January 12 roundup

by Walter Olson on January 12, 2009

  • Airline off the hook: “Couple drops lawsuit claiming United is liable for beating by drunken husband” [ABA Journal, earlier]
  • Why is seemingly every bill that moves through Congress these days given a silly sonorous name? To put opponents on the defensive? Should it do so? [Massie]
  • With police payouts in the lead, Chicago lays out more money in lawsuits than Los Angeles, Houston, Phoenix, Philadelphia, Dallas put together (but NYC still #1 by far) [Chicago Reader]
  • Who’s behind the website Asbestos.com? Bill Childs does some digging [TortsProf]
  • When not busy carrying out a mortgage fraud scheme from behind bars at a federal prison, inmate Montgomery Carl Akers is also a prolific filer of lawsuits, appeals and grievances [Doyle/McClatchy]
  • Alcohol policy expert Philip Cook on Amethyst Initiative (reducing drinking age) [guestblogging at Volokh]
  • Must Los Angeles put career criminals on public payroll as part of “anti-gang” efforts? [Patterico]
  • Some “local food” advocates have their differences with food-poisoning lawyer Bill Marler [BarfBlog, which, yes, is a food-poisoning policy blog]; Marler for his part is not impressed by uninjured Vermont inmates’ “entrails in the chicken” pro se suit [his blog; more from Bill Childs and in comments; update: judge dismisses suit]

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Chicago: $260 million in public borrowing…
01.17.09 at 10:04 am

{ 3 comments }

1 Bill Childs 01.12.09 at 9:04 am

Am I missing something on that Marler post? He doesn’t seem to actually say anything that’s wrong with the prisoners’ case. Just says it makes him cringe and then pastes in the entire story. Not the greatest case ever, but nothing obviously egregious about it either, from the facts as recited. It’s not up there with most of the others under your “prisoners” tag, is it?

2 Neal 01.13.09 at 9:23 pm

Yes, you are missing something. Seeking millions of dollars of damages from emotional distress (no physical injury) from seeing chicken entrails smells like chicken entrails to me.

3 Bill Childs 01.13.09 at 10:45 pm

As I noted in my blog comments as well, they didn’t seek millions of dollars. At trial they requested $100,000 and one plaintiff alleged physical injury, though he conceded on cross-examination that his injury might have been psychosomatic.

A fair number of states permit recovery for emotional distress in such a setting, too, though I don’t know about Vermont.

Again, not the strongest case in the world, and the court dismissed the case, but not on a conclusion that they didn’t receive “something other than chicken meat,” but that they failed to carry the burden of showing harm. Since they were proceeding pro se, that’s not particularly shocking.

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