For being the first Overlawyered blogger to have a post cited in a federal case. In Taylor v. XM Satellite Radio, Inc., 533 F.Supp.2d 1151 (N.D. Ala. 2007), XM argued that the class action demanding a refund for a 24-hour outage was moot because they offered refunds well before the class certification motion was made. Plaintiffs disputed this, arguing they did not know about the refund offer until after they moved for class certification. One questions the relevance of the time of the certification motion (and, indeed, the court found this factual claim irrelevant) given that the refund offer was to the entire class rather than just to the named plaintiffs, but one reason that the court expressed skepticism at the attorneys’ claims was the existence of an Overlawyered post by David discussing the refunds and the ludicrousness of the suit. Case dismissed for mootness, though the court also noted that XM had no contractual obligation to provide continuous uninterrupted service.
I’m happy to announce that David Nieporent has kindly agreed to stay on as a regular contributor to Overlawyered. David’s writing also appears at his site Jumping to Conclusions as well as at his new venture with Ron Coleman, Likelihood of Success. His guest posts here in recent weeks have definitely struck a chord among readers. Congratulate us, and him!
David Nieporent has completed the customary week in the guest-blogger’s chair but we’ve invited him to stay on and do some more posting, and he’s generously agreed to give it a try. Congratulate us/him…
With the great work David Nieporent has been doing guest-blogging, I rushed back early before I got Wally Pipped.
An op-ed in the Arab American News by Ihsan Alkhatib suggests that banks are closing accounts with people who do business with Saudis; the “know your customer” requirements and fear of liability for being associated with terrorists make the costs of keeping those accounts open prohibitive. Alkhatib cites my Wall Street Journal op-ed on the subject. (“Banks, civil rights groups and community members should lobby together for change in terror laws”, Mar. 3).
NB Alkhatib’s conclusion “In protecting the banks from frivolous lawsuits, we preserve the civil rights of Arab Americans and American Muslims.” Alkhatib is plainly using “frivolous” in the common sense of “silly or socially counterproductive,” further evidence of my contention that litigation lobby defenders confuse the subject when they pretend that laypeople are using the term “frivolous lawsuits” in the narrow technical legal sense, since the lawsuits in question are not “frivolous” in that narrow technical legal sense because of the willingness of judges to treat them seriously.
“…Never ever ever ever ever mention that the job of a lower judge is to apply the decisions of higher courts. Treat his opinions as if they represented his personal views of what the law should be.” David Nieporent’s (Jumping to Conclusions) commentary on judicial nomination fights is reprinted at Point of Law.
Overlawyered.com explores an American legal system that too often turns litigation into a weapon against guilty and innocent alike, erodes individual responsibility, rewards sharp practice, enriches its participants at the public’s expense, and resists even modest efforts at reform and accountability.
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Overlawyered is written by Walter Olson, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of several books about the U.S. litigation system, Ted Frank, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute who directs its Liability Project (and formerly a practicing lawyer with the large law firm O’Melveny & Myers), and David Nieporent, a practicing lawyer in New Jersey. The site is not affiliated with any of these organizations and reflects only its authors’ views.
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A (somewhat out-of-date) discussion of the site’s format, which may be useful for visitors interested in searching and linking our archives, is here.
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The following is a version [updated to December 2006] of a statement explaining the site posted in its early days:
This site got its start in July 1999 after I decided that the Web had gone for too long without an attempt to collect, annotate and present in a (somewhat) systematic way the growing quantity of online material documenting the need for reform of the American civil justice system. For some time previously I’d built up a personal website housing a large collection of my own writings on litigation and other issues. At the same time, for my own research needs, I was building an ever-growing library of pointers to links and resources, authors and news sources on the state of the justice system. Why not put that library online to help others interested in the same issues?
The growing traffic on the site since then has made it evident that there is a wide audience in America and around the world for the site’s mix of serious and entertaining commentary on the frequently overreaching consequences of American law. For a sampling of the many nice things said about us, check our accolades page.
Overlawyered.com is not published by, and should not be seen as reflecting the views of, any wider organization (including the Manhattan Institute and American Enterprise Institute, with which I and Ted are respectively affiliated). The site’s modest hosting and operating expenses come out of my own pocket, the outflow occasionally stanched by the generosity of readers who shop at our Amazon bookstore or donate through the Amazon Honor System or, more recently, by ad revenue.
— Walter Olson, editor