Posts Tagged ‘Freakonomics’

Microblog 2008-09-22

    I’ve renamed these telegraphic roundups “microblog” which seems more approachable than “Twitter”. Better name suggestions are welcome.
  • Many countries had booms in housing finance, why was our meltdown worst? EconBrowser #
  • Hail of dead cats from blogosphere for Paulson bailout plan PoL #
  • Stunningly bad McCain idea: have Andrew Cuomo run SEC Mickey Kaus #
  • Business historian John Steele Gordon on origins of mortgage meltdown NYT Freakonomics guest post #
  • Going after lawyers in mortgage mess? New York Law Journal #
  • Obama to pick centrists for high court? Not if advisers Minow and Tribe can help it Kerr @ Volokh #

Twitter for 2008-09-18

  • Yikes! Pressure builds to downgrade U.S. govt’s “AAA” rating [Reuters] #
  • John Carney leaves DealBreaker for better offer [Salmon] #
  • Man smoked pot on sly, now sues over rejection by pain management program [Overlawyered] #
  • Lots of StumbleUpon traffic on blog all of a sudden. Does this relate to having joined Twitter? #
  • Freakonomics on credit crisis, thanks @petewarden [Levitt, NY Times] #
  • Other countries aren’t citing our Supreme Court as much? Good! [Paulsen, Balkinization] #

July 20 roundup

  • Judge Henry Lackey, who went to feds to report bribe attempt by Dickie Scruggs associate, gets award and standing ovations at Mississippi bar convention, says he was just doing a judge’s job [NMC/Folo]
  • Related: should Ole Miss Chancellor Robert Khayat have used official university stationery for his letter pleading leniency for chum/ benefactor Scruggs? [Daily Mississippian and editorial via YallPolitics, continuing coverage at Folo; earlier]
  • Stephen Dubner: if lawyer/subscriber can sue Raleigh News & Observer over perceived decline in its quality, who’s next? [NYT/Freakonomics blog, earlier]
  • Maneuvering over retrial of Kentucky fen-phen defendants Gallion and Cunningham [Lexington Herald-Leader]
  • A Fieger sideshow: though acquitted in recent campaign laundering prosecution, controversial lawyer fared less well in lawsuit against Michigan AG Michael Cox; Sixth Circuit tossed that suit and upheld order that Fieger fork over attorney fees to Michigan Supreme Court Justice Stephen Markman over subjecting the justice to unfounded vilification [ABA Journal; fixed typo on Circuit]
  • Citing long history of frivolous litigation, federal judge in central Texas fines disbarred lawyer Charles Edward Lincoln and his client and bans Lincoln from bringing any more federal suits [SE Texas Record]
  • Faced with $18 million legal-malpractice jury verdict, Indiana labor law firm stays in business by agreeing to make token payment, then gang up on its liability insurer for the rest [Indianapolis Business Journal, Ketzenberger/Indy Star via ABA Journal]

Lott v. Levitt, Part X

As we discussed in Part IX, one of John Lott’s two claims was settled, when Steven Levitt apologized for e-mails he sent another economist. It’s questionable how much satisfaction Lott can get from this, since, as an economist, he surely realizes that, without a loser-pays rule or agreement, there is a pooling equilibrium whereby both the sincerely-apologizing Levitt and the insincerely-apologizing Levitt would take the same course of action to avoid spending tens of thousands of dollars defending a de minimis allegation of libel, regardless of the merits of the claim.

The more significant, if less meritorious, claim of libel in Freakonomics is on appeal; Lott is now claiming that the case should have been decided under the allegedly more friendly Virginia libel law than the Illinois law under which his claim fails, but that is generally an argument for (at best) a claim of legal malpractice, rather than for a do-over for an expressly waived argument in federal court. Lott has posted the briefs; David Glenn blogs about the 2-year mark in the case. Not that I think Lott has a valid legal malpractice claim, either, unless his attorneys told him he had a good shot at winning more than he would spend in legal fees.

Lott does interesting economic research, and it is unfortunate he is tarring his reputation with a lawsuit that has the potential to impinge upon academic freedom.