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Long Island

Four people were killed when pill addict David Laffer robbed a Medford, N.Y. pharmacy. Now the survivors of victim Jamie Taccetta are suing a variety of defendants including the drugstore whose pharmacist was killed, the Suffolk County police and a former commissioner, “and pharmaceutical companies that make the drug oxycodone.” [CBS New York, Newsday]

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A Long Island judge has ruled for the defense in a negligent-security case filed by a patron who was slashed by a surprise assailant dressed as a ninja. [Newsday]

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A Suffolk County, N.Y. judge ruled that online gripes about a divorce lawyer were pure opinion. [ABA Journal]

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Two doctors, frequent golf partners, were playing a round together when one was struck in the face at close range by the other’s ball. Lower courts dismissed the resulting case, which is now on appeal. [Lowering the Bar, WSJ Law Blog] Plus: WLF (“this is not a lawyer or doctor joke.”)

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October 23 roundup

by Walter Olson on October 23, 2010

  • Suffolk County, New York’s new animal abuse registry [Scott Greenfield and more vs. Elie Mystal]
  • Examining Dems’ “flood of outside campaign money” claims [Baseball Crank, Sullum]
  • “Reverse bill stuffer” turns tables on firms’ efforts to amend fine print [David Horton, Prawfs]
  • Occupational licensure and economic sclerosis in Greece [NYT]
  • Phoenix cops’ unsettling evidence-plant “joke” [Coyote]
  • Legal Left trying to set up argument for Thomas recusal on Obamacare challenge? [Steele, LEF]
  • “How Fannie and Freddie Became a $363 Billion Liability” [John Hudson, Atlantic Wire]
  • “Lawsuit of the Day: Kid Injured by ‘Deleterious’ Hot Sauce” [Legal Blog Watch]

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]

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February 25 roundup

by Walter Olson on February 25, 2010

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Following thirty years of battles, the Obama Administration signaled that it would extend federal recognition to the Shinnecock tribe. Of particular interest: “The tribe is also hoping to resolve more than $1 billion worth of land disputes in the Hamptons, including its claim to the site of the Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, which has played host to the U.S. Open several times.” [NYT] Backed by casino promoters, the tribe filed a massive land claim in 2005 which I wrote about at the time in the NYT; a federal judge rejected the case the next year, following a turn against Indian land claims at the Second Circuit level.

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November 24 roundup

by Walter Olson on November 24, 2009

  • “California’s Largest Cities and Counties Spent More Than $500 Million in Litigation Costs in Two Years” [CACALA]
  • Violence Policy Center blames handgun carry permits for offenses that include … strangulation? [Sullum]
  • New allegations in New York school district lawyers pension scandal [Newsday]
  • Plush doll twade dwess dispute made Tonstant Weader fwow up [Schwimmer]
  • “School Hit With a Lawsuit over Dodgeball Game Injury” [FindLaw "Injured", Bronx]
  • Too bad judges are so reluctant to sanction lawyers for filing papers that contain false assertions [Coleman]
  • Hundreds of asylum clients could be deported after law firm founders are convicted of fraud [ABA Journal]
  • Congratulations to superlative juryblogger Anne Reed, picked to run Wisconsin Humane Society [Deliberations; also Turkewitz]

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The attorney’s multiple gigs representing Long Island school districts had touched off a furor and New York investigation. [ABA Journal] Update/related: Newsday.

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“Parents and students at Tooker Avenue Elementary School bid a bittersweet adieu to home-baked goods Friday on the final day of class before a West Babylon district policy goes into effect that allows only prepackaged snacks.” [Newsday via Free-Range Kids; earlier]

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Be careful what you say about the New York-based media giant and parent of Long Island’s Newsday. It has a lot of money to spend on lawyers. [Gawker] More: Citizen Media Law (stronger anti-SLAPP laws needed).

