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New Orleans

The “equitable sharing” civil forfeiture program (see weekend post) being just one of the more visible corners of a whole scaffolding of bad incentives in law enforcement:


A lawyer who resigned abruptly from the office handling BP oil spill claims has denied allegations he accepted kickbacks from lawyers with claims pending in the process, saying the money was paid for earlier work and that his aim was to hide it from his wife — who also happened to work at the claims office — rather than to conceal anything improper. [New Orleans Times-Picayune]


Photo via David Boaz. We’ve been covering the Mardi Gras King-cake-figurine-liability issue at Overlawyered for years.


Following news of a $67 million settlement over lead exposure in New Orleans public housing, various residents feel unfairly left out. Lawyers in charge explain that the case covers only a set class of plaintiffs: to qualify for funds, claimants must (quoting the broadcast account) have lived in New Orleans public housing before Feb. 2001, have been born before late 1987, and be able to show medical records indicating lead poisoning before the age of six. [WDSU; auto-plays video including starter ad with no halt button]

Unfortunately, the televised report makes it very hard to evaluate the strength of the protesters’ complaints, since it does not sort out such questions as: are they saying that their personal situations do qualify for compensation under the settlement’s terms, but that they missed out by not being notified in time? Or are they claiming instead that the settlement should have been negotiated to compensate a more broadly defined class, such as persons whose claims are more recent? If the latter, as one passage in the report suggests, their right to seek compensation by way of a separate suit may not actually have been extinguished. Some related minutes here.


“Citing the ‘grotesque’ misconduct of federal prosecutors, a judge on Tuesday granted a new trial for five former New Orleans Police Department officers convicted in the deadly shootings at the Danziger Bridge after Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent cover-up.” [Juliet Linderman, New Orleans Times-Picayune, embedded PDF; earlier here, here, etc.]

More: J. Christian Adams (why no consequences for supervisor in Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division?), Stephen Gillers.


May 14 roundup

by Walter Olson on May 14, 2013

Some locals are “stunned” that Justice would drop the River Birch case after four years of vigorous prosecution, and wonder whether there is any link to recent resignations and misconduct charges among high-level figures in the U.S. attorney’s office. [New Orleans Times-Picayune, more, earlier]


by Walter Olson on December 18, 2012

If you’re high-ranking figures in a federal prosecutor’s office, don’t resort to pseudonymous rants on comment boards to settle scores, especially not if it means commenting on open cases that your office is handling [three now-resigned officials from the U.S. Attorney's office in New Orleans; WWL, Gambit, Daily Mail]

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“A New Orleans Saints fan named David Mancina has filed a putative class action against Roger Goodell and the NFL, alleging that Goodell and the league’s suspension of Saints players entitles Mancina and other Saints fans to damages from (I am not making this up) ‘the diminishment in the value of their tickets; their personal emotional reaction to the unwarranted penalties inflicted on their beloved team, players, coaches, and executives; and the deliberate reduction of the competitive capability of the Saints due to the selective gutting of the critical components needed to justify the loyalty of Plaintiff and the class.'” [Howard Wasserman, Prawfs, who does not think much of the suit, headlining it "Today in Sanctionable Lawsuits"]


October 3 roundup

by Walter Olson on October 3, 2011


Just a reminder for those in the area: on Monday afternoon at 5:30 I’ll be speaking at Tulane Law School, debating Prof. George Strickler on the role of the legal profession with Prof. Michael Pappas moderating, and a reception to follow. The next day, Tues. Oct. 19, I’ll give a lunchtime talk at Loyola-New Orleans on employment law and the ADA, with Prof. Craig Senn commenting (update: video). Both events are sponsored by student chapters of the Federalist Society and are open to the public.

I’ll be speaking at Tulane law school late in the afternoon of Mon., Oct. 18, and then at Loyola-New Orleans at lunchtime on Tues., Oct. 19. Both events are sponsored by student Federalist Society chapters; my topics will be legal ethics/lawyer unpopularity and employment law/ADA litigation, respectively. To bring me to your campus, convention or group, drop me a line at editor – at – thisdomainname – dot – com or, if you prefer, work through the Cato Institute’s speaker service (202-789-5226) or the national office of the Federalist Society. And don’t forget that early next year I’ll start touring to speak on my new book on law schools, Schools for Misrule.

