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oil industry

February 27 roundup

by Walter Olson on February 27, 2012

  • Department of Transportation cracks down on distraction from cars’ onboard information and entertainment systems; Mike Masnick suspects the measure won’t work as intended, as appears to have been the case with early texting bans [Techdirt; earlier here, etc.] “Feds Push New York Toward Full Ban On Electronic Devices In Cars” [Glenn Reynolds, Instapundit; Truth About Cars]
  • Oh no: Scott Greenfield says he’s ceasing to post at his exemplary criminal defense blog after five years [Simple Justice, Dave Hoffman]
  • California not entitled to pursue its own foreign policy, at least when in conflict with rest of nation’s: unanimous “blockbuster” decision by en banc 9th Circuit strikes down law enabling insurance suits by Armenian victims [AP, Alford/OJ, Recorder, related, Frank/PoL]
  • Playboy model’s $1.2M award against Gotham cops is a great day for the tabloids [NYDN]
  • To hear a pitch for fracking-royalty suits, visit the American Association for Justice convention, or just read the New York Times [Wood, PoL]
  • What the mortgage settlement did [John Cochrane, earlier]
  • Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) of 1978 blows up an adoption: “She’s a 2-year-old girl who got shoved in a truck and driven to Oklahoma with strangers.” [Reuters, SaveVeronica.org]

February 24 roundup

by Walter Olson on February 24, 2012

  • Melissa Kite, columnist with Britain’s Spectator, writes about her low-speed car crash and its aftermath [first, second, third, fourth]
  • NYT’s Nocera lauds Keystone pipeline, gets called “global warming denier” [NYTimes] More about foundations’ campaign to throttle Alberta tar sands [Coyote] Regulations mandating insurance “disclosures” provide another way for climate change activists to stir the pot [Insurance and Technology]
  • “Cop spends weeks to trick an 18-year-old into possession and sale of a gram of pot” [Frauenfelder, BB]
  • Federal Circuit model order, pilot program could show way to rein in patent e-discovery [Inside Counsel, Corporate Counsel] December Congressional hearing on discovery costs [Lawyers for Civil Justice]
  • Trial lawyer group working with Senate campaigns in North Dakota, Nevada, Wisconsin, Hawaii [Rob Port via LNL] President of Houston Trial Lawyers Association makes U.S. Senate bid [Chron]
  • Panel selection: “Jury strikes matter” [Ron Miller, Maryland Injury]
  • Law-world summaries/Seventeen syllables long/@legal_haiku (& for a similar treatment of high court cases, check out @SupremeHaiku)

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“When the companies that supply motor fuel close the books on 2011, they will pay about $6.8 million in penalties to the Treasury because they failed to mix a special type of biofuel into their gasoline and diesel as required by law. But there was none to be had. Outside a handful of laboratories and workshops, the ingredient, cellulosic biofuel, does not exist.” [Matthew L. Wald, New York Times; Kenneth Green, AEI]

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Environmental law roundup

by Walter Olson on December 16, 2011

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October 4 roundup

by Walter Olson on October 4, 2011

  • Mass torts specialists vs. vendor: “Prominent Plaintiffs’ Attorneys Ordered to Pay Up After Losing Breach of Contract Trial” [Above the Law]
  • “You’ll have to get it on the street” — NYC’s thriving black market in pesticides [NYT, more]
  • Benjamin Barton on his new book, “The Lawyer-Judge Bias” [Truth on the Market, earlier here, etc.]
  • Medicare will not press “secondary payer” liability clawback claims below $300 [Miller and Zois, PoL, NLJ]
  • Class action roundup: “Sleeper” Supreme Court case raises question of whether class action certification requires consumer harm [Fisher/Forbes] Important Easterbrook opinion in Aqua Dots case puts curbs on class certification [PoL, Fisher/Forbes, Beck] Frey, Mortenson et al.: “The non-fiction class action” [Trask, OUP blog; earlier here, etc.]
  • Free speech roundup: Canada proposal could criminalize linking to alleged hate speech [Hosting Industry Watch] More on Canadian denouncers of speechcrime [Ken at Popehat] You don’t say: “$60,000 Ruling Against Truthful Blogger Tests Limits of the First Amendment” [Citizen Media Law] What happens when a defamation plaintiff asks a court for a takedown order? [same] Argentina: subpoenas step up pressure on reporters, editors who report on economy [NYT via Walter Russell Mead]
  • Should the law punish energy companies whose operations kill birds? Depends on whose osprey is being gored [Perry]

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September 1 roundup

by Walter Olson on September 1, 2011

  • “Massage Parlor Mistrial Declared After Masseuse Recognizes Defense Lawyer as Client” [ABA Journal]
  • Paying opposing expert to leave country? “Drug company lawyer taped trying to foil lawsuit” [AP]
  • What anti-business crusades have in common with the War on Drugs [David Henderson] Some of those “oil and gas subsidies” aren’t [Coyote]
  • Nocera on NLRB v. Boeing [NYT] A contrary view [Hirsch]
  • Science finds no link between WTC dust, cancer? Then science will just have to give [Jeff Stier, Reason; but see later study on firefighters at the scene]
  • Per Maureen Orth at Vanity Fair, the widow of designer Oleg Cassini has been in at least 15 lawsuits. Guess who’s named in number 16? [AW]
  • Stop competing with us! Lawyers claim online-legal-form provider LegalZoom is engaged in unauthorized practice of law [WSJ, Dan Fisher, ABA Journal]

