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asbestos

It’s against a law firm for allegedly wrongly naming a car dealership as a defendant in an asbestos case. The (unpublished) decision, denying a SLAPP-law motion, is here (Tulare SAG, Inc. v. Keller, Fishback, and Jackson LLP). Note: Link is a document download, not a page, and may not work for all browsers or users.

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“A federal judge has tripled the damages awarded against two former members of a Pittsburgh law firm and the radiologist they were found to have conspired with to fabricate asbestos claims in West Virginia.” [Chamber-backed WV Record] Many claims based on medical evidence supplied by the radiologist, Dr. Ray Herron, were among those dismissed in 2005 by federal judge Janis Graham Jack in an opinion in which she wrote, “These diagnoses were driven by neither health nor justice – they were manufactured for money.” In June 2013 the editorialists of the New York Times hilariously wrote that “there is no persuasive evidence of any significant fraud or abuse” in asbestos claiming.

Ethics roundup

by Walter Olson on August 13, 2013

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An expert witness testifying on behalf of Garlock Sealing Technologies, a maker of gaskets and seals, says the company has already paid at least $1.3 billion in damages to asbestos claimants. The company is telling a bankruptcy court that its remaining liability amounts to a mere $125 million, but lawyers for claimants say that’s a pipe dream and that the actual figure is ten times that or more. The case offers a window into some economic dimensions of asbestos litigation. [Charlotte Observer, Chamber-backed Legal NewsLine] A judge has declined to allow reporters access to some of the proceedings, including portions of testimony by Cardozo professor Lester Brickman outlining the role of what he says is pervasive fraud and double-claiming in asbestos claims. [LNL]

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June 21 roundup

by Walter Olson on June 21, 2013

  • What could go wrong? “Moving into F.B.I. turf, local police are assembling databases of DNA records” [NYTimes, earlier here, here, and here]
  • Toyota pays Orange County D.A. $16M to go away: $4M to locally influential attorney Robinson and friends, $8M to… gang prevention?! [NLJ]
  • Mt. Holly: “Supreme Court Takes Up Challenge To Disparate-Impact Discrimination Theory” [housing; Daniel Fisher, Forbes]
  • UFCW: legalizing private liquor stores to compete with our guys’ state-run Pennsylvania stores would be just like killing people [Malanga]
  • Prattling on about Lochner v. New York decision, Michael Lind appears to lack first clue as to what it actually said [David Bernstein; more on "Where's your country, bub?" anti-libertarian flap, Max Borders (on E.J. Dionne), Will Wilkinson ("Why does Michael Lind keep asking questions that have obvious answers?"), Marlo Lewis/Open Market.]
  • The other day the editorialists of the New York Times sat down and wrote that “there is no persuasive evidence of any significant fraud or abuse” in asbestos claiming. Yes, they actually wrote that. In 2013. Paging Lester Brickman!
  • Supreme Court: feds can’t require beneficiaries of overseas grant programs to sign pledge to oppose legalizing prostitution [Ilya Shapiro] “How Calling Sex Work ‘Human Trafficking’ Hurts Women” [Cathy Reisenwitz, Sex and the State, more]
  • “The utterly frivolous and offensive complaint against the honorable Judge Edith Jones” [@andrewmgrossman on this Andrew Kloster piece, earlier here and here]

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  • “The Emperor’s Clothes: Should jury bias against corporations receive legal recognition?” [Michael Krauss on Alabama legal malpractice case]
  • Which did more to compromise gas can usability, regulation or liability? [Coyote, Jeffrey Tucker a year ago at LFB, earlier here, etc.]
  • Wow: Litigation Lobby stalwart Joan Claybrook signs her name to letter claiming there’s “no evidence” of “significant fraud” in asbestos litigation [WSJ letter] “Peter Angelos’s Asbestos Book” [WSJ] “House panel passes asbestos trusts transparency bill” [Law360, Chamber-backed Legal NewsLine]
  • “Indiana’s ‘Government Compliance’ Presumption Against Defect and Negligence” [John Sullivan, D&DL]
  • CPSC Commissioner Nancy Nord on the commission’s certificates of compliance;
  • A way to head off the product-suit technique for bypassing workers’-comp limits? “Pennsylvania Supreme Court Allows Waivers for Future Negligence by Third Parties” [Krauss, Point of Law]
  • California cities’ lead-paint-as-nuisance suit may be headed for trial [Max Taves, Recorder]

“The Orioles’ team doctor, William H. Goldiner, tended to orange-clad ballplayers at the same time as he diagnosed thousands of blue-collar workers with asbestos-related illnesses whose cases were taken up by prominent lawyer and team owner Peter G. Angelos.” [Baltimore Sun, earlier]

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It’s behind a paywall, but TortsProf has a few highlights. Some lawyers are battling to stave off transparency that could catch out counsel and clients who tell inconsistent stories from one case to the next in the course of squeezing maximum payouts from bankruptcy trusts set up to handle claims against asbestos defendants; the trusts themselves have extensive managerial ties to leading plaintiff’s-side firms.

P.S. And House hearings [Bloomberg News, Chamber-backed Legal NewsLine].

