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Italy

November 13 roundup

by Walter Olson on November 13, 2014

  • Italian appellate court overturns conviction of seismologists on manslaughter charges following 2009 L’Aquila earthquake [Lowering the Bar, earlier]
  • “The most ominous outcome in last week’s election: A band of big-bucks civil attorneys almost picked off an Illinois Supreme Court justice because they believe he’s a threat to their big paydays.” [Chicago Tribune on Karmeier retention] More: lawyers aren’t through with him yet [Madison County Record]
  • They were expecting any different? “Landlords Say de Blasio Ignores Their Plight” [New York Times]
  • “Liberties,” they said: New York Civil Liberties Union represented complainants who got couple fined $13,000 for not renting farm for a same-sex wedding [Ann Althouse]
  • Michael Greve on citizen suits, deadline-forcing consent decrees, and “sue and settle” [Liberty and Law] Why Germany rejects the citizen-suit device [same]
  • Harry Reid planning to push through large number of nominees in lame duck session, few more controversial than Sharon Block at NLRB [On Labor] (7 a.m. Thursday update: White House withdraws Block)
  • Maricopa County, Ariz. sheriff and perennial Overlawyered favorite Joe Arpaio sues building owners after sidewalk trip/fall “as he headed to a restaurant to get a bowl of soup” [AP/Yuma Sun]

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Some consider the Renaissance Italian cleric (whose feast day is today) to be patron of p.r. practitioners and lobbyists, and at least one comic tale, prefiguring the later Public Choice theme of “Bootleggers and Baptists,” tends to back them up. I explain at Cato at Liberty.

Daniel Fisher at Forbes gives the manufacturer’s side of the story behind a massive whistleblower suit seeking billions from J.M. Eagle over its supply of plastic pipe to public water and utility systems. Qui tam lawyers Phillips & Cohen give their side of the story here. Here’s Fisher on the law firm’s success:

The firm was founded by John Phillips, who as a congressional staffer helped draft a 1986 law that made it easier to pursue whistleblower cases. He subsequently earned enough to become a major Democratic Party donor and now serves as the U.S. Ambassador to Italy.

Update: Phillips & Cohen writes to say that the above quotation “contains an error: John Phillips was never a congressional staffer.”

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  • More details on my panel discussions on food issues next week at the Heritage Foundation [Monday, Sept. 23] and at Vermont Law School [Friday, Sept. 27];
  • “A Ban on Some Italian Cured Meat Is Ending” [Glenn Collins, N.Y. Times] “Market Forces Lead to Better Treatment for Farm Animals” [Steve Chapman]
  • “Tempering temperance: Puritan attitudes on alcohol still linger decades after Prohibition” [National Post]
  • Dozens of class-action suits: “Bay Area courts center of legal battle against food industry” [Mercury-News]
  • “Plain and/or Terrifying Packaging Considered for Junk Food in New Zealand (and Australia)” [Katherine Mangu-Ward]
  • If the dangers of rice aren’t enough to alarm even today’s Margaret Hamburg-headed FDA, they’re probably not very serious [ACSH]
  • North Carolina: home visits to make sure Medicaid recipient kids are eating their veggies? [Rick Henderson video]

“Francesco Schettino, former captain of the Costa Concordia, has sued, claiming wrongful termination from his job after the accident, according to his lawyer.” [L.A. Times] “As you may recall, there were a few questions about whether Schettino’s conduct was entirely up to snuff on the night of the accident. First, there was the whole running-into-a-rock problem, of course, but he was also criticized for then fleeing the ship before all the passengers were evacuated.” [Lowering the Bar]

October 31 roundup

by Walter Olson on October 31, 2012

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“Six Italian scientists and an ex-government official have been sentenced to six years in prison over the 2009 deadly earthquake in L’Aquila. A regional court found them guilty of multiple manslaughter. Prosecutors had said the defendants gave a falsely reassuring statement before the quake after studying tremors that had shaken the city.” [BBC, earlier] More: Orac.

