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Canada

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CanadaQueenStampRemember when Canada was regarded as the high-tax, big-government country, and we weren’t? How times have changed. Burger King is considering becoming Canadian through a tax inversion deal with donut chain Tim Horton’s, aware that north of the border “corporate tax rates are as much as 15 percentage points lower than in the United States,” in the words of Daniel Ikenson at Cato, who writes: “If the acquisition comes to fruition and ultimately involves a corporate ‘inversion,’ consider it not a problem, but a symptom of a problem. The real problem is that U.S. policymakers inadequately grasp BurgerStamp that we live in a globalized economy, where capital is mobile and products and services can be produced and delivered almost anywhere in the world, and where value is created by efficiently combining inputs and processes from multiple countries. Globalization means that public policies are on trial and that policymakers have to get off their duffs and compete with most every other country in the world to attract investment, which flows to the jurisdictions where it is most productive and, crucially, most welcome to be put to productive use.” And the fact is that the United States, once the domicile of choice for international business, has slipped badly down the ratings of how difficult it is to do business in various countries. Policymakers “should repair the incentives that drive capital away from the United States.” Full post here. More: Stephen Bainbridge.

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Medical roundup

by Walter Olson on July 9, 2014

  • Congress responds to Veterans Administration health care scandal by throwing huge new sums at care [Nicole Kaeding, Chris Edwards, Cato] “Every Senior V.A. Executive Was Rated ‘Fully Successful’ or Better Over 4 Years.” [NYT via Instapundit] “VA Hospitals aren’t included on the federal government’s Hospital Compare web site” [White Coat]
  • Canadian judge quashes as vexatious suit over non-admission to medical school [Winnipeg Free Press]
  • Brain-damaged child cases: “14.5 Million Reasons Physicians Practice Defensive Medicine” [White Coat, Cleveland] “North Carolina Jury Deadlocks in John Edwards’ Malpractice Trial Against Doctor” [Insurance Journal, emergency medicine]
  • “Medical Licensing in the States: Some Room for Agreement — and Reform” [Charles Hughes, Cato]
  • “NY Launches Statewide Med Mal Settlement Program” [NYDN via TortsProf]
  • “Unlucky Strike: Private Health and the Science, Law and Politics of Smoking” [John Steddon and David Boaz, Cato program] Here’s the long-awaited segue to complete prohibition: British Medical Association recommends banning tobacco permanently for persons born after 2000 [WaPo]
  • Sneaky: California ballot language undoing MICRA liability limits “buried in an initiative titled The Troy and Alana Pack Patient Safety Act of 2014.” [Yul Ejnes, KevinMD]

Next: Sanitary League of Canada protests that use as legal retainer brings good name of toilet paper into disrepute. [CBC]

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“The parties do not need a judge; they need a rather stern kindergarten teacher” is just one of the “by turns sarcastic, exasperated, and downright hilarious” lines in this instant-classic ruling by a Toronto judge admonishing two affluent families living next door to each other to lay down their legal feud [National Post, Lowering the Bar, ruling in Morland-Jones v. Taerk]

Ontario: “The family of a teenage bicyclist who died after being hit from behind by an SUV is now being sued for more than $1 million by the woman who was behind the wheel.” The suit is in the nature of the counterclaim; the family has a suit going against the driver. [Fox News] According to the Ottawa Citizen:

A collision-reconstruction team from the South Simcoe Police Service investigated the crash; their 26-page report found that the “lack of visibility” of the cyclists “was the largest contributing factor,” and that on a dark overcast night, “the driver of the Kia did not see the cyclists on the roadway and was unable to make an evasive reaction.”

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April 15 roundup

by Walter Olson on April 15, 2014

  • “Nullification” a non-starter, but states do have ways to resist federal encroachment [Amy Pomeroy, Libertas Utah, with podcast] Passport to Baraboo? State GOP resolutions committee backs “Wisconsin’s right, under extreme circumstances, to secede.” [Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel]
  • Flawed forensics: “DUI expert pleads no contest to perjury charges, gets house arrest and probation” [PennLive]
  • “Insurance: The Musical” turned out to be an April Fool’s, a pity since I was looking forward to the actuary production number [Insurance Journal, but see (David Skurnick, "Cut My Rate," set in California Insurance Department) and more ("The Sting")]
  • Executive power grab? New F.H. Buckley book on “The Rise of Crown Government in America” [Tyler Cowen, with Canada comparison]
  • My appearance on Anne Santos’s radio show discussing lawsuit culture [KNTH]
  • If General Motors objects to direct consumer sales freedom for Tesla, perhaps the answer is to set GM free too [Dan Crane, Truth on the Market; James Surowiecki/New Yorker, Adam Hartung via Stephen Bainbridge]
  • James Maxeiner on the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure after 75 years [Common Good]

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How a ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada expanding defenses in defamation law emboldened reporters and made possible tough press coverage of the Toronto mayor [Ivor Tossell, Walrus Magazine]

A court in British Columbia, Canada, has declined to reduce a plaintiff’s damages on the theory she could have alleviated symptoms after a collision by using medical marijuana but didn’t. [Erik Magraken] More: Ron Miller.

