Posts Tagged ‘asbestos’

July 15 roundup

Liability roundup

  • Home lab butane cannabis fatality: “The Hash Oil contributory negligence lawsuit you’ve all been waiting for” [Elie Mystal, Above the Law]
  • With Sheldon Silver out of the speaker’s chair, New York has better chance at reducing sky-high litigation costs [Manhattan Institute, earlier on scaffold law]
  • Per Norton Rose Fulbright annual business survey, responding companies more than twice as likely to be facing five or more lawsuits if based in U.S. than if based elsewhere [Norton Rose Fulbright, Bob Dorigo Jones]
  • “Hearing: H.R. 1927, the “Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2015″ [April House Judiciary Committee with John Beisner, Mark Behrens, Alexandra Lahav, Andrew Trask]
  • Legal outlook for Illinois defendants deteriorates as Madison County sees resurgence in suits and Cook County remains itself [ICJL]
  • Brown v. Nucor Corp.: did Fourth Circuit just try to gut Wal-Mart v. Dukes rules against combining bias plaintiffs in dissimilar situations into class action? [Hans Bader/Examiner, Derek Stikeleather/Maryland Appellate Blog]
  • No wonder New York City consolidation trials are so popular with asbestos lawyers if they yield average of $24 million per plaintiff [Chamber-backed Legal NewsLine] Information in eye-opening Garlock asbestos bankruptcy (allegations of perjury, witness-coaching, etc.) now unsealed and online [same, earlier]

May 13 roundup

April 14 roundup

  • Please, someone: you can’t just donate money to the Tulsa police and get full deputy powers, can you? [Tulsa World via @RayDowns]
  • Illinois bench-‘n’-bar buzz angrily at Gov. Rauner who broke rule re: not mentioning lawyers’ campaign cash to judges [Chicago Daily Law Bulletin]
  • “New York’s Asbestos Court Mulls Changes After Sheldon Silver Scandal” [Daniel Fisher] “‘Judicial malpractice’ not to probe court tied to Silver: Judge” [New York Post]
  • Let’s all panic about arsenic in wine, or maybe let’s all not [Nick Farr, Abnormal Use (“The highest arsenic levels cited in the lawsuit are less than half of the limits set by other countries such as Canada”), and more on class action lawsuit]
  • “Tennessee Sacrifices Property Rights On The Altar Of ‘Gun Rights'” [Doug Mataconis, Outside the Beltway; earlier here, here, and here]
  • Odd that while we make wedding cake bakers and florists common carriers, the old “cab-rank” (any paying client) rule for lawyers has come to seem almost unthinkable [Adam Liptak, NYT on big law firms’ avoidance of representing clients on the unpopular side of major gay rights cases] Similarly: Paul Karl Lukacs, L.A. Daily Journal. Related: “maelstrom of criticism” directed at Harvard lawprof Laurence Tribe over his Supreme Court representation of coal company against EPA [Orin Kerr]
  • Just for fun: the preamble to the U.S. Constitution, in license plates [my post at Cato at Liberty]

Liability roundup

  • “Judge dismisses Brady Center’s lawsuit. Ammo retailers not to blame for Aurora theater killer” [Denver Post via @davekopel]
  • “Ever been in a crowded subway car when a gunfight broke out? I have.” And it relates to slip-fall cases [Eric Turkewitz]
  • No more of Prosser’s tricks: Scalia warns modern Restatements “of questionable value, must be used with caution” [Orin Kerr]
  • Impact of revelations in Garlock document trove continues to ripple: “Insurer Claims Asbestos Fraud Tainted Pittsburgh Corning Bankruptcy” [Daniel Fisher, Forbes, earlier]
  • Trial lawyer allies want to make California’s insurer-shackling Prop 103 even (if possible) worse [Ian Adams, Insurance Journal, see also]
  • “The settlement shakedown”: Scott Shackford on the Moonlight Fire case in California [Reason, earlier]
  • This must be what they call a hellhole jurisdiction [comic book cover via Jim Dedman, Abnormal Use]

March 18 roundup

  • “The FAA Says You Can’t Post Drone Videos on YouTube” [Vice] Agency rethinking position following outcry? [Photography Is Not a Crime]
  • Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) proposes bill directing Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to issue safety rules for detergent pods [Paula Bolyard, Heartland, quotes me; earlier] Bonus: Lenore Skenazy on CPSC zipper hooded sweatshirt recall;
  • New Jersey high court — Gov. Christie’s appointees included — will now take over direct enforcement of court’s previous decisions (“Mount Laurel”) requiring towns to adopt low-income housing quotas [Bergen County Record, earlier]
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs revises federal guidelines on Indian Child Welfare Act, and a nonprofit group of adoption attorneys says that not only were it and other stakeholder groups not consulted, but “entire sections” of the revision “completely disregard the best interest of children,” something ICWA alas encourages by its text [American Academy of Adoption Attorneys, earlier]
  • Should winning class action plaintiff lawyers be able to mark up their expenses, such as photocopying, as two law professors propose? [Andrew Trask last year]
  • “Attorney who appeared in more than 3,000 asbestos cases disbarred … ‘Excuse Man’ also loses license” [Chamber-backed Madison-St. Clair Record]
  • If you see an online ad for $199 divorce, maybe think twice before giving them your debit card info over the phone [KTVK, Phoenix]

