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]
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.]
Nevada: political contributions and federal judgeships [ATL]
In Louisiana, Orleans Parish pays its lawyers about $1.7 million a year. Are they worth it? [Lee Zurik, WVUE]
“I brought the big soda back to my desk, and then the terminal said ‘You really shouldn’t have so much sugar.'” [@ledbetreuters via @jackshafer] “I Know When You Logged In Last Summer: The Bloomberg Spying Scandal” [ChartGirl]
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]
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]
“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"]
Another highlight of new “jobs” bill: financial institution customers would help pay for auto bailouts [John Berlau]
Key New Orleans Police Department officer in charge of integrity of traffic-cam program accused of altering own plates [WWL] Red light cameras defended [Noah Kristula-Green, FrumForum] Why Massachusetts won’t raise the speed limit on Route 3 north of Burlington (NMA blog via @radleybalko)
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.
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.
If it’s too much trouble to go through the prescribed channels to request information, you can just ask the city’s sanitation director:
At the same time New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin’s administration was citing storage problems as its reason for erasing all but about a dozen of the mayor’s e-mail messages from 2008, another administration official was providing an activist lawyer with thousands of electronic messages written by or sent to at least four City Council members and their staffers during the past three years.
The council said sanitation director Veronica White, without any involvement by the city attorney or the council itself, handed over emails that may have included materials falling under attorney-client privilege, personal correspondence and communications from constituents, and details on pending lawsuits and criminal investigations, as well as council members’ private opinions on pending ordinances. Lawyer Tracie Washington, who obtained the messages, has clashed with the council on various issues including its attempt to demolish some public housing projects. [Times-Picayune/NOLA.com]
Get your copy today!My new book tackles the question of why so many bad ideas come from the law schools. "Cutting-edge commentary, hard-hitting, witty, astute." -- Publisher's Weekly. "Excellent... A fine dissection of these strangely powerful institutions" -- Wall Street Journal.