Posts Tagged ‘Alaska’

Alaskan salmon suit: picking at the bones

On May 23 a 12-person jury unanimously rejected a price-fixing suit brought against ten American and Japanese seafood companies over prices paid to fisherman in Alaska’s Bristol Bay. By that point, however, other defendants had paid $40 million to settle out of the case. But fishermen shouldn’t expect to see much of that $40 million: their lawyers want $16.5 million as their contingency share, while the defendants who prevailed at trial want at least $11 million to pay their lawyers (Alaska, unlike the 49 other American states, follows a modified loser-pays system, though it seems the state legislature passed a special bill to clarify its application in this case). “Jack Keane, a veteran Bristol Bay fisherman who lives in Anchorage, said he’s not surprised the lawyers might take much of the money. ‘The cynics kind of said, “Well, that’s the way it would go anyways,”‘ he said. ‘God, it’s a messy legal thing.’ … The leading commercial fishing trade group, United Fishermen of Alaska, has said it doesn’t support an appeal and hopes the seafood companies recoup their legal expenses to plow back into an industry they say suffered major damage from the lawsuit in the key salmon market of Japan.” (Wesley Loy, “Lawyers on both sides of salmon case want to get paid”, Anchorage Daily News, Jul. 30).(& see updates Dec. 14, Feb. 22).

Candy-bar confrontation results in bias suit

Alaska: “Jamila Glauber, who was told to leave a city bus for eating a bite-size Snickers bar March 22, 2002, filed suit in Juneau on Monday against Capital Transit, the city and Tad Zurek, the bus driver. Glauber, represented by Anchorage attorney Jay W. Trumble, claims the actions of the defendants caused her severe emotional distress and were based on her race and national origin. As an Arab-American of Yemeni origin, she is protected from such actions under the Alaska Human Rights Act, the suit notes.” (“Woman sues Capital Transit over 2002 incident”, Juneau Empire, Jul. 23).

Essay on loser-pays

The following essay was written circa 1999 by our editor and formerly appeared on the site’s topical page on loser-pays.

* * *

America differs from all other Western democracies (indeed, from virtually all nations of any sort) in its refusal to recognize the principle that the losing side in litigation should contribute toward “making whole” its prevailing opponent.  It’s long past time this country joined the world in adopting that principle; unfortunately, any steps toward doing so must contend with deeply entrenched resistance from the organized bar, which likes the system the way it is.‘s editor wrote an account in Reason, June 1995, aimed at explaining how loser-pays works in practice and dispelling some of the more common misconceptions about the device.  He also testified before Congress when the issue came up that year as part of the “Contract with America”.  Not online, unfortunately, are most of the relevant sections from The Litigation Explosion, which argues at length for the loser-pays idea, especially chapter 15, “Strict Liability for Lawyering”.

Read On…

Archived aviation items, pre-July 2003

NTSB blames pilot error, but airport told to pay $10 million“, May 14, 2003. 

Security profiling, 2002:Rather die than commit profiling, cont’d“, Oct. 14; “Profiling: a Democrat outflanks Ashcroft” (Sen. Feinstein), Jun. 10; “Airlines sued over alleged profiling“, Jun. 6; “The scandal of the Phoenix memo“, May 28-29; “Fearing ethnic profiling charges, bureau ignored flight-school warning“, May 6; “Columnist-fest” (Charles Krauthammer), Mar. 18; “Profiling: the cost of sparing feelings“, Jan. 14-15.  2001:Profiling perfectly OK after all“, Nov. 16-18; “‘Politically incorrect profiling: a matter of life or death’” (Stuart Taylor, Jr.), Nov. 9-11; “Opponents of profiling, still in the driver’s seat“, Nov. 2-4; “Anti-bias law not a suicide pact“, Oct. 3-4. 

‘Sisters suing Southwest over “racist rhyme”‘“, Feb. 11, 2003.

Forum-shopping:Mass disasters belong in federal court“, Dec. 18-19, 2002; “Crash lawyers like Boeing move” (Chicago, new HQ city, has higher verdicts), May 17, 2001; “Come to America and sue” (Concorde forum-shopping), Jan. 19-21, 2001; “French crash, German victims, American payout levels?“, Sept. 29-Oct. 1, 2000.