Speaking of science and the Italian courts, Italy’s Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a litigant claiming cellphone use caused his brain tumor; most authorities have found no such link [Telegraph]

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  • Why is the U.S. Department of Labor funding Restaurant Opportunities Center United (ROC), a group that stages protests in front of restaurants and has “harassed” patrons? Rep. Darrell Issa wants to know [Chamber-backed Legal NewsLine, Daily Caller]
  • Connecticut public workers who wrongly took food stamps get their jobs back, and no, you can’t read the arbitration decisions [Raising Hale]
  • Michael Fox’s pioneering employment law blog turns 10;
  • “Why Defending Employment Lawsuits Can Be So Expensive” [Daniel Schwartz]
  • What lawprofs are up to: proposal to gut the employee-misconduct defense [Pandya, Workplace Prof]
  • Hans Bader of the Competitive Enterprise Institute explains why he sees no contradiction in opposing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act [ENDA] while supporting gay marriage. Related: Jacob Sullum;
  • Hyper-regulation of employment in Italy cries out for reform [John Cochrane, Tom Smith, one deterrent]

March 21 roundup

by Walter Olson on March 21, 2012

  • Shame on DoJ: “Systematic concealment” of evidence when feds prosecuted Sen. Ted Stevens [WaPo, Caleb Mason/Prawfs] NYT notes feds’ losing streak in Foreign Corrupt Practices Act prosecutions [NYT, our latest]
  • Italy: tax officials stop luxury cars, demand drivers’ most recent tax returns [Secular Right]
  • Pinterest: casual users (perhaps especially casual users) might be opening themselves to copyright liability [DDK Portraits, WSJ Law Blog] And in case you needed a reminder not to publish photos grabbed from random web sources… [Webcopyplus]
  • In new Atlantic special report, Philip K. Howard collects papers on outdated government law and regulation from contributors Robert Litan, Julie Barnes, Mark Warner, Jim Cooper;
  • Institute for Justice sues IRS over its new licensing requirements for tax preparers [Ilya Shapiro and Chaim Gordon/Cato, Paul Caron/TaxProf, Katherine Mangu-Ward, Barton Hinkle]
  • “It is acceptable to refer to all court proceedings as a ‘trial,’ because seriously, you ever sat through one of those things?” [@FakeAPStylebook]
  • Christopher Booker series on child-snatching by UK authorities [Telegraph: first, second, third]

Some heroes for our time

by Walter Olson on January 30, 2012

My new post at Cato at Liberty is on Italian labor law professors Pietro Ichino and Carlo Dell’Aringa, who live under police protection because of their support for liberalization of the job market; two other professors, Massimo D’Antona and Mario Biagi, have been killed by Red Brigades gunmen. More: Coyote.

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Labor law roundup

by Walter Olson on December 10, 2011

  • Union withdraws, and NLRB drops, complaint against Boeing over plant location decision [Adler, earlier] “Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) Introduces Bill to Reverse NLRB’s ‘Micro-Union’ Decision” [LRT via @jonhyman] Video of “Organized Labor & Obama administration” panel [Federalist Society convention]
  • Suing Atlantic City is an established sport for current, former employees [Press of AC] After lawsuit win, former Gotham sanitation worker litters neighborhood with cars [NY Post via Christopher Fountain] Why have House, Senate reversed usual ideological lines on federal employee workers’-comp reform? [WaPo]
  • Murder of reformist professors reinforces difficulty of changing Italian labor law [Tyler Cowen] UK considers relaxing “unfair dismissal” controls on employers [BBC, earlier]
  • Taylor Law and NYC transit strike: “ILO Urges that U.S. Stop Violating International Obligations It Hasn’t Agreed To” [Ku, OJ; Mitch Rubinstein, Adjunct Law Prof]
  • Maryland’s misnamed 2009 “Workplace Fraud Act” bedevils carpet installers and other firms that employ contract workers, and perhaps that was its point [Ed Waters Jr./Frederick News-Post, Weyrich Cronin & Sorra, Floor Daily]
  • “Government pay is higher” [Stoll] Notwithstanding “Occupy” themes, interests of unions and underemployed young folks might not actually be aligned very well [Althouse]
  • More on outcry over proposed federal restrictions on kids’ farm chores [WSJ, NPR, Gannett Wisconsin, CEI, earlier]

