August 3 roundup

by Walter Olson on August 3, 2009

  • On the medicalization of nearly everything: “Bitterness, Compulsive Shopping, and Internet Addiction” [Christopher Lane, Slate]
  • Lawyer representing Sarah Palin to blogger: do you want to be served with our defamation suit at the kindergarten where you help out? [Alaska Report via Rachel Weiner, HuffPo]
  • “The 7 Most Baffling Criminal Defenses (That Sort of Worked)” [Cracked via Popehat]
  • Canada: crash victim gets C$2M, sues deceased lawyer for omitting a defendant who’d have chipped in another C$1.3 million [Calgary Sun]
  • Privacy breach notifications mostly a costly waste of time but do keep lawyers busy [Lee Gomes, Forbes]
  • “News Websites in Texas and Kentucky Invoke Shield Laws for Online Commenters” [Citizen Media Law]
  • North Carolina suit against TVA “a sweet gig for the state’s attorneys” [Wood, Point of Law]
  • Blawg Review #223 is at Scott Greenfield’s [Simple Justice] with another part hosted at the Blawg Review home site itself.

{ 6 comments }

1 Dirk D 08.03.09 at 10:15 am

Does Canada not have joint and several liability?

2 Robert 08.03.09 at 10:57 am

From the sound of that letter, I think that attorney is a student at that Kindergarten!

3 Jim Collins 08.03.09 at 2:13 pm

48 million people out of about 300 million are considered mentally ill by the APA. Almost 1/6th of the population. Now when the DSM-V comes out, how many more of us will be added to that number? It sounds funny, until you think about a couple of things.

Mental illness is one of the few reasons to revoke someone’s Second Amendment rights. Call me a conspiracy kook or whatever you like, but remember the criticism of the medical privacy laws in the wake of the Virginia Tech shootings.

Mental Illness is also one of the few things that can cause a person to be institutionalized against their will, without due process.

Mental illness can prevent someone from holding certain types of jobs. Imagine spending 8-12 years and thousands of dollars on becoming a doctor and then being told that you can’t work in that field.

I understand the reasoning behind both of the things that I mentioned, but consider this. Psychology is totally subjective. If someone makes a wrong diagnosis, how do you correct it? How do you prove that it is incorrect? With everybody wanting to “error on the safe side” these days, this could be one of the biggest threats to personal freedom that we have.

4 rxc 08.04.09 at 5:17 am

*I think the combination of the new DSM-V, the latest version of the ADA, and the upcoming healthcare plans will create a great opportunity for lawyers to grow their businesses in coming years! The CPSC has shown the way for the Congress to write these new laws, and by god, they are going to move forward!

5 Random Reader 08.04.09 at 10:56 am

@Jim Collins.
Of course there is no way anything like that many people are mentally ill except on paper– you simply could not have any kind of society if that were true. I’ve seen the criteria for some popular diagnoses, and they’re… well… crazy. I don’t know how else to put it. It’s as though the people who came up with them are, if not mad themselves, at least very unused to the company of normal human beings with, you know, personalities and emotions and stuff.

That aside, there’s the question of how the stats were gathered. If it was one of those phone surveys where they ask about symptoms, the figure is pretty much worthless even on its own terms.

However, I’m sure the whole thing isn’t a deliberate conspiracy to strip people of their rights– rather, there are many different special interests involved, some well-meaning. For instance, you’ve got your activists for the really mentally ill who sincerely think if enough people get diagnosed with Internet Addiction, schizophrenia will become completely socially acceptable.

*cue poster claiming “Internet Addiction ruined my life! How dare you laugh at my terrible suffering!*

6 Jim Collins 08.05.09 at 1:30 pm

Random,
I don’t think that the DSM-V is an attempt to remove people’s rights. I am saying that it could be used that way. Think about it this way. If this universal health care bill becomes law, your medical records, including mental health records, become open to the government. How long before that information is tied to the information that is used for the background check to purchase a firearm? You will have no defense, no way to refute it and no way to have it removed. If you think I’m kidding just ask Keith Emerich.

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