Posts tagged as:

juries

  • “The Emperor’s Clothes: Should jury bias against corporations receive legal recognition?” [Michael Krauss on Alabama legal malpractice case]
  • Which did more to compromise gas can usability, regulation or liability? [Coyote, Jeffrey Tucker a year ago at LFB, earlier here, etc.]
  • Wow: Litigation Lobby stalwart Joan Claybrook signs her name to letter claiming there’s “no evidence” of “significant fraud” in asbestos litigation [WSJ letter] “Peter Angelos’s Asbestos Book” [WSJ] “House panel passes asbestos trusts transparency bill” [Law360, Chamber-backed Legal NewsLine]
  • “Indiana’s ‘Government Compliance’ Presumption Against Defect and Negligence” [John Sullivan, D&DL]
  • CPSC Commissioner Nancy Nord on the commission’s certificates of compliance;
  • A way to head off the product-suit technique for bypassing workers’-comp limits? “Pennsylvania Supreme Court Allows Waivers for Future Negligence by Third Parties” [Krauss, Point of Law]
  • California cities’ lead-paint-as-nuisance suit may be headed for trial [Max Taves, Recorder]

Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont), the sponsor of a bill in the California legislature, thinks jury service would help advance the assimilation of immigrants by exposing them to an important civic process. Ben Boychuk, at City Journal, doesn’t agree, quoting political scientist Edward Erler: “The idea that legal immigrants can learn to become citizens through jury service is a dangerous experiment on the liberties of American citizens.”

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A man who showed up at court in Springfield, Mass. to deal with a traffic ticket mistakenly wound up on a jury. The jury proceeded to hear the evidence and closing statements and convict the defendant; the judge declared a mistrial after it emerged that the man, who spoke limited English, had gotten on to the panel by accident. [MassLive]

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March 27 roundup

by Walter Olson on March 27, 2012

  • NYC: “Lawsuit Blames Apple’s Glass Doors for Plaintiff’s Broken Nose” [Lowering the Bar, CBS New York]
  • Some who pushed enhanced punishment for Dharun Ravi may now be doubting they really want it [Scott Greenfield, earlier here, etc.]
  • NYT editorial on FMLA state immunity is as bad as anyone had a right to expect [Whelan]
  • “Pleading, Discovery, and the Federal Rules: Exploring the Foundations of Modern Procedure” [Martin Redish, FedSoc "Engage"] Summary of important ’09 Redish book Wholesale Justice calling into question constitutionality of class actions [Trask]
  • Would trial-by-DVD be so very wrong? [James Grimmelmann, Prawfs]
  • Contested memorabilia: lawsuits filed over estate of gay rights pioneer Franklin Kameny [MetroWeekly]
  • Feds’ “distracted driving” guidance could impair usefulness of car navigation systems [Cunningham/CNet, earlier]

The blogosphere has been kicking around that question this week, and I add my own views at Cato at Liberty (& Alkon).

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More FCPA acquittals

by Walter Olson on February 2, 2012

Defenders of the government’s aggressive prosecutions under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act are finding more and more to be defensive about. The latest in the string of setbacks for the Department of Justice came Monday, when a jury acquitted two defendants in the Justice Department’s 2009 Gabon “sting” operation and the case against three others ended in a mistrial. Alison Frankel: “So far, the Justice Department has not managed to convict a single Gabon sting defendant who contested its charges.” [WaPo, WSJ blog and related, earlier]

More: “A Guest Post From The Africa Sting Jury Foreman” [FCPA Professor]

January 31 roundup

by Walter Olson on January 31, 2012

  • Latest of periodic Towers Watson (formerly Towers Perrin/Tillinghast) surveys: tort costs fell in 2010 excluding oil spill liability [Towers Watson]
  • “Will Newt Neuter the Courts?” [James Huffman, Defining Ideas] Obama’s high court appointees are fortunately friendlier toward civil liberties than he is [Steve Chapman]
  • Unanimous Cal Supremes: companies not legally responsible for other companies’ asbestos products used as replacement for theirs [Cal Biz Lit, Jackson, Beck, Mass Tort Prof]
  • Claim: jurors considered policy implications of verdict and you can’t have that [On Point; defense verdict in Baltimore, Maryland school-bullying case]
  • Airfare display mandate: “‘Protecting’ Consumers from the Truth About the Cost of Government” [Thom Lambert, TotM]
  • Critical assessment of AP-backed new copyright aggregator “NewsRight” [Mike Masnick] Promises not to be “Righthaven 2.0″ [Cit Media Law]
  • Restatement (Third) of Torts drafters vs. Enlightenment scientific views of causation [David Oliver in June]

