Via Childs, PBS will be running a documentary on the vermiculite mine at Libby, Montana. For another perspective on the Libby incident that includes actual data, see the links in the Point of Law posts of May 8 and Jul. 19, 2006.
- RIP, Ladies Nights in Denver [Denver Westword; earlier Feb. 12; earlier i in California: Jun. 7, Aug. 19, Aug. 2003; and New Jersey, Jun. 2004]
- “A cop sues McDonalds because of the slimy stuff a couple of teens put in his sandwich. His biggest problem may be that he didn’t even take a bite” [Turkewitz]
- Montana Supreme Court: hunter can’t blame state for being attacked by bear [On Point]
- Don’t: provide your criminal client with means to escape [Fulton County Daily Report]; alter documents responsive to discovery requests [The Recorder]; hide evidence in multi-billion dollar insurance litigation [NY Sun via Lattman]; or videotape your fellow lawyers changing clothes [ATL].
- Reason #473 why I live in Virginia instead of DC: DC police catch two in middle of attempted burglary, just after being released from prison, decide to let them go because they can’t figure out what to charge them with. Good thing residents aren’t allowed to own guns to defend themselves, right? [PTN]
Something you’d think he’d want to address/get out of the way/rethink/apologize for sooner rather than later, since it calls into question his judgment in a whole range of different ways (Jacob Sullum, Reason “Hit and Run”, Apr. 12; “The Right to Hunt in Montana”, Reason/syndicated, Apr. 11). Earlier: Jun. 21 and Jun. 28, 2000, etc.
Via the WSJ Law Blog, the Montana Supreme Court has upheld a verdict against the law firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher for pursuing a meritless lawsuit; we covered the trial Feb. 9, 2005. The Wall Street Journal weighed in Mar. 16, 2006. Punitive damages were reduced from $20 million to $9.9 million. Gibson Dunn has indicated it will appeal.
- Divorcing Brooklyn couple has put up sheetrock wall dividing house into his and hers [L.A. Times, AP/Newsday]
- Boston Herald appeals $2 million libel award to Judge Ernest Murphy, whom the paper had portrayed as soft on criminals (earlier: Dec. 8 and Dec. 23, 2005) [Globe via Romenesko]
- Updating Jul. 8 story: Georgia man admits he put poison in his kids’ soup in hopes of getting money from Campbell Soup Co. [AP/AccessNorthGeorgia]
- Witness talks back to lawyer at deposition [YouTube via Bainbridge, %&*#)!* language]
- Prominent UK business figure says overprotective schools producing generation of “cotton wool kids” [Telegraph]
- State agents swoop down on Montana antique store and seize roulette wheel from 1880s among other “unlicensed gambling equipment” [AP/The Missoulian]
- “You, gentlemen, are no barristers. You are just two litigators. On Long Island.” [Lat and commenter]
- Some Dutch municipalities exclude dads from town-sponsored kids’ playgroups, so as not to offend devout Muslim moms [Crooked Timber]
- As mayor, Rudy Giuliani didn’t hesitate to stand up to the greens when he thought they were wrong [Berlau @ CEI]
- Australia: funeral homes, fearing back injury claims, now discouraging the tradition of family members and friends being pallbearers [Sydney Morning Herald]
- Asserting 200-year-old defect in title, Philly’s Cozen & O’Connor represents Indian tribe in failed lawsuit laying claim to land under Binney & Smith Crayola factory [three years ago on Overlawyered]
The Surgeon General of the United States last week claimed that “breathing secondhand smoke for even a short time” can “potentially increas[e] the risk of heart attack”. How much evidence is there for that proposition? Michael Siegel inquires (Jun. 28; Jacob Sullum, Reason “Hit and Run”, Jun. 28 and Jun. 29). According to Brooke Oberwetter of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the same new report from the Surgeon General uncritically passes along the much-ballyhooed “miracle of Helena” study purporting to find a correlation between a ban on smoking in bars and an immediate 40 percent drop in heart attacks in that Montana community — really more like a miracle of small sample sizes (Jun. 27; see Oct. 6, 2003). Finally, a spokeswoman for the bossyboots American Heart Association is quoted praising a new Colorado law that forbids smoking in most restaurants and bars statewide no matter what the owners and patrons happen to prefer:
“We know from research that we’ve done that over 80 percent of Colorado residents don’t smoke,” said Erin Bertoli with the American Heart Association.
“The majority of them really look forward to going out to new restaurants and new bars and taking their families and experiencing new venues that have technically been closed to 80 percent of Colorado residents up until this point.”
thus demonstrating a Pickwickian understanding of such words as “technically” and “closed”. (Jeffrey Wolf, “Effort to stop statewide smoking ban underway “, KUSA-TV, Jun. 15). Plus: Radley Balko weighs in.
Animal rights activists on the march against owners and breeders of dogs and other animals in Bozeman, Montana, and Albuquerque, New Mexico (Stephen Bodio’s Querencia, May 24).
My company is in the business of managing recreation sites, many of which are located in the National Forest. I deal with local Forest Service rangers all the time, and I’ll tell you they have an almost impossible job. They all joined the Forest Service because they wanted to be close to trees, but many of them find that the closest they get to trees every day is via the reams of paper they must generate in environmental impact studies and motions in lawsuits. Everything they try to do in the forest tends to be blocked legally by somebody, the most common opposition coming from environmental groups.
One federal judge may be raising the costs of filing such suits against everything….
While this is not really a true loser-pay system, and appeal bonds are fairly normal, they seldom cover the true costs of the delay and extra litigation. Apparently this bond is getting attention for being 10x larger than is typical. (Brett Wilkison, “Judge orders litigating enviros to pony up”, High Country News, Feb 6).
On Thursday the Baltimore Sun quoted me saying unflattering things about Stephen L. Snyder, the successful local attorney who’s taken out very costly ads ostensibly aimed at attracting a $1 billion case (see Feb. 16). I said Snyder has probably has made it onto the Top Ten list of tasteless lawyer-advertisers, having particularly in mind the cheesy way his website flips off would-be clients whose cases, however meritorious, lack a big enough payoff (Jennifer McMenamin, “In search of a $1 billion case, fielding 100 calls”, Baltimore Sun, Feb. 16)(reg). A week earlier the same paper quoted me commenting on the likely impact on civil litigation of a federal grand jury’s indictment of the W.R. Grace Co. and seven of its current or former executives; the charges arise from the widely publicized exposure of townspeople and others to asbestos hazards from the company’s vermiculite mine at Libby, Montana. (William Patalon III, “Grace’s plight made worse”, Feb. 9).
And: Rob Asghar of the Ashland (Ore.) Daily Tidings devoted two recent columns to the problem of overlawyering and was kind enough to quote my opinions (“Law and disorder”, part 1 (Feb. 7) and part 2 (Feb. 14)). NYC councilman David Yassky, sponsor of the let’s-sue-over-guns ordinance that I criticized in the New York Times two weeks ago (see Feb. 6), responds today with a letter to the editor defending the legislation (Feb. 20). My Manhattan Institute colleague Jim Copland, writing in the Washington Times on the passage of the Class Action Fairness Act, quotes my Feb. 11 post on the subject (“Tort tax cut”, Feb. 15). Finally, the New York Sun covers a recent Institute luncheon at which I introduced ABC’s John Stossel (Robert E. Sullivan, “John Stossel Chides the ‘Liberal’ Press for Spinelessness”, Feb. 9)(sub-$).