- From the Manhattan Institute “Trial Lawyers Inc.” project, “Wheels of Fortune” (PDF), twin report on lawyers’ exploitation of SSDI (Social Security Disability) and ADA cases;
- Theodore Dalrymple on the flaws of the US litigation system [Liberty and Law]
- Testimony: “after he inquired about the 40 percent fee charged by [co-counsel] Chestnut, [Willie] Gary threatened to ‘tie up [client] Baker’s money in the courts for years so he would never live to see it.'” [Gainesville Sun]
- ATRA takes aim at rise of asbestos litigation in NYC [“Judicial Hellholes” series, Chamber-backed Legal NewsLine, New York Daily News (“national scandal”)]
- Another reminder that while plaintiff’s lawyers conventionally assail pre-dispute employment arbitration agreements, they routinely use them themselves [LNL]
- New U.S. Chamber papers on litigation trends: “Lawsuit Ecosystem II“; state supreme courts review;
- Changes ahead for class action rules? [Andrew Trask]
“If we don’t get a dime, that’s OK, if we can make a difference and save some lives,” said longtime Overlawyered favorite Willie Gary, one of the lawyers representing a woman awarded $23 billion-with-a-b in punitive damages by a Florida jury for the lung cancer death of her husband, a longtime smoker. [USA Today] I’ve covered earlier stages in the long-running Florida Engle tobacco litigation, which included a $145 billion punitive damage verdict later thrown out, in articles here, here, and here, as well as Overlawyered coverage; more on Willie Gary.
More: Jacob Sullum on the illogical basis of the jury’s decision.
- Remembering George McGovern: “The endless exposure to frivolous claims and high legal fees is frightening” [Bob Dorigo Jones]
- “One student was told she couldn’t cast a vote for homecoming queen unless she submitted to the tracking regime.” [CNet via Doctorow, BoingBoing]
- Couple says law firm sued them following crash of RV they’d sold months earlier [Chamber-backed Southeast Texas Record]
- L.A. city council moves to ban pet stores [L.A. Times via Amy Alkon]
- “Willie Gary’s law firm ordered to pay $12.5 m to lender” [Nate Raymond, Reuters] Touring the tasteful promotional materials of longtime Overlawyered favorite Gary [Above the Law]
- Further debunkings of Lilly Ledbetter narrative [Victoria Toensing, Adler, more, earlier] And fact-checking PolitiFact could turn into a full-time job; Hans Bader is still on the case [CEI]
- Fifth Circuit panel backs Louisiana monks’ right to produce handcrafted caskets [NOLA.com, Ilya Shapiro/Cato, earlier]
- Hertz drops libel lawsuit against investor research outfit that claimed its solvency was at risk [Crain’s New York, earlier]
- Report: New Jersey blogger jailed for threats against federal judges was on FBI informant payroll [AP]
- “Bentley Photos Are Props in Willie Gary’s High School Motivational Speech” [ABA Journal]
- Australian personal injury lawyers evade ad ban [Sydney Morning Herald]
- Scott Rothstein’s alleged Ponzi scheme “targeted people who invested in law suits” [Steele/Legal Ethics Forum] “Two Inside Looks at Rothstein’s Firm, Lifestyle” [Ambrogi/Legal Blog Watch]
- O’Quinn driving nearly twice speed limit on rainy pavement at time of crash [Chron]
- “Support for UN religious defamation rule drops” [Media Watch Watch] On the other hand? “Envoy’s Speech Signals Softening of U.S. Hostility to International Court” [AP]
- Rudely titled new book on how to avoid getting sued [Instapundit]
Yes, the online ads are already up. Washington’s City Paper tracks down one California-based law firm marketer: “This is the only marketing I do — it’s the highest cost per click online. What else can you do, a young guy like me? I don’t want to do porn [sites].” According to one report via Twitter, “the Google ads are running on the WMATA Web site.” More: Maryland Daily Record (first suit filed); Eric Turkewitz. And Ron Miller, on the dilemma of the young man quoted above: “Dare I suggest this is a false choice? There has to be a third option after porn and train wreck chasing, right?”
The Florida high court has rejected the invasion-of-privacy tort theory under which a defendant can be held liable for a publication setting forth individually true facts which collectively create a misleading impression. We’ve extensively covered one of the two lawsuits on which the court ruled, in which famed attorney Willie Gary obtained an $18 million jury verdict against Gannett for investigative journalism it perpetrated against one of his clients. An appeals court later threw out the verdict. (WSJ law blog, Pensacola News-Journal, St. Petersburg Times editorial).
