“Angry about Peter Thiel’s pursuit of Gawker? Tort reform is the best solution.” Sonny Bunch of the Free Beacon is kind enough to quote me at length (and quote my debut book, The Litigation Explosion, at length too) in this Washington Post opinion piece.
…members of the media are finally starting to realize something that conservatives have been arguing for quite some time with regard to our litigious culture, namely that the process itself is the punishment….
One of the causes that Olson argued most strenuously for in his book [The Litigation Explosion] was a more aggressive regime of fee shifting — that is, crafting and enforcing “loser-pays” laws common in other countries. Given that he literally wrote the book on the topic, I emailed him and asked how news outlets could work to avoid ruin at the hands of the vengeful wealthy….
If you wonder how loser-pays might have helped Gawker even though Hulk Hogan’s case was a winner, you need to read the link. More: Andrew Kloster and Jessica Higa, Daily Signal.
- Justice Scalia’s death will make big difference in class action cases [Samantha Thompson, McGuireWoods via Andrew Trask]
- Manhattan Institute publishes new report in its Trial Lawyers, Inc. series, this one focusing on class actions and mass torts [James Copland and colleagues]
- Prof. Jason Johnston says House-passed class action reform would have modest effect [Chamber-backed Legal NewsLine] More on H.R. 1927, which also includes asbestos-litigation provisions and passed the House 211-188 with no Democratic votes [Mark Hofmann, Business Insurance; Republican Policy Committee]
- “The Supreme Court’s next big class action controversy: ascertainability” [Alison Frankel, Reuters on Tyson Foods v. Bouaphakeo]
- Texarkana forum-shopping: “Attorney files motion to dismiss class action settlement between USAA and Goodson law firm” [Benjamin Hardy, Arkansas Times, Adams v. USAA h/t Arkansas Business]
- TCPA, law that launched a thousand telemarketing class actions, might stand for “Total Cash for Plaintiffs’ Attorneys” [Adonis Hoffman, The Hill]
- Of course this exists [LivestockAccident.com]
- Eleventh Circuit: no, court can’t rely on professional association’s guidelines to exclude expert witness under Daubert [David Bernstein on Adams v. Lab Corp. of America, followup]
- “Why Can Plaintiffs Only Remember Solvent Defendants In Asbestos Cases?” [Abnormal Use, my two cents way back]
- “Predicting the future in tort law” [Kyle Graham]
- “LA County’s Lead Paint Lawsuit Could Spell Disaster for Apartment Owners” [Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles]
- Chicago personal injury attorney will face privacy suit over solicitations based on police crash records [Chamber-backed Cook County Record]
- No, it won’t: “Will HR 1927 Kill the Class Action?” [Andrew Trask/Class Strategist; Sean Wajert on House Judiciary action]
- Home lab butane cannabis fatality: “The Hash Oil contributory negligence lawsuit you’ve all been waiting for” [Elie Mystal, Above the Law]
- With Sheldon Silver out of the speaker’s chair, New York has better chance at reducing sky-high litigation costs [Manhattan Institute, earlier on scaffold law]
- Per Norton Rose Fulbright annual business survey, responding companies more than twice as likely to be facing five or more lawsuits if based in U.S. than if based elsewhere [Norton Rose Fulbright, Bob Dorigo Jones]
- “Hearing: H.R. 1927, the “Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2015” [April House Judiciary Committee with John Beisner, Mark Behrens, Alexandra Lahav, Andrew Trask]
- Legal outlook for Illinois defendants deteriorates as Madison County sees resurgence in suits and Cook County remains itself [ICJL]
- Brown v. Nucor Corp.: did Fourth Circuit just try to gut Wal-Mart v. Dukes rules against combining bias plaintiffs in dissimilar situations into class action? [Hans Bader/Examiner, Derek Stikeleather/Maryland Appellate Blog]
- No wonder New York City consolidation trials are so popular with asbestos lawyers if they yield average of $24 million per plaintiff [Chamber-backed Legal NewsLine] Information in eye-opening Garlock asbestos bankruptcy (allegations of perjury, witness-coaching, etc.) now unsealed and online [same, earlier]
The Chamber of Commerce is calling attention to its ten favorites for the year [via Bainbridge, list can be found there]. Eight of the ten may ring a bell with those who have followed our coverage (goblin-toppler, helmet toss, undecillion dollars, man saved from drowning sues rescuers, California ADA serial filer, falls after seeing “Dexter” ad on subway, caught sleeping on camera at Yankees game, claims “Frozen” based on own life story), while two are new to us:
Six months ago the Delaware Supreme Court upheld the right of an enterprise to include a loser-pays provision in its bylaws, specifying that losing shareholder-litigants would have to contribute reasonable legal fees to compensate what would otherwise be loss to other owners. Since then there’s been a concerted campaign to overturn the ruling, either in the Delaware legislature or if necessary elsewhere. But as I argue in a new Cato post, allowing scope for freedom of contract of this sort is one of the best and most promising ways to avert an ever-rising toll of litigation. Contractually specified alternatives to courtroom wrangling have played a vital role, and are under attack for that very reason, in curbing litigation areas like workplace and consumer arbitration, shrinkwrap and click-through disclaimers of liability, and risk disclaimers at ballparks and elsewhere. (& Stephen Bainbridge).
