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Alabama

November 20 roundup

by Walter Olson on November 20, 2013

  • KlearGear and the consumer non-disparagement clause that ate (or tried to eat) Chicago [Popehat and followup]
  • “House Passes Bill That Would Open Asbestos Trusts To Scrutiny” [Daniel Fisher/Forbes, Chamber-backed Legal NewsLine]
  • Randy Maniloff interviews Judge Richard Posner on his new book Reflections on Judging [Coverage Opinions]
  • In a custody fight, anything can happen: “Dad Accused of ‘Unfit Parenting’ for Refusing to Take His Son to McDonalds” [TIME]
  • “Released after serving 10 years on false rape accusation –then wrongly arrested for not registering as sex offender” [Chicago Tribune via @radleybalko]
  • Institute for Justice launches campaign to challenge local restrictions on food with suits over sale of cottage baked goods, front-yard vegetable gardens, advertising of raw milk [AP/Yahoo, "National Food Freedom Initiative"]
  • Alabama regulators add hassle factor when business tries to move into the state [Coyote]

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The curious case of political blogger (Legal Schnauzer) and multiple litigant Roger Shuler [Ken at Popehat; Brian Doherty, Reason] And: Update on Kimberlin lawsuits against critics includes new action filed against 21 conservative media figures and entities [Popehat]

  • Detroit police blasted for arresting Free Press photographer who filmed arrest with her iPhone [Poynter]
  • “The discomfort of principles” in criminal defense matters [Gideon's Trumpet]
  • House Judiciary panel on overcriminalization and mens rea shows genuinely useful bipartisanship [Jonathan Blanks, Cato] One in four new bills these days to create criminal liability lacks mens rea [Paul Rosenzweig/Alex Adrianson, Heritage]
  • Auburn, Alabama: “Cop Fired for Speaking Out Against Ticket and Arrest Quotas” [Reason TV]
  • Film project on overturned Death Row convictions [One for Ten] “Forensics review reveals hair evidence was possibly exaggerated in 27 capital cases” [ABA Journal]
  • Critics of Stand Your Ground seem to be having trouble coming up with examples to back their case [Sullum]
  • Maine: “Hancock County prosecutor admits violating bar rules in sexual assault trial” [Bill Trotter, Bangor Daily News]

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A “staff attorney at the Deepwater Horizon Court Supervised Settlement Program… was suspended after being accused of accepting fees from law firms while processing their clients’ claims from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.” [Bloomberg] And that’s just the start of what may be much wider problems, according to a cover story by Paul Barrett at Bloomberg Business Week. “The craziest thing about the settlement,” one lawyer wrote in a client-solicitation letter, “is that you can be compensated for losses that are UNRELATED to the spill.” [Bloomberg Business Week] Barrett’s account tells, in his own words, “how the private-claims process following BP’s (BP) 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill devolved into a plaintiffs’-lawyer feeding frenzy.” [BBW]

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Torts roundup

by Walter Olson on July 3, 2013

  • State attorneys general and contingent-fee lawyers: West Virginia high court says OK [WV Record] Similar Nevada challenge [Daniel Fisher]
  • Driver of bus that fatally crushed pedestrian fails to convince court on can’t-bear-to-look-at-evidence theory [David Applegate, Heartland Lawsuit Abuse Fortnightly]
  • UK uncovers biggest car crash scam ring, detectives say County Durham motorists were paying up to £100 extra on insurance [BBC, Guardian, Telegraph]
  • “A Litigator Reviews John Grisham’s The Litigators” [Max Kennerly]
  • Quin Hillyer, who’s written extensively on litigation abuse, is putting journalism on hold and running for Congress from Mobile, Ala. [American Spectator]
  • Not clear how man and 5-year-old son drowned in pool — he’d been hired for landscaping — but homeowner being sued [Florence, Ala.; WAFF]
  • “U.S. Legal System Ranked as Most Costly” [Shannon Green, Corp Counsel] “International comparisons of litigation costs: Europe, U.S. and Canada” [US Chamber]

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Schools roundup

by Walter Olson on March 21, 2013

  • More on court’s enjoining Alabama House from sending schools bill to governor [Joshua Dunn, earlier]
  • Connecticut mom’s fibbing to get kid into better school district, interpreted as theft of services, contributes to 12-year sentence (also predicated on four unrelated charges of drug sale and possession) [WFSB]
  • Student speech hit by one-two punch: post-Newtown hysteria, campaign against bullying [Hans Bader, more]
  • Turn Pell Grants into entitlements? Has the Gates Foundation taken leave of its senses? [Neal McCluskey, Cato]
  • “The Dubious Case for Regulating Day Care” [John Ross, Reason, responding to Washington Post coverage of Virginia push]
  • Kansas lawmakers push back against court’s power grab on edubucks mandate [K. C. Star, earlier]
  • “Call to Ditch Red Tape on Playtime Safety” [U.K. TESConnect via Free-Range Kids]

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A WSJ editorial and news coverage have called attention to a case from the Alabama high court holding Pfizer liable for a drug it didn’t produce, namely a generic knockoff of its acid reflux drug Reglan. Michael Greve agrees that it’s daffy to allow such suits, but traces the problem to the U.S. Supreme Court’s popular (at least with the media) 2009 decision in Wyeth v. Levine, okaying state tort actions over federally approved labels — and cautions that any victories for regulated business on the issue of federal-state preemption tend to be temporary at best. More: Coyote, FedSocBlog.

