Posts Tagged ‘Eliot Spitzer’

Great Tobacco Robbery developments

In March Moody’s lowered its rating of New York City’s tobacco settlement bonds (which securitize the future flow of booty to the city from the great 1998 robbery) in light of the Second Circuit’s highly significant decision in Freedom Holdings v. Spitzer (see Jan. 12) exposing the settlement to antitrust challenge (Reuters/Forbes, Mar. 23). The Second Circuit itself denied a petition for rehearing (opinion Mar. 25 in PDF format). The General Accounting Office published a report confirming that states are spending most of the proceeds on their general budgets rather than on anything related to the weed or its effects (March report in PDF format, via the University of Tennessee’s page on tobacco litigation, which has a number of useful resources), which in turn touched off a number of caustic commentaries (“States Spend Mega-Billion Tobacco Settlement On Budget Shortfalls”, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Mar. 23; Christine Hall, “States Spend Tobacco Settlement on Budget Shortfalls”, Heartland Institute, May 1; see Nancy Zuckerbrod, “States rely on tobacco settlement to fix budgets”, AP/Louisville Courier-Journal, Mar. 23). Also check out the debate between CEI’s Sam Kazman and ever-blustering Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal on CNNfN (Mar. 18). Vice Squad (Mar. 27) has further updates on the efforts of state governments to curtail small and independent cigarette producers by way of protecting the anticompetitive arrangements established in the 1998 settlement (see Feb. 28). And the Clinton-initiated federal racketeering lawsuit against the tobacco industry, the continued prosecution of which must surely count as among the low points of the Bush Administration’s domestic record, is apparently headed toward trial in September or thereabouts (“Federal suit against tobacco moves toward trial”, AP/Helena Independent Record, Mar. 22).

Spitzer vs. the SEC

Mike O’Sullivan at Corp Law Blog says he’s not so sure it’s a bad thing for the SEC to have a reputation as “legalistic” rather than creative in its approach to fighting market misconduct: “The SEC has a great deal of authority over the U.S. capital markets. If the SEC does not act within the four corners of the law, the SEC would inject a great deal of uncertainty into the capital markets. …

“This is one of the reasons why I think it’s inappropriate to compare the SEC to Eliot Spitzer’s operation. Spitzer feels free to use New York’s Martin Act to attack anything that strikes him as abusive, regardless of whether it’s clearly illegal. The SEC has in its arsenal nothing as open-ended as the Martin Act, and that’s a good thing for US markets. The Martin Act is, as one commentator called it (PDF), a ‘fierce sword’ of uncertainty, permitting prosecutors to stretch the definition of crimes and then engage in extensive discovery to compel their targets to capitulate. This makes the Martin Act a very useful tool for a prosecutor looking to make his mark, and a nearly useless guide to a person looking to avoid becoming the target of a prosecutor looking to make his mark.

“Beyond creating uncertainty, another interesting consequence of open-ended criminal statutes like the Martin Act is the freedom they give prosecutors to legislate on the fly.” (Dec. 29). Plus: welcome National Law Journal readers (Andrew Harris, “Waging war against Wall St. corruption”, NLJ, Dec. 22, not online, quotes me suggesting that Spitzer is “imposing a different regulatory scheme nationwide than the one imposed by the federal government,” not necessarily a good idea given that he isn’t answerable to a nationwide electorate).

2nd Circuit: tobacco deal may have violated Sherman Act

We’ve been saying it for years (here and here, for instance), and now we can cite authority from one of the nation’s most distinguished jurists, Judge Ralph Winter of the Second Circuit: the 1998 tobacco settlement was skillfully designed to create the sort of cartel among cigarette manufacturers that would have gotten tobacco executives packed off to jail had not state attorneys general been on hand to bestow their blessing. In a case called Freedom Holdings, Inc. v. Spitzer (yes, the New York AG, a vocal defender of the 1998 travesty, continues to be on the wrong side), a three-judge panel headed by Winter reinstated a lawsuit by a cigarette importer challenging the deal’s anticompetitive provisions.

