Search Results for ‘"beasley allen"’

Oklahoma jury: Toyotas do have electronic gremlins

Lawyers have taken unintended-acceleration cases to trial on a variety of theories, including pedal placement and lack of brake override, but have not had much success in arguing that electronic gremlins inhabit the vehicle and that the driver was correctly pressing the brake. Has their luck changed with an Oklahoma jury’s new verdict? The Japanese automaker doesn’t seem to want to take chances, and promptly settled the case, represented on the plaintiff’s side by Montgomery, Ala.’s Beasley Allen. [National Law Journal, The Truth About Cars; Peter Huber on the Audi scare a quarter-century ago] Commenter at TTAC: “I’d like to see this happen with a jury of engineers.” More: Mass Tort Prof.

March 21 roundup

  • “Cleveland Browns lawyer letter is apparently real” [Lowering the Bar, earlier]
  • “Headlines of the Apocalypse: ‘Lady Gaga eyes legal action over breast milk ice cream.’” [@vsalus re: Breitbart via @EdDriscoll]
  • Chesley discipline prospects in Kentucky fen-phen scandal: “King of Torts Dethroned” [Laura Simons, Abnormal Use]
  • Busy construction-defect lawyers vex Fresno builders [Bee, Business Journal]
  • “NHTSA Postpones Back-Up Camera Requirement Rule” [The Truth About Cars, earlier]
  • Lawyers in Italy call strike to protest law requiring mediation of commercial disputes [WSJ Law Blog]
  • NYT’s Mark Bittman has a magical touch with food (alas) [Patrick at Popehat]
  • Beasley Allen lawyers sluiced $850K to Alabama GOP judicial contender [Birmingham News via PoL]

October 25 roundup

  • And she’s a psychology professor too: “Pro se litigant of the day” [ATL]
  • “Access to justice” makes handy slogan, but has its limits re: appeal bonds [Ted at PoL]
  • New Federalist Society white papers on Michigan, Illinois, California and Alabama supreme courts;
  • Per her opponent this year, CPSIA proponent and perennial Overlawyered bete noire Jan Schakowsky ranks as most left-wing member of Congress [ExtremeJan.com]
  • Naming opportunity at Faulkner U.’s Jones School of Law falls to Greg Jones of Beasley Allen [BA press release]
  • Lockyer pushes divestment of firms for taking wrong stance on ballot controversy [Coyote]
  • “Patent marking” suits continue to proliferate as Reps. Latta, Issa propose measures to curb opportunistic filings [Gray on Claims]
  • “South Carolina tobacco fees: how to farm money” [ten years ago on Overlawyered]

White House nominates two to CPSC

goldeneggs21 President Obama has nominated South Carolina lawyer and former schools commissioner Inez Moore Tenenbaum to chair the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and former CPSC staffer/academic Robert Adler as a member of the commission (White House press release). The appointments are likely to bring important implications for CPSIA reform, since they would double the number of active CPSC commissioners (joining Republican Nancy Nord and Democrat Thomas Moore) and since many Democrats on Capitol Hill have refused to work with Nord, the current acting chair. Unfortunately, the new appointments carry with them some definite elements of bad news for the cause of CPSIA reform, and it takes some fairly strenuous guesswork and supposition to see this bad news as balanced by any good news.

  • Start with the relatively good (or at least neutral) news. Inez Tenenbaum, the designated chair, is an important political ally of President Obama’s (background: Howard Fineman, Newsweek) best known for her work on a different subject, education (and in fact evidently tossed the CPSC as a consolation prize for not getting the job she wanted, the Cabinet post of Secretary of Education). An optimistic view would be that because Tenenbaum has not spent the past year digging into an entrenched defense of CPSIA and all its works, she might be free to rethink the issue, developing more nuanced or moderate positions that acknowledge the views of CPSC career staff on the law’s various defects. And because of her background as an education advocate, she might be particularly sympathetic to the pleas of libraries and schools harmed by the law. That’s the optimistic theory, anyway.
  • Let’s be frank: for virtually any Democratic administration, an overriding political consideration in staffing the CPSC is finding someone acceptable to the plaintiff’s personal injury bar, the one anchor-tenant Democratic constituency that cares intensely about the agency’s work. Tenenbaum appears to pass this test: in her 2004 Senate campaign, she drew substantial contributions from two of the South’s best-known injury law firms, Motley Rice ($17,250) and Beasley Allen ($19,000). Incidentally, Tenenbaum lost that 2004 race to none other than Republican Sen. Jim DeMint, who emerged in recent months as the sponsor of the most serious and far-reaching bill to reform CPSIA. Most likely it’s sheer coincidence, but let’s hope DeMint wasn’t relying on a sympathetic ear from CPSC for his legislation.
  • Obama also announced that he is calling for an expansion of the CPSC from three to five seats, and that he intends to nominate for one of the new seats veteran Washington consumer-safety hand (and now University of North Carolina professor) Robert Adler, who participated in the CPSC transition effort on behalf of the incoming Obama-Biden team. Few figures are more closely identified than Adler with the cluster of Washington institutions and personalities that brought us CPSIA: after serving in a staff capacity at CPSC for many years he joined the staff of none other than Rep. Henry Waxman, where his work included overseeing the agency. As the White House press release also notes, Adler “has been elected six times to the board of directors of Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports magazine”; in its blind and clueless advocacy of a maximally onerous CPSIA, Consumers Union has taken a back seat only to Public Citizen and PIRG. Another online source describes Adler as a “longtime colleague” of Pamela Gilbert, a key figure both in the litigation lobby (Public Citizen, PIRG, trial lawyer lobbying) and in CPSC affairs.
  • Among early press coverage, Bloomberg News is out with a reasonably fact-filled account that at least acknowledges in a passing sentence the continuing outcry over CPSIA’s calamitous effects on producers and sellers. That contrasts with the short, lame account in the New York Times, and the longer, much-worse-than-lame account in the L.A. Times, from which you’d think the only controversial thing about the agency was that it was too lenient on the regulated. You do have to wonder whether L.A. Times reporter Mark Silva even reads the stories in his own paper.

More: Deputy Headmistress has been thinking along very similar lines. And Sen. DeMint has kind words for nominee Tenenbaum.
Public domain image courtesy ChildrensLibrary.org: Walter Crane, illustrator, The Baby’s Aesop (1887).

Client-chasing dot-orgs

We’ve previously noted that seemingly public-spirited websites purportedly set up to offer medical information and advice on mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses are usually fronts for law firms. Roger Parloff at Fortune “Legal Pad” takes a look at a couple of such ventures operated by Beasley Allen of Alabama and Early Ludwick of Connecticut. (Mar. 27). NYU’s Stephen Gillers says the “disguised nature of [Beasley Allen’s] web site would not allow it to survive challenge under the New York rules” on attorney promotion but doesn’t have reason to think it violates the (presumably less stringent) Alabama rules. Early Ludwick’s “Mesothelioma & Asbestos Awareness Center”

uses a popular symbol of medicine as its emblem – the two serpents wrapped around a winged staff – and its “about us” blurb says: “Our organization is staffed entirely by volunteer writers and other contributors who recognize the importance of building awareness.”

but if you look hard enough you can find a hyperlink leading to an “Attorney Advertising” notice. And what’s with the law firms’ having managed to secure dot-org domains for these ventures, just as if they were nonprofit or something?

P.S. As several readers point out, those who distribute domains make no attempt to police the recommendation (originally requirement) that .org be reserved for non-profits; for one thing, it’s now routine for .com owners to obtain the .org equivalent of their name and arrange for it to redirect to their main site. I should have phrased my point more narrowly: when they select a dot org as the primary address for their site, law firm marketers make it more likely that unwary readers will mistake the site for that of a medical philanthropy.

January 7: Vioxx Settlement panel at AEI

Please register for this event online at http://www.aei.org/event1626.

The AEI Legal Center for the Public Interest and the Federalist Society present:

The Vioxx Settlement

Monday, January 7, 2008, 12:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m.
Wohlstetter Conference Center, Twelfth Floor, AEI
1150 Seventeenth Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036

In 2004, Merck withdrew its pain reliever Vioxx from the market because of new studies showing increased cardiovascular risk. Merck announced that it would not settle any of the tens of thousands of Vioxx lawsuits filed, and set aside over a billion dollars to litigate cases without reserving a penny for damages. After a $254 million verdict in the first Vioxx trial in 2005, some observers predicted over $25 billion in liability for the company. Fifteen trials later, Merck and the plaintiffs’ attorneys announced a settlement of the outstanding personal injury litigation—for under $5 billion. Merck stock rose after the announcement, and is now higher than before it withdrew Vioxx from the market. But some law professors are arguing that a new and unusual provision in the settlement raises ethical concerns.

Why did Merck settle? And why was the settlement for so much less than originally anticipated? Is the Merck settlement different from the Wyeth fen-phen settlement, which was originally announced as a $3.75 billion settlement, but has so far cost more than $20 billion? Will the settlement stand up under legal challenge, and what will remain of the Vioxx litigation if it does?

At this event cosponsored by AEI and the Federalist Society, a panel of experts will explore these and other questions. Speakers include Vanderbilt law professor Richard Nagareda, author of Mass Torts in a World of Settlement; Virginia legal ethics professor George Cohen; author and leading pharmaceutical mass torts defense attorney Mark Herrmann; Andy Birchfield, a member of the Vioxx Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee; and Ted Frank, director of the AEI Legal Center for the Public Interest. AEI resident scholar John E. Calfee will moderate.

11:45 a.m.
Registration and Lunch

12:00 p.m.
Panelists:
Andy Birchfield, Beasley Allen
George Cohen, University of Virginia School of Law
Ted Frank, AEI
Mark Herrmann, Jones Day
Richard Nagareda, Vanderbilt University Law School

Moderator:
John E. Calfee, AEI

2:00 p.m.
Adjournment

Update: Alabama Vioxx judge

Updating our Apr. 28 item on Rogers v. Merck: the Washington Legal Foundation has filed a judicial misconduct complaint (Jun. 21, PDF) against Alabama Circuit Judge John Rochester, saying he should have disqualified himself from hearing the suit brought by the firm of Beasley Allen, which according to an April AP report had last October donated $60,000 to his unsuccessful campaign for a seat on the state’s high court. Judge Rochester characterized the complaint as meritless, saying “attorneys for Vioxx’s manufacturer, Merck & Co., had not complained about the donations and had not asked him to step aside from the case.” (“Complaint Filed Against Vioxx Case Judge”, AP/Forbes.com, Jun. 21).