Liability roundup

  • Recent easing of lawsuit crisis in U.S. owes much to rise of arbitration. Now organized litigation lobby is intent on taking that down, and Obama administration has helped with steps in labor law, consumer finance, and nursing-home care [James Copland, Manhattan Institute, related op-ed]
  • SCOTUS should grant certiorari to clarify lawyers’ obligation to clients in class settlement, argues Lester Brickman [amicus brief courtesy SCOTUSBlog; earlier on Blackman v. Gascho]
  • St. Louis, California, NYC asbestos litigation, south Florida and the Florida Supreme Court, and New Jersey are top five “winners” in latest annual “Judicial Hellholes” report, which also includes a focus on qui tam/whistleblower suits [American Tort Reform Association, report and executive summary]
  • Deep pocket lawsuits remain systemic problem in America for political branches to address [David Freddoso, Washington Examiner investigation]
  • Florida insurers struggle with secondhand suits under assignment of benefits doctrine [Insurance Journal]
  • Storm lawsuits in Texas: “All Hail Breaks Loose” [Mark Pulliam, City Journal]


  • “Recent easing of lawsuit crisis in U.S. owes much to rise of arbitration.”

    I think you typo’d “the continued ability for large businesses to screw over millions of people at once and leave them with no recourse” there.

    • Couldn’t agree more!

  • Why does assignment of benefits increase the number of lawsuits against insurers? if the damage is covered by the policy and it costs a certain amount to repair, why does it matter whether the home owner files the claim or the repair company?

    • Bill Poser,

      Here’s why…

      Say the homeowner has water damage to their dwelling. A company comes in and says “we can fix that for $1000.” The price is low and competitive because the company wants the business.

      On the other hand, when the benefit is assigned to the company, they no longer have the “restriction” of competing in the market. If their estimate goes up a buck or if they suddenly find more damage, they can sue the insurance company for the added costs AND get attorney fees. The insurance company, in defending themselves, cannot recover costs.

      It means that the repair companies to which the benefits were assigned and their attorneys have no skin in the game, no risk, and great reward.