Posts tagged as:

Enron

  • Sad and bad: “House Republicans vote to block Obama’s new pardon attorneys” [MSNBC, Jacob Sullum, my Cato take]
  • Ready for sorghum-patch unrest? More than 100 U.S. Department of Agriculture agents are armed with submachine guns [Matt Welch]
  • “Cop who punched Occupy Wall Street protester gets tax-free disability pension” [New York Daily News, video of punch]
  • “Officials could identify just one [Bronx] prosecutor since 1975 … disciplined in any respect for misbehavior while prosecuting a criminal case.” [City Limits via Radley Balko]
  • Georgia drug raid: flash-bang grenade thrown into crib badly burning toddler [Tim Lynch, PoliceMisconduct.net "Worst of the Month"]
  • New book by Sidney Powell critical of USDOJ explores Ted Stevens, Enron prosecutions, has foreword by Judge Alex Kozinski ["Licensed to Lie": Craig Malisow/Houston Press, Legal Ethics Forum, Amazon]
  • Two times over the legal limit, hmm. Would it help to flash my badge? [Prosecutorial Accountability on state bar discipline against San Francisco deputy d.a.]

{ 1 comment }

A review copy arrived recently and I’ve much enjoyed reading the first chapters. It’s discussed by Larry Ribstein, by Glenn Reynolds, and by Cato’s Dan Mitchell (with special reference to the problem of tax complexity). The publisher’s description:

Virtually all American judges are former lawyers. This book argues that these lawyer-judges instinctively favor the legal profession in their decisions and that this bias has far-reaching and deleterious effects on American law. There are many reasons for this bias, some obvious and some subtle. Fundamentally, it occurs because – regardless of political affiliation, race, or gender – every American judge shares a single characteristic: a career as a lawyer. This shared background results in the lawyer-judge bias. The book begins with a theoretical explanation of why judges naturally favor the interests of the legal profession and follows with case law examples from diverse areas, including legal ethics, criminal procedure, constitutional law, torts, evidence, and the business of law. The book closes with a case study of the Enron fiasco, an argument that the lawyer-judge bias has contributed to the overweening complexity of American law, and suggests some possible solutions.

Earlier on Barton’s book, including a video, here.

{ 2 comments }

September 30 roundup

by Walter Olson on September 30, 2010

  • “Sexting” Wisconsin prosecutor to resign [AP, AtL] Was bar discipline too lax? A contrarian view [Esenberg]
  • Update: jury finds “caffeine killer” guilty in wife’s death [CBS, earlier]
  • Not an Onion story: “New Orwellian Tax Scheme in England Would Require All Paychecks Go Directly to the Tax Authority” [Dan Mitchell, Cato]
  • “The Fight Over Fire Sprinklers in New Homes” [Popular Mechanics via Fountain, earlier]
  • Pre-Miranda interrogation of (no relation) Jimmy Olsen [another legally-themed comic book cover from the series at Abnormal Use]
  • Slow customer service at pizza restaurant deemed “sabotage” in employment suit [Fox, Jottings]
  • Website offers defendants’ perspective on some of the Enron prosecutions [Ungagged.net via Kirkendall]
  • Pedestrian killed by out-of-control driver, and jury awards $37 million against California municipality for not having built sidewalks [six years ago on Overlawyered]

{ 6 comments }

And Larry Ribstein reasonably asks: What about Jeff Skilling?

Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins, formerly of Bill Lerach fame, and other law firms sued to pin the blame on banks, auditors, and other outside deep-pocket third parties, as well as on directors; defendants collectively paid $7.2 billion. Giving the plaintiff’s lawyers $688 million of that is very “fair and reasonable” and involves no “windfall”, per U.S. District Judge Melinda Harmon. (Bloomberg, Sept. 8).

More: OK, so maybe Brian Baxter of AmLaw Daily is just pursuing a reasonable news angle when he quotes the Coughlin Stoia lawyers doing a little victory lap and waving to the crowd. But if he’s going to quote Prof. John Coffee at such length as his big authority in support of the fee’s fairness, shouldn’t he go beyond identifying Coffee as “a professor at Columbia Law School and frequent class action critic” to spell out a little more explicitly that, you know, Coffee was hired by the plaintiff’s lawyers in this case to defend their fee request? Doesn’t that make it less surprising that Patrick Coughlin “welcomes the positive feedback” from these supposedly “unlikely legal circles” to support his case? (more background, yet more).

Update Thurs. a.m.: by yesterday evening American Lawyer had substantially “updated [the post] with new information” to reflect the Coffee relationship, and Prof. Obbie is kind enough to give me some credit for that happening.

