- Both McC and Palin seem cold-blooded about firing people, might be seen as feature rather than bug [McLaughlin/Baseball Crank] #
- Legal obstacles to four day work week [Point of Law via @lilyhill] #
- Yep, that’s Joe: Biden said he’s “done more than any other senator combined” for trial lawyers [Point of Law] #
- Day of protest against software patents [OUT-LAW via @lawtweets] #
- Related? “EPO staff strike over patent quality” [OUT-LAW] #
- What a curious Nigerian scam email, do you think it could be genuine? [Cernovich] #
- @carney John Carney on short selling “I want a personal uptick rule. No one can be mean to me unless it’s preceded by good news about me.” #
- Megan McArdle on the run on money market funds, thanks @petewarden Atlantic #
- George Will implicitly endorsing Obama? Sure looks like it WaPo #
- Kevin LaCroix keeps a tally of credit crisis investor lawsuits D&O Diary thanks @lilyhill #
- Moose causes 9-car pileup right here in the NYC suburbs, Sarah come help White Plains Journal-News #
- Politicshome USA is pretty neat election site even aside from their flattering the heck outta me Overlawyered #
- Sarah Palin Baby Name Generator; mine is Pie Gallon Palin. #
- McCain assails SEC’s Cox, but Bainbridge is going with Cox; #
- Yes, racial profiling figures into use of peremptory challenges [Sommers, Psychology Today via Deliberations] #
- SEC’s net capital rule waivers to blame for credit blowup? [NYSun] #
- NY Observer’s Doonan cool to Palin eyeglass craze; #
- Business lobbies went along with expansion of ADA litigant categories [Point of Law] #
- @teafortillerman I think “trough gutted palin” is the best I’ve seen yet #
- Don’t blame Gramm-Leach-Bliley for housing bubble [MargRev] #
- Experimentally incorporating Twitter into Overlawyered; #
- @kevinokeefe I’m using Firefox and “follow” button on Twitter fails until I refresh. #
- PR firm retracts Tweet that sought to scare up class action plaintiffs [O’Keefe] #
Famous persons often attract the attention of serial or scattershot lawsuit-filers, including inmates filing handwritten complaints. Senators McCain and Obama are luckier than many defendants because of the principle cited by a federal judge as he dismissed one recent complaint: “Members of Congress are absolutely immune from lawsuits, such as this one, arising from the performance of their official duties.” But such suits do “require both the defendants and the judicial system to pay attention”, and sometimes employ attorneys to file multi-page formal motions in response. (Michael Doyle, McClatchy, Sept. 12 via How Appealing).
- High-profile trial lawyer and Hillary fundraiser John Coale now backing McCain, believes plaintiff-friendly Sen. Lindsey Graham, a confidant of the GOP candidate, will sway him on liability issues [Gerstein, NY Sun, Tapper/ABC, Haddad/Newsweek] More on McCain-Graham friendship [New Republic]
- Reasonably neutral evaluation of contrasting McCain and Obama positions [Chris Nichols, NC Trial Law Blog]
- No Naderite he? Sen. Biden has generally taken a “protect the golden goose” approach toward his state’s niche as provider of corporate law [Pileggi, Bainbridge]
- Palin’s views on legal reform mostly unknown; Alaska (like Delaware) has one of the most highly regarded state legal systems, and wouldn’t it be fun if the state’s distinctive and longstanding (if somewhat attenuated) loser-pays rule got mentioned in the campaign?
- Lending spice to campaign: prospect that victorious Dems might criminally prosecute Bush officials [Guardian (U.K.), Memeorandum, OpenLeft (“we’ll put people in prison” vows whistleblower trial lawyer/Democratic Florida Congressional candidate Alan Grayson)] Some differences of opinion among Obama backers on war crimes trials [Turley (Cass Sunstein flayed for go-slow approach); Kerr @ Volokh (Dahlia Lithwick doesn’t think it has to be Nuremberg or nothing); earlier]
- If anyone’s keeping track of these things, co-blogger Ted is much involved with the McCain campaign this fall, I am not involved with anyone’s, so discount (or don’t discount) accordingly.
I should further disclose that I am doing some pretty exciting (if unpaid) consulting for the campaign; as it will require some travel, blogging will be light from me for the next few days.
Daniel Fisher usually understands legal issues and has done some good reporting about trial-lawyer abuses, so I was very disappointed in today’s Forbes.com story (which quotes me about Obama and CAFA). Most notably, it’s not true that tort reform is a “catchall phrase for legislative measures designed to make it harder for individuals to sue businesses”–many tort reforms make it easier for individuals with legitimate claims to sue businesses. Tort reforms are simply measures to improve the accuracy and efficiency of the civil justice system; they’re opposed by trial lawyers because they derive billions of dollars of wealth from inaccuracies and inefficiencies in the civil justice system, and supported by businesses and consumers that are the victims of such inaccuracies and inefficiencies.
The article also inaccurately characterizes the Obama-Clinton medical malpractice legislation, and furthers the idea of “Kennedy is a moderate,” blurring the role of the Supreme Court by implicitly endorsing the liberal idea of it as a political superlegislature rather than a judicial body with an obligation to follow the law. The focus on anti-preemption legislation, as opposed to some of the dozens of other pro-trial-lawyer-lobby bills pending in this Congress and likely to be renewed next Congress, is unusual. (Separately, I disagree with Jim Copland; I don’t think McCain would hesitate to veto the giveaways to the trial-lawyer lobby if they’re in single-purpose bills and not attached as hidden amendments to omnibus legislation.)
