December 8 roundup

  • Can reformers declare victory? [Point of Law; American Lawyer]
  • Mississippi Supreme Court reaffirms: no litigation tourism for asbestos plaintiffs. [AP/Commercial Dispatch (h/t SB); Coleman v. A-Bex; Albert v. Allied Glove]
  • More asbestos frauds in the Wall Street Journal. [Point of Law]
  • LA judge will decide whether to censor Borat DVD. Earlier: Nov. 9. [Reuters]
  • Guacamole dip fallout: “Is the goal here to get guac with more avocados or to create more work for the abogados?” Earlier: Dec. 6. [LA Times via Bashman]
  • Quelle surprise: the tobacco settlement money is being treated by Missouri like general revenue, i.e., a tax. [Mass Tort Litigation Blog]
  • Quelle surprise: Stephanie Mencimer caught exaggerating case for plaintiffs’ lawyers. [Point of Law]
  • Epstein: What’s good for pharma is good for America. [Boston Globe]
  • Heather Mac Donald: No, the cops didn’t murder Sean Bell. [City Journal]
  • Well, suing several major Ontario Jewish organizations and releasing a press release that they’re all part of the Israel lobby is one way to convince people that you’re not a bigot, right? [Bernstein @ Volokh]
  • The case against (and for) Jeff Skilling helps explain why CEOs are paid so much. [Point of Law; Kirkendall]
  • Lame-duck Republican Congress wasting final hours with committee hearing on contract dispute, but one of the parties is famous, so it’s okay, right? [Kirkendall]
  • Environmental group on the web speaks out against Dihydrogen Monoxide. []
  • The problem of Institutional Review Boards. [Carpenter @ Volokh; Point of Law]
  • Will Danny DeVito play Gretchen Morgenson in the movie? NY Times and Sen. Grassley get snookered by unsuccessful trial lawyer. [Ideoblog; WSJ]
  • New York Times web commenters are unimpressed with the fact that Nintendo needs to warn Wii users not to throw their remote. [The Lede]
  • “The conventional wisdom is that we would be better off if politically powerful leaders were less mediocre. Instead, my view is that we would be better off if mediocre political leaders were less powerful.” [Kling @ TCS Daily via Kirkendall]
  • “If Democrats allow lower prices here, they may even have to tolerate Wal-Mart.” [WSJ letter @ Cafe Hayek]
  • Lindsay Lohan wants to enlist Al Gore in a lawsuit against her former assistant. [Defamer; Access Hollywood]
  • Hey, we’ve slightly tweaked our right-hand sidebar. What do you think?


  • Re: Heather MacDonald’s CityJournal piece on the recent shooting in New York and the allegations of racism.

    The police are in an impossible situation here. If they patrol an area vigorously, incidents like this just might happen on occasion. But if they don’t, they’re “neglecting the community”. A great example of this from a few years back: For one year’s Puerto Rican day parade, police patrolled, and were accused of being too hard on blacks and Hispanics. The next year, they hung back… only to get sued by women who were attacked by parade-goers for their failure to protect them.

    The frustrating thing is, I don’t get the sense that there’s much appreciation of anything the NYPD does in certain neighborhoods. The practice of “jury nullification” tells me that there isn’t exactly the burning desire to fight crime, because it’s seen as little more than a racist justice system punishing black men for their “mistakes.” I could be wrong, but this is the sense I get.

    So why bother? If the accusation of “racism” will fly hot and fast no matter what course of action you take – even if you take diametrically opposed courses of action – what does that say about the relationship ab initio? To me, it suggests dysfunctionality on a level that can’t be resolved.

  • Regarding Stephanie Mencimer’s post:

    I found this link which indicates that many mine companies are paying far less than the fines they are assessed.

    Do you by any chance have any more current statistics as to fines paid vs. fines assessed?

    [The USA Today story indicates that mine companies are winning appeals when MHSA oversteps its bounds and tries to scapegoat mines for fatal accidents without evidence of wrongdoing. It doesn’t change my underlying point or absolve the fact that Mencimer got the story completely wrong. — TF]

  • I’m not taking a stance on Mencimer’s article one way or the other. I do presume that she got that $250.00 figure somewhere besides plucking it out of thin air, and the logical assumption is that it was derived from fines actually paid.

    Or perhaps, as you say, she got the story completely wrong. I suppose I’ll shoot her an email and see where the statistic came from.

    [She says where she got it from, a speech by another reporter. Even if one goes by the USA Today statistics *and* disregards the fines that are pending or delinquent *and* counts deaths that are not the fault of the coal mines in the denominator, Mencimer’s number is wrong. Moreover, it’s a mistake to just look at fines: mines are shut down during MSHA investigations, and the expense of that to coal mines as a deterrence far exceeds MSHA’s fining authority. — TF]