- Many of our readers liked the ruling, but someone didn’t: “Judge censured for ordering class-action lawyer to take pay in $125,000 worth of gift-cards” [BoingBoing, ABA Journal, Leonard/L.A. Times, Lowering the Bar]
- “NFL Concedes In Who Dat Battle” [Lowering the Bar, more, earlier; here’s a protest t-shirt, and more on those]
- Some plaintiff’s lawyers give their side of the story, disputing fraud allegations in Dole banana-worker pesticide cases [Bronstad, NLJ, earlier]
- “Google Blog Bundle — 42 criminal defense blogs” [Mark Bennett] And while you’re at it, why not take a moment right now to put Overlawyered in your RSS blog reader?
- Massachusetts hardball: state lawmaker says private law schools might be breaking antitrust laws in working to oppose state school proposed in his district [ABA Journal via Above the Law; public law school plan OK’d]
- Making the rounds: why medieval trial by ordeal may not have been so crazy after all [Peter Leeson, Boston Globe and full paper (PDF) via Volokh]
- “Rothstein E-Mails Reveal Role of Former Plaintiffs’ Lawyer” [Brian Baxter, AmLaw Litigation Daily]
- Obama: I tried to reach across aisle on medical liability reform but GOP wasn’t nibbling. Fact check please [Wood, PoL]
- Other motorist in fatal crash should have been detained after earlier traffic stop, says widow in suit against Kane County, Ill. sheriff’s office [Chicago Tribune]
- Now with flashing graphic: recap of Demi Moore skinny-thigh Photoshop nastygram flap [Xeni Jardin, BoingBoing, Kennerly]
- Blawg Review #245 is hosted by Charon QC;
- Expensive, unproven, and soon on your insurance bill? State lawmakers mull mandate for autism therapy coverage [KY3.com, Springfield, Missouri]
- “NBC airs segment on Ford settlement: Lawyers get $25 million, plaintiffs get a coupon” [NJLRA]
- “Drawing on emotion”: high-profile patent plaintiff’s lawyer Niro writes book on how to win trials [Legal Blog Watch]
- “Virginia Tech faces lawsuit over student’s suicide” [AP/WaPo]
- Maryland lawmaker’s Howard-Dean-style candor: “you take care of your base… It’s labor and trial lawyers that get Democrats in office” [Wood, ShopFloor]
Objectors, including the offices of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and 25 other AGs, say the coupons, free instructional DVD and other benefits to the class aren’t very valuable. Lawyers are slated to get $2.95 million. [Christopher Jensen, NYT “Wheels” blog; Center for Class Action Fairness (h/t Ted in comments)]
Before asking a federal judge to grant preliminary approval for a class action settlement with Ameritrade over alleged privacy breaches, make sure that your “client,” the class representative, isn’t going to tell the court he opposes the settlement. In re TD Ameritrade Account Holder Litigation, Case No. C 07-2852 VRW (N.D. Cal.) ($1.87M for the attorneys, coupons for the class.).
Among the many reactions to our item last week on a Los Angeles judge who ordered that class action counsel be paid in gift cards (having negotiated only a gift-card settlement for the class) was one from Politics Across the Pond: “This should happen a lot more often, which would make it happen a lot less often.”
The client class members were to receive only gift cards, not cash, in the settlement with Windsor Fashions, a clothing retailer, so Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Brett Klein thought it only fair to provide that Yorba Linda attorney Neil B. Fineman be paid his fee with “12,500 ten-dollar Windsor Fashions gift cards.” (Metropolitan News-Enterprise via California Civil Justice Blog) (& welcome Megan McArdle readers).
I never thought I’d be involved in a hot-coffee lawsuit, but Gamepolitics covers my intervention and objection to the Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas class action settlement, which I predicted before the suit was even filed.
(I corrected a mistake in the earlier post; I said I purchased GTA:SA for the Xbox 360 when, of course, I purchased it for the Xbox. Fortunately, my affidavit to the court was correctly phrased.)