Read On…

Around the blogs

Beth Plocharczyk of Crescat Sententia responds (Dec. 15) to Dr. Kurt Kooyer’s Calvin College memoir on medical liability, recently referenced in this space, and takes issue with Kooyer’s assertion that the obligations of the medical profession toward patients are necessarily of a “covenantal” rather than contractual nature. David Giacalone (Dec. 15) notes that a star witness has emerged to support the state of Massachusetts in its dispute with law firm Brown Rudnick over $2 billion in tobacco fees (see Nov. 4): none other than Thomas Sobol, who served at Brown Rudnick as lead attorney on the state’s case, later departed, and now has testified that it would be “absolutely, clearly excessive” for his former firm to pocket the higher sum. Brian Sack (“Banterist”), provoked by a CBS “60 Minutes” segment (Dec. 8), wonders whether the courts will really award money to complainants who say they couldn’t get jobs at Abercrombie & Fitch because they weren’t “pretty enough” or “All-American enough” (see Dec. 26-28, 2000). (Update Nov. 17, 2004: Abercrombie settles three cases for nearly $50 million.) Professor Bainbridge (Dec. 5, Dec. 11, Dec. 15, Dec. 16) has been hammering away at New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer for using prosecutorial negotiations to induce mutual fund companies to lower their fees: “Spitzer has no authority — none, nada, zilch — to regulate mutual fund fees. Spitzer’s use of his leverage to extort a reduction in fees is a gross abuse of discretion.” And Curmudgeonly Clerk (Dec. 14) documents the latest adventures of anti-videogame attorney Jack Thompson, already much chronicled in this space (see Sept. 26).

Another New York gun lawsuit dismissed

Upholding an advisory jury’s verdict in favor of the firearms industry, federal judge Jack Weinstein has dismissed the NAACP’s public nuisance lawsuit against 68 gun manufacturers and distributors, discussed earlier in this space. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People had asked the court to declare the manufacturers and distributors liable for creating a public nuisance under New York law. Rather than monetary damages, the NAACP sought “sweeping restrictions on buyers and sellers of handguns.” (Tom Hays, “Judge Dismisses NAACP Gun Lawsuit,” Assoc. Press, July 21, 2003). Judge Weinstein said that “while the NAACP’s evidence showed some gun retailers were careless in allowing a large number of handguns to enter the illegal market, the group did not prove its members suffered unique harm.” (“Court dismisses NAACP gun suit,” Reuters, July 21, 2003). His 175-page opinion is available here.

Judge Weinstein’s ruling follows by a month a Manhattan appellate court’s decision affirming the dismissal of state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer’s lawsuit against gun manufacturers, also brought on public nuisance grounds.

Merrill Lynch cases tank

Whoops, there goes another Eliot Spitzer project: last week federal judge Milton Pollack dismissed investor lawsuits against brokerage Merrill Lynch based on emails dug up by the New York AG and widely billed in the press at the time as “smoking guns” providing “slam dunk” litigation potential for private plaintiffs. “Judge Pollack used scathing language in his decision in favor of Merrill Lynch released Tuesday in which he explained why he thought plaintiffs had no case. He described the plaintiffs as ‘high-risk speculators’ who lost their money ‘fair and square’ during the bull market of the late 1990s. (Greg Cresci, “Investors blaming Wall Street should think again”, Reuters/, Jul. 2). Meanwhile, a bill pushed by Wall Street firms in Congress would rather cleverly direct the proceeds from massed state-AG regulatory actions away from state budgets and toward the putative victims, namely investors (via the federal Securities and Exchange Commission). State governments in general were not big losers from the challenged Wall Street practices, yet Spitzer’s settlement arranged to spray large sums of money in their direction, winning him lots of gratitude-chits from the political class. Spitzer and his friends are howling foul at the proposed change, thus raising the question of to what extent their crusades have really been motivated by the welfare of mom-and-pop investors after all (Greg Farrell and John Waggoner, “House bill would steer Wall Street fines away from states”, USA Today, Jun. 10). More: a New York Times follow-up points out that what got thrown out were cases brought by nonclients of Merrill, an unusually lame category of claimant, and that actual Merrill clients can still proceed on claims that they lost money relying on deceptive research, though some of the judge’s findings, such as that Merrill’s research was “replete with risk warnings”, will still prove helpful to the firm in defending those claims. (Landon Thomas Jr., “Legal Reprieve for Wall Street Is Not Likely to Last Long”, New York Times, Jul. 4)

New York gun suits

As earlier discussed by Walter, a Manhattan appellate court has affirmed the dismissal of Attorney General Eliot Spitzer’s state lawsuit against gun manufacturers. Spitzer had sued under a theory of “public nuisance.” The opinion is now on-line and the court’s language is interesting:

[P]laintiff would have us summarily ignore: […]

2) the importance and fairness of considering such concepts as remoteness, duty, proximate cause and the significance of the indisputable intervention of unlawful and frequently violent acts of criminals — over whom defendants have absolutely no control — who actually, directly, and most often intentionally, cause the cited harm;

3) the significance and unfairness of holding defendants accountable even though their commercial activity is wholly lawful and currently heavily regulated, and that their products are non-defective; and

4) the plain fact that courts are the least suited, least equipped, and thus the least appropriate branch of government to regulate and micro-manage the manufacturing, marketing, distribution and sale of handguns.