{ 6 comments }

June 12 roundup

by Ted Frank on June 12, 2008

  • As I type this post, I’m listening to Andrew Frey argue Conrad Black’s appeal before Judge Posner and the Seventh Circuit. Posner seems to be confused over whether incorrect jury instructions can be prejudicial in a general verdict. [Bashman roundup; earlier]
  • “For years families bogged down in Harris County [Texas] probate courts have accused judges of bleeding estates of tens of thousands of dollars to pay high-priced lawyers for unnecessary work.” [Houston Chronicle; Alpert v. Riley (Tex. App. Jun. 5, 2008) (via)]
  • Company sets policy. Employee violates policy. Is corporation criminally responsible for employee’s act? [POL; FCPA blog; Podgor]
  • Merrill Lynch banker asks for investigation of Enron Task Force withholding of exculpatory evidence [Bloomberg]
  • When calculating the costs of medical malpractice suits, let’s not forget the noneconomic costs. “In the [John] Ritter case, the jury agreed with the defendant physicians and exonerated them of any liability. They were lucky. How lucky? They were able to spend four years with attorneys worrying about their future, including the potential that they would be ordered to pay tens of millions of dollars and be left penniless. So, they didn’t really win. They just lost less.” [EM News via Kevin MD via Dr. RW]
  • Nor should we forget the defensive medicine costs. [Kevin MD]
  • Legal reform = job creation. [American Courthouse]
  • According to Justinian Lane, if you’re reading this post, you’re a “spineless sycophant.” [Bizarro-Overlawyered]

{ 16 comments }

John Stossel has a WSJ op-ed and tv special tonight on the problem of extortionate attorneys. Overlawyered previously discussed the Selbin case and I’ve written about Bill Lerach’s extortion of banks in the Enron case.

{ 2 comments }

February 11 roundup

by Walter Olson on February 11, 2008

{ 1 comment }

Enron cert denial

by Ted Frank on January 23, 2008

My op-ed on the Supreme Court’s denial of cert in the Enron class action is in today’s New York Sun.

{ 2 comments }

December 2 roundup

by Ted Frank on December 2, 2007

  • Remember that ludicrous case where the Florida driver fell asleep, crashed his Ford Explorer, his passenger was killed, and a jury blamed Ford to the tune of $61 million? (See also Sep. 10.) A Florida court got around to reversing it, though only to grant a new trial under a variety of erroneous evidentiary rulings that prejudiced Ford, rather than because the suit was too silly to ever conceivably win in a just society. The remand goes back to the same judge that let the suit go forward and committed multiple reversible errors in favor of the plaintiff. [Ford Motor v. Hall-Edwards (Fla. App. Nov. 7, 2007); Krauss @ Point of Law; Daily Business Review; Bloomberg/Boston Globe]
  • Not really a man-bites-dog story, but Geoffrey Fieger (Aug. 25 and rather often otherwise) speaks. [ABA Journal]
  • Uh-oh: Former litigator hired to invest $100m in court cases for UK hedge fund. [Times Online]
  • The real NatWest Three deal. [Kirkendall; July 2006 in Overlawyered]
  • Homeowners fined $347,000 for trimming trees without a permit—after the Glendale Fire Department sent them a notice telling them to trim their trees for being a fire hazard. (h/t Slim) [Consumerist]
  • Disclaimers at children’s birthday parties (h/t BC) [Publishers Weekly]
  • British Christmas parades handcuffed by litigation fears. (h/t F.R.) [Telegraph]
  • Underlawyered in Saudi Arabia: A “19-year-old Saudi gang-rape victim was recently sentenced to 200 lashes and six months in jail for being in a car with an unrelated male when the attack occurred. Last week, her lawyer was disbarred for objecting too vociferously.” [Weekly Standard]
  • Don’t forget to vote for us at the ABA Journal Blawg 100.

{ 1 comment }

October 10 round-up

by Ted Frank on October 10, 2006

  • David Lat has much more detail on the $46 meal-skipping criminal case; and the St. Petersburg Times reports Ralph Paul was acquitted because his defense attorney misrepresented to the jury the legal standard, and the prosecutor didn’t correct it. [Above the Law; St. Petersburg Times]
  • Amber Taylor isn’t impressed with Dahlia Lithwick’s proposal of new rules for Supreme Court clerkships. [Law. com; Prettier Than Napoleon]
  • Legalized extortion of banks over Enron scandal. [Point of Law]
  • Round-up of links of Sherwin-Williams’s suit against Ohio municipalities that are using contingent-fee plaintiffs’ lawyers against it. [Point of Law]
  • Possible settlement in the Million Little Pieces class action. [TortsProf]
  • California kennel works can’t sue dog owners for bites. [Bashman]
  • Defense prevails in first federal welding trial. See also POL Nov. 21 and Dec. 9. [Products Liability Prof]
  • David Bernstein on phony associations in epidemiological research. [Volokh]
  • Aleksey Vayner doesn’t just have an impressive video resume, he can send a bogus cease-and-desist letter with the best of them. [IvyGateBlog]