- Raelyn Campbell briefly captured national spotlight (“Today” show, MSNBC) with $54 million suit against Best Buy for losing laptop, but it’s now been dismissed [Shop Floor; earlier]
- Charmed life of Florida litigators Stanley and Susan Rosenblatt continues as Miami judge awards them $218 million for class action lawsuit they lost [Daily Business Report, Krauss @ PoL; earlier here, here, and here]
- Lerach said kickbacks were “industry practice” and “everybody was paying plaintiffs”. True? Top House GOPer Boehner wants hearings to find out [NAM “Shop Floor”, WSJ law blog]
- It’s Dannimal House! An “office rife with booze, profanity, inappropriate sexual activity, misuse of state vehicles and on-the-job threats involving the Mafia” — must be Ohio AG Marc Dann, of NYT “next Eliot Spitzer” fame [AP/NOLA, Adler @ Volokh, Above the Law, Wood @ PoL; earlier]
- Sorry, Caplin & Drysdale, but you can’t charge full hourly rates for time spent traveling but not working on that asbestos bankruptcy [NLJ] More: Elefant.
- Fire employee after rudely asking if she’s had a face-lift? Not unless you’ve got $1.7 million to spare [Chicago Tribune]
- Daniel Schwartz has more analysis of that Stamford, Ct. disabled-firefighter case (May 1); if you want a fire captain to be able to read quickly at emergency scene, better spell that out explicitly in the job description [Ct Emp Law Blog]
- As expected, star Milberg expert John Torkelsen pleads guilty to perjury arising from lies he told to conceal his contingent compensation arrangements [NLJ; earlier]
- Case of deconstructionist prof who plans to sue her Dartmouth students makes the WSJ [Joseph Rago, op-ed page, Mindles H. Dreck @ TigerHawk; earlier]
- How’d I do, mom? No violation of fair trial for judge’s mother to be one of the jurors [ABA Journal]
- First sell the company’s stock short, then sue it and watch its share price drop. You mean there’s some ethical problem with that? [three years ago on Overlawyered]
“Accusing tobacco companies of preying on black people, a Miami attorney is seeking $1 billion in damages on behalf of a Coral Springs, Fla., woman whose mother and grandmother both died of smoking-related health problems.” Reporter Forrest Norman of the Daily Business Review, the south Florida legal paper, quotes me expressing skeptical opinions about the suit. In Florida’s earlier Engle tobacco litigation, plaintiff’s lawyer Stanley Rosenblatt came in for sharp criticism at the appeals level for the way he demagogued the racial angle; I covered the case here, here and here. This week’s case was brought by solo practitioner J.B. Harris, who said of the tobacco-company defendants, “If I could, I’d try to have them charged with genocide.” (“Suit Accuses Tobacco Firms of Targeting Black Consumers, Seeks $1 Billion in Damages”, Jun. 6).
The Florida Supreme Court has backed an appeals court’s dismissal of the absurd $145 billion verdict against cigarette makers in the Engle case. The court’s opinion is split in complicated ways, but the defeat for attorney Stanley Rosenblatt is unmistakable. (Daniel Pimlott, “$145bn award against tobacco giants goes up in smoke”, Financial Times/MSNBC, Jul. 6). The opinion is here (PDF)(via Bashman). I’ve written extensively about the Engle case at earlier stages, including op-eds for the Wall Street Journal Jul. 12, 1999, Jul. 18, 2000 and May 23, 2003. Much more background here.
One more try to keep the circus going, from Miami lawyers Stanley and Susan Rosenblatt and friends. If the Florida Supreme Court doesn’t agree with them, it’s all over. (Paul Curcio, “Fla. Justices Asked to Reinstate $145 Billion Award in Tobacco Suit”, Miami Daily Business Review, Nov. 4). See May 15 and links from there.
To no one’s surprise, plaintiff’s lawyers Stanley and Susan Rosenblatt are seeking en banc review by an 11-member Florida appeals court of the demise of their $145 billion verdict against the tobacco industry in Engle v. R.J. Reynolds. (“Florida smokers to appeal $145 billion lawsuit”, Reuters/Forbes.com, Jul. 16). Perhaps hinting at desperation, their banner argument is that the appeals panel engaged in “judicial plagiarism” because it adopted wholesale in its opinion vast tracts of language from defense briefs — even though this particular form of supposed plagiarism is entirely routine in court opinions when judges consider one side’s briefs convincing and do not expect that they will be able to improve on the style of the briefs’ presentation (Siobhan Morrissey, “A Case of Judicial Plagiarism?”, ABA Journal E-Report, Aug. 1). More: Gary Young, “Plagiarism Charges Plague Tobacco Decision”, National Law Journal, Aug. 21. Update May 15, 2004: Fla. Supreme Court agrees to hear case.