To the extent America has made progress in recent years in rolling back the extreme litigiousness of earlier years, one main reason has been the courts’ increased willingness to respect the libertarian and classical liberal principle of freedom of contract. Most legal disputes arise between parties with prior dealings, and if they have been left free in those dealings to specify who bears the risks when things go wrong, the result will often be to cut off the need for expensive and open-ended litigation afterward.
More on the Delaware bylaw controversy: D & O Diary (scroll), Andrew Trask on state of the merger class action, WSJ Law Blog first and second, Daniel Fisher, and ABA Journal in June, Alison Frankel/Reuters (forum selection bylaws).
Organized trial lawyers usually don’t make minimum wage increases a top priority, but they may do so in order to deprive incoming GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner of leverage he might use to extract liability reform. [Rich Miller, Crain’s Chicago Business]
- “Sign Installer Cited for Violating Rule on the Sign He Was Installing” [Lowering the Bar, Santa Barbara]
- YouTube yanks exhibit from public court case as terms-of-service violation. How’d that happen? [Scott Greenfield on controversy arising from doctor’s lawsuit against legal blogger Eric Turkewitz]
- Philadelphia narcotics police scandal (earlier) has an alleged-sex-grab angle; also, given the presence of compelling video clips, shouldn’t the story be breaking out to national cable news by now? [Will Bunch, Philadelphia Daily News; Barbara Laker and Wendy Ruderman, PDN 2009 Pulitzer series, on Dagma Rodriguez, Lady Gonzalez and “Naomi” cases]
- The most dynamic part of the economy? Its endangered “permissionless” sector [Cochrane] Call it subregulatory guidance, or call it sneaky regulation by agencies, but either way it can evade White House regulatory review, notice and comment, etc. [Wayne Crews, CEI “Open Market”]
- What’s Chinese for “Kafkaesque”? Dispute resolution in Sino-American contracts [Dan Harris, Above the Law]
- In another win for Ted Frank’s Center for Class Action Fairness, Ninth Circuit reverses trial court approval of Apple MagSafe settlement [CCAF]
- Mississippi’s major tort reform, viewed in retrospect after ten years [Geoff Pender, Jackson Clarion Ledger]
- By convention the business/defense side isn’t fond of jury trial while plaintiff’s side sings its praises, but Louisiana fight might turn that image on its head [Hayride, sequel at TortsProf (measure fails)]
- Generous tort law, modern industrial economy, doing away with principle of limited liability: pick (at most) two of three [Megan McArdle]
- Fallacies about Stella Liebeck McDonald’s hot coffee case go on and on, which means correctives need to keep coming too [Jim Dedman, DRI]
- Interaction of products liability with workplace injury often provides multiple bites at compensation apple, overdue for reform [Michael Krauss]
- Ford Motor is among most recent seeking to pull back the curtain on asbestos bankruptcy shenanigans [Daniel Fisher; related, Washington Examiner] “Page after page he sits on the straw man’s chest, punching him in the face” [David Oliver on expert affidavit in asbestos case]
- Kansas moves to raise med-mal caps as directed by state supreme court, rebuffs business requests for collateral source rule reform [Kansas Medical Society]
- Let’s hope so: “More stringent pleading for class actions?” [Matthew J.B. Lawrence via Andrew Trask, Class Strategist]