Liability roundup


  • Hats off to Goldstein and Silver-Greenberg of the NYT for all their reporting on Law Cash on other plaintiff-related dirty doings. As far as I can see, they are operating solo here in the national media. They have a lot more work to do.

  • 101 million Texas trucking verdict–

    (1) It sometimes happens that someone who walks away from an accident really does have serious injuries that don’t show up until later.

    (2) The jury hit the trucking company for $75 million punitive damages for failing to screen their at-fault employee as a bad driver before hiring him, and failing to fire him promptly when he continued to be a bad driver. But would such screening or firing have put them afoul of various disability and/or labor laws? If so, the jury’s punitive intentions are directed at the wrong target and should be reduced.

    (3) If the plaintiff’s poor outcome was caused by medical malpractice, would the trucking company’s insurer have standing to sue the medical providers to recover some of their losses?

  • Question on the last item: what is the difference between a mass action and a class action?

    • “Class action” ordinarily refers to the legal procedure by which a lawyer who represents one member of a group can proceed to sue on behalf of other members of the group who have not themselves chosen to sue and may not be aware of the case. Mass litigation, or mass actions, ordinarily refers to litigation where many claimants have engaged lawyers and/or filed suit and those actions are then aggregated to be processed by the courts, or settled, in groups.

  • 4. if the plaintiff also sues the medical provider and receives compensation, does that come off the top here?

  • I take issue with:
    “If employers, employees, and shoppers alike want to embrace a faster, cheaper court system that deliberates fairly, Washington shouldn’t get in the way.”

    Sure, that’s fine if all of these parties agree. But in reality, that’s not the way it works. Employers and vendor impose arbitration agreements, and employees and shoppers are forced to accept them; they are not given a choice. Sure, they can turn down the transaction. But if EVERY bank, cell phone company, health care provider, etc. requires these arbitration clauses (which is pretty much true), then the consumer’s choice really comes down to: Do I want to live and work as a part of society, or do I want to retain my rights to the courts? That’s not much of a choice at all.

    If arbitration is really so great for employees and consumers, then it would be offered as optional, and everyone would pick it. But that’s not the way it works — it is imposed, with no consumer choice, as part of the fine print in a take-it or leave-it contract.

    People who think consumers have a choice or are choosing this arbitration system willingly are fooling themselves.