Posts tagged as:

Michigan

  • Minimum wage laws are sentimental legislation with all-too-real effects [Jeffrey Dorfman] “Our Business’s Response to California $2 Minimum Wage Increase” [Coyote, with more on a union angle on minimum wage laws] Some experience from Europe [Steve Hanke, more, Cato overview of minimum wage debate]
  • Connecticut fires state labor department employee who gamed system to get benefits for friend, then reinstates after grievance [Raising Hale] Oldie but goodie: union contract in Bay City, Mich. gave teachers five strikes to show up work drunk before being fired [Mackinac Center two years back]
  • Background of Harris v. Quinn, now before SCOTUS: Blagojevich and Quinn favors for SEIU [George Leef, Forbes, earlier here, etc.]
  • If you decline to hire applicants who’ve sued previous employers, you may face liability over that [Jon Hyman]
  • More on class action seeking pay for volunteer Yelp reviewers [LNL, earlier]
  • “Intriguingly, returns to skills are systematically lower in countries with higher union density, stricter employment protection, and larger public-sector shares.” [Eric Hanushek et al, NBER via Cowen]
  • “L.A. Sheriff’s Department Admits Hiring 80 Problem Officers; May Not Be Able to Fire Them” [Paul Detrick, Reason]

Free speech roundup

by Walter Olson on January 30, 2014

  • “Bloggers = Media for First Amendment Libel Law Purposes” [Obsidian Finance Corp. v. Cox; Volokh]
  • Co-workers’ taking of Lord’s name in vain is element in discrimination claim of religious harassment [Oregon; Ruder Ware]
  • “Michigan Court of Appeals Again Protects Anonymous Criticism” [Paul Alan Levy] Virginia by contrast adopts standard less protective of speech [same] Is D.C. lawyer attempting to unmask Wikipedia editor in defamation suit a “public figure?” [NLJ]
  • Judge Posner blasts class-action firm for supposed misconduct, law firm offers evidence to rebut that and proceeds to sue law firm McGuire Woods for allegedly misrepresenting facts of case at its prominent Class Action Countermeasures blog [Alison Frankel, Reuters]
  • “Lawyer says he will drop suit alleging website unfairly cast him as a ‘tree mutilator’” [ABA Journal (compares townspeople who criticized tree removal to "bullies,") Greenfield, Columbia (Mo.) Tribune]
  • “The victims are ‘too Christian’ to excite the Left, and ‘too foreign’ to excite the Right.” [Michael Brendan Dougherty, The Week, on Mideast persecution] “God may not have felt threatened, but his supporters did” [Nick Cohen on UK's Maajid Nawaz t-shirt controversy via @secularright, Ken at Popehat] Prison for “blasphemous” Facebook posting, in Greece, not Pakistan or Sudan [Guardian]
  • Defendants in Michael Mann’s lawsuit against critics seem to be getting standard “don’t write about getting sued” instructions from their lawyers, but that’s not easy advice to give Mark Steyn [SteynOnline, Jonathan Adler (Mann wins a round opening way to discovery]

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  • Under new Illinois law, third offense of tossing cigarette to ground will be a felony [Andrew Stuttaford]
  • “The New York Times calls for prosecutors to establish an ‘open file’ policy to combat prosecutorial misconduct.” [Nicole Hyland, LEF; New York Times; Radley Balko, whose column at the Washington Post has now launched]
  • “Three Arrests Illustrate the Impact of New York’s Silly Seven-Round Ammunition Limit” [Jacob Sullum]
  • Forfeiture reform on the agenda in Michigan? [John Ross/Reason, Institute for Justice, earlier]
  • Speaking of law enforcement for profit, more on the proliferation of fees and third-party collectors that can land minor miscreants in “debtors’ prison” [Fox News; related, Balko]
  • “Want to stop repeats of Columbine and Newtown? Deprive mass killers of the spotlight. Can the media do that?” [Ari Schulman, WSJ via @garyrosenwsj]
  • “She’s regretted the lie that sent him to prison ever since.” [NY Mag]

I’ve long found it exasperating when would-be lawmakers take the view that it’s okay for them to vote for measures that might be unconstitutional because, after all, the courts are there to backstop things. The Michigan businessman who’s challenging Rep. Justin Amash in a Republican primary is just out with a particularly flagrant quote along those lines to which I respond at Cato at Liberty.

