Averting a Memorial Day shutdown of many public and hotel/motel pools, the Obama Department of Justice has again delayed its pending ADA lift rules. I explain at a new post at Cato.
- “Public pool owners struggle to meet chair-lift deadline” [Springfield, Ill. Journal-Register, earlier]
- Punitive damages aren’t vested entitlement/property, so why the surprise they’d be cut off in an administered Chrysler bankruptcy? [Adler]
- More on how Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization would chip away rights of accused [Bader, Heritage, earlier]
- Defending sale of raw milk on libertarian principle shouldn’t mean overlooking its real risks [Greg Conko/CEI; Mark Perry on one of many heavy-handed enforcement actions against milk vendors]
- More tributes to longtime Cato Institute chairman Bill Niskanen [Regulation magazine (PDF), earlier]
- Asbestos lawyers wrangle about alleged swiping of client files [Above the Law]
- “Nathan Chapman & Michael McConnell: Due Process as Separation of Powers” [SSRN via Rappaport, Liberty & Law]
Unless hotels have moved to install expensive and cumbersome wheelchair lifts, they face new fines and litigation exposure under new Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations taking effect today. I explain why many pools will close as a result — and trace some of the ideological background — in my new post at Cato at Liberty (& Adler, Alkon, Frank, Adam Freedman/Ricochet (“the regulators have truly gone off the deep end,”) George Leef/Locke).
More: Notwithstanding my comments about Congressional Republicans being unhelpful, Sen. DeMint has filed a bill that would prevent the regulations from taking effect on their March 15 date. [Daily Caller] And Prof. Bagenstos defends the regulations in a way that I much fear will mislead newcomers to the topic. He emphasizes, for example, that hotel payouts resulting from federally mandated damages to complainants are for the moment unlikely. But as we know, the incentive of (one-way) attorneys’ fees has all by itself been enough to fuel a sizable volume of ADA complaint-filing, while in states like California the availability of piggyback damages under enactments like the Unruh Act turn many nominally zero-damage federal cases into highly profitable extraction propositions. As for the limitation of exposure to what is “readily achievable,” the USA Today report illustrates how uncertainty over the meaning of that term can leave pool operators exposed to risky and high-cost litigation. In the real world, fixes that wipe out the economic viability of a given pool (or the facility of which it is a part) are indeed asserted by advocacy groups to be “readily achievable.” That makes it cold comfort that some facilities can stave off liability for the moment by pledging to install the equipment by some future date.
- Judge Ciavarella defiant after racketeering conviction in Pennsylvania cash-for-kids horror [TheLegalIntel, Sullum and more, WSJ Law Blog, Greenfield, earlier]
- Widener lawprof Lawrence Connell facing discipline over hypotheticals in class [Orin Kerr, NLJ, interview at NAS]
- “Do we even want to remain a child care center if we have to eliminate all the parts we love?” [Free-Range Kids] Lawsuit fears tame a Frederick, Md. ice playground [same]
- Marquette lawprof Rick Esenberg on Wisconsin showdown [first, second, third posts]
- A patent owner, the Chicago Tribune and Sen. Durbin: Anatomy of a pool drain scare story [Woldenberg, AmendTheCPSIA.com]
- Mayor Thomas Menino vows to save Boston from scourge of everyday low prices [Mark Perry]
- “Comp Hearing Scheduled ‘On the Sly’ for Texting Cop Who Caused Fatal Accident” [Debra Cassens Weiss, ABA Journal] “Paying for bad cops” [Balko]
- Demand for shaker abstinence: nosy, hectoring CSPI files suit asking that salt in food be subjected to FDA regulation [six years ago on Overlawyered]
It resulted in a lost product liability action against the pool maker in a recent Rhode Island case [Abnormal Use]
“A Connecticut teenager and her mother have agreed to pay $1.1 million to the family of a toddler who drowned while the girl was baby-sitting.” No criminal charges were filed in the Cheshire, Ct. case. The family named the teenager’s mother as an additional defendant “because she allegedly recommended her daughter to baby-sit.” [WINS.com] Earlier, a 2009 New Haven Register story reported that the family also intended to sue the town of Cheshire because the teenager had taken a babysitting class under its auspices, and because the mother had gotten to know the family in her capacity as the children’s teacher. However, according to the Waterbury Republican-American, court records “do not indicate a lawsuit against the town has been filed.”
- Naperville, Illinois: psychologist sues homeless man saying she was defamed in his blog [AP]
- Unusual case from Erie, Pa.: “Girl claims injuries from price scanner” [AP/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette] Judge dismisses complaint for lack of evidence [Erie Times-News]
- Too true: “Motion Control Advances Mean Future Generations Could Play Outside” [Brian Briggs, BBSpot via Free-Range Kids]
- Huzzah for Husson: Maine university drops quest to add law school [Bangor Daily News]
- Town sued over pool drowning of 13 year old boy seeks to add boy’s parents to suit [Ridgewood News, NorthJersey.com]
- Manhattan judge sanctions Morelli Ratner law firm $6,000 over “spiteful”, “wasteful” lawsuit against former client [NYLJ, January]
- “Canada is now a land that prosecutes comedians for their jokes.” [Steyn, Maclean’s] Ron Coleman’s unkind comment: “I’ve heard their comedians. It’s about time.”
- “Smokey the Bear’s rules for fire safety also apply to government: Keep it small, keep it in a confined area, and keep an eye on it.” [David Boaz, Cato at Liberty]
- From attorney Bob Ambrogi, on Twitter: “This felt wrong: Shortly after heated call with lawyer saying he’d sue my client, he sent me invite to connect on LinkedIn.” Related: Amy Alkon.
- “Spot the lawsuit in this commercial” [Louis Vuitton vs. Hyundai; Trademark Blog]
- Video: “Community swimming pool closes due to lawsuit” [Hazleton, Pa.; U.S. Chamber Faces of Lawsuit Abuse series; plaintiff’s side of things]
- Recycling, found materials, and why so much “green building” won’t last [Sippican Cottage and followup]
- German ban on homeschooling not a compelling reason to grant asylum to affected family [Krikorian, NRO, Volokh]
- Ted’s Center for Class Action Fairness files objections to a Costco fuel class settlement; related reflections from the judge in the recent Honda case;
- “Photographing Public Art: A Legal Waltz in Seattle” [Citizen Media Law, earlier]
- “Big Bankruptcies’ Big Fees Raising Questions” [Asarco, Station Casinos; Baxter, AmLaw Daily]
Authorities in Queensland, Australia, intend to use spy-satellite photos to catch homeowners not in compliance with strict new safety rules on swimming pools, which include the mandatory clearing of trees near pool fences so that determined children cannot climb their way over. [Courier-Mail] More: Popehat.
In the United States, incidentally, there are some indications that a crackdown may be underway to enforce the new federal pool safety act passed last year and administered by the Consumer Product Safety Commission [Aquatics International, earlier] And (via AI) Billings, Montana is pulling the plug on a big public pool project, since “the city wasn’t willing to accept the financial risk and legal liability of owning a large aquatic center”. [Billings Gazette]
“A school has banned children from wearing goggles during swimming lessons for fear they could hurt themselves.” [Telegraph (U.K.) via Cathy Gellis, who writes, “As a swimming teacher — in fact, one who doesn’t actually like her students to use goggles — I feel competent, and confident, in saying this school is insane.”]