroneous or even malicious submissions, critics say;
- CBS “60 Minutes” stonewalls Columbia Journalism Review critique of its Chevron-Ecuador segment.
- House Ways & Means — yep, Charlie Rangel’s own — passes bill slamming taxpayers for innocent errors [James Peaslee, WSJ, via Alkon]
- Must protect the children! “Parents banned from British school sports event” [Common Room] After-school pickup procedures can get a little crazy too [Free-Range Kids, Florida]
- Once again, America’s Most Irresponsible Public Figure® (that’d be RFK Jr.) sounds off on an environmental dispute to which he turns out to have personal financial ties [Greenwire via Eco-Pragmatism]
- Allegations in ugly Florida law firm breakup include misallocation of Hillary Clinton campaign money [DBR]
- When in court, try to avoid following the example of “Girls Gone Wild” impresario Joe Francis [Lowering the Bar and more, earlier]
- “Judge Allowed to Sue N.Y. Daily News, But Not a Lawyer Thought to Be a Source” [ABA Journal, NYLJ]
- New Hampshire judge rules for divorced father who disapproves of homeschooling [Volokh]
- ABA Journal is taking nominations for its annual best-of “Blawg 100” list [hint, nudge]