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Politics roundup

by Walter Olson on September 7, 2012

  • “Someone tell Gov O’Malley that Swiss bank UBS is helping build a Maryland bridge.” [background; State of Maryland, PDF, via Dan Alban] Dems’ trade xenophobia escapes ire aimed at GOP’s purported immigration xenophobia [Barro] “Buried in the 2012 Democratic platform: Official declaration of war on Switzerland.” [@daveweigel]
  • Are you better off than you were four years ago? Kyle Graham traces that question back to 1900, and no doubt it’s older [ConcurOp]
  • Fact-checkers snooze during Dems’ Lilly Ledbetter show [Ted Frank/PoL, Hans Bader/Examiner] Read in full context, Obama’s “you didn’t build that” remarks “would inspire largely the same reaction.” [Larimore, Slate]
  • Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist is least surprising Dem endorser of the year, as Overlawyered readers have reason to know [Betsy Woodruff, NRO, on Morgan & Morgan connection]
  • Great Society legacy: tax-funded nonprofits play key role in NYC corruption [Steven Malanga, WSJ]
  • “Details of the Auto Bailout You Won’t Hear in Charlotte” [Dan Ikenson, Randal O'Toole, Cato; Tim Carney, Washington Examiner ("Here’s the truth: what Romney proposed for Detroit was more or less what Obama did"); Shikha Dalmia on Gov. Jennifer Granholm]
  • HHS welfare waivers: fact-checkers, check thyselves [Kaus, more, Steve Chapman]

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It only took Charlie Crist a few months, and was no particular surprise given his record in office [Daily Caller, WSJ Law Blog]. More: Turkewitz.

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June 9 roundup

by Walter Olson on June 9, 2008

  • Florida trial lawyers have funneled millions to Gov. Charlie Crist and GOP state legislators; now guess why Orlando isn’t going to get commuter rail [Bousquet/St. Petersburg Times; Sentinel]
  • What his ex-law firm told the world was “extremely inappropriate personal conduct” was in reality no more than a “brief, consensual kiss” with co-worker, charges attorney in $90 million defamation suit; Kasowitz Benson says it was following zero tolerance policy [American Lawyer]
  • SCOTUS, 9-0, Thomas writing, narrows scope for money-laundering charges over hiding unexplained cash — but will that curb forfeiture abuse? [Grits for Breakfast, Greenfield]
  • After West Virginia high court refuses to review $405 million royalty dispute jury verdict against Chesapeake Energy and another defendant, company scraps plans to build $30 million headquarters in the state [PoL]
  • Even after discounting anti-corporate rhetoric, there does seem to be a story here about aggressive seed patent litigation tactics used by agri-giant Monsanto, a firm known to our readers [Barlett & Steele, Vanity Fair; earlier]
  • Medical liability consequences of much-promoted concept of hospital “never events” [Buckeye Surgeon]
  • Cellphone rage update: Judge Robert Restaino ousted for jailing 46 people after one of the annoying devices rang out in his Niagara Falls, N.Y. courtroom [Buffalo News, earlier]

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Florida has staggered towards reform in the last few years under Governor Jeb Bush, bush GOP candidate Charlie Crist’s running mate, Jeff Kottkamp, is a trial lawyer, reform opponent, and plaintiff in a ludicrous suit blaming a hospital construction contractor for medical complications he had following heart surgery. (John Kennedy, “GOP candidate breaks rank on tort reform”, Sun-Sentinel, Oct. 5) (via Childs). Earlier coverage: Sep. 18 and links therein.

Elsewhere in Florida, the Florida Supreme Court has essentially undone a 2004 reform voters passed in a referendum (Nov. 3, Mar. 1: it will allow attorneys to avoid the effect of a constitutional amendment capping medical malpractice attorneys’ fees, so long as their clients sign a waiver saying they’re willing to pay more. (Aaron Deslatte, “Court lets lawyers bypass lawsuit cap”, Tallahassee Democrat, Sep. 29). I actually applaud this step to the free market, but just wish doctors had the same rights to get their patients to sign waivers. Apparently courts and consumer advocates are willing to trust only lawyers with the freedom of contract or speech.

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Florida gubernatorial nominee (and incumbent state AG) Charlie Crist (Feb. 3) has picked Jeff Kottkamp, a “mostly conservative” state representative, to be the party’s nominee for lieutenant governor. Kottkamp, a plaintiff’s lawyer, was the only Republican to break ranks and vote against joint-and-several liability reform. (Brian E. Crowley, “Conservative trial lawyer joins Crist on GOP ticket”, Palm Beach Post, Sept. 14). See also Aug. 18, 2005, and other related: May 21 and Jan. 17, 2006, as well as Ted’s of Aug. 22, 2005, etc.

“Attorney general Charlie Crist was an integral player in getting an anti-spam law passed last year in the state of Florida. Under the law, offenders are subject to fines of up to $500 for every e-mail sent. Now running for governor, someone on the Crist campaign is responsible for sending e-mails to promote the candidacy and solicit campaign donations. Recipients have reportedly attempted to unsubscribe without success.” A Crist spokeswoman says the emails don’t count as spam because they’re not deceptive. (Clickz blog, Jan. 9; Adam C. Smith, “Crist e-mail draws ire”, St. Petersburg Times, Dec. 21; “From anti-spam stand to e-mail campaign”, AP/Miami Herald, Dec. 23; Brian McWilliams, Dec. 24; Geek.com). For more on anti-spam laws and related issues, see, e.g., Jul. 25, 2005 and Dec. 3, 2003.

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