- Christopher Hitchens: once utopian electoral buzz wears off, nation’ll face pretty much same set of problems as before [Slate] #
- Business preparing to play defense in D.C. on 3 big battlefronts: labor/empt law, arbitration, preemption [NLJ] #
- Pretty neat, Google Reader now translates foreign-language blogs for you [SearchEngineLand h/t @mike_elgan] #
- @gideonstrumpet it’s one of the “laws” of blogging — very hard to predict beforehand which posts’ll draw the biggest traffic #
- “Lawyer Hausfeld Learned of Firing as Chairman From Note on Seat” [Securities Docket] #
- If transcript “is held face down and shaken, thousands of confusion flakes will drift to the ground like snowflakes” [Lowering the Bar] #
- Jamie Gorelick, mentioned as possible AG pick, would bring baggage [Althouse] #
- GM-Chrysler merger = idea that pair of boozers can fix drinking problem by getting married to each other [McArdle] #
- Eeeeeeuw: House of Meats employees show reporter “they have all ten of their fingers” after customer reports human digit in her dish of oxtails [BayNews 9 Tampa]
- Press keeps digging into Joe Biden ties to asbestos bar [American Lawyer, more links in PoL roundup]
- Black eye for big law site FindLaw with reports that it’s been selling law firms links in editorial material, a practice sure to raise Google wrath [Oilman, Kevin O’Keefe/Real Lawyers Have Blogs, ABA Journal, Search Engine Land, National Post] More: WSJ on FindLaw’s denial; O’Keefe.
- Overlawyered favorite Fred Baron, of Rielle Hunter generosity, much in evidence at Democratic convention [Dallas Morning News, ABC News] Texas trial lawyer Steve Susman is only individual lawyer listed as convention sponsor [AmLaw Daily, scroll]
- As if legislative expansion of the Americans with Disabilities Act weren’t worry enough, 1,000 pages of new DoJ regulations will add billions in costs, as by requiring that 50 percent of miniature golf holes be wheelchair-accessible [Las Vegas Review-Journal via ABA Journal]
- “Bond reduced for two fen-phen attorneys” in Kentucky [Lexington Herald-Leader, more]
- Cozen O’Connor and insurers dealt big setback as Second Circuit’s Judge Jacobs rules they can’t sue Saudi government over 9/11 [Philadelphia Inquirer, more; related on FOIA, Legal Intelligencer; earlier here and here]
- Jury awards $500,000 in malpractice suit against D.C.-based plaintiffs’ firm Cohen Milstein Hausfeld & Toll [Legal Times]
- Australia: “A serial protester who injured a policewoman during the G20 riots wants her conviction overturned so she can still practise as a lawyer.” [Melbourne Herald Sun, Julia Dehm]
Hard-hitting column by Stuart Taylor, Jr. on the destructiveness of the current legal actions
seeking more than $400 billion from companies that did business in South Africa during apartheid, [which] score high on what I call Taylor’s Index of Completely Worthless Lawsuit Indicators:
• The lawsuits will do victims of wrongdoing little or no good.
• They will penalize no human being who has done anything wrong.
• They will deter more conduct that is beneficial than harmful.
• The legal costs and any damages will come at the expense of the general public.
• The lawsuits therefore serve no purpose at all but to enrich lawyers and provide ideological power trips for some judges as well as lawyers.
American Isuzu Motors v. Ntsebeza, recently allowed to go forward, is being led by (among others) class-actioneer and frequent Overlawyered mentionee Michael Hausfeld.
The apartheid lawsuit is one of dozens seeking to pervert the Alien Tort Statute to mulct companies for ordinary commercial conduct in countries accused of human-rights violations. Caterpillar, for example, was sued for selling bulldozers that Israel used to destroy suspected Palestinian terrorists’ homes. (The case was dismissed.) “The American bar is actively soliciting alien plaintiffs” to try out novel theories, State Department legal adviser John Bellinger noted in a recent speech. Because so many federal judges have smiled on such suits, Bellinger added, foreign governments increasingly regard the U.S. judiciary “as something of a rogue actor.”
With added commentary on the Kivalina climate-change class action, Rhode Island lead paint, shareholder litigation, and Lerach, Weiss, and Scruggs. (National Journal, May 17, will rotate off page so catch it now).
