Besides Prop 46, which would massively raise the MICRA limit on noneconomic damages in medical liability cases and subject doctors to mandatory drug testing and other burdens — and which has been opposed by every large California newspaper as well as by the ACLU of California — there’s Prop 45, to intensify the state’s already extensive system of insurance rate regulation. Ian Adams warns against its faults at City Journal.
“Concerns about insurance requirements will keep a southwest Missouri high school team from participating in the first high school bass pro fishing tournament in June.” The insurer for the Nixa High School angling team said it had only suggested, not required, “such things as having the volunteer boaters take a Coast Guard certification course at a cost of about $400 each, and to be CPR- and first-aid trained and requiring students and boat captains to wear specific safety glasses.” [AP/Houston Chronicle; Springfield News-Leader]
So far as I can tell, this insurance page from Great Britain is entirely in earnest:
Public Liability Insurance for Morris Dance Troupes
We provide instant, on-line morris dance troupe public liability insurance quotes and cover from our panel of specialist liability insurers and our own unique underwriting facilities in the United Kingdom….
Why does a morris dance troupe need public liability insurance?
Every day morris dance troupes face the risk of legal action being taken against them in respect of their liability for personal injury or property damage arising in the course of their business activities. The awards that may be made as a result of a successful claim can be catastrophic but even the legal costs of defending the most spurious claim can cause severe financial hardship.
On the other hand, this page from the plaintiff’s side appears to have been written at least with a bit of tongue-in-cheek:
The no win no fee Elstow Morris dancing accident injury claim specialist
A little bit of Morris-dancing never hurt anybody; or did it? You might need the services of a specialist no win no fee Elstow Morris dancing accident injury claim solicitor, if, whilst strutting your stuff, you’re struck in the face by a Morris stick, or even a handkerchief, and break a bone, or sustain an eye injury. …
Launching a no win no fee Elstow Morris-dancing accident injury claim
Sometimes, shards of wood can splinter off the Morris-sticks and strike someone causing an injury, and sometimes small children can inadvertently get in the way, and sustain an injury. In cases like these, be it a Morris-dancer, or a spectator, or a child that is injured, AAH, the specialist no win no fee Elstow injury claim lawyer, can be called on to help to launch a personal injury claim. All troupes of public performers, be they acrobats or Morris-dancers, must have public liability insurance.
- “Nullification” a non-starter, but states do have ways to resist federal encroachment [Amy Pomeroy, Libertas Utah, with podcast] Passport to Baraboo? State GOP resolutions committee backs “Wisconsin’s right, under extreme circumstances, to secede.” [Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel]
- Flawed forensics: “DUI expert pleads no contest to perjury charges, gets house arrest and probation” [PennLive]
- “Insurance: The Musical” turned out to be an April Fool’s, a pity since I was looking forward to the actuary production number [Insurance Journal, but see (David Skurnick, “Cut My Rate,” set in California Insurance Department) and more (“The Sting”)]
- Executive power grab? New F.H. Buckley book on “The Rise of Crown Government in America” [Tyler Cowen, with Canada comparison]
- My appearance on Anne Santos’s radio show discussing lawsuit culture [KNTH]
- If General Motors objects to direct consumer sales freedom for Tesla, perhaps the answer is to set GM free too [Dan Crane, Truth on the Market; James Surowiecki/New Yorker, Adam Hartung via Stephen Bainbridge]
- James Maxeiner on the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure after 75 years [Common Good]
Pennsylvania: “According to police, Kyle Piper, then 17, lost control of his car on a wet Route 422 in Union Township and struck a steel pole.” His 15-year-old brother Stephen, a passenger, was catastrophically injured. “At the time of the accident, according to court documents, the family was insured through Erie Insurance Exchange and believed $200,000 in uninsured motorist benefits and another $100,000 in liability coverage was available for Stephen.” Several legal twists later, Erie has agreed to pay $18 million. [New Castle (Pa.) News]
At least ten states have now adopted variations on the idea that motorists who unlawfully drive without insurance should give up at least some of their right to sue for pain and suffering in a later accident. Missouri has become the latest, its legislature overriding a veto by Gov. Jay Nixon (D). Organized insurers have backed the idea, which one recent study says can reduce the number of drivers on the road without insurance. It should be noted that trial lawyers’ collective interest in the issue is subject to some ambiguity: while they will recover less in a given lawsuit if their uninsured-motorist client cannot sue for pain and suffering, a rise in the share of drivers that are insured improves their chances of recovering funds in cases generally. [Insurance Journal, Billy Smith/Wolters Kluwer Compliance Corner, PCIAA, Susan Ladika/CarInsurance.com]
Known to some of our readers through his Maryland Injury Lawyer Blog, and to many others as one of our most valued commenters (bringing the perspective of a seasoned plaintiff’s attorney, a perspective I will confess is sometimes lacking here otherwise), Ron also teaches a course on insurance law at the University of Baltimore School of Law. Last week he was kind enough to invite me to stop by and present my own perspective on the role of insurance in tort law. (Nutshell version: the insurance mechanism is exceedingly imperfect, and legal theorists and policy makers often go astray by assuming that it works more smoothly than it does.) Thanks, Ron!
Quest for deep pockets: the homeowners’ insurer had already thrown in its policy limits over an accident in which an 18 year old guest allowed to consume alcohol at a private home had injured himself in a car crash. Now an Ocean County, N.J. judge has ruled that the party host’s auto insurer can also be obliged to provide coverage under a general liability endorsement, ruling it irrelevant that the accident had nothing to do with the insured’s own cars. [New Jersey Law Journal]
They appear to be going nowhere in state legislatures:
A mandate for gun buyers could be more challenging than for drivers, given insurers’ aversion to the risk from assaults. That compares with U.S. auto insurance, where companies spend more than $5 billion a year to win customers in a $178 billion market.
“That’s why things like mandatory auto insurance kind of work, because you’ve already got a highly functional market and it’s a matter of herding the last stragglers into it,” Walter Olson, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, a think tank dedicated to limited government, said in an interview. “But when there is no functional insurance market at all for some kind of risk, it’s a different question.”
It doesn’t help that the ObamaCare episode has raised public resistance to the idea of mandatory insurance. Related: even two authors somewhat favorably disposed toward the idea, and who believe it might be enacted in some forms without overstepping the Constitution, predict its effect in reducing injury by deterring negligent gun handling would “probably not be very great.” [Stephen Gilles and Nelson Lund, Regulation magazine (Cato, PDF)]