Posts Tagged ‘governors’

August 10 roundup

August 6 roundup

  • Patent suit by firm called Parallel Processing demands that all Sony PlayStation 3 consoles be impounded and destroyed [ArsTechnica, Slashdot]

  • It’s not all going to Edwards: a scorecard on presidential campaigns’ law-firm fundraising [National Law Journal]

  • Link roundup on Oregon criminal charges against fanny-swatting 13-year-olds [Right Side of the Rainbow; earlier]

  • New at Point of Law: Spitzenfreude is mirth derived from ethical pratfall of NY’s moralist governor; Florida’s insurance fiasco; more on those “medical” bankruptcies; Alabama judge appoints special prosecutor in Dickie Scruggs affair after feds take a pass; and much more;

  • One hurdle for court action by survivors of slain Middle East contractors against Blackwater: the four men had signed contracts agreeing not to sue their employer [Henley; W$J]

  • Saying swim diaper should suffice, Akron mom and “fair housing” advocates sue condo that barred pre-potty-trained kids from pool [AP/]

  • Not only are those punitive new Virginia traffic laws unpopular, but a judge has just declared them unconstitutional as well [Washington Post; earlier here and here]

  • Pepsi settles class actions over minute quantities of benzene that might form when soft drink ingredients combine [Reuters, Food Navigator, Journal-News]

  • U.K. considers making it easier for unmarried cohabitators to go to court when their households break up [Times Online]

  • Did a securities fraudster use protracted depositions to browbeat his victims? [Salt Lake City Tribune]

  • “Victims’ Rights Amendment” to U.S. Constitution, promoted as giving crime victims a fairer shake, is bad idea for lots of reasons [eight years ago on Overlawyered]

Location, Location, Location: The Best & Worst Legal Climates in America

Given the economic costs imposed by today’s legal system (a staggering $865 billion per year according to one recent estimate), it’s surprising more companies don’t take into account a state’s liability climate when making critical decisions like where to open a new plant or invest in existing facilities.

A new report could help change that.

Risky Business: The Annual Boardroom Guide to Litigation in the 50 States provides the first ever ranking of state legal environments that combines economic science, real world corporate experience and input from state legal reform experts – people with the most current intelligence from the front lines.

It builds on a few landmark studies, including the American Tort Reform Association’s “Judicial Hellholes,” the Pacific Research Institute’s U.S. Tort Liability Index, and the Institute for Legal Reform/Harris Interactive survey.

So where are the soundest states – and where is the swampland?

Nebraska and Virginia top the list with the best legal climates. What do they have in common? Reasonable limits on punitive damages, a “rule of law” majority on the state Supreme Court, and Attorneys General who specialize in law enforcement, not grabbing the spotlight at the expense of businesses.

In stark contrast, West Virginia, Rhode Island and Florida round out the bottom of the list. All have activist Supreme Court majorities who consistently rule in favor of trial lawyers. West Virginia has a governor who supports legal reform – a reminder that having a pro-reform governor does not necessarily translate into a sound legal environment.

To see the full list go here.

Steve Hantler

July 9 roundup

  • Judge Ramos disallows settlement of Citigroup directors derivative suit: deal had met defendants’ needs, plaintiff’s lawyers’ too, but not shareholders’ [PDF of decision courtesy NY Lawyer]

  • Drove a golf cart into the path of his car as it was being repossessed, jury decides he deserves $56,837 [MC Record]

  • Per ACOG, 92 percent of NY ob/gyns say they’ve been sued at least once [NY Post edit; more]

  • New British online-gambling law could trip up some virtual-world/massively multiplayer online games []

  • Good news for bloggers: Iowa-based site can’t be sued in New York just because it answered questions from NY reader and accepted NY donations [Best Van Lines v. Walker, Second Circuit; McLaughlin]

  • Another great idea from Public Citizen: let’s not use new drugs till they’ve been on the market for seven years [Pharmalot via KevinMD]

  • After conviction of Mississippi trial lawyer Paul Minor in judicial corruption scandal, squabbling drags on over sentencing [Jackson Clarion-Ledger]

  • Conservative public interest law firms “can win some big cases [but] are notorious for lacking follow-through” [Tushnet, L.A. Times]

  • Contestants in Australian business dispute probably wound up spending more on the litigation than had been at stake in the first place [Sydney Morning Herald]

  • New at Point of Law: New Hampshire governor vetoes trial lawyers’ bill; global warming litigation to be bigger than tobacco?; the Times notices HIPAA;

  • It’s my emotional-support dog, and my lawyer says you have to let it into your store [eight years ago on Overlawyered, before these stories started getting common]

Privacy laws and Seung Hui Cho, cont’d

Better late than never:

Virginia Tech has provided some of Seung Hui Cho’s medical records to a panel investigating the April 16 massacre, after negotiating with family members to waive their privacy rights….