August 5 roundup

by Walter Olson on August 5, 2010

  • Wouldn’t it be nice if Congress lifted the ban on Internet gambling [Steve Chapman]
  • Design of New Orleans shotgun houses is an adaptation to tax laws [Candy Chang]
  • Lawyer-enriching Costco class action settlement draws an objection from a blogger often linked in this space [Amy Alkon]
  • “Fourth Circuit slaps down N.C. attorney general’s suit against TVA” [Wood/PoL, Jackson]
  • South Carolina jury’s $2.375 million award based on premise that Nissan should have followed European, not U.S. crashworthiness standards [Abnormal Use]
  • City of Cleveland won’t take no for answer in dumb lawsuit against mortgage lenders [Funnell]
  • Charles H. Green at TrustMatters hosts Blawg Review #275;
  • Duke lacrosse fiasco: Nifong’s media and law-school enablers [three years ago at Overlawyered]

May 22 roundup

by Walter Olson on May 22, 2010

  • No answer at 911? “Florida Verdict May Threaten EMS Availability” [White Coat]
  • New Orleans politico Steve Theriot drops suit seeking identities of online critics [Times-Picayune and more, NYT "Media Decoder", Slabbed, earlier]
  • On a vial of anesthetic: “One patient use only.” Nevada jury finds that warning inadequate to prevent multiple patient use and awards $500 million in punitives [Carter at Point of Law, Abnormal Use] More: Ted at PoL.
  • Floodgates to litigation? “Parent Can Sue Ex for Turning Children Against Him” [NJLJ]
  • Lawyer who isn’t honest is a threat to the social order: noted Allentown, Pa. attorney gets 6 1/2 years for fraud [Legal Intelligencer, earlier]
  • “Another European Prosecution for Insulting Religion” [Volokh; pop star Dorota Rabczewska, Poland]
  • A lawyer’s advice: try to get those Rand Paul types off your jury [Turkewitz]
  • If SEIU craves respectability, maybe it shouldn’t send mobs to besiege bank execs at their homes [Nina Easton, Fortune, cross-posted from Cato at Liberty; related from PoL last year; more from Big Journalism including role of D.C. police, but note denials on last point]


One for the hardball-campaign-ad Hall of Fame. Background: Times-Picayune (incumbent Minyard says ad is so over-the-top that it may actually be helping him), ProPublica.


Following a huge outcry in Louisiana and elsewhere (see Oct. 28; Slashfood, Washington Times, Ryan Young/CEI), the agency will reconsider the rule. The uber-nannyish Center for Science in the Public Interest was dismayed at the delay [BayouBuzz], while the New Orleans publication Gambit, which calls the episode “a glaring example of bureaucratic overkill,” warns that after finishing further study the FDA “could still return with its faulty reasoning.” Nancy Leson at the Seattle Times passes on word from a Northwest shellfish official: “We were told by FDA officials that initially, they were planning to mandate post-harvest treatment of all oysters, and at the last minute they decided to just stick to Gulf oysters — for now.” And ubiquitous food-poisoning lawyer Bill Marler, whose publicity juggernaut rolls on* (recent Seattle Times profile — “I represent poisoned little children against giant corporations”), feels like he’s been wasting a fortune:

…let me make clear that I dumped a lot of “change” into the Democratic change wagon – I have given or raised millions of dollars for Democratic candidates over the last several years. My goal was to put people in office that did good public policy. Well, I guess I needed to wake up literally and figuratively. … Now, the FDA runs and hides from the Oyster industry. … Democratic candidates – do not bother calling, this “change” machine is out of order.

*Marketing disclosure for the FTC’s benefit: when I spoke at the recent AEI food safety panel an employee of one of Marler’s journalistic enterprises presented me with one of his promotional t-shirts.


August 17 roundup

by Walter Olson on August 17, 2009


July 14 roundup

by Walter Olson on July 14, 2009