An identical federal suit filed by the NAACP is pending before Judge Jack Weinstein in Brooklyn. (Samuel Maull, “Appeals court affirms dismissal of state’s lawsuit against gun makers,” AP, June 24).

Weinstein is perhaps best known for his work on the Agent Orange class action settlement, which the U.S. Supreme Court recently allowed to be reopened when it split 4-4 in its review of a Second Circuit opinion holding that the settlement did not preclude veterans from seeking additional damages. There are obvious implications, since now class action defendants risk losing the benefits of finality in the Second Circuit. (Tony Mauro, “Vets Win Chance At Agent Orange Damages,” Legal Times, June 10).
(Full disclosure: My firm filed an amicus brief on behalf of the Product Liability Advisory Council in Dow Chemical v. Stephenson.)

Archived gun items, pre-July 2003

Gun lawsuit columns“, Apr. 25-27, 2003; “Gun lawsuit preemption moves forward“, Apr. 4-6; “Gun-suit thoughts“, Mar. 31, 2003; “House bill would cut off municipal gun suits“, May 9, 2002. 

NAACP suits:Update” (jury votes against liability), Jun. 2, 2003; “Gun lawsuit columns“, Apr. 25-27; “Gun-suit thoughts“, Mar. 31; “Stalking horse for anti-gun litigators“, Mar. 24, 2003; “NAACP’s ‘ludicrous’ anti-gun suit” (David Horowitz in Salon), Aug. 19, 1999; “Not-so-Kool omen for NAACP suit” (racial claims fail in tobacco case), Nov. 1, 1999; “Connecticut, sue thyself” (NAACP official, while state official, subsidized gunmaking), Dec. 2, 1999.  Also see letters to the editor, “NAACP lawsuits take bad aim“, Detroit Free Press, Jul. 20, 1999 (& see update Jul. 30, 2003: judge dismisses lawsuit). 

More notices for The Rule of Lawyers” (NRA’s LaPierre praises book), Mar. 21-23, 2003 (& Apr. 25-27).

Manufacturer sued after bullet fails to take down lion“, Apr. 25-27, 2003.

Florida school shooting: the deep pockets did it” (Grunow), Dec. 13-15, 2002 (& update Feb. 4-5).

Spitzer riding high” (New York attorney general), Jun. 17-18, 2002. 

Municipal cases crash and burn, 2002:‘Gunning for manufacturers through courts’” (Boston drops its case), Apr. 29-30; “Third Circuit nixes Philly gun suits“, Jan. 28-29.  2001:Municipal gun suits on the run” (Camden, Atlanta, Bridgeport’s Ganim), Nov. 19-20; “Victory (again) in Connecticut” (Bridgeport), Oct. 3-4 (& Dec. 11-12, 1999); “‘New York State’s Gun Suit Must Be Dismissed’“, Aug. 22-23; “Columnist-fest” (Jacob Sullum), June 22-24; “Victory in Albany” (Miami, New Orleans, etc.), April 27-29.  2000:Victory in Philadelphia“, Dec. 22-25; “Victory in Chicago“, Sept. 20; “‘City gun suit shot down on appeal’” (Cincinnati), Aug. 16-17 (& Oct. 8, 1999).  1999:Victory in Florida” (Miami), Dec. 14 (& Nov. 20-21). 

‘Gunning for manufacturers through courts’” (proposed NYC ordinance), Apr. 29-30, 2002. 

Commentaries by others, 2002:Columnist-fest” (Dave Kopel, Jacob Sullum), Mar. 18.  2001:Municipal gun suits on the run” (Peter Schuck, Kimberley Strassel), Nov. 19-20; “Columnist-fest” (Sullum), June 22-24; “City gun suits: ‘extortion parading as law’” (Robert Levy), May 14. 2000:Tobacco- and gun-suit reading” (Michael Krauss), Aug. 21-22; “Steady aim” (Vince Carroll, Sam Smith), May 12; “Columnist-fest” (Sullum), May 2; “Stuart Taylor, Jr., on Smith & Wesson deal“, April 11; “Blatant end-runs around the democratic process” (Robert Reich), Jan. 15-16. 1999:Weekend reading: evergreens” (Bruce Kobayashi), Oct. 23-24; “Arbitrary confiscation, from Pskov to Pascagoula” (Michael Barone), July 24-25; “Guns, tobacco, and others to come” (Peter Huber), July 20; “‘Anti-democratic, wrong, a feel-good solution‘” (editorials), July 3. 