I’m less surprised than Fisher and Bill Childs that Obama is getting money from defense firms, or, more accurately, attorneys who work at defense firms. The legal establishment is overwhelmingly liberal (hence the 3:1 fundraising advantage Obama has), and many defense attorneys are perfectly happy with a status quo that requires companies to pay them millions of dollars to continue doing business. (Some are too happy, and have vocally supported ABA resolutions that would harm their clients–something their clients should pay closer attention to.)
While plaintiffs’ law firm contributions are often coordinated (sometimes a bit illegally, as when Tab Turner’s firm and Geoffrey Fieger’s firm were caught reimbursing their employees for donating to John Edwards), it’s a mistake to think the same thing happens in the defense bar, where attorneys are donating on an individual basis because they perceive future government administration (or Article III) jobs of a certain political caliber as pay-to-play or because they’re otherwise simply interested in the political process. Kirkland & Ellis may have tobacco and asbestos defense in its portfolio, and many alumni in the Bush administration, but most Kirkland attorneys are doing other things, and a disproportionate number of them at the Chicago-based firm are going to be former classmates of or students of Harvard Law graduate and Chicago Law lecturer Obama, and have the six- and seven-digit incomes to give maximum contributions–and it only takes a few dozen $4600 contributions to make a firm look like a big contributor. (And, on the other hand, as if to demonstrate the bipartisan nature of most law firms, John McCain turned to a Republican attorney, former Reagan White House Counsel A.B. Culvahouse, at the largely Democratic O’Melveny & Myers to lead his vice presidential search.) During the primaries, the trial lawyers were giving most of their money to Edwards, Clinton, and Biden, but those fundraisers are now doing business with Obama, as the recent press coverage of Fred Baron shows.
But the article is correct that the outlook for federal tort reform is grim, and that reformers are looking at rearguard actions defending against numerous attempts to make the system worse.
- “Dog owners in Switzerland will have to pass a test to prove they can control and care for their animal, or risk losing it, the Swiss government said yesterday.” [Daily Telegraph]
- 72-year-old mom visits daughter’s Southport, Ct. home, falls down stairs searching for bathroom at night, sues daughter for lack of night light, law firm boasts of her $2.475 million win on its website [Casper & deToledo, scroll to “Jeremy C. Virgil”]
- Can’t possibly be right: “Every American enjoys a constitutional right to sue any other American in a West Virginia court” [W.V. Record]
- Video contest for best spoof personal injury attorney ads [Sick of Lawsuits; YouTube]
- Good profile of Kathleen Seidel, courageous blogger nemesis of autism/vaccine litigation [Concord Monitor*, Orac]. Plus: all three White House hopefuls now pander to anti-vaxers, Dems having matched McCain [Orac]
- One dollar for every defamed Chinese person amounts to a mighty big lawsuit demand against CNN anchor Jack Cafferty [NYDN link now dead; Independent (U.K.)]
- Hapless Ben Stein whipped up one side of the street [Salmon on financial regulation] and down the other [Derbyshire on creationism]
- If only Weimar Germany had Canada-style hate-speech laws to prevent the rise of — wait, you mean they did? [Steyn/Maclean’s] Plus: unlawful in Alberta to expose a person to contempt based on his “source of income” [Levant quoting sec. 3 (1)(b) of Human Rights Law]
- Hey, these coupon settlements are giving all of us class action lawyers a bad name [Leviant/The Complex Litigator]
- Because patent law is bad enough all by itself? D.C. Circuit tosses out FTC’s antitrust ruling against Rambus [GrokLaw; earlier]
- “The fell attorney prowls for prey” — who wrote that line, and about which city? [four years ago on Overlawyered]
*Okay, one flaw in the profile: If Prof. Irving Gottesman compares Seidel to Erin Brockovich he probably doesn’t know much about Brockovich.
McCain-Feingold is based on the premise that money used to purchase speech distorts the political process because candidates can use money to fool voters, and therefore the speech purchased by money must be regulated. First Amendment limitations that not even the O’Connor Court was willing to override, however, prevented McCain-Feingold from reaching the spending of personal funds to self-promote. Thus, multi-millionaire Mitt Romney, because he was able to spend millions of dollars of his own money to promote his message would, according to the premises of McCain-Feingold, prevent candidates without those millions from winning elections. If those premises are correct. Which is why John McCain’s decisive victory yesterday is simultaneously a decisive repudiation of the campaign finance law he is most known for.
- Speaking of privacy, consider what happens when lawyers get a hold of your email. (When will we see law professors eager to create new causes of action consider the privacy-destroying implications of ediscovery?) [Fulton County Daily Report/law.com; Toronto Globe & Mail; Point of Law] Earlier: Jan. 9 and links therein.
- Speaking of privacy and reputation, Mary Roberts goes to trial, but Above the Law doesn’t mention our coverage (June 2004; Sep. 2005; Feb. 6; Mar. 19; May 17), and misses the juicy details.
- Oy: “Woman who ‘lost count after drinking 14 vodkas’ awarded £7,000 over New Year fall from bridge.” News from the compensation culture not entirely bad: damages were reasonable, and the court did hold the woman 80% responsible, the exact opposite of the McDonald’s coffee case. [Scotsman.com]
- No good deed goes unpunished: Sperm donor liable for child support, judge rules. [Newsday/Seattle Times]
- Bad attorney gets fired, sues DLA Piper for discrimination, represents herself pro se, demonstrates firsthand why she got fired: law firm wins on summary judgment. [ABA Journal; update: also New York Law Journal]
- Romney on tort reform; McCain on medmal. [Torts Prof Blog; Torts Prof Blog]
- Another day, another Borat lawsuit. I’m still waiting for the consumer fraud lawsuit from moviegoers upset that it was not actually a Kazakh documentary. [Reuters; earlier]