- “Firings and lawsuits follow discovery of secret bugging devices at law firm; ‘It’s very John Grisham'” [Palm Beach County, Fla.; Debra Cassens Weiss, ABA Journal]
- Save on lawyers’ fees, get to trial faster: “If I were able to do something unilaterally, I would probably institute a new federal rule that said that all cases worth less than $500,000 will be tried without any discovery.” [Judge Thomas Hardiman, echoed by Judge Amul Thapar, at Federalist Society National Lawyers Convention panel; David Lat, ABA Journal]
- “Austria: Farmer liable for hiker trampled to death by cow” [Elizabeth Schumacher, Deutsche Welle]
- “Cloned” discovery: the “name derives from the fact that the plaintiffs are attempting to clone the discovery taken by others in unrelated cases.” Courts should resist [James Beck]
- “Minnesota Supreme Court: No Primary Assumption of Risk in Skiing, Snowboarding” [Stephanie K. Jones, Insurance Journal]
- Missouri lawmakers seek to limit forum-shopping by out-of-state litigants seeking plaintiff-friendly St. Louis courts [Brian Brueggemann, St. Louis Record]
- “Elephant Habeas Case: Steven Wise’s Forum Shopping Apparently Fails” [Ted Folkman, Letters Blogatory, earlier here and here]
- Right now owners of gas stations in D.C. “need approval from the Gas Station Advisory Board (GSAB) to close. However, there’s one small problem. The GSAB hasn’t had members since 2008, so there’s no one to get approval from.” [Daniel Warwick, Greater Greater Washington]
- “Jones Act Reform Gaining Momentum” [Colin Grabow, Cato, earlier]
- “Serving Two (or More) Masters: Civil Service and Bureaucratic Resistance in our Administrative State” [Adam White working paper and related video as part of Hoover Institution’s Land, Labor, and Rule of Law conference]
- MoCo vs. NoVa in business site relocation, Baltimore policing, charmless climate suit, red flag law and more Maryland policy in my latest Free State Notes;
- New York appears ready to return to the days of confiscatory rent control, a policy that helped ruin wide swaths of the city in the 60s and 70s [Charles Urstadt, City Journal]
- Will states return us to the days of wide-open forum-shopping through the legal fiction of “consent by registration to do business”? A 50-state survey [James Beck, Drug and Device Law] “Big Fights Ahead Over Where Class Actions Can Be Filed” [Martina Barash, Bloomberg Big Law Business]
- Herr’s potato chips sued by prolific New York City lawyer over how full its bags of chips are. [John O’Brien, Legal NewsLine/Forbes] “Ridiculous class-action lawsuits are costing you tons of money” [Kathianne Boniello, New York Post]
- Ireland: “Burglar who injured genitals during shop break in sues shopkeeper” [Alexandra Richards, Evening Standard (U.K.)]
- To propel TCPA suits, professional plaintiffs find tactical ways to revoke text permission [Michael Daly, Meredith Slawe, and John Yi (Drinker Biddle), National Law Review] “Phoney Lawsuits: Polish Immigrant Concludes Six-Figure Run By Settling 31st Lawsuit” [Karin Kidd, Forbes/LNL, earlier]
- Missouri getting to be hotspot for high-stakes litigation [Jim Copland, Manhattan Institute “Trial Lawyers Inc.”]
- Courts and plaintiffs engaged in deep pockets jurisprudence seldom acknowledge that’s what they’re doing [Victor Schwartz, Washington Legal Foundation]
- In welcome reversal of Obama-era ban, FDA will once more permit direct-to-consumer genetic testing [Meghana Keshavan/STAT News, FDA press release]
- Will California law hold a pharmaceutical maker liable — in perpetuity — for a drug that it did not make and did not sell? [Steven Boranian/Drug & Device Law, PLF on T.H. v. Novartis]
- Litigation funding group chases clients in hip replacement litigation [PR Newswire]
- ACA penalizes hospitals for high Medicare readmission rates, but new study links that policy to higher mortality for heart failure patients [Arnold Kling, Ankur Gupta et al., JAMA Cardiology, Cristina Boccuti and Giselle Casillas, Kaiser Family Foundation]
- Litigation tourism model that has done well for plaintiff’s bar now circling drain after Supreme Court’s Bauman, Bristol-Myers Squibb decisions [Jim Beck, Drug & Device Law, more, yet more; related on West Virginia, and from Michelle Yeary on choice of law and forum non conveniens]
- “FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb Goes to Bat For Evidence-Based Opioid Policies” [Mike Riggs, Reason] “Abuse-Deterrent Opioids Cross an Ethical Line” [Jeffrey Singer, Orange County Register]
- “The Impropriety of Punitive Damages in Mass Torts” [James A. Henderson Jr., forthcoming Georgia Law Review/SSRN via Stephen McConnell, Reed Smith/JD Supra]
- “Will SCOTUS Ruling Affect Philadelphia Court, Where 94% Of New Plaintiffs Are From Out Of State?” [Nicholas Malfitano, Penn Record/Forbes, earlier on Bristol-Myers Squibb v. Superior Court]
- Time for asbestos trusts to do what’s right [Christine Biederman, The Hill]
- “Google’s $8.5m class-action privacy payout goes to: Lawyers’ alma maters, web giant’s pals” [Kieren McCarthy, The Register on Ninth Circuit settlement approval]
- European Court of Justice should take lesson from American courts which after relaxing rigor of causality scrutiny, and seeing baseless payouts multiply, have since been on a Daubert rebound [Theodore Dalrymple, Law and Liberty; Marilyn Moberg and Kathryn Bond, Drug and Device Law]
- Law firm gold rush for opioids-recoupment suits continues as New York counties sign up [Steve Lieberman, Journal News (Rockland County, N.Y.]
