Dividing 11-5: “Plaintiffs who failed in their state worker’s compensation claim cannot sue their employers and their medical experts under federal civil racketeering laws, the en banc 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled.” [Jackson et al. v. Sedgwick Claims Management et al., PDF; Miller Canfield; Business Insurance; Steven Schwinn, Constitutional Law Prof Blog]
Prof. Mark Osler, who specializes in criminal law at University of St. Thomas Law School in the Twin Cities, interviewed at Abnormal Use:
The pairing of civil and criminal RICO was one of the worst ideas a law professor ever had (yes, one of us dreamed that one up). The extensive rule-making by courts in civil RICO cases has made interpretation and use of the statute so confusing and inefficient that prosecutors avoid it if they can, preferring to charge money laundering or something under the fraud statutes. Given the current state of the law, in which civil RICO is used to tie people up in endless litigation, we would be better off without RICO in the federal code.
The suit claims the hit MTV reality show profits “from showing fights that cast members deliberately provoked.” A New Jersey judge has denied a motion to dismiss. [AP/Daily Caller] More: Courthouse News, Asbury Park Press.
The suit against Mohawk Industries had been billed as a test case for private litigation extracting cash from employers over use of illegal immigrant labor. An insurer will pay $13 million and the company said the remainder of the settlement was less than the legal costs of continuing to fight. [Fulton County Daily Report, earlier, etc.]
Soon, baby soon. Walter Olson’s new year’s resolution is to return to blogging at Overlawyered.
- International adoption is always a risky business, fraught with uncertainty: now aspriring parents, burned by changes in Guatemalan law, are suing adoption agencies alleging civil RICO liability;
- Some tasks can’t be delegated. New Jersey attorney sanctioned for sending paralegal to domestic court, where she appeared as “counsel” and advocated on behalf of the client;
- Some tasks can’t be delegated, part II: Las Vegas personal injury lawyer Glen “The Heavy Hitter” Lerner complains that he can’t understand rules prohibiting Nevada lawyers from allowing attorneys not licensed in Nevada to sign up Nevada clients, prepare demands, negotiate claims, and serve as the clients’ sole contact within the firm. The Nevada Supreme Court disciplines Lerner anyway, figuring that after multiple past reprimands Lerner could take a hint;
- Some tasks shouldn’t be delegated: Arkansas authorities investigating attorney Terry Lynn Smith, who “invested” a client’s substantial personal injury settlement, then admitted that “all of her money was gone.”
- And then some tasks should definitely be delegated: Top Obama aides are “lawyering up” in response to the Blagojevich probe;
- The fall of Dickie Scruggs has been named as the top story of the year in Mississippi, by the Associated Press;
- God told me to beat you up. Texas church claims first amendment immunity from tort liability arising from an exorcism gone horribly awry (via WSJ Law Blog);
- Rise and Fall of the Great Powers: former Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul believes that the recessed economy is a blessing in disguise. Meanwhile, Paul continues to accept the franking privilege and his salary from taxpayers.
What are you resolving to accomplish in the new year?
“A New Orleans attorney who pleaded guilty to stealing millions of dollars from one of the city’s most prominent law firms has dropped a racketeering lawsuit he filed against the firm after his indictment.” (AP/KATC, Dec. 4; James Perdigao, Adams & Reese).