- Charged $21K at purported “gentleman’s” club: “Plaintiff Has No Recollection of What Transpired in the Private Room” [Lowering the Bar]
- Census Bureau sued for discriminating against applicants based on criminal, arrest records [Clegg, NRO] Class action against Accenture for screening job applicants based on criminal records [Jon Hyman]
- Virtual indeed: “Virtual Freedom” author wants government to regulate Google’s search engine [ConcurOp]
- Contingency fees for public sector lawyering could take California down dangerous path [CJAC]
- “Harvard Law vs. free inquiry: Dean Martha Minow flunks the test” [Peter Berkowitz, Weekly Standard]
- There’ll always be an AAJ: seminar for trial lawyers on “Injuries Without Evidence” [ShopFloor] More: The Briefcase.
- Congress may expand law to enable more age-bias suits [BLT]
- “FTC Closes First Blogger Endorsement Investigation” [Balasubramani, Spam Notes; Citizen Media Law]
- “Trademark Infringement Suit by AAJ Against Another Trial Lawyer Group to Go to Trial” [Qualters, NLJ]
- NPR covers SLAPP suits [On the Media]
- Wi-fi, junk science, loser-pays and lawsuit lunacy [Popehat, Chicago Tribune, earlier here and here]
- Metro-East Illinois attorney Rex Carr told to pay $635K in sanctions for bad faith suits against former partners [Belleville News-Democrat, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Courthouse News]
- Sheep with the bends: “Animal Rights Groups Getting Clever With the Law” [WSJ Law Blog]
- Canada: “Comedian Charged With Human Rights Violation By Lesbian Insulted At Club” [Turley]
- Princeton freshman sues after being denied extra time to complete test [Princeton Packet via Obscure Store]
- Eric Turkewitz: why my April Fool’s prank wasn’t an ethical violation under NY rules [New York Personal Injury Law Blog] Update: Colin Samuels recounts the whole affair at Infamy or Praise.
According to Kelley’s Blue Book, consumers are trending back toward the Japanese maker in their buying plans. [New York Times “Bucks” blog] That’s despite the menace of rays from outer space, as denounced by one anonymous informant to NHTSA. [Detroit Free Press, which has a PDF of the submission from “A Concerned Scientist”]
More: On a more serious note, Holman Jenkins has a good column today [WSJ, sub-only] tracing the key role of bandwagon effects in sudden acceleration consciousness (which is one reason waves of complaints tend to occur in clumps, by carmaker and otherwise). Excerpt:
…In 2001, at least four papers were presented at the annual meeting of the Trial Lawyers Association urging a revival of sudden unintended acceleration litigation, insisting that such cases could prevail in absence of evidence of a defect, and even amid evidence of driver error, simply by harping in front of a jury on a record of “Other Similar Incidents” (OSI).
That’s the roadmap being followed now, as lawyer Randy Roberts told CNBC this week: “Toyota is very good at taking one consumer complaint about sudden unintended acceleration and dissecting it and convincing you that it may have been a floor mat or driver error or a sticky pedal. But when you put all those complaints out on the table, then you can see the big picture. That’s how you connect the dots.”
Huh? The logic here is ridiculous. To wit: 15 examples of X causing Y are proof that something other than X must cause Y.
Last week my colleagues at the Manhattan Institute put out a report in their Trial Lawyers Inc. series taking a look at the lobbying clout of the plaintiff’s bar in Washington and elsewhere. It’s full of interesting details and vignettes, and now Jim Copland, who presided over the compiling of the report, will be blogging it all week at Point of Law. His first installment is here.
Things you’re missing if you’re not reading my other site:
- Federal judge tosses city of Baltimore’s case blaming its neighborhood blight on subprime lenders, but Memphis files a similar suit;
- “The catchall fraud law that catches too much”: Roger Parloff of Fortune on “honest services”;
- Moonlighting: New York state senate majority leader John Sampson joins large plaintiff’s firm in “of counsel” position, an arrangement long held by his counterpart at the New York capitol, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver;
- “Trial lawyers association outlines its 2010 legislative agenda,” Montana Gov. Schweitzer to address AAJ Maui convention, “Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, the legal angle” [all from Carter Wood]
- Biggest obstacle to juvenile corrections reform? Prison guards’ unions;
- “Investor Who Backed Unsuccessful Lawsuit is Liable for Defendants’ Legal Fees“;
- A Twombly/Iqbal debate — and the harms of liberal pleading;
- U.S. Chamber’s “Top Five Ridiculous Lawsuits of 2009″ (and many other tops-of-2009 lists).
