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Germany

It’s a step toward consumer-friendliness from the standpoint of many of Germany’s trading partners, and could increase the allure of German courts as venues of choice in international business disputes [James Maxeiner, Common Good] http://www.commongood.org/blog/entry/customer-friendly-courts

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And a good thing too:

In 2008, 1.9 million Portuguese workers in the private sector were covered by collective bargaining agreements. Last year, the number was down to 300,000.

Spain has eased restrictions on collective layoffs and unfair dismissal, and softened limits on extending temporary work, allowing workers to be kept on fixed-term contracts for up to four years.

The New York Times being the New York Times, the trend story is largely anchored by the views of critics who detest the trend and view it as ushering in (new Times preoccupation) American levels of economic inequality, but it still more or less admits that labor market liberalization in Germany has contributed to that nation’s relatively strong economic performance in recent years. Comedy bonus: a description of the United States as a place “where the government hardly interferes in the job market.” [Eduardo Porter, New York Times]

“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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“A German woman who feared the Earth would be sucked into oblivion in a black hole failed Tuesday in her court bid to stop the work of the world’s most powerful atom smasher.’ [Phys.org]

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February 29 roundup

by Walter Olson on February 29, 2012

  • Jackpot justice and New Jersey pharmacies (with both a Whitney Houston and a Ted Frank angle) [Fox, PoL, our Jan. 3 post]
  • New Mexico: “Trial lawyers object to spaceport limits” [Las Cruces Bulletin]
  • Dodd-Frank: too big not to fail [The Economist] Robert Teitelman (The Deal) on new Stephen Bainbridge book Corporate Governance After the Financial Crisis [HuffPo] Securities suits: “trial lawyers probably won’t be able to defend a defective system forever” [WSJ Dealpolitik]
  • Uh-oh: U.K. Labour opposition looks at unleashing U.S.-style class actions [Guardian] “U.K. Moves ‘No Win, No Fee’ Litigation Reforms to 2013″ [Suzi Ring, Legal Week]
  • More on controls on cold medicines as anti-meth measure [Radley Balko, Megan McArdle, Xeni Jardin, earlier here, here, here]
  • Recognizable at a distance: “In Germany, a Limp Domestic Economy Stifled by Regulation” [NY Times]
  • Fewer lawyers in Congress these days [WSJ Law Blog]

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Labor and employment roundup

by Walter Olson on February 28, 2012

December 6 roundup

by Walter Olson on December 6, 2011

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October 9 roundup

by Walter Olson on October 9, 2010

  • Update: “Tax Panel Rejects Lawyer’s Bid to Deduct Spending for Sex” [NYLJ, William Barrett/Forbes, earlier] And: “Musings on laws affecting adult entertainment, alcoholic beverages and other ‘vice’ industries” [Meeting the Sin Laws blog]
  • Mississippi: judge jails lawyer for not saying Pledge of Allegiance [Freeland]
  • More on much-written-about Israeli “rape by fraud” case [Volokh, more, earlier here and here]
  • “Tribune bankruptcy talks complicated by emergence of pugnacious hedge fund” [Romenesko; earlier on involvement of hedge funds in bankruptcies]
  • More disturbing tales from Connecticut probate court [Rick Green, Hartford Courant, earlier]
  • Marc Williams of the Defense Research Institute responds to Ted Frank’s criticism of many defense lawyers [PoL]
  • Advice for Australians: to fix your litigation system, look to Germany’s success [Ackland, Sydney Morning Herald]
  • Rep. John Hall (D-N.Y.) & ’70s band Orleans threaten suit against GOP remix ["Orleans Reunion Tour"]

Now see if you can guess how one man has managed to play the system given that generous policy [Tyler Cowen]

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July 22 roundup

by Walter Olson on July 22, 2010

  • Update from Germany: “Teacher Loses ‘Rabbit-Phobia’ Trial” [Spiegel, earlier]
  • Farther shores of for-your-own-goodery: “Should Obese Kids Be Placed In Foster Care?” [Katz, CBS News]
  • Just one problem with that $725 million AIG securities suit settlement [D&O Diary]
  • After Texas passed bill requiring evidence of impairment, more than 99% of silicosis claimants dropped out [LNL, PoL]
  • Lindsay Lohan disserved by lawyer who can’t keep a confidence [Turkewitz]
  • Pearlstein’s the Washington Post’s anti-business business columnist [McArdle, Wood/ShopFloor]
  • Lawyer shenanigans in Fosamax trial in New York [Walk, Drug & Device Law]
  • Unwelcome surprise: health care bill turns out to tax many house sales [David Boaz, Cato at Liberty]

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The test case in the city of Muenster has German municipal officials worried about busted budgets. [Guardian, Telegraph] So-called “don/doff” lawsuits have been a pretty big deal in our own employment law in recent years, although, as our 2008 report from Arkansas indicates, they don’t always have the support of the putative victims.