March 4 roundup

Liability roundup

  • Lester Brickman, others testify before House subcommittee on proposed asbestos-reform FACT Act [Chamber-backed Legal NewsLine]
  • “B.C. student-turned-dominatrix awarded $1.5M after car accident left her with new personality” [National Post]
  • Here, have some shredded fairness: New Jersey lawmakers advance False Claims Act bill with retroactive provisions [NJLRA] Maryland False Claims Act, which I warned about last year, reintroduced as leading priority of new attorney general Brian Frosh [Maryland Reporter; my coverage here, here, etc.]
  • Oregon: a “man badly burned when he poured gasoline on a fire is suing Walmart, claiming the gas can he bought there was defective.” [KOIN]
  • Minnesota jury is latest to buy sudden-acceleration case, awards $11 million against Toyota [Reuters]
  • Insurers, trial lawyers gear up for Texas legislative fight over hailstorm litigation [Bloomberg/Insurance Journal]
  • Breaks ankle in “watch this” stunt, files negligence claim, but some spoilsport posted the footage to YouTube [U.K.: City of London police]

Sheldon Silver and lawyers in politics

Sheldon Silver’s arrest prompts Jeffrey Toobin to relate a war story regarding the now-defunct law firm known as Morris Eisen, P.C., “an outfit so extravagantly corrupt, so hilariously dishonest, and so creatively malign as almost to defy belief.” (I’ve written a number of times about the Eisen firm myself.) Eisen’s son-in-law, who had gotten his start with the firm, went on to found the firm of Weitz & Luxenberg, where Silver had his no-visible-duties job and to which he occasionally sent lucrative asbestos referrals from his friends at the Columbia clinic and elsewhere.

Weitz & Luxenberg (which has not been charged with any wrongdoing in the federal investigation, and says it has asked Silver to take a leave of absence) is also a big political player nationally, not just in New York. As Kim Strassel notes at the WSJ, “Then Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s top contributor from 2009 to 2014 was Weitz & Luxenberg. The firm played the same role for Bruce Braley, the trial-lawyer Democrat who just lost an Iowa Senate race.” The other large asbestos firm to receive lucrative patient referrals from Dr. Robert Taub’s now-discontinued Columbia University mesothelioma center is the Simmons firm of Illinois, another big political donor that Strassel says has been the single biggest backer of Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.).

Previously on the Silver arrest here and here. More: “Tarnished Silver: Speaker’s arrest upends most everything in Albany” [Andrew Hawkins, Crain’s New York (“his support for the teachers’ union has kept education reformers at bay”); Henry Goldman, Bloomberg; Wayne Barrett on Silver’s “Friends of Shelly” network of pals, including Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman (“In his varied posts, Lippman has long overseen the very courts hearing the asbestos and other cases brought by Silver’s firm.”)

And this Joseph Nocera column from the weekend, which is particularly strong on Silver’s influence over the judiciary in New York, built up through methods all “perfectly legal.” But note this NYT correction stating that Nocera’s discussion of the judiciary in that column was “premised on several factual errors.” (More on that: New York Sun.) The New York Post believes the feds are sniffing around Manhattan trial courts.

Sheldon Silver’s ethical train wreck

“Ugly” question raised by arrest of New York assembly speaker Sheldon Silver: how often do law firms trade cash to doctors for mesothelioma referrals? [Alison Frankel/Reuters, Science magazine, earlier] And from the New York Times:

…mesothelioma doctors and personal injury lawyers specializing in asbestos-related litigation have developed over the years what some medical ethical experts describe as an unseemly alliance.

For plaintiffs’ lawyers, mesothelioma patients are a bonanza, worth $1.5 million to $2 million on average per case, according to legal experts; individual cases can yield much more. The hunger for these clients is evident to anyone who has watched late-night cable television and seen the garish ads aimed at those afflicted with the disease….

A symbiotic relationship has emerged, with lawyers financing research on the disease for doctors who send along streams of potentially lucrative clients.

More links:

  • “Silver’s perversion of a health-care grant that was earmarked for post-9/11 programs” [New York Daily News editorial] Columbia University closes its Mesothelioma Center, deeply involved in the scandal, which had been given a commendation by the New York Assembly in 2011 as its director quietly referred millions in cases to Silver [Daily News]
  • Circle wagons first, name committee chairs later: Albany in panic over Silver nab [New York Post, Albany Times-Union]
  • Lawyer referral fees, nonprofit cash figured in Lerach/Weiss scandal as well [Daniel Fisher, more]
  • Eric Schneiderman, Kathleen Rice… “Law Firm at Center of Silver Scandal Donated Huge Sums” to Moreland Commission figures [New York Observer]
  • More: New York Post on, inter alia, strong position held by Weitz & Luxenberg in New York courts; Wayne Barrett/Village Voice 2009 on Silver’s work in obtaining Chief Judge job for old friend Jonathan Lippman. And from Bob McManus at the New York Post: “Orange Is The New Silver.”