April 2 roundup

by Walter Olson on April 2, 2009

  • Topic we’ve covered before: should the MCAT exam for prospective M.D.s grant extra time to applicants with learning disabilities? [KevinMD]
  • Virginia blogger Waldo Jaquith fighting subpoena seeking identities of anonymous commenters [Citizen Media Law, earlier]
  • A free marketer’s case for why fired professor Ward Churchill might deserve to win his case against the University of Colorado [Coyote Blog]
  • She videotaped cops arresting her son. They took her camera. Could she have it back, please? [Ken @ Popehat]
  • Despite Obama campaign hints of Second Amendment truce, lower-level appointees far from gun-friendly [Dave Kopel] And new State Department legal advisor Harold Koh pushed international curbs on small-arms trade [Fonte, NRO "Corner"]
  • U.K.: “Man Who Attempted Suicide Sues Hospital that Saved Him” [Telegraph via Lowering the Bar]
  • National media jump on Luzerne County, Pa. judicial scandal, some details I hadn’t seen in earlier coverage [NYT, ABA Journal]
  • Atlanta jury — of 11 women and one lone guy — awards $2.3 million for circumcision injury [Fulton County Daily Report]

{ 4 comments }

1 Bob Lipton 04.02.09 at 7:13 am

I notice that the mother of the guy with the botched circumcision got half a million dollars. This is the same amount of money that the wife of the drunk guy who hit wild pigs got for ‘lack of consortium.’ Coincidence?

Bob

2 BG 04.02.09 at 10:47 am

Can these Luzerne County jerks also be charged with child abuse? I image everyone else might be OK by the end of this nightmare except these (1200 cases!!) kids who were treated so poorly.

What sort of idea of justice will these kids carry around the rest of their lives?

3 A.W. 04.02.09 at 1:16 pm

As for ADA suits, some are meritorious some aren’t. There is a myth that these suits are easy, etc. its not really true. meritorious claims are denied all the time, so much so that congress rightfully amended recently to eliminate the silly and downright perverse incentives that for instance punished handicapped people for treating the underlying condition causing their handicap, by depriving them of protection from discrimination.

Anyway, here’s the rule of thumb on this. prisoner suits based on the ADA are usually crap. in fact most prisoner suits in general are on any subject. This is just one way they like to hit back at the system, and waste some time. I have personally seen a case where a prisoner had a real disability and even though i am a pretty tough on crime kind of guy, i admit that to fail to accommodate him bordered on cruel and unusual punishment. But those kinds of cases are few and far between.

Class actions based on the ADA are usually crap. Actually, class actions in general are usually crap and the ADA doesn’t seem uniquely rife with abuse in that respect. i would go as far as to say that the number of meritorious suits in the class action category are so low as to be indistinguishable from zero.

Firms randomly suing for wheelchair access is a mixed bag. sometimes these are just charlatans trying to make a buck. and sometimes they are more in the spirit of the NAACP’s Ink fund.

But as a rule individuals suing for accommodations that they have been denied are almost never crap. The fact is a lawsuit is expensive and its pretty rare to recover attorney’s fees. And in most cases, the suit seeking accommodations is not likely to even result in any monetary damages.

of course, full disclosure, i am biased. there is a suit on the books in Dallas, Texas, called AJW v. the LSAC. I sued the people who run the LSAT to recieve equal treatment and won a preliminary injunction against them forcing them to give me the test with accommodations and reserving the issue of whether they would be required to release the scores for the full trial. We promptly settled and they rolled over on everything. Their attorney was actually a bigot who thought i was faking it.

But my case illustrates how the economics of that makes no sense if i am faking it. Yes, I more or less won, but that still cost me $18,000 to do it, all out of my pocket. I recieved no monetary damages. It wiped out every penny my parents had saved for law school for me. The notion that i would piss away that much money to to gain a slight advantage in admissions is crazy, unless it was the only way to make things equal.

Anyway, if i had my druthers, i would have congress ban all prisoner ADA cases and ADA class actions and leave the rest. It would be better for our legal system, better for our economy, and it would stop these crazy cases from dragging down the meritorious cases. Handicapped people have really beneiftted from the ADA, and enjoy opportuntities like never before. It allowed handicapped people to enjoy the simple dignity of independant living, often for the first time in their lives. Which is not only a moral good, but economically efficient, since the alternative is dependency–either on family or the state. To butcher one of Reagan’s sayings: “if you give a paraplegic man a fish, he will eat for a day; if you make the docks wheelchair accessible, he’ll eat forever.” In this respect the ADA is a net good for society, whether it is obvious when looking at the dockets or not.

4 William Nuesslein 04.03.09 at 6:00 am

A.W.

ADA sounds reasonable as does removing lead exposure to children. CPSIA, based on protecting children, imposes tremendous costs for no actual benefit. There are probably some who have been helped by ADA, but they are few, and their benefits comes at great costs. My sense of it is that the costs for ADA are out of reasonable proportion to the benefits. It would be best to repeal ADA and CPSIA.

Consider whether to require parachutes on airliners. Crashes are miraculously few, and when they occur there may not be sufficient altitude or time for parachutes to work. Thus we do not require parachutes on airliners. Many medical problems, such as a limp, are too minor to be even classified as a disability. Other problems, such as coma, cause total incapacitation The class of those for whom ADA is valid is narrow, with the law inviting troubles.

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