October 25 roundup

  • Lawyer for Mothers Against Drunk Driving: better not call yourself Mothers Against Anything Else without our say-so [Phoenix New Times]
  • Ohio insurer agrees to refund $51 million in premiums, but it’s a mutual, so money’s more or less moving from customers’ left to right pockets — except for a big chunk payable to charity, and $16 million to you-know-who [Business First of Columbus; Grange Mutual Casualty]
  • Sources say Judge Pearson, of pants suit fame, isn’t getting reappointed to his D.C. administrative law judge post [WaPo]
  • Between tighter safety rules and rising liability costs, more British towns are having to do without Christmas light displays [Telegraph]
  • So strong are the incentives to settle class-action securities suits that only four have been tried to a verdict in past twelve years [WSJ law blog]. More: D&O Diary.
  • It’s so cute when a family’s small kids all max out at exactly the same $2,300 donation to a candidate, like when they dress in matching outfits or something [WaPo via Althouse]
  • Idea of SueEasy.com website for potential injury plaintiffs [Oct. 19] deemed “incredibly stupid” [Turkewitz]
  • New at Point of Law: med-mal reports from Texas and Colorado; Lynne-Stewart-at-Hofstra wrap-up (more); immune to reason on vaccines; turning tax informants into bounty-hunters?; and much more;
  • $800,000 race-bias suit filed after restaurant declines to provide free extra lemons with water [Madison County Record]
  • Settling disabled-rights suit, biggest card banking network agrees to install voice-guidance systems on 30,000 ATMs to assist blind customers [NFB]
  • Think twice before publishing “ratings” of Pennsylvania judges [six years ago on Overlawyered]


  • To play devil’s advocate on the class action item, settlement can come about because the final outcome of litigation is predictable to the extent that litigation is based on reason.

    What is more likely is that settlements are made to avoid the irrational results from litigation.

  • WN – that was his point.

    If I sue you for $100 million, and I have a lawyer willing to go all the way through, then the pressure of the system is that you WILL give me (or at least my lawyer) money, no matter how far-fetched my claim is.

    That’s what “settlement” is in class action: money being transferred from the defendant to the plaintiff (or at least their lawyer).

    Do you really think that all but 4 class-action suits in the last 12 years have deserved money? Well, they got money!

  • Deoxy,

    In a rational world class-action suits would be brought when the probability of success is positive, and settlements would happen when the probability of success is less than one.

    An alternative hypothesis could be that the probability of success is positive not because of the merits of the case, but because of defects in the law, judges, and juries.

    My devil’s advocate point was that the data of few trials in class-action cases does not by itself prove either theory.

    We do have some other data to inform us. The Pants suit shows defects in the law; the Anderson conviction shows defects in the litigation process, and giving a woman $11 million for hurt feelings shows defects in juries.

    Class-action suits bother me because they go against market theory. For example, airplane travel is extremely safe because people will avoid airlines that have crashes, not because of class-action lawyers. The Vioxx ligation shows crazy verdicts when there was hysteria in the press, but recent results are pretty good. The data did not justify pulling the drug in the first place.

  • […] for a fair bit of criticism in and out of the profession (”hairball generator“, “incredibly stupid” idea, “like a carpool for ambulance chasers“, […]