Posts Tagged ‘Sheldon Silver’

Politics roundup

  • NY Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver hangs blame for a retrospectively unpopular position on the *other* Sheldon Silver. Credible? [NY Times via @jpodhoretz]
  • Julian Castro, slated as next HUD chief, did well from fee-splitting arrangement with top Texas tort lawyer [Byron York; earlier on Mikal Watts]
  • 10th Circuit: maybe Colorado allows too much plebiscitary democracy to qualify as a state with a “republican form of government” [Garrett Epps on a case one suspects will rest on a “this day and trip only” theory pertaining to tax limitations, as opposed to other referendum topics]
  • “Mostyn, other trial lawyers spending big on Crist’s campaign in Florida” [Chamber-backed Legal NewsLine; background on Crist and Litigation Lobby] “Texas trial lawyers open checkbooks for Braley’s Senate run” [Legal NewsLine; on Braley’s IRS intervention, Watchdog]
  • Contributions from plaintiff’s bar, especially Orange County’s Robinson Calcagnie, enable California AG Kamala Harris to crush rivals [Washington Examiner]
  • Trial lawyers suing State Farm for $7 billion aim subpoena at member of Illinois Supreme Court [Madison-St. Clair Record, more, yet more]
  • Plaintiff-friendly California voting rights bill could mulct municipalities [Steven Greenhut]
  • John Edwards: he’s baaaaack… [on the law side; Byron York]
  • Also, I’ve started a blog (representing just myself, no institutional affiliation) on Maryland local matters including policy and politics: Free State Notes.

Does Silver tarnish if exposed to sunlight?

Last year New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s income from prominent personal injury firm Weitz & Luxenberg, where he is of counsel, was between $350,000 and $450,000, a disclosure eagerly awaited by some Gotham reporters since details about Silver’s financial arrangement with the firm have previously been kept under wraps. Silver also has a relationship with Counsel Financial, which lends money for the furtherance of lawsuits. “Critics have suggested that the two-year gap between the old and new reporting requirements gave Silver enough time to front-load his salary from Weitz & Luxenberg before the new rules went into effect, thus making it appear he has a smaller salary when he had to finally publicly disclose it. Those close to Silver have dismissed such speculation.” Silver’s Assembly salary is $122,500. [New York Daily News; Ira Stoll]

June 8 roundup

  • “They want us to run government more like a business? OK then, we’ll start dropping $10K fees each on ludicrous motivational speakers.” [me on Twitter, background on IRS]
  • Responding to scurrilous attacks on Fifth Circuit Judge Edith Jones [Ann Althouse and more, Tamara Tabo, Gerard Bradley, Bart Torvik]
  • As Hasan cites Taliban, Obama Administration’s claim that Fort Hood attack was “workplace violence” is looking brittle [Christian Science Monitor]
  • “The Good Wife’s bad politics and awful law” [Bainbridge]
  • Hey, it worked for Sheldon Silver: “Giving Albany bosses the power to block probes of themself in secret is laughably unworkable” [Bill Hammond, New York Daily News]
  • Per Mickey Kaus, immigration bill would allow retroactive EITC refunds for past years of unlawful residence [Daily Caller]
  • Someone’s getting rich off the federal cellphone program, but it’s not Mrs. Hale of Bethalto [KMOV]
  • “Goodnight stars. Goodnight moon. Goodnight spooks on iChat, peeking into my room. Goodnight PRISM. Goodnight cell. Goodnight Verizon. Goodnight, Orwell.” [Radley Balko]

New at Point of Law

Things you’re missing if you’re not reading my other site:

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]

Update: Silver’s office settles sex claim

New York: “The leadership of the State Assembly has agreed to pay $500,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by a former legislative aide who said she had been raped by the chief counsel to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver….[former counsel J. Michael Boxley] will make a small payment toward the settlement, but most of the money will be taxpayers’ funds.” (Jennifer Medina, “Assembly Settles Suit on Sexual Misconduct”, New York Times, Jan. 28). See our coverage of Jun. 15, 2004. In a Summer 2004 City Journal piece, Stefan Kanfer sketches out a couple of the background aspects that make the whole episode piquant for Albany-watchers, if not for the parties involved:

Up in Albany, Sheldon Silver is speaker of the Democrat-controlled assembly — just the sort of guy a hard-line feminist could love, ever eager to promote laws punishing cads who take advantage of women. …Furthering the irony, Silver in his spare time is counsel to Weitz and Luxenberg, one of New York’s most influential law firms, known to prosecute torts like the one confronting the speaker.

