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The Supreme Court, 8-1 with Sotomayor dissenting, agrees with a Cato Institute brief (earlier) and disagrees with the government: the feds can’t conjure away landowners’ rights as part of the “rails-to-trails” program. Trevor Burrus explains.

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So will the federal government pay just compensation? The Supreme Court may decide that question in the pending case of Brandt v. U.S., in which the Cato Institute has filed an amicus brief. [Ilya Shapiro, Cato]

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Attorneys for the state, which has a record of zealously guarding its “I [Heart] NY” promotional logo, have sent a threat to a model train company over a discontinued replica model of a real-life train that used the logo [Joe Patrice, Above the Law] [Corrected: state, not city]


“This January, the justices stopped [attorney James] Wylder’s argument dead in its tracks once again, concluding that the McLean County Circuit Court should have dismissed his three negligence suits against Illinois Central Railroad. Wylder had argued that Illinois Central was responsible for the alleged asbestos-related injuries of workers at an asbestos plant because the asbestos had arrived there by rail.” [Chamber's Madison County Record, more; background on "asbestos conspiracy" line of Illinois cases, LNL]

Because Something Might Go Wrong, though there seems a shortage of evidence that much actually has been going wrong for youthful travelers on the railroad. If the new policy prevents youngsters from spending holidays or weekends with their loved ones, does that also count as Something Going Wrong? [Lenore Skenazy/WSJ, Hans Bader, CEI; related on airline policies]


L.I.R.R. disability scandal

by Walter Olson on October 30, 2011

The abuse of disability claims by employees of the Long Island Rail Road, exposed by the New York Times’s Walt Bogdanich three years ago and noted in several items here at the time, has at last eventuated in indictments of eleven defendants, including doctors and “facilitators.” According to prosecutors, the bogus benefit claims could have exceeded $1 billion if paid out to completion. “The Times articles reported that virtually every career employee of the railroad was applying for and receiving disability payments, giving the Long Island Rail Road a disability rate three to four times that of the average railroad.” [NYT, NRO "Corner"]


Ted Frank rebuts a lame Atlantic column (& follow-up).


Springfield, Ohio: “The family of a man who was hit by a train while jumping off a trestle into a river two years ago is suing the railroad and a local canoe center.” The canoe company, according to the complaint, “knew or should have known that individuals frequently went onto the train trestle and jumped into the Mad River.” [Springfield News-Sun]


A nasty fall on a train platform puts Larry Mendte face to face with some widely held attitudes that seem to treat litigiousness as a given [Philadelphia Magazine via Common Good].


Subsidies are better for the Metra commuter rail line than for the city subways, which carry a more heavily minority ridership, says the class-action lawsuit against the State of Illinois, the RTA and the Metra. [Jennifer Fernicola, ChicagoNow]


January 14 roundup

by Walter Olson on January 14, 2010

  • Anti-vaccine activist files defamation suit over much-discussed Wired article against Dr. Paul Offit, author Amy Wallace and Conde Nast [Orac and many followup posts]
  • “Kid Suspended for Bringing Peppermint Oil to School” [Free-Range Kids]
  • Eric Turkewitz names his favorite Blawg Reviews of the year and has kind words for ours;
  • “New Guide to FTC Disclosure Requirements for Product Endorsements” from Citizen Media Law;
  • U.K. safety panel: press misreported our views, we do want businesses to grit icy public paths [update to earlier post]
  • Another kid trespassing on the railroad tracks, another case headed to court [Oregonian]
  • “Katrina negligence lawsuit has implications for all hospitals” [USA Today, earlier]
  • “Judicial Misconduct: The Mice Guard The Cheese” [WSJ Law Blog on this Houston Chronicle piece]

Perhaps the most urgent question raised by this Atlanta Journal-Constitution story is not: how did Elijah Anderson manage to emerge from such a collision sufficiently unscathed to resume life as a normal kid, aside from a scar? Nor is it: why is his mother, represented by attorney Fred Lerner, planning to sue railroad CSX despite an investigative report exonerating the railroad and the general principle that right of ways are not for trespassing? No, the real question is: whose idea was it to take that camera shot of him on the tracks?

More on railroad trespassers here, here, here, etc.


Trespasser sues railroad

by Walter Olson on November 20, 2009

She “was taking pictures on the railroad tracks in Tupelo in 2006″ and things didn’t end happily. Now her lawsuit says the train was going too fast and that the BNSF Railway Company “should have posted trespassing signs to keep people away.” People like her, that is. [AP/Jackson Clarion Ledger]


A lawyer for the conductor set upon by the angry fowl argued unsuccessfully that CSX should have detected and removed the goose nest, or at least put orange cones around it. [On Point News, Lowering the Bar]

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So Anthony Faggiani of East Islip, N.Y. is suing the Long Island Rail Road for “serious psychological injuries and distress.”


December 5 roundup

by Walter Olson on December 5, 2008

  • You are cordially invited to a fishing expedition for lawsuits over energy drink/alcohol mixes. RSVP: Center for Science in the Public Interest [Balko, Reason "Hit and Run"]
  • Recent Overlawyered guestblogger Victoria Pynchon mediates an ADA claim against a Long Beach motel owner. Extortion? Fair compromise? Both? Neither? [Settle It Now, scroll]
  • 19-year-old Ciara Sauro of Pittsburgh is disabled, in medical debt, and waiting for transplant, crowning touch is the $8,000 default judgment RIAA got against her for downloading 10 songs [Ambrogi]
  • “It does not take a graduate degree to understand that it is unacceptable to hide evidence and lie in a deposition” — Seventh Circuit sanctions Amtrak worker for dodgery in workplace-injury suit [Ohio Employers' Law; Negrete v. Nat’l Railroad Pass, PDF]
  • New Richard Nixon tapes: “I can’t have a high-minded lawyer … I want a son-of-a-b—-.” [Althouse]
  • Aramark suit documents unsealed: girl paralyzed by drunk driver got $25 million in suit against New York Giants stadium beer vendor [AP/Vineland, N.J. Daily Journal, earlier]
  • New York high court bounces Alice Lawrence/Graubard Miller fee suit back to lower courts, says more info needed [NYLJ, earlier]
  • Couple claims retention of $1,075 rental security deposit was racially motivated, seeks $20 million [WV Record; Martinsburg, W.Va.]


Microblog 2008-10-27

by Walter Olson on October 27, 2008

Microblog for 2008-09-21

by Walter Olson on September 21, 2008