Under the Christmas tree” (BB guns, toy soldiers), Dec. 21-23, 2001 (& see Feb. 11-12, 2002). 

State of prosecution in Iowa” (bullet possession), Jan. 28-29, 2002. 

‘FTC Taking “Seriously” Request to Probe Firearms Sites’” (unlawful to recommend guns for family security?), Jan. 16-17, 2002. 

‘North America’s most dangerous mammal’” (deer), Nov. 29, 2001. 

Gun controllers on the defensive“, Nov. 6, 2001. 

‘Shooting range sued over suicide’“, Sept. 27, 2001; “$3 million verdict for selling gun used in suicide“, Sept. 17, 2001; “‘Suicide-Attempt Survivor Sues’” (department that issued cop his gun), Jan. 24-25, 2001. 

The high cost of cultural passivity“, Sept. 21-23, 2001; “Self-defense for flight crews“, Sept. 13, 2001. 

Self-defense: an American tradition” (Bellesiles furor), Sept. 12, 2001. 

Navegar not nailed“, Aug. 15, 2001; “Victory in California” (Navegar), Aug. 7-8, 2001; “Weekend reading: evergreens” (Bruce Kobayashi), Oct. 23-24, 1999.

Victory in Albany” (Hamilton v. Accu-Tek), April 27-29, 2001.

Letter to the editor” (activist doctors vs. gun ownership), May 18, 2001. 

Non-gun control” (toy guns; bottles and glasses), March 23-25. 

$3 million verdict for selling gun used in suicide“, Sept. 17, 2001; “Vicarious criminal liability?” (individual who sold gun prosecuted after remote purchaser used it to commit murder), Dec. 8-10, 2000. 

Promising areas for suits” (suits against families after firearms injuries), Dec. 7, 2000. 

‘Gunshot wounds down almost 40 percent’“, Oct. 10, 2000. 

For Philly, gun lawsuits just the beginning” (city intends to sue other businesses), Oct. 5, 2000. 

Effects on gunmakers:Victory in Chicago” (dealers under pressure as liability insurance dries up), Sept. 20, 2000; “One gunmaker’s story” (Freedom Arms), June 14-15; “Gun-buying rush“, Jan. 4, 2000; “Victory in Florida” (lawyers using cost infliction as tactic), Dec. 14, 1999; “Gun jihad menaces national security” (small arms industry is important defense supplier), Nov. 9; “Skittish Colt” (not abandoning consumer market, says gunmaker), Nov. 18-19; “Proud history to end?” (Colt’s retreating from consumer handgun business), Oct. 12; Gunmaker bankruptcies: three, and counting“, Sept. 14, 1999. 

Senator Lieberman: a sampler” (opposed firearms lawsuits in D.C. in 1992), Aug. 8-9, 2000; “Veeps ATLA could love” (Durkin, D-Ill., sponsor of gun-suit bill), July 7, 2000. 

Our most ominous export” (U.S. trial lawyers help launch anti-gunmaker suit in Brazil), July 31, 2000. 

‘Poll: majority disapprove of tobacco fine’” (survey finds public against gun suits 67 to 28 percent), July 24-25, 2000. 

Giuliani’s blatant forum-shopping“, June 28, 2000; “…bad news out of New York” (city joins gun suits), June 21, 2000. 

The Wal-Mart docket” (sued over gun sales), July 7, 2000.

Parodies, cartoons:Animated advocacy” (“smart guns” interactive game, etc.), June 16-18, 2000; “Cartoon that made us laugh” (“….We can’t take those off the market! Dangerous products are a gold mine for the gov’t!”), Jan. 21-23; “Power tools: America’s children at risk” (parody site taken seriously), Dec. 7, 1999.

Rewarded with the bench” (judicial nomination for Connecticut AG Richard Blumenthal?), June 12, 2000; “Punished for resistance“, March 31-April 2; “Connecticut, sue thyself” (state officials, NAACP), Dec. 2, 1999.

Smith & Wesson settlement:Victory in Albany” (see notes), April 27-29, 2001; “A Smith & Wesson FAQ“, May 18-21, 2000; “Not with our lives you don’t“, May 9; “Columnist-fest” (Jacob Sullum), May 2; “Police resent political gun-buying influence“, April 14-16; “Stuart Taylor, Jr., on Smith & Wesson deal“, April 11; “Punished for resistance“, March 31-April 2; “Another S&W thing“, March 27; “Social engineering by lawsuit” (Yale law professor Peter Schuck doubts S&W would have lost at trial), March 27; “Smith & Wesson’s ‘voluntary’ capitulation’“, March 21; “Liberty no longer insured by Smith & Wesson“, March 20, 2000. 

