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tobacco

Safety roundup

by Walter Olson on December 5, 2012

  • Patrick Basham on proposal to license smokers [Philadelphia Inquirer/Cato, earlier] New study confirms that rather than externalizing costs to the public treasury, smokers tend to cost social insurance programs less than nonsmokers do [Daniel Fisher, Forbes]
  • Public health busybodies call on UK government to set minimum price for alcoholic drinks [Telegraph] Carrie Nation never thought of this: anti-booze campaigners target its calorie count [Baylen Linnekin] New York state plans anti-alcohol campaign [NY Post]
  • “Will Litigation over Playground Injuries Create a Generation of Neurotics?” [WSJ via ABA Journal]
  • Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick reassigns his exceedingly accident-prone state highway director [Boston Globe, Ilya Somin]
  • “Magnet spheres may soon be harder to acquire than ammunition in the U.S.” as Buckyballs gives up [Anthony Fisher/Reason, earlier] And from Twitter: “Those 0.0 deaths per year were not in vain.” [@TPCarney modifying @bigtimcavanaugh]
  • “Mary Cain wants $3000 damages from the street car company for a ‘sudden jerk.’ MO1917″ [@tweetsofold]
  • “No Liquid Soap Allowed in Pre-School Bathroom: Children Might Drink It” [Free-Range Kids]

And finally, the catchy, unsettling safety promotion video that’s been everywhere the last week or two, from the Melbourne transit authority:

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Ban smoking entirely, or issue licenses to smokers? In some quarters of the public-health world, those appear to be the end points of the spectrum of debate as they pursue the “endgame” of a “tobacco-free society.” [Jacob Sullum]

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My Cato Institute colleague Nita Ghei, writing at the Washington Times, has more on the newly expanded authority of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) to “‘seize and administratively forfeit property involved in controlled-substance abuses.’ That means government can grab firearms and other property from someone who has never been convicted or even charged with any crime.” Earlier here and (podcast) here. More: Americans for Forfeiture Reform.

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Torts roundup

by Walter Olson on June 15, 2012

  • “Fla. jury awards $75M to family of dead smoker” [AP] Bad trends catch on 10+ years later up North: Quebec becomes fifth province to sue tobacco companies [Montreal Gazette] We passed a law to let us win, so there: “Manitoba sues tobacco companies” [provincial press release]
  • “Can There Be Liability When Sending Texts To A Driver?” A debate [Ray Mollica and Mark Bower, Turkewitz; earlier here and here]
  • Ted Frank vs. Ron Unz on Vioxx health effects [PoL, American Conservative]
  • Major Florida PI firm denies State Farm claims-inflation allegations [Orlando Sentinel]
  • East St. Louis, Ill.: jury awards nearly $179 million to 3 injured grain elevator workers [Post-Dispatch]
  • Siding with plaintiff’s bar, Minnesota Gov. Dayton vetoes legislation reducing state’s general statute of limitations from six years to four, reducing prejudgment interest from current 10%/year, reforming offer of settlement rules, and allowing interlocutory class certification appeal [NFIB] He does however sign one protecting state/local governments [Star-Trib]
  • Multiple asbestos claims raise eyebrows in Delaware [SE Texas Record] On trends in asbestos litigation [Ben Berkowitz, Reuters]

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Dangerous sleepers

by Walter Olson on March 26, 2012

“Philip Morris Not Liable for Fire Started By Cigarette” That title says it all, except for the part about it taking eight years for the defense to win a summary judgment. [Nick Farr, Abnormal Use]

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December 13 roundup

by Walter Olson on December 13, 2011

  • “The real cost of patent trolls” [Brad Feld, PoL on BU study] Survey finds patent litigation booming [Corporate Counsel, Reynolds Holding/Reuters] Company claiming patent on wi-fi-in-stores unlikely to sue retail customers “at this stage” [Patent Examiner] Retrospective on crustless-sandwich case [Peter Smith/Good, earlier]
  • Louisiana federal court holds severe obesity to be disability under ADA [Sam Bagenstos, related]
  • Florida: many cops remain on job despite evidence linking them to crimes [Balko on Sarasota Herald-Tribune investigation]
  • “FDA Regulation Could Doom Cigar Shops” [Jacob Sullum]
  • Ted Frank vs. Brian Fitzpatrick on class action fees [PoL, David Lat on Federalist Society panel]
  • Orange County keeps mum about partnerships it’s entered with plaintiff’s attorneys Robinson, Calcagnie and Thomas Girardi [Kim Stone, Fox & Hounds] Maybe like “private attorney generals”? Fannie/Freddie genre of government-sponsored enterprises called “monstrous moral hybrids” [Mark Calabria, Cato]