Following the Supreme Court’s ruling in TC Heartland v. Kraft Foods, cases filed in the Eastern District of Texas fell from 36% of all patent filings to 21% [Debra Cassens Weiss, ABA Journal] “Quick trials, big verdicts favoring consumers, and a state law that allows nonresidents to easily join mass litigations made St. Louis a destination of choice for attorneys going after companies that do business nationwide. Those days may be over” following the high court’s decision in Bristol-Myers Squibb [Margaret Cronin Fisk and Jef Feeley, Bloomberg]
More: Multidistrict litigation sought in more patent cases [Amanda Bronstad, Texas Lawyer]
My new Cato post applauds the Supreme Court for its 8-1 decision yesterday in Bristol-Myers Squibb v. Superior Court of California correcting the Ninth Circuit on the permissible extent to which California can reach out to hear lawsuits arising from controversies and litigants in other states. A couple of weeks ago a companion 8-0 decision from the court addressed similar issues from Montana in BNSF v. Tyrrell.
…in both instances — with only Justice Sonia Sotomayor still balking — the Justices made clear that some states’ wish to act as nationwide regulators does not allow them to stretch the constitutional limits on their jurisdiction that far. …
…the contemporary Court is keenly aware of the danger that the tactical use of forum-shopping will eclipse the merits in many categories of high-stakes litigation, turning potentially losing cases into winners through the chance to file them in a more friendly court.
That insight might prove significant at a time when forum-shopping has come to play a prominent role in high-profile ideological litigation—with conservatives running to file suit in the Fifth Circuit, liberals in the Ninth.
(& welcome readers from SCOTUSBlog, which rounds up other commentary on the decision)
This morning’s Supreme Court opinion in TC Heartland v. Kraft Foods, hinging on what I described in January as a dry point of statutory interpretation, is likely to stand as a landmark win for defendants in patent litigation – and, on a practical level, for fairer ground rules in procedure. A unanimous Court (8-0, Thomas writing, Gorsuch not participating) rejected the broad reading of a venue statute by which the Federal Circuit had empowered lawyers to forum-shop disputes from all over the country into a few decidedly pro-plaintiff venues, above all the largely rural Eastern District of Texas. From here out, defendants can still be sued in a district such as E.D. Tex. if they have a regular and established place of business in it, but the decision is likely to shrink what I called in my January preview a “jackpot patent litigation sector… that shifts around billions of dollar.” By redirecting cases into more neutral venues, it should bring outcomes closer to reflecting cases’ actual merits, which would in turn do much toward restoring confidence in this sector of the law.
If Congress believes the Court has erred it is free to restore patent venue to a more shopper-friendly set of rules. But after the experience of recent years, it is unlikely that a Congress of either party or any likely political complexion will have an appetite for doing that.
- U.S. Surgeon General’s office, WHO campaign against vaping, e-cigarettes. Lessons of harm reduction forgotten [Jacob Sullum, Jonathan Adler, Todd Krainin]
- Plenty of other hospitals are willing to do this surgery. Catholic facilities should have conscience right to refuse [AP/NJ.com on St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center case, Stephen Miller/IGF]
- Study: states with stronger physician protection from malpractice suits had lower usage of imaging tests [Radiology Business on Suhui Li et al., Journal of the American College of Radiology]
- Hospitals that require employees to take flu shots to protect patients and others may pay dearly if they’re stingy with the religious exemptions [Jon Hyman]
- “Maybe For-Profit Hospitals Aren’t So Bad” [Shailin Thomas, Harvard “Bill of Health”]
- “New Study Finds 90% of California Pharmaceutical Plaintiffs are from Other States” [U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform on Mark Behrens study for CJAC]
The Supreme Court has granted certiorari in the case of T.C. Heartland v. Kraft Foods, which turns on a minor detail of statutory interpretation but raises high stakes indeed: if the Court agrees that a 2011 enactment narrowed venue in patent suits, it could end the current arrangement in which plaintiffs are free to steer most such suits into just a few friendly jurisdictions. My write-up at Cato concludes:
My own suspicion is that not in a thousand years would a thoughtful deliberative process have entrusted the future care of intellectual property in America’s tech sector to the bench and bar of Marshall, Texas, population 24,501. But that’s in no way a reflection on the quality of the able if wily legal talent to be found in East Texas. It’s a reflection on the quality of the lawmakers in the U.S. Congress.