Friend of Overlawyered Margaret Little recently reviewed for the WSJ a new book about Abe Lincoln’s greatest law case: “While Judd, like many a flamboyant trial lawyer, opened with the big themes of crime and political influence, it was the technical case advanced by Lincoln that won the day. Mr. McGinty illustrates how central Lincoln’s understanding of river currents, bridge engineering and steamboat operation was to the success of the defense. … (Lincoln was the only president to hold a patent, for a boat-lifting device.)”
Adventures in choice of law: an appeals court swats down an attempt to apply liberal Illinois law to an accident on the road in Indiana. A lower court had gone along with the idea. [Cook County Record]
- Illinois legislature rams through trial lawyer bills before new governor takes office [Chamber-backed Madison Record: retroactive lifting of statute of limitations on asbestos suits, reduction of jury size from 12 to 6]
- “The NFL Concussion Settlement: Class Action Exploitation” [Howard Erichson]
- Thanks to plaintiff-friendly California law, suits over “Made in USA” labels proliferate [WSJ]
- Fraud complaints related to Hurricane Katrina above 30,000 and more continue to come in [Insurance Journal]
- Pennsylvania Supreme Court addresses products liability in case of Tincher v. Omega Flex, Inc., but falls short of coherence or clarity [Deborah La Fetra, Pacific Legal Foundation; Max Kennerly with a plaintiff’s-side view].
- “Fraud on a Federal Court Allows Vacation of Remand Orders” [Fourth Circuit asbestos suit against Colgate-Palmolive; Beck, Drug & Device Law]
- New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act now menaces unwary businesses nationwide [Joanna Shepherd, more]
Substitute-teaching for one day triggered entitlement to a tax-funded pension worth nearly $1 million for a pair of Illinois teacher’s union lobbyists [Adam Andrzejewski, Forbes, citing 2011 Chicago Tribune investigation]
Organized trial lawyers usually don’t make minimum wage increases a top priority, but they may do so in order to deprive incoming GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner of leverage he might use to extract liability reform. [Rich Miller, Crain’s Chicago Business]
Trial lawyer and inveterate Litigation Lobby booster Bruce Braley lost his Iowa senate bid (“He comes across as arrogant, and I think it’s because he is,” said an unnamed Democratic official.) Sen. Mark Pryor, chief Senate handler of the awful CPSIA law, lost big.
Massachusetts voters again rejected Martha Coakley, whose prosecutorial decisions we have found so hard to square with the interests of justice. The Wisconsin Blue Fist school of thought, which sees organized government employees as the natural and truly legitimate governing class, met with a rebuff from voters not only in Wisconsin itself but in neighboring Illinois (where Gov. Quinn, of Harris v. Quinn fame, went down to defeat) and elsewhere. Colorado voters rejected GMO labeling, while a similar Oregon bill was trailing narrowly this morning but not with enough votes to call.
California voters rejected Prop 46, to raise MICRA medical liability limits, require database use and impose drug testing of doctors, by a 67-33 margin, and also rejected Prop 45, intensifying insurance regulation, by a 60-40 margin (earlier).
I’ve written a lot at my Free State Notes blog about the governor’s race in my own state of Maryland, and unlike most others was not surprised at Larry Hogan’s stunning upset victory. The politics category there includes my letter to Washington Post-reading independents and moderates about why they should feel comfortable electing Hogan as a balance to the state’s heavily Democratic legislature, as well as my parody song about what I thought a revealing gaffe by Hogan’s opponent, Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown.
- “Government Is the Biggest Threat to Innovation, Say Silicon Valley Insiders” [J.D. Tuccille, Reason]
- Acrimonious split between Overlawyered favorite Geoffrey Fieger and long-time law partner Ven Johnson [L.L. Brasier, Detroit Free Press]
- Case against deference: “Now More Than Ever, Courts Should Police Administrative Agencies” [Ilya Shapiro on Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Association; boundary between “interpretive” and “legislative” agency rules]
- “The Canary in the Law School Coal Mine?” [George Leef, Minding the Campus] Ideological diversity at law schools [Prof. Bainbridge and followup]
- Familiar (to economists) but needed case against state auto dealership protection laws [Matt Yglesias, Vox; our tag]
- Trial lawyers dump millions into attempt to defeat Illinois high court justice Lloyd Karmeier [Chamber-backed Madison County Record, Southern Illinoisan]
- A genuinely liberal regime would leave accreditation room for small Massachusetts college that expects students to obey Biblical conduct standards [Andrew Sullivan, more]
Mr. Wemple’s various lawsuits have named as defendants all Illinois judicial circuits as well as, more recently, “the Illinois State Bar Association and all of its members,” for conscripting him into a legal process that is “defective and unsafe for its intended purpose in that it generates degeneration financially, psychologically and/or physically.” One of his filings charged the state bar association with “treason” of sundry varieties, not a well-formed complaint since “treason is a criminal offense, not a basis for a civil lawsuit.” A no-longer-patient judge has ordered him added “to the list of ‘restricted filers’ (sometimes called ‘vexatious litigants’) who typically must seek leave before filing anything (and pay fees up front) because of this sort of history.” [Lowering the Bar]
Really, the headline is as good an introduction to this tangled web as any: “Clifford firm contributes $150K to unseat Justice on the same day he’s in court saying campaign money corrupted Supreme Court.” [Madison County Record, related post ten years ago] Also, Illinois election officials say the state may need to have a slow Election Night [The Southern Illinoisan]
- California may lead in number of arrested lawmaker scandals but jealous New York vows to catch up [NYDN]
- Will voters in hotly contested Massachusetts primary remember Martha Coakley’s central role in the Amirault travesty of justice?
- “State of unions: Illinois’ big unionized workforce has become a big campaign issue” [Peoria Journal Star] Teachers’ union top priority: unseat GOP governors [Politico]
- In which I’m quoted saying relatively favorable things about left-leaning New York gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout (though “enjoyed interacting with” is a long way from “would consider voting for”) [Capital New York]
- Meet the trial-lawyer-driven group behind the Rick Perry indictment [Texas Tribune; more of what’s up in Texas]
- Senate incumbents Reid, Pryor, and Durbin and hopeful Bruce Braley among recipients of asbestos law firm money [MCR, Legal NewsLine] Key trial lawyer ally Durbin has slipped in polls [Chicago Sun-Times]
- Montana Democrats’ candidate for U.S. Senate looking a little Wobbly [Lachlan Markay, Free Beacon; A. Barton Hinkle, Richmond Times-Dispatch; #wobblydem]