Posts Tagged ‘Bill Lerach’

March 16 roundup

  • Are you a member of Tyson chicken or H&R Block Express IRA class action settlements?
  • Jim Copland on Harry Reid and the trial bar. [NRO]
  • Jim Copland on the Ground Zero settlement, which may pay lawyers $200 million—but the judge plans fee scrutiny. [NY Post; NY Daily News]
  • Kevin LaCroix interviews the Circle of Greed authors. [D&O Diary]
  • Judgeships: Rhode Island lead paint trial lawyer in despite mediocre rating, but Sri Srinivasan out because of his clients—not Al Qaeda, but, heaven forfend, eeeevil corporations like Hertz.
  • There’s no evidence that workers on automotive brakes (which sometimes contain asbestos) get mesothelioma at a greater rate than the rest of the population, but auto companies still get sued over it. Ford fought one in Madison County, rather than settle, and won. [Madison County Record]
  • Overview of defensive medicine at work. [AP]
  • Pantsless Rielle Hunter on John Edwards: “He’s very honest and truthful.” [GQ]

Sen. Cornyn introduces lessons-of-Lerach bill

The Texas Republican, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is introducing legislation that

would make several key reforms to current securities class action law to increase the accountability of and transparency for attorneys filing these lawsuits and the institutional plaintiffs they often represent. Specifically, it would require:

DISCLOSURE OF PAYMENTS BETWEEN PLAINTIFFS AND ATTORNEYS

Plaintiffs and attorneys would submit sworn certifications identifying any direct or indirect payments, promises of such payments, and other conflicts of interest between them, as well as all political contributions made to elected officials with authority or influence over the appointment of counsel in the case.

COMPETITIVE BIDDING FOR LEAD COUNSEL

Courts would include a competitive bidding process as one of the factors for the selection and retention of lead counsel for a class of plaintiffs.

STUDY TO DETERMINE APPROPRIATE ATTORNEYS FEES

GAO would commission a study of the last 5 years of fee awards in securities class action cases to determine the average hourly rate for lead counsel.

(release, Congressional Record statement). (cross-posted from Point of Law). More: hailed by Lisa Rickard of U.S. Chamber.

MSM finally notices: Milberg Weiss Continues Giving to Democrats

The New York Times finally gets around to exploring the ties between indicted Milberg Weiss, convicted Bill Lerach, and John Edwards and the Clintons (as well as the four Democrat representatives who parroted statements about Milberg’s supposed innocence). Walter is quoted. (Mike McIntre, “Accused Law Firm Continues Giving to Democrats”, Oct. 18). Regular readers of Overlawyered and Point of Law knew all this months ago. Useful comparison: MSM mentions of Enron ties to the Republican party compared to the much-more culpable Milberg Weiss much-more extensive ties to the Democrats—especially given the political favors done for the parasitical law firm that have allowed it to extract billions of dollars from investors.

Lerach was bundler for Edwards

As Walter noted, Lerach was a bundler for Edwards; his plea agreement included an agreement by the government not prosecute illegal campaign donations. Still, while Edwards is giving back Lerach’s personal donation, he’s holding on to the rest of the $78,000 that Bill Lerach raised for him, even as Edwards criticizes Hillary Clinton for holding a fund-raiser at Jones Day (whose attorneys have given more money to Obama) and taking money from lobbyists. Edwards hasn’t given back the $125,000 Geoffrey Fieger is indicted over raising for him either.

Oops!

Perhaps one reason trial lawyers so frequently accuse reformers of manufacturing popular outrage is because such astroturfing is a common trial-lawyer tactic: Peter Lattman uncovers eight identical letters to the editor written at the behest of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America (now going by the AAJ misnomer), all on behalf of Bill Lerach’s bogus Enron suit and criticizing the Bush administration officials who dare to stand up to the attempted extortion. Similar astroturfing regularly goes on in the comments section of the Lattman blog.

The Men Behind Edwards

Our editor, Walter Olson, has covered this territory before, but it’s worth revisiting as Kerry and Edwards make their way across key states in their bus caravan campaign. The report on the men behind John Edwards at EdwardsWatch makes for interesting reading.:

According to published reports, Edwards received $4.65 million from 3,220 lawyers, 29 paralegals, 17 legal assistants and 555 people with the same address as a personal injury attorney contributor (such as a spouse or close relative). The $4.65 million represents 63% of the total money raised by Edwards. Over one-third of those contributors gave the maximum $2,000..