- “Dog owners in Switzerland will have to pass a test to prove they can control and care for their animal, or risk losing it, the Swiss government said yesterday.” [Daily Telegraph]
- 72-year-old mom visits daughter’s Southport, Ct. home, falls down stairs searching for bathroom at night, sues daughter for lack of night light, law firm boasts of her $2.475 million win on its website [Casper & deToledo, scroll to “Jeremy C. Virgil”]
- Can’t possibly be right: “Every American enjoys a constitutional right to sue any other American in a West Virginia court” [W.V. Record]
- Video contest for best spoof personal injury attorney ads [Sick of Lawsuits; YouTube]
- Good profile of Kathleen Seidel, courageous blogger nemesis of autism/vaccine litigation [Concord Monitor*, Orac]. Plus: all three White House hopefuls now pander to anti-vaxers, Dems having matched McCain [Orac]
- One dollar for every defamed Chinese person amounts to a mighty big lawsuit demand against CNN anchor Jack Cafferty [NYDN link now dead; Independent (U.K.)]
- Hapless Ben Stein whipped up one side of the street [Salmon on financial regulation] and down the other [Derbyshire on creationism]
- If only Weimar Germany had Canada-style hate-speech laws to prevent the rise of — wait, you mean they did? [Steyn/Maclean’s] Plus: unlawful in Alberta to expose a person to contempt based on his “source of income” [Levant quoting sec. 3 (1)(b) of Human Rights Law]
- Hey, these coupon settlements are giving all of us class action lawyers a bad name [Leviant/The Complex Litigator]
- Because patent law is bad enough all by itself? D.C. Circuit tosses out FTC’s antitrust ruling against Rambus [GrokLaw; earlier]
- “The fell attorney prowls for prey” — who wrote that line, and about which city? [four years ago on Overlawyered]
*Okay, one flaw in the profile: If Prof. Irving Gottesman compares Seidel to Erin Brockovich he probably doesn’t know much about Brockovich.
- Remember those class actions against tech manufacturers for allegedly misstating the capacity of hard drives? Another one just settled, with buyers in for coupons and discounts, lawyers for $1.78 million [The Register, Cho v. Seagate Technologies settlement website]
- Watch what you say about lawyers, cont’d: Erie, Pa. paper thus far has fended off libel suit by Pittsburgh attorney over coverage of his run-ins with authorities over client treatment [Post-Gazette via Ambrogi]
- New at Point of Law: suicide risk of anticonvulsants?; Ohio AG Dann rebuked on foreclosure activism; simultaneous asbestosis and silicosis happens all the time at some law firms; Bush nominates an ATLA/AAJ member to a federal judgeship; and much more.
- Has a prominent investor with close ties to President Bush set up shop as an East Texas patent troll? [Troll Tracker, The Recorder]
- Embattled Tom Lakin and Lakin Law Firm, once high on the Madison County heap, fight to overturn $3.7 million legal-malpractice judgment [MC Record]
- Brent Coon suing former colleagues at Beaumont’s Provost Umphrey over division of billions in tobacco-fee booty [Texas Lawyer]
- UK judge criticizes “barking mad” human rights rules after prisoner refuses to leave his “comfy” jail cell to attend hearing [Times Online, Telegraph]
- “Six years after Enron, executives face greater risks—but investors are no safer.” [Gelinas/City Journal]
- United Farm Workers union threatens to sue over unflattering coverage [two years ago on Overlawyered]
The Washington Legal Foundation announces a new paper by Brian Anderson and Mel Schwing: “Two leading class action defense
attorneys utilize a federal court judge’s recent rejection of a settlement as a case study of how CAFA can deter defendants’ ability to ‘buy peace’ through settlements” in cases where the claim is so meritless that it is only worth a small amount of money for the defendant to settle:
While CAFA surely benefited class action defendants more than plaintiffs by transferring more cases to federal courts that offer more fairness and predictability in the adjudication of class actions, it is not a “free-pass” for targets of class action lawsuits.
The quid pro quo of giving class action defendants greater access to federal courts is that CAFA expects defendants to vigorously litigate, not settle via coupon settlements, frivolous class actions. The message of Figueroa is that class action defendants in federal court who try to escape all litigation risk by proposing low-value coupon benefits in exchange for global releases of claims (especially where competing lawyers and attorneys’ general are involved in the controversy) will have a difficult time persuading the federal courts to approve such settlements.