Consider this the dog days of August edition, part 1:
Starting with the tort “reform” movement, a bill is proposed in Congress to ban mandatory arbitration agreements entered into before a dispute arises (ABAJournal);
The collapse of a bridge in Minneapolis may have claims up to $1B, according to Robert Ambrogi at Law.com.
Ambrogi also points out, in the attorneys-acting-badly department, the ambulance chasing going on. This is the same type of conduct that occurred in New York after the 2003 Staten Island Ferry disaster that killed 10 — newspaper ads being submitted before the injured and dead were all taken from the scene — that led to new rules on attorney advertising and solicitation, including a 30-day prohibition on certain conduct. More by Mark Cohen at the Minnesota Lawyer Blog.
In addition, New Jersey has chalked up its first convictions for using “runners” to find clients according to Maria Vogel-Short and his former firm, the winners being Irwin Seligsohn and his firm Seligsohn, Goldberger & Shinrod (New Jersey Law Journal via Law.com). This comes fresh on the heals of last week’s action by the Manhattan District Attorney on the same subject; and three Kentucky Fen-Phen lawyers being forced to cough up $42M (plus interest) in legal fees to former clients. Kentucky blawgers Hans Poppe and the Kentucky Law Review have that story;
And lest you think lawyers-acting-badly is confined to just personal injury counsel: San Diego federal Judge Rudi Brewster accused Qualcomm and its trial counsel of committing “gross litigation misconduct” by withholding crucial evidence in Qualcomm’s patent infringement case against Broadcom Corp. (Jessie Seyfer for The Recorder, via Law.com);
The Big Dig tunnel collapse has resulted in a charge of involuntary manslaughter against a New York epoxy manufacturer. Whether this is just the first, or the last, remains to be seen. Ted Frank of Overlawyered tells us why prosecuting the company is really just a plot to carry water for trial lawyers;
If you get cancer from a kidney transplant, is it malpractice or simple negligence? Thomas Swartz at New York Legal Update lets us know what one of our appellate courts said, and why it was important;
And in other transplant-legal news, Jacob Goldstein reports that a California transplant physician has been accused of hastening death in order to harvest the organs (WSJ Healthblog);
Tom Lamb tackles the latest research paper on the risks of Avandia, at Drug Injury Watch;
Bill Childs notes at TortsProf that not only is the Consumer Product Safety Commission investigating toys, but that attorneys have taken notice;
Doctors and medical malpractice practitioners take note: Theo Francis at the WSJ Health Blog reports that Medicare, recognizing that hospitals actually profit from malpractice because of the need for continued treatment, will stop paying bills to remedy their flubs;
Some matters in litigation…
In tobacco litigation, the daughter and husband of a woman who died of lung cancer can proceed with their lawsuit against Philip Morris and other tobacco companies under a design-defect theory and can seek punitive damages in New York state court (New York Law Journal via Law.com);
In the popcorn lawsuit department (you didn’t know we had one?) 44 more plaintiffs have filed suit claiming they were suffered lung disease from popcorn flavoring, as per Tort Burger, Hold the Reform [Edit: much more at The Pump Handle, via TortsProf];
Mary Whisner points to an article on whether summary judgment is unconstitutional;
In the jury deliberation department, Sam Yospe at Concurring Opinions discusses blogging jurors. (Edit: I wonder if Brad Pitt blogged his jury duty? If so, QuizLaw might have something in common with him);
When the case is over, will you get paid for your time? Check out this ABAJournal horror story on a contingent fee, involving a cut from 20% to 4% in a case with 35,000 clients and $22M in charged costs;
And finally for the lazy, summer weekend, a mixed bag of law and medicine:
- Medical blogger Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei takes Grand Rounds to his beach house;
- Dr. Wes describes what happens when a fly enters a no-fly zone after the incision is made;
- Professor Kingsfield steps out of the celluloid to present Blawg Review #120;
- The Workers’ Comp Insider hosts the Health Wonk Review;
- And lastly, in the children’s department: Dinosaur Musings points to the lyrics of Tom Chapin (brother of Harry) reflecting on No Child Left Behind, and courtesy of Kevin, M.D., this x-ray shows why you teach your children to carry pencils point down, with the point in their hand.
Enjoy the weekend.
(Eric Turkewitz is a personal injury attorney in New York)