August 4 roundup


  • Does anyone see a viable suit for defamation by Bradlee Dean against Rachel Maddow after the Westboro Baptist decision? She’s not a hard news reporter, and after Westboro Baptist it doesn’t look like the willful or reckless disregard for the truth exceptions to a First Amendment bar to suits by public figures against media people have survived.

  • From the second article, Dean appears to have made enough of a fool of himself to fall into the Not Even Wrong category of “debate”. Gay marriage brings Sharia law? His music has made him deaf to all but the voices in his head.

  • It very much remains to be seen how the new Texas legislation will tilt the playing field. I don’t share the confidence of many who seem to believe that there will be a uniformly and consistently pro-defendant tilt. This legislation passed with bipartisan support, including from components of the plaintiffs’ personal injury contingent-fee bar (inaccurately a/k/a “trial lawyers”). I think the new law may create some opportunities that will actually add to the tools in the settlement toolkit of lawyers on the plaintiffs’ side — and by no means limited to personal injury or consumer litigation. The effective date is September 1, 2011, so a lot of Texas lawyers will be sniffing the waters this fall to see which direction the blood’s coming from.

  • Seriously, an article from a third-year law student? With Viet Dinh and Ted Olson on the board, we know where the Washington Legal Foundation is on the ideological spectrum. Although Mr. Baum does a nice job of summarizing the tort reformers’ party line, I don’t see this article as particularly noteworthy or influential. The bar for getting an Overlawyered link is apparently lower than I thought it was.