A new paper estimates that Massachusetts voters’ decision to end rent control added $2 billion to the value of Cambridge, Mass. residential housing stock over 10 years. While some of this represents the improved worth of rental property whose value had been artificially suppressed by the previous law, much of it reflects improvements in the value of other, nearby property that had never been under rent control, as increased rates of renovation and improvement made whole neighborhoods more desirable. “In net, our estimates imply that more than half (55 percent) of the capitalized cost of rent control was borne by owners of never-controlled properties, illustrating both the importance of spillovers in housing markets and the potential unintended side effects of price ceilings.” [David H. Autor, Christopher J. Palmer and Parag A. Pathak, Cato Research Briefs in Economic Policy]
If done by anyone other than unionists, this would by now be a trending national story:
The Teamsters picketers were already mad. By the time Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi’s car pulled up to the Steel & Rye restaurant in the picturesque New England town of Milton just outside Boston, one of them ran up to her car and screamed, “We’re gonna bash that pretty face in, you f*cking wh*re!”
“She was scared,” said a Top Chef crewmember who witnessed the incident.
Bravo had incurred the wrath of Charlestown-based Teamsters Local 25 by using its own production assistants as drivers, reports the Boston Herald:
The picketers lobbed sexist, racist and homophobic slurs at the rest of the cast and crew for most of the day, the website reported, and when production wrapped, the “Top Chef” crew found that tires were slashed on 14 of their cars. Milton police confirmed that the union members were “threatening, heckling and harassing” but said no arrests were made.
The Herald quotes a spokeswoman for Local 25, Melissa Hurley, sounding completely unapologetic: “As far as we’re concerned, nothing happened.” Or to put it differently: Teamsters Will Be Teamsters.
More, including the violent history that makes this incident anything but “isolated,” from the Boston Globe. I’ve posted on the curious exemption of unions from the law of harassment, stalking, hostile environment, etc. here, here (more on Philadelphia Quaker meetinghouse arson), and in various other posts, as well as in my book The Excuse Factory.
It’s illegal to have an open bar at a ticketed event in Massachusetts, and if you overlook that rule the Boston cops might just show up and get you to “voluntarily” turn some of the event’s proceeds over to them. [Clark at Popehat]
Carlos Miller, whose “Photography Is Not A Crime” blog argues for the right of citizens to film police, has been charged by Boston police with — with what, exactly? [Brian Doherty; Ken at Popehat ("What a accomplishment: the Boston Police Department has discovered a way to make it a crime for citizens to contact the person it designates to talk to citizens.")]
The columnist has a priceless anecdote of a fact-checking query mistakenly left in a pre-publication book version sent out by Prof. Dershowitz’s publisher; also, why those who complain about being called celebrity lawyers should probably not call attention to lists of the famous people they’ve represented. [Boston Globe]
Mark Hansen in the ABA Journal with an overview of how crime labs have finally come under scrutiny following a “string of shoddy, suspect and fraudulent results” in Boston, New York, North Carolina, Nassau County, N.Y. and elsewhere.
In St. Paul, Minn., assistant public defender Lori Traub stumbled into her local lab’s problems and
says she was horrified by what she found: The lab, an old-fashioned “cop shop,” was run by a police sergeant with no scientific background, had no written operating procedures, didn’t clean instruments between testing, allowed technicians unlimited access to the drug vault, and didn’t have anyone checking anyone else’s work. Analysts didn’t know what a validity study was, used Wikipedia as a technical reference, and in their lab reports referred to “white junk” clogging an instrument.
It gets much worse. A West Virginia state serologist, following the DNA clearance of a man he had previously identified as a rapist, “was eventually found to have falsified test results in as many as 134 cases during a 10-year period.” Oklahoma City Police Department crime lab chemist Joyce Gilchrist
who testified as a prosecution expert in 23 death penalty cases, including those of 12 inmates who were later executed, was fired in 2001 for doing sloppy work and giving false or misleading testimony. Nicknamed “Black Magic” by detectives for her seeming ability to get lab results no other chemist could, Gilchrist was never prosecuted for her alleged misdeeds, though she reportedly was named a defendant in at least one lawsuit against the city by a convicted rapist who was later exonerated.
More: And according to a new paper, it turns out that many state police labs are actually paid per conviction, a practice that tends to incentive false-positive error.
According to a panel discussion hosted by the law firm of Edwards Wildman Palmer, sponsors of the Boston Marathon could face liability claims over the terrorist bombing of the event. One panelist cited the Station nightclub fire litigation in Rhode Island, in which plaintiffs lodged claims against upwards of 90 defendants, such as beer and radio-station sponsors of the concert, and won substantial settlements — $22 million from the parent company of the local radio station and $21 million from the beer defendants, for example. [Sheri Qualters, National Law Journal]
A certain disapproving attitude toward nightlife is not exactly new among Beantown authorities, but discouraging the playing of darts, solitaire and board games in taverns does sound like something of a novelty [Boston Herald]
The Boston suburb of Chelsea, emulating New York City and other municipalities, is banning trans fats in restaurant recipes effective Jan. 1, leaving bakery owner Richard Katz “vowing to stop selling pastries rather than peddle what he calls ‘awful’ tasting trans fat-free baked goods.” [Fox Boston via Keep Food Legal]
Says the sponsor of Brookline, Mass.’s proposed Styrofoam ban. [Boston Globe via Ira Stoll; earlier on Concord water bottle ban]
I’ll be speaking at these five law schools in October, sponsored by the Federalist Society and at lunchtime unless otherwise specified:
Oct. 2, Lewis and Clark, Portland, Ore., debating Prof. Henry Drummonds, on federal quotas on disabled hiring (more).
Oct. 3, University of Oregon, Eugene, Ore., on tort law and the “invisible fist” theory (U of O calendar).
Oct. 9, University of South Carolina, Columbia, S.C., on Schools for Misrule, debating Prof. Jacqueline Fox (Facebook event page, FedSoc).
Oct. 29, Boston University, Boston, Mass., topic to be announced.
Oct. 30, New England School of Law, on tobacco litigation, debating Ilana Knopf.
To inquire about having me speak to your group, email editor – at – overlawyered – dot – com.
I’m set to speak in October in Boston, South Carolina, and Oregon. If you want to add on a speaking stop for me in one of these places or someplace nearby, let me know quickly before I buy air tickets. And if you’d like to book me to speak to your group, drop me a line at editor – at – overlawyered – dot – com.