His biggest contributors include patron, friend, campaign finance director, and asbestos-litigator extraordinaire Fred Baron, Silicon Valley litigator William Lerach (see also this), and the mysterious Stephen Bing.

He also has close ties to the law firms Girardi and Keese and Chitwood and Harley. And that’s just the tip of the special interest iceberg.

Other tidbits from the EdwardsWatch site include the discount air travel Edwards gets from his trial lawyer friends and the money he’s gotten from every state trial lawyers association in the country. Has there ever been a candidate so beholden to one special interest?

More: See also details at Rantburg and Edwards’ PAC donors from OpenSecrets.org.

Archived politics items, pre-July 2003

A tangled Mississippi web“, Jun. 16-17, 2003; “Mississippi investigation heats up“, May 7, 2003; “‘High court judge had use of condo owned by group that includes trial lawyer’“, Oct. 11-13, 2002; “Rumblings in Mississippi“, Oct. 9-10, 2002.

Sen. Edwards, 2003:More on Edwards’ law-firm donations“, May 8; “Edwards leads in fund raising“, Apr. 7-8; “‘Edwards doesn’t tell whole story’“, Mar. 4 (& letter to the editor, Mar. 31). 2002:‘Bush urges malpractice damage limits’“, Jul. 29; “‘Edwards’ fund raising a strong suit’“, Jul. 18 (& Sept. 3-4); “‘The trials of John Edwards’“, May 20-21; “What big teeth you have, Sen. Edwards“, May 1-2; “Trial lawyer smackdown!”, Feb. 20-21.  2001:Trial lawyer president?“, Mar. 9-11.  2000: The Veep that got away”, Aug. 15. 

Politicians’ ATM, 2003:‘Lawyers find gold mine in Phila. pension cases’“, Mar. 21-23; “ATLA’s hidden influence“, Jan. 21-22.  2002:Some election results“, Nov. 7; “Campaign roundup“, Nov. 4-5; “Pa. statehouse race: either way, Big Law wins“, Oct. 24; “Trial lawyers and politics: Michigan, Texas“, Oct. 9-10; “Last-minute friends in Texas politics“, Jul. 22-23; “Trial lawyer smackdown!” (Scruggs vs. Sen. Edwards), Feb. 20-21.  2001:Third Circuit cuts class action fees“, Sept. 25-26; “‘Trial lawyers derail Maryland small claims reform’” (Gov. Parris Glendening), July 25; “Villaraigosa and the litigation lobby” (Calif. assembly speaker), June 18; “Ness monster sighted in Narragansett Bay” (Rhode Island contributions by Ness Motley), June 7; “‘Nursing homes a gold mine for lawyers’” (Fla. lawyer said he probably gave $1 million to politicians last election cycle), Mar. 13-14; “‘Angelos made rare donation to GOP’” (Sen. Hatch’s campaign), Feb. 16-19; “Sen. Kennedy flies the trial-lawyer skies“, Jan. 8. 2000:O’Quinn a top Gore recount angel“, Dec. 15-17; “California’s lucrative smog refunds” (Lerach and Gov. Gray Davis), Dec. 5; “Friend to the famous” (Williams Bailey), Oct. 12; “‘Money to burn’” (Ness Motley), Oct. 6-9; “I know [you] will give $100K when the president vetoes tort reform, but we really need it now“, Sept. 14, 2000 (& more coverage: Sept. 15-17, Sept. 19); “Clinton’s trial-lawyer speech, cont’d“, Aug. 1; “Trial lawyers give $500,000 as legislation heads to Senate floor“, Jun. 14-15; “Texas tobacco fees” (recycling into party politics), May 22; “Gore among friendly crowd (again)“, April 12; “Al Gore among friendly crowd“, Mar. 30; “‘Trial Lawyers Pour Money Into Democrats’ Chests“, Mar. 24-26; “Bill Clinton among friendly crowd“, Feb. 14; “‘Tracking the trial lawyers’: a contributions database“, Jan. 21-23 (& Sept. 25-26).  1999: Hurry with those checks“, Dec. 1; “Give, and receive“, Sept. 25-26. 

Judicial elections, 2002:Some election results“, Nov. 7; “Campaign roundup“, Nov. 4-5; “Mudslinging in Ohio high court races“, Nov. 1-3 (& Nov. 4-5); “Ohio’s high-stakes court race“, Oct. 16-17; “Judicial selection, the Gotham way“, Oct. 15; “Rumblings in Mississippi“, Oct. 9-10. 2001:Don’t try rating our judges, or else” (Phila.), Oct. 24-25; “‘Philadelphia judicial elections still linked to cash’“, Oct. 12-14; “‘Reflections of a Survivor of State Judicial Election Warfare’” (Justice Robert Young, Mich.), July 3-4.  2000:More election results” (Mich., Ohio), Nov. 9; “Michigan high court races” (and earlier coverage Aug. 23-25, May 15, May 9, Jan. 31, 2000; Aug. 6, 1999); “Just had to donate” (Mississippi), Nov. 3-5; “Ohio high court races“, Oct. 30 (and earlier coverage Aug. 18, Aug. 6, 1999); “Campaign consultants for judges“, Aug. 28. 

Lobbying clout:Florida: ‘New clout of trial lawyers unnerves legislators’“, Mar. 20, 2003; “Let’s go to the tape” (ATLA lobbies Sen. Grams), Apr. 27, 2000; “House passes liability reforms“, Feb. 24, 2000; “Sixth most powerful” (Only sixth? Trial lawyers among Washington lobbies), Dec. 10, 1999; “Calif. state bar improperly spent dues on politicking“, Aug. 25, 1999. 

RN, 2003:‘Public deceit protects lawsuit abuse’“, Mar. 15-16; “ATLA’s hidden influence“, Jan. 21-22.  2002:Nader credibility watch” (calls fast-food restaurants “weapons of mass destruction”), May 24-26.  2001:Channeling Chomsky” (Trade Center attacks), Oct. 22 (& Oct. 1); “Trial lawyers (some of them) yank Nader funding“, Feb. 16-19.  2000:Election special: Nader non grata“, Nov. 10-12; “Coercive capitalism?“, Nov. 6; “Election roundup” (Nader “dashboard saint” to trial lawyers), Oct. 23; “RN’s illusions“, Sept. 22-24; “Bush-Lieberman vs. Gore-Nader?“, Aug. 14; “Nader cartoon of the year“, Jul. 31; “Nader, controversial at last“, Jun. 13. 

Friends in high places, cont’d” (Kansas governor), May 5, 2003. 

Politico’s law associate suspended over ‘runner’ use” (Louisiana), Feb. 14-16, 2003.

Trial lawyer’s purchase of Alabama governor’s house said to be ‘arm’s-length’“, Jan. 7-8, 2003.

Friends in high places, cont’d“, May 5, 2003; “Gotham’s trial lawyer-legislators“, Dec. 13-15, 2002; “Trial lawyers’ clout in Albany“, Oct. 4, 2000. 

Lawyers as candidates:To tame Madison County, pass the Class Action Fairness Act” (Ill. Senate seat), Jun. 12-15, 2003; “Some election results“, Nov. 7, 2002; “Campaign roundup“, Nov. 4-5; “‘Wealthy candidates give Democrats hope’“, Oct. 11-13, 2002; “Trial lawyer candidates“, Jul. 6, 2000 (& update Sept. 15-17: Ciresi defeated in primary bid); “Tort fortune fuels $3M primary win” (House race in W.V.), May 11, 2000 (& updates Oct. 23, Nov. 9 (lawyer defeated); “‘Lawyer’ label hurts at polls“, Dec. 8, 1999.

‘Morales’ $1 Million Tobacco Fee Under Fire’” (Texas), Jul. 15, 2002; “Texas tobacco fees: Cornyn’s battle“, Sept. 1-3 (& May 22, 2000, June 21, 2001, Aug. 29-30, 2001, Nov. 12, 2001).

Congress, 2003:To tame Madison County, pass the Class Action Fairness Act” (Ill. Senate seat), Jun. 12-15. 2002:Some election results“, Nov. 7; “Campaign roundup“, Nov. 4-5; “Durbin’s electability“, Apr. 25.  2001:‘Angelos made rare donation to GOP’” (Hatch), Feb. 16-19; “Philadelphia juries pummel doctors” (Sen. Arlen Specter), Jan. 24-25; “Sen. Kennedy flies the trial-lawyer skies“, Jan. 8. 2000:Litigation reform: what a Democratic Congress would mean” (comments of Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.)), Nov. 7; “Friend to the famous” (Williams Bailey), Oct. 12; “Owens Corning bankrupt” (House Judiciary Democrats), Oct. 6-9; “Veeps ATLA could love” (Durbin, D-Ill., and Cohen, R-Me.); “Trial lawyers give $500,000 as legislation heads to Senate floor“, June 14-15. 

