June 20 roundup

by Walter Olson on June 20, 2010

  • Happy Father’s Day! Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy proposes criminal penalties for parents who skip parent-teacher conferences [WJBK via Welch, Reason]
  • Plaintiff’s bar takes to online marketing in big way, Boston’s Sokolove firm has 20-employee team [WSJ Law Blog]
  • Stuart Taylor, Jr., “The Myth of the Conservative Court” [The Atlantic]
  • Happy Father’s Day, cont’d: that “sex offender” neighbor could turn out to be this poor guy [Stephen Mason, Psychology Today via Alkon]
  • Libertarians debate anti-discrimination law [David Bernstein and others, Cato Unbound]
  • Despite trial lawyer lobbying push, Congress declines for now to create “aid and abet” securities-fraud liability [Bainbridge] “Overcriminalization in the Financial Reform Legislation” [David Rittgers, Cato]
  • As international “human rights” proliferate, they’re being applied for businesses’ benefit too, to some advocates’ displeasure [Bader, Examiner]
  • Happy Father’s Day, cont’d: Virginia Supreme Court rules child can sue dad after traffic collision for not strapping her properly into car seat [OnPoint News]

{ 6 comments }

1 VMS 06.20.10 at 7:40 am

re: Virginia Supreme Court rules child can sue dad after traffic collision.

I smell a partially collusive lawsuit! The other possibility is that the claimed injuries are total BS.

I will bet you that Hannah’s father’s insurance policy is exactly $100,000.

From the Supreme Court opinion:

“Hannah alleged in the amended complaint that due to her father’s failure to secure Hannah in the vehicle, she was “violently thrown about in the undercarriage and cab area” of the truck. As a result, Hannah sustained numerous injuries including, but not limited to: multiple facial contusions, a skull fracture, cerebral edema and subarachnoid hemorrhage of the right frontal lobe, a ruptured bladder, a left acetabular fracture, and an inferior pubic rami fracture. Because of the acquired brain injury and the seriousness of her other injuries, Hannah was subjected to several months of hospitalization and rehabilitation.
Hannah alleged that Evans owed her a duty of care both as the operator of the vehicle and as her father. Notwithstanding this duty, Hannah alleged that Evans “carelessly, recklessly, willfully, wantonly, grossly, negligently and grossly negligently, permitted” her to be left in such an unsafe and unreasonably dangerous seating arrangement. Hannah asserted that Evans’ alleged negligence was the direct and proximate cause of her serious and permanent physical and psychological injuries, and she sought $100,000 in ‘compensatory and/or punitive damages.'”

2 Ted Frank 06.20.10 at 8:43 am

In the Virginia case, I have to wonder why the insurer isn’t simply paying the claim. A lot of these family-member vs. family-member cases are forced upon people by insurers. Still, a remarkably lawless reading of a statute that says exactly the opposite of what the court concluded.

The “poor guy” in the Stephen Mason case was a married 35-year-old who was sexually involved with a 15-year-old student of his. While I certainly agree that the sex-offender laws are unduly punitive of a large class of harmless people, this “poor guy” isn’t exactly a poster child for the proposition, even if he went on to marry his statutory-rape victim three years later—a marriage that might not have happened if not for his sex-offender status limiting his options, though, of course, we can never know what the counterfactual world would look like.

3 panthan 06.21.10 at 10:05 am

Ted is right that Perk is hardly an innocent victim. It is clear however that his wife and children are innocent victims. It is such collateral damage that infuriates me about these overbroad and excessively punitive laws.

4 Anonymous Attorney 06.21.10 at 11:34 am

Re: Libertarians and anti-discrimination laws:

Bernstein says “The laudable goal of the ever-broadening antidiscrimination edifice is to achieve a fairer, more just society. Laudable goals…”

It’s easy to laud desire for a “fairer, more just society” — I personally hope for equal access to cute puppies and endless beer for everyone.

But let’s not. As envisioned by so many, “fair and just” simply translates as the forced transfer of wealth and positions from disfavored racial groups to favored ones. Anti-discrimination laws are part of an awkward, rickety and ridiculous scheme to make the unequal equal, force association and submerge one of fiercer drives of human nature — the drive for like to be with like. Evolutionary thinkers have given us new theories for why this is — and it’s not the nasty, narrow-minded “racism” alleged.

It all boils down to why I personally cannot take libertarianism seriously. What could be a purer expression of human freedom than to choose who you’ll live and work with? If you’re not prepared to sheath the sword of government power for that, I’m not impressed that you simultaneously want to legalize pot.

5 Ron Miller 06.21.10 at 3:32 pm

I agree VMS. I think I’m going to go fake a fractured skull and the other injuries claimed. Wish me luck.

6 William Nuesslein 06.24.10 at 9:03 am

What bothers me about the Mason case, and other cases similar to it, is that those who punish are never satisfied. Statutory rape is an expedient to protect girls. The punishment should be harsh enough to give pause to men who like young women, but it is not a capital offense, especially when the girl is near the age of consent.

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