Lawyer’s suit against airline: my seatmate was too fat“, Aug. 2-4, 2002; “‘Sorry, Slimbo, you’re in my seats’“, June 7, 2001 (& updates Dec. 15-16, 2001, Oct. 25-27, 2002); “Obese fliers“, Dec. 20, 2000.

Annals of zero tolerance: ‘No scissors allowed at ribbon-cutting ceremony at Pittsburgh airport’“, Sept. 23, 2002.

‘Airline sued for $5 million over lost cat’“, Sept. 3-4, 2002.

Flowers, perfume in airline cabins not OK?” (Canada), May 17-19, 2002. 

World Trade Center, 2002:Roger Parloff on 9/11 fund“, Apr. 1-2.  2001:Liability limits speed WTC recovery“, Nov. 21-22; “‘Company tried to capitalize on Sept. 11’“, Oct. 15; “‘Despite Protection, Airlines Face Lawsuits for Millions in Damages’“, Sept. 24 (& Oct. 10-11); “‘Lawsuits From Attacks Likely to Be in the Billions’“, Sept. 21-23; “Washington Post on airline liability“, Sept. 19-20; “What you knew was coming“, Sept. 14-16 (& coverage generally after Sept. 11). 

Couldn’t order 7-Up in French” (suing Air Canada for $525,000), Mar. 18, 2002. 

Disclaimer rage?” (GPS software), Oct. 15, 2001. 

‘Man Thought  He Was Dead, Sues Airline’” (left sleeping in darkened cabin), Oct. 10-11, 2001. 

‘Poor work tolerated, employees say’“, Nov. 15, 2001; “The high cost of cultural passivity“, Sept. 21-23; “Self-defense for flight crews“, Sept. 13; “Transsexual passenger’s airline hassle“, Sept. 12, 2001. 

White-knuckle lotto:‘Delta passenger wins $1.25 mln for landing trauma’“, Aug. 24-26, 2001; “All shook up” (jury says emotional scars from Little Rock crash worth $6.5 million), Oct. 19, 2000; “White-knuckle lotto“, Oct. 8, 1999. 

Letter to the editor, Sept. 3, 2001 (ABC vs. Parker-Hannifin); “Big numbers” (Teledyne Continental Motors $27 million settlement), April 16, 2001; “Getting around small-aircraft lawsuit reform“, Jan. 29, 2001. 

‘Airline restricts children flying alone’“, Aug. 6, 2001. 

‘Lawyers pay price for cruel hoaxes’“, Aug. 3, 2001; “‘The love children of Flight 261’“, April 10, 2001; “After an air crash, many Latin ‘survivors’” (Alaska Air claimants), Nov. 29, 2000. 

Needed: assumption of risk” (first-time skydiver), July 27-29, 2001; “‘Skydivers don’t sue’“, May 26, 2000 (update July 6: Canadian diver prevails in suit against teammate) (& see Apr. 16, 2001). 

Getting around small-aircraft lawsuit reform“, Jan. 29, 2001. 

‘Economy-class syndrome’ class action” (Australia), Dec. 13-14, 2000. 

All shook up” (jury says emotional scars from Little Rock crash worth $6.5 million), Oct. 18, 2000; “Diva awarded $11M for broken dream” (opera student injured in runway crash), Aug. 31, 2000. 

John Denver crash” (also Air France, Northwest, aviation need for tort reform), Oct. 4, 2000. 

Prosecution fears slow crash probes“, Sept. 6-7, 2000. 

Retroactive crash liability” (Death on the High Seas Act), Aug. 25-27, 2000. 

Class actions: are we all litigants yet?” (American Airlines frequent flier class action), Aug. 23-24, 2000. 

Never too stale a claim” (suits against manufacturers over planes built in early 20th century), July 14-16, 2000. 

New subpage” (this page introduced), June 16-18, 2000. 

