- Hoping to blame Pacific Gas & Electric power lines for Northern California fires, lawyers from coast to coast descend on wine country [Paul Payne, Santa Rosa Press-Democrat]
- Courts should police lawyers’ handling of class actions, including temptation to sweep additional members with doubtful claims into class so as to boost fees [Ilya Shapiro, Trevor Burrus, and Reilly Stephens on Cato certiorari amicus in case of Yang v. Wortman]
- “Seventh Circuit Curtails RICO Application to Third-Party Payor Off-Label Suits” [Stephen McConnell, D&DL] “Here Is Why The False Claims Act Is An ‘Awkward Vehicle’ In Pharma Cases” [Steven Boranian]
- Litigation finance moves into car crash business [Denise Johnson, Insurance Journal]
- Slain NYC sanitation worker’s “frequent advice to Sanitation colleagues about how to save for the future helped persuade the jury that Frosch had a viable career ahead of him in financial planning,” contributing large future earnings component to $41 million award [Stephen Rex Brown, New York Daily News]
- “Ninth Circuit Overturns State Licensing Scheme Forcing Businesses to Incorporate in California” [Cory Andrews, WLF]
- California initiative that would expand rent control draws on magical thinking [Steven Greenhut]
- “Because of the vast scope of current law, in modern America the authorities can pin a crime on the overwhelming majority of people, if they really want to.” [Ilya Somin]
- “82-year-old sues Red Lobster over getting drunk and breaking hip” [Fox News]
- “Chefs react angrily as federal appeals court upholds California ban on foie gras” [Maura Dolan, Jenn Harris, and Geoffrey Mohan, L.A. Times]
- NYC: “Anti-Boozy Brunch Lawsuit Is Bogus, State Says” [Stefanie Tuder, Eater New York, earlier]
- “Courts have consistently pointed to the unique nature of haunted houses to prevent those injured from recovering” [Randy Maniloff, USA Today]
New Cato Policy Analysis by Vanessa Brown Calder, here is the executive summary:
Local zoning and land-use regulations have increased substantially over the decades. These constraints on land development within cities and suburbs aim to achieve various safety, environmental, and aesthetic goals. But the regulations have also tended to reduce the supply of housing, including multifamily and low-income housing. With reduced supply, many U.S. cities suffer from housing affordability problems.
This study uses regression analysis to examine the link between housing prices and zoning and land-use controls. State and local governments across the country impose substantially different amounts of regulation on land development. The study uses a data set of court decisions on land use and zoning that captures the growth in regulation over time and the large variability between the states. The statistical results show that rising land-use regulation is associated with rising real average home prices in 44 states and that rising zoning regulation is associated with rising real average home prices in 36 states. In general, the states that have increased the amount of rules and restrictions on land use the most have higher housing prices.
The federal government spent almost $200 billion to subsidize renting and buying homes in 2015. These subsidies treat a symptom of the underlying problem. But the results of this study indicate that state and local governments can tackle housing affordability problems directly by overhauling their development rules. For example, housing is much more expensive in the Northeast than in the Southeast, and that difference is partly explained by more regulation in the former region. Interestingly, the data show that relatively more federal housing aid flows to states with more restrictive zoning and land-use rules, perhaps because those states have higher housing costs. Federal aid thus creates a disincentive for the states to solve their own housing affordability problems by reducing regulation.
Related: finding common ground between Cato and the Urban Institute on land use regulation [Vanessa Brown Calder and Rolf Pendall; Calder; James Rogers] “California Tries To Fix Housing Affordability Crisis By Making Housing More Expensive” [Christian Britschgi, Reason]
“California state university researchers are banned from using funds to travel to Texas to study Harvey’s aftermath.” — Joshua McCabe on Twitter. The guidelines from California Attorney General Xavier Becerra do cite the legislature’s allowance of a number of narrow exceptions including travel that is “required…for the protection of public health, welfare, or safety, as determined by the affected agency.” The cited project, however, might not make it past that tough standard, given that it is possible in principle to wait and study flood aftermaths in some other place that (unlike Texas) is not under legislated California sanctions.
All of which should remind us that boycotts of states by other states 1) operate like internal trade barriers; 2) do not do much for national unity. See earlier posts from April 2015 (would Constitution provide any remedy if states closed state university systems to residents of “bad” states?); April 2016 (logic of lifting sanctions against Cuba extends to sanctions against Texas and North Carolina).
- Bill advancing in California legislature would authorize jail for nursing home staff who “willfully and repeatedly fail to use a resident’s preferred name or pronouns” [Eugene Volokh, SB 219]
- “The FDA cannot get out of its own way on the issue of off-label communications.” [Stephen McConnell, Drug and Device Law Blog first and second posts]
- Public health covets territory of other studies and disciplines, part CLXXII [British Medical Journal on American College of Physicians’ resolution declaring “hate crimes” and “legislation with discriminatory intent” to be public health issues]
- Podcast on battle between Vascular Solutions and the FDA [Federalist Society with Howard Root and Devon Westhill]
- Policy U-turns needed: “Deregulation and Market Forces Can Lower Pharmaceutical Prices” [Marc Joffe, Reason]
- Florida Supreme Court ignored market history in striking down noneconomic damages limits in medical malpractice awards [Robert E. White, Jr., Insurance Journal and Andrew S. Bolin, WLF on North Broward Hospital District, et al v. Kalitan]
- Elected-official governance of how state university law centers sue local governments = “interference”? [J. Clara Chan, Chronicle of Higher Education; Jane Stancill, News and Observer; Ana Irizarry, UNC Daily Tarheel; James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal, Jesse Saffron, Alex Contarino, Frank Pray]
- Zen Magnets update: “How One Man’s Quest To Save His Magnets Became A Massive Regulatory Battle” [Jeremy Kutner, Huffington Post, earlier]
- “The solar eclipse is no longer mysterious, supernatural, foreboding, or ominous.” Or cause to delay a trial [court order in U.S. v. Bishop, M.D. Fla.]