Not my fault, II” (19-year-old sues gunmaker, own father over accidental shooting 14 years earlier), May 17, 2000. 

Not with our lives you don’t” (gun-suit issue figures in Presidential race; Clinton, trial lawyers endorse gun control event), May 9, 2000. 

Police line-of-duty:Not with our lives you don’t“, May 9, 2000; “Police resent political gun-buying influence“, April 14-16; “Cops shoot civilian; city blames maker of victim’s gun“, April 12, 2000; “Zone of blame” (policeman’s widow sues maker of his gun), Oct. 27, 1999. 

Barrel pointing backward” (lawsuits and “smart guns”), Feb. 17, 2000; update, March 8

Improvements to our gun-litigation page“, Feb. 14, 2000; “Gun litigation roundup“, Feb. 10-11, 2000. 

HUD:Cuomo menaces gun makers: ‘death by a thousand cuts“, Feb. 2, 2000; “Feds’ tobacco hypocrisy: Indian ‘smoke shops’“, Jan. 25, 2000; “Gun lawsuits: White House, HUD pile on“, Dec. 9, 1999. 

“Fourth Branch”?:Steady aim“, May 12, 2000; “Judge to lawyers in Miami gun suit: you’re trying to ban ’em, right?” (anti-democratic quotes from anti-gun side), Nov. 20-21, 1999; “Gun litigation: a helpful brother-in-law” (Hugh Rodham surfaces assisting gun lawyers), Oct. 25, 1999; “Reform stirrings on public contingency fees“, Oct. 15; “Big guns” (origins of municipal litigation), Oct. 5-6; “Like calling the Orkin man to talk about bugs” (American Bar Ass’n president compares gun suits to civil rights crusade), August 10; “‘A de facto fourth branch of government‘” (Wendell Gauthier’s view of trial lawyers’ role), July 4, 1999. 

Hypocrisy of municipal plaintiffs: Do as we say, please” (big cities suing gun makers sell lots of surplus guns themselves), July 14, 1999; Do as we say (II): gun-suit hypocrisy in Detroit“, August 30, 1999; “Gun-suit hypocrisy, Boston style” (city admits it didn’t follow own procedures in selling guns), August 25, 1999; “Connecticut, sue thyself” (state officials, NAACP), Dec. 2, 1999. 

Philanthropies back anti-gun litigation:Charity dollars support trial lawyers’ gun jihad“, Sept. 2, 1999; “Correction: the difference one letter makes” (YWCA, not YMCA, supports anti-gun efforts), Nov. 10; “Soros as bully” (“Open Society” philanthropist), Nov. 23, 1999. 

Recommended reading” (Lingua Franca on Second Amendment controversy in law schools), Jan. 25, 2000; “‘Scholar’s shift in thinking angers liberals’” (Larry Tribe says Second Amd’t does include individual right), Aug. 30, 1999. 

Fertilizer manufacturers not liable for World Trade Center bombing” (theories against them resembled those used against gunmakers), Aug. 23, 1999.

‘Settlement bonds’: are guns next?” (Wall Street maneuvering to float bonds based on expropriation of gun industry), Aug. 5, 1999.

Censorship via (novel) lawsuit” (lawyers suing gunmakers, Hollywood claim their theories are “traditional” and “time-honored”), Jul. 22, 1999.

Related commentary: “zero-tolerance” weapons policies

2002:‘No scissors allowed at ribbon-cutting ceremony at Pittsburgh airport’“, Sept. 23; “Steak knives, finger ‘guns’“, May 16; “Goodbye to zero tolerance?“, Jan. 25-27. 

2001:Under the Christmas tree” (BB guns, toy soldiers), Dec. 21-23; “John Leo on“, Aug. 15; “Bagpiper prom garb” (skean dubh knife), June 21; “Drawing pictures of weapons” (also U.K. pellet gun case), May 15; “Zero tolerance spiral” (roundup), April 12; “Non-gun control” (second-graders’ paper gun), March 23-25; “ABA criticizes zero tolerance” (knife cases), Feb. 21-22; “Pointing chicken finger“, Feb. 2-4; “Gun-shaped medallion“, Jan. 18. 

2000:Tweety bird chain” (also African tribal knives case), Sept. 29-Oct. 1 (& update Oct. 4); “Kopel on zero-tolerance policies“, Sept. 25-26; “‘NZ kids get ‘license’ to play with toy guns’“, Sept. 8-10; “Ease up on kids” (Utah), Aug. 4-7; “Annals of zero tolerance” (finger guns, inadvertent steak knife in lunch bag), May 22; “Kindergartners’ ‘bang, you’re dead’“, April 17; “Don’t play James Bond” (fifth grader’s plastic toy gun), March 28; “Annals of zero tolerance: scissors, teacher’s beer“, March 15. 