Somebody to sue” (map publisher Jeppesen Sanderson sued after Croatia crash), June 1, 2000. 

Swissair crash aftermath” (Peggy’s Cove disaster in U.S. courts), March 14, 2000; “Montreal Gazette ‘Lawsuit of the Year’” (bagpipers sue Swissair for lost income), Jan. 17, 2000. 

Blaming good pilots” (Alaska Air crash), Feb. 24, 2000. 

New safety rule likely to increase death toll” (FAA and child seating on airlines), Dec. 31, 1999-Jan. 2, 2000. 

Attorney blames airline for passenger’s drunken in-flight rage“, Dec. 9, 1999. 

Indications of turbulence” (pilot whose mental fitness for duty was challenged wins partial back pay), Dec. 1, 1999. 

Some lawyers try to make nice” (EgyptAir 990), Nov. 29, 1999. 

From the planet Litigation” (UFO suits), Nov. 22, 1999. 

Grounds for suspicion” (DEA and arriving passengers), Oct. 9-10, 1999. 

Overlawyered skies not always safer“, July 19, 1999.

Other resources:

AVweb includes articles by its law columnist, Phillip J. Kolczynski, on such topics as product liability, liability for homebuilt aircraft, and aircraft owner liability

Walter Olson, “Kingdom of the One-Eyed” (pilot vision and ADA), Reason, July 1998. 

Walter Olson, “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of a Good Beer” (alcoholic pilot and ADA), Washington Monthly, September 1997.

Archived harassment law items, pre-July 2003

‘Prosecutor had ordeal as defendant’“, May 14, 2003. 

Sex abuse charges, 2003:‘Sex, God and Greed’“, May 28; “‘No Crueler Tyrannies’” (Dorothy Rabinowitz), May 8 (& Apr. 17, 2001). 2002:‘Reno owes the public answers’“, May 7; “Updates” (rape shield laws), Jan. 9-10 (& more on Jovanovic case: Dec. 23-26, 1999).  2001:Sued if you do dept.: co-worker’s claim of rape“, Nov. 7-8; “‘Teen sex offenders face years of stigma’“, Nov. 5; “‘Crying wolf’“, Oct. 30;  “‘Proposed Law Would Consider Alcohol as Date-Rape Drug’” (Wisc.), Oct. 3-4. 2000:Federal commerce power genuinely limited, Supreme Court rules” (strikes down VAWA’s lawsuit provision), May 16 (and see Wendy Kaminer, Feb. 24); “Updating Jane Austen“, Apr. 28-30; “Court rejects ‘telephone sex slave’ charge“, Apr. 24; “Philadelphia: feminist groups to be consulted on whether to classify incidents as rape“, Mar. 27 (and see Cathy Young, April 6); 1999:Okay, we admit it: we admire these lawyers” (Wenatchee defenders), Sept. 4-6; “Personal hell“, Jul. 31-Aug. 1. 

Employers liable for not filtering raunchy spam?“, Apr. 10-13, 2003.

Watch those emails:Employers liable for not filtering raunchy spam?“, Apr. 10-13, 2003; “Why we lose workplace privacy“, Aug. 9, 2001; “Watch those fwds” (Dow Chemical fires employees for email use), Aug. 21-22, 2000; “Oops: D.A.’s and judge’s fwding of sex pics deemed ‘unfortunate event’“, April 11; “Harassment-law roundup” (email-shredding software), Feb. 19-21; “Emails that ended 20 Times careers“, Feb. 8-9, 2000; “Please — there are terminals present” (Bloomberg censors its terminals), July 30, 1999. 

After failed workplace romance, a $1.3 million bill“, Feb. 6-9, 2003.

Incoherence of sexual harassment law“, Oct. 15, 2002.

