Posts Tagged ‘United Kingdom’

UK: pancake race canceled after 600 years

The town of Ripon in North Yorkshire has finally canceled its Shrove Tuesday pancake race, in which school children run down a street flipping pancakes. Among the reasons cited are bureaucracy and other discouragements to volunteering, child protection rules, road closure difficulties and, most prominently, a “mountain” of needed health and safety assessments demanded by insurers: “The main issue is the cobbled street, that people could slip on,” says an organizer. The event dates back 600 years and is tied to a local tradition in which native women tricked Saxon invaders with liquor-soaked pancakes. [Times Online, Guardian, Daily Mail] This BBC account explains the Shrove Tuesday (Mardi Gras) tradition of consuming pancakes, which use up some of the rich ingredients forbidden during the following season of Lent. See Feb. 23, 2004 (near-cancellation of similar event).

U.K.: A one-man bias-suit industry

“For a decade [Suresh Deman] sued universities – usually claiming racial bias over failed job applications – as he collected nearly £200,000 in payouts and cost the taxpayer an estimated £1million”. After he had brought 40 actions he was declared a vexatious litigant and banned from further proceedings, but the ban did not cover Northern Ireland and he was soon there pursuing an 11-year-old claim against the Association of University Teachers and Officers (AUT). (Chris Brooke, “Race-claims lecturer beats legal ban to carry on suing after 40 discrimination claims”, Daily Mail (U.K.), Nov. 19; A Tangled Web, Nov. 19; “In the news: Suresh Deman”, Times Higher Education Supplement, Mar. 21, 2003).

Update: received on Oct. 5, 2015, via comment form from a commenter giving the name of “C Kumar”:

In 2007 a leading national newspapers published defamatory material by putting me into negative light. Initial persuasion with the editor to retract and tender an apology did not work, so matter went to the High Court. After 8 years, persistence paid off and I was vindicated with an agreement to publish an apology as follows:

“In the editions of 21st and 28 January 2007 we published articles entitled, “De-Man for race pay outs” and “De-Man for race compensation is back in Ulster” concerning a Industrial Tribunal cases taken in Northern Ireland by Dr Suresh Deman, on the basis that he suffered discrimination in his employment.
The articles wrongly characterized him as “De-Man” and claimed that Dr Deman was barred from instituting the proceedings in Northern Ireland and did not provide Dr Deman the opportunity to comment on the their content. We are happy to clarify this and apologies to Dr Deman for our error….”

January 24 roundup

  • Longtime Overlawyered favorite Judy Cates, of columnist-suing fame, is using large sums of her own money to outspend incumbent James Wexstten in hard-fought race for Illinois state judgeship; Democratic primary is Feb. 5 [Belleville News-Democrat, Southern Illinoisan]
  • City council told: we’ll cancel your liability coverage if you throw all meetings and city records open to public [Seattle Times]
  • Attorney member of Canadian Senate in spot of bother after revelation that she billed client for 30 hours in one day [Vancouver Province, edit]
  • A public wiki just for Scruggsiana? After Keker’s minions swoop in to do their edits, the Mississippi attorney may wind up portrayed as the next Mother Teresa, and not the Hitchens version either [WikiScruggs]
  • Same general category of point, my Wikipedia entry now suddenly describes me as “controversial”, when but a month ago I wasn’t;
  • $28 to $52 million in 18 months for serving as a DoJ “corporate monitor” sounds like nice work if you can get it, and former AG Ashcroft got it without competitive bidding [Lattman, St. Pete Times edit, PolitickerNJ, NJLJ]
  • The Amiable Nancy (1818), admiralty case that could prove crucial precedent in Exxon Valdez punitive appeal, has nothing to do with The Charming Betsey (1804), key precedent on international law [Anchorage Daily News; Tom Goldstein/Legal Times]
  • “First do no harm… to your attorney’s case” [Cole/Dallas Morning News via KevinMD]
  • Probers haven’t come up with evidence of more than middling tiger-taunting, and attorney Geragos says he’ll sue zoo’s p.r. firm for defaming his clients [KCBS; SF Chronicle; AP/USA Today]
  • UK’s latest “metric martyr” is Janet Devens, facing charges for selling vegetables in pounds and ounces at London’s Ridley Road market [WSJ; earlier]
  • Lawyer can maintain defamation suit over being called “ambulance chaser” interested only in “slam dunk” cases, rules Second Circuit panel [eight years ago on Overlawyered]

