As any economist would tell you, if you lower the price of something, you get more demand for it. If it becomes completely costless to bring suit, we will see many more meritless suits.
That’s no small problem in New York, where courts are already overloaded.
If a dispute over shelter entitles a cantankerous tenant to a free attorney on the government’s dime, it will be much easier for people to fight evictions when they violate a lease in ways that threaten other tenants or intentionally refuse to pay rent. Landlords, in turn, will have to hire their own attorneys and raise rents and costs for their honest tenants.
Not unrelated: U.S. is granting asylum requests far more often than formerly. Why might that be? [Ted’s answer]
- Pennsylvania attorney general subpoenas Twitter in search of critics’ identities, then backs down [Volokh and more, Levy/CL&P, Romenesko, Wired “Threat Level”]
- Letting kids have unsupervised time in NYC park not actually against the law [Free-Range Kids on “Take Your Kids to the Park, and Leave Them There Day”] Related from Lenore Skenazy: Spiked Online and Salon, “The War on Children’s Playgrounds”
- Uh-oh: New York chief judge Jonathan Lippman endorses massive new Civil Gideon legal-aid entitlement [ABA Journal, and the NYT cheers]
- “Novartis Hit With $250 Million in Punitives in Gender Bias Case” [NYLJ, WSJ Law Blog (blaming bad defense trial strategy) and more, ABA Journal, Hyman]
- Med-mal law has done very well for two attorney brothers in Georgia [Atlanta Journal-Constitution via Pero]
- Kagan’s Oxford thesis revealed: judges shouldn’t make it up as they go along in quest of social justice. Sensation ensues! [WSJ Law Blog, related on political-branch deference] And were the SG’s judicial-restraint principles activated by Graham v. Florida? [Stuart Taylor, Jr., National Journal]
- Federal Elections Commission as net regulator: “How the DISCLOSE Act will restrict free speech” [Brad Smith/Jeff Patch, Reason]
- “Law Professor Confesses ‘I’m a Criminal’” [Tim Lynch, Cato]
- Argentina: “Parts of Anti-Plagiarism Bill Lifted from Wikipedia” [Lowering the Bar, TechDirt]
- U.K.: Recruitment firm told ad for “reliable workers” would discriminate against the unreliable [Telegraph]
- “Against Civil Gideon (and for Pro Se Court Reform)” [Benjamin Barton (Tennessee), SSRN, via Legal Ethics Forum]
- Sewn-in “Made in USA” suit-label figures in tell-all book by John Edwards aide [WSJ “Washington Wire”, Hotline On Call] Did Edwards, great denouncer of M.D.s’ errors, propose getting a doc to fake DNA results? [Charles Hurt/N.Y. Post]
- Lucky cops! There just happened to be $672K in the car they stopped and they plan to keep it [Freeland] “The Forfeiture Racket: Police and prosecutors won’t give up their license to steal” [Radley Balko, Reason]
- Family and Medical Leave Act doesn’t cover faith-healing trips that include a vacation aspect [Michael Maslanka, Texas Lawyer]
- “Dangerism” — how society constructs what’s supposedly dangerous for kids [Free-Range Kids]
- This is one of those links buried deep in a roundup that hardly any readers will actually get around to clicking [Chris Clarke]
- Update: Landlord’s suit over critical Twitter post dismissed [Cit Media Law, AP/Chicago Tribune, Business Insider (court sides with defense argument that so much of it’s just “pointless babble”); earlier here and here]
- And: Did the press jump the gun with its report that it’s now lawful to import haggis into the U.S.? A letter to Andrew Sullivan says nothing has been decided yet, though the ban seems to be under review.
- Four California lawyers accused in what prosecutors say is giant insurance fraud ring employing staged or “paper” car wrecks, Mark Geragos is defending [Metropolitan News-Enterprise, Glendale News-Press via ABA Journal]
- “Civil Gideon law could overwhelm civil courts”, Ted is interviewed again [Legal NewsLine, earlier]
- “Is that a popularly-elected state judge in your pocket?” [What About Clients?, earlier]
- Audit Integrity, sued by Hertz over financial risk assessment, takes case to SEC [Felix Salmon, earlier]
- OSHA nominee David Michaels, SKAPP and the right to bear arms, continued [David Kopel/America’s First Freedom, earlier and more]
- NJ case raises knotty questions of press liability for reporting allegations in lawsuits [WSJ Law Blog]
- Washtenaw Jail Diary, which made splash on Twitter earlier this year, now reprinting at Ann Arbor Chronicle (earlier);
- “Not every country bubblewraps its kids” [Free-Range Kids on Germany] Background checks for senior-center pen pals and more school overprotectiveness [same]
TV’s biggest lawyer-advertiser is Boston’s James Sokolove, whose ad budget of $20 million/year makes him a widely recognized figure (and much parodized on YouTube). He’s reportedly offered $1,500 apiece for mesothelioma leads, seen his name in an episode of “The Sopranos”, and even advertised for patent plaintiffs. Turns out he hasn’t seen the inside of a courtroom in nearly thirty years, instead farming out his callers to others. [Boston mag via Ambrogi] “The message behind his ads, he says, is simple: Injured? Free money.”
Now his Sokolove Charitable Fund is giving him a shot at new respectability with help from no less august an institution than Stanford Law School (thank you, Prof. Deborah Rhode), It’s bankrolling something called the Roadmap to Justice Project, which will push the much-criticized-in-this-space “Civil Gideon” idea (a newly invented Constitutional entitlement to taxpayer coverage of lawyers’ fees in civil lawsuits).
Well, I have to be encouraged that, when confronted with my argument against civil Gideon, this was the best the Drum Major Institute could come up with to respond (it doesn’t quite rise to the level of a rebuttal). Compare and contrast the arguments I actually made–and the reasoning given for my conclusions–with the characterizations in the DMI report, and then ask yourself why one of organizations leading the fight for civil Gideon doesn’t dare engage those arguments.
[The poor] will trade higher rents and higher taxes for the right to legal services that often will not help them.. . . [P]arties with meritorious cases will find it harder to signal to overwhelmed judges that their cases are distinguishable from the vast majority of meritless cases with appointed counsel that the courts will see every day.
Larry Ribstein approves: “The ABA resolution should be seen as what it is: a justification for rent-seeking by the organized bar.”