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Germany: “Teacher with rabbit phobia to sue 14-year-old for drawing bunny.” The educator “says she was traumatized by the drawing, and claims the girl knew it would terrify her.” [Telegraph]

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November 16 roundup

by Walter Olson on November 16, 2009

  • German law firm demands that Wikipedia remove true information about now-paroled murderers [EFF] More: Eugene Volokh.
  • “Class Actions: Some Plaintiffs’ Lawyers Fed Up, Too?” [California Civil Justice]
  • Drop that Irish coffee and back away: “F.D.A. Says It May Ban Alcoholic Drinks With Caffeine” [NYT]
  • Profile of L.A. tort lawyers Walter Lack and Thomas Girardi, now in hot water following Nicaraguan banana-pesticide scandal [The Recorder; my earlier outing on "Erin Brockovich" case]
  • Federalist Society panel on federalism and preemption [BLT]
  • Confidence in the courts? PriceWaterhouseCoopers would rather face Satyam securities fraud lawsuits in India than in U.S. [Hartley]
  • Allegation: Scruggs continuing to wheel and deal behind bars [Freeland]
  • Not much that will be new to longtime readers here: “Ten ridiculous lawsuits against Big Business” [Biz Insider] P.S.: Legal Blog Watch had more lists back in June.

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German cops, however, got a surprise when they unmasked Ms. Moriarty.

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The legal humor site has nominated its favorite stories of 2008. Among them:

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For quite a while I’ve been getting complaints that readers in other countries — Australia, in particular — are locked out of Overlawyered with a “403 — you don’t have permission to access the server” error message. (Similarly, see these bulletin board discussions from New Zealand and Germany). Reader Stephen Mepham from Australia wrote to alert me when he encountered this problem on switching to a new cable provider, and helpfully included his IP number (the 777.77.7.777 thing). That allowed me to track down what had happened: in response to a series of spam and denial-of-service attacks, our hosting providers over the years have taken aggressive measures to exclude various large blocks of IP numbers (as well as country domains associated with spam and DOS attacks). I’ve now taken a few gingerly steps to relax these controls, which I hope should let more Australian readers access the site in particular. Should the attacks resume, of course, we’ll need to go back to tougher blocking.

If you’re a reader who’s encountered this problem or knows someone who has, give it a try again, and feel free to email me with a message along the lines of “Yes, now it works again” or “No, I still get blocked” — and try to include your IP address if convenient, which you can identify here.

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Graffiti and copyright

by Walter Olson on September 10, 2008

“For the graffiti artists, copyright cases are a common problem. ‘It is very disappointing that copyrights of our work are often not respected’, [says German graffiti artist CanTwo,] who received damages from a music label using one of his pieces illegally some years ago. ‘Strangely enough, but people think that because our work is public and it is sometimes illegally painted, they could use it any way they want.’” (Markus Balser, WSJ Law Blog, Sept. 9).

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April 29 roundup

by Walter Olson on April 29, 2008

  • “Dog owners in Switzerland will have to pass a test to prove they can control and care for their animal, or risk losing it, the Swiss government said yesterday.” [Daily Telegraph]
  • 72-year-old mom visits daughter’s Southport, Ct. home, falls down stairs searching for bathroom at night, sues daughter for lack of night light, law firm boasts of her $2.475 million win on its website [Casper & deToledo, scroll to "Jeremy C. Virgil"]
  • Can’t possibly be right: “Every American enjoys a constitutional right to sue any other American in a West Virginia court” [W.V. Record]
  • Video contest for best spoof personal injury attorney ads [Sick of Lawsuits; YouTube]
  • Good profile of Kathleen Seidel, courageous blogger nemesis of autism/vaccine litigation [Concord Monitor*, Orac]. Plus: all three White House hopefuls now pander to anti-vaxers, Dems having matched McCain [Orac]
  • One dollar for every defamed Chinese person amounts to a mighty big lawsuit demand against CNN anchor Jack Cafferty [NYDN link now dead; Independent (U.K.)]
  • Hapless Ben Stein whipped up one side of the street [Salmon on financial regulation] and down the other [Derbyshire on creationism]
  • If only Weimar Germany had Canada-style hate-speech laws to prevent the rise of — wait, you mean they did? [Steyn/Maclean's] Plus: unlawful in Alberta to expose a person to contempt based on his “source of income” [Levant quoting sec. 3 (1)(b) of Human Rights Law]
  • Hey, these coupon settlements are giving all of us class action lawyers a bad name [Leviant/The Complex Litigator]
  • Because patent law is bad enough all by itself? D.C. Circuit tosses out FTC’s antitrust ruling against Rambus [GrokLaw; earlier]
  • “The fell attorney prowls for prey” — who wrote that line, and about which city? [four years ago on Overlawyered]

*Okay, one flaw in the profile: If Prof. Irving Gottesman compares Seidel to Erin Brockovich he probably doesn’t know much about Brockovich.

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