Posts Tagged ‘Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’

October 29 roundup

May 2 roundup

  • Contriving to give Sheldon Silver the moral high ground: NY judges steamed at lack of raises are retaliating against Albany lawmakers’ law firms [NY Post and editorial. More: Turkewitz.]
  • When strong laws prove weak: Britain’s many layers of land use control seem futile against determined builders of gypsy encampments [Telegraph]
  • “U.S. patent chief: applications up, quality down” [EETimes]
  • Plenty of willing takers for those 4,703 new cars that survived the listing-ship near-disaster, but Mazda destroyed them instead [WSJ]
  • “Prof. Dohrn [for] Attorney General and Rev. Wright [for] Secretary of State”? So hard to tell when left-leaning lawprof Brian Leiter is kidding and when he’s not [Leiter Reports]
  • Yet another hard-disk-capacity class action settlement, $900K to Strange & Carpenter [Creative HDD MP3 Player; earlier. More: Sullum, Reason “Hit and Run”.]
  • Filipino ship whistleblowers’ case: judge slashes Texas attorney’s fee, “calling the lawyer’s attempt to bill his clients nearly $300,000 ‘unethically excessive.'” [Boston Globe, earlier]
  • RFK Jr. Watch: America’s Most Irresponsible Public Figure® endorses Oklahoma poultry litigation [Legal NewsLine]
  • Just what the budget-strapped state needs: NY lawmakers earmark funds for three (3) new law schools [NY Post editorial; PoL first, second posts, Greenfield]
  • In Indiana, IUPUI administrators back off: it wasn’t racial harassment after all for student-employee to read a historical book on fight against Klan [FIRE; earlier]
  • Fiesta Cornyation in San Antonio just isn’t the same without the flying tortillas [two years ago on Overlawyered]

May 1 roundup

  • Jack Thompson, call your office: FBI search turns up no evidence Virginia Tech killer owned or played videogames [Monsters and Critics]

  • How many zeroes was that? Bank of America threatens ABN Amro with $220 billion suit if it reneges on deal to sell Chicago’s LaSalle Bank [Times (U.K.), Consumerist]

  • Chuck Colson will be disappointed, but the rule of law wins: Supreme Court declines to intervene in Miller-Jenkins (Vermont-Virginia lesbian custody) dispute [AP; see Mar. 2 and many earlier posts]

  • Oklahoma legislature passes, but governor vetoes, comprehensive liability-reform bill [Point of Law first, second, third posts]

  • Good primer on California’s much-abused Prop 65 right-to-know toxics law [CalBizLit via Ted @ PoL]

  • “Defensive psychiatry” and the pressure to hospitalize persons who talk of suicide [Intueri]

  • Among the many other reasons not to admire RFK Jr., there’s his wind-farm hypocrisy [Mac Johnson, Energy Tribune]

  • “Screed-O-Matic” simulates nastygrams dashed off by busy Hollywood lawyer Martin Singer [Portfolio]

  • “Liability, health issues” cited as Carmel, Ind. officials plan to eject companion dogs from special-needs program, though no parents have complained [Indpls. Star; similar 1999 story from Ohio]

  • First glimmerings of Sen. John Edwards’s national ambitions [five years ago on Overlawyered]
(Edited Tues. a.m. to cut an entry which was inadvertently repeated after appearing in an earlier roundup)

April 25 roundup

February 20 roundup

  • Trucker-friendly Arizona legislature declines to ban naked lady mudflaps [; Houstonist]
  • Crumb of approbation dept.: I’m “[not] as unreasonable as most of the tort-reform crowd” [Petit]
  • Sponsors of large banquets in D.C. must pay to have a paramedic on hand even when the banquet crowd consists of doctors [ShopFloor]
  • Homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover homewrecking: umbrella policy doesn’t create duty to defend lawsuit claiming the insured broke up someone’s marriage (Pins v. State Farm (PDF), S. Dak., Mayerson via Elefant)
  • New York mag on RFK Jr.: Is there some law saying all press profiles of America’s Most Irresponsible Public Figure® must be weirdly softball in nature and glide over his embarrassing book and rants, his Osama-pig farm lunacy, his anti-vaccine humbug, his trial-lawyer entanglements and even the wind farm flap?
  • Australia court rules Muslim prison inmate suffered discrimination and deserves money for being served canned halal meat rather than fresh [The Australian]
  • High medical costs and their causes: am I listening? [Coyote]
  • Economists may puzzle their heads over the ultimate incidence of business taxes, but in Wisconsin it’s whatever Gov. Jim Doyle says it is [Krumm via Taranto]
  • Feds may punish Red Sox pitcher Matsuzaka for doing a beer ad in Japan, where it’s perfectly legal for athletes to appear in such [To The People]
  • Guns in company parking lots: still one of the rare issues where the ABA manages to be righter than the NRA [AP/; see Apr. 6, 2006]
  • Thanks, NYC taxpayers: Brooklyn jury awards $16 million against city in case where drugged-up motorist jumped sidewalk and ran over pedestrians, later blaming the accident on a city sanitation truck [seven years ago on Overlawyered]