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Public employment roundup

by Walter Olson on December 13, 2013

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Free speech roundup

by Walter Olson on November 7, 2013

  • Arizona water utility sues customer over criticism [Popehat, which also has a free-speech-themed Blawg Review tribute and the year in blasphemy law]
  • Harvey Silverglate, “The Slow Death of Free Speech at Harvard” [Minding the Campus] Cato’s Free Speech Week coverage includes video of recent Jonathan Rauch panel [Tim Lynch]
  • Arrest warrant issued after Connecticut man tells Facebook readers he plans to take toy guns into school to prove point [Volokh]
  • In Florida, it’s illegal for two or more people to join together and spend more than $500 on a state ballot issue [Ilya Shapiro; Jacob Sullum on other grassroots-activist chill effects] Brad Smith on the fight at the Supreme Court between Shaun McCutcheon and the FEC [WSJ]
  • “Florida Condo Developer Sues Residents Over Website” [IJ]
  • Lawmaker to introduce anti-SLAPP bill to curb vexatious plaintiffs in Pennsylvania, and no state needs it more [Philly Law Blog; cf. Michigan which also could use a hand]
  • Will measures to criminalize revenge porn erode Section 230, the provision that shelters online media operators from liability for user-added content? [Mark Bennett, Scott Greenfield] At European Court for Human Rights, notice-and-takedown policy not enough to insulate Estonian website from liability for racist user comments [Stanford CIS]

Disabled rights roundup

by Walter Olson on September 25, 2013

  • A rein on line-jumping by disabled tour guides? Walt Disney World changes ride admission policy [WKMG Orlando, earlier here and here]
  • Every body into the ADA: Michael Stein, Anita Silvers, Brad Areheart, and Leslie Francis in U. Chi. Law Review are latest to propose “universal” right to accommodation [Bagenstos]
  • Speaking of which, everyone interested in disability law should be following Prof. Sam Bagenstos’s Disability Law Blog, the ultimate source of many articles linked in this space. I’m honored that Prof. Bagenstos has invited me to speak to his disabilities law class today at the University of Michigan (sorry, it’s not a public event), all the more so since we regularly square off on opposite sides of these issues;
  • “First ADA suit since AMA’s obesity policy: Is this the start of something big?” [HR Morning via Eric B. Meyer]
  • “Disability Groups Defend California’s LSAT Anti-Flagging Law” [Karen Sloan, NLJ]
  • “Student Sues Kaplan For Not Providing Sign Language Interpreter” [Florida Daily Business Review] Another movie theater captioning suit [Connecticut Law Tribune]
  • Rep. Tammy Duckworth vs. putative set-aside “disabled vet”: “I’m sorry that twisting your ankle in [prep] school has now come back to hurt you in such a painful way” [Daily Caller]
  • From the rumor mill: Senate Foreign Relations Committee may hold hearings next month on ratification of Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, much criticized in this space; here’s a pro-ratification Facebook group and a John Kerry op-ed to the same effect.
  • From historic Julian, Calif. to Philadelphia, we all pay price of ADA’s coercive utopianism [Mario Loyola and Richard Epstein, The American Interest]

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In Ann Arbor on Wednesday

by Walter Olson on September 23, 2013

I’ll be speaking at lunchtime Wednesday, Sept. 25 to the University of Michigan Law School’s Federalist Society chapter, on my book Schools for Misrule. Details here.

