January 7 roundup

  • Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s firm suing Apple, Google and many others over common web features [Atlantic Wire, Groklaw (“Allen v. World and Dog”]
  • Probably not a good idea to give local authorities cash incentive to snatch kids from homes [Bader, CEI]
  • Hyperlink liability case: “If I lose there won’t BE an Internet in Canada” [Ars Technica]
  • Shooting spree at Denny’s results in suit charging eatery with negligent security [PNWLocalNews.com]
  • More links: “Do securities lawsuits help shareholders?” [Point of Law, Bainbridge]
  • Fourth Circuit revives CSX fraud suit against asbestos lawyers [Dan Fisher, Forbes] “Asbestos defendants want automatic access to info in bankruptcy trusts” [Chamber-backed LNL]
  • Creation of noncompliant consumer financial product is a criminal offense under Dodd-Frank [Josh Wright, TotM]
  • Man sues over seeing contestants eat rats on NBC reality show “Fear Factor” [six years ago on Overlawyered]


  • “Probably not a good idea to give local authorities cash incentive to snatch kids from homes”

    The article cited and quoted at the linked site is from Cracked magazine online, purveyors of alleged humor and satire.

  • Only one of the items cited is from Cracked magazine. And the discussion linked to is dead serious, not in jest.

    Others items cited at the linked site lead ultimately to articles from newspapers like the Daily Mail in the United Kingdom; and past posts at Overlawyered and Point of Law. Barbara Hollingsworth of the Washington Examiner has also written about this topic.

  • Hyperlink liability case: “If I lose there won’t BE an Internet in Canada”

    Hyperventilating, more like it. He’s won twice. Even the appeal court dissent agreed with the result, but just didn’t dismiss out of hand that hyperlinks, given an appropriate framing could, possibly, sometimes, maybe, be, defamatory. Presumably the Supreme Court wants to have the final word and put a full stop on the issue. Probably for the best that the Supreme Court is hearing it.

    But obviously, yeah, if they get it wrong the internet will cease to exist north of the 49th parallel. Sheesh.

  • I’m responding to your comment that it is “not a good idea” to give the state government agencies financial incentives to remove children from their families.

    As in my other comments along these lines, your comment is misleading because it wrongly suggests that the idea is bad from all stakeholders’ perspective. In actual fact, the idea, from the standpoint of the state authorities is a good one: it give them more money and more power. It’s also a good idea from the point of view of federal agencies, who get increased budgets and authority.

    True, it’s probably not a good idea from the point of view of the families affected: the measure, like many measures, thus benefits some people and harms others.

    From an economic perspective, the idea of having the federal government pay states to remove children from their families has positive utility for the states’ custody agencies and their employees; for the state foster care administration, and for the relevant federal agency.

    An argument that something is a “bad idea”, like in your similar complaints about other bills, misleads readers into thinking the idea is bad for all stakeholders, which in turn misleads them into thinking that all that is necessary to rectify the mistake is to draw the attention of the decision-makers to the bill’s effects. But since in actual fact the decision-makers benefit from such bills, it is unrealistic to believe that this sort of argument will have any effect on their decisions.