- ’98 master tobacco settlement: not just bootleggers and Baptists, but also “televangelists.” [Morriss, Regulation, h/t Ted] #
- Slants and biases in Associated Press reporting aren’t new, but they’ve become impossible to ignore [WaPo] #
- Unplanned result of bailout: lenders back off from deals to sell distressed real estate at cut price [Coyote] #
- GM needs to tear up contracts with its unions, retirees, and dealers, which means it needs bankruptcy [Bainbridge] #
- No kidding: gorgeous photography of slime molds [English Russia] #
- Blog primer on credit default swaps and other financial derivatives [Derivative Dribble] #
- Wouldn’t it be more helpful to save the epithet “socialist” for times when it’s really, you know, accurate? [Ron Coleman] #
- State of New York staring into fiscal chasm, years of $10 billion+ deficits [NYPost] #
Where’s the trial lawyer bringing a class action on behalf of all of the people who were defrauded when they gave money to John Edwards’s presidential campaign? It’s certainly a much more plausible claim of causation, reliance, and financial injury than the typical class action.
More seriously, I hope someone somewhere is investigating whether Fred Baron violated federal campaign finance law when he set aside tens of thousands of dollars to pay Rielle Hunter hush money without disclosing the payments on behalf of Edwards. Edwards said he was in the Beverly Hilton to help keep the story from becoming public, which makes it seem unlikely he’s telling the truth when he said that he had no knowledge that Baron moved Hunter to California. Alas, ABC didn’t ask the right follow-up questions, such as how Edwards thought meeting Hunter in a hotel room would help keep the story quiet. And “Fred Baron” appears nowhere in the New York Times story, even as he is a major fund-raiser for Barack Obama today. Obama is still running for president, right?
- Sure enough, former Milberg lawyers sue the convicted ex-Milberg lawyers for breach of fiduciary duty. I was wondering when that was going to happen. [WSJ Law Blog; NYLJ/law.com; earlier]
- Why file grievance against a fellow attorney who’s only stolen $200,000 from clients? Colleagues wonder [Las Vegas Review-Journal via ABA]
- Judge: No evidence of wrongdoing by Kenneth Pasternak. Too bad he can’t get his three years back. Meanwhile SEC keeps bringing enforcement cases on same repeatedly rejected theory of liability. [WSJ; Law Blog]
- “What the AP and The New York Times’ Hansell don’t seem to realize is how hostile an act it is to send lawyer letters to individuals.” [Jarvis via Patterico]
- “When judges act like politicians, the judicial selection process – elected or appointed – becomes increasingly political. Action and reaction. The politicization of the court led to the politicization of the elections for justices. … When justices arrogate political policymaking to themselves, they should not be surprised when they are held to the same standards as politicians.” [Wisconsin Policy Research Institute via American Courthouse; I said that, too]
- Even Susan Estrich finds the Alex Kozinski web site mini-to-do as evidence of media bias. [Estrich; Patterico link roundup]
- Senator McCaskill shows her ignorance on the Anheuser-Busch merger and corporate officer duties. [Hodak]
- A clever attorney will already have a fill-in-the-blanks product liability complaint drafted against Lego. [Childs]
- Hugo Chavez expropriates wealth to consolidate dictatorship. American lawyer helps. Somehow I don’t think we’ll see an Alien Tort Claims Act suit against his law firm. [AmLaw Daily]
- Are plaintiffs’ attorneys judge-shopping by filing and dismissing and refiling identical class-action complaints in the highly-publicized restaurant menu case against Applebee’s? [Cal Biz Lit]
- You won’t be surprised that most of the nine worst business stories picked by BMI involve spoon-feeding by plaintiffs’ attorneys to a credulous press. [Business & Media Institute]
- “There’s no justification whatsoever for the agency to take any kind of action,” said Julie Vallese, a spokeswoman for the Consumer Product Safety Commission. “The claims being made about the dangers of shower curtains are phantasmagorical. It’s ridiculous.” Yeah, but the lawsuits are bound to happen anyway. [NY Daily News]
- Jack Thompson stays in the news when U.S. Marshals pay him a visit after a letter to a judge. [GamePolitics (h/t J.L.)]
- “A City lawyer who is demanding £19 million in compensation for work-place bullying faked a nervous breakdown to secure a larger payout, an employment tribunal was told.” [London Times via ATL]
- Did defensive medicine almost kill a patient when doctor worries more about potential lawsuit than whether nurse could save patient’s life? Heck if I know, but the underlying medicine is debated in the comments. [EM Physician blog]
- Hair-stylist fined £4,000 for “hurt feelings” after refusing to hire a Muslim stylist who wouldn’t show her hair at work. [Daily Mail (h/t Slim); earlier on Overlawyered]
- Disturbing turn in the Adam Reposa disciplinary hearing over his obscene gesture in court: state bar introduces satirical magazine as evidence because they “thought it was indicative of Reposa’s lack of respect for the law and the court system.” [Texas Lawyer/law.com] Mind you, this is the same Texas legal discipline system that refused to take action against Fred Baron and gave a slap on the wrist to the lawyers who tried to fake evidence in a product liability suit against Chrysler. As long as your priorities are straight.
