In a lawyer-stimulus move that incidentally trashed freedom of contract, the California legislature passed a bill that would have virtually banned arbitration of workplace disputes that has been agreed on in advance of a dispute. But California Governor Jerry Brown has now vetoed it, arguing that the research on the effects of arbitration is still inconclusive, that the state has means of regulating it short of a ban, and that the Supreme Court is currently considering in two cases whether California law already improperly restricts arbitration in violation of the Federal Arbitration Act, an objection that could be lodged against the new enactment as well. [Carl Larson, Saqui Law Group]
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.
- 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]
- 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]
- 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]
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]
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.
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.
- 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]