UK: “Pantomime gun must be registered”

In Great Britain, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has required the Carnon Downs drama group in Cornwall to undertake to keep plastic and wooden swords and cutlasses locked up when not in use on stage in a traditional pantomime. The group was also obliged to register an imitation gun which ejects a flag with the word BANG. (BBC, Jan. 18). Earlier on holiday pantomime regulation: Dec. 13, 2007 (no throwing candy to audience), Sept. 14, 2004 (cultural sensitivity in portrayals of characters).

U.K.: Farm stiles and gates yield to wheelchair access

In the English countryside stiles and so-called kissing gates “have been a familiar feature of the landscape for centuries, but local authorities now believe that installing them along footpaths and rights of way is a breach of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.” (“Farms kiss goodbye to stiles and gates to allow wheelchair access”, Times Online, Nov. 30). According to Wikipedia, some kissing gates are designed on a large enough scale that wheelchairs can pass through.

Christmas in old England: a roundup

Organizers of a pantomime show in Norfolk say they are forbidding the bewigged Dame from throwing sweets out to kids in the audience, a cherished part of the Christmas tradition, lest someone get bonked on the noggin and sue. (“Panto stars banned from throwing sweets into the audience in case children get hit on the head”, Daily Mail, Dec. 6). To avoid an increase in its insurance premiums, a club in the West Midlands has been obliged to fit out Santa’s sleigh with a seat belt (“Health and safety killjoys force Santa to wear a seatbelt in his 5mph sleigh”, Daily Mail, Nov. 29). And: “The ‘snaps’ have had to be removed from more than 650 Christmas crackers being sent to soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan because of regulations on the carriage of ‘explosives’. … ‘The troops will just have to go ‘bang’ themselves when they pull them,'” said an official. (“‘Bang’ goes cracker fun for troops”, Daily Telegraph, Dec. 12). Earlier similarly: candles carried in cathedral, workplace decorations, torchlight processions, carolers, puddings, pantomime themes, lighting displays.

December 8 roundup

  • As governor, Huckabee signed a good tort reform package capping punitive and non-economic damages, and reforming joint and several liability and venue law, but the rest of his economic record is big-government. And David Harsanyi is critical of Huckabee’s claimed opposition to nanny-statism. [Insurance Journal; Human Events; Harsanyi; RCP; Michael Tanner @ FoxNews]
  • Update to the popular Bridezilla flowers lawsuit; florist files opposition. Lots of comments ensue. [Lattman]
  • South Dakota Supreme Court: no, you can’t sue a pharmacy for being a “drug dealer” when plaintiff steals prescription medicine for a disabled friend and injures himself OD’ing on it. [On Point]
  • Former litigator hired to invest $100m in court cases for UK hedge fund. [Times Online]
  • Atkins fallout in Texas and California, as professional anti-death-penalty experts there happily minimize subject IQs to call their intelligent clients retarded. Earlier: Feb. 2005; Sep. 2003. [Science Evidence blog; and again]
  • Heartbalm tort of alienation of affection withstand constitutional challenge in Mississippi. Earlier: Jul. 5; Nov. 2006, etc. [Torts Prof]
  • Bob Woodruff biography: I would have died if my injury happened in the United States because of fear of liability. [Murnane]
  • I’ve updated my paper on Thomas Geoghegan’s new book. [SSRN]
  • Overlawyered holds slim lead at ABA Blawg 100 popularity contest. But why aren’t any of you voting for Point of Law? [ABA Journal]

December 2 roundup

  • 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.

UK: Law forbids dying while in house of Parliament

It was named the most absurd law in Great Britain, but there’s a certain logic behind it:

…the reason people are banned from dying in parliament is that it is a Royal palace.

Nigel Cawthorne, author of The Strange Laws of Old England, said: “Anyone who dies there is technically entitled to a state funeral.

“If they see you looking a bit sick they carry you out quickly.”

(Gary Cleland, “Don’t die in parliament, it’s the law”, Daily Telegraph, Nov. 6).

And for readers here in America, happy Thanksgiving, and see you after the holiday.