Timothy Sandefur has been tracking (continued) the constitutional crisis unfolding in West Virginia, in which the legislature has impeached all of the Justices on the state’s supreme Court and the courts have struck back with a ruling refusing to recognize the legislature’s authority to impeach under such circumstances.
- Poster case for cy pres abuse: Cato files amicus brief in Google referral header privacy class action settlement [Ilya Shapiro, earlier]
- “California Court Decision Offers Hope for Procedural Brake on Lawyer-Driven Class Actions” [Glenn Lammi, WLF on Noel v. Thrifty Payless]
- New book details Tampa attorney Brian Donovan’s frustrations with multi-district litigation (MDL) in Transocean spill case [Amanda Robert, Legal NewsLine]
- West Virginia: “House moves to limit Attorney General’s use of settlement funds” [Brad McElhinny, WV Metro News]
- “2017 Civil Justice Update” [Mark Behrens and Sarah Goggans, Federalist Society white paper]
- “Here’s why you’ll be paying more for car insurance if you live in Baton Rouge, New Orleans” [Dan Fagan, The Advocate]
- In welcome reversal of Obama-era ban, FDA will once more permit direct-to-consumer genetic testing [Meghana Keshavan/STAT News, FDA press release]
- Will California law hold a pharmaceutical maker liable — in perpetuity — for a drug that it did not make and did not sell? [Steven Boranian/Drug & Device Law, PLF on T.H. v. Novartis]
- Litigation funding group chases clients in hip replacement litigation [PR Newswire]
- ACA penalizes hospitals for high Medicare readmission rates, but new study links that policy to higher mortality for heart failure patients [Arnold Kling, Ankur Gupta et al., JAMA Cardiology, Cristina Boccuti and Giselle Casillas, Kaiser Family Foundation]
- Litigation tourism model that has done well for plaintiff’s bar now circling drain after Supreme Court’s Bauman, Bristol-Myers Squibb decisions [Jim Beck, Drug & Device Law, more, yet more; related on West Virginia, and from Michelle Yeary on choice of law and forum non conveniens]
- “FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb Goes to Bat For Evidence-Based Opioid Policies” [Mike Riggs, Reason] “Abuse-Deterrent Opioids Cross an Ethical Line” [Jeffrey Singer, Orange County Register]
“West Virginia’s top court imposed a two-year suspension on a lawyer who submitted bills for court-appointed work for more than 24 hours a day on two different occasions.” [Debra Cassens Weiss, ABA Journal]
- Mikal Watts trial begins over claims of fraud in BP gulf spill claims [AP, Miriam Rozen/Texas Lawyer, Alison Frankel/Reuters, earlier]
- If someone spilled hot coffee on you, would it take you two years to react? [Southeast Texas Record on filing just before runout of statute of limitations]
- “Woman Sues Construction Company For Allowing Man To Kill Himself By Jumping From Hi-Rise And Landing On Her Car” [CBS Los Angeles]
- “Families: Hamas on Facebook, so firm must pay $1B after terror deaths” [Cyrus Farivar, ArsTechnica]
- Cloud of blame: “W.V. Firm Blames Almost 300 Companies In Each Asbestos Lawsuit” [Jessica Karmasek, Forbes]
- Singer Collette McLafferty, sued over $75 cover-band gig, is poster person for New York bill to curb meritless lawsuits [Michaela Kilgallen, Albany Times-Union]
“West Virginia courts have a well-deserved reputation for favoring plaintiffs, but the state’s Supreme Court may have gone too far this year when it said drug addicts who broke the law to obtain narcotics could sue the doctors and pharmacies who supposedly fed their addiction.” Rulings like that, writes Daniel Fisher, are one reason West Virginia perennially ranks at the bottom in the U.S. Chamber’s ranking of state legal climates, and did again this year. Louisiana, Illinois, and California are other cellar-dwellers, while Alabama and Texas, despite extensive reforms and the success of business-oriented candidates in many judicial races, also languish in the lower ranks with continuing problems such as the litigation atmosphere of east Texas [Lou Ann Anderson/Watchdog Arena] More: Bob Dorigo Jones. Related, from ALEC: State Lawsuit Reform.
West Virginia: “A state Supreme Court ruling says juries can decide if residents who have broken the law by obtaining and using prescription painkillers can sue physicians and pharmacies for their addictions.” [Chamber-backed W.V. Record]
- “Judge dismisses ‘American Idol’ racial bias lawsuit” [Reuters]
- “Don’t sue your art dealer, because you won’t win” [Shane Ferro, Business Insurance on fate of Ronald Perelman suit against Larry Gagosian]
- Lawyer with big case pending before West Virginia high court bought plane from chief justice’s spouse [ABC, Charleston Daily Mail, WV Record]
- Remembering Bruno Leoni, classical liberal known for theory of superiority of decisional law process over legislation [Cato panel this summer, Todd Zywicki/Liberty and Law]
- “If I ever shoot your wedding, I’ll be sure to add a clause of ‘You cannot sue me for $300,000.'” [@GilPhotography on PetaPixel coverage]
- “Court Unconvinced by Lawyer Dressed as Thomas Jefferson” [Lowering the Bar]
- Arizona attorney general to GM: gimme $10K for every vehicle you’ve sold in my state [Bloomberg]
- Texas trial lawyer lobby has attacked Greg Abbott on theme of his accident for years without success, Wendy Davis would have been smarter to tell ’em no [Politico]
- Wondering about ObamaCare rate hikes? You’ll get to find out right after the election [Washington Times]
- “Four more years of ‘pay-to-play’ if DeWine returns as Ohio AG, says Dem challenger” [LNL]
- Blades concealed? Environmental group’s Iowa, Colorado attack ads play bad cop to wind lobbyists’ good cop [Tim Carney]
- “W.Va. trial lawyers’ campaign donations near $600K” [W.V. Record]
- With all the serious issues in the Maryland governor’s race, what’s this guy doing writing a parody song about Anthony Brown’s “Frederickstown” gaffe? [Free State Notes]
- “Dear Trial Lawyer Colleague, One of our own, Bruce Braley, is in the fight of his life” [Joel Gehrke, earlier]
Last month Charleston, W.V. suffered one of the worst American environmental calamities in years when coal-scrubbing chemicals burst from a tank farm and into its water supply, which had to be shut down for several days. So, you ask, given a great big injury for which it’s extremely likely that someone bears legal responsibility, how’s the litigation system helping out? Well, the operator of the tank farm having almost immediately declared bankruptcy in anticipation of massive legal claims, the net is naturally being cast wide for other defendants to sue, with some suits, for example, naming the water company as sole defendant.
The court filing, by the law firm of Thompson and Barney, says explicitly:
30. The combination chemical 4-MCHM is artificially created by combining methylclyclohexane (sic) with methanol.
31. Two component parts of 4-MCHM are methylcyclohexane and methanol which are both known dangerous and toxic chemicals that can cause latent dread disease such as cancer.
Sure thing, guys, just like the two component parts of dogwood trees are dogs and wood.
Lowe also accuses an expert hired by the same law firm of “irresponsible fear-mongering” for encouraging alarm about a finding of just over 30 nanograms per milliliter of formaldehyde in the Charleston water, not a high level by many standards.