Lawyers’ reputations soaked in Poland Spring fight

“Mutually assured character destruction”: that’s what Boston Globe columnist Alex Beam says to expect from a trial that started March 7 in Portland, Me. federal court that pits some of the country’s better-known members of the plaintiff’s bar against each other. Among the cast of characters: Jan Schlichtmann, of “A Civil Action” fame, Steve Berman of Seattle-based Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, and Massachusetts tobacco litigator Thomas Sobol of the same firm, and Alabama’s Garve Ivey. At issue is whether lawyers breached legal ethics or sold out the interests of class members in their sharp-elbowed maneuvers to control the process of litigation and reach a lucrative settlement with Poland Spring’s parent company, Nestle. Also testifying is celebrity enviro-pol Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who had signed up a water company he controls as one of the plaintiffs — gee, who knew RFK Jr. was tied in with hotshot plaintiff’s lawyers? (Alex Beam, “An uncivil action in Maine”, Mar. 8; Gregory D. Kesich, “Water bottlers in court to recoup lost settlement”, Portland Press Herald, Mar. 8; “Law firm’s handling of Poland Spring case at issue in trial”, AP/Boston Globe, Mar. 8; Gregory D. Kesich, “Water case puts lawyers’ ethics on trial”, Portland Press Herald, Mar. 10; “Witnesses tell of how Nestle case fell apart”, Mar. 17). The trial is expected to conclude this week. For more on the Poland Spring class actions, see Sept. 10, 2003, Feb. 2, 2004 and Jun. 25, 2004.

“There’s just no there there”

Mark Kleiman, on the alleged link between autism and thimerosal in vaccines (Mar. 6), commenting on the latest from Respectful Insolence (Mar. 6). Orac of Respectful Insolence also takes another whack (Mar. 2) at the emissions of the egregious Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. on the same controversy, as published (Mar. 1) in the Huffington Post. More: Feb. 21, etc.

P.S. And here’s Kathleen Seidel, who’s been covering the issue in depth at Neurodiversity Weblog (Mar. 1): “It’s time for RFK Jr. to come clean about the fact that he represents the interests of private litigants seeking compensation for supposed vaccine injury when in fact many of those litigants have no evidence that such injury occurred.. …Widespread suspicions are fueled by an aggressive public relations campaign engineered by wealthy PR maven and pioneering ‘mercury mom’ Sally Bernard, early litigant Lyn Redwood, their close associates, faux-journalists David Kirby and Dan Olmsted, and a core of personal injury lawyers who have cultivated this market for years. A lot of money has gone into convincing parents of autistic children that their kids were poisoned.”

A vaccine database, contaminated

The federal government has established something called a Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System to collect reports of possible side effects related to immunizations. Sounds like a useful tool for epidemiological study, right? Except that, it seems,

anyone can submit a report to it, and no one actually verifies the accuracy of the report. Indeed, James Laidler once tested the system by submitting a report that the influenza virus had turned him into The Incredible Hulk. The report was accepted and duly entered into the database.

A more serious problem with the self-submitted nature of the data is that it provides a way for vaccine scares to self-amplify: lawyers pressing compensation claims make a point of submitting their clients’ case histories to the VAERS, and before long — what do you know? — the database is showing a worrying rise in reported side effect incidents, which itself feeds the litigation. Now a study in Pediatrics traces the ways in which litigation-driven reporting has distorted the contents of the VAERS database, especially as regards the purported association of the preservative thimerosal with childhood autism. Respectful Insolence explains (Feb. 6 at old site, more recently blogging at ScienceBlogs)(via MedPundit) and also ties the story in to the disgraceful performance last year in Rolling Stone by celebrity demagogue Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. (Jun. 20 and Jun. 26, 2005). More: pediatrician Flea also weighs in (Feb. 22).

Uh-oh: “Scarborough for Senate?”

Because for Florida Republican officials, sending one hotshot plaintiff’s lawyer with socially conservative views to the U.S. Senate apparently isn’t enough. (Lesley Conn, Pensacola News-Journal, Aug. 17) (more on Joe Scarborough: Sept. 15, 2003, Jan. 3, 2004)(more on incumbent Sen. Mel Martinez: Dec. 15, 2003, Sept. 3, 2004, PoL Jan. 12 and Jul. 7). Scarborough was the headliner for the Republican Trial Lawyers rally at last year’s ATLA convention (PDF); another headliner at the same convention was perennial bete noire of this site Robert F. Kennedy Jr., whose on-air chumminess with Scarborough, sometimes seen as an instance of mutual admiration across ideological lines, appears not quite so strange given that RFK Jr. has collaborated with Scarborough’s firm in the pursuit of big-ticket cases. Update Aug. 21: false alarm this time, though he’s pretty clearly expecting to run for something in future.