Posts tagged as:

Prop 65

March 27 roundup

by Walter Olson on March 27, 2014

  • “Stupid Warning Shows Up on Leprechaun Hat” [Lowering the Bar, California Prop 65]
  • Lawyers eager to sue over Malaysia Air disaster but first someone has to find the plane [ABA Journal, Bloomberg]
  • Among the many accomplishments of distinguished economist (and total mensch) Murray Weidenbaum: introduction of White House regulatory review [Thom Lambert, David Henderson, Russ Roberts]
  • Quicker but not ultimately cheaper than an appeal: “Losing Plaintiff Hits Defendant With a Truck” [Lowering the Bar]
  • Feds’ Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) mulls idea “that the government involve itself in the lives of obese people by sending them regular text messages.” [Baylen Linnekin]
  • Posner: judge below “should have smelled a rat” on lawyer’s “shenanigans” [Alison Frankel/Reuters, ABA Journal]
  • “Connecticut chimp attack victim seeks right to sue state” [Reuters, earlier]

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Environmental roundup

by Walter Olson on January 31, 2014

  • Behind costly EPA crackdown on wood-burning stoves, a whiff of sweetheart lawsuits? [Larry Bell]
  • Reminder: California’s Prop 65 doesn’t actually improve public health, makes lawyers rich, and harasses business [Michael Marlow, WSJ]
  • “What I learned from six months of GMO research: None of it matters” [Nathanael Johnson, Grist]
  • Eminent domain threatens store owner in Fire Island’s Saltaire [NYP]
  • In case you haven’t seen this one: chemical content of all-natural foods [James Kennedy Monash]
  • “The court ordered that the county pay the turtles’ attorneys fees.” [Dan Lewis, Now I Know]
  • “On the government’s books, the switch [from steel to aluminum in Ford's new F-150 pickup] is a winner because MPG goes up.” [William Baldwin, Forbes]

Environmental roundup

by Walter Olson on October 11, 2013

That was the title of the talk I gave Friday at a panel on food and product labeling law as part of a stimulating symposium put on by the Vermont Law Review at Vermont Law School in South Royalton, Vt. I drew on a number of different sources, but especially two relatively recent articles: Omri Ben-Shahar and Curt Schneider, “The Failure of Mandated Disclosure,” U. Penn. Law Review (2011), and Kesten C. Green and J. Scott Armstrong, “Evidence on the Effects of Mandatory Disclaimers in Advertising”, Journal of Public Policy and Marketing, Fall 2012. I was able to bring in examples ranging from patent marking law to Prop 65 in California to pharmaceutical patient package inserts, as well as the durable phenomenon of labels, disclosures, and disclaimers going unread even by very sophisticated consumers.

My talk was well received, and I think I might adapt and expand it in future into a full-length speech for audiences on failures of consumer protection law.

“A [lawyer's rep] discovered the scoops while walking through a store with a hand-held spectrometer that can detect the presence of chemicals covered by Prop 65″ [Bob Dorigo Jones discussing Wacky Warning Labels contest]

This year’s Wacky Warning Labels contest has reached the finalist stage. Others that made the cut: “Wash hands after using” on a common extension cord, a Prop 65 (California) warning on a box of matches advising that they may produce combustion by-products, and a warning on a pedometer that the maker will not be liable for any injuries to runners using the device. [Bob Dorigo Jones]

More: David Henderson on “warning pollution.”

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Environment roundup

by Walter Olson on June 13, 2013

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Not very, fears Bruce Nye at Cal Biz Lit, who notes that “The Chanler Group, the self-described ‘Largest Proposition 65 Citizen Enforcement Law Firm,’ wasted no time in announcing its support for the Governor’s proposals.” Prop 65, of course, is the famous California enactment under which an army of bounty-hunters have set forth to file suits and collect settlements from California businesses for failing to warn of the carcinogenic or mutagenic ingredients in hundreds of common products, from matches (which emit carbon monoxide) to brass knobs to roasted coffee to grilled chicken to billiard cue chalk. Gov. Brown’s reforms omit several stronger recommendations, such as “moving the burden of proof to the plaintiff to show that exposures exceed the applicable no significant risk level (‘NSRL’) or maximum allowable dose level (‘MADL’).”