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July 12 roundup

by Walter Olson on July 12, 2011

  • Not for first time, Dahlia Lithwick misrepresents Wal-Mart case [Ponnuru, Whelan, earlier here and here]
  • Merciful gods, please spare us ghastly “Caylee’s Law” proposal [Josh Blackman, Reuters, Greenfield, Frank] More on constitutional flaws [Robson, Tribe]
  • Mark Perry on efforts to replace the relatively open-entry Washington, D.C. taxi system with NYC-style cartelization via medallion;
  • “Wrongful Convictions: How many innocent Americans are behind bars?” [Balko]
  • “Persaud identified himself as a juror, offering to fix the verdict for a fee.” [CBS NY; Long Island med-mal case]
  • “Is the Common Law the Solution to Pollution?” [Jonathan Adler, PERC]
  • “Rice Krispies class action settlement” [Ted Frank]

Jurors as grown-ups

by Walter Olson on July 7, 2011

New Michigan rules allow juries to ask questions and judges to summarize evidence for their benefit. Michigan Chief Justice (and Overlawyered favorite) Robert Young Jr. “says jurors will no longer be treated like kindergarteners” under the new rules. [ABA Journal; my take back when]

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June 23 roundup

by Walter Olson on June 23, 2011

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“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).

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February 22 roundup

by Walter Olson on February 22, 2011

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November 30 roundup

by Walter Olson on November 30, 2010

  • Sooooo glad to be an American: that’s how Patrick at Popehat feels following latest Canadian-libel-law outrage directed at conservative blogger Ezra Levant (& see comments for alternate view);
  • Obama has pardoned more turkeys than people. Why? [Dan Froomkin, HuffPo]
  • “Reforming medical malpractice liability through contract” [Michael F. Cannon, Cato Institute working paper, PDF]
  • Memoir of jury foreman in criminal case [Tux Life]
  • Not too sharp: Massachusetts school district disavows policy of not letting students bring pencils to school [Slashdot]
  • State governors have big plans for liability reform. Maybe even loser-pays? [Carter at PoL, more; Florida, Indiana, Tennessee, Texas]
  • Parent who sent buzzworthy demand letter to Kansas City school board is a jazz musician [Wayward Blog, earlier]
  • From comic books to violent videogames: “Our puritanical progressives” [George Will]

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Kevin at Lowering the Bar points out that the suit we reported on yesterday doesn’t actually carry the highest damages demand ever; it is topped by one man’s suit last year against Bank of America for 1.7 septillion dollars. In third place — maybe — is “a claim for three quadrillion and change filed by someone against the federal government after Hurricane Katrina.”

Meanwhile, the story of the $38 quadrillion lawsuit moves Adam Freedman at Ricochet to consider some perhaps drastic legal reform remedies.

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June 23 roundup

by Walter Olson on June 23, 2010

  • Judge blocks sweeping Obama administration ban on new offshore drilling [Roger Pilon, Cato] Some reasons judge may have found ban irrational [Lowry, NRO, scroll to reader comment; Gus Lubin, Business Insider] More on Jones Act waivers in the Gulf [Bainbridge, earlier]
  • Connecticut AG Blumenthal launches investigation of Google Street View [Rick Green, Courant]
  • Florida judge tosses out $10 million libel verdict against St. Petersburg Times [St. P.T.]
  • Lawyer in British Columbia suspends practice after bizarre jury tampering charges [CBC]
  • “Disclosed to death”: why laws mandating disclosure are so overused and overbroad [Falkenberg, Forbes on work of Omri Ben-Shahar and Carl E. Schneider, via PoL]
  • Judge dismisses controversial Pennsylvania case against Johnson & Johnson over Risperdal marketing, Gov. Rendell had hired major donor to run suit on contingency [LNL, McDonald/NJLRA, earlier]
  • Rick Hills vs. Ilya Somin on federalism and constitutional enforcement of property rights [Prawfsblawg, Volokh]
  • Beware proposed expansion of Federal Trade Commission powers [Wood, ShopFloor]

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May 27 roundup

by Walter Olson on May 27, 2010

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They’re felt more than ever in today’s economy, notes Amy Alkon.

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Regarding “That nice Mr. Smith does not have to pay this personally, does he?“, Australian correspondent Malcolm Park writes:

“One of my favorites regarding the jury’s generosity/magnanimity when dealing with someone else’s money is from Fred Shapiro’s Oxford Dictionary of American Legal Quotations (1993) page 106 quoting Samuel P. Sears, ‘In Defense of the Defense’, 25 Insurance Counsel Journal 428 at 429 (1958):

We have a judge in Boston named Donahue, who is indeed brilliant, but a character. A couple of years ago, a jury case was being tried before him, a personal injury case, and the jury sent a note in to him with a question asking if, even though there was not any liability, could they still give the plaintiff some money. The judge sent for the jury. He said to them, “I have your written question, and I assume from the question that you have found there is no liability.” The foreman said, “That is so, Your Honor.” He said, “All right, sign this slip then.”

After they had signed the slip, which directed a verdict for the defendant, he said, “I will now answer your question. You may retire to the jury room and pass the hat.”

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