- Kagan to senators: please don’t confuse my views with Mark Tushnet’s or Harold Koh’s [Constitutional Law Prof]
- Too much like a Star Wars lightsaber? Lucasfilm sends a cease-and-desist to a laser pointer maker [Mystal, AtL]
- Ottawa, Canada: family files complaint “against trendy wine bar that turned away dinner party because it included 3mo baby” [Drew Halfnight, National Post]
- “House left Class Action Fairness Act alone in SPILL Act” [Wood/PoL, earlier]
- Not so indie? Filmmaker doing anti-Dole documentary on Nicaraguan banana workers says he took cash from big plaintiff’s law firm Provost Umphrey [AP/WaPo, WSJLawBlog, Erik Gardner/THREsq., new plaintiffs’ charges against Dole]
- Will liability ruling result in closure of popular Connecticut recreational area? [Rick Green, Hartford Courant; earlier]
- Class action lawyer Sean Coffey, running for New York attorney general, has many generous supporters [NYDN, more, WNYC (Sen. Al Franken headlines closed fundraiser at Yale Club)]
- “Judge Reduces Damages Award by 90% in Boston Music Downloading Trial” [NLJ, earlier on Tenenbaum case]
- Screening firm hired by Beaumont, Tex.’s Provost Umphrey to do mass silicosis x-rays at Pennsylvania hotels is fined $80,500 for breaking various state rules, like the one requiring that a medical professional be on hand [Childs]
- Milberg Weiss’s special way of obtaining perfectly pliant clients — that is to say by bribing them under the table — harmed other class members by increasing fees but not settlement sums, suggests a new study by St. John’s lawprof Michael Perino for Ted’s project at AEI [Carter Wood @ PoL]
- Time for Texas to join many other states in requiring lawyers to inform clients when practicing without professional liability insurance [SE Texas Record; earlier here, here and here]
- Lawyers, in concert with their public pension fund allies, jockey for control of securities case against Bear Stearns [Gerstein/NY Sun]
- Another court, this time in California, rules that a screw maker can’t sue a law firm on the claim that its solicitation of potential claimants wrongly portrayed the company’s products as defective; amicus brief from state trial lawyers group and Sen. Sheila Kuehl says relevant provisions of state’s “SLAPP” law were “meant to protect plaintiffs groups, not companies” [The Recorder via ABA Journal; earlier case from Tennessee]
- Most lucrative Google AdSense words still dominated by asbestos and other personal injury practice, the top terms being “mesothelioma treatment options” ($69.10 per click, and the point of obtaining the click is not to provide treatment options), “mesothelioma risk” ($66.46), and “personal injury lawyer michigan” ($65.85) [CyberWyre via NAM “Shop Floor”; more here, here, etc.]
- Remember those class actions against tech manufacturers for allegedly misstating the capacity of hard drives? Another one just settled, with buyers in for coupons and discounts, lawyers for $1.78 million [The Register, Cho v. Seagate Technologies settlement website]
- Watch what you say about lawyers, cont’d: Erie, Pa. paper thus far has fended off libel suit by Pittsburgh attorney over coverage of his run-ins with authorities over client treatment [Post-Gazette via Ambrogi]
- New at Point of Law: suicide risk of anticonvulsants?; Ohio AG Dann rebuked on foreclosure activism; simultaneous asbestosis and silicosis happens all the time at some law firms; Bush nominates an ATLA/AAJ member to a federal judgeship; and much more.
- Has a prominent investor with close ties to President Bush set up shop as an East Texas patent troll? [Troll Tracker, The Recorder]
- Embattled Tom Lakin and Lakin Law Firm, once high on the Madison County heap, fight to overturn $3.7 million legal-malpractice judgment [MC Record]
- Brent Coon suing former colleagues at Beaumont’s Provost Umphrey over division of billions in tobacco-fee booty [Texas Lawyer]
- UK judge criticizes “barking mad” human rights rules after prisoner refuses to leave his “comfy” jail cell to attend hearing [Times Online, Telegraph]
- “Six years after Enron, executives face greater risks—but investors are no safer.” [Gelinas/City Journal]
- United Farm Workers union threatens to sue over unflattering coverage [two years ago on Overlawyered]
Houston trial lawyer John O’Quinn saved Democrat Chris Bell’s struggling gubernatorial campaign from financial oblivion this week by making a record $1 million donation. …
“There’s something about a million-dollar check that really warms the heart,” said Bell.
O’Quinn has promised to raise another $4 million for Bell’s campaign, and that could make the Democrat more competitive with all his opponents [incumbent Republican Rick Perry, independent Carole Keeton Strayhorn (herself heavily backed by trial lawyers), and independent Kinky Friedman]. …
Bell said O’Quinn is not looking for special favors from state government.
“There’s nothing that state government can do for John, nor is he asking for anything but good government,” Bell said. …
O’Quinn, Williams and Umphrey were part of a legal team that shared in a $3.3 billion legal fee for settling the state’s lawsuit against the tobacco industry.
(R. G. Ratcliffe and Janet Elliott, Houston Chronicle, Oct. 11).
To celebrate Beaumont tobacco/asbestos lawyer Walter Umphrey’s seventieth birthday, fellow Texas Tobacco Five member John Eddie Williams took over a private aircraft hangar — Umphrey’s own, in fact — “moved out the two private jets and the helicopter, added on a two-story party tent and threw a no-holds-barred tribute to Umphrey.” Music was provided by Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis and Rotel and the Hot Tomatoes, performing on two different stages, and there was some pretty decent food too. Among the 400 attendees: gubernatorial candidate Carole Keeton Strayhorn. (Shelby Hodge, “Wild soiree in hangar was Western to the hilt”, Houston Chronicle, May 14). Of course it was a mere kaffeeklatsch compared with a Willie Gary or Mark Lanier party.
Now back to your previously scheduled news story about excessive CEO compensation.
The American Tort Reform Association today released its third annual Judicial Hellholes report — ATRA’s report on the worst court systems in the United States where “‘Equal Justice Under Law’ does not exist.”
Here is the press release from ATRA. The highlights, including the top nine worst areas (seven counties and two regions — all of West Virginia and all of South Florida) and a salute to Mississippi for its tremendous and far-reaching tort reforms are on this page. The full report is in PDF format here.
But there may yet be hope:
Despite objections from rival plaintiff’s lawyers and others, state district judge Donald Floyd in Beaumont, Texas, has approved the settlement of a class action on behalf of consumers who own or owned recalled Firestone tires allegedly prone to tread separation. The settlement excludes anyone who has filed actual claims of personal or property injury related to the tires. Class members (other than 45 named plaintiffs who will receive $2,500 each) will get no monetary compensation, but will have the right to trade in the tires if they did not respond to the earlier recall, and Firestone has pledged another $65 million for education and safety programs. The class action lawyers, meanwhile, which include Beaumont’s Provost Umphrey, will get $19 million. See our reports of Sept. 19 and Oct. 8. (Brenda Sapino Jeffreys, “Judge Approves $149 Million Firestone Tire Settlement”, Texas Lawyer, Mar. 22).