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Law schools roundup

by Walter Olson on February 19, 2014

  • No shock there: “Law Profs Oppose ABA Proposal to Eliminate Tenure as Accreditation Requirement” [NLJ via Paul Caron/TaxProf, related]
  • Teresa Wagner hiring suit against U. of Iowa law school on appeal to Eighth Circuit [Daily Iowan, quotes me; Caron; earlier]
  • Scalia: “truly appalling” most students at elite law schools not asked to read Federalist Papers [Chicago Sun-Times] Do “wacky” offerings at such schools necessarily sound so wacky? [Elie Mystal, Above the Law]
  • Canada’s first evangelical law school wins approval, backed by civil libertarians, over objections centering on its no-nonmarital-sex pledge [Vancouver Sun, MacLean's, related, earlier]
  • “Self-Interest and Sinecure: Why Law School Can’t be ‘Fixed’ From Within” [David Barnhizer (Cleveland State), via Caron]
  • “Intellectual Diversity and the Legal Academy,” conference by Harvard Federalist Society now online [Harvard JLPP]
  • Tonight (Wed.) at 7:30 I’m scheduled to join Al-Jazeera America’s “The Stream,” hosted by Lisa Fletcher with Wajahat Ali, to discuss the state of law schools, with Profs. Paul Campos (Colorado) and Gillian Hadfield (USC). Tune in!

Farm and food roundup

by Walter Olson on February 18, 2014

National Post via Free-Range Kids:

A Hamilton, Ont., mother has filed a human rights complaint against her daughter’s elementary school, claiming it discriminated against the six-year-old for failing to accommodate her life-threatening allergy to eggs and dairy. The case … seeks to ban milk products and eggs from her daughter’s school.” …

Ms. Glover wants the allergens removed from the school, and school and board staff get human rights training. She wants to “bring to light the fact that children have the right to a barrier free education.”

“Anything short of that is discrimination,” she says.

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December 18 roundup

by Walter Olson on December 18, 2013

  • California judge tells three large companies to pay $1 billion to counties under highly novel nuisance theory of lead paint mostly sold long ago [Business Week, The Recorder, Legal NewsLine, IB Times]
  • Coincidence? California given number one “Judicial Hellhole” ranking in U.S. Chamber report, followed by Louisiana, NYC, West Virginia, Illinois’ Metro-East and South Florida [report in PDF; Daniel Fisher/Forbes (& thanks for mention of Overlawyered), Legal NewsLine]
  • Frivolous ethics charge filed by Rep. Louise Slaughter, Common Cause and Alliance for Justice against Judge Diane Sykes over Federalist Society appearance is quickly dismissed [Jonathan Adler]
  • On heels of San Antonio Four: “Texas pair released after serving 21 years for ‘satanic abuse’” [Guardian, Scott Greenfield]
  • White House delayed onerous regulations till after election; Washington Post indignant about the delay, not the regs [WaPo, Thomas Firey/Cato]
  • “GM vs Bankruptcy – How Autoworkers Became More Equal Than Others” [James Sherk, Bloomberg]
  • According to one study, North America’s economically freest state isn’t a state, but a Canadian province [Dan Mitchell]
  • “If you thought it wasn’t possible to lower the bar for lawyer advertising, of all things, you were wrong.” [Lowering the Bar, first and second round]

“The man who sued the Dominican Republic because it rained during his vacation has been labeled a ‘quarrelsome litigant’ by a Quebec judge. … Court of Quebec Justice Diane Quenneville ruled last month that ‘the court has no hesitation to conclude that Leduc is abusing the justice system.’” [QMI/Canoe.ca]

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“There’s plenty of money. The problem is interminable environmental review.” That’s Philip K. Howard in the Wall Street Journal [summarized here; related Common Good forum with Regional Plan Association] Excerpt:

Canada requires full environmental review, with state and local input, but it has recently put a maximum of two years on major projects. Germany allocates decision-making authority to a particular state or federal agency: Getting approval for a large electrical platform in the North Sea, built this year, took 20 months; approval for the City Tunnel in Leipzig, scheduled to open next year, took 18 months. Neither country waits for years for a final decision to emerge out of endless red tape.

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Vancouver bans doorknobs

by Walter Olson on November 21, 2013

In the name of so-called universal design — a much-promoted theory that disabled-accessibility features should be designed into all structures, public or private, from the start — Vancouver is adopting building code changes that prohibit use of doorknobs in favor of levers and other mechanisms that are more easily used by the handicapped and elderly. While the ban will apply only to new construction, the city has already deferred to the new thinking by replacing the ornate doorknobs in its Art Deco-era City Hall. Building experts see doorknob bans in private housing construction as likely to spread in the years ahead. [Vancouver Sun] Perennial Overlawyered bete noire Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) has in recent Congresses introduced something called the Inclusive Home Design Act which would mandate some accessibility features in all federally assisted newly constructed housing units.

More: “Vancouver Banned Doorknobs. Good,” writes Colin Lecher at Popular Science. Because the less diversity and private choice and historical continuity, the better.

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Food roundup

by Walter Olson on November 8, 2013

Apparently following a complaint from a local restaurateur, provincial authorities have cracked down on a pay-what-you-can informal supper club organized by High River resident Paula Elliot. “AHS shut her down … informing her they don’t approve of people sharing food. They were equally heavy handed when she tried to give away edibles to stranded flood refugees at evacuation centers.” [Jen Gerson, National Post]

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