January 15 roundup

  • Judge Posner’s patience snaps in a class action: the case “is an example of the typical pathology of class action litigation, which is riven with conflicts of interest… The lawyers for the class could not concede the utter worthlessness of their claim because they wanted an award of attorneys’ fees.” Complete with a quotation from Leo Rosten about chutzpah [Mirfasihi v. Fleet Mortgage Corporation; NMC @ Folo, Courthouse News and again]
  • Erosion of mens rea prerequisite in criminal law should alarm all of us across left-right lines [Doug Berman on John Hasnas WLF paper]
  • “Federal drain law forces pool closings” [Boston Globe]
  • Gambling habit was no excuse for Woodbridge, Va. lawyer to forge clients’ signature on lawsuit settlements which he pocketed; Stephen Conrad drew a 11-year sentence after doing $4 million damage to clients. Also in Virginia, former Christiansburg attorney Gerard Marks pleaded guilty Nov. 13 to forgery [Va. Lawyers Weekly; earlier here, and, on Marks, first links here]
  • Plaintiff family in Anaheim, Calif. police-shooting lawsuit have an unusual demand: that statue of deceased victim be put up on Disneyland’s Main Street [Orange County Register]
  • Connecticut state lawyer who assumed bogus identity to send anonymous letter that got her boss fired, then claimed whistleblower protection, is let off with reprimand and nine hours of ethics training [Schwartz, earlier]
  • “Patent troll sues Oprah, Sony over online book viewing” [The Register; Illinois Computer Research, Scott Harris, etc.]
  • JetBlue incident at JFK: “240,000 dollars awarded to man forced to cover Arab T-shirt” [AFP/Yahoo, Raed Jarrar]


  • There will never be peace between opposing sides of class action attorneys because of the dollar amounts involved on both sides.

  • According to that article on the Federal pool drain law, there were an average of less than 2 deaths a year caused by pool suction entrapment between 1985 and 2004 (a total of 33 in 20 years) and about 5 injuries per year. So that is about as close to zero deaths per year as you can get. There is virtually nothing you could think of that causes as little as 2 deaths per year nationally. So the economic cost to save each life under this law should be astronomical considering the very high total costs involved with complying with the law. So it makes no economic sense at all for most of us except for the personal injury lawyers who would say “there is no limit to what should be spent to save a single life”

  • […] Posner was scathing about the class action lawyers’ conflicts of interest in the Mirfasihi v. Fleet Mortgage Co. case, but Max Kennerly thinks the judge got the case wrong [Litigation and Trial, earlier] […]