January 22 roundup

by Walter Olson on January 22, 2008

  • “Woman who ‘lost count after drinking 14 vodkas’ awarded £7,000 over New Year fall from bridge” [The Scotsman]
  • Bar committee recommends disbarment for Beverly Hills lawyer who “played the courts like a bully in a child’s game of dodgeball” [Blogonaut (with response by attorney) via ABA Journal]
  • Shot and paralyzed in parking lot of South Florida strip club, cared for back home in Tunisia, Sami Barrak is now $26 million richer by way of his negligent-security suit [Sun-Sentinel] Earlier Florida negligent-security here, here, and here.
  • Canadian government orders airlines to stop charging the severely obese the price of a second seat [Winnipeg Free Press; earlier]
  • Study of head-injury victims in Spain finds “nearly half of the people who go to court feign psycho-cognitive disorders with the objective of profiting from this in some way.” [Science Daily]
  • Federal judge vacates $1.75 million verdict, questions reliability of expert testimony in Nebraska recovered-memory sex abuse case [Lincoln Journal-Star, AP/Sioux City Journal]
  • Confess your thoughts, citizen: Ezra Levant on his interrogation by official panel in Canada for publishing Mohammed cartoons [Globe & Mail; earlier]
  • Class-action lawyers continue to hop on glitches with Xbox Live, Halo 3 and related Microsoft gaming systems [Ars Technica, News.com; earlier here and here]
  • Bay Area proposal to ban much burning of wood in fireplaces and stoves (Nov. 30, etc.) draws strong reactions both ways [SF Chronicle]
  • Harder to get into Ringling Bros.’s Clown College than law school, says man who attended both [six years ago on Overlawyered]
P.S. Whoops, that’s what I get for posting while drowsy: earlier roundups by Ted already had the Scottish-tippler and obese-flyer items.

{ 4 comments }

1 John Rohan 01.22.08 at 5:04 am

regarding the shooting lawsuit – I am really curious here. Of course, it is better for some businesses to hire their own security, but since that is the government’s job in the first place, how can private businesses be compelled to do it?

2 Ted 01.22.08 at 7:03 am

A court is not supposed to certify a class action unless it explicitly finds that the attorney and lead plaintiff are adequate representatives. How was this finding made for Mr. Fine?

3 Skip Frizzell 01.22.08 at 10:55 am

Had she been able to keep count after 14 vodka’s would she have a case against the vodka manufacturer?

4 Anonymous Attorney 01.22.08 at 11:33 am

John, it’s a sensible question. Traditionally under common law, there was no liability for things like criminal attacks in a parking lot. It was thought that the fault for such things was with the criminal attacker, not the landlord. But criminal attackers don’t have money, and landlords do. So plaintiffs’ attorneys devised a scheme to reach the landlord. They likened the situation to “negligent maintenance of the premises,” i.e., letting a criminal on your property is comparable to allowing your parking lot to fall into disrepair.

Now, it’s a cause of action with increasing viability in many states. Some require that there be “notice,” or several prior criminal incidents, so that the landlord would have known to hire extra security.

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