A Sixth Circuit panel declines to strike down a state law under which public schools will no longer withhold union dues from teachers’ salaries. The Michigan Education Association had claimed that Public Act 53 interfered with its First Amendment right to speak. [David Shepardson, Detroit News]

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First the complaint, then the money, now the public accolade: as we noted last month, student Kendra Velzen filed a complaint — and got a $40,000 settlement — after administrators at Grand Valley State University in Michigan declined to allow her emotional-support guinea pig to live with her in the dorm, even though she had a doctor’s note for it. Now the “Fair Housing Center of West Michigan has given … Velzen its annual Outstanding Effort by an Individual award. The group says Velzen was honored for promoting ‘equal housing opportunity for university students throughout the country.’” The center has a previous connection with the case, having assisted Velzen in her complaint. [AP/WILX]

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“A Michigan judge whose smartphone disrupted a hearing in his own courtroom has held himself in contempt and paid $25 for the infraction.” [AP]

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Was she unaware a house of that vintage might have lead paint, then? “A woman who bought a 110-year-old home from Kalamazoo for $3,200 has agreed to a $115,000 settlement with the city after she said officials failed to disclose the possibility it contained lead-based paint.” Brandi Crawford bought the house last year and this March filed a claim saying “city officials didn’t provide her with an Environmental Protection Agency-approved form warning her of the potential of lead-based paint in the home. Crawford said her child had elevated lead levels.” [AP/Detroit News]

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Kendra Velzen had a note from a doctor prescribing the companionship of the rodent, but Grand Valley State University outside Grand Rapids, Mich. nonetheless resisted her request to keep the guinea pig with her at class, in the dorm, and in food service areas. Now school administrators have folded. [Eric Owens, Daily Caller](& Greenfield)

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Brad Smith on how Woodrow Wilson and Henry Ford used early versions of campaign finance law to settle scores with Michigan opponent Truman Newberry [Law and Liberty]

Torts roundup

by Walter Olson on February 13, 2013

  • Officials: “36% of car-insure claims bogus” in NYC [NY Post]
  • Unseen but looks promising: “Cultures of Tort Law in Europe” [Journal of European Tort Law via TortsProf]
  • “The Limits of Texting Accident Lawsuits” [Ronald Miller]
  • Lawmakers wonder whether there’s some way around Missouri Supreme Court’s “no med-mal reform on our watch” attitude [Kansas City Star]
  • Trial lawyers unhappy as Michigan high court toughens standards on slip-fall suits [AP/Detroit News]
  • Fast track: Illinois legislature moves to increase fees lawyers can recover in med-mal cases [Madison-St. Clair Record]
  • New Jersey municipalities have stake in litigation reform [NJLRA]

“Michigan Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway filed retirement papers last month, but she didn’t announce her plans until Monday when the state Judicial Tenure Commission accused her of ‘blatant and brazen’ misconduct.” Hathaway had allegedly hidden assets from creditors during a real estate short sale and responded untruthfully during a judicial disciplinary investigation of the matter. [Debra Cassens Weiss/ABA Journal, Volokh]

It is worth noting that Justice Hathaway won an upset victory over an admirable incumbent, Chief Justice Cliff Taylor, following 2008′s most unfair attack ad, in which Democrats broadcast a photo of Taylor with his eyes closed on the bench — the sort of picture that, given human physiology and the right kind of camera work, could be obtained of any jurist — and accused him of sleeping. Taylor told the Detroit News that the piece “wasn’t true, but it was a very compelling piece of political theater”. I noted the story four years ago. In hindsight, we can see that the attack ad not only took down an outstanding judge, but elevated a challenger who proved little credit to the bench.

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It’s a wonder the citizens of Michigan aren’t more grateful to the United Auto Workers union for its many accomplishments [USA Today, Fox News]:

Chrysler took quick action two years ago after television news reports of workers at its Jefferson North plant in Detroit who were apparently drinking beer or smoking marijuana on lunch breaks against factory policies…. now they’re back on the job, having won an arbitration decision that reinstated them to their union jobs.

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As lawmakers in Lansing prepare for a vote, unions are training supporters in what is euphemistically called “civil disobedience,” and state troopers are arriving in numbers to counter expected efforts to physically prevent the legislature from accomplishing its intended business. After neighboring Indiana adopted a similar law it saw a surge of incoming business relocation interest. [Detroit News, Free Press, MLive, Jillian Kay Melchior, NR; earlier]

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