Not for the first time, the lawyers are getting involved: “Faizal A.Z. Yamani of the Jeddah-based legal firm A.Z. Yamani sent a letter to about a dozen newspaper editors, insisting that they print apologies in Danish, English, Arabic and French, and to undertake never to print the cartoon again. He also ordered all the cartoons to be removed from the internet in perpetuity.” [MWW]
CNN: “The lawsuit filed in Shariah court accuses the genie of leaving them threatening voicemails, stealing their cell phones and hurling rocks at them when they leave their house at night, said Al-Watan newspaper.” If they think the genie is harassing them now, wait till it gets a lawyer….
P.S. Above the Law: “The article doesn’t mention damages sought, but we hope it’s three wishes.” “Will the genie appear when summoned?” (@susanwake). “Good luck getting service. Is Robin Williams or Barbara Eden the registered agent?” (@JerseyTodd). And more details on the case from Lowering the Bar.
So argued former State Department legal adviser John Bellinger III in the WSJ last week, with special reference to the overreaching, extraterritorial Alien Tort Statute. But it’s not as if the efforts to turn the U.S. into the courtroom for the world are slackening at all:
- As Curtis Bradley and Jack Goldsmith note in the Washington Post, a federal court recently allowed to proceed a lawsuit seeking to blame the evils of South African apartheid on Western multinationals, even despite strong opposition to the suit from both the U.S. government’s executive branch and today’s duly elected multiracial South African government. Unfortunately, the State Department’s up-to-now-staunch opposition to this and similar lawsuits is imperiled by the installment of Harold Koh as legal adviser at Foggy Bottom: “Koh is an intellectual architect and champion of the post-1980 human rights litigation explosion. He joined a brief in the South Africa litigation arguing for broad aiding-and-abetting liability.”
- If asked what should happen to frozen Cuban-government assets under U.S. control, reasonable possibility #1 might be “hold them against the eventual day when a non-tyrannical regime emerges there, it will need help.” Reasonable possibility #2 might be “divide the assets among Castro’s many victims in some deliberate and step-by-step way, knowing that their injuries are so numerous and severe that even very deserving victims will get only small payments”. The answer you’d think makes no sense at all is “encourage first-come-first-served tort lawsuits, so that the first couple of cases to maneuver their way through the legal process get handsome compensation, while no money is left for either #1 or #2”. So naturally, the latter is what our legal system is doing, previously in $188 million and $253 million verdicts involving single incidents or families, and now in a new case in which the family of Gustavo Villoldo has been awarded $1.179 billion. One of the plaintiff’s lawyers in the case actually boasts that the new award may obstruct a warming of relations between the U.S. and a post-Castro successor regime: “with the opening of relations between the U.S. and Cuba to come, there are debts to society to be paid before that happens” (more on Che Guevara, via).
- On the brighter side, the Obama administration has joined its Bush predecessors in correctly drawing a line against litigation by some September 11 victims and insurance companies: under the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act, the courts are no place to pursue theories trying to link the rulers of Saudi Arabia to the terrorist attacks.
