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China

Will China follow the U.S. lead in consumer litigation? The lawsuit’s target, or one of its targets, is former NBA star Yao Ming, who is said to have endorsed fish oil capsules whose benefits were exaggerated. [China Daily via Tyler Cowen]

May 15 roundup

by Walter Olson on May 15, 2014

  • “Sign Installer Cited for Violating Rule on the Sign He Was Installing” [Lowering the Bar, Santa Barbara]
  • YouTube yanks exhibit from public court case as terms-of-service violation. How’d that happen? [Scott Greenfield on controversy arising from doctor's lawsuit against legal blogger Eric Turkewitz]
  • Philadelphia narcotics police scandal (earlier) has an alleged-sex-grab angle; also, given the presence of compelling video clips, shouldn’t the story be breaking out to national cable news by now? [Will Bunch, Philadelphia Daily News; Barbara Laker and Wendy Ruderman, PDN 2009 Pulitzer series, on Dagma Rodriguez, Lady Gonzalez and "Naomi" cases]
  • The most dynamic part of the economy? Its endangered “permissionless” sector [Cochrane] Call it subregulatory guidance, or call it sneaky regulation by agencies, but either way it can evade White House regulatory review, notice and comment, etc. [Wayne Crews, CEI "Open Market"]
  • What’s Chinese for “Kafkaesque”? Dispute resolution in Sino-American contracts [Dan Harris, Above the Law]
  • In another win for Ted Frank’s Center for Class Action Fairness, Ninth Circuit reverses trial court approval of Apple MagSafe settlement [CCAF]
  • Mississippi’s major tort reform, viewed in retrospect after ten years [Geoff Pender, Jackson Clarion Ledger]

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Martha Neil at the ABA Journal reports on a setback for one fast-out-of-the-gate filing over the fate of Flight 370:

“These are the kind of lawsuits that make lawyers look bad—and we already look bad enough,” Robert A. Clifford, one of Chicago’s best-known personal injury lawyers, told the Chicago Tribune earlier, calling Ribbeck’s filing “premature.”

Much more from Eric Turkewitz.

P.S. Representatives of American law firms swarm bereaved families in Peking and Kuala Lumpur, talk of million-dollar awards: “a question of how much and when.” [Edward Wong and Kirk Semple, NY Times]

“News crossed this weekend that U.S. bank JP Morgan is being investigated by U.S. regulators for hiring well-connected people in China. Specifically, the bank is said to be under investigation for hiring two bankers whose fathers ran big Chinese companies that later hired JP Morgan for several assignments.” [Henry Blodget, Business Insider]

  • Let’s hope not: is Kony case reconciling conservatives to International Criminal Court? [New Republic] Sea Shepherd case shows Alien Tort Statute can serve “conservative” as well as “liberal” ends [Eugene Kontorovich, earlier]
  • “Why the U.S. Shouldn’t Sign On to Empty Human Rights Treaties” [Eric Posner, Slate, earlier]
  • Or maybe non-empty? U.N. Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities said to require enactment of strong Europe-wide equivalent of ADA [Disability Law]
  • A questionable free speech victory at the U.N. on defamation of religion [Jacob Mchangama]
  • Tales of “independent” court reports that weren’t: “Chevron-Ecuador case expert switches sides” [SF Chron, December]
  • New Kenneth Anderson book getting lots of recommendations: Living with the UN: American Responsibilities and International Order [Amazon]
  • “Revive Letters of Marque and Reprisal to Launch Cyber-Attacks Against China?” [Julian Ku/OJ]

IP and technology roundup

by Walter Olson on December 10, 2012

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  • Notwithstanding the tone of much coverage, companies are not legally required to disclose past FCPA violations to the government when they emerge: “It’s my understanding from in-house counsel that those who [voluntarily] disclose are in the distinct minority,” says one observer. Also, Prof. Koehler notes that even if Wal-Mart successfully defends the Mexican outlays as lawful “facilitating payments,” the company could still be accused of violating FCPA’s “books and records” and internal control provisions as well as Sarbanes-Oxley. [Sue Reisinger, Corporate Counsel]
  • Coyote recalls the eyes-averted maneuvers with which his former employer put itself in a posture of formal FCPA compliance when operating in corrupt countries;
  • Must-read Scott Greenfield post: “The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act is the corporate version of blue laws, a reflection of American idealism born of our Puritanical origins, our Pollyanna-ish denial of how the sausage of business is made, our jingoistic belief that we are so integral to the economic functioning of the world that we can dictate a cultural and moral code for everyone, and they can either comply with our great American will or suck eggs. It’s a fantasy of self-righteousness, and even Wal-Mart got caught in the reality that the business of business is business, and not puffy-chested Americans can bully Mexicans into succumbing to our moralistic ways.” Also suggests what Wal-Mart might say in response (at least if Wal-Mart were a character in an Ayn Rand novel) and notes “efforts to take this mutt of a law and attempt to reform it, at least to the extent that it not make American multinational corporations chose between being criminals or uncompetitive.”
  • Speaking of which, some reforms sought by business: “Bringing Transparency to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act” [Michael Mukasey and James Dunlop, Federalist Society "Engage"]
  • Jeffrey Miron: prosecute Wal-Mart but repeal FCPA [CNN/Cato]
  • While agreeing that the FCPA we have at present is pretty bad, Prof. Bainbridge thinks a case can be made for such a law in principle;
  • Something to get Capitol Hill Democrats on board for reform? FCPA might menace Hollywood on China dealings [WSJ "Corruption Currents"]

Earlier here, here, here, and (at Cato) here.

