Posts Tagged ‘sovereign immunity’

Saudis: We might sell off $750 billion in US assets if opened to 9/11 suits

I take a dim view of the doings of the Riyadh regime, but it’s bonkers to let US-Saudi relations stand or fall on the skill of random trial lawyers. A bill under consideration in Congress would bring such a day closer by stripping sovereign immunity protection from foreign countries in suits alleging responsibility for terror attacks on U.S. soil. It is the executive branch exercising its foreign relations powers that should have the final word on such responsibility; the U.S. State Department opposes the legislation. [Tim Worstall, Forbes]

You lose, Illinois taxpayers

A big win for plaintiff’s lawyers: “Rewriting decades of established law in Illinois, the [state’] high court — by a 4-3 margin — repealed the public-duty doctrine that holds local government entities, including fire and police departments, owe their duty to protect to the general public, not individual citizens. The lawsuit opens the way for individuals to sue governmental entities based on some claim of harm caused to them as a result of the public entity’s negligence.” [Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette, Cook County Record, Municipal Minute; some related issues of government duty-to-protect exposure from the state of Washington]

Plaintiff wants to bring Austrian train crash claim to U.S. courts

At the Supreme Court’s first oral argument of its new term, “the court’s most liberal justices joined in criticizing the idea the Austrian national railway could be liable simply for allowing its tickets to be sold in the U.S. Carol Sachs v. OBB Personenverkehr revolves around whether the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act protects the state-owned rail company from being sued in U.S. courts over injuries that occur overseas. Judging from the arguments, it can. Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor all expressed doubt that OBB could be liable simply because Sachs bought a Eurailpass through a Massachusetts online ticket agency.” The Ninth Circuit had allowed the case of Sachs v. OBB Personenverkehr to go forward over “strenuous dissents from several of its judges.” [Daniel Fisher, Forbes]

“Risk and Legal Fear in Schools,” part II

I’ve now done a second post in Common Good’s symposium on education and fear of liability. Among the topics I discuss: assumption of risk, statutes of limitations, sovereign immunity, and the need for some more organized way of advocating the interests of public service entities against excessive or impractical liability demands. You can read it here.

Washington: “high court allows lawsuit over 911 response”

“The family of a man shot and killed by his neighbor in Skagit County can proceed to trial on claims that the county’s emergency communications center mishandled its response to his panicked 911 call, Washington’s Supreme Court ruled.” According to his family, a 911 operator told William Munich that help was on the way but did not code the call as an emergency; a sheriff’s deputy showed up 18 minutes later, by which time Munich had been shot by the irate neighbor. “I am concerned the majority’s decision will put unwarranted pressure on every statement made by 911 operators, straining communications that depend on the free flow of information,” wrote dissenting Justice James Johnson. [KOMO; Munich (Gayle) v. Skagit Emergency Communications Center, holding, dissent (wrong link fixed now); background on Washington’s unusual approach to sovereign immunity]

P.S. Another Washington sovereign liability case of interest: Robb v. City of Seattle, “Whether the city of Seattle may be liable in an action for wrongful death brought by the survivor of a murder victim based on the failure of police to confiscate ammunition while detaining the murderer for questioning just before the murder occurred.” [Temple of Justice]

Election roundup

February 21 roundup

  • Estate of Anna Nicole Smith may sue over opera based on her life [Daily Mail via Surber, other Daily Mail]
  • Maryland Department of Environment: yep, we put tracking devices on Eastern Shore watermen’s boats [Red Maryland]
  • Trial lawyers’ federal contributions went 97% to Dems last cycle [Freddoso, Examiner]
  • $6.5 million for family abuse: unusual sovereign-exposure law costs Washington taxpayers again [PoL]
  • Canadian court: no, we can’t and won’t waive loser-pays for needy litigants who lose cases [Erik Magraken]
  • CPSC considers mandating “SawStop” technology [Crede, background]
  • Gun groups alarmed over ATF pick [Chicago Tribune]
  • Jury blames hit-run death on wheelchair curb cut [four years ago on Overlawyered]