- Electric-car maker Tesla doesn’t get many kind words from free market types, but here’s one [Coyote] More: North Carolina auto dealer lobby strikes back [News & Observer]
- One lawyer’s selection of the worst lawyer billboards, though they’re far from the worst we’ve seen [John M. Phillips]
- House hearings on litigation abuse and on litigation and international competitiveness [Judiciary, more, Point of Law]
- Ninth Circuit cites conflict of interest, throws out credit reporting class settlement [Trial Insider; Daniel Fisher]
- Private pensions, market-based water rates and more: “Australian travel notes from a policy wonk” [Alex Tabarrok]
- “Use elevators properly. Riding outside of cars can be dangerous and deadly” [Scouting NY, seen in Bronx apartment building]
- “It’s long been my view that blawgs, law blogs, are the greatest peer reviewed content ever created.” [Greenfield]
Could they have been introduced successfully under today’s product liability law? [Ted at PoL]
Kevin at Lowering the Bar spots a San Francisco lawsuit premised on the idea that a stationary escalator needed to have a sign posted with a warning to that effect.
- Hold on to your hat: Litigation Lobby ally and Grade A business-basher David Michaels — who founded a project purportedly advancing the cause of scientific integrity with money furnished by, of all groups, the silicone breast implant bar — named to head OSHA [Wood/PoL; more on SKAPP]
- City of Clearwater, Florida bans playing catch on beach or in park [Popehat]
- In wake of Kindle “1984” episode, watch for lawyers to start demanding remote line-item deletion of allegedly defamatory or infringing matter from books after publication [Moshirnia, Citizen Media Law]
- Amicus brief exposes more free-speech problems with that federal law banning depictions of animal cruelty [Volokh, earlier]
- “Crocs settles safety suits over escalator injuries” [Matthew Heller, OnPoint News, earlier]
- Was he planning to drive somewhere? MADD official objects to Obama’s appearing on TV drinking a beer [Sullum, Reason “Hit and Run”]
- Air crash lawsuit charges Oklahoma City didn’t do enough to keep Wiley Post Airport free of birds [NewsOK.com/The Oklahoman]
- Many dubious things in health care bill, but “mandatory end-of-life care discussions” not among them [C.B. Brown, Politico]
- Bad move for GOP to call disappointed litigant as witness at Sotomayor hearing [Taranto via Barnett] Nominee’s disavowal of Legal Realism and identitarian/viewpoint-based judging should be seen as a victory for legal conservatism [Copland at PoL, related Examiner and NRO “Bench Memos”; Adler/WaPo; coverage in NYT] Why do Senators speechify instead of asking questions? “Why does the rain fall from up above?” [Althouse]
- “Illinois Law Dean Announces New Admission Policy in Wake of Scandal” [NLJ; earlier] “U of I Law School Got Scholarship Cash for Clout Admissions” [ABA Journal]
- Weird warning sign in Swedish elevator [BoingBoing; commenters there disagree as to whether the elevator in question is of an old continuous-motion type called a Paternoster which has fallen out of use in part because of its high accident risk, or an elevator of more conventional design but lacking an inner door]
- “Gambler Appeals; Wants More of His Money Back From Casino” [South Korea; Lowering the Bar]
- The price of one Ohio Congresswoman’s vote on Waxman-Markey [Washington Times via Coyote, who has a followup]
- “Want to live like tort king Melvin Belli?” [real estate listing in Pacific Heights; WSJ Law Blog]
- Fierce moral urgency yada yada: “Put nothing in writing, ever” advised Carol Browner on CAFE regs [Mark Tapscott, D.C. Examiner] Alex Beam zings Obama on signing statements [Boston Globe]
- Constitution lists only three federal crimes: treason, piracy, and counterfeiting. How’d we get to 4,500 today? [Ryan Young, CEI “Open Market”]
Nicholas White, trying to leave the McGraw-Hill Building in New York, was trapped in an elevator for 42 hours over a weekend. We’ll agree that under the principle of res ipsa loquitur, there’s liability, and even non-economic damages, to be had: there’s a duty not to let people get trapped in your elevators, to respond to an elevator alarm, and to notice the security cameras broadcasting video of the trapped individual. But, judging by the April 21 New Yorker coverage, it’s hard not to think White’s attorney’s litigation strategy hurt White far worse than his elevator experience:
He got a lawyer, and came to believe that returning to work might signal a degree of mental fitness detrimental to litigation. Instead, he spent eight weeks in Anguilla. Eventually, Business Week had to let him go. The lawsuit he filed, for twenty-five million dollars, against the building’s management and the elevator-maintenance company, took four years. They settled for an amount that White is not allowed to disclose, but he will not contest that it was a low number, hardly six figures. He never learned why the elevator stopped; there was talk of a power dip, but nothing definite. Meanwhile, White no longer had his job, which he’d held for fifteen years, and lost all contact with his former colleagues. He lost his apartment, spent all his money, and searched, mostly in vain, for paying work. He is currently unemployed.
Looking back on the experience now, with a peculiarly melancholic kind of bewilderment, he recognizes that he walked onto an elevator one night, with his life in one kind of shape, and emerged from it with his life in another. Still, he now sees that it wasn’t so much the elevator that changed him as his reaction to it. He has come to terms with the trauma of the experience but not with his decision to pursue a lawsuit instead of returning to work. If anything, it prolonged the entrapment. He won’t blame the elevator.
NB also that White never would’ve gotten in the elevator if not for anti-smoking laws requiring him to leave the building to have a cigarette, not that I’m suggesting anyone sue the city or the tobacco companies over that remote causation.
A jury, however, sent away U.S. District Judge George P. Schiavelli away with nothing at all, ruling that the firm responsible for maintaining the escalators at the Encino Shopping Center was not to blame for the injuries the judge suffered in a 2005 mishap. After the verdict the plaintiff’s lawyer in the case, Browne Greene, charged the jury with partiality: “The bias against judges in today’s world is just palpable,” he said. (Robert J. Lopez, “Encino judge gets no award in escalator fall”, Los Angeles Times, Feb. 26; “Jury Unanimously Rejects Judge’s $21 Million Personal Injury Suit”, PRNewswire/Fox Business, from defense firm Murchison & Cumming, Feb. 25; Greene’s press release)(via Perlmutter/Schuelke). More on escalator suits at this link.
The comfortable footwear can apparently lead to “shoe entrapment” accidents at the tops and bottoms of escalators, attracting lawyers’ interest. (Southern California Injury Law Blog, Oct. 1)(via Turkewitz). More: Earlier escalator suits on Overlawyered (h/t Ted) include February 2005, first and second posts.