- Key Obama regulatory appointees at NHTSA (auto safety) and FTC [commerce, antitrust] used to work for AAJ, the trial lawyers’ lobby [Wood, PoL]
- “Adventures in Lawyer Advertising: Muscle, Talent, Results, and Terrible Acting” [Above the Law]
- Why so many great folk musicians are barred from U.S. tours [Jesse Walker/Reason, WSJ Law Blog]
- Folks behind venerable Martindale-Hubbell lawyer directory wouldn’t stoop to comment spam, or would they? [Turkewitz and more; related Popehat, Bennett]
- Palestinian sues Baron Cohen, Letterman, others over “Bruno” portrayal [AP/Baltimore Sun]
- A Rhode Island hospital settles a med mal case [White Coat]
- For a “cockeyed caravan” of law stories, follow a certain site (thanks!) [Arthur Charity, NJEsq.net, alas it seems a short-lived venture]
- Santa’s got a sleighful of health and safety problems [Bella English, Boston Globe]
- “Ten Ways Lawyers Rip Off Clients” [Lawrence Delevingne and Gus Lubin, Business Insider]
- White House visitor logs contain more entries for trial lawyer lobbyist Linda Lipsen (5x) than for Hillary Clinton (3x) (h/t ShopFloor)
- Time magazine has a cover story on child overprotectiveness [Free-Range Kids]
- “Why so many talented people give up on moving to the US”: one immigrant’s 7 year journey through the legal paperwork [Pete Warden]
- Speaking for the whole New York profession? “New York Bar Association president decries tort reform proposals” [Rizo, Legal NewsLine]
- Chamber of Commerce “needs to develop thicker skin” in response to Yes Men parody [LA Times]
- New York: “Judges collect pension and regular pay, and it’s perfectly legal” [Jonathan Bandler, Journal News]
- Cook County “out $14K for toilet paper injury” [Chicago Sun-Times]
According to the Washington Times, a decline in membership dues and the collapse of a real estate deal are causing difficulties for the American Association for Justice, the trial lawyers’ lobby. [typo fixed now, h/t John H.] (& welcome Above the Law, ABA Journal, WSJ OneSpot readers).
P.S. Lawrence Powell at RiskProf finds irony in the courtroom loss that followed the group’s real estate foulup: “AAJ was unable to collect [from its lender, Wachovia] the $120 million it sought in the lawsuit.” It’s always that way, the cobbler’s children going barefoot.
In an op-ed in the Examiner last week, I express curiosity why the trial bar continues to insist that the infamous McDonald’s coffee case came out correctly decided, to the point that trial lawyer blogs express excitement that a documentary is going to be made about the subject. Of course, if the movie just parrots the urban legends trial lawyers have spread about the case, that would be something else—the fact that the filmmaker was fundraising at the AAJ convention but hasn’t shown her face around any of the tort reform conventions suggests a certain direction about the film.
Speaking of McDonald’s, I’ll be in the Bay Area next week at a couple of law schools giving a presentation called “The Law of McDonald’s: Hot Coffee, Obesity, and Prank Phone Calls” : Golden Gate University Law School on September 10, and UC-Davis on September 11. I’ll also be at UC-Berkeley Law on September 8, and Santa Clara University Law on September 9 talking more generally about tort reform and patent reform specifically.
According to the U.S. Chamber-backed Legal NewsLine, the litigation lobby is quietly preparing to push through a $1.6 billion (with a “b”) tax break that would let contingent-fee lawyers deduct expenses as made, rather than in the year of settling a suit. American Association for Justice lobbyist Linda Lipsen says Sens. Harry Reid and Max Baucus and Reps. Nancy Pelosi and Charles Rangel are among those on board, as well as “some Republicans”, but “the problem is there is not a tax vehicle yet,” — “You cannot have a stand alone bill to help lawyers … so we have to tuck it into something.” [cross-posted, and slightly adapted, from Point of Law; updates and additional links there]