Sued either way:Investigate, but gently“, Sept. 25-26, 2002; “‘Ex-Teach’s Suit: Kids Abused Me’“, Jun. 26-27, 2002; “Sued if you do dept.: co-worker’s claim of rape“, Nov. 7-8, 2001; “EEOC: unfiltered computers ‘harass’ librarians“, Jun. 4, 2001; “Customer offense” (supermarket bagger with Tourette’s), Jun. 9-11, 2000; “Columnist-fest” (Mona Charen on Mar. 10-12 story, below), Apr. 6; “Accused of harassment; wins $2 million from employer“, Mar. 10-12 (& update Jun. 2, 2003: award reversed); “‘Judgment reversed in Seinfeld case’“, Feb. 26-27, 2000; “Employment-law retaliation: real frogs from ‘totally bogus’ gardens“, Sept. 29, 1999

Banish those desk photos of spouse at beach“, Aug. 29-Sept. 2, 2002. 

Clipboard-throwing manager = $30 million clipping for grocery chain“, Apr. 19-21, 2002 (& update Jul. 26-28: damages cut to $8 million); “‘$3 million awarded in harassment’” (Illinois police department), Dec. 19, 2001; “Fieger’s firecrackers frequently fizzle” ($20 million harassment verdict against Chrysler), May 31, 2001; “The stuffed-grape-leaf standard” (feminist litigator asserts that $300K isn’t that much money), August 14-15, 1999. 

‘Surgeon halts operation over foreign nurses’ poor English’” (U.K.: he’s then threatened with disciplinary action for racism), Jul. 25, 2002. 

Catharine MacKinnon, call your office“, May 16, 2002. 

An eggshell psyche at U.Va. Law“, Apr. 8-9, 2002. 

Jail for schoolyard taunts?“, Feb. 27-28, 2002; “‘Boy faces jail for slapping girl’s bottom’“, Jan. 5-7, 2001; “Annals of zero tolerance” (six-year-old’s “sexual harassment”), May 22, 2000. 

European workplace notes” (UK: harassment of dyslexic), Feb. 25-26, 2002. 

Firehouse blues” (girly mags, Alaska), Feb. 20-21, 2002. 

‘Woman Wins Verdict, but no Money, Against Seagal’“, Jan. 4-6, 2002. 

Office dating, “love contracts”:Love contracts“, Dec. 10, 2001; “Ask the experts (if that’ll help)“, Oct. 19, 2000; “Ministry of love-discouragement“, May 3; “‘Love contracts’ spreading to U.K.“, Dec. 31, 1999-Jan. 2, 2000; “Weekend reading: evergreens” (“love contract” for office romances), Dec. 3-5, 1999. 

Employee’s right to jubilate over Sept. 11 attack“, Oct. 9, 2001. 

‘Lawsuit demands AOL stop anti-Islamic chat’“, Sept. 3, 2001. 

‘We often turn irresponsibility into legal actions against others’” (Robyn Blumner on U. of South Fla. art student harassment case), Aug. 13-14, 2001. 

Chandra, Monica, and sex-harass law“, July 27-29, 2001. 

Spoof memo draws EEOC probe“, June 26, 2001. 

‘Hearsay harassment’ not actionable“, June 12, 2001. 

EEOC: unfiltered computers ‘harass’ librarians“, June 4, 2001 (& see “Columnist-fest” (Wendy McElroy), June 22-24. 

Mistletoe dangerous even when absent“, April 18, 2001. 

‘2000’s Ten Wackiest Employment Lawsuits’” (too much sex talk in sex shop), April 13-15, 2001. 

Appeals panel: schools’ harassment rule unconstitutional“, Feb. 27, 2001; “Weekend reading” (Supreme Court’s invention of Title IX harassment law), August 21-22, 1999. 

Business climate:Why we lose workplace privacy“, Aug. 9, 2001; “Ask the experts (if that’ll help)“, Oct. 19, 2000; “The scarlet %+#?*^)&!” (companies cut clients loose for profane language), March 7, 2000; ‘Personally agree with’ harassment policy — or you’re out the door“, Sept. 22, 1999; “EEOC encourages anonymous harassment complaints“, Sept. 3, 1999.

Hate speech, hate crime laws: see free speech and media law page. 

Columnist-fest” (Sarah McCarthy on Paula Jones case), Nov. 14, 2000. 

Don’t meet with her alone“, Nov. 1, 2000. 

Ask the experts (if that’ll help)“, Oct. 19, 2000. 