Most importantly, would the private enforcer bar support Assembly Member Gatto’s AB 227, allowing a company receiving a 60 day notice to avoid prosecution by curing the violation within 14 days? Or better still, Cal Biz Lit’s proposal to allow sixty days to cure violations?

Those measures would be real reform.

More: Amanda Robert, Legal NewsLine.

Environment roundup

by Walter Olson on May 8, 2013

  • Can EPA use subregulatory guidance to dodge judicial review of formal notice-and-comment rulemaking? Appeals court says no [Allison Wood, WLF]
  • “Outhouse blues: Salisbury Twp. tells 77-year-old to install $20,000 septic system he doesn’t want” [Lancaster (Pennsylvania) Online]
  • Denying attorney fee in oil spill case, Texas judge questions authenticity of client signature [ABA Journal, Chamber-backed Southeast Texas Record]
  • Why “climate justice” campaigns fail both the environment and the poor [Chris Foreman, The Breakthrough]
  • Does the Yale Alumni Magazine often side with plaintiffs who sue to muzzle critics? [Neela Banerjee on Michael Mann lawsuit against National Review, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Mark Steyn, etc.]
  • Anti-science, anti-humanity: Milan animal rights action trashes years of psychiatric research [Nature]
  • Parody Tom-Friedman-bot must be at it again: “best place to start” response to Boston attack “is with a carbon tax” [Tim Blair] Too darn hot: “Dems warn climate change could drive women to ‘transactional sex’” [The Hill]
  • Some California lawmakers seek to curb shakedown lawsuits under notorious Prop 65 chemical-labeling law [Sacramento Bee; Gov. Brown proposes reform]

Environment roundup

by Walter Olson on April 18, 2013

  • Better hope a Portland municipal arborist never takes an interest in you [Tod Kelly, League of Ordinary Gentlemen]
  • California’s Prop 65 and Gresham’s Law of Warnings (bad warnings drive out good) [David Henderson]
  • Bombshells just keep on coming in the Ecuador Lago Agrio story: “Litigation finance firm in Chevron case says it was duped by Patton Boggs” [Roger Parloff, Fortune; last Saturday's bombshell] Grounds for embarrassment at CBS “60 Minutes” [CJR]
  • Brad Plumer interview with Jonathan Adler, “What conservative environmentalism might look like” [WaPo]
  • “The light-bulb law was a matter of public policy profiteering” [Tim Carney via @amyalkon] To get ahead in D.C., a well-known conservative group adopts some concrete priorities [same]
  • “No one’s tried that. It’s not worth taking the risk.” Social-conservative, environmentalist themes have much in common [A. Barton Hinkle]
  • “BP Loses Bid to Block ‘Fictitious’ Oil Spill Claims” [Amanda Bronstad, NLJ; more]

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Environment roundup

by Walter Olson on March 1, 2013

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After the quarter-century disgrace that is Proposition 65 litigation — run by and for lawyers’ interests, with no discernible benefit to the health of the citizenry — you’d think California voters would have learned a thing or two. But unless poll numbers reverse themselves, they’re on the way to approving this fall’s Proposition 37, ostensibly aimed at requiring labeling of genetically modified food, whose main sponsor just happens to be a Prop 65 lawyer. I explain in a new piece at Daily Caller. More coverage: Western Farm Press; Hank Campbell, Science 2.0; Ronald Bailey, Reason (& Red State).

More: defenders of Prop 37 point to this analysis (PDF) by economist James Cooper, arguing that 37 is drafted more narrowly than 65 in ways that would avert some of the potential for abusive litigation. And from Hans Bader: would the measure be open to challenge as unconstitutional, or as federally preempted?

