Dissenting in the recent case of Nieves v. Bartlett, on the First Amendment handling of arrests motivated in part by retaliation for protected speech, Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote that criminal law in U.S. has expanded to a point where “almost anyone can be arrested for something.” And the implications? [Ilya Somin] Earlier on Nieves and the retaliatory-arrest case that preceded it last year, Lozman v. Riviera Beach, and more on the Nieves outcome from Tim Cushing at TechDirt.
“With the spate of unicorn startups going public in 2019– including Airbnb, Slack, and WeWork–experts are forecasting a surge in IPO litigation, and some worry it may deter companies from ringing the bell in the first place.” [Guadalupe Gonzalez, Inc. magazine]
- Review of 70 studies shows police body cameras to be popular with both officers and public, though tangible benefits fall short of what some proponents had hoped [Ronald Bailey, Reason]
- If law enforcement is allowed to use facial recognition technologies at all, here are some important safeguards for its use [Matthew Feeney, Cato]
- Do you think of intensive police stops of minority teens on the street as a way to reduce crime rates? Think again [Jonathan Blanks, Cato]
- When political influentials are in the vehicle, police collision reports can be works of art [Eric Turkewitz]
- Why juries acquit cops charged with brutality [Phil Fairbanks, Buffalo News]
- Investigation finds police officers found to have committed serious misconduct not only remain active as police, usually at different departments, but in 32 instances have become police chiefs or sheriffs [James Pilcher, Aaron Hegarty, Eric Litke and Mark Nichols, USA Today]
A very Illinois situation: “An Illinois union lobbyist can keep the public pension windfall he qualified for by spending one day as a substitute teaching, the Illinois Supreme Court has ruled.” [Ray Long, Chicago Tribune via its Twitter]
More on Illinois public employee pensions: “More than 19,000 Illinois Government Retirees Receive Pensions Over $100K” [Janelle Cammenga, Illinois Policy] “Mapping the $100,000+ Illinois Teacher Pensions Costing Taxpayers Nearly $1.0 Billion” [Adam Andrzejewski, Forbes 2016] “Top 200 Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund Pensions as of 2017” [Taxpayers United (park district employees score highly in $150K+ annual pension listings)] (via @TwoBoysCapital on Twitter)
Meanwhile, so delightfully Chicago: “JUST IN: Lawyer for ex-Ald. Willie Cochran ask for six months home confinement, saying ‘”since sending previous aldermen to jail has not done anything to curb Chicago’s tidal wave of aldermanic corruption cases, there is no reason to think that sending Mr. Cochran to jail will.'” [Chicago Tribune reporter Jason Meisner on Twitter]
Beth Mole at ArsTechnica takes a look at “a little-known nonprofit called the Council for Education and Research on Toxics (CERT),” which sued over the lack of California cancer warnings on coffee and has filed many other Prop 65 suits, and its lawyer Raphael Metzger, whom longtime Overlawyered readers have met before. While the organization’s workings have seldom come under scrutiny, one money trail appears to lead to epidemiologist Martyn Smith at Berkeley’s School of Public Health; neither professor nor school responded to Mole’s requests for comment.
- Court of appeals throws out class action against provincial lottery Loto-Quebec: “[The lead plaintiff] said she wouldn’t have bought the tickets had she known the odds were so slim.” [Canadian Press/CBC]
- And there was much rejoicing: Florida high court finally adopts Daubert, meant to curb use of faulty and unproven science in litigation [Karen Kidd, Florida Record, Beck]
- Fake car-crash claims alleged: “5 SoCal Chiropractors Busted In $6M Insurance Fraud Scheme” [CBS Los Angeles] “Three Men Found Guilty Of $31 Million Slip-And-Fall Scheme Involving Homeless People” [Jen Chung, Gothamist] Cambridgeshire, England: “Footage shows moment car ‘runs over foot’ of binman accused of crash-for-cash scam” [Alex Matthews, The Sun (U.K.)]
- If appellate review somehow leaves intact the scientifically baseless $2 billion Oakland verdict over glyphosate/Roundup, new changes in federal tax law might cut into plaintiffs’ winnings [Robert Wood, Forbes]
- Tamper proof? Old bottles of baby powder bought on eBay are central to plaintiffs’ claims that Johnson & Johnson baby powder may have contained asbestos fibers, a theory that has underlain several large verdicts [Daniel Fisher, Legal NewsLine; John O’Brien, same; Jef Feeley and Margaret Cronin Fisk, Bloomberg]
- “Michigan’s lawmakers have passed legislation to reform the state’s worst-in-the-nation auto insurance market.” [Ray Lehmann, R Street/Insurance Journal, earlier]
Overlawyered was launched on July 1, 1999, when blogs were still a relatively new thing, and so it will soon complete its twentieth year (!) of continuous publication at the end of this month.
How should we celebrate?
Under a sweeping surveillance program, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration “secretly spied on Americans who bought money counters, ‘the vast majority’ of whom “were never shown to be connected to illicit drug-related activities.” The “administrative” subpoenas the DEA routinely issued to companies that sold money counters not only were “conducted without any court oversight, they were ‘unrelated to a specific drug trafficking investigation or target.'” [Nick Sibilla, Forbes via IJ]
In D.C.’s Cleveland Park, a neighborhood that reporter Peter Jamison describes as a “bastion of urbane liberalism,” a stately apartment complex called the Sedgwick Gardens is something of an experimental subject for a combination of various progressive housing policies. “As of February, tenants with city-issued housing vouchers had filled nearly half of the building’s roughly 140 units,” and many of the new tenants “are homeless men and women who came directly from shelters or the streets, some still struggling with severe behavioral problems.” Jamison tells the story in this Washington Post article (reprinted at Seattle Times).
More on the District of Columbia’s “source of income discrimination” law, under which landlords commit a violation if they reject a prospective tenant because he or she will be paid for by a voucher, here and here.
- Why New York City can’t build new infrastructure at reasonable cost (“Every factor you look at is flawed the way the MTA does business, from the first step to the end.”) [Josh Barro]
- “‘He’s finally getting his due.’ Serial ADA filer faces charges as store owners rejoice” [Sam Stanton, Sacramento Bee on tax charges against Scott Johnson, whose doings are often chronicled in this space] Flashback: vintage Sacramento billiards parlor Jointed Cue closes after being named in one of Johnson’s 1,000+ accessibility suits [Kellen Browning, Sacramento Bee last year]
- “Four-Year Court Battle Between Deaf Advocates and Harvard Over Closed Captioning of Videos Proceeds to Discovery With Some Limitations” [Kristina M. Launey & Minh N. Vu, Seyfarth Shaw; earlier on takedown of Berkeley online courses]
- More on copyright battle between state of Georgia and Carl Malamud over whether he can publish online the laws of Georgia with annotations commissioned and approved by the state under agreement with private publishers [Adam Liptak, New York Times; earlier]
- Reviewing the harms of rent control: a view from Seattle [Kevin Schofield, SCC Insight]
- California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) “imposes liability on cities that elect their representatives through an at-large system and have racially polarized voting.” Generous attorneys’ fee provisions have encouraged assembly-line filing of complaints [Federalist Society forum with J. Michael Connolly; Mark Plummer, LAist; Carolyn Schuk, Silicon Valley Voice (Sunnyvale); Robert Haugh, Santa Clara News Online]