- Former NYT Peking correspondent Richard Bernstein, who now co-owns two nail salons, challenges Times blockbuster on prevalence of labor exploitation at NYC salons [New York Review of Books, Elizabeth Nolan Brown and followup, Times rebuttal]
- More details on how studios used Mississippi attorney general’s office as cut-out against Google [Mike Masnick, TechDirt, earlier here and here, more on AG Jim Hood]
- Of course licensing laws “are only there to protect consumers and are enforced in a totally neutral way that has nothing to do with viewpoints or political pull (lol).” [Coyote on Boston mayor’s “not welcome in our town” message to Donald Trump]
- Speaking of Donald Trump, would his lawyer threaten litigation to intimidate reporter Tim Mak? Only in a totally classy way [Daily Beast, S.E. Cupp/New York Daily News (Cohen, 2011: “I’m going to come at you, grab you by the neck and I’m not going to let you go until I’m finished”), earlier from the vaults on Trump’s use of litigation]
- Things class-action lawyers sue over: “Beggin’ Strips Don’t Have Enough Bacon” [Reuters, New York Post]
- As Lois Lerner targeting scandal drags on, time for Congress to impeach IRS officials? [Mike Rappaport, Liberty and Law]
- Welcome to AFFH-land: Bharara, on behalf of feds, says Westchester County should pay for not squeezing Chappaqua hard enough to approve housing project [Journal-News, earlier here and here]
Get me rewrite! The New York Times’s initial story on the departure of interim chief executive Ellen Pao from social media community Reddit lacked egregious bias, so the paper went back to insert some. (More: Twitchy, citing my Twitter contribution.) Amid widespread mockery of the second version’s opinionated tone, the paper then published yet a third version pulling back from some of its friskier social justice pronouncements. Pao, as readers may recall, was the plaintiff in an earlier Silicon Valley suit over alleged gender discrimination and retaliation, a suit that failed before a jury but drew much favorable coverage along the way in the NYT and elsewhere.
The close working relationship between some state attorneys general and private trial lawyers — in which the AGs hire the lawyers to represent their states for a percentage fee of the haul — is not a new topic to us here at Overlawyered, but it’s nice to see it getting aired at length in the Dec. 18 New York Times piece by reporter Eric Lipton. The title gives a good introduction: “Lawyers Create Big Paydays by Coaxing Attorneys General to Sue” and in fact the private lawyers who commonly pitch the suits are themselves sometimes former state attorneys general, such as Michael Moore of Mississippi (of longstanding fame here), Patricia Madrid of New Mexico, Patrick Lynch of Rhode Island, Drew Edmondson of Oklahoma, and Peg Lautenschlager of Wisconsin. A few excerpts:
- Law firm donations to AGs or “party-backed organizations that they run” “often come in large chunks just before or after” inking contracts to represent the state. A sidebar chart, “Political Gifts from Plaintiffs Lawyers,” confirms that most of the money flows to partisan attorney general associations ($3.8 million to Democrats and $1.6 million to Republicans over a decade) or state parties ($1.5 vs. $445,000) as opposed to candidates directly ($2 million vs. $240,000, not counting AGs running for governor).
- When various AGs signed a brief to the Supreme Court supporting the plaintiff’s side in a securities litigation case, it was after being sedulously cultivated to do so by the lawyers.
- “…at least three former attorneys general are pitching painkiller abuse cases to states nationwide, although no state has yet publicly signed up.” More on the Chicago and California-county painkiller cases here.
- Yes: “‘Farming out the police powers of the state to a private firm with a profit incentive is a very, very bad thing,’ said Attorney General John Suthers of Colorado, a Republican and a former United States attorney.”
- I’m quoted dissenting from the seeming ENDA consensus [Caroline Preston, Al Jazeera America; earlier here and here; related, Mark Lee, Washington Blade last year, “ENDA and the Seduction of Symbolic Gestures”]
- EEOC gears up to fight employer wellness programs under ADA [Stephen Miller/SHRM, ABA Journal, John Holmquist/Michigan Employment Law Connection, Robin Shea/Employment and Labor Insider]
- Evidence still points to disemployment effects for low-skilled workers from minimum wage hikes [David Neumark et al NBER working paper via Ira Stoll, related] What’s the right minimum wage? As the NYT correctly perceived in 1987, $0.00. [David Henderson video, Prager]
- “Judge Calls Out NLRB Pro-Union Partisanship” [Labor Pains; document demands levied by agency against Univ. of Pittsburgh Medical Center]
- If you so much as think of declaring me fit for work, my lawyer will make you rue the day [Coyote on employer role in Social Security Disability]
- New Cato research brief, “Labor Market Fluidity and Economic Performance” [Stephen J. Davis and John Haltiwanger]
- Philly councilman wants to reserve city subsidies for unionized hotels [Joel Mathis, Philadelphia mag]
From James Taranto’s “Best of the Web” Wall Street Journal column, under his recurring “Two Papers in One!” series:
- “Buried in the fine print of most contracts for cellphones, health insurance and credit cards is a clause requiring that all disputes be decided by binding arbitration, rather than a court. Businesses love these provisions, because arbitrators act quickly and almost always rule in their favor, and many employers are requiring new hires to sign similar agreements. All of this sounds pretty unfair, but apparently not unfair enough for the Supreme Court, which has now made the arbitration process even more onerous.” — editorial, New York Times, June 27, 2010
- “In lieu of litigation and jury trials, each of which is expressly waived, any dispute concerning, relating or referring to this Participation Agreement, the brochure, or any other literature concerning your trip or the Tour shall be resolved exclusively by binding arbitration in New York City, New York, according to the then existing commercial rules of the American Arbitration Association. Such proceeding will be governed by the substantive law of the State of New York. The arbitrator(s) and not any federal, state, or local court or agency shall have exclusive authority to resolve any dispute relating to the interpretation, applicability, enforceability, conscionability, or formation of this Participant Agreement, including but not limited to any claim that all or any part of this Participant Agreement is void or voidable.” — Times Journeys Terms and Conditions, NYTimes.com, 2014
- Was California workers’ comp claim against NFL by former Tampa Bay Buccaneer-turned-P.I.-lawyer inconsistent with his mixed martial arts prowess? [Tampa Bay Times, Lakeland Ledger, earlier and more on California workers’ comp and professional football]
- Salt Lake City’s $6,500 stings: “Secret Shopper Hired to Punish Lyft & Uber Actually Prefers Them” [Connor Boyack, Libertas Institute]
- Are libertarians undermining public accommodations law? (If only.) [Stanford Law Review, Samuel Bagenstos and Richard Epstein via Paul Horwitz]
- Why NYC is losing its last bed and breakfasts [Crain’s New York via @vpostrel]
- U.S. continues foolish policy of restricting crude oil and gas exports, time for that to change [David Henderson first and second posts]
- So it seems the New York Times is now committed to the theory that Toyotas show mechanical unintended acceleration;
- OK, the future Kansas politician was at the strip club strictly on attorney business when the police arrived. Was he billing? [Politico]
For those who freaked out at those headlines Thursday, Daniel Fisher at Forbes has a corrective to the New York Times’ latest story advancing the trial lawyer campaign against arbitration. More: Eric Goldman. Sequel: General Mills quickly withdraws new policy, perhaps reasoning that even when the New York Times is wrong, a consumer marketing company really can’t win trying to argue with it. Yet more: Dave Hoffman with an analysis of whether the language actually creates a contract.