Gun dealers’ liability for crimes

Despite the enactment of the federal pre-emption bill, some politicians, like New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, are still pushing the idea:

Gun dealers could be held liable if they sell weapons that are later used to commit a crime under an Assembly proposal that’s under fire by gun-rights proponents.

The measure’s chances for passage are considered remote, though. (Heather Yakin and John Milgrim, “Gun dealers balk at proposal to hold them liable”, Middletown, N.Y. Times Herald-Record, Dec. 20).

Congress pre-empts vicarious car-lease liability

In a surprising stroke, Congress has included in its new transportation bill a provision that would abolish New York’s “vicarious liability” law, which places auto manufacturers and independent leasing firms on the hook for unlimited vicarious liability when cars they lease are later involved in accidents, regardless of whether the lessors have been negligent or behaved wrongfully (see my N.Y. Post op-ed of Jun. 9, 2003 as well as many posts on this site including Feb. 2, Sept. 5, etc.) The law, stoutly defended by New York’s trial lawyers and certain of their allied “consumer groups”, has driven most of the largest automakers out of the leasing business in New York and led to a steep hike in lease charges for those that remain. The bill is headed to the desk of President Bush, who is expected to sign it. (Tom Incantalupo, “Auto leasing may return to NY”, Newsday, Aug. 2; Joe Mahoney, “New law may cut car lease cost”, New York Daily News, Aug. 3; Ian Bishop, “Boost for NY Car Leasers”, New York Post, Aug. 3; Michael Cooper, “Congress Passes Bill Nullifying a State Law, and Making It Easier to Lease Cars in New York”, New York Times, Aug. 4)(many links via Henry Stern’s

The provision is found as sec. 1409 at p. 219 of the 1075-page bill, and is reprinted below in the post’s extended entry (definitions omitted). Among the bill’s notable features: it will take effect immediately to block newly filed vicarious suits, including those over accidents before the law’s effective date; it apparently applies to short-term car rentals of the Hertz and Avis kind, which have also been much discouraged in New York by the vicarious liability law; and (from a casual reading, at least) it also appears to pre-empt the laws of other states which impose some degree of vicarious liability after a crash on lessors (up to a capped figure of damages, that is; only New York imposes unlimited liability).

“All it will do is enrich leasing companies and automobile companies,” charged Shoshana Bookson of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association — a prediction whose accuracy should be testable soon enough. (Alan Wechsler, “Congress paves way for cheaper vehicle leases”, Albany Times-Union, Aug. 3). And according to the Staten Island Advance, Charles Carrier, a spokesman for Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, “said the law change would be unfortunate because it ‘means that companies can rent to anyone — even someone drunk — and not incur a liability.'” (Robert Gavin, “Bill would scrap N.Y. law allowing crash victims to sue leasing firms”, Aug. 3). In point of fact, sec. (a)(2) of the bill specifically preserves liability in cases of “negligence or criminal wrongdoing” by the owner or its affiliate.

P.S. Well, it didn’t take long to falsify Ms. Bookson’s prediction. An Aug. 4 editorial in the New York Daily News (“Congress repeals the Shelly Tax”) says: “Expecting the President’s signature, a number of car companies that fled the New York market years ago are now planning their return. And several others announced immediate $600 price reductions, proof positive that [assembly speaker and trial lawyer Sheldon] Silver was the sole reason New Yorkers have unfairly paid extra for leasing a car. Call it the Shelly Tax, and thank heaven, or Washington, that it is finally gone.”

Read On…