Now on to some pre-litigation issues:
Starting with tort “reform” we get this heads-up from Perlmutter & Schuelke on a not-yet-published study from Baylor Law School surveying Texas judges, and their thoughts on whether juries were too liberal with awards. Here’s a hint at what the article will show: Well over 80% of the judges did not think there needed to be additional “reform” to address frivolous lawsuits;
At Dorf on Law, Michael Dorf returns to the issue of contingent fee relationships between government and private counsel, specifically responding to a Walter Olsen piece printed in the Wall Street Journal; (and a subject I addressed in May, in a less academic fashion, at Bush Prohibits Contingency Fees for Gov’t Attorneys, with many links by Beck/Herrmann here);
Dora the Explorer and other Fisher-Price toys face a recall for lead paint, just six weeks after Thomas the Train underwent the same fate (Round-Up #17). In recent weeks we’ve also seen tainted food products, toothpaste and pet food. Want to guess what country they were all imported from? (More at ConsumerReports and The Peon).
In North Carolina a man gets the crap beat out of him (that’s a technical term) by the local police for desecrating the American flag by flying it upside down with a picture of President Bush and anti-war slogans. The police, it seems, were trying to protect the flag and all that it stands for by shredding the First Amendment. QuizLaw has the gory details. It’s not a lawsuit. Yet.
And John Day discusses the liability issues of the Minneapolis bridge collapse and the immunity issues that exist if such an event happened in his state;
And now on to litigation, including a few that didn’t make it too far…
A federal judge in New York barred a punitive damage claim in a smoker’s suit against Philip Morris, based on New York’s participation in a 1998 settlement with 46 states. Previously, a Florida judge had reached an opposite conclusion. The court also rejected a design-defect claim that had been the source of a $20M state court verdict in another case (New York Law Journal via Law.com);
John Day discusses a case being dismissed because the plaintiff had filed for bankruptcy and had failed to disclose that when filing the bankruptcy claim. Since the personal injury claim would belong to the trustee, the injured person was not a proper party. Only the trustee could assert the claim. And since many personal injury victims fall into hard times as a result of the accident, every personal injury attorney should make question, “Have you ever filed for bankruptcy?” part of every intake questionnaire;
The family of St. Louis pitcher Josh Hancock, who came under withering scorn for having brought a wrongful death lawsuit after he was killed when he crashed into a stopped tow truck, while drunk and talking on his cell phone (Round-Up #14), has voluntarily discontinued the case. The explanation is furnished by Sheila Scheuerman at TortsProf;
Roy “Pants” Pearson has now lost more than his $54M trousers. He’s lost his job (Washington Post). Let me be the first to predict he will bring a lawsuit as a result;
Suit has been filed in a Florida federal court regarding the July 17th plane crash on a Brazilian runway that killed 199 people (ABAJournal);
The WSJ Law Blog has more on the $101M wrongful conviction bench-trial verdict out of Boston, with an interview with plaintiff’s counsel, Juliane Balliro;
Every trial lawyer wonders what the jury is thinking. This juror was doodling during trial. Anne Reed at Deliberations tells us what happened as a result;
In the Uncategorized category, some bloggers aren’t happy with each other: Ogan Gurel of Life Sciences Daily lets go with his opinions on the nasty ad hominum attacks that permutate the DrugWonks blog, by using a statistical analysis (via TortsProf). Personally, I find the DrugWonks style so off-putting I often don’t get past the openings, as the attacks cloud the issues. Perhaps they have some good material in there, but it takes work to find it; And Scott Greenfield lets rip against William McGeveran at Concurring Opinions for wasting so much time in the fantasy world instead of the real one, with: Harry Potter and Legal Scholarship. Give Me A Break!
As you head home for the weekend, you might find the round-ups of others of some interest:
- David Williams hosted Grand Rounds, a round-up of medical blogs at Health Business Blog (that includes a post from me);
- David Lat at Above the Law hosted Blawg Review (that includes a different post from me);
- Jason Shafrin at The Healthcare Economist hosted Cavalcade of Risk, a round-up of insurance related issues (that includes yet two other post from me);
- And Howard Zimmerle of Quad Cities Injury Lawyers points us to The Law of the Simpsons (that, thankfully, does not include anything from me).
Enjoy the weekend.
(Eric Turkewitz is a personal injury attorney in New York.)