Megan McArdle is the latest to refute the notion that Ford’s high-wage policy was meant to put workers in a position to buy his products [Bloomberg View] We linked Marc Hodak on the same subject in July.
No, Henry Ford’s pioneering high-wage policy wasn’t intended to push up demand for the cars he made [Marc Hodak]
In EEOC v. Ford Motor Company, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals found that a former Ford employee could proceed to a trial on her claim that the company was required to allow her to telecommute on a regular basis. …
[The plaintiff was a] “resale buyer” at Ford who responded to emergency steel supply issues to make sure that parts manufacturers always had an adequate steel supply on hand.
According to Ford, her job required group problem solving, including interaction with other members of the resale team and suppliers….
[The court said that while] attendance at work is still an essential function of most jobs, “attendance” can no longer be assumed to mean presence at the physical workplace.
- By convention the business/defense side isn’t fond of jury trial while plaintiff’s side sings its praises, but Louisiana fight might turn that image on its head [Hayride, sequel at TortsProf (measure fails)]
- Generous tort law, modern industrial economy, doing away with principle of limited liability: pick (at most) two of three [Megan McArdle]
- Fallacies about Stella Liebeck McDonald’s hot coffee case go on and on, which means correctives need to keep coming too [Jim Dedman, DRI]
- Interaction of products liability with workplace injury often provides multiple bites at compensation apple, overdue for reform [Michael Krauss]
- Ford Motor is among most recent seeking to pull back the curtain on asbestos bankruptcy shenanigans [Daniel Fisher; related, Washington Examiner] “Page after page he sits on the straw man’s chest, punching him in the face” [David Oliver on expert affidavit in asbestos case]
- Kansas moves to raise med-mal caps as directed by state supreme court, rebuffs business requests for collateral source rule reform [Kansas Medical Society]
- Let’s hope so: “More stringent pleading for class actions?” [Matthew J.B. Lawrence via Andrew Trask, Class Strategist]
- Abuse of out-of-state motorists an issue: “The Perils of Policing for Profit: Why Tennessee should reform its civil asset forfeiture laws” [Beacon Center, earlier]
- Manhattan: “Lawyer takes plea in $279M no-fault auto insurance fraud case” [ABA Journal]
- “AAA Warns of ‘Dangerous’ Free Market in Parking Spaces” [Matt Yglesias, Slate via Tim Carney]
- Negotiated rates on auto loans at dealerships might violate Obama administration’s disparate-impact guidelines [Roger Clegg]
- Not great for Law dot com’s credibility: Corp Counsel mag throws in with “sudden acceleration” goofery; and here’s an effort to gear up acceleration claims against Ford too.
- Ethanol group menaces Phillips with antitrust charge unless it alters franchiser rule [Alexander Cohen, Atlas]
- “Two researchers call for installing technology to disable cellphones in moving cars” [L.A.Times via Fair Warning]
- Spanish government fines filmmaker for movie poster showing “reckless driving” [Lowering the Bar] Siri, distracted driving, and police discretion [Balko]
- Parents taking care of their kids under Michigan program must pay $30/mo. to SEIU for representation [Joel Gehrke, Examiner]
- Stretching the Fifth: Joe Francis bad deposition behavior [Legal Ethics Forum]
- WaPo covers deep split on Consumer Product Safety Commission, left wants fifth seat filled ASAP;
- “Threat to Student Due Process Rights Dropped from Draft of Violence Against Women Act” [FIRE, background; Cathy Young/Reason]
- After $300K donation from Philadelphia trial lawyers, you may call him “Judge Wecht” [AP/WPVI]
- Court reverses $43M Madison County verdict against Ford [AP/Alton Telegraph, some background]
- More on CPSC’s crib ban train wreck [Commissioner Anne Northup, more, earlier]
- One man’s nightmare of false accusation [LA Times via PoL]
- How many plaintiff’s-side flicks is HBO going to air this summer, anyway? [“Mann v. Ford,” Abnormal Use]
- Apple granted “incredibly broad patent” over screen gesture technology [Tabarrok]
- Will Congress reverse this term’s much-attacked SCOTUS decisions? [Alison Frankel] Podcast on Wal-Mart v. Dukes with Brian Fitzpatrick [Fed Soc] “Wal-Mart ruling no knock-out blow for class actions” [Reuters] Contrary to some assertions, current law does strongly incentivize individual job-bias claims [Bader] More on case: Dan Bushell, and welcome Craig Newmark readers.
- Mississippi stops proceedings in $322 million asbestos case to consider judge’s possible conflict [JCL, earlier here, here]
- Nice coat, where’dja get it? [annals of incompetent crime, UK Daily Mail]
“Every time we go to hire an attorney to defend a lawsuit, as soon as we say ‘Ford Explorer,’ they charge us more money,” explains a company spokeswoman. Today’s Explorer is based on a design entirely different from the model that attracted rollover litigation in the 1990s, which doesn’t seem to matter. [Edward Niedermeyer, Truth About Cars]
In May 2001, Cheryl Jane Hale was driving four children to a sleepover in her 1987 Ford Bronco. She didn’t bother to have the children wear their seat belts, so, when she took her eyes off the road to argue with the backseat passengers, and thus drove off the road and flipped the car, 12-year-old Jesse Branham was thrown from the car and suffered brain damage. A jury in Hampton County, South Carolina (the second jury to be impaneled—the first one was dismissed in a mistrial when it was discovered after two weeks of trial that five of the jurors were former clients of Branham’s lawyers) decided that this was only 45% Hale’s fault, held Ford 55% responsible, which puts Ford entirely on the hook for $31 million in damages.
On Monday, the South Carolina Supreme Court reversed because of prejudicial closing arguments that relied heavily on inadmissible evidence. More importantly for lawyers practicing in South Carolina, the Court adopted “the risk-utility test with its requirement of showing a feasible alternative design.”
How bad of a judicial hellhole is Hampton County? Though Hale was a co-defendant, she cooperated with the plaintiffs throughout the trial in their case against Ford, even sitting at the plaintiffs’ table; but because the judge classified Hale as a co-defendant, it meant that Hale got half of the peremptory challenges of the “defense.” More from Comer; no press coverage that I’ve seen yet. (cross-posted from Point of Law)
- Are you a member of Tyson chicken or H&R Block Express IRA class action settlements?
- Jim Copland on Harry Reid and the trial bar. [NRO]
- Jim Copland on the Ground Zero settlement, which may pay lawyers $200 million—but the judge plans fee scrutiny. [NY Post; NY Daily News]
- Kevin LaCroix interviews the Circle of Greed authors. [D&O Diary]
- Judgeships: Rhode Island lead paint trial lawyer in despite mediocre rating, but Sri Srinivasan out because of his clients—not Al Qaeda, but, heaven forfend, eeeevil corporations like Hertz.
- There’s no evidence that workers on automotive brakes (which sometimes contain asbestos) get mesothelioma at a greater rate than the rest of the population, but auto companies still get sued over it. Ford fought one in Madison County, rather than settle, and won. [Madison County Record]
- Overview of defensive medicine at work. [AP]
- Pantsless Rielle Hunter on John Edwards: “He’s very honest and truthful.” [GQ]