- New Jersey Supreme Court won’t touch appellate court reversal of $105M dram-shop verdict against Aramark Corp. Not noted in our earlier coverage: Aramark was held liable as a deep pocket through illegitimate piercing of the corporate veil, adding yet another problem to an appalling series of problems with the trial. [New Jersey Law Journal; earlier on Overlawyered; Point of Law]
- Half-trillion-dollar class certified against Wal-Mart in lawless Ninth Circuit decision. [Point of Law]
- Court papers show direct link to Lerach in Milberg probe. Most entertaining: a letter by Lerach saying “Dr. Cooperman’s reputation and character are impeccable.” Cooperman has since pled guilty to taking kickbacks, and Milberg Weiss now says he has no credibility. [National Law Journal; WSJ Law Blog]
- Slip and fall worth $5.7M [Atlantic City Press]
- Cardiologists doing Brazilians: “Graduating med students aren’t blind; they see established physicians with busy practices dropping out. Looking ahead they see more headaches–more controls and regulations, more scrutiny, more liability, less money.” [TIME via Kevin MD]
- Florida law may allow men to get out of paying fraudulent paternity when DNA shows they’re not the father. [Miami Herald; see also Parker v. Parker; earlier on Overlawyered]
- Editorial: Alabama Supreme Court ruling on illegal multi-billion-dollar punitive damages award in Exxon contract dispute can prove state is no longer tort hell. [Press-Register]
- Update to earlier Overlawyered post: Danny Cuesta pleads guilty, sentenced to fifteen months; Melissa Cuesta, whose claim we covered, arrested for perjury, pleads not guilty. [EmpireStateNews.net via Teacher trash blog]
- Incomes and inequality: what the numbers don’t tell us. [Marginal Revolution]
- India and the drug patent wars. [AEI]
- I (along with John Beisner, Michael Hausfeld, and John Stoia) am speaking on a panel on the Class Action Fairness Act at the National Press Club February 14. [Federalist Society]
Lawsuit impresario Michael Hausfeld, whose doings often figure in these pages, is on “a crusade to export America’s legal system around the world,” per one recent U.S. magazine profile. He claims to share case ideas regularly with a network of lawyers in countries around the world, according to a profile in the U.K. publication The Lawyer (Jon Robins, “Michael Hausfield [sic] brings class actions to the UK”, Oct. 24)(via Schaeffer). More on Hausfeld: Jan. 11, Apr. 13, Jul. 25, 2004; May 24, 2001; Mar. 2 and Aug. 13-14, 2000.
“Encouraged by the press criticism, entrepreneurial trial lawyers, eyeing Wal-Mart’s deep pockets with glee, have made it perhaps the biggest private-sector target of the nation?s plaintiffs’ bar. In just ten years, the number of pending lawsuits against Wal-Mart has increased fourfold, to 8,000, and the company has tripled the size of its litigation department. … Wal-Mart faces a growing number of potentially costly class action lawsuits, exemplified by a sex-discrimination suit brought by the Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll firm, notorious for getting Texaco to pay $176 million to black employees in a discrimination suit.” (Steven Malanga (Manhattan Institute), “What Does the War on Wal-Mart Mean?”, City Journal, Spring). See Jul. 7-9, 2000 and more links: Feb. 1, 2004; Dec. 4, 2003; Jan. 11, Jun. 14, and Aug. 29-30, 2001; Sept. 6-7, Sept. 25-26, Nov. 15, and Dec. 13-14, 2000; and Dec. 2, 1999. More: we are linked by Always Low Prices — Always, a blog whose mission is to chronicle “The Best and the Worst about Wal-Mart” and which is put out in part by Kevin Brancato of George Mason U. and the economics blog Truck and Barter. (More: Apr. 19, 2005).
Class-actioneers Michael Hausfeld and Stanley Chesley, already in line to collect $10.5 million in fees under Microsoft’s settlement of one of its antitrust cases filed in federal court, “say they are entitled to share in $50 million for helping lay the groundwork for the state claims [filed by other law firms].” Hausfeld and Chesley say many lawyers who filed state claims were happy to rely on the work they did in advancing the federal case, but “‘Memories are short and gratitude fleeting when attorneys’ fees are at issue.’ … In a reply brief, the law firms of Milberg, Weiss and Lieff, Cabraser, and Kirby, McInerney & Squire argue that assistance provided by Hausfeld and Chesley ‘was spotty and sometimes non-existent.’ ‘To put it most charitably, rather than being a resource to various state court counsel throughout these proceedings, Hausfeld-Chesley looked out for their own clients (and fees) in their own cases, which of course is completely proper,’ the lawyers in the state cases replied. ‘Such behavior, however, does not give rise to an entitlement for fees for other plaintiffs in other cases.'” (James Rowley, “Legal-fee fight erupts over Microsoft case”, Bloomberg/Seattle Times, Jan. 7)