Pres. & Sen. Clinton, 2001:Humiliation by litigators as turning point in Clinton affair“, May 24; “Push him into a bedroom, hand him a script” (Bill’s testimonial for tobacco lawyers), March 9-11. 2000:Friend to the famous” (Williams Bailey & HRC), Oct. 12; “I know [you] will give $100K when the president vetoes tort reform, but we really need it now“, Sept. 14, 2000 (& more coverage: Sept. 15-17, Sept. 19); “Clinton’s trial-lawyer speech, cont’d“, Aug. 1 (& “a footnote”, Aug. 2); “Clinton’s date with ATLA“, Jul. 31; “Bill Clinton among friendly crowd“, Feb. 14. 1999:Gun litigation: a helpful in-law” (Hugh Rodham surfaces as middleman in gun cases), Oct. 25; and see 2000 campaign.

State attorneys general, 2002:Some election results“, Nov. 7; “Campaign roundup“, Nov. 4-5; “Spitzer riding high” (N.Y.), Jun. 17-18; “Microsoft case and AG contributions“, Apr. 3-4; “Like father, like daughter?” (Lisa Madigan, Ill.), Jan. 7-8. 2001:Vast new surveillance powers for state AGs?” (“biggest showboaters in American politics”), Sept. 25-26. 2000:Ness Motley’s aide-Gregoire, July 17; “Rewarded with the bench” (Connecticut AG Blumenthal), June 12.  1999:Illinois tobacco fees“, Oct. 16-17; “My dear old tobacco-fee friends” (Kansas attorney general picks her old law firm for lucrative contract suing tobacco firms), Oct. 11; and see state tobacco fees.

Judicializing politics (cont’d)“, Jun. 19-20, 2002; “Unlikely critic of litigation” (Larry Klayman, Judicial Watch), Apr. 16-17, 2002.

‘”Little” done for firm, Rendell says’” (law firms provide no-show jobs for politicians), May 9, 2002.

Texas trial lawyers back GOP PAC“, Mar. 12, 2002.

Third Circuit cuts class action fees“, Sept. 25-26, 2001; “ABA thinks it can discourage pay-to-play“, Aug. 11, 1999.

Update: Alabama high court reverses convction in campaign-tactics case“, Jul. 7, 2001; “Update: Alabama campaign-tactics case“, Aug. 31, 2000; “‘Bama bucks“, Nov. 16, 1999; “Alabama story goes national“, Sept. 1; “Playing rough in Alabama“, Aug. 26, 1999.

Chapman, Broder, Kinsley on patients’ rights” (Kinsley: “pretty true” that Democratic Party in lawyers’ pocket), Jun. 28.

‘Lender hit with $71M verdict’” (Mississippi legislators), Jun. 15-17, 2001.

‘The last tycoon’” (Peter Angelos), April 12, 2001; “Czar of Annapolis, and buddy of Fidel“, Dec. 9, 1999; “Maryland’s kingmaker“, Oct. 19, 1999.

Trial lawyer heads Family Research Council“, Mar. 2-4, 2001.


Archived entries on the 2000 presidential race and recount can be found here.

Monitor vote fraud, get sued for ‘intimidation’“, Oct. 24, 2000.

New page on Overlawyered.com: trial lawyers and politics” (this page launched), Jul. 28-30, 2000.

Lenzner: ‘I think what we do is practice law’” (private investigator’s tactics), Jul. 28-30, 2000.

Trial lawyers’ political clout“, May 8, 2000. 

Progressives’ betrayal” (Jonathan Rauch), Apr. 4, 2000; “Trial lawyers on trial” (Reader’s Digest), Dec. 23-26, 1999; “The reign of the tort kings“, Oct. 26; “Arbitrary confiscation, from Pskov to Pascagoula” (Michael Barone), Jul. 24, 1999.

Pro-litigation measures on California ballot“, March 6, 2000 (update Mar. 8: measures defeated).

From the Spin-To-English Guide” (“access to justice” rhetoric), Oct. 25, 1999.