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.
“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]
Now see if you can guess how one man has managed to play the system given that generous policy [Tyler Cowen]
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.
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]
German cops, however, got a surprise when they unmasked Ms. Moriarty.
The legal humor site has nominated its favorite stories of 2008. Among them:
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 718.104.22.1687 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.
“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).
- “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.
The automotive innovation (“gently guides the car back in lane if it senses it drifting”) has promising enough safety implications that German insurance companies offer premium discounts of up to 20 percent when it is purchased as part of a package with adaptive cruise control and park assist. No prizes for guessing why Volkswagen isn’t offering it to U.S. buyers of the Passat. “What other cool stuff have auto manufacturers dreamed up, but left on the drawing board because they fear our sharks in expensive suits?” (Edward Loh, Motor Trend, Apr. 17).