“In 2009, an earthquake devastated the Italian city of L’Aquila and killed more than 300 people. Now, scientists are on trial for manslaughter.” [Stephen S. Hall, Nature via Arts & Letters Daily]

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August 12 roundup

by Walter Olson on August 12, 2011

  • More reviews of Schools for Misrule: Counterpoint (U. of Chicago), Wilson Trivino at PurePolitics.com;
  • “Cops Collar 12 Year Old for “Walking Alone” in Downtown Toronto” [Free-Range Kids] Cop tells mom kids under ten “by law are not allowed outside unsupervised except in their parents’ yard.” [western Maryland, same]
  • As lawmakers seek budget cuts, school finance litigators are on the march to counter their plans [WSJ Law Blog]
  • Wouldn’t waive regs: “U.S. blocks $1 million Italian supercar” [CNN Money]
  • You see, entrepreneurial suit-filing does create jobs: “Hike in Wage-and-Hour Litigation Spurs Demand for Calif. Employment Law Associates” [ABA Journal] How U.S. Congress devastated American Samoa through minimum wage hikes [Mark Perry]
  • CCAF objects in Sirius class action settlement [PoL, earlier]
  • “The Phantom Menace of Sleep Deprived Doctors” [Darshak Sanghavi, NY Times Magazine]

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June 2 roundup

by Walter Olson on June 2, 2011

  • “Italian Seismologists Charged With Manslaughter for Not Predicting 2009 Quake” [Fox, earlier]
  • “With context in place, it appears the WHO isn’t saying cell phones are dangerous” [BoingBoing, Atlantic Wire, Orac]
  • Wrongful convictions and how they happen — new book “Convicting the Innocent” by Brandon Garrett [Jeff Rosen, NY Times]
  • SEC to Dodd-Frank whistleblowers: no need to go through company’s internal complaint route [D&O Diary, WSJ Law Blog]
  • “British Press Laws Facing Twitter Challenge” [AW]
  • Despite legislated damages cap, jackpot awards continue in Mississippi [Jackson Clarion-Ledger] More problems with that $322 million Mississippi asbestosis verdict [PoL, earlier]
  • Golf club erects large net to comply with legal demands to prevent escape of errant balls, is promptly sued by neighbors who consider net too ugly [five years ago on Overlawyered]

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March 21 roundup

by Walter Olson on March 21, 2011

  • “Cleveland Browns lawyer letter is apparently real” [Lowering the Bar, earlier]
  • “Headlines of the Apocalypse: ‘Lady Gaga eyes legal action over breast milk ice cream.’” [@vsalus re: Breitbart via @EdDriscoll]
  • Chesley discipline prospects in Kentucky fen-phen scandal: “King of Torts Dethroned” [Laura Simons, Abnormal Use]
  • Busy construction-defect lawyers vex Fresno builders [Bee, Business Journal]
  • “NHTSA Postpones Back-Up Camera Requirement Rule” [The Truth About Cars, earlier]
  • Lawyers in Italy call strike to protest law requiring mediation of commercial disputes [WSJ Law Blog]
  • NYT’s Mark Bittman has a magical touch with food (alas) [Patrick at Popehat]
  • Beasley Allen lawyers sluiced $850K to Alabama GOP judicial contender [Birmingham News via PoL]

“Experts who told L’Aquila city officials there was no risk of an earthquake six days before last year’s catastrophic quake are under investigation for gross negligent manslaughter, prosecutors said Tuesday.” [La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno via Megan Sever, Earth Magazine]

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Ferran Adria, stay away?

by Walter Olson on March 18, 2010

The Italian government passes a law against “molecular cuisine”, barring use of liquid nitrogen and chemical additives in restaurant kitchens. It expires in less than a year, though. [Caput Mundi Cibus via Tyler Cowen]

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Apparent theory: YouTube should screen and monitor everything before it goes up. [TechDirt, American Lawyer, Jim Harper/Cato at Liberty, New York Times]

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