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Jerry Brown

Not very, fears Bruce Nye at Cal Biz Lit, who notes that “The Chanler Group, the self-described ‘Largest Proposition 65 Citizen Enforcement Law Firm,’ wasted no time in announcing its support for the Governor’s proposals.” Prop 65, of course, is the famous California enactment under which an army of bounty-hunters have set forth to file suits and collect settlements from California businesses for failing to warn of the carcinogenic or mutagenic ingredients in hundreds of common products, from matches (which emit carbon monoxide) to brass knobs to roasted coffee to grilled chicken to billiard cue chalk. Gov. Brown’s reforms omit several stronger recommendations, such as “moving the burden of proof to the plaintiff to show that exposures exceed the applicable no significant risk level (‘NSRL’) or maximum allowable dose level (‘MADL’).”

Most importantly, would the private enforcer bar support Assembly Member Gatto’s AB 227, allowing a company receiving a 60 day notice to avoid prosecution by curing the violation within 14 days? Or better still, Cal Biz Lit’s proposal to allow sixty days to cure violations?

Those measures would be real reform.

More: Amanda Robert, Legal NewsLine.

Politics roundup

by Walter Olson on February 15, 2013

  • Cuomo appointee Jenny Rivera, lawprof on “social justice” beat, likely to pull NY’s highest court leftward [Reuters; Kerr, with additional comments-section background on chief judge Jonathan Lippman] Notable plaintiff’s litigator Brad Seligman (Wal-Mart v. Dukes, etc.) elevated to bench by Gov. Jerry Brown [San Leandro Patch]
  • With Jeffrey Toobin assuring us that voter fraud is “essentially nonexistent,” tales like this from Cincinnati must not be real [John Fund, NRO]
  • Time for Republicans to get serious about an urban-policy pitch [Ed Glaeser, City Journal] “As the GOP looks for issues it can win on, how about lowering the drinking age?” [Instapundit]
  • Boldly smiting straw man, NYT says young people see government as possible “constructive force” [Ira Stoll, SmarterTimes]
  • Politics by other means: “From Statehouse to courtroom: Many Illinois issues being decided by judges” [Kurt Erickson, Bloomington Pantagraph]
  • Florida attorney John Morgan, of personal injury fame, became an inauguration bigwig the old-fashioned way [Orlando Sentinel, earlier here, here, here, here, etc., etc.]
  • Granholm at front of “not so bad when our guy Obama does it” parade [Damon Root]

April 16 roundup

by Walter Olson on April 16, 2012

  • Although I’m known as a foe of everything John Edwards stands for, I hope he beats this campaign finance rap [Atlantic Wire]
  • Michael Bloomberg launches demagogic new campaign against Stand Your Ground laws, calling to mind the recent critique of the NYC mayor’s paternalist dark side by Conor Friedersdorf in the Atlantic;
  • Jerry Brown frees grandmother dubiously jailed in shaken-baby death [Slate, earlier]
  • As Scruggs (Dickey not Earl) still pursues vindication, Alan Lange looks back on Mississippi scandals [YallPolitics]
  • Deservedly favorable profile of Fifth Circuit judge Jerry Smith [NOLA]
  • In which I tell off Bill Donohue’s Catholic League for its double insult last week to gays and to adoptive parents [IGF]
  • “The Ninth Circuit was, believe it or not, correct” [Ilya Shapiro and Trevor Burrus, Cato, on administrative law case arising from NLRB rules change on drug rep overtime]

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October 11 roundup

by Walter Olson on October 11, 2011

  • UK panel declines to ban “I like gin” tea ad [Campaign]
  • Do pics of tree-shaped air fresheners violate trademark rights of product marketer? [PoL]
  • Man’s EU trademark for “Keep Calm and Carry On” raises hackles [Maria Bustillos, The Awl]
  • When was the last time Congress chose to repeal a law restricting employers? Surely more recently than with the Portal to Portal Act of 1947 [Fox, Jottings]
  • NYC: “City’s Top Lawyer Details Payouts of $561 Million in Lawsuits” [NYT]
  • Calif. Gov. Brown vetoes attorney-backed bill widening fee entitlement where claimed damages not recovered [CJAC]
  • Ira Stoll has been assembling a list of cost-free measures to help the economy, #17 is the proposed EPA-curbing Cement Regulatory Relief Act, #13 is “Eliminate requirements for legal ads in print newspapers in connection with business formation.” [Future of Capitalism]

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A veto message from Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, after the California legislature passed a bill imposing a fine on children or their parents or guardians for skiing or snowboarding without a helmet: “While I appreciate the value of wearing a ski helmet,” wrote the governor, “I am concerned about the continuing and seemingly inexorable transfer of authority from parents to the state.” [John Myers, KQED; text of veto message]

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Seems to be contagious

by Walter Olson on November 30, 2010

Now it’s California Attorney General Jerry Brown who’s gone and sued his own client. [Steele, Legal Ethics Forum; earlier here, here, etc.]

