Updates

by Walter Olson on December 1, 2006

Recent developments on past stories:

* Remember Shannon Peterson, the Denver condo owner who got sued by a neighbor who complained that she was taking baths too early? (Feb. 27). The case is still dragging on the better part of a year later, a judge having refused so far to throw it out. David Giacalone has the details (Nov. 30).

* Glamourpuss lawsuit-chaser Erin Brockovich, fresh from the humiliating dismissal (Nov. 18) of suits she fronted against California hospitals alleging Medicare overbilling, has been rebuffed in another high-profile case. This time a judge has dismissed twelve lawsuits brought by her law firm of Masry & Vititoe alleging that exposure to oil rigs at Beverly Hills High School caused cancer among students there (Martha Groves and Jessica Garrison, “School oil-rig lawsuits dismissed”, Los Angeles Times, Nov. 23) (via Nordberg who got it from Legal Reader). For more on the case, see Jul. 15 and Nov. 19, 2003, and Mar. 16, 2004. The New Republic has marked the occasion by reprinting its revealing 2003 article on the affair by Eric Umansky. P.S. More from Umansky, who has his own blog, here.

* Reader E.B. writes in to say:

Remember the group of parents (Oct. 23) who threatened litigation over their daughters’ playing time on the girl’s basketball team? The ones who demanded a six-person panel to oversee the selection of the players?

None of the parents’ daughters made the team. And they’re not happy about it. See C.W. Nevius, “Castro Valley hoops coach can’t win”, San Francisco Chronicle, Nov. 30.

* A court has dismissed the action (Aug. 10, 2005; Feb. 9, Feb. 20, Mar. 6, Jun. 28, 2006) by fair housing activists against Craigslist over user ads that expressed improper preferences or mentioned forbidden categories in soliciting tenants, apartment-sharers and so forth. (Anne Broache, “Craigslist wins housing ad dispute”, CNet, Nov. 17). However, blawger David Fish says the court’s reasoning was highly unfavorable to many other Internet companies generally, and may expose them to future liabilities (Nov. 15). Craigslist now has an elaborate page warning users that it is unlawful for them to post preferences, etc. in most situations not involving shared living space. Update: David Fish’s name corrected, apologies for earlier error.

* 3 pm update to the updates from Ted: “An Illinois intermediate appellate court overturned the $27 million verdict in Mikolajczyk v. Ford (which we reported on last year), ordering the lower court to replace the arbitrary jury verdict with a lower arbitrary number. Why the jury’s damage award is considered the product of passion and prejudice, but the same jury’s liability award is kosher, remains unclear. (Steve Patterson, “Court says $27 million crash award too much”, Chicago Sun-Times, Nov. 23).”

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Potter v. Ford Motor
06.13.08 at 6:47 am

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