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December 6 roundup

by Walter Olson on December 6, 2011

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November 17 roundup

by Walter Olson on November 17, 2011

  • Executive with “Autism Speaks” group quits to found group more aligned with scientific opinion on cause of condition [SciAm]
  • Here comes the ban-cigarettes-entirely crusade [Peter Singer on forthcoming Robert Proctor "Golden Holocaust"] “Parents try to blame Four Loko for son getting shot” [Elie Mystal, Above the Law] Still-relevant cartoon from ’30s on Federal War on Drugs (or Booze, take your pick) [Perry]
  • Controversy over definition of medical disorders in DSM-V has implications for workplace law including ADA, FMLA [Labor Related, petition]
  • “Not Safe to Display an American Flag in an American High School” [Volokh]
  • “Criminal Defense Lawyer Charged in Alleged $1.5M Fraud On Clients Obtained Under False Pretenses” [ABA Journal, Greenfield; Texas]
  • Father of Notre Dame student who died says family never considered suing [Chicago Tribune]
  • “The Ignominious End Of The Digitek Mass Tort” [Beck]

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October 14 roundup

by Walter Olson on October 14, 2011

  • Pre-terror-attack antibiotic availability? HHS doesn’t think you’re sophisticated enough to handle that freedom [Stewart Baker]
  • Uh-oh: some New York lawmakers want “a more refined First Amendment” [Slashdot, Lucy Steigerwald]
  • Wal-Mart v. Dukes decision could curb certification of some wage and hour class actions [Fox]
  • “Miss. Supreme Court Removes Judge from $322M Asbestos Case Because of Dad’s Lawsuits” [ABA Journal]
  • Mass. town wants to seize family motel under forfeiture law, IJ objects [Jacob Sullum, Mark Perry]
  • Will FDA use its new tobacco-regulatory power to stub out cigars? [DC]
  • “Dole settles pesticide litigation” [WSJ Law Blog, background]

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October 7 roundup

by Walter Olson on October 7, 2011

  • Prodded by UNICEF and the Hague Convention, countries cut back on international adoption, leaving kids to future of orphanage life [Reason.tv video, interviewing among others Harvard's Elizabeth Bartholet; more]
  • Critics: lawyers are main winners in NYC rent settlement [NYDN] NYC rent stabilization rules gave landlords incentive to do luxury conversions [FWIW]
  • Breast-aurant rivals in court: “Hooters Suing Twin Peaks, Which Previously Sued Grand Tetons” [Lowering the Bar, earlier]
  • Jonathan Chait: it’ll be “useful” for debate if CEOs “fear for their personal safety” [Matt Welch, related, similar (see "Patterns of Intimidation"), also related to "occupation" as tactic]
  • Ethics complaint charges that boilerplate affidavits led to fee approval for lawyer in Bronx Surrogate’s Court [ABA Journal]
  • “Widow allowed to sue tobacco companies [whose products] husband didn’t use” [Florida, DBR] Appeals court: manufacturer not under legal duty to warn of asbestos injury caused by another manufacturer’s products [Business Insurance]
  • Debit card fee: made in D.C. [Glenn Reynolds; related, Joe Weisenthal]

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The FDA has moved to require tobacco marketers to place grotesque photos of cadavers and body parts on cigarette packs, and Barton Hinkle of the Richmond Times-Dispatch thinks there’s no reason for it to end there. More: Ann Althouse.