White House pastry chef harassment suit“, Sept. 18, 2000. 

Harassment law roundup” (Confederate flags on employee cars, Jeffrey Rosen book, Avis v. Aguilar, do-as-we-say case), Sept. 11, 2000. 

Embarrassing Lawsuit Hall of Fame” (Mass. agency finds flatulence not harassing), Aug. 14, 2000. 

From the U.K.: watch your language” (college, job bureau restrict use of “lady”, “hardworking”), June 13, 2000. 

Victim of the century?” (principal collects disability benefits for sexual compulsion), June 2-4, 2000; “Doctor sues insurer, claims sex addiction“, Oct. 13, 1999. 

What the French think of American harassment law“, May 25, 2000. 

The four rules of sexual harassment controversies” (Claudia Kennedy case; female-on-male touching case; spanking initiation), May 15, 2000. 

Comment of the day“, May 5-7, 2000; “Recommended reading” (Roland White in London Times on chill to office banter), Jan. 25, 2000. 

Harassment-law roundup” (bathroom graffiti; Boston bar owner’s insensitive decorations; pin-ups and porn in police station), May 4, 2000. 

Book feature: ‘The Kinder, Gentler Military’“, April 3, 2000. 

The shame of the ACLU” (Aguilar v. Avis: ACLU intervenes on anti- free-speech side), Sept. 7, 1999; “Speech police go after opinion articles, editorial cartoons“, August 28-29, 1999. 

Harassment-law roundup” (Internet startups vulnerable), May 4, 2000; “Dot-coms as perfect defendants“, Jan. 17; “Harassment-law roundup” (Juno case), Feb. 19-21, 2000. 

Oops! Didn’t mean nothing by that, ma’am” (“Hello, good looking” directed at harassment trainer), Dec. 21, 1999. 

Suppression of conversation vs. improvement of conversation“, Nov. 12, 1999 (excerpts from Joan Kennedy Taylor book); “Risks of harm“, Nov. 13-14, 1999; “Harassment-law roundup” (Taylor book discussed), Feb. 19-21, 2000. 

Courts actually begin to define ‘harassment’; activists in shock“, August 6, 1999. 

Please — there are terminals present” (South Park on sexual harassment), July 30, 1999.

Articles by editor Walter Olson:

Title IX’s Invisible Ink” (Supreme Court invents right to sue schools over student-on-student harassment), Reason, August/September 1999. 

A Legacy of Dirty Laundry” (brief contribution to symposium on harassment law), The Women’s Quarterly, Winter 1999. 

Have the Harassment Rules Changed?“, Wall Street Journal, April 6, 1998 (judge’s dismissal of Paula Jones lawsuit). 

Punch the Clock, Sue the Boss“, New York Times, March 20, 1998. 

Shut Up, They Explained” (“zero-tolerance”), Reason, June 1997. 

The Long Arm of Harassment Law“, New York Times, July 7, 1996. 

?When Sensitivity Training Is the Law? (Connecticut law requires training of managers), Wall Street Journal, January 20, 1993. 

In addition, The Excuse Factory (1997) includes two chapters on harassment law, namely chapter 4 (“Fear of Flirting”) and chapter 14 (“Workplace Cleansing”).  Neither is online. 

Other resources:


Freedom of Speech vs. Workplace Harassment Law” (highly informative site maintained by Prof. Eugene Volokh, UCLA Law School) 



The shelf of books critical of the overreach of harassment law got at least three important additions in 1999.  Daphne Patai of the University of Massachusetts, known already as a co-author of Professing Feminism: Cautionary Tales From the Strange World of Women’s Studies, published Heterophobia: Sexual Harassment and the Future of Feminism.  Cathy Young, columnist for the Detroit News, published Ceasefire: Why Women and Men Must Join Forces to Achieve True Equality.  And Joan Kennedy Taylor, associated with the Cato Institute, published What to Do When You Don’t Want to Call the Cops: Or a Non-Adversarial Approach to Sexual Harassment.  (Also see our editor’s 1997 contribution, The Excuse Factory.)

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