“Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder was dropped Tuesday from hearing all asbestos cases less than a week after her campaign committee received $30,000 in contributions from three metro-east asbestos law firms.” [Belleville News-Democrat, followup (says she'll return money); Chamber-backed Madison/St. Clair Record, followup]
The Associated Press and Belleville News-Democrat investigate some curious clusters of workers’-comp claims among downstate correctional officers and other public employees.
At least so long as it’s produced in an industrial manner. [Chicago Tribune]
Illinois courts may finally be tiring of liberal applications of “civil conspiracy” doctrine under which “Asbestos companies bear a sort of collective guilt and thus plaintiffs can sue companies they never actually had any contact with. Jurors in Bloomington have ordered up more than $120 million in damages against companies including Honeywell and Owens-Illinois, even though those companies never sold products to the plaintiffs, or employed them in their factories.” [Daniel Fisher, Forbes]
Neurosurgeons in Cook and four other counties pay nearly $230,000 a year, obstetricians nearly $140,000, and general surgeons nearly $100,000. The legislature in Springfield had voted liability limits, but last year the Illinois Supreme Court, in a decision hailed by organized plaintiff’s lawyers but condemned as lawless by many others, struck down those limits. [Heather Perlberg, Medill]
I’ll be talking on Monday at noon at the University of Indiana-Bloomington Maurer School of Law in Bloomington, Ind., about my forthcoming book Schools for Misrule. Prof. Bill Henderson will comment. On Tuesday I’ll speak to law students at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, again at noon, with Prof. Larry Ribstein commenting. Student chapters of the Federalist Society are sponsoring both events. If you’re there, please feel free to introduce yourself.
[cross-posted from Cato at Liberty]
The first copies of my new book Schools for Misrule: Legal Academia and an Overlawyered America are here from the printer, and I’ll be touring the country to promote it in coming weeks. Some highlights:
- February 21. Bloomington, Ind. Indiana University Law School, sponsored by Federalist Society chapter.
- February 22. Urbana-Champaign, Ill. University of Illinois School of Law, sponsored by Federalist Society chapter. Commenting will be Prof. Larry Ribstein.
- March 3. Washington, D.C. Cato Institute Policy Forum. Commenting on the book will be the Hon. Douglas Ginsburg, U.S. Court of Appeals, and moderating will be Cato legal director Roger Pilon.
- March 10. University of Minnesota, sponsored by Federalist Society chapter. Commenting will be Profs. Brad Clary and Oren Gross, and moderating will be Prof. Dale Carpenter.
- March 16. New York, N.Y. Manhattan Institute luncheon (invitation). Commenting will be James Copland, Manhattan Institute.
- March 22. Washington, D.C. Heritage Foundation forum. Commenting/moderating: Todd Gaziano, Heritage Foundation.
- March 28. Boulder, Colo. University of Colorado School of Law, sponsored by Federalist Society chapter.
- March 29. Laramie, Wyo. University of Wyoming School of Law, sponsored by Federalist Society chapter.
- March 30. Sacramento, Calif. McGeorge School of Law, sponsored by Federalist Society chapter.
- April 6. New York, N.Y. Manhattan Institute Young Leaders evening event (private).
- April 7. Washington, D.C. American University Law School, sponsored by Federalist Society chapter.
- April 13. Washington, D.C. Book club appearance (private).
- April 27-29. Dallas, Tex. Heritage Foundation Resource Bank meeting (private).
Always check in advance with the hosting group for venues and exact times; some events open to the public require advance registration. The book’s official publication date is March 1, and copies should be arriving in the bookstores soon.
It could send you to prison. [New York Times; Radley Balko] Related: Jim Harper, Cato.