1999:Weekend reading: columnist-fest” (John Leo column), Dec. 11-12; “Scissors, toy-gun cases“, Dec. 8; “Annals of zero tolerance: the fateful thumb“, Nov. 20-21; “Annals of zero tolerance: more nail clippers cases“, Nov. 10; “Annals of zero tolerance: cannon shots banned” (school disallows yearbook photo posed on artillery), Oct. 30-31 (update Nov. 26-28: school relents); “Zero tolerance strikes again” (student suspended after using knife to cut cake), Oct. 23-24.


Other resources on gun lawsuits: 

List (compiled by Prof. Eugene Volokh, UCLA Law School) of law professors skeptical of firearms suits (subcategories: municipal lawsuits, firearms torts generally). 

“Suing Gun Makers” (Reason magazine “Breaking Issues” series).

Walter Olson, “Plaintiff’s Lawyers Take Aim at Democracy“, Wall Street Journal, March 21, 2000; “Big Guns“, Reason, Oct. 1999; “Firing Squad” (federalism and gun suits), Reason, May 1999. 

National Center for Policy Analysis, “Suing Gun Manufacturers: Hazardous to Our Health“. 

American Lawyer on origins of the municipal firearms litigation, June 1999. 

American Shooting Sports Coalition, “Gun Rights: Under the Gavel“. links on firearms litigation

Also see resources on product liability / on personal responsibility

Archived politics items, pre-July 2003

A tangled Mississippi web“, Jun. 16-17, 2003; “Mississippi investigation heats up“, May 7, 2003; “‘High court judge had use of condo owned by group that includes trial lawyer’“, Oct. 11-13, 2002; “Rumblings in Mississippi“, Oct. 9-10, 2002.

Sen. Edwards, 2003:More on Edwards’ law-firm donations“, May 8; “Edwards leads in fund raising“, Apr. 7-8; “‘Edwards doesn’t tell whole story’“, Mar. 4 (& letter to the editor, Mar. 31). 2002:‘Bush urges malpractice damage limits’“, Jul. 29; “‘Edwards’ fund raising a strong suit’“, Jul. 18 (& Sept. 3-4); “‘The trials of John Edwards’“, May 20-21; “What big teeth you have, Sen. Edwards“, May 1-2; “Trial lawyer smackdown!”, Feb. 20-21.  2001:Trial lawyer president?“, Mar. 9-11.  2000: The Veep that got away”, Aug. 15. 

Politicians’ ATM, 2003:‘Lawyers find gold mine in Phila. pension cases’“, Mar. 21-23; “ATLA’s hidden influence“, Jan. 21-22.  2002:Some election results“, Nov. 7; “Campaign roundup“, Nov. 4-5; “Pa. statehouse race: either way, Big Law wins“, Oct. 24; “Trial lawyers and politics: Michigan, Texas“, Oct. 9-10; “Last-minute friends in Texas politics“, Jul. 22-23; “Trial lawyer smackdown!” (Scruggs vs. Sen. Edwards), Feb. 20-21.  2001:Third Circuit cuts class action fees“, Sept. 25-26; “‘Trial lawyers derail Maryland small claims reform’” (Gov. Parris Glendening), July 25; “Villaraigosa and the litigation lobby” (Calif. assembly speaker), June 18; “Ness monster sighted in Narragansett Bay” (Rhode Island contributions by Ness Motley), June 7; “‘Nursing homes a gold mine for lawyers’” (Fla. lawyer said he probably gave $1 million to politicians last election cycle), Mar. 13-14; “‘Angelos made rare donation to GOP’” (Sen. Hatch’s campaign), Feb. 16-19; “Sen. Kennedy flies the trial-lawyer skies“, Jan. 8. 2000:O’Quinn a top Gore recount angel“, Dec. 15-17; “California’s lucrative smog refunds” (Lerach and Gov. Gray Davis), Dec. 5; “Friend to the famous” (Williams Bailey), Oct. 12; “‘Money to burn’” (Ness Motley), Oct. 6-9; “I know [you] will give $100K when the president vetoes tort reform, but we really need it now“, Sept. 14, 2000 (& more coverage: Sept. 15-17, Sept. 19); “Clinton’s trial-lawyer speech, cont’d“, Aug. 1; “Trial lawyers give $500,000 as legislation heads to Senate floor“, Jun. 14-15; “Texas tobacco fees” (recycling into party politics), May 22; “Gore among friendly crowd (again)“, April 12; “Al Gore among friendly crowd“, Mar. 30; “‘Trial Lawyers Pour Money Into Democrats’ Chests“, Mar. 24-26; “Bill Clinton among friendly crowd“, Feb. 14; “‘Tracking the trial lawyers’: a contributions database“, Jan. 21-23 (& Sept. 25-26).  1999: Hurry with those checks“, Dec. 1; “Give, and receive“, Sept. 25-26. 