Arbitration opponents complain that mandatory arbitration clauses “deprive” consumers of a day in court. One such set of complaints was aired in a big Business Week story (to which NAF responded and refuted); CNN recently repeated these allegations in a one-sided story. So it’s worth taking a look at how well consumers do in court when it comes to debt collection:
- Monday’s polar bear panel at AEI is a panel about the law of polar bears and the effect of the FWS decision to list them as threatened, rather than a panel featuring polar bears. So no fish will be served. Volokh’s Jonathan Adler will be there, though. [Volokh; AEI]
- Limiting lawsuit abuses lowers costs from litigation, creates jobs in long run. [Engler & McQuillan @ Detroit News]
- HBO to small businesses: prepositions are okay, but conjunctions will lead to injunctions. [Baltimore Sun]
- A one-sided love letter to Cozen O’Connor in the Philadelphia Inquirer over its September 11 litigation is a bit too revealing about its deep-pocket searches: “Cozen lawyers also had to be sure that such a defendant made financial sense, for the firm and its clients.” Culpability, of course, isn’t in the equation; and the newspaper story fails to account for the public-policy implications of having trial lawyers stepping on foreign policy. [Philadelphia Inquirer]
- Life imitates “The Office”: law firm offers “love contracts” for dating workers. [ABA Journal]
- More evidence of FDA overwarning, even when the science and law does not justify it. [Kyle Sampson @ Product Liability Law 360]
- Business tries to bully small website with litigation; small website successfully fights back. [CL&P Blog]
- “[Ron] Paul accomplished the one thing he’s always been good at: using political appeals to get people to send money. I don’t feel freer.” [Henley via Kirkendall]
- “It’s infuriating how all three presidential candidates prattle on about the need to fight global warming while also complaining about the high price of gasoline.” [Postrel]
- Story on Vioxx settlement and Merck winning reversals heavily quotes me. [Product Liability Law 360 ($)]
ABC Good Morning America signs on to the litigation lobby war against freedom of contract by parroting a Public Citizen anecdote about the supposed horrors of arbitration–though the underlying problem (mistaken identity of Anastasiya Komarova) had nothing to do with the arbitration proceeding. Needless to say, none of the benefits of arbitration to consumers was mentioned, and only Public Citizen’s one-sided and misleading statistics were used. Nathan Burchfiel is on the case.
The Supreme Court has refused to offer help to Hurricane Katrina victims who want their insurance companies to pay for flood damage to their homes and businesses.
As if the choice in a case is simply going where your sympathies lie, and when the court decided not to take the appeal, the halls rang with evil laughter and mocking statements such as this: “We will extend no help to Katrina victims because we love to see them suffer and we love to support our evil twins, the insurance companies who steal from them.”
The Fifth Circuit, of course, simply enforced the insurance policies as written, and noted that the word “flood” included a flood caused by the breach of the levees in New Orleans, reversing a district court that disingenuously held otherwise. And the Supreme Court simply refused to make the appeal of that obvious decision one of the 1% of petitions for certiorari that it grants.
Update: Mark Obbie, while also critical of the lede, writes:
The Civil Justice Association of California says it so well, we might as well just quote them:
“Fee arbitration offers cheaper, faster alternative to litigation.” Where did that headline run? Give up? In the California Bar Journal, the “Official Publication of the State Bar of California! The story beneath it praises fee arbitration between lawyers and clients, saying that arbitrators are reporting that their work “gives people immediate results, unlike protracted litigation.”
The Bar’s presiding arbitrator, Arne Werchick, is quoted as saying: “It’s a neutral program that gives everyone a fair shake.”
We hope Mr. Werchick, who was president of the trial lawyers association in 1980, sends copies of the article to personal injury and other plaintiffs’ lawyers in Sacramento and Washington. They are once again firing up their endless campaign to block people’s constitutional right to contract to settle future disputes by arbitration rather than going to court.
Separately, ABC News parrots the trial-lawyer line with misleading coverage of another arbitration involving Tracy Barker: they falsely report that Barker’s lawsuit was “killed” (when it will in fact be heard in the forum that Barker contractually agreed to litigate in), that the proceedings will be “secret” (when Barker has the right to publicize them the same way she can publicize a trial), and waits until deep into the story to acknowledge that the arbitration clause does not prohibit the employee from bringing litigation against her alleged rapist. Where’s John Stossel and “Give Me A Break” when you need him?
For more on the litigation lobby’s battle against arbitration, see the Overlawyered arbitration section.