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Hans Bader of the Competitive Enterprise Institute informs me that Connecticut’s Richard Blumenthal has in a sense won his recount after all: a recalculation taking into account a bit of overlooked data has now moved him up from #3 to #2 on this year’s list, though he’s still essentially tied with Oklahoma’s Drew Edmondson. In first place: California’s Jerry Brown, while perennial favorites Patrick Lynch of Rhode Island and Darrell McGraw of West Virginia fill the #4 and #5 places, and a newcomer, William Sorrell of Vermont, makes an appearance at #6.

More: Bader in the Examiner on the selection process.

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Rick Woldenberg talks back to the California attorney general, and also raises some questions about Proposition 65 and the finances of the freelance enforcers in the case, the Center for Environmental Health (CEH). Two years ago we covered CEH’s crusade against the iPhone. More: Darleen Click/Protein Wisdom and a followup from Woldenberg.

November 2 roundup

by Walter Olson on November 2, 2009

  • Worst, most dangerous legal trend of the moment: trial lawyers continue big Capitol Hill push to overturn Supreme Court’s valuable Iqbal and Twombly decisions on lawsuit procedure [Point of Law and more, Thomas Dupree/WLF, Beck & Herrmann and more, earlier]
  • Lawyers rush to courthouse to beat deadline for new Oklahoma limits on liability suits [Tulsa World]
  • Spokesman for Attorney General Jerry Brown admits he’s taped reporter conversations without their consent, seeming violation of California law [SF Chronicle]
  • UK: motorist could face prosecution for splashing kids by driving through puddle, at what she says was kids’ request [BoingBoing]
  • “Is the pay czar unconstitutional?” [Bainbridge on McConnell, WSJ; Ribstein on link to PCAOB case]
  • More “deceptively named fruity cereal” suits in California [Lowering the Bar ("I still think this is like claiming emotional distress because you just learned 'The Hobbit' isn't a true story,") Ken at Popehat ("Froot of the Poisonous Tree of Litigiousness"), earlier here, here, here, here, etc.]
  • A city of stool pigeons: Chicago to pay those who inform on tax cheats [NBC Chicago]
  • Ill-fated stint as pole dancer leads to lawsuit against Arizona bar [Above the Law]

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Not surprisingly, given that the office is occupied by former “Governor Moonbeam” Jerry Brown, he feels that the amendment barring same sex marriage should be invalidated.  Also not surprisingly, given that it’s Governor Moonbeam, he takes a novel approach to the argument, one that libertarians may like: that same sex marriage is an inalienable right which cannot be taken away even by constitutional amendment.  (The fighting Ninth Amendment to the United States Constitution does not appear to be cited, as it’s a matter of state law).

Kip Esquire, who is a libertarian and who strongly favors same sex marriage rights, has given Brown’s arguments a thorough review, and seems unimpressed.  Key criticism:

If I were Kenneth Starr (in the sense of, “if I were as insolent and snarky as Kenneth Starr is”), then I would simply respond with something like this: “What the Attorney General is apparently suggesting is that the California Constitution — is unconstitutional. That simply cannot be right.”

More analysis of the Brown brief may be found at Mr. Esquire’s site.

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Readers will recall that acrylamide is a naturally occurring substance formed when many foods are browned or otherwise cooked and that (like countless other constituents of common foods) it appears to cause cancer in some animals at high dosages. California attorney general Jerry Brown has now reached a settlement with some large food companies that will require them to revise recipes for potato chips, French fries and other wares to reduce acrylamide content. Fun fact: one of the ways they may accomplish this goal is by artificially adding a chemical (OK, an enzyme) which works to neutralize acrylamide’s precursors. (Rosie Mestel, “Booster Shots” blog, L.A. Times, Aug. 4).

More: Bill Childs adds, “Oh, and the companies will pay California around $2.5 million.”

