Reader Dave Westheimer writes, regarding a news item that we briefly noted earlier:
Guess who’s coming to the suburb where I live? Erin Brockovich. She’s here and in the news.
Of course she’s not hearing “Fridley’s concerns” — she’s hearing the concerns of novices who’ve never heard of the Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy.
FWIW, “one of the worst Superfund sites in the country” refers to the old FMC plant in the southwest corner of the city by the Mississippi, well away from the closest residential neighborhood and more likely to affect Minneapolis than Fridley, if it affected anything at all. Fridley’s biggest industry is Medtronic’s headquarters. It’s a typical postwar residential suburb, mostly built in the 50s and 60s.
The neighborhood newspaper ran what I thought was a fawning article about her appearance here, written by an intern, along with a separate article about how the intern who wrote the article was so excited to meet her. So much for objectivity.
As the city’s water report (PDF) says, Fridley has never been in violation of the cancer causing agents standards in the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to pour myself another tall glass of city water.
Longtime Twin Cities attorney John Murrin lost money in a dodgy business deal, and started out by pressing what critics agree were some meritorious complaints arising from it. But courts began to look askance as he added more and more actions, pleadings and (nearly four dozen) defendants. Now a sanctions order has resulted in a bankruptcy proceeding. ["Lawyer's tactics leave him bankrupt," Minneapolis Star-Tribune].
Eugene Volokh predicts that a Minnesota jury’s award will not stand; not only are people “constitutionally entitled to speak the truth about others, even with the goal of trying to get them fired,” but the “First Amendment constrains the interference with business relations tort, just as it constrains the infliction of emotional distress and other torts.” [Volokh Conspiracy]
A volunteer clearing debris after the recent tornado in north Minneapolis has been hit with a $275 fine for tree trimming without a license [Star-Tribune via Coyote]
More: In other legal news of tree-trimming, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison has settled a battle with San Francisco neighbors over charges that the growth of their trees was spoiling his view [WSJ, more] And the city of Charlotte, N.C., has fined a local church $4,000, or $100 a branch, for excessively trimming crape myrtle trees on its own property under a city tree ordinance [Brittany Penland, Charlotte Observer via Amy Alkon]
“A judge [last week] threw out a lawsuit filed by a Duluth physician who said he was defamed by a man who publicly criticized his bedside manner.” [Grand Forks Herald, earlier] More: Heller, OnPoint News.
“Though blogger John (Johnny Northside) Hoff told the truth when he linked ex-community leader Jerry Moore to a high-profile mortgage fraud, the scathing blog post that got Moore fired justifies $60,000 in damages, a Hennepin County jury decided Friday.” Moore, who was fired by the University of Minnesota after the post appeared, sued on a theory of “tortious interference” with his employment. [Minneapolis Star-Tribune]
Dennis Laurion took to the web to criticize a doctor he said had behaved in a rude and insensitive manner toward his family during the treatment of his elderly father. The doctor sued for defamation, and a judge is considering whether to allow the suit to proceed. [Duluth News Tribune and more]
A Minnesota seller of imported and specialty playthings closes its doors, and its owner reflects on the ill-conceived Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. [Allison Kaplan/St. Paul Pioneer-Press, AmendTheCPSIA]
PUBLIC DOMAIN IMAGE from Honor C. Appleton, The Bad Mrs. Ginger (Frederick A. Stokes Co., 1902), courtesy ChildrensLibrary.org.
Only after the settlement was in hand did a Minnesota lawyer let slip the rather material fact that his client had some time back departed this earthly frame. [Minneapolis Star-Tribune "The Whistleblower" via ABA Journal] Ironically, the lawyer was suing over a credit report that had mistakenly reported his client as dead (back when he was alive). The lawyer, who had been disciplined seven other times, has now been barred from working for a year.
More: Discussion in comments at Legal Ethics Forum, including Prof. Monroe Freedman: “I disagree with [this kind of] result.”
The car hadn’t been operated and it wasn’t clear that it was even operable, but Minnesota, like so many states, has a strictly worded DUI law. “Intending to sleep off a night of drinking [is] treated as the same crime as attempting to drive home under [the state's] legal theory which does not take motive into account.” [The Newspaper; Minnesota v. Fleck, PDF; Alkon]
Surely it would have been possible to line up a lead plaintiff who did not himself turn out to run a competing collection agency [ABA Journal]
“In Minnesota legal circles, a newspaper once wrote of him, David Moskal was ‘known for several remarkable achievements, including the fastest disbarment in the state’s history.’” Not content with making more than $1 million a year through his injury practice, Moskal also stole millions from clients. Even after his disgrace, he passed himself off as an attorney while working as a client liaison at a spine-injury center. [Legal Blog Watch, MinnLawyer, WestWord (which also has an interesting background article on the relations between lawyers and injury-treatment clinics in Denver)]