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April 6 roundup

by Walter Olson on April 6, 2012

  • “Help, I left my kids to wait in the car for less than five minutes, now I’m on trial for child endangerment” [Skenazy] “N.Y. State Senate Passes Bill Outlawing Kids Under 8 Waiting in Cars” [same]
  • “Greek court dismisses charges against German magazine for denigrating national symbol” [AP]
  • Pre-clearance for financial innovation, as with drugs and the FDA? Bad idea [Mark Calabria/Cato, The Economist, Thom Lambert]
  • NYT, Reuters misreport effect of Stand Your Ground laws [Jacob Sullum, Robert VerBruggen/NRO, earlier here, etc.]
  • “Attorney advises against talking to Baltimore Sun in email mistakenly sent to Baltimore Sun” [Andrew Beaujon, Poynter]
  • Ken at Popehat knows how to pick his enemies [first, second, third posts, Philly Law Blog]
  • “Now Can We Start Talking About the Real Foxconn?” [Tim Culpan, Bloomberg]

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“This American Life” has retracted a much-discussed news segment about the horrors of Apple’s Shenzhen, China workplace after discovering it was faked; Mike Daisey’s report contained “numerous fabrications,” it says. For more on how readiness to believe the worst about big business can leave media open to being fooled by manipulative packagers of news, see the GM trucks episode, Food Lion, and a great many others. [Ira Glass, Jack Shafer, Edward Champion]

More from David Henderson. And Coyote: “The problem with the media is not outright bias, but an intellectual mono-culture that fails to exercise the most basic skepticism when stories fit their narrative.”

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Although not conducted through the legal system, some battles in China over alleged injury from medical malpractice make for an interesting compare-and-contrast exercise, right down to the role of contingent fees:

Medical personnel advocates complain that the more violent incidents are staged by hired thugs, paid by families of the deceased in hopes of winning compensation from the hospitals. … The Chinese have even coined a word for the paid protesters: yinao, meaning “medical disturbance.”

“It has become a very sophisticated system for chasing profits. Whenever somebody dies in a hospital, the yinao will get in touch with the family and offer their services in exchange for 30% to 40%,” said Liu Di, who is setting up a social network for medical professionals.

[L.A. Times]

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August 11 roundup

by Walter Olson on August 11, 2011

  • Seattle’s best? Class action lawyer suing Apple, e-publishers has represented Microsoft [Seattle Times, earlier]
  • “Disabled” NYC firefighter/martial arts enthusiast can go on getting checks for life [NYPost; compare]
  • After the FDA enforcement action on drug manufacturing lapses come the tagalong liability claims by uninjured plaintiffs [Beck]
  • “What If Lower Court Judges Weren’t Bound by Supreme Court Precedent?” [Orin Kerr]
  • Fark.com settles a patent suit for $0 (rough language);
  • Canadian law society to pay $100K for asking prospective lawyers about mental illness [ABA Journal]
  • Self-help eviction? “Chinese Developers Accused Of Putting Scorpions In Apartments To Force Out Residents” [Business Insider]

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Food law roundup

by Walter Olson on July 11, 2011

  • Texas legalizes sale of home-baked goods; “Mom can come out of hiding” [KLTV; @JohnWaggoner] New York regulators order Greenmarket cheese vendors to stop custom-slicing wedges for customers [Baylen Linnekin]
  • Children who take school lunch more likely to be obese than those who brown bag it [Freddoso] And is there still time to save chocolate milk? [Boston Herald on proposed Massachusetts school ban]
  • “Obesity policy” in theory: “High-calorie food is too cheap” argument of NYT’s Leonhardt is open to doubt [Josh Wright] “Is obesity really contagious?” [Zoë Pollock, The Dish] Knives out among scientists debating food causes of obesity [Trevor Butterworth, Forbes] Feds look to regulate food similarly to tobacco in hope of saving money on health care [Munro, Daily Caller]
  • …and practice: “Calorie counts don’t change most people’s dining-out habits, experts say” [WaPo, Richer/WLF] Obama nutrition campaign: eat as we say, not as we do [The Hill] Of recent USDA “recipes for healthy kids,” 12 of 15 would not have met proposed FTC ad standards [WSJ] Nanny’s comeuppance? “States rein in anti-obesity laws” [WSJ Law Blog]
  • “Food safety chief defends raw milk raids” [Carolyn Lochhead, SF Chronicle, earlier]
  • “It’s Time to End the War on Salt: The zealous drive by politicians to limit our salt intake has little basis in science” [Melinda Wenner Moyer, Scientific American]
  • After talking with experts, NYT’s Mark Bittman walks back some assertions about the European e. coli outbreak, now blamed on Egyptian fenugreek seeds [Science Mag; related, Kolata/NYT]
  • “If anything, China’s food scandals are becoming increasingly frequent and bizarre.” [LATimes]
  • Public criticism of activist food policy often calls forth a barrage of letters defending government role in diet. Ever wonder why? [Prevention Institute "rapid response" talking point campaign; how taxpayers help]

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“Under a proposal submitted last Monday by the Civil Affairs Ministry to China’s State Council, adult children would be required by law to regularly visit their elderly parents. If they do not, parents can sue them.” ["China Might Force Visits to Mom and Dad," New York Times]

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When the federal International Trade Commission takes up an anti-dumping complaint, the law curiously allows, indeed requires, it to disregard the interests of businesses that purchase the commodity involved. A dispute over magnesium imports also illustrates how different parts of the government can act at jarring cross purposes with each other: even as one branch of the federal government was penalizing Chinese magnesium exports, another was launching a complaint against China for undue reluctance to export (among other materials) magnesium. [Daniel Ikenson, Cato at Liberty]

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