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Can courts even do that? Both houses of the Alabama legislature passed a measure called House Bill 84 revamping education policy; the state teachers’ union, the Alabama Education Association, went to court with a challenge; and Montgomery Circuit Judge Charles Price issued an injunction forbidding the Clerk of the House from enrolling the bill for the signature of Gov. Robert Bentley, who has said he would sign it. The AEA argued that lawmakers violated the state Open Meetings Act in the course of bringing the bill to passage. Republican lawmakers are appealing the judge’s action to the state supreme court; presumably they’ll argue for the old principle that equity will not enjoin legislative acts, even if it can enjoin legislation from taking effect once it is signed. [WAFF, more] Further: some background on the education bill from Jeff Poor at the Daily Caller.

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Product liability roundup

by Walter Olson on January 25, 2013

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Shelby County, Ala. judge Hub Harrington had some scathing words for the town of Harpersville and a private probation company over “debtors’ prison” treatment of local defendants milked for large fines and fees. [Birmingham News via ABA Journal] More on abusive fine extraction and privatization of law enforcement here, here, etc.

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Judges roundup

by Walter Olson on July 12, 2012

The good, the bad, and the beyond belief:

In Birmingham tomorrow

by Walter Olson on June 13, 2012

I’ll be speaking in Birmingham, Alabama tomorrow to a lunch gathering of the city’s Federalist Society Lawyers’ chapter, about my book on legal academia, Schools for Misrule. The event will be at noon at the Summit Club, Sixth Ave. N. More details here.

Speaking of Alabama, the Eleventh Circuit has broadly sided with artist Daniel Moore over his right to create and sell artistic depictions of Crimson Tide sporting events without paying a licensing fee to the University of Alabama [Jon Solomon/Birmingham News, AP/Tuscaloosa News, earlier here and here]

P.S. Music lover? You might see me at this.

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The trademark case between artist Daniel Moore and the University of Alabama, over his paintings of Crimson Tide athletics without permission from the university’s licensing operation, has reached the Eleventh Circuit. [Ben Flanagan, Al.com; earlier]

June 20 roundup

by Walter Olson on June 20, 2011

Politics edition:

  • Mother ship? White House staffers depart for Harvard Law School [Politico]
  • New York: “Lawmakers consider lawyer-friendly med-mal bills,” even as many key legislators moonlight at personal injury firms [Reuters]
  • David Brooks on explosive political potential of Fannie Mae scandal [NYTimes] After Kentucky bar panel’s vote to disbar Chesley, Ohio AG pulls him off Fannie Mae suit [Adler, Frank, Beth Musgrave/Lexington Herald-Leader]
  • Alabama legislature removes Jim Crow language from state constitution — but black lawmakers oppose the idea [Constitutional Daily]
  • AAJ lobbyist Andy Cochran works GOP turf, has convinced trial lawyers to sponsor Christian radio program [Mokhiber, "Seventh Amendment Advocate"]
  • Centers for Disease Control funnels grants to allies for political advocacy on favored public-health causes [Jeff Stier, Daily Caller]
  • Must have mistaken her for a jury: “John Edwards Sought Millions From Heiress” [ABC News] “One thing [worse than Edwards's] conduct is the government’s effort to put him in jail for it.” [Steve Chapman]

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May 12 roundup

by Walter Olson on May 12, 2011

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March 21 roundup

by Walter Olson on March 21, 2011

  • “Cleveland Browns lawyer letter is apparently real” [Lowering the Bar, earlier]
  • “Headlines of the Apocalypse: ‘Lady Gaga eyes legal action over breast milk ice cream.’” [@vsalus re: Breitbart via @EdDriscoll]
  • Chesley discipline prospects in Kentucky fen-phen scandal: “King of Torts Dethroned” [Laura Simons, Abnormal Use]
  • Busy construction-defect lawyers vex Fresno builders [Bee, Business Journal]
  • “NHTSA Postpones Back-Up Camera Requirement Rule” [The Truth About Cars, earlier]
  • Lawyers in Italy call strike to protest law requiring mediation of commercial disputes [WSJ Law Blog]
  • NYT’s Mark Bittman has a magical touch with food (alas) [Patrick at Popehat]
  • Beasley Allen lawyers sluiced $850K to Alabama GOP judicial contender [Birmingham News via PoL]

Alabama: “A Jefferson County jury has awarded $2.4 million from an emergency physicians group to the mother of a 2-year-old who died after ingesting methadone.” Lawyers said the emergency department failed to take proper steps to rule out drug overdose as a reason for the child’s condition. [AP/WHNT via White Coat]

Plus: A more explanatory news account (h/t commenter John Rohan).

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October 25 roundup

by Walter Olson on October 25, 2010

  • And she’s a psychology professor too: “Pro se litigant of the day” [ATL]
  • “Access to justice” makes handy slogan, but has its limits re: appeal bonds [Ted at PoL]
  • New Federalist Society white papers on Michigan, Illinois, California and Alabama supreme courts;
  • Per her opponent this year, CPSIA proponent and perennial Overlawyered bete noire Jan Schakowsky ranks as most left-wing member of Congress [ExtremeJan.com]
  • Naming opportunity at Faulkner U.’s Jones School of Law falls to Greg Jones of Beasley Allen [BA press release]
  • Lockyer pushes divestment of firms for taking wrong stance on ballot controversy [Coyote]
  • “Patent marking” suits continue to proliferate as Reps. Latta, Issa propose measures to curb opportunistic filings [Gray on Claims]
  • “South Carolina tobacco fees: how to farm money” [ten years ago on Overlawyered]