It’s time to end my week of guest-blogging here. Thanks again to Walter Olson and Ted Frank for indulging my ramblings. Since I’ve used most of my posts to dwell on the evils of antitrust regulation, I’d like to try and go out on a more positive note.
Next up in this summer’s series of weekly guest bloggers is something new for us: a prominent voice from the business community. Steven Hantler, Assistant General Counsel for Government and Regulation at DaimlerChrysler, directs the automaker’s class-action, consumer-litigation and litigation-communications functions; outside the company he’s known as a tireless advocate for lawsuit reform, on which he’s become a veteran of state legislative initiatives and electoral battles. While new to blogging (so far as I’m aware), he’s the author of numerous articles in law reviews and more popular outlets, most recently in the magazine Directorship where he rated and assessed the fairness of each of the fifty states’ court systems from a litigation defense point of view (PDF). He’s also closely associated with the American Justice Partnership, which has links to many of his writings and speeches.
Also, and entirely unrelated to the above, check back tomorrow afternoon, Tuesday, for an announcement which may be of interest to some readers, especially those of a political bent.
Our thanks to Ron Coleman who enlivened the site this week. His posts have stirred considerable comment around the blogosphere, especially the one on Rachel Corrie’s family’s suit against Caterpillar, discussed by (among others) Prof. Bainbridge, Jonathan Zasloff, Megan McArdle, and Zasloff again.
And stay tuned as another guestblogger is on deck to join us in the coming week.
So on the eve of the Sabbath (for me), I end my week of guest-blogging offering conceptually loftier reporting of loftier, if heretical, overlawyering of a Central European kind (hat tip to a blog called Religion Clause).
Now, we all remember this popular number from law school — United States ex rel. Gerald Mayo v. Satan and his Staff (“Mayo“), the guy who unsuccessfully sued The Prince of Lies (instead of hiring one) in federal court. Now a court in Timisoara, Western Romania, has dismissed a lawsuit purportedly against God Himself by Mircea Pavel, 40, who is serving 20 years in prison for murder. He has some issues, only not justiciable ones, it seems. The English is Interfax’s, and their regular English-speaking guy seems to be in the Catskills this weekend, so let’s work our way through this together, with Defendant’s help:
Failing to [receive an] answer [to] his prayers, the prisoner sued the [sic] God for “fraud, betrayal of trust, corruption and influence peddling.”
Pavel brought charges against “the defendant God, who lives in the heavens and is represented in Romania by the Orthodox Church,” the Evenimentul Zilei daily reported.
According to the act [lawsuit?], during the baptismal service he “drew a conclusion with [entered into a stipulation with?] the defense” to rescue him from any disaster.
“But the contract’s terms were offended [breached], despite of [sic] my payment in different forms and numerous compellations by way of prayers,” Pavel said in his lawsuit.
Eventually the court dismissed the case, ruling that “God is not subject to law and does not have an address.”
No address?! Now that is heretical; He is, as we know, found everywhere. Well, these folks just recently got rid of Communism, so we can be charitable on the theological training.
But the subject matter jurisdiction point is well taken. There may be other problems with the alleged contract, including most of the grounds for dismissal relied on in Mayo. Also: Pavel’s capacity to enter into a contract (Orthodox baptism is done in infancy); the statute of frauds (or its Soviet-era Romanian equivalent) on several counts; and, of course, in a suit against God, there must always be recourse to the defenses in equity — the plaintiff, the murderer Pavel, comes to court with some very unclean hands.
Give Pavel credit, though, and not just for going after the deep pockets. He believes God had a role in his misfortune, even if, perhaps, he has failed to name an indispensible necessary party — namely Mircea Pavel.
It appears that I have won the Guestblogger Pageant (despite falling down and being booed by angry Mexicans), so here’s a little bit about me. My name is Christian Schneider, and I work for the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute here in lovely Madison, Wisconsin. I run the WPRI blog, a little personal project called Atomic Trousers, and as a former legislative staffer, I blogged pseudonymously as Dennis York (a blog that could generously be described as humorous). I am originally from Alexandria, VA, and I have a master’s degree in political science from the prestigious Marquette University in Milwaukee (which means I am qualified to read the newspaper). I also occasionally contribute commentaries to the show “Here and Now” on Wisconsin Public Television.
While I am not an attorney, I am a long time fan of Overlawyered.com. Plus, there’s a reasonable chance Jessica Alba will be filing a restraining order against me sometime soon, so I thought it might be a good idea to familiarize myself with the legal community.
Here are a couple past posts that people seemed to find moderately inoffensive:
So there’s my resume. References available upon request.
We’ve had a record response to our call for guestblogging volunteers, and the first in a series of guests will be dropping by tomorrow to begin a week-long stint. If you’ve been meaning to volunteer but haven’t, go ahead and drop us a line — there may still be openings later in the summer.
It’s getting to be that season. Guest blogging for a week at Overlawyered is a great way to call attention to your blog (you do have one, don’t you?) or dip your toe into blogging if you’ve written in other formats. Return guestbloggers are more than welcome too. If the idea appeals to you, drop me a line at editor – at – [this domain name] – dot – com.
I’m happy to announce that David Nieporent has kindly agreed to stay on as a regular contributor to Overlawyered. David’s writing also appears at his site Jumping to Conclusions as well as at his new venture with Ron Coleman, Likelihood of Success. His guest posts here in recent weeks have definitely struck a chord among readers. Congratulate us, and him!