The website of Morgan & Morgan, the large personal injury firm headed by politically active Orlando attorney John Morgan (“For the People”), announces the firm’s interest in handling cases alleging overtime infractions and other wage and hour violations under the Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and boasts that its client recoveries in employment cases have exceeded $50 million. Not mentioned is a recent case in which Morgan & Morgan is reported to have “reached a settlement meant to resolve a former field investigator’s allegations that he was not properly paid overtime, according to [an October] filing in Florida federal court.” [Scott Flaherty, Law360] According to an article last year on the dispute, Christopher Hranek “was a field investigator for Morgan & Morgan from June 2008 until he was ‘terminated’ by mail in August 2012 while on Family Medical Leave Act leave, according to the lawsuit. He alleged that he routinely worked more than 40 hours a week and sometimes up to 70 hours weekly, using his 1999 Ford to drive to various locations in the state as the firm’s preliminary contact with injured people or potential clients, but did not receive overtime compensation.” The firm denied the allegations and said it had paid Hranek appropriately. [Jane Meinhardt, Tampa Bay Business Journal; earlier]
- Florida attorney John Morgan, suing NASCAR over crowd injuries, says waiver on back of ticket isn’t valid [Mike Bianchi, Orlando Sentinel, scroll to “Open Mike”; John Culhane, Slate] Idaho court denies assumption-of-risk “Baseball Rule” in foul-ball case [CBS]
- “Pennsylvania vs. NCAA: case dismissed” [antitrust; Rob Green, Abnormal Use]
- 1911 article: aviation “as safe as football”: 47 aviation vs. 60 football fatalities in 1909. [Kyle Graham, @tedfrank] “Do no harm: Who should bear the costs of retired NFL players’ medical bills?” [WaPo] “Retired Jocks Dig for Gold in the California Hills” [Jon Coppelman on state’s generous worker’s comp arrangements, earlier]
- “The Derrick Rose lawsuit and emotional distress claims in South Carolina” [Frances Zacher, Abnormal Use]
- “Parents of autistic New Jersey teen sue so he can play on” [Brick, N.J. football team; WPVI]
- NY Yankees successfully challenge company’s effort to trademark “Baseball’s Evil Empire” [Ilya Somin, Michael Schearer]
- “Memo to Roger Goodell: I’ll take my NFL football without Obamacare propaganda, please” [Bainbridge]
- Cuomo appointee Jenny Rivera, lawprof on “social justice” beat, likely to pull NY’s highest court leftward [Reuters; Kerr, with additional comments-section background on chief judge Jonathan Lippman] Notable plaintiff’s litigator Brad Seligman (Wal-Mart v. Dukes, etc.) elevated to bench by Gov. Jerry Brown [San Leandro Patch]
- With Jeffrey Toobin assuring us that voter fraud is “essentially nonexistent,” tales like this from Cincinnati must not be real [John Fund, NRO]
- Time for Republicans to get serious about an urban-policy pitch [Ed Glaeser, City Journal] “As the GOP looks for issues it can win on, how about lowering the drinking age?” [Instapundit]
- Boldly smiting straw man, NYT says young people see government as possible “constructive force” [Ira Stoll, SmarterTimes]
- Politics by other means: “From Statehouse to courtroom: Many Illinois issues being decided by judges” [Kurt Erickson, Bloomington Pantagraph]
- Florida attorney John Morgan, of personal injury fame, became an inauguration bigwig the old-fashioned way [Orlando Sentinel, earlier here, here, here, here, etc., etc.]
- Granholm at front of “not so bad when our guy Obama does it” parade [Damon Root]
- After President Obama’s Orlando photo-op with construction workers came the high-ticket fundraiser at the home of med-mal titan John Morgan [Orlando Sentinel]
- “Lawyer Sues Facebook, Says Tracking Cookie Violates Wiretap Laws” [ABA Journal]
- The bone-marrow bounty that could save a life — and the law that gets in the way [Virginia Postrel]
- New coalition to repeal New York’s unfair Scaffold Law;
- “How the FDA Could Cost You Your Life” [Scott Gottlieb on medical device lags, WSJ]
- Mississippi: new release of sealed Scruggs-scandal documents [YallPolitics, Freeland]
- What I learned (about false accusation) at Dartmouth [Gonzalo Lira]
Orlando lawyer John Morgan concedes he doesn’t know which side has the better side in a contractual standoff between Fox and a local cable distributor (“For all I know, Fox may be right.”) but says he intends to file a lawsuit to force the showing of the Sugar Bowl to Florida viewers. [Hal Boedeker, Orlando Sentinel, WBDO]
At a June 30 debate on lawyers’ advertising sponsored by the Orlando Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society, plaintiff’s lawyer John Morgan challenged Republican Rep. David Simmons for repeatedly referring to a law firm’s having used the phone number 1-800-PIT- BULL. “He offered to bet Simmons $1,000, with the loser contributing to the winner?s favorite charity, if Simmons could find a lawyer ad using the PIT BULL number,” according to an account in Florida Bar Online.
