April 29 roundup

by Walter Olson on April 29, 2008

  • “Dog owners in Switzerland will have to pass a test to prove they can control and care for their animal, or risk losing it, the Swiss government said yesterday.” [Daily Telegraph]
  • 72-year-old mom visits daughter’s Southport, Ct. home, falls down stairs searching for bathroom at night, sues daughter for lack of night light, law firm boasts of her $2.475 million win on its website [Casper & deToledo, scroll to "Jeremy C. Virgil"]
  • Can’t possibly be right: “Every American enjoys a constitutional right to sue any other American in a West Virginia court” [W.V. Record]
  • Video contest for best spoof personal injury attorney ads [Sick of Lawsuits; YouTube]
  • Good profile of Kathleen Seidel, courageous blogger nemesis of autism/vaccine litigation [Concord Monitor*, Orac]. Plus: all three White House hopefuls now pander to anti-vaxers, Dems having matched McCain [Orac]
  • One dollar for every defamed Chinese person amounts to a mighty big lawsuit demand against CNN anchor Jack Cafferty [NYDN link now dead; Independent (U.K.)]
  • Hapless Ben Stein whipped up one side of the street [Salmon on financial regulation] and down the other [Derbyshire on creationism]
  • If only Weimar Germany had Canada-style hate-speech laws to prevent the rise of — wait, you mean they did? [Steyn/Maclean's] Plus: unlawful in Alberta to expose a person to contempt based on his “source of income” [Levant quoting sec. 3 (1)(b) of Human Rights Law]
  • Hey, these coupon settlements are giving all of us class action lawyers a bad name [Leviant/The Complex Litigator]
  • Because patent law is bad enough all by itself? D.C. Circuit tosses out FTC’s antitrust ruling against Rambus [GrokLaw; earlier]
  • “The fell attorney prowls for prey” — who wrote that line, and about which city? [four years ago on Overlawyered]

*Okay, one flaw in the profile: If Prof. Irving Gottesman compares Seidel to Erin Brockovich he probably doesn’t know much about Brockovich.

{ 4 comments }

1 Jason Barney 04.29.08 at 1:23 am

RE: “72-year-old mom visits daughter’s … home.” More grade-A demagoguery. Although the injuries are significant, who sues one’s daughter? Oh, the law firm web site glosses over that fact: “Homeowners’ insurance made it possible to pursue compensation even though the injuries were sustained in her daughter’s home. …” Oh, so it’s insurance money–who flipping cares then?

More: “Unfortunately, two insurance companies were more interested in saving money than they were in seeing a fair result, thus necessitating a two and one-half week trial …” The two (saving money and fair result) are not mutually exclusive. Can’t one be frugal and fair? And, with two insurers I suspect there may be a primary and umbrella homeowner’s policy capable of paying the $2.475M judgment, so the daughter is off scot-free; and I would suspect the daughter was not offering a vigorous defense knowing any judgment is likely fully insured.

And I wonder out loud: who gets the inheritance?

2 Luke 04.29.08 at 6:59 am

“72-year-old mom visits daughter’s Southport, Ct. home, falls down stairs searching for bathroom at night, sues daughter for lack of night light, law firm boasts of her $2.475 million win on its website”

Wow… there’s nothing like bankrupting and ruining the life of your own child.

And how is this not personal misadventure for not turning a light on if you couldn’t see?

3 Richard Nieporent 04.29.08 at 8:22 am

She should have stayed at Motel 6.

4 The Complex Litigator (H. Scott Leviant) 04.29.08 at 7:25 pm

“Hey, these coupon settlements are giving all of us class action lawyers a bad name.”

While I don’t have any data to support my belief, pure coupon settlements, more than any other identifiable factor, seem to have done significant damage to the perception of class actions and the reputation of “class action lawyers.” There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to cleaing up class action practice, but class actions could use a significant nip and tuck so that we use class actions only where appropriate. I personally don’t like pure coupon settlements, and, as a class action lawyer, I’ve had the good fortune to work on class actions where money, and not coupons, are obtained for class members.

Finally, I appreciate the link to my blog post. I have more thoughts to post about coupon settlements in the coming days.

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