A nonprofit in suburban Chicago each year encourages its woodworker members “to craft and donate wooden Christmas toys to less fortunate children.” After donating upwards of 700 toys a year in the past, it will have to discontinue the program in future since it can’t afford the third-party testing required under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, sponsored by area members of Congress Bobby Rush and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.). “Woodworking hobby magazines have pegged prices for third-party testing as high as $30,000 for 80 items.” Testing is particularly impractical for items made from donated/recycled wood, since each donated wood source needs to be put through separate testing. Another triumph for CPSIA! [Jenette Sturges, Sun-Times/Beacon-News]
PUBLIC DOMAIN IMAGE from John Bate’s 1635 book, The Mysteryes of Nature and Art, Wikimedia Commons.
“A Chief Illiniwek performance planned for homecoming weekend has been postponed indefinitely after the University of Illinois threatened legal sanction.” [Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette] Update: sponsors plan to proceed anyway.
“Former Illinois State trooper Matt Mitchell is asking the state to compensate him for injuries from a crash in which he hit and killed two Collinsville sisters at triple-digit speeds.” Mitchell pleaded guilty to reckless homicide after the incident, in which, headed for an accident scene, he “was driving 126 mph in busy day-after-Thanksgiving traffic on Interstate 64 near O’Fallon while sending and receiving e-mails and talking to his girlfriend on his cell phone.” “People get hurt at work all the time,” said Mitchell’s lawyer, Kerri O’Sullivan of St. Louis’ Brown and Crouppen. “It’s our job as lawyers to help people with the difficult and complicated administrative process of worker’s compensation.” [Belleville News-Democrat]
Imagine that: the court’s decision to strike down a duly enacted medical malpractice law was controversial enough that Justice Thomas Kilbride might actually have a retention fight on his hands. [Chicago Tribune]
The idea from the Green Party candidate for state treasurer has people talking. “[Candidate Scott] Summers would board up the windows at the law schools of both Northern Illinois and Southern Illinois Universities. Did we mention Summers graduated from NIU Law?” [Legal Blog Watch]
Doesn’t really impress Kevin Underhill at Lowering the Bar:
His lawyers filed a motion prior to opening statements arguing that [former Gov. Rod] Blagojevich had the right to say the things that he was recorded saying because, far from misusing his office for personal gain, he was just talking politics. Blagojevich had “the right,” the motion argues, “to vigorously debate about different options for appointments and different fundraising strategies.” And because “[t]he marketplace of ideas is critical to Democracy [sic],” the prosecution “violates fundamental free speech.”
I just wonder if “marketplace” was the best metaphor to use in association with Rod Blagojevich.
Let’s see — so, when Blagojevich met with a lobbyist in 2008, mentioned that he was about to announce a $1.8 billion construction project and said “I’ve got Lon going to Construction Executive and asking for $500,000 . . . . I could have made a larger announcement but wanted to see how they perform by the end of the year. If they don’t perform, f— ‘em,” he was simply engaging in vigorous debate about a fundraising strategy. See United States v. Blagojevich, No. 08 CR 888, Government’s Evidentiary Proffer, p. 55 (filed Apr. 14, 2010).
Or, when told that Children’s Memorial Hospital (which was hoping for a rate increase) was not returning calls about political contributions, Blagojevich said “Screw them,” then called the deputy governor, asked “Where are we on the money to Children’s Memorial Hospital? . . . . Hold it up,” that was an even more vigorous debate about fundraising. See id. at p. 62.
A woman’s lawsuit charges that the death of her 77-year-old husband was the “direct and proximate result” of his slip and fall 21 months earlier on an “unnatural accumulation of ice” in front of a Trader Joe’s supermarket. A newspaper article last year describes the man as having fought a “courageous battle with cancer” before his death. [Josh Stockinger, Batavia (Ill.) Daily Herald]
Could the legislative results be even worse than CPSIA’s? The Handmade Toy Alliance notes that legislation in several states purports to ban all presence of the heavy metal, which is ubiquitously found in nature at small concentrations. The worst bills, they say, are pending in California, Illinois, New Jersey, and Connecticut. More: NJ.com (New Jersey bill)