The injured man “took the [legal] action after health and safety inspectors concluded the hotel failed to carry out a risk assessment on the dangers of pruning. They also said that his employer should have given him training on where to place the ladder.” [Telegraph, Daily Mail]
- Federal judge rejects lenient plea deal for two judges in Luzerne County, Pa. judicial scandal [ABA Journal, Scott Greenfield] More: allegations of extensive abuses including “rampant case-fixing and payoffs” [Hank Grezlak and Leo Strupczewski, Legal Intelligencer] Charges of impropriety in handling defamation case handed down against Wilkes-Barre newspaper [Strupczewski, same] Improprieties in that libel case denied [ABA Journal] Should juvenile convictions by Judge Mark Ciavarella Jr. be vacated? [ABA Journal]
- Law and a banana: Page-one Wall Street Journal treatment of fruit pesticide litigation fraud [yesterday’s paper, PoL] Further: Cal. Civil Justice (“trained like a parrot”, “super lawyer”), L.A. Times and more, earlier.
- “Can it be true that some Girl Scout camps FORBID climbing trees?” [Skenazy, Free Range Kids]
- Katy Perry (U.S. pop singer) vs. Katie Perry (Australian fashion designer) trademark lawsuit [Bryan Quigley, Institute for Legal Reform] Suit has now been dropped [Katie Perry website, h/t @lenejohansen]
- Emergency room blogger White Coat wraps up his malpractice-suit saga [collected posts]
- “Automated shakedown racket sends legal threats, demands cash” [BoingBoing; copyright infringement demand letters]
- More coverage of New Mexico baseball-hit-into-stands liability ruling [Hochfelder/PoL, Stossel, earlier]
- Do not anger Texas criminal defense law blogger Mark Bennett. Just don’t [Popehat]
- Polar bears on parade: “Lawsuits are not the best way to force the public into solving planet-size problems such as climate change.” [Christian Science Monitor editorial]
- Jury convicts private investigator Anthony Pellicano, trial of entertainment lawyer Terry Christiansen set for July [Variety; earlier]
- Knockoff sneakers differed from Adidas original in having two or four stripes instead of three, didn’t save Payless Shoes from getting hit with $304 million verdict [American Lawyer]
- Following up on our discussion of municipal tree liability: Michigan high court OKs homeowner class action over sewer line damage from city trees [AP/MLive]
- Attorney Franklin Azar, of Colorado TV-ad fame, says jury’s verdict ordering him to pay a former client $145,000 was really a “big victory” for him [ABA Journal]
- Annals of tolling-for-infancy: “Dog bite 10 years ago subject of civil suit” [MC Record]
- Feds indict Missouri woman for cruel MySpace hoax that drove victim to suicide: Orin Kerr finds legal grounds weak [@ Volokh]
- “I blame R. Kelly for Sept. 11”: some ways potential jurors managed to get off singer’s high-profile Chicago trial [Tribune; h/t reader A.K.]
- Update: “click fraud” class actions filed in Texarkana against online ad providers have all now settled [SE Texas Record; earlier]
- Judge orders dad to stay on top of his daughter’s education, then jails him for 180 days when she fails to get her general equivalency diploma [WCPO, Cincinnati; update, father released]
- Lawyers still soliciting for AOL volunteer class actions [Colossus of Rhodey; earlier]
To borrow the summary from the highly recommended Arts & Letters Daily: “The British love their trees, but across the land beautiful old trees are being chopped down in their thousands. The reason? Safety rules and hungry lawyers… ” (Michael McCarthy, “Green giants: Our love affair with trees”, Independent (U.K.), Apr. 25). Earlier: Dec. 3, 2006, etc. More: Scott Greenfield says don’t blame the lawyers, blame the towns and other authorities for overreacting.
- 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.
A beloved San Francisco tourist attraction, the birds roost in two ancient cypress trees whose owner says he can no longer afford the liability risk should they topple or shed branches on spectators. The city is stepping in to spare the axe by taking responsibility for the chance of injury. (Charlie Goodyear, “Preserving perches for wild parrots”, San Francisco Chronicle, Feb. 14; “Buzz saws threaten home of Telegraph Hill parrots”, CBC, Nov. 3, 2005). A 2004 film about the parrots is available here on DVD.
This time from the U.K.: Simon Jenkins has some choice words in the Guardian about the tendency to turn a relatively rare phenomenon — injuries caused by tree falls — into the occasion for legal punishment, and the undesirable incentives this creates for those entrusted with the care of trees. (“Those who walk under trees are at risk from these terrorising inspectors”, Nov. 17). More on tree hazards: Jun. 11, Jul. 31 and Nov. 27, 2006; Apr. 30 and Jul. 19, 2005; Nov. 16, 2004; Mar. 12, 2002.
From a New York Times article on the city of Los Angeles’s decision to curtail the planting of palm trees along public streets and parks, one reason being that the majestic plants have been known to drop bulky fronds on persons below:
“Hawaii has a lot of coconut tree liability problems because they fall on people’s heads,” he said. “But the people there have said, ‘That is something that we have to accept.’”
(Jennifer Steinhauer, “City Says Its Urban Jungle Has Little Room for Palms”, Nov. 26). See also Jun. 11 (similar, from Torquay, England). More on coconut liability, in both cases relating to the decorated Mardi Gras variety: Mar. 4, 2005 (thrown at parade spectators); Mar. 13-14, 2002 (copyright claim).
Officials in Milford, Ct. agreed to take down three healthy hickory trees along an avenue after resident Una Glennon “demanded that the trees be removed because one of her grandchildren is allergic to nuts and can’t play in the pool with the other children when the nuts are falling.” Author and Common Good president Philip K. Howard detects the distortive influence of what he calls “legal fear”. (New York Times, Jul. 30). Also: Emily Bazelon, “Trees vs. children: Are nut allergies taking over the planet?”, Slate, Jul. 27.
Thom Lambert explains how such laws can lead to more trees being cut down. I discussed a similar problem on Point of Law back on Jan. 27, 2005.