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July 30 roundup

by Walter Olson on July 30, 2012

  • Backing down, sort of: “Menino says he can’t actively block Chick-Fil-A” [Boston Herald; Michael Graham on the Boston mayor's curious standards] Glad for small favors: Maryland public officials have wisely stayed out of the fracas [my post at Maryland for All Families got an Instalanche, thanks Glenn Reynolds] Earlier here, here, here;
  • Trying to start a business in Greece? What to expect [Reuters on shrimp farm]
  • Proceeds of California’s Prop 63 “millionaire’s tax” were supposedly earmarked for mental health. Here’s where the dollars have actually been spent [AP]
  • George Will on prosecution of whale-watcher for “harassing” humpback [WaPo, our January coverage]
  • Tries to slide down banister four stories up, survivors now suing Chicago’s Palmer House hotel [Chicago Sun-Times]
  • Link bait: the ABA Journal picks the 12 greatest courtroom plays;
  • Prop 65 and carryout bags: “California, Land of the Free” [David Henderson]

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California’s Proposition 65 strikes again [Stoll]

Tom Scott in Flash Report notes that a specialized California bar continues to rake in substantial money suing businesses for alleged Prop 65 violations, such as failing to put warnings on their merchandise. Three named lawyers (Russell Brimer, Anthony Held, and John Moore) obtained attorney’s fees and costs last year in the $1.8 million-$2 million range after settling 61, 41 and 47 suits respectively.

Anthony T. (Tom) Caso at the Federalist Society’s “Engage” analyzes California chemical-warning law, long notorious for empowering entrepreneurial lawyers to file suits supposedly on behalf of the general public and then settle those suits for cold cash.

March 13 roundup

by Walter Olson on March 13, 2012

  • “Are Courts Dragging Out the Housing Crisis?” [Mark Calabria, Cato] “Boom-Era Property Speculators to Get Foreclosure Aid” [Bloomberg News via Bader, CEI] Community organizing groups expect to cash in on state AGs’ robosigning settlement [Neil Munro, Daily Caller, earlier] As does NAAG itself [Daniel Fisher] More: Kevin Funnell.
  • “Non-standard explanation offered for bugging wife’s bedroom” [Lowering the Bar]
  • Chris DeMuth on James Q. Wilson [Weekly Standard, earlier] I wrote about Wilson’s work on at least two occasions: the Baltimore Sun had me review a book of his on “abuse excuses” and other difficulties of psychiatric testimony in court, a good book if a mere foothill in the mountain range of his overall scholarship; on another occasion in Reason I challenged his uncharacteristic backing of a “family policy” proposal ripe with potential for unintended consequences;
  • Boston city councilor: make valet kid at restaurant responsible if patron drives off drunk [NPR via Alkon]
  • “Texas is being stiff armed by the EPA at every turn” [Munro/DC quoting Texas attorney general Greg Abbott] NYT’s “modest” offshore drilling restrictions: “I hate to think what immodest restrictions would look like” [John Steele Gordon]
  • “The Southern Poverty Law Center Is Now Writing About Pickup Artists as Hate Groups” [Mike Riggs]
  • SFO rental car garage offers a whiff of Prop 65 absurdity [Stoll]

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January 11 roundup

by Walter Olson on January 11, 2012

  • California’s Prop 65 and the numbness of overwarning [Tung Yin via Bainbridge]
  • Time to kill off medical-method patents [Alex Tabarrok, Medical Progress Today]
  • Spite decoration: “Gretna fence squabble continues in bitter fashion” [NOLA.com, Louisiana]
  • “The Problem With Immigration Lawyers and How to Fix It” [Dzubow/Asylumist via Legal Ethics Forum]
  • “Are NYC transit bus drivers prevented from calling police?” [Turkewitz]
  • “Circumvention tourism” is travel intended to sidestep medical regulation [Glenn Cohen, Prawfs]
  • Abolition of wasteful, arrogant California redevelopment agencies has Tim Cavanaugh ready to kiss a nurse in Times Square [Reason, similarly Gideon Kanner and Steven Greenhut]