Posts Tagged ‘Steve Berman’

Prosecutors: “Fast Eddie” Vrdolyak got secret cut of Illinois tobacco fees

The great tobacco settlement of the 1990s certainly is the scandal that keeps on giving, isn’t it? “On Tuesday, federal prosecutors…. charged that [influential former Chicago alderman Edward] Vrdolyak worked out a secret deal with other attorneys to collect as much as $65 million even though he’d done no work on the tobacco case [for the state of Illinois]. The indictment did not make clear just how much the former alderman actually pocketed. … The [Seattle-based Hagens Berman] firm has denied any attempt to conceal payments.” [Chicago Tribune]

By the time my book The Rule of Lawyers came out in its 2004 softcover edition, enough was known about the multistate tobacco settlement for me to call it a “gigantic heist.” More stories have emerged since then. How many more still haven’t come to light?

Environmental roundup

  • Plaintiffs in Michigan v. EPA, now before U.S. Supreme Court, argue that cost-no-object regulation oversteps EPA’s authority [The Economist, Ilya Shapiro on Cato’s amicus brief]
  • Apex predator? Class action firm and perennial Overlawyered favorite Hagens Berman sues Sea World demanding consumer refunds over animal handling [Orlando Sentinel, San Antonio Business Journal]
  • Privately designed and operated cities can provide answers to tough growth questions [Alex Tabarrok and Shruti Rajagopolan]
  • Following pile-on of publicity and lawsuits over formaldehyde levels in flooring, Lumber Liquidators distributes free test kits to consumers, gets sued over that too [Bloomberg, related]
  • Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission won’t charge men who posted Facebook video of their hang-out with an apparently injured Great Horned Owl, but feds might [Lowering the Bar]
  • Urban markets often blocked from providing supply of affordable housing [Adam Hengels, Market Urbanism] “Minimum parking requirements in the planning profession are closely analogous to bloodletting in the medical profession.” [Donald Shoup via Tabarrok]
  • In Louisiana, legacy lawsuits over past oil and gas drilling roil Plaquemines Parish [WWL]

Medical roundup

  • “Embattled Broward Health paid law firm $10.2 million; tab included a lawyer’s M&Ms” [Miami Herald]
  • “Journalists were not very interested in the areas of vaccine policy that are actually debatable. They just wanted to find fools and laugh at them.” [Matt Welch]
  • Wider access to pharmaceutically based drug rehabilitation may be sound policy. But is it compelled by the ADA? [Huffington Post via @sbagen]
  • Kamala Harris carries water for the SEIU in a hospital deal, and Californians are the losers [John Cochrane]
  • Drug case: “Hagens Berman argument ‘gives new meaning to frivolous,’ judge says; sanctions imposed” [ABA Journal]
  • California: Kaiser Permanente “ordered to pay woman more than $28 million” [L.A. Times]
  • “Bacteria can evolve. So can McDonald’s. Maybe federal policymakers can as well, before it’s too late.” [Steve Chapman]

Apple: “Betrayed by its own law firm?”

Lawyer in Apple’s law firm turns out to have been secretly advising and investing in patent-holding entity (repped by Hagens Berman) preparing a legal onslaught against Apple. “Why didn’t Morgan Lewis … see an ethical problem in letting one of its partners invest in a patent troll, especially one specially designed to target one of the firm’s big clients? And how many other big-firm lawyers are entwined with ‘start-ups’ that are actually holding companies, created to attack the very corporations they are supposed to be defending?” [Joe Mullin, Ars Technica via @tedfrank]

August 11 roundup

  • Seattle’s best? Class action lawyer suing Apple, e-publishers has represented Microsoft [Seattle Times, earlier]
  • “Disabled” NYC firefighter/martial arts enthusiast can go on getting checks for life [NYPost; compare]
  • After the FDA enforcement action on drug manufacturing lapses come the tagalong liability claims by uninjured plaintiffs [Beck]
  • “What If Lower Court Judges Weren’t Bound by Supreme Court Precedent?” [Orin Kerr]
  • Fark.com settles a patent suit for $0 (rough language);
  • Canadian law society to pay $100K for asking prospective lawyers about mental illness [ABA Journal]
  • Self-help eviction? “Chinese Developers Accused Of Putting Scorpions In Apartments To Force Out Residents” [Business Insider]

October 6 roundup

All-blog edition:

Alex Beam on Eskimo global-warming suit

Don’t expect the much-hyped Kivalina suit to bring down Big Energy, the columnist says, but it might just keep the lawyers at Hagens Berman in BMWs:

The Inupiat Eskimos are perfect, jury-worthy plaintiffs. They have occupied their tiny barrier reef, just a few feet above sea level, “since time immemorial,” according to the lawsuit. They are poor. They live in harmony with nature, according to the documentary. (Pay no attention to those all-terrain vehicles zipping around town, and the kid flashing the gang sign.) …

Some judges may be liberal, but they’re not idiots. They know that utilities sold electricity to Americans because their customers wanted to jack up the AC. In fact, there isn’t a utility in America that hasn’t spent the past 20 years begging its customers to use less oil and gas. There is an inconvenient truth if I ever saw one.

Not to be missed (“Eskimos, whales, and luaus…Oh my!”, Boston Globe, May 24).