Judicial elections, 2002:Some election results“, Nov. 7; “Campaign roundup“, Nov. 4-5; “Mudslinging in Ohio high court races“, Nov. 1-3 (& Nov. 4-5); “Ohio’s high-stakes court race“, Oct. 16-17; “Judicial selection, the Gotham way“, Oct. 15; “Rumblings in Mississippi“, Oct. 9-10. 2001:Don’t try rating our judges, or else” (Phila.), Oct. 24-25; “‘Philadelphia judicial elections still linked to cash’“, Oct. 12-14; “‘Reflections of a Survivor of State Judicial Election Warfare’” (Justice Robert Young, Mich.), July 3-4.  2000:More election results” (Mich., Ohio), Nov. 9; “Michigan high court races” (and earlier coverage Aug. 23-25, May 15, May 9, Jan. 31, 2000; Aug. 6, 1999); “Just had to donate” (Mississippi), Nov. 3-5; “Ohio high court races“, Oct. 30 (and earlier coverage Aug. 18, Aug. 6, 1999); “Campaign consultants for judges“, Aug. 28. 

Lobbying clout:Florida: ‘New clout of trial lawyers unnerves legislators’“, Mar. 20, 2003; “Let’s go to the tape” (ATLA lobbies Sen. Grams), Apr. 27, 2000; “House passes liability reforms“, Feb. 24, 2000; “Sixth most powerful” (Only sixth? Trial lawyers among Washington lobbies), Dec. 10, 1999; “Calif. state bar improperly spent dues on politicking“, Aug. 25, 1999. 

RN, 2003:‘Public deceit protects lawsuit abuse’“, Mar. 15-16; “ATLA’s hidden influence“, Jan. 21-22.  2002:Nader credibility watch” (calls fast-food restaurants “weapons of mass destruction”), May 24-26.  2001:Channeling Chomsky” (Trade Center attacks), Oct. 22 (& Oct. 1); “Trial lawyers (some of them) yank Nader funding“, Feb. 16-19.  2000:Election special: Nader non grata“, Nov. 10-12; “Coercive capitalism?“, Nov. 6; “Election roundup” (Nader “dashboard saint” to trial lawyers), Oct. 23; “RN’s illusions“, Sept. 22-24; “Bush-Lieberman vs. Gore-Nader?“, Aug. 14; “Nader cartoon of the year“, Jul. 31; “Nader, controversial at last“, Jun. 13. 

Friends in high places, cont’d” (Kansas governor), May 5, 2003. 

Politico’s law associate suspended over ‘runner’ use” (Louisiana), Feb. 14-16, 2003.

Trial lawyer’s purchase of Alabama governor’s house said to be ‘arm’s-length’“, Jan. 7-8, 2003.

Friends in high places, cont’d“, May 5, 2003; “Gotham’s trial lawyer-legislators“, Dec. 13-15, 2002; “Trial lawyers’ clout in Albany“, Oct. 4, 2000. 

Lawyers as candidates:To tame Madison County, pass the Class Action Fairness Act” (Ill. Senate seat), Jun. 12-15, 2003; “Some election results“, Nov. 7, 2002; “Campaign roundup“, Nov. 4-5; “‘Wealthy candidates give Democrats hope’“, Oct. 11-13, 2002; “Trial lawyer candidates“, Jul. 6, 2000 (& update Sept. 15-17: Ciresi defeated in primary bid); “Tort fortune fuels $3M primary win” (House race in W.V.), May 11, 2000 (& updates Oct. 23, Nov. 9 (lawyer defeated); “‘Lawyer’ label hurts at polls“, Dec. 8, 1999.

‘Morales’ $1 Million Tobacco Fee Under Fire’” (Texas), Jul. 15, 2002; “Texas tobacco fees: Cornyn’s battle“, Sept. 1-3 (& May 22, 2000, June 21, 2001, Aug. 29-30, 2001, Nov. 12, 2001).

