Readers who followed Overlawyered in 2009-10 will recall that the closest this site has ever come to a crusade was in covering the truly horrible Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, enacted after a media-fed tainted-toy panic, a law that needlessly drove out of business many small retailers and manufacturers of children’s goods posing no hazard whatsoever to consumers. Some will further recall that the chief Senate handler of the legislation was Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Arkansas), who cut a poor figure throughout as both ill-informed and dismissive about the side effects his own legislation was having.
Now Sen. Pryor is locked in a tight race for re-election with challenger Rep. Tom Cotton, and a group called the Arkansas Project has been reminding readers of Pryor’s record on CPSIA, digging up many new details in an August series written by Washington, D.C.-area policy analyst Marc Kilmer (who generously credits Overlawyered coverage as a source throughout). Most of the series can be found at this tag or via search. Here is a guide to individual installments in the series, supplemented by links to further coverage from our archives:
Arkansas voters — and everyone who wants to learn how a Congress can fail spectacularly at its legislative responsibilities — should read this series in full.
The decision in Standard Fire Insurance Co. v. Knowles was 9-0, Justice Breyer writing for the Court, and signals’ Justices’ impatience with lawyerly gamesmanship intended to evade CAFA (the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005). I’ve got a short commentary at Cato, which filed an amicus brief on the side that prevailed [decision in PDF, background at SCOTUSBlog, earlier here etc., my new Cato post; more on stage hooks](& SCOTUSBlog, Ted Frank/PoL (“Miller County [Arkansas] trial lawyers had collected hundreds of millions of dollars of legal fees from forum-shopped class-action settlements; the class members whom they purportedly represented likely didn’t even get 10% as much.”))
More: Andrew Trask (“The Supreme Court is envisioning the class action as a procedural aggregation device, rather than a corporate deterrent or a trust-like entity. This is good news for defendants.”); Alison Frankel, Reuters. And I’m quoted on the case in Alex Daniels’ account in the March 20 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (sub-only).
We blogged about this case in 2008, and now Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist Dave Lieber has turned it into a book. From the description:
A newspaper columnist investigates the shenanigans of a small-town police department — then pays a price for it. After he orders his misbehaving 11-year-old son to walk home from a local restaurant, police arrest the dad for two felony counts. A true-story thriller about parental responsibility, small-town corruption and the consequences of being a public figure.
And: should an Arkansas mother whose son had been thrown off the regular school bus for misbehavior face child endangerment charges for making him walk 4.5 miles to school instead? [Alkon] From Australia, should police warn parents for letting a 7-year-old visit a local shop alone, and a 10-year-old ride a bus unaccompanied? [Sydney Morning Herald via Skenazy]
Further on stories we’ve noted in the past:
- Objectors including CCAF and CEI challenge Cobell Indian trust settlement [Legal Times, PoL, earlier]
- Post-mortems continue on Ohio S.B. 5 labor measure [Daniel DiSalvo, Christian Schneider, earlier]
- More on divorced man’s dogged pursuit of case against wedding photographer [Above the Law, earlier]
- Arkansas AG McDaniel: I’ll stop steering cy pres funds to charities [Arkansas Project, PoL, earlier]
- Rochester: “Police Union Punishes DA’s Office for Not Illegally Charging Woman Who Recorded Cops” [Radley Balko, earlier]
- “Men at Work lose appeal over Kookaburra riff” [Guardian via Legal Blog Watch, earlier here, etc.]
- Wash. Supreme Court overturns woman’s horn-honking conviction [Seattle Times, opinion PDF, earlier here, here]
It’s surprising there isn’t more controversy over state AGs’ frequent practice of using moneys from lawsuit settlements for their own favored causes (as opposed to, say, handing it over to the state treasury). Now Arkansas AG Dustin McDaniel is drawing criticism for his funneling of cy pres funds to politically advantageous causes that don’t happen to have been voted appropriations by the state legislature [John Brummett, Arkansas News; Dan Greenberg, The Arkansas Project, and followup]
P.S. Related on cy pres in private class actions: Dan Popeo, WLF (Google Buzz settlement); Michael Tremoglie, LNL; Ted Frank.
Pruett Nance was hurt riding an all-terrain vehicle on the grounds of a no-longer-operating theme park in Arkansas, Dogpatch USA. The owners having not paid a $650,000 judgment, a judge has awarded Nance ownership of the park. [Arkansas Online via Childs, TortsProf]