A noted Swiss animal rights lawyer who’s campaigning for wider assignment of lawyers to represent animals’ interests “once represented a dead fish that had been caught, killed, and eaten” [Global Legal Post via John Steele, Legal Ethics Forum; title courtesy @KenParish1]
P.S. From last year (but new to us), this Jon Stewart segment on the unsuccessful PETA lawsuit against Sea World for holding whales in “involuntary servitude.”
By ratting on his employer and clients, the UBS informant greatly advanced Washington’s project of preventing Americans from squirreling assets out of reach of the U.S. tax and legal systems. So it’s no surprise that few in the federal establishment — even among longtime critics of what they deem excessive executive compensation — begrudge him the whopping payout. Among his defenders, of course, is Iowa Republican Sen. Charles Grassley, patron of the whistleblower program: “Need we add that Mr. Grassley’s longtime aide, who actually drafted the whistleblower law, now represents Mr. Birkenfeld and stands to collect an interesting percentage of the award Mr. Grassley so obligingly applauds? If one were rich, if one had a sense of history, one might well wish to move a part of one’s nest egg out of the way of Mr. Grassley and his ilk.” [Holman Jenkins, WSJ]
It’s the latest ignoble chapter in a long tradition of demagoguery [Matt Welch] More: Dan Mitchell.
“The tree trunks, exposed banks and other hazards whizzing past represent a cornucopia of potential tort suits under U.S. law, yet somehow the Swiss manage to operate these runs without being sued into oblivion.” Dan Fisher at Forbes has a go at explaining why. More: Bill Childs, TortsProf (many U.S. states relatively protective of winter sports providers).
By a 70-30 margin [Telegraph] Earlier coverage is here, and the Wall Street Journal profiled the one cantonal animal public defender in an article last week.
P.S. Ann Althouse, on reading about the “lawyers-for-pets plan”: “I thought: What? Do you turn in your lawyer and get a pet in exchange?”
“Fish don’t get much sympathy,” laments attorney Antoine F. Goetschel about one of his recent clients. Zurich prosecutors went after an angler whose ten-minute battle with a pike, they said, was unfair to the pike. [AP]
“Zurich University Hospital has stopped treating North American ‘medical tourists’, fearing million-dollar claims from litigious patients if operations go wrong. Hospitals in canton Valais have also adopted measures to protect themselves against visitors from the United States, Canada and Britain.” [Swissinfo.ch via Mark Perry and Coyote]
That whole “sober, sensible Switzerland” concept may need to be rethought. (Gautam Naik, “Switzerland’s Green Power Revolution: Ethicists Ponder Plants’ Rights”, Wall Street Journal, Oct. 10).
- “Dog owners in Switzerland will have to pass a test to prove they can control and care for their animal, or risk losing it, the Swiss government said yesterday.” [Daily Telegraph]
- 72-year-old mom visits daughter’s Southport, Ct. home, falls down stairs searching for bathroom at night, sues daughter for lack of night light, law firm boasts of her $2.475 million win on its website [Casper & deToledo, scroll to "Jeremy C. Virgil"]
- Can’t possibly be right: “Every American enjoys a constitutional right to sue any other American in a West Virginia court” [W.V. Record]
- Video contest for best spoof personal injury attorney ads [Sick of Lawsuits; YouTube]
- Good profile of Kathleen Seidel, courageous blogger nemesis of autism/vaccine litigation [Concord Monitor*, Orac]. Plus: all three White House hopefuls now pander to anti-vaxers, Dems having matched McCain [Orac]
- One dollar for every defamed Chinese person amounts to a mighty big lawsuit demand against CNN anchor Jack Cafferty [NYDN link now dead; Independent (U.K.)]
- Hapless Ben Stein whipped up one side of the street [Salmon on financial regulation] and down the other [Derbyshire on creationism]
- If only Weimar Germany had Canada-style hate-speech laws to prevent the rise of — wait, you mean they did? [Steyn/Maclean's] Plus: unlawful in Alberta to expose a person to contempt based on his “source of income” [Levant quoting sec. 3 (1)(b) of Human Rights Law]
- Hey, these coupon settlements are giving all of us class action lawyers a bad name [Leviant/The Complex Litigator]
- Because patent law is bad enough all by itself? D.C. Circuit tosses out FTC’s antitrust ruling against Rambus [GrokLaw; earlier]
- “The fell attorney prowls for prey” — who wrote that line, and about which city? [four years ago on Overlawyered]
*Okay, one flaw in the profile: If Prof. Irving Gottesman compares Seidel to Erin Brockovich he probably doesn’t know much about Brockovich.
“The builders of the world’s biggest particle collider are being sued in federal court over fears that the experiment might create globe-gobbling black holes or never-before-seen strains of matter that would destroy the planet. … The Large Hadron Collider, or LHC, is due for startup later this year at CERN’s headquarters on the French-Swiss border.” Among the concerns of critics who are suing in federal court in Hawaii: “Could quarks recombine into ‘strangelets’ that would turn the whole Earth into one big lump of exotic matter?” (Alan Boyle, CosmicLog, MSNBC, Mar. 27; Dennis Overbye, “Asking a Judge to Save the World, and Maybe a Whole Lot More”, New York Times, Mar. 29).
More: Sundries Shack (“For goodness sake, one of the plaintiffs calls himself an ‘author and researcher on time travel’”); Adler @ Volokh. The liberal site Lawyers, Guns & Money, perhaps serving in this instance as a Strange Attractor, attracts a commenter who seems to agree with the lawsuit-filers that it’s better to be safe than sorry — the Precautionary Principle lives! And from our comments, links to the complaint, Ted on jurisdiction, and thoughts on the effectiveness of litigation in obtaining free publicity.
I’m quoted on the Melvyn Weiss guilty plea, and on the way certain crooks have successfully been passing themselves off as white knights in press coverage of shareholder and consumer litigation. (Jonathan D. Glater, “High-Profile Trial Lawyer Agrees to Guilty Plea”, New York Times, Mar. 21). For more on Weiss’s plea, see yesterday’s post.
More Weiss reactions include a NY Sun editorial:
Mr. Weiss and his partners made their careers, and their fortunes, casting those they were suing — insurance and tobacco executives, Swiss bankers — as crooks. Some of them may have been, though many were not. Now these lawyers are admitting to the court that they are crooks, too. … Congress has already acted to reform the class-action system from the “first-to-file” system that engendered the Milberg Weiss abuses. But until Congress and the state legislatures act further to reform the civil litigation system, the costs of Weiss’s career will be borne by all of us.
Interviewed by the L.A. Times, Columbia lawprof Jack Coffee (who’s done a lot of work for Milberg, right?) thinks Mel Weiss got a “uniquely good deal” in the plea. Similarly: Greenfield.