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May 27 roundup

by Walter Olson on May 27, 2011

  • Prospects dicey at best for CPSIA reform as Waxman, Dems toe consumer-group line [Woldenberg, more, Nord, Northup] If AAP is going to posit 49,000 poisonings from lead in recalled jewelry, shouldn’t it try to document a couple of them? [Woldenberg] Credit at least to House Commerce Committee majority for trying to tackle mess with this law [Mangu-Ward, ShopFloor, AtC]
  • “Lawsuit claims Jay-Z’s ‘Big Pimpin’ violates Egyptian ‘moral rights’” [DBR]
  • My Cato Institute colleague Gene Healy reviews new Eric Posner/Adrian Vermeule book on executive power [AmCon]
  • Subpoena filed by class-action lawyer Stephen Tillery demands contributor list of Chicago-based think tank critical of litigation [Madison County Record] Judge quashes subpoena as chilling of First Amendment liberties [same]
  • Suits filed by its own officers, often those accused of misconduct, have cost LAPD $18 million since 2005 [L.A. Times via Dave Krueger, Agitator]
  • “Do Menthol Cigarettes Taste Too Good to Be Legal?” [Sullum, earlier]
  • “Motion Claims Buxom Woman with Opposing Counsel Is Intended as Jury Distraction” [ABA Journal] More: Ken at Popehat, Lowering The Bar, Above the Law.

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A jury rejects a strained health-outlay recoupment claim. [Mass Tort Lit]

January 24 roundup

by Walter Olson on January 24, 2011

  • Trouble with hunting bad/burdensome regulations: most of them have entrenched advocates [NY Times] “Obama — the Great Deregulator?” [Jeff Jacoby, Boston Globe]. Earlier here and here;
  • Now we find out: tax hikes on outsourcing in 9/11 compensation bill infuriate India, were never vetted by Hill tax panels [PoL; more on Easter eggs in bill] Law firm that advertises for 9/11 dust clients is fan of Sen. Gillibrand [Stoll]
  • France will stop censoring some historical images of smokers in ads [NY Times]
  • “2010: The Year of the Angry, Company-Suing Plaintiff” [WSJ Law Blog] “The most sued companies in America” [Fox Business, counting federal-court suits only]
  • Death by drunk driving: As bad as purposeful murder? Worse? [Greenfield]
  • EPA gets specific on its plans to advance “environmental justice,” combat disparate racial impact in project siting, etc. [WLF, Popeo, earlier here, here, here, etc.]
  • Winners of Chamber’s “Most Ridiculous Lawsuits of 2010″ competition [US Chamber ILR]
  • “If the FCC had regulated the Internet” [Jack Shafer, Slate]

After much uncritical reportage of claims that heart attacks in this or that community fell immediately and precipitously after a smoking ban went into effect, a larger and more careful study finds no evidence for any such miraculous effect [Jacob Sullum, Reason] Earlier here, etc.

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November 22 roundup

by Walter Olson on November 22, 2010

Product liability edition:

  • You mean cigarettes were dangerous? “Florida jury awards $80M to daughter in anti-smoking case” [AP]
  • “Acne drug not found to increase suicide risk” [BBC, earlier on Accutane here, here, etc.]
  • “Man hit by jar of exploding fruit says $150,000 award isn’t enough” [Detroit News via Obscure Store]
  • Chicago accident coverage exemplifies Toyota acceleration hysteria [Fumento/CEI] NHTSA-NRC panel findings on subject [PoL]
  • Strict product liability is in decline, according to Prof. David Owen [Abnormal Use]
  • More questions raised on $500 million Nevada hepatitis verdict [PoL]
  • Notwithstanding chatter in press about toxic cosmetics, study finds cosmetologists have below-average cancer rates [David Oliver]
  • Florida juries repeatedly hold Ford liable for millions when drivers fall asleep [five years ago on Overlawyered]

Accurate science, or Science For Your Own Good? [Michael Siegel]

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November 9 roundup

by Walter Olson on November 9, 2010

  • White House panel’s counsel: no evidence corner-cutting caused Gulf spill [NYT, Reuters] Furor ensues [WaPo]
  • Report: grief counselors assigned to Democratic congressional staffers [Maggie Haberman, Politico]
  • “Lawyer Sues for Humiliation and Lost Business Due to Misspelled Yellowbook Ad” [ABA Journal, South Dakota]
  • Argument today in important Supreme Court case, AