“[An] unnamed company … had filed a suit, under seal, to challenge aspects of the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s new public database. The federal district court found for the company earlier this week, ruling that the agency’s attempt to publish an incident report on the database about the company’s product was arbitrary and capricious, and an abuse of discretion. See Company Doe v. Tenenbaum, No. 8:11-cv-02958 (D. Md.10/9/12).” [Sean Wajert] I covered the CPSC’s problematic safety-complaints database last year in a Cato post and in Overlawyered posts here, here, etc.
The House Appropriations Committee, following the lead of Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.), is disinclined to throw more money at a flawed public denunciation box. Sean Wajert has more, while a L.A. Times columnist hyperventilates in a style not untypical of much of that newspaper’s consumer affairs coverage.
A 3-2 vote at the Consumer Product Safety Commission last week ensures that the federal government will put its imprimatur behind allegations about supposed hazards in consumer products — whether true or not. I explain in a new post at Cato at Liberty.
P.S. Kelly Young comments: “I wonder if they’d be willing to maintain a public database of complaints against federal employees?” More: Coyote (comparing relative sophistication of Amazon, TripAdvisor consumer ratings systems with primitive nature of CPSC’s); letter from Rep. Joe Barton, PDF; Washington Post; ACSH.
- “Hawaii may keep track of all web sites visited” [Declan McCullagh]
- NEA (and now Obama) answer to public education woes: lock the exits by hiking school-leaving age [Steve Chapman, earlier]
- On nomination filibusters, New York Times editorial policy has pulled a 360, not just a 180 [Whelan, 2003, 2005, earlier]
- English copyright ruling “creates ownership in the idea of a photo’s composition” [Doctorow, BB]
- New Maryland push for same-sex marriage will include stronger religious exemptions, a course I urged last year [Sun, my view] Detailed inquiry into the law of interstate marriage recognition and DOMA [Will Baude, Volokh]
- When lawyers face prison for the advice they give [Jack Fernandez, Zuckerman Spaeder via Legal Ethics Forum]
- FDA regulation of pharmaceuticals: “More reasons to discount adverse event reports” [Yeary, Drug & Device Law, the CPSC database analogy]
- Please just don’t: “Should Happy Hour be banned?” [New York Times “Room for Debate”]
- “This furniture must be affixed to the wall with the enclosed wall fastener.” Ikea liable for tip-over hazard anyway? [Nick Farr, Abnormal Use, Pennsylvania]
- Oh, great: making writers declare as taxable income the (face?) value of review-copy books they’re sent [Ira Stoll, Future of Capitalism]
- “Every state county or municipality…should think long and hard before taking a dime in HUD money.” [Richard Epstein, Hoover “Defining Ideas”, “The Folly of ‘Fair’ Housing”] “Confusion and uncertainty” in housing sector as to what disparate impact liability actually will mean, after Supreme Court ruling [Hans Bader, CEI; earlier]
- And he’ll take the low road: “Donald Trump sued Scotland” [Lowering the Bar, earlier]
- Garlock database shows “staggering” amount of money changing hands in asbestos litigation [Madison County Record]
- Harm reduction and its enemies: “Two Surveys Find That Almost All Regular Vapers Are Smokers” [Jacob Sullum, earlier]
- Federally run consumer complaint database at CPSC has been unfair and unreliable mess, so naturally CFPB wants one of its own [Kevin Funnell]
- Los Angeles, Miami, Providence, and Cook County among municipalities piling on lenders with mortgage and disparate-impact suits [same]
- “Just one way to stop corporate tax inversions: cut taxes” [Chris Edwards, NYT/Cato; more]
- “The IPO is dying. Marc Andreessen explains why.” [Timothy Lee, Vox via Tyler Cowen]
- No mercy for the Swiss: feds’ “fierce campaign” on overseas tax compliance “doing more harm than good” [The Economist; Doreen Carvajal, New York Times]
- “Pretty much everything George Dvorsky says at io9 about corporate personhood is wrong” [Bainbridge] Dodd-Frank turns four, alas [same]
- “There was no evidence, period.” Preet Bharara loses one as jury acquits in insider trading case [Ira Stoll, Future of Capitalism]
- “Venue matters.” Enough to double value of med-mal case if filed in Baltimore city rather than suburbs? [Ron Miller] Mark Behrens and Cary Silverman on litigation tourism in Pennsylvania [TortsProf]
- “Maybe [depositions] are like what some people say about war — vast periods of boredom interrupted by brief moments of terror.” [Steve McConnell, Drug and Device Law, also see Max Kennerly]
- Centrality of procedure in American legal thinking dates back to Legal Realists and before [Paul McMahon, U.Penn. J. of Int’l Law/SSRN via Mass Tort Prof]
- Company sues to challenge CPSC’s dissemination of unproven allegations about it in new public database: should judicial proceeding keep its name confidential? [Fair Warning]
- Thesis of new Jerry Mashaw book: administrative state in U.S. long predated Progressive Era [Law and Liberty: Joseph Postell, Mike Rappaport] Relatedly, hallmark of administrative state said to be “prerogative,” i.e., power to make binding rules without new legislation [Michael Greve]
- Lorax standing humor: even the Ninth Circuit might not have been able to help [Howard Wasserman, Prawfs]
- “Formalism and Deference in Administrative Law” [panel at Federalist Society National Lawyers’ Convention with Philip Hamburger, Kristin Hickman, Thomas Merrill, and Jide Okechuku Nzelibe, moderated by Jennifer Walker Elrod]
Thanks to Ben S., discussing the CPSC product-safety database, for the week’s drollest comment.