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June 5 roundup

by Walter Olson on June 5, 2008

  • “I believe it’s frivolous; I believe it’s ridiculous, and I believe it’s asinine”: Little Rock police union votes lopsidedly not to join federal “don/doff” wage-hour lawsuit asking pay for time spent on uniform changes [Arkansas Democrat Gazette courtesy U.S. Chamber]
  • Must-read Roger Parloff piece on furor over law professors’ selling of ethics opinions [Fortune; background links @ PoL]
  • Too rough on judge-bribing Mississippi lawyers? Like Rep. Conyers at House Judiciary, but maybe not for same reasons, we welcome renewed attention to Paul Minor case [Clarion-Ledger]
  • American Airlines backs off its plan to put Logan skycaps on salary-only following loss in tip litigation [Boston Globe; earlier]
  • U.K.: Infamous Yorkshire Ripper makes legal bid for freedom, civil liberties lawyer says his human rights have been breached [Independent]
  • In long-running campaign to overturn Feres immunity for Army docs, latest claim is that military knowingly withholds needed therapy so as to return soldiers to front faster [New York Rep. Maurice Hinchey on CBS; a different view from Happy Hospitalist via KevinMD]
  • Profs. Alan Dershowitz and Robert Blakey hired to back claim that Russian government can invoke U.S. RICO law in its own courts to sue Bank of New York for $22 billion [WSJ law blog, earlier @ PoL]
  • Minnesota Supreme Court declines to ban spanking by parents [Star-Tribune, Pioneer Press]
  • Following that very odd $112 million award (knocked down from $1 billion) to Louisiana family in Exxon v. Grefer, it’s the oil firm’s turn to offer payouts to local neighbors suffering common ailments [Times-Picayune, UPI]
  • AG Jerry Brown “has been suing, or threatening to sue, just about anyone who doesn’t immediately adhere” to his vision of building California cities up rather than out [Dan Walters/syndicated]
  • Virginia high school principal ruled entitled to disability for his compulsion to sexually harass women [eight years ago on Overlawyered]

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April 24 roundup

by Walter Olson on April 24, 2008

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February 5 roundup

by Ted Frank on February 5, 2008

A major rebuke for former California AG Bill Lockyer and his successor, Jerry Brown, as well: “A federal judge in San Francisco today threw out a lawsuit filed by the state Attorney General’s office against the six largest automakers in what had been billed as a novel attempt to hold the companies financially liable for global warming. … U.S. District Judge Martin Jenkins said it would be inappropriate for the court to wade into issues pertaining to interstate commerce and foreign policy – matters that should be left to the political branches of government.” The judge’s order can be found here (PDF). (Henry K. Lee, San Francisco Chronicle, Sept. 18)(cross-posted from Point of Law).

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September 13 roundup

by Walter Olson on September 13, 2007

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July 23 roundup

by Walter Olson on July 23, 2007

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And more May 17 updates

by Ted Frank on May 17, 2007

  • Google beats Perfect 10 in Ninth Circuit appeal over copyright suit over thumbnail images. (Earlier: Feb. 06, Jul. 05, Nov. 04.) [LA Times; WaPo; Bashman; Perfect 10 v. Amazon (9th Cir. 2007)]
  • Judge thinks better over Brent Coon’s attempt to intimidate local press through subpoenas. Earlier: Apr. 24. [WSJ Law Blog]
  • US Supreme Court throws out punitive damages ruling in Buell-Wilson case, lets rest of decision stand. Earlier: Jan. 4 and links therein. Beck and Herrmann also discussed the case in March in the context of a larger discussion of the appropriateness of issuing punitive damages against a company that relied on government safety standards in good faith. [LA Times; AP].
  • Big LA Times piece on the still-pending Extreme Makeover suit, where a family seeks to hold ABC responsible for an intra-household dispute over the spoils of a reality show. Earlier: Mar. 4, Aug. 12, 2005. [LA Times]
  • KFC may have won on trans-fats litigation, as David reported May 3, but they capitulate to Jerry Brown’s pursuit of Lockyer’s equally bogus acrylamide suit over the naturally-occurring chemical in potatoes (Oct. 05, Aug. 05, Aug. 05, May 05, Apr. 04, etc.). KFC will pay a nuisance settlement of $341,000 and will add a meaningless warning in California stores. (Tim Reiterman, “KFC to tell customers of chemical in potatoes”, LA Times Apr. 25).
  • McDonald’s sued over hot coffee. Again. One of the allegations is that McDonald’s failed to secure the lid, which is a legitimate negligence suit, but there’s also a bogus “failure to warn me that coffee is hot” count. [Southeast Texas Record; and a Southeast Texas Record op-ed that plainly read Overlawyered on the subject]

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