- 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]
Explosive testimony in a Los Angeles courtroom after a judge begins digging into indications of possible fraud in lawsuits by Nicaraguans against Dole Food alleging toxic harms from banana pesticides (L.A. Times via Cal Biz Lit, WSJ law blog; earlier at Overlawyered). The fraud went on for decades, a Dole lawyer charged, and included recruiting and coaching poor Nicaraguan men to pose as having been rendered sterile, even if they had children and had never worked on banana plantations. A California jury had awarded millions of dollars in one of a string of cases that drew controversy over the competence of stateside courts in evaluating claims over injuries that took place in foreign countries. According to the L.A. Times, one lawyer representing the plaintiff’s side in the litigation expressed regret over the actions of a co-counsel and said “all parties were in a nightmare situation.” Bloomberg:
Most of the employment records of Dole workers in Nicaragua were destroyed in the aftermath of the Sandinista revolution, opening the door to the fraudulent claims, Edelman said at the hearing.
Nicaraguan witnesses for Dole whose faces were hidden and whose voices were distorted to prevent identification, said in videotaped statements shown in court that they feared retribution if it became known they provided information to company investigators.
“They even would set fire to my house, even with my family in there,” one witness said. “These people don’t care.”
The cases of thousands more plaintiffs from poor banana-growing countries are waiting for trial in Los Angeles; Dow Chemical is also a defendant, because it manufactured the pesticide. [Update Apr. 24: judge tosses two consolidated lawsuits against Dole]
For another dramatic episode in which poor Latin American plaintiffs have surfaced in U.S. courts with hard-to-disprove claims, see the case of purportedly illegitimate Guatemalan children left fatherless by international air crashes (Nov. 29, 2000).
- “What you will not see in the findings of this bill, where politicians typically describe the problem they intend to solve, is any evidence that arbitration harms consumers or anyone else.” [WSJ]
- You saw it first on Overlawyered (Jun. 9; Jul. 20; Sep. 14): “Plaintiffs Lawyers in ‘Blood Feud’ Over Fees From $2 Billion Settlement” [American Lawyer]
- Junk science verdict against Dole Pineapple and Dow Chemical over pesticide use. [Cal Biz Lit]
- Alabama Supreme Court points out that good-faith contract dispute does not merit multi-billion-dollar punitive damages. [Birmingham News; Marketwatch; Exxon v. Alabama via Alabama Appellate Watch via Bashman]
- Still more Montgomery Blair Sibley follies. [Legal Times]
- The latest farm follies. [Postrel; Mair; Rauch]
- Why Ron Paul is a crank [Frum]