“After disasters such as Superstorm Sandy, the natural inclination is to do everything possible to help people struggling to rebuild their homes, businesses and lives. But over the next couple of years, those good intentions will lead to a lot of foolish, even dangerous, decisions that will encourage people to rebuild in harm’s way.” [USA Today editorial via Ira Stoll]
From Reason.tv, and new to us, at least, if not exactly new, with vignettes on reef reconstruction, ethanol subsidies, and child health insurance (via Hodak Value). And from Mark Perry, “Some Great Examples of Unintended Consequences from Wikipedia’s Listing for ‘Perverse Incentives.'” An example, from an economics text by James Gwartney and Richard Stroup:
In the former Soviet Union, managers and employees of glass plants were at one time rewarded according to the tons of sheet glass produced. Not surprisingly, most plants produced sheet glass so thick that one could hardly see through it. The rules were changed so that the managers were rewarded according to the square meters of glass produced. The results were predictable. Under the new rules, Soviet firms produced glass so thin that it was easily broken.
Don’t miss the rat-farming and dinosaur-bone examples, either.
Consultant eyed in Chevron-Ecuador case [PoL] Radio campaign targets conservatives on behalf of trial lawyers’ side [Fowler/NRO] Lawyer suing Chevron: “We are delivering a bunch of checks to [NY Comptroller] DiNapoli today” [NYP]
Getting taxpayers off the hook: Congress might curb flood insurance subsidies [Mark Calabria/Cato]
“Lessons from British Columbia’s Carbon Tax” [Adler]
Department of Transportation cracks down on distraction from cars’ onboard information and entertainment systems; Mike Masnick suspects the measure won’t work as intended, as appears to have been the case with early texting bans [Techdirt; earlier here, etc.] “Feds Push New York Toward Full Ban On Electronic Devices In Cars” [Glenn Reynolds, Instapundit; Truth About Cars]
Oh no: Scott Greenfield says he’s ceasing to post at his exemplary criminal defense blog after five years [Simple Justice, Dave Hoffman]
California not entitled to pursue its own foreign policy, at least when in conflict with rest of nation’s: unanimous “blockbuster” decision by en banc 9th Circuit strikes down law enabling insurance suits by Armenian victims [AP, Alford/OJ, Recorder, related, Frank/PoL]
Playboy model’s $1.2M award against Gotham cops is a great day for the tabloids [NYDN]
To hear a pitch for fracking-royalty suits, visit the American Association for Justice convention, or just read the New York Times [Wood, PoL]
View from Massachusetts General Hospital: drug shortages getting “dire” [WBUR, earlier here, here, here, etc.]
Medical liability roundup: Sheriff arrives at Ohio doctor’s home to enforce $9.7 million award blaming lack of Caesarean section for cerebral palsy [TribToday] North Carolina legislature overrides Gov. Beverly Perdue’s veto of liability limits [News & Observer via White Coat] Trial-lawyer-friendly Florida Supreme Court could strike down malpractice award limits in pending case [Orlando Business Journal]
A House of Commons select committee “identified the principal cause as ‘a rapid growth in the number of personal injury claims management firms, which are using direct cold-call marketing techniques to encourage people to make claims who otherwise would not have done so'”. [Philip Johnston, Telegraph]
“The tree trunks, exposed banks and other hazards whizzing past represent a cornucopia of potential tort suits under U.S. law, yet somehow the Swiss manage to operate these runs without being sued into oblivion.” Dan Fisher at Forbes has a go at explaining why. More: Bill Childs, TortsProf (many U.S. states relatively protective of winter sports providers).
“Connecticut’s second-highest court ruled Monday that a man facing charges of arson of his East Lyme beach house can sue the home’s insurer for emotional distress because of the way the insurer investigated the fire.” [Hartford Courant]
In 2007, on Highway 101 north of Ventura, Jeremy White plowed his pickup truck into a vehicle parked along the roadside, killing its driver and paralyzing a California highway patrolman who was standing alongside. White “pleaded guilty in September 2008 to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and selling and transporting marijuana. He was sentenced to 15 years.” While he had an insurance policy, its limit was a paltry $15,000. So which deep pockets will be left responsible for paying the nearly $50 million a jury has awarded in damages? The answer, apparently: 1) White’s insurance company, despite the policy limit, due to the magic of “insurance bad faith” law; 2) Bert’s Mega Mall in Covina, whose employees, according to the plaintiffs in the case, “didn’t properly strap down two dirt bikes in the back of White’s truck, which caused a distraction and contributed to the crash.”
After the trial ended Tuesday, the mall’s lawyer, Terrence Cranert, said they would appeal.
He said there was significant evidence the jury didn’t receive, including a statement from White’s passenger who told the CHP that he and White had stopped to smoke marijuana after leaving the mall. Cranert said they weren’t able to find White’s passenger for the trial, but felt the information should have been allowed.
The judge, however, disagreed.
White’s passenger also told the CHP that he and White went into the back of the truck and opened a tool box to get the marijuana, according to Cranert. “They would have to unstrap the motorcycles,” Cranert said.
On a personal note, this week I completed my relocation from the New York to the Washington, D.C. vicinity. I look forward to seeing more of my friends both at the Cato Institute’s offices and elsewhere around D.C.
Coverage that exceeds expectations? “A Nassau County judge has ruled that MetLife must pay as much as $300,000 for Jacqueline Marshall to defend herself against a negligence lawsuit filed because her mentally ill son, Evan Marshall, then 31, decapitated and dismembered her neighbor.” [NY Post]
A lawsuit over a hot coffee mishap in the fast-food drive-through lane turns out to be barred by California’s financial responsibility law, which “prohibits uninsured motorists … from collecting noneconomic damages in any action arising out of the operation or use of a motor vehicle.” [Pat Murphy, Lawyers USA "Benchmarks"]
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