“Hope Morgan?s checkbook was handy,” the account continues, because, as is easily verified, 1-800-PIT-BULL is indeed the proudly advertised call line of the Fort Lauderdale law firm of Pape and Chandler, which specializes in representing injured motorcyclists. (“1-800-PITBULL is for real”, Florida Bar News Online, Aug. 1; Gary Blankenship, “Orlando Federalists debate lawyer advertising”, Florida Bar News Online, Aug. 1). The firm has been profiled in the Florida press: a 2002 account in the Miami Herald says its “pit bull” commercial, which has run during Jerry Springer’s talk show among other programs, “brings in as many as 60 phone calls a day”. (Cindy Krischer Goodman, “Pit bull ad pays off for Miami lawyers”, Sept. 16, 2002 (reg)). The Florida Bar has also sought to discipline the firm for its ads: Julie Kay, “Crackdown on Lawyer Ads”, Miami Daily Business Review, Jul. 12. See also Matthew Haggman, “Fla. Lawmakers May Vote Today to Curb Lawyer Advertising”, Miami Daily Business Review, Mar. 23. For more, see David Giacalone, May 10. (Update Sept. 19, 2004: Florida Bar disciplinary attempt ruled unconstitutional; Jan. 15, 2006: Florida Supreme Court rules against firm.)
According to Kevin O’Keefe of Real Lawyers Have Blogs (Dec. 5, 2003), “Morgan of the Orlando law firm Morgan, Colling & Gilbert (MGC), his wife and Johnnie Cochran, along with Pensacola trial lawyers J. Michael Papantonio and Fred Levin, own a consulting firm called Practice Made Perfect, which handles marketing and advertising for law firms around the country.” For yet more on Morgan, see the last sentence in our Jul. 27 entry.
Unlike his running mate John Edwards, John Kerry has willingly disclosed the identities of his “bundlers”, the financiers responsible for raising large amounts of money in grouped donations. (He has 266 who’ve come in at the $100,000+ level, compared with more than 525 for George W. Bush.) Names familiar to readers of this site are well represented: “Trial lawyers who represent injured people in suits against business are prominent Kerry fans. Among his $100,000 Vice Chairmen are Florida plaintiff’s lawyer Kirk Wager, who hosted Mr. Kerry’s first presidential fund-raiser at his Coconut Grove home in December 2002, and attorneys Richard Scruggs of Mississippi and John Coale of Washington, both part of the tobacco companies’ $206 billion settlement with 46 states.” However, Mr. Kerry (like Mr. Bush, but unlike Mr. Edwards) also raises large amounts from other types of law firms, including firms known for lobbying and for general business work, including Mintz Levin and Piper Rudnick. (Wayne Slater, “Vested interests in Kerry”, Dallas Morning News, Jul. 25).
“Lawyers, especially trial lawyers, are the engine of the Kerry fundraising operation,” reports the Washington Post. “Lawyers and law firms have given more money to Kerry, $12 million, than any other sector. One out of four of Kerry’s big-dollar fundraisers is a lawyer, and one out of 10 is an attorney for plaintiffs in personal injury, medical malpractice or other lawsuits seeking damages. …
“Among the trial lawyers who raised money for Kerry early in the campaign were Michael V. Ciresi of Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi LLP, who represented Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota in its successful $6.5 billion suit against the tobacco industry, and Michael T. Thorsnes, who recently retired from his San Diego law firm after winning $250 million in settlements and verdicts.” After Kerry locked up the race, “One trend was a sharp increase in the number of trial lawyers joining the Kerry fundraising campaign. Among those soon joining as major fundraisers were John P. Coale, one of the nation’s most prominent trial lawyers, whose better-known cases include the Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal, India, and at least 16 plane crashes; Robert L. Lieff, founding partner of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP, a San Francisco-based firm that lists four class-action settlements in 2004 alone totaling $176.5 million; and San Francisco lawyer Arnold Laub, whose firm Web site lists its participation in the $3.7 billion fen-phen settlement, a $185 million toxic chemical award and $4.5 million for a pedestrian accident case. … John Morgan, an Orlando lawyer whose firm specializes in medical malpractice, said he has helped raise more than $500,000 for Kerry.” (Thomas B. Edsall, James V. Grimaldi and Alice R. Crites, “Redefining Democratic Fundraising”, Washington Post, Jul. 24)(our politics archive).