April 9 roundup

by Walter Olson on April 9, 2009

  • Teacher’s aide in Queens, N.Y., sues 11 year old, saying he was dashing for ice cream and ran into her (this happened when he was eight) [WPIX; Rosanna Tomack, Joseph Cicak]
  • Extraterritoriality, or exit fees? Stiff taxes these days on Americans who renounce their citizenship [Coyote Blog]
  • Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell hires Bailey, Perrin & Bailey, big campaign-donor law firm for anti-drugmaker suit [WSJ, Point of Law, ShopFloor, Adler @ Volokh]
  • Injured in wrestling fall, will get $15 million from school district [Seattle Times]
  • Feds seized Petri dishes at Buffalo professor’s home and word spread of major bioterror bust. Oops [Andrew Grossman, Heritage]
  • Toward “public control over the media”: Creepy ideological origins of Nichols/McChesney scheme to subsidize newspapers [Adam Thierer, City Journal]
  • Thanks to expensive modern medicine Virginia Postrel has been doing well in her fight against breast cancer, story might not have been so happy in some countries [The Atlantic, second essay responding to letters]
  • Jury awards $22.5 million against vaccine maker to man who says he caught polio from daughter’s shot [Staten Island Advance]

{ 4 comments }

1 William Nuesslein 04.09.09 at 8:25 am

The vaccine case is curious. Why wasn’t the man’s claim taken by the special vaccine courts? How can anyone be certain of the absolute path of the pathogen to the man. 60 years ago polio was prevalent enough to terrify the America populous about 50,000 cases. It is now very rare- averaging about 10 cases a year since 1979. Perhaps the jury was mad about the reduction in cases. Maybe they liked iron lung machines.

This case is disgusting on its face.

2 Raymer 04.09.09 at 9:24 am

“Teacher’s aide in Queens, N.Y., sues 11 year old, saying he was dashing for ice cream and ran into her…”
In loco parentis? I’m thinking this woman was the adult responsible charged with managing the behavior of the child. Clearly she was negligent in the discharge of her duty to the child and all other innocent bystanders. As such, her pension and disability should be revoked.

3 E-Bell 04.09.09 at 11:05 am

Check out the comments to the polio vaccine article. Someone claiming to be one of the jurors give his or her explanation about why they found the doctor not to be liable:

“Posted by TenutoJuror on 03/21/09 at 6:14PM

As a juror, this case was more complex than what the Advance posted. The following are my opinions on the verdict. First, we found that the company knew that OPV comes out stronger when it passes though the intestinal track (This was not disclosed on the packet inserts given to Doctors). In addition, we found that the company put out a batch of OPV (given to Diana), which did not meet the safety standards. This negligent act exposed Mr. Tenuto to a dangerous virus, thus leading to his current paralytic state.

As for Dr. Schwartz, he was found innocent because he administered Diana’s second shot of OPV (the one in question) as part of her series of injections. The doctor who administered her first shot should have disclosed any information on risks. Dr. Schwartz should not be responsible for the company’s negligence in putting out a vaccine, which we found did not meet safety standards.

In this case, the particular OPV in question was found to be more dangerous, especially after it mutates and comes out in the stool. With any infectious disease, it only takes a few microscopic germs to infect a host. Mr. Tenuto, as I suspect most of the population, was unaware of how OPV works. It was not determined that his cut hand enabled the virus to infect him. He also testified that he always washed his hands after changing Diana, therefore making it impossible to blame him for causing his condition.
No matter what the community thinks of Mr. Tenuto, he still has to live his life in a wheelchair due to the negligence of a Pharmaceutical company. ”

I always find it fascinating when jurors make statements about the case they sat on.

4 William Nuesslein 04.10.09 at 7:41 am

Thanks, Mr. Bell.

I still do not understand how Mr. Tenuto caught polio from changing diapers. Did he have a cut on his hand? He says he washed his hands every time.

The jury took a public policy action by punishing the vaccine maker for not meeting some safety standard. But they did not properly account for the trade off of an occasional Mr. Tenuto and many iron lung cases. Over all, the polio vaccine is a miracle of our times, and the verdict still disgusts me.

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