- Trump vs. business: “His recurring message is that any executive who doesn’t do as Trump wishes can expect retribution from the most powerful man on earth.” [Steve Chapman, Chicago Tribune/syndicated]
- Wales: “Mute and autistic girl was seized from family and locked up after false abuse claims” [Lucy Johnston, Express] On “facilitated communication” and the like, see earlier posts here and here;
- California bill would extend pre-litigation subpoena power, a powerful tool in inflicting cost and loss of privacy on targets, from current holders (state AG, county DAs) to city attorneys in San Francisco, L.A., San Diego, and San Jose [Civil Justice Association of California Bulletin; Amanda Robert, Legal NewsLine]
- Welcome news: Labor Secretary Alex Acosta urges states to fix occupational licensing [Eric Boehm, Reason] Fresh thinking on the antitrust angle in a bill from Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) [Ilya Shapiro, Cato] “Occupational licensing should not be used to keep honest Americans out of work” [Clark Neily, The Hill] Video of Heritage panel on the subject with Maureen Ohlhausen of the FTC, Alex Tabarrok, Paul Larkin, and Dexter Price [Marginal Revolution]
- “The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has allowed an employee to pursue a disability discrimination claim based on the use of medical marijuana.” [Jon Hyman]
- That’s how we’ll solve difficult issues of statutory interpretation. We’ll call names [Richard Thompson Ford, Take Care, on expansion of Title VII interpretation to sexual orientation, earlier here, here, etc.] More: Scott Greenfield;
- If not for wise lawmakers like those in California, who would look out for our privacy? [Steven Greenhut on proposal to give unions private workers’ phone numbers and addresses]
- D.C. politicians are one big reason residents east of Anacostia River have poor grocery options [Diana Furchtgott-Roth; minimum wage]
- Uniform, predictable test needed for who is an “employee” and “employer” [Glenn Lammi, WLF, first and second posts]
- California law requires cities, counties to generate elaborate plans for new housing. No need to grant permits though [Liam Dillon, L.A. Times]
- Strenuous campaigns to block fossil fuel infrastructure have helped saddle Rhode Island with some of the highest electric rates in the land [Douglas Gablinske, Providence Journal]
- Ronald Bailey reviews Getting Risk Right: Understanding the Science of Elusive Health Risks, by Geoffrey Kabat [Reason last winter]
- Update: judge strikes down Montgomery County, Md. ban on common lawn pesticides [my Free State Notes post]
- Short video with Prof. Eric Claeys (George Mason/Scalia) on Penn Central v. City of New York (1978), the leading case in regulatory takings law [Federalist Society]
- Scientist leading WHO review of Roundup chemical knew of but omitted recent study finding no cancer risk; California went ahead and listed glyphosate anyway [Reuters Investigates, Karl Plume/Reuters on California action, Kiera Butler/Mother Jones]
“The lawsuit devastated him,” Moji Saniefar said. “He didn’t want to operate it anymore.”
What’s worse, she said, is that Zlfred’s ended up closing and her father died before a federal judge in March this year dismissed the ADA lawsuit.
“He never got to know that he won the case,” Saniefar said.
Fatemeh and Gholamreza “Reza” Saniefar “owned Zlfred’s restaurant in central Fresno for nearly 40 years. The restaurant closed in March 2015 after it was sued for ADA violations.” Now their daughter is suing two law firms involved in the action, which she alleges was part of a pattern of mass-produced complaints intended to extract money under the Americans with Disabilities Act and California law. [Fresno Bee]
- Entrepreneurs launch plaintiff’s insurance to cover costs of pursuing litigation, not quite same thing as the “legal expense insurance” commonly found in loser-pays jurisdictions [ABA Journal]
- More on the class action procedure case Microsoft v. Baker, from the just-ended Supreme Court term [Federalist Society podcast with Ted Frank, earlier]
- Why Bristol-Myers Squibb, the Supreme Court case on state court jurisdiction, “is one of the most important mass tort/product liability decisions ever” [James Beck/Drug & Device Law, earlier]
- Sandy Hook massacre: “Newtown And Board Of Education Seek Dismissal Of Wrongful Death Lawsuit” [AP/CBS Connecticut]
- Pennsylvania: “Evidence-Manipulation Claims Dog Asbestos Lawyer” [Lowell Neumann Nickey, Courthouse News] “California’s Latest Litigation Invitation: A Duty to Protect Against ‘Take-Home’ Exposure” [Curt Cutting, WLF]
- It’s almost as if trial lawyers were in the driver’s seat of these ostensibly public actions: Tennessee counties’ opioids suit also seeks to strike down the state’s tort reform law [Jamie Satterfield, Knoxville News-Sentinel]