(cross-posted from Point of Law)
- Tenth anniversary of Great Tobacco Robbery settlement of 1998 [NPR series all week h/t @billchilds; Carter Wood at PoL series linked here] #
- No need for “socialism” with endless bailouts instead [George Will, David Brooks] #
- Rude name for “age-restricted” (no-kids) housing developments: “vasectomy zoning” [Dr. Wes] #
- Iceland’s national financial calamity [Robert Jackson, Financial Times; Jon Danielsson, VoxEU] #
- World gone mad dept.: Saudi Arabia sponsors UN event on religious tolerance [Anorak, h/t @jeffnolan; Steven Groves, Heritage, on UN “defamation of religion” resolutions] #
- 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]
- Two topics of recent interest on the site — cremation and service monkeys — together in one post [The Urn Garden]
- Please don’t tell us an aggressive stance by music copyright holders is going to kill Pandora radio, one of the bright stars of the Internet [WaPo, more]
- “Citizens in Chains: The High Cost of Prisoner Lawsuits to California Taxpayers” [CALA, PDF]
- Navajo plaintiffs: spraying artificial snow on our sacred mountain is spiritually injurious [Volokh]
- Remember those anti-poverty non-profit groups that were going to represent the culmination of John Edwards’ life work, aside from running for you-know-what? Him neither [Silverstein, Harper’s via Folo]
- Toxic tort class action in Saudi Arabia proves unsuccessful [Arab News]
- Fending off patent trolls has been expensive for high-tech Massachusetts firm Cognex [NLJ]
- Arizona law professor’s creative denials in paternity suit have furnished faculty-lounge chuckles for years [Caron/TaxProf, Jack J. Rappeport]
- New at Point of Law: big ruckus over proposal to compel accounting projections of lawsuit exposure; guestblogger Peggy Little on Connecticut vs. Countrywide, the ABA in judicial selection and more; cy pres litigation slush funds assailed as constitutionally dubious; Trial Lawyers Inc. series tackles the state of Ohio; MBIA mulls suing hedge fund that’s sniped at its stock; more on med-mal “loss of a chance”; and much more.
Not what you think, this is in Saudi Arabia:
“Tribes like to say, ‘We got this amount of money for a member of our tribe,’ ” he said. “People start to think the more money you can get for a member of your family, the more valuable your tribe is.”
And the defendant who doesn’t settle the case is executed. (Faiza Saleh Ambah, “Saudis Face Soaring Blood-Money Sums: Tribes, Families Are Demanding Millions”, Washington Post, Jul. 27).
- Remember that ludicrous case where the Florida driver fell asleep, crashed his Ford Explorer, his passenger was killed, and a jury blamed Ford to the tune of $61 million? (See also Sep. 10.) A Florida court got around to reversing it, though only to grant a new trial under a variety of erroneous evidentiary rulings that prejudiced Ford, rather than because the suit was too silly to ever conceivably win in a just society. The remand goes back to the same judge that let the suit go forward and committed multiple reversible errors in favor of the plaintiff. [Ford Motor v. Hall-Edwards (Fla. App. Nov. 7, 2007); Krauss @ Point of Law; Daily Business Review; Bloomberg/Boston Globe]
- Not really a man-bites-dog story, but Geoffrey Fieger (Aug. 25 and rather often otherwise) speaks. [ABA Journal]
- Uh-oh: Former litigator hired to invest $100m in court cases for UK hedge fund. [Times Online]
- The real NatWest Three deal. [Kirkendall; July 2006 in Overlawyered]
- Homeowners fined $347,000 for trimming trees without a permit—after the Glendale Fire Department sent them a notice telling them to trim their trees for being a fire hazard. (h/t Slim) [Consumerist]
- Disclaimers at children’s birthday parties (h/t BC) [Publishers Weekly]
- British Christmas parades handcuffed by litigation fears. (h/t F.R.) [Telegraph]
- Underlawyered in Saudi Arabia: A “19-year-old Saudi gang-rape victim was recently sentenced to 200 lashes and six months in jail for being in a car with an unrelated male when the attack occurred. Last week, her lawyer was disbarred for objecting too vociferously.” [Weekly Standard]
- Don’t forget to vote for us at the ABA Journal Blawg 100.
Eight-minute documentary short from Moving Picture Institute (“Indoctrinate U.”, etc.) examines a Saudi billionaire’s London defamation suit against American author Rachel Ehrenfeld, whose book Funding Evil (never published in the U.K.) had charged him with funding terrorism. (Sullum, Reason “Hit and Run”, Nov. 19). Earlier: Oct. 26, 2003, Jun. 11, 2007. Sheikh Khalid bin Mahfouz “has won so many defamation claims that he publishes an anthology of apologies on his website. … The sheikh denied being a libel tourist in England where he and his sons had for many years had substantial connections, including residences and a London-based oil company.” (Dominic Kennedy, “US writer fights gagging order on al-Qaeda claims”, Times Online (U.K.), Nov. 1).