Posts Tagged ‘Manhattan Institute’

New Tabarrok/Agan med-mal study

Today the Manhattan Institute’s Center for Legal Policy (with which I’m affiliated) released a major new paper by Alexander Tabarrok and Amanda Agan of George Mason University’s Department of Economics. It’s titled “Medical Malpractice Awards, Insurance, and Negligence: Which Are Related?” As summarized by my colleague Jim Copland this morning at Point of Law, Tabarrok and Agan reach the following conclusions:

1. They show that medical malpractice premiums are closely related to medical malpractice tort awards. …

2. They show that medical malpractice premiums are not explained by insurance industry price gouging. …

3. They show that medical malpractice tort awards are related to some factors not rationally related to injuries. …

4. They show that malpractice tort awards and thus insurance premiums can vary dramatically for reasons having little or nothing to do with negligence.

More here and here.

Jane Jacobs, 1916-2006

A likely winner of the Stendhal lottery — the one in which the prize is to write a book that will still be read a hundred years after it saw day — the urbanist is remembered by the Manhattan Institute’s Howard Husock at City Journal and by Tyler Cowen, Jesse Walker, Sissy Willis, Witold Rybczynski at Slate, Alan Ehrenhalt, New Haven Independent and Ann Althouse, to list just a small sampling. I put in my own laudatory two cents in a 1998 Reason symposium. More: 2Blowhards.

Contingency fee-o-rama

Anyone interested in the ethical, practical and philosophical case for and against the lawyers’ contingency fee (or contingent fee; usage varies) should be sure to check out two new resources:

* At Point of Law, the new Featured Discussion just underway pits George Mason lawprof Alex Tabarrok, who’s generally supportive of contingency fees, against Jim Copland of the Manhattan Institute, who’s critical;

* David Giacalone, who has written extensively on the problems inherent in protecting clients from overreaching by their lawyers, has now posted a four-part series (one, two, three, four) laying out his views on the pluses and minuses of the contingency fee more systematically than his blog posts have done up to now.

For my own views, see Chapter Two of my 1991 book The Litigation Explosion, which Point of Law has posted in PDF format.

Vioxx coverage (and more) at Point of Law

For comprehensive coverage of this week’s verdicts in lawsuits against Merck, see Point of Law. In particular, Ted corrects reporters who keep passing on ill-informed assertions that the Cona/McDarby results are going to preclude Merck from raising its earlier defenses in the thousands of Vioxx cases yet to come, and that that New Jersey cases are being heard in “Merck’s home court“.

Other things you’ve been missing if you don’t check our sister site regularly:

* New regular contributors include Larry Ribstein (Ideoblog), Tom Kirkendall (Houston’s Clear Thinkers), and Sam Munson (Manhattan Institute);

* Theodore Dalrymple on a new history of vaccine litigation;

* Jim Copland on Rep. Cynthia McKinney and a class action on behalf of Capitol police;

* Ted on the Supreme Court’s recent Dabit decision on state-court securities suits (here and here); and on a new med-mal study;

* Michael Krauss on a tort suit in the U.S. against ExxonMobil over abuses by the Indonesian military;

* Jonathan B. Wilson on offer-of-judgment reform in Georgia (and more); and joint-and-several-liability reform in Pennsylvania, just vetoed by that state’s Gov. Ed Rendell;

* Posts by me nominating an Arizona lawprof for “the worst and most tendentious analogy in the history of the liability debate”; on doctors’ Good Samaritan liability; a ruling in the New York school finance case, an AG who dissents from his brethren on the tobacco deal; the Rhode Island lead paint verdict (here, here, etc.); Seventh Circuit judge Diane Sykes criticizes the Wisconsin Supreme Court; and lost-overtime suits on behalf of $400,000-a-year stockbrokers. And, of course, much much more — bookmark the site today.

Anne Brunsdale, RIP

Anne Brunsdale, who died recently at age 82 following a long illness, was beloved by a large circle of friends in Washington, D.C., in her native Upper Midwest, and around the country. At the American Enterprise Institute in Washington she founded and edited the magazine Regulation (where she hired me in 1980 to work with her as an associate editor; I left to join the Manhattan Institute four years later). Her career culminated in a presidential appointment to a seat on the International Trade Commission, where she rendered distinguished service for a decade, including some years as chairwoman.

I won’t use words like “mentor” and “role model” to describe Anne’s influence on me, if only because I can imagine her penciling them through with a notation in the margin, “jargon“. I will say that no one in my professional life ever taught me more about how to write, or work with others, or behave as an adult, or see past the political enmities of the day. When I dedicated my book about legal conflict in the workplace, The Excuse Factory, to Anne, it was the inevitable tribute of memory to the perfect boss. If you’d like to learn more about her life and work, Claudia Anderson, long a close friend of hers, has written a very fine appreciation in the new Weekly Standard.

Update: “Maag’s defamation suit is dismissed again”

Watch what you say about judges, yet again: For the second time, Illinois circuit court judge Patrick Kelley has dismissed a $110 million defamation lawsuit filed by former Madison County appellate judge Gordon Maag against groups that criticized him during his unsuccessful 2004 double run for a seat on the Illinois Supreme Court and for retention in his existing seat. Maag’s attorney, Rex Carr, vowed to appeal. (Paul Hampel, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Jan. 9; Steve Gonzalez, “Maag’s defamation suit dismissed, again”, St. Clair Record, Jan. 9; “That’s two strikes, now spare us” (editorial), Madison Record, Jan. 15). Since losing the races, Maag has aimed defamation suits at a wide range of local and national groups that include the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, the American Tort Reform Association and even the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, with which I’m affiliated (no, I don’t know what his theory for including it was, and I haven’t asked). For more on the controversy, see Dec. 23, 2004, as well as PoL Jun. 10, 2005 and assorted links there.

As usual, the funniest piece on the controversy came from the wonderful (and brave) columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Bill McClellan, who explains that he is not among Judge Maag’s critics (after all, who likes getting sued?) but notices that “there seems to be some question as to whether he is a resident of Illinois, as he stated in one of his suits, or a resident of Alabama, as he stated in another.” (“With confusion over residency, lawyer’s critics feel vindicated”, Nov. 25).

NYC transit strike

Which New York elected official has the legal authority and responsibility to take action against the union’s lawbreaking, but almost certainly won’t? Ted has the answer. (Hint: initials are E.S.)

P.S. Thanks to our commenter for pointing out that our prediction above wasn’t accurate as worded, since reports are that Attorney General Spitzer is willing to go to court to enforce the injunction. Ted’s point, which I should have been more careful in conveying, is that it’s doubtful Spitzer will proceed to “seek the full measure of damages on behalf of New York citizenry, and criminal penalties for the criminal contempt of the union leadership”.

More (Dec. 21): The judge’s $1 million/day contempt fine against the union may sound high, but needs to be set against economic damage to the city and its residents amounting to hundreds of millions a day. As Ted points out in comments, it amounts to $30/day per union member; MTA bus drivers make $60,000 a year. In addition, unions frequently succeed in negotiating an amnesty for fines as part of an eventual strike settlement; Steve Malanga of the Manhattan Institute notes that in the TWU’s illegal eleven-day walkout in 1980, “when a judge imposed fines on workers, they simply upped their demands to cover the costs, winning 18% wage increases over two years.” (“What Would Reagan Do?”, WSJ (sub), Dec. 21; “Make the TWU Pay For the Harm It’s Done”, (editorial), New York Post, Dec. 21 (reg); “The transit strike” (editorial), New York Sun, Dec. 20; John P. Avlon, “Hostage for the Holidays”, New York Sun, Dec. 16).