The records were released after weeks of frustration among the eight panel members over not being able to analyze Cho’s mental health in the years leading to the massacre, the worst mass shooting by an individual in U.S. history….

…panel officials said Thursday that they will continue to press for additional records, which also are protected under state and federal privacy laws.

(Tim Craig, “Panel Given Some Medical Files on Cho”, Washington Post, Jun. 15). And from a Thursday news report, also in the Post:

Authorities’ abilities to identify potentially dangerous mentally ill people are crippled across the nation by the same kinds of conflicts in privacy laws that prevented state officials from being able to intervene before Seung Hui Cho went on his rampage at Virginia Tech, according to a federal report commissioned after the Blacksburg shootings that was presented to President Bush yesterday.

Because school administrators, doctors and police officials rarely share information about students and others who have mental illnesses, troubled people don’t get the counseling they need, and authorities are often unable to prevent them from buying handguns, the report says.

(Chris L. Jenkins, “Confusion Over Laws Impedes Aid For Mentally Ill”, Washington Post, Jun. 14). My writings on the topic from April are here, here and here.

Vienna, Va. attorney Thomas J. Fadoul, Jr., who represents twenty victim families, has threatened to sue unless a family representative is appointed to the panel investigating the massacre so as to help “steer” its proceedings; Virginia governor Tim Kaine has replied that the panel was chosen so as not to include parties involved, and noted that the panel does not include any representative of Virginia Tech itself.

Video games used to cost a quarter

Jack Thompson makes a lot of headlines around here for his quixotic anti-video game legal jihad. This crusade wastes court time and imposes legal expenses on video game makers. But if there’s one mitigating factor — admittedly, a small one — in the whole mess, it’s that at least his own legal expenses are coming out of his own pocket. The same can’t be said for Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, who is not only forcing video game makers to spend large sums of money, but his conducting his crusade against violent video games with other people’s money:

The governor has spent nearly $1 million in taxpayer money to appeal a 2005 federal court ruling that a state law banning the sale of violent or sexual-explicit video games to minors was unconstitutional.

You may be wondering where he got the money for this crusade. Well, so was the Illinois state legislature, since they never authorized these expenditures:

A House committee discovered the amount spent to pay lawyers this week.


The governor raided funds throughout state government to pay for the litigation. Some of the areas money was taken from included the public health department, the state’s welfare agency and even the economic development department.

“We had a strong suspicion that the governor was using funds appropriated by the General Assembly as his own personal piggy bank,” Rep. Jack Franks, D-Woodstock, chairman of the State Government committee, said.

Those suspicions were confirmed when the governor’s staff, testifying before the committee, admitted they just stuck state agencies that had available funds with the bills, he added.

But it’s For The Children™, don’t you know? (And the lawyers.)

May 1 roundup

  • Jack Thompson, call your office: FBI search turns up no evidence Virginia Tech killer owned or played videogames [Monsters and Critics]

  • How many zeroes was that? Bank of America threatens ABN Amro with $220 billion suit if it reneges on deal to sell Chicago’s LaSalle Bank [Times (U.K.), Consumerist]

  • Chuck Colson will be disappointed, but the rule of law wins: Supreme Court declines to intervene in Miller-Jenkins (Vermont-Virginia lesbian custody) dispute [AP; see Mar. 2 and many earlier posts]

  • Oklahoma legislature passes, but governor vetoes, comprehensive liability-reform bill [Point of Law first, second, third posts]

  • Good primer on California’s much-abused Prop 65 right-to-know toxics law [CalBizLit via Ted @ PoL]

  • “Defensive psychiatry” and the pressure to hospitalize persons who talk of suicide [Intueri]

  • Among the many other reasons not to admire RFK Jr., there’s his wind-farm hypocrisy [Mac Johnson, Energy Tribune]

  • “Screed-O-Matic” simulates nastygrams dashed off by busy Hollywood lawyer Martin Singer [Portfolio]

  • “Liability, health issues” cited as Carmel, Ind. officials plan to eject companion dogs from special-needs program, though no parents have complained [Indpls. Star; similar 1999 story from Ohio]

  • First glimmerings of Sen. John Edwards’s national ambitions [five years ago on Overlawyered]
(Edited Tues. a.m. to cut an entry which was inadvertently repeated after appearing in an earlier roundup)

April 25 roundup