Posts Tagged ‘Detroit’

September 27 roundup

“Local Governments and Occupational Licensing Absurdity”

“The proliferation of state licensing requirements is already bad enough. There’s no need for cities to pile their own mandates on.” Detroit, which requires licenses for at least 60 occupations, is among the worst offenders. [C. Jarrett Dieterle, Governing]

Also in Michigan: “Shampooing Hair And Piloting Commercial Airliners Require Same Number Of Training Hours In Michigan” [Michigan Capitol Confidential]

“Detroit just banned Airbnb without anyone knowing it”

Infuriating: Detroit says it will take a pause for legal review before enforcing a new zoning ordinance that would ban homeowners through much of the city from accepting AirBnB rentals. The ordinance would interpret rentals as home-based businesses, which are disallowed in residential zones, and on its face appears to prohibit taking in even friends or relatives to share quarters if the person pays rent. Following a public outcry, the city council put out word that it does not intend to ban AirBnB and will amend the ordinance if necessary to avoid that. [Tom Perkins/Metro Times, Robin Runyan, Curbed Detroit, Deadline Detroit]

Detroit Free Press investigates crash-claim abuse

“Detroit drivers face the highest average auto insurance rates in the country, often more than $3,000 a year for a single vehicle,” while residents of Michigan as a whole pay the third highest rates of any state. A Detroit Free Press investigation by J.C. Reindl and others “finds that runaway medical bills, disability benefits payouts and lawsuits under Michigan’s one-of-a-kind, no-fault insurance system play a key role in driving up costs.” One key difference: of the twelve states that mandate no-fault insurance, only Michigan provides for unlimited lifetime benefits.

Some findings from the series:

* “Ambulance chasing” and solicitation thrive notwithstanding laws intended to curb those practices. Despite privacy rules governing police reports and hospital admissions, for example, those involved in crashes are often solicited within hours, then signed up with law firms that later disavow any knowledge of solicitation. And how did an accident treatment clinic in suburban Detroit come to be owned by a California and Florida plastic surgeon noted for appearing on “The Real Housewives of Orange County” who seldom visited?

* While crashes in Wayne County (Detroit) declined from 72,227 to 50,548 between 2003 and 2015, “first-party” lawsuits — against one’s own insurance company for no-fault benefits — increased from 1,699 to 6,327 and negligence suits against other drivers from 2,527 to 3,435. Many “first-party” claims, of course, are paid without anyone filing suit, which is how no-fault law contemplated would be normal practice;

* Auto insurers have launched racketeering lawsuits aimed at proving forms of collusive fraud. Unlike many states, Michigan has no official watchdog charged primarily with combating auto claims fraud.

* “Defenders of the current system include the powerful Coalition Protecting Auto No-Fault, made up of trial lawyers, medical clinics, disability advocates and, until recently, the state’s hospital lobby.”

* Other states’ approaches to containing no-fault costs.

Shoveling snow off Detroit sidewalks for pay? Get a license

“Detroit licenses about 60 occupations, imposing extra fees and requirements on top of existing Michigan licenses for about half of these occupations. The other half of the occupations that Detroit licenses are not licensed by the state at all.” Window washers (who must pay $72 per year), sidewalk shovelers, dry cleaners, and furniture movers are all licensed. Because Detroit piles such hefty fees and additional regulations on plumbers beyond those of Michigan, “there are only 58 licensed plumbers in the whole city.” The system squeezes workers for cash, excludes newcomers, and harms consumers. But it’s not inevitable: “Last year, Wisconsin passed a bill that stopped local governments from creating new occupational licenses or levying additional fees.” [Jared Meyer on Jarrett Skorup Mackinac Center study]

Liability roundup

Public employment roundup

  • NYPD retiree “shared his happiness at scoring the disability pension, as well as his achievements running marathons” [New York Daily News]
  • Scott Greenfield on public sector unionism and Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association [Simple Justice, earlier] Pending Illinois case raises issues parallel to Friedrichs [Cato podcast with lead plaintiff Mark Janus and attorney Jacob Huebert]
  • San Diego voters tried to address public employee pension crisis, now state panel says doing things by ballot initiative violates obligation to bargain with unions [Scott Shackford, Reason]
  • “Staten Island Ferry deckhand who has already pocketed $600K in job related injuries sues city for $45M” [New York Daily News]
  • Detroit “firefighters were paid for 32-hour days….Numerous top-level fire officials signed off on the overtime.” [Motor City Muckraker]
  • “Without public worker unions, who would lobby against making it a crime to strike a pedestrian with right of way?” [Josh Barro on NYC controversy]
  • “Not Even a Criminal Referral to the Dept. of Justice Can Get You Fired From the VA” [Amanda Winkler, Reason]

June 24 roundup

  • Judge lifts gag order against Reason magazine in commenter subpoena case, and U.S. Attorney’s Office for Manhattan is shown to have behaved even more outrageously than had been thought [Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch, Ken White/Popehat (magistrate’s approval of gag order looks an awful lot like rubber stamp; AUSA directly contacted represented party), Paul Alan Levy (when bloggers push back, gag orders tend to get lifted), Matt Welch again with coverage roundup]
  • Maryland authorities clear “free range” Meitiv family of all remaining charges in kids-walking-alone neglect case [Donna St. George, Washington Post]
  • Disgraced politico Monica Conyers sues McDonald’s over cut finger [Detroit News]
  • American Law Institute considers redefining tort of “battery” to protect the “unusually sensitive”, Prof. Ronald Rotunda on problems with that [W$J]
  • “Did you ever falsely represent yourself as an attorney?” asks the lawyer to her client in front of reporter [Eric Turkewitz]
  • Feds endorse alcohol-sniff interlock as new-car option, critics say eventual goal is to force it into all cars, assuming rise of self-driving cars doesn’t moot the issue first [Jon Schmitz/Tribune News Service]
  • Echoes of CPSIA: regulatory danger is back for smaller soap and cosmetic makers as big companies, safety groups combine to push Personal Care Products Safety Act [Handmade Cosmetic Alliance, Elizabeth Scalia, Ted Balaker, Reason TV and followup (Sen. Dianne Feinstein objects to “nanny of month” designation, points to threshold exemptions for smaller businesses), earlier on predecessor bills described as “CPSIA for cosmetics”, National Law Review (panic over recent NYT nail salon expose might contribute to momentum)]