Posts Tagged ‘junk science’

September 1 roundup

  • “Massage Parlor Mistrial Declared After Masseuse Recognizes Defense Lawyer as Client” [ABA Journal]
  • Paying opposing expert to leave country? “Drug company lawyer taped trying to foil lawsuit” [AP]
  • What anti-business crusades have in common with the War on Drugs [David Henderson] Some of those “oil and gas subsidies” aren’t [Coyote]
  • Nocera on NLRB v. Boeing [NYT] A contrary view [Hirsch]
  • Science finds no link between WTC dust, cancer? Then science will just have to give [Jeff Stier, Reason; but see later study on firefighters at the scene]
  • Per Maureen Orth at Vanity Fair, the widow of designer Oleg Cassini has been in at least 15 lawsuits. Guess who’s named in number 16? [AW]
  • Stop competing with us! Lawyers claim online-legal-form provider LegalZoom is engaged in unauthorized practice of law [WSJ, Dan Fisher, ABA Journal]

“Wakefield’s article linking MMR vaccine and autism was fraudulent”

A British Medical Journal editorial confirms that scientific misconduct by then-Dr. Andrew Wakefield was even worse than previously assumed. The resulting media-fueled panic led parents to refuse vaccination in large numbers, and childhood scourges such as measles soared as a result, with disability and even death resulting. Wakefield was being financed by lawyers hoping to sue the vaccine industry. [Respectful Insolence, CNN, AP, Adler]

Bad-mouthing Toyota and its defenders

Years ago I promised myself that I’d stop wading into comments sections, but my breach of that promise today in a trial-lawyer blog attacking me for pointing out the truth about the bogus Toyota sudden acceleration claims might amuse some readers, and I might as well get a post out of it.

“Are not companies obligated to make the safest vehicle possible?”

The safest vehicle possible is a Sherman tank with a restrictor plate preventing it from exceeding 1 mph, so the answer to your question is “no”—though certainly trial lawyers have an interest in asking you to think manufacturers are doing something wrong when they don’t.

“Until Toyota can identify the exact cause of these accidents (besides the too-convenient driver error) anything and everything is in question and must be investigated.”

I look forward to you writing NHTSA and demanding they investigate if invisible vampires are causing elderly drivers to hit the wrong pedal. After all, anything and everything is in question, and you reject Occam’s Razor when it comes to an alleged electronic defect that simultaneously causes three separate systems to malfunction six times more often for elderly drivers than non-elderly drivers, so why not demand an investigation of the equally unlikely invisible-vampire problem as long as you’re rejecting science?

Update: South Carolina $18M sudden acceleration verdict reversed

And in timely news, a specious $18M sudden acceleration verdict (see our August 2006 coverage) was unanimously reversed by the South Carolina Supreme Court after they threw out junk-science testimony theorizing that electromagnetic interference with the cruise control caused the sudden acceleration. Passengers in the crash that wore their seatbelts were uninjured, but the unbelted driver was paralyzed. The plaintiff has the option of a new trial. (Sonya Watson v. Ford Motor Company, h/t L Nettles comment).

Lancet repudiates MMR vaccine study

It only took twelve years, but Lancet, which oft publishes politically motivated papers masquerading as medicine, has conceded that the 1998 paper criticizing MMR vaccines was simply “false.” [Lancet; BBC]

No telling how many children died in the meantime, all so trial lawyers could line their pockets attacking vaccine manufacturers.

December 23 roundup

  • AT&T sued for $1 billion for allegedly misclassifying managers [Hyman, American Lawyer]
  • Shaken-baby-syndrome angle deserved more attention in Baucus-girlfriend-for-U.S.-Attorney flap [Kos, Freeland, earlier]
  • Awful: “Holocaust Denier Sues Survivor” [South Florida Sun-Sentinel via Faces of Lawsuit Abuse “worst lawsuits of 2009” poll which you can take here]
  • Bizarre new twist in rogue Philly cop unit story [Balko, earlier here, here, etc.]
  • More on the first “Bruno” lawsuit against Sacha Baron Cohen [Lowering the Bar, earlier]
  • False accusation as academic career booster: “The Rot at Duke” [Stuart Taylor, Jr., National Journal]
  • Claim: Netflix recommendation algorithm contest exposed a subscriber’s privacy to her detriment [Singel, Wired]
  • No “Continuing Duty to Investigate Accuracy” of Newspaper Article Posted on Web Site [Volokh on Jenzabar case, earlier here and here]

Popular Mechanics on bad forensics

It’s a cover story entitled “CSI Myths: The Shaky Science Behind Forensics“:

Forensic science was not developed by scientists. It was mostly created by cops, who were guided by little more than common sense. And as hundreds of criminal cases begin to unravel, many established forensic practices are coming under fire. PM takes an in-depth look at the shaky science that has put innocent people behind bars.

Via Radley Balko and Scott Greenfield.

June 23 roundup

  • In case you were waiting for it: update on “toxic-bra” litigation [OnPoint News, Kashmir Hill, Above the Law (noting that rashes can have many different causes); earlier]
  • Parts 5 & 6 of White Coat’s malpractice-suit saga [opposition’s expert witness; emotional support]
  • “Global Insurance Fraud by North Korea Outlined” [Washington Post]
  • British cops aren’t saying which famous buildings you can be stopped/searched for photographing [BoingBoing]
  • FBI said to probe whether construction-defect lawyers have improper ties to Nevada homeowner associations that give them business [Carter Wood at Point of Law]
  • With junk science in even criminal prosecutions, is there hope of keeping it out of civil cases? [Coyote]
  • “Remember when you could fight with a sibling and not face arrest?” [Obscure Store, 10-year-old Texas girl]
  • Australian man obtains patent on “circular transportation facilitation device”, otherwise known as “the wheel”, to make point about ease of obtaining weak patents [eight years ago on Overlawyered]