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Torts roundup

by Walter Olson on March 6, 2013

  • Despite sparseness of evidence, lawyers hope to pin liability on hotel for double murder of guests [Tennessean]
  • Celebrated repeat litigant Patricia Alice McColm sentenced after felony conviction for filing false documents in Trinity County, Calif. [Trinity Journal, more, Justia, earlier] Idaho woman challenges vexatious-litigant statute [KBOI]
  • “2 Florida Moms Sentenced for Staged Accident Insurance Fraud” [Insurance Journal, earlier]
  • With Arkansas high court intent on striking down liability changes, advocates consider going the constitutional amendment route [TortsProf] Fifth Circuit upholds Mississippi damages caps [PoL]
  • What states have been doing lately on litigation reform [Andrew Cook, Fed Soc] Illinois lawmakers’ proposals [Madison-St. Clair Record] Head of Florida Chamber argues for state legal changes [Tampa Tribune]
  • Crowd of defendants: “Ky. couple names 124 defendants in asbestos suit” [WV Record]
  • A bad habit of Louisiana courts: “permitting huge recoveries without proof of injury” [Eric Alexander, Drug and Device Law]

Product liability roundup

by Walter Olson on January 25, 2013

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January 9 roundup

by Walter Olson on January 9, 2013

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Torts roundup

by Walter Olson on December 14, 2012

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“In answers to interrogatories, [the mesothelioma-diagnosed] plaintiff identified Colgate’s Cashmere Bouquet talcum powder as the sole source of her asbestos exposure.” [Ron Miller]

Product liability roundup

by Walter Olson on October 17, 2012

  • “Judge in Asbestos Litigation Says Navy Ships Aren’t Products” [Legal Intelligencer]
  • NYT goes in search of the trial lawyers’ case on the Blitz gas can bankruptcy [earlier here, here]
  • Gun control lobby hails as “groundbreaking” NY appellate court allowing suit against gun manufacturer [WSJ Law Blog, NYLJ]
  • “Mechanical Bull Tosses Rider, Prevails in Court” [Abnormal Use]
  • Well-known expert witness pops up in consumer popcorn injury case [Drug and Device Law] 2004 Missouri workplace exposure case: “‘Popcorn Lung’ Couple Gets $20M Award, Files for Bankruptcy” [ABC News]
  • “Bumbo Baby Seat Recalled Because It Is Only 99.999475% Safe” [Skenazy, Agitator]
  • “Summary Judgment For Crocs in Massachusetts Escalator Injury Case” [Abnormal Use]

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An MDL judge says no-go to unimpaired plaintiffs [David Oliver] “Judge Tosses 1,600 Asbestos Cases, Rules Scarred Lungs Not an Injury” [Legal Intelligencer]

Product liability roundup

by Walter Olson on October 1, 2012

  • “Oklahoma Court Tosses Jury Verdict Over ‘Defective’ Louisville Slugger” [Daniel Fisher/Forbes, Abnormal Use] “In contrast, a New Jersey case against the same defendant resulted in a multi-million-dollar settlement divorced from any showing of culpability.” [PoL]
  • An expert witness wore two hats [Chamber-backed Madison County Record]
  • 5-4 Washington Supreme Court decision in asbestos case bodes ill for makers of safety devices [Pacific Legal Foundation]
  • “Defective design and the Costa Concordia” [Rob Green, Abnormal Use; Rick Spilman, The Old Salt]
  • Calif. appeals court says man shot by 3 year old son can sue Glock [SFGate]
  • “Evidence of Drug Use May Be Relevant in Product Liability Litigation” [Farr, Abnormal Use]
  • “What used to be in chemistry sets that are not in there anymore are actual chemicals” [BBC, earlier here, here]

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Torts roundup

by Walter Olson on July 19, 2012

  • Dixon v. Ford Motor Company: “The Best Causation Opinion of 2012″ [David Oliver] “Any exposure” causation: “Pennsylvania Supreme Court delivers significant asbestos ruling” [Point of Law]
  • Maryland high court may consider pro-plaintiff shift from contributory negligence to comparative fault [Sean Wajert]
  • In last-minute ploy, Albany lawmakers extend time limits for suing local governments [Torch via PoL, Times-Union]
  • Mental diagnoses: what to do when courtroom experts armed with DSM-5 shoot from the hip [Jim Dedman, Abnormal Use]
  • California appeals court, legislature decline to go along with trial lawyers’ crusade against Concepcion and class arbitration waivers [WLF, CL&P]
  • Critics challenge legality of Louisiana AG’s use of contingency lawyers [Melissa Landry, Hayride]
  • To curb client solicitation, NJ mulls withholding crash reports from noninterested parties for 90 days [NJLRA]

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Torts roundup

by Walter Olson on July 6, 2012

  • House Judiciary passes measure (FACT Act) promoting transparency of asbestos trusts, could preserve assets for honest claimants by curbing n-tuple dippers [Harold Kim/US Chamber, Ted Frank] “$48 million jackpot justice asbestos award for 86-year-old” [Frank]
  • Canadian court: car crash caused chronic cough [Magraken]
  • Push in Connecticut legislature to ease expert testimony threshold, thus enabling more med-mal suits [Zachary Janowski, Raising Hale]
  • Georgia court: residents on notice of wild alligators, golf club not liable for elderly woman’s demise [Daily Report]
  • “NYT is inconceivably shocked that NYC defends itself in lawsuits instead of blindly writing multimillion $ checks.” [@tedfrank]
  • Arizona court declines Third Restatement’s invitation to gut duty prerequisite in tort law [David Oliver]
  • Vintage insurance fraud: “The Slip-and-fall Queen” [Brendan Koerner via @petewarden]
  • Relaxation of fault in auto cases: “Richard Nixon’s Torts Note” [Robinette, TortsProf] “Reforming the Reform: No-Fault Auto Insurance” [same]