However, Marc Randazza at Citizen Media Law Blog (Oct. 24), analyzing the second of the two Florida cases, Rapp v. Jews for Jesus, warns that the decisions fell far short of being the free speech victories some have taken them as, because the Florida court endorsed and strengthened theories of “defamation by implication” which will usually be available in suing over the same fact patterns, the difference being that suits alleging “defamation by implication” must overcome more robust First Amendment defenses. Similarly: Elizabeth Spainhour, Newsroom Law Blog, Oct. 24.
- Speech tribunal in Alberta, Canada, acquits Ezra Levant over publication of Mohammed cartoons, and it only cost him C$100,000* [National Post, his site, Daimnation]
- Must not cover John Edwards-Rielle Hunter story … must not cover John Edwards-Rielle Hunter story … oh darn!
- U.K. version of a story we’ve seen stateside: noise restrictions threaten roving musical ice cream trucks [Telegraph, Times Online, earlier from NYC]
- “Lawyer Who Says She Was Chastised for Not Being Sweet Is Allowed to Sue” [ABA Journal]
- More thoughts about “going on disability” [White Coat Rants]
- Willie Gary perhaps less than gallant (though undeniably hard-hitting) in countering woman’s claim of sexual assault [WPTV, ABA Journal, Ambrogi]
- Arguing against release, federal prosecutors say millions in assets of two Kentucky fen-phen defendants can’t be traced [Lexington Herald Leader]
- Virginia restaurantgoers looking forward to sangria on sultry evenings [Lindsay Nair, Roanoke Times]
- “It’s true that [veep-buzzed Sen. Bayh] sided with Republicans on tort reform … but do Democrats really want to be the kind of party that makes litmus tests out of those issues?” [Patashnik, TNR “Plank”]
- Third Circuit strikes down ban on “depiction of animal cruelty” as unconstitutional, protecting both bullfight travelogues and those bizarro-fetish “crush videos” [Volokh, our 1999 report]
- Sen. Lieberman brought an outspoken pro-legal-reform voice to the Democratic ticket [eight years ago on Overlawyered]
*Levant can recover nothing from his tormentors because the so-called human rights tribunals are given a special dispensation from the normally prevailing Canadian rule of loser-pays.
Per AmLaw Daily, his trade secrets case against Motorola, on behalf of a now-defunct client named SPS Technologies, has settled for a sum far short of the $10 billion he sought. The case made headlines when a judge granted the Florida-based plaintiff’s potentate $23 million in sanctions against his opposite number, the law firm of Shook, Hardy & Bacon, though Gary had asked for $200 million in all. Reports AmLaw Daily:
The rising cost of fuel also has forced Gary to lease out his private jet — an aircraft appropriately named the “Wings of Justice II,” which includes an 18-karat gold sink and $1.2 million sound system — for $150,000 a month.
In late July, Gary told Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers that fuel for the 32-passenger Boeing 737 costs $250,000 a month. A routine roundtrip flight to a city like Atlanta can run $35,000.
- Speaking of prostitutes and politicians, Deborah Jeane Palfrey has come to recognize that Montgomery Blair Sibley (Oct. 29; May 4; etc.) may not be the best lawyer for her. [WTOP via BLT]
- Update: Nearly two years later, trial court gets around to upholding $2 million verdict in lawn-mower death we covered Jun. 16 and Aug. 18, 2006. [Roanoke Times (quoting me); opinion at On Point]
- In other lawn mower news, check out Jim Beck’s perceptive comment on a Third Circuit lawn-mower liability decision.
- Update: Willie Gary wins his child-support dispute. [Gary v. Gowins (Ga.); Atl. Journal-Const.; via ABA Journal; earlier: Nov. 2]
- Tobacco-lawyer Mike Ciresi drops out of Minnesota senate race. [WCCO]
- Belfast court quashes libel ruling against restaurant critic. [AFP/Breitbart]
- Trial-lawyer-blogger happy: jury returned $1.25 million med-mal verdict for death of totally disabled person suffering from end-stage renal disease, pulmonary hypertension, oxygen dependent lung disease, and obesity, after rejecting businessperson from jury “for cause” because he was head of local Chamber of Commerce. [Day]
- Car-keying anti-military attorney Jay Grodner faced the law in January; here’s the transcript. [Blackfive]
- Anonymous blog post not reliable evidence of factual allegations. [In re Pfizer, Inc. Sec. Litig., 2008 WL 540120 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 28, 2008) via Roberts, who also reports on fee reduction in same post]
- Clinton’s nutty mortgage plan. [B&MI (quoting me)]
- A supposed DC cabbie’s take on DC v. Heller. [DC Cabbie blog]