Congress, 2003:To tame Madison County, pass the Class Action Fairness Act” (Ill. Senate seat), Jun. 12-15. 2002:Some election results“, Nov. 7; “Campaign roundup“, Nov. 4-5; “Durbin’s electability“, Apr. 25.  2001:‘Angelos made rare donation to GOP’” (Hatch), Feb. 16-19; “Philadelphia juries pummel doctors” (Sen. Arlen Specter), Jan. 24-25; “Sen. Kennedy flies the trial-lawyer skies“, Jan. 8. 2000:Litigation reform: what a Democratic Congress would mean” (comments of Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.)), Nov. 7; “Friend to the famous” (Williams Bailey), Oct. 12; “Owens Corning bankrupt” (House Judiciary Democrats), Oct. 6-9; “Veeps ATLA could love” (Durbin, D-Ill., and Cohen, R-Me.); “Trial lawyers give $500,000 as legislation heads to Senate floor“, June 14-15. 

Pres. & Sen. Clinton, 2001:Humiliation by litigators as turning point in Clinton affair“, May 24; “Push him into a bedroom, hand him a script” (Bill’s testimonial for tobacco lawyers), March 9-11. 2000:Friend to the famous” (Williams Bailey & HRC), Oct. 12; “I know [you] will give $100K when the president vetoes tort reform, but we really need it now“, Sept. 14, 2000 (& more coverage: Sept. 15-17, Sept. 19); “Clinton’s trial-lawyer speech, cont’d“, Aug. 1 (& “a footnote”, Aug. 2); “Clinton’s date with ATLA“, Jul. 31; “Bill Clinton among friendly crowd“, Feb. 14. 1999:Gun litigation: a helpful in-law” (Hugh Rodham surfaces as middleman in gun cases), Oct. 25; and see 2000 campaign.

State attorneys general, 2002:Some election results“, Nov. 7; “Campaign roundup“, Nov. 4-5; “Spitzer riding high” (N.Y.), Jun. 17-18; “Microsoft case and AG contributions“, Apr. 3-4; “Like father, like daughter?” (Lisa Madigan, Ill.), Jan. 7-8. 2001:Vast new surveillance powers for state AGs?” (“biggest showboaters in American politics”), Sept. 25-26. 2000:Ness Motley’s aide-Gregoire, July 17; “Rewarded with the bench” (Connecticut AG Blumenthal), June 12.  1999:Illinois tobacco fees“, Oct. 16-17; “My dear old tobacco-fee friends” (Kansas attorney general picks her old law firm for lucrative contract suing tobacco firms), Oct. 11; and see state tobacco fees.

Judicializing politics (cont’d)“, Jun. 19-20, 2002; “Unlikely critic of litigation” (Larry Klayman, Judicial Watch), Apr. 16-17, 2002.

‘”Little” done for firm, Rendell says’” (law firms provide no-show jobs for politicians), May 9, 2002.

Texas trial lawyers back GOP PAC“, Mar. 12, 2002.

Third Circuit cuts class action fees“, Sept. 25-26, 2001; “ABA thinks it can discourage pay-to-play“, Aug. 11, 1999.

Update: Alabama high court reverses convction in campaign-tactics case“, Jul. 7, 2001; “Update: Alabama campaign-tactics case“, Aug. 31, 2000; “‘Bama bucks“, Nov. 16, 1999; “Alabama story goes national“, Sept. 1; “Playing rough in Alabama“, Aug. 26, 1999.

Chapman, Broder, Kinsley on patients’ rights” (Kinsley: “pretty true” that Democratic Party in lawyers’ pocket), Jun. 28.

‘Lender hit with $71M verdict’” (Mississippi legislators), Jun. 15-17, 2001.

‘The last tycoon’” (Peter Angelos), April 12, 2001; “Czar of Annapolis, and buddy of Fidel“, Dec. 9, 1999; “Maryland’s kingmaker“, Oct. 19, 1999.

Trial lawyer heads Family Research Council“, Mar. 2-4, 2001.

Archived entries on the 2000 presidential race and recount can be found here.

Monitor vote fraud, get sued for ‘intimidation’“, Oct. 24, 2000.

New page on trial lawyers and politics” (this page launched), Jul. 28-30, 2000.

Lenzner: ‘I think what we do is practice law’” (private investigator’s tactics), Jul. 28-30, 2000.

Trial lawyers’ political clout“, May 8, 2000. 

Progressives’ betrayal” (Jonathan Rauch), Apr. 4, 2000; “Trial lawyers on trial” (Reader’s Digest), Dec. 23-26, 1999; “The reign of the tort kings“, Oct. 26; “Arbitrary confiscation, from Pskov to Pascagoula” (Michael Barone), Jul. 24, 1999.

Pro-litigation measures on California ballot“, March 6, 2000 (update Mar. 8: measures defeated).

From the Spin-To-English Guide” (“access to justice” rhetoric), Oct. 25, 1999.