And Scott Greenfield has a word or two to pick with District Attorney Kathleen Rice:

Allowing a woman who lied about a heinous crime being committed against her to avoid prosecution, causing four men who committed no crime to be arrested, smeared throughout the media, sit in jail and have their names perpetually tied to a gang rape, has no rational connection whatsoever to encouraging real victims to come forward. It does, however, have a strong connection to encouraging false accusations, since the conditions of counseling and community services offer little disincentive to not take the risk.

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While our legal system is not much inclined to accord sanctions to the victims of meritless litigation, it does happen from time to time. [Vesselin Mitev, NYLJ; sanctions awarded against client John H. Libaire and Northport, L.I. attorney Mitchell A. Stein, who figured in 1990's "Lion Sleeps Tonight" case]

February 27 roundup

by Walter Olson on February 27, 2009

  • Long Island man fails badly in bid to make his estranged wife compensate him for kidney he gave her [NYLJ, earlier]
  • McDonald’s denies negligence in case of nude photos on customer’s left-behind cellphone [Heller/OnPoint News, earlier]
  • Role of union corruption in NYC crane collapses. Best tidbit: strippers offered apprenticeships [New York Times]
  • Because the Big Three need another millstone around their necks: states moving to entrench auto dealers’ nontermination/buyout rights yet further [Detroit Free Press via Mataconis, background]
  • Microsoft claims former employee “applied for a job at the company under false pretenses and then used his role at Microsoft to gain access to confidential data related to patent litigation he is now waging” [Seattle P-I, Andrew Nusca/ZDNet]
  • Settlement ends lawsuit by Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. against Mississippi’s Farese law firm and Ocala, Fla. attorney Bruce Kaster arising from leak of disparaging employee affidavit to press [Patsy Brumfield, NEMDJ, ABA Journal]
  • Mule drivers at historic tourism park must register for antiterror biometrics as transportation workers [Ken @ Popehat]
  • Lawyers advise defendant on trial for murder to go off his antipsychotic medication so he’ll come off as madder to the jury [nine years ago on Overlawyered]

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So Anthony Faggiani of East Islip, N.Y. is suing the Long Island Rail Road for “serious psychological injuries and distress.”

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Difficult divorces dept.

by Walter Olson on January 8, 2009

The divorce between Dr. Richard Batista of Ronkonkoma, Long Island, New York, and his wife Dawn has taken an unfortunate turn with Dr. Batista’s demand that she return his left kidney, which he had donated to her in a transplant operation. (Or at least its fair market value) Experts predict that the court will be less than sympathetic to his request [SSFC; Sally Satel, Daily Beast] And in Nebraska, the essential level of trust and goodwill that one would hope to see in a divorce has been undercut by William Lewton’s discovery of a secret recording device concealed in his four year old daughter’s teddy bear [WSJ Law Blog]

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The American Tort Reform Association is out with its annual ranking of the jurisdictions where it thinks civil defendants are farthest from being assured a fair trial, and they are:

  1. West Virginia
  2. South Florida
  3. Cook County, Ill.
  4. Atlantic County, NJ
  5. Montgomery and Macon Counties, Ala.
  6. Los Angeles County, CA
  7. Clark County (Las Vegas), Nev.

The list reflects the views of big-company managers and lawyers as to tort lawsuits; a poll of, say, doctors might result in different nominations (Brooklyn, Bronx, Long Island*, Philadelphia) and one of class-action or patent-infringement defendants would likely produce yet other lists.

ATRA has a supplementary “Watch List”, nicknamed by some of us “Heckholes”, of toasty but not quite infernal jurisdictions, on which it places the Rio Grande Valley and Gulf Coast of Texas, Madison County, Ill., Baltimore, Md., and St. Louis city and county and Jackson County, Mo. It also offers side essays on notable scandals among high-rolling lawyers, trial lawyer-AG alliances, and pro-plaintiff’s-bar lobbying efforts.

Some coverage of the report: Pero, ShopFloor (with this and this on AG alliances), Ambrogi, Genova, CalBizLit (“We’re Number 6! We’re Number 6!), TortsProf, Miller (Baltimore), and Turkewitz (cross-posted from Point of Law; also note this recent post).

* Commenter VMS makes a case that Long Island does not belong on such a list.

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