Posts Tagged ‘autos’

“Sacramento County Says It’s Illegal to Work on Your Own Car in Your Own Garage”

It’s common for communities to use zoning codes to exclude commercial and industrial uses from residential areas, but Sacramento County, California, seems extra-zealous about making sure that residents don’t try to operate auto repair businesses amid homes. While it concedes to residents the right to perform minor auto repairs on their own cars in their driveway or garage, it bans repairs or maintenance in any of the following circumstances:

1. Using tools not normally found in a residence;

2. Conducted on vehicles registered to persons, not currently residing on the lot or parcel;

3. Conducted outside a fully enclosed garage and resulting in any vehicle being inoperable for a period in excess of twenty-four hours.

So if you’re thinking of changing the oil in doing fairly minor work on your dad’s or girlfriend’s car, or trying any work that might run into a snag and have to be carried over to the next day — let alone working on a project car as a hobby, as many do — Sacramento County has other plans, and it doesn’t matter whether or not you are creating any nuisance for neighbors. “One commenter on the Grassroots Motorsports forum reported that he’d already been issued a $430 fine for working on his car in his garage.” [Jason Torchinsky, Jalopnik]

Liability roundup

  • Big win for scientific rigor in the courts as New Jersey joins 40 other states in adopting Daubert standards for expert testimony, in In re Accutane Litigation [Washington Legal Foundation: Evan Tager and Surya Kundu, Joe Hollingsworth and Robert Johnston] With the long domination of the Florida Supreme Court by its liberal bloc soon to end, is it too much to hope that Florida joins the national trend too? [Evan Tager and Matthew Waring, WLF]
  • California lawyers sue electric scooter companies and manufacturers after users run into pedestrians on street, park improperly in handicapped spaces, and leave them in places where they can be tripped over [Cyrus Farivar, ArsTechnica]
  • Defendants obtain fees and costs in suit against siren maker over firefighter hearing loss [Stephen McConnell, Drug and Device Law]
  • Some safety advocates’ flip-flops on autonomous vehicle legislation in Congress might relate to trial lawyers’ agenda of the moment [Marc Scribner, CEI, more]
  • “Labaton Sucharow agrees to return $4.8M in attorney fees after attorney finder fee is revealed” [ABA Journal, earlier on State Street/Arkansas Teacher Retirement System case here, etc.]
  • MGM, Fox settle class action claiming that box set of “all” James Bond films lacked two made outside the franchise [Eriq Gardner/Hollywood Reporter, earlier]

September 12 roundup

  • Peer-to-peer car sharing platforms could reduce the costs of car usage, unless elements of rental car industry manage to strangle it through regulation [Jonathan M. Gitlin, ArsTechnica on Illinois Gov. Rauner’s veto of a bill to cripple startups] Are we headed toward a legal requirement that cars be designed to sense that a driver has high blood alcohol and not function then? Does it matter whether the car is self-driving? [Nicole Gelinas]
  • “11th Circuit rages against ‘incomprehensible’ shotgun complaint, concludes lawyer’s intent was delay” [ABA Journal]
  • Quackery and bluster define the lawsuit filed by NY, MD, NJ, and CT attorneys general against Congress’s curtailment of state and local tax (SALT) deduction [Reilly Stephens; more, Howard Gleckman, Tax Policy Center]
  • “Conservative/Libertarian Faculty Candidates Are Hired By Law Schools Ranked 12-13 Spots Lower Than Equally-Credentialed Liberal Applicants” [James Cleith Phillips via Paul Caron/TaxProf]
  • Coming next week: I’m set to host and moderate a Sept. 20 forum at Cato in D.C. on the Indian Child Welfare Act. Featured are three lawyers who have been involved in high-profile ICWA litigation, Timothy Sandefur of the Goldwater Institute, Matthew McGill of Gibson Dunn, and Charles Rothfeld of Mayer Brown and Yale Law School [details and registration; event not livestreamed, but video to be posted later]
  • And now for something completely different: “Charles Evans Hughes and Chevron Deference” [Gerard Magliocca]

“Autopilot doesn’t make the car impervious to all accidents.”

“A Utah woman who in May 2018 crashed her Tesla Model S into a fire engine while having the Autopilot assist mode engaged has now sued the company in state court, claiming negligence, among other allegations.” A spokesman for Tesla says the company “has always been clear that Autopilot doesn’t make the car impervious to all accidents.” [Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica]

Chicago impound confound

“It can’t be overstated what a procedural and logistical nightmare it is to get a car impounded in the city of Chicago.” [C.J. Ciaramella, Reason] Related, Atlanta area: “Lawsuit claims Doraville officials writing tickets for profit, not enforcement” [WXIA, Kaitlyn Schallhorn, Fox News] And Pagedale, Mo., a small St. Louis suburb, has agreed “to stop bankrolling itself by fining its residents into the poorhouse.” [Scott Shackford, Reason]

Liability roundup

Pickup crosses interstate median, strikes oncoming vehicle. Guess who pays $89.6 million?

Driver of pickup truck loses control on Texas interstate, crosses median and strikes oncoming semi-trailer truck. Among passengers in pickup truck are two kids, one killed and one horribly injured. Driver of oncoming semi was in own lane, did not lose control, and was driving under speed limit. Plaintiff’s creative theory: there might have been ice on the road, the Werner Enterprises manual tells drivers not to drive during icy conditions; so the driver should not have been on the road at all, and if he hadn’t it would have averted that particular collision. Werner, in its defense: not only was evidence contradictory as to whether conditions were icy or just damp, but driver guidelines do not somehow create legally binding obligations to third parties or prove negligence that could not be shown otherwise. Jury to Werner Enterprises: pay $89.6 million. [Michael O’Connor, Omaha World-Herald]

“Sacramento Wants to Boost Rail Ridership By Banning Drive-Throughs and Gas Stations Near Transit”

It’s almost as if making life inconvenient for drivers is seen as a goal in itself: “City staff [in California’s capital city of Sacramento] are drafting an ordinance that would ban building new gas stations, drive-throughs, and other auto-related businesses within a quarter mile of any of the city’s 23 light rail stations. …Other businesses ‘not considered transit-supportive’ — car lots, auto repair businesses, manufacturing sites, wholesale outlets — would still be allowed, but only if the city grants them a special permit.” [Christian Britschgi, Reason]

“Vehicle Safety Inspections Don’t Increase Safety”

When New Jersey repealed its requirement for periodic auto safety inspections, there was no statistically meaningful rise in the frequency of accidents due to car failure, or to road fatalities whether linked to car failures or not. Alex Tabarrok: “It’s time to ditch the annual safety inspection and either move to no inspection system at all or like Maryland move to a system that requires safety inspections only at transfer. I’m not convinced that is necessary either, since at transfer is precisely when the buyer will run an inspection anyway, but at least that system would reduce the number of inspections significantly.” [Marginal Revolution, New York Post editorial; Alex Hoagland and Trevor Woolley]