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July 14 roundup

by Walter Olson on July 14, 2011

  • “Battle of the tort reform flicks”: trial-bar-backed “Hot Coffee” documentary said to be more entertaining than U.S. Chamber-backed “InJustice” [TortsProf, Abnormal Use, Daily Caller, Frank/PoL, Above the Law, Fisher, LNL] Memo to liberal studio heads: c’mon, now’s the time to greenlight more business-bashing flicks [Alyssa Rosenberg, TP]
  • Interlock makers join forces with MADD to lobby for new federal DUI mandates [Luke Rosiak, Wash Times] More: Greenfield.
  • Consumer found liable after posting gripes about driveway contractor on Craigslist [Minneapolis Star-Tribune] P.S.: Default judgment, not merits [h/t ABA Journal]
  • Angelos law firm obtains $1 billion+ punitive award in Exxon Baltimore gasoline leak case, bringing total to $1.5 billion+ [AP, earlier]
  • Taiwan: “Jail Time (And $7000 Fine) for Saying a Restaurant’s Dishes Were ‘Too Salty’” [Volokh]
  • Headed for SCOTUS? Sixth Circuit panel strikes down Michigan law banning discrimination in higher ed admissions and other state activities [Gail Heriot, Daily Caller; Hans Bader, CEI]
  • Court in British Columbia includes C$30,000 in damage award for injury plaintiff’s purchase of medical marijuana for pain management [Erik Magraken]

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A New York Times story criticizing natural gas fracking raises controversy. [Ira Stoll, more, Diana Furchtgott-Roth]

July 6 roundup

by Walter Olson on July 6, 2011

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Filmmaker Phelim McAleer raises some questions about widely disseminated charges of environmental harm.

Ted at Point of Law has details on an environmental-remediation law that has helped perpetuate a culture of big-ticket litigation: “One verdict awarded $54 million for environmental damage to a piece of land that was never worth more than $108,000.” We covered the long-running Exxon v. Grefer case, in which a jury ordered the oil company to pay $1 billion (later knocked down to $112 million) over an instance of contamination on land owned by a Louisiana judge’s family.

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April 25 roundup

by Walter Olson on April 25, 2011

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April 11 roundup

by Walter Olson on April 11, 2011

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From commenter Bill Poser in the Starbucks tip jar thread:

Some years ago here in British Columbia a guy filled up his car and then drove off without paying. The attendant ran after him, grabbed the door handle, got his hand stuck, and was dragged to death. This led to a successful campaign to require prepayment at gas stations, which is very inconvenient if you aren’t able to use a credit card or debit card at the pump. “Gas and dash” incidents may have been frequent enough to justify this, but that wasn’t the argument. The argument was that this measure was necessary for the safety of the attendants. Of course, all that is really required for the safety of the attendants is for them not to go running after and grabbing onto fleeing vehicles. The attendant’s death was tragic, but it was a freak accident triggered by the attendant’s brave but foolish attempt to prevent the theft of a rather modest amount of money.

Canada.com has a further report on the “B.C. WorkSafe” regulation.

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Reversing a state appeals court, the Louisiana Supreme Court has reinstated summary judgment in favor of a defendant manufacturer in the case of a 13-year-old injured while playing unsupervised with an oil pump, “finding that riding an oil-well pump like it was an amusement park ride was not a reasonably anticipated use of the pumping unit at the time of its manufacture in the 1950′s.” [Wajert; earlier]

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By reversing a grant of summary judgment, a Louisiana court has reinstated a suit alleging that the manufacturer of a 50-year-old oil pump should have reasonably anticipated that a 13-year-old boy would climb onto its moving pendulum and attempt to ride it for fun, thus injuring himself. As evidence that such a use was reasonably foreseeable, plaintiffs offered three instances in which kids had been hurt attempting similar stunts in other states — all of which, as it happened, had occurred well after the making of the Louisiana pump, leaving it unclear in what way they could have served to put its manufacturer “on notice” of anything. [Sean Wajert]

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June 23 roundup

by Walter Olson on June 23, 2010

  • Judge blocks sweeping Obama administration ban on new offshore drilling [Roger Pilon, Cato] Some reasons judge may have found ban irrational [Lowry, NRO, scroll to reader comment; Gus Lubin, Business Insider] More on Jones Act waivers in the Gulf [Bainbridge, earlier]
  • Connecticut AG Blumenthal launches investigation of Google Street View [Rick Green, Courant]
  • Florida judge tosses out $10 million libel verdict against St. Petersburg Times [St. P.T.]
  • Lawyer in British Columbia suspends practice after bizarre jury tampering charges [CBC]
  • “Disclosed to death”: why laws mandating disclosure are so overused and overbroad [Falkenberg, Forbes on work of Omri Ben-Shahar and Carl E. Schneider, via PoL]
  • Judge dismisses controversial Pennsylvania case against Johnson & Johnson over Risperdal marketing, Gov. Rendell had hired major donor to run suit on contingency [LNL, McDonald/NJLRA, earlier]
  • Rick Hills vs. Ilya Somin on federalism and constitutional enforcement of property rights [Prawfsblawg, Volokh]
  • Beware proposed expansion of Federal Trade Commission powers [Wood, ShopFloor]

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Critics say the U.S. government has turned down offers of state-of-the-art Gulf cleanup help from the Netherlands and other countries because it would require a waiver of the Jones Act, a union-backed law from 1920 that restricts coastwise marine trade to U.S. ships and crews. [Houston Chronicle, Mark Perry, Mike Riggs/Daily Caller] More: Keith Hennessey, via PoL, on the Bush Administration experience with Jones Act waivers after Katrina and Rita. Yet more: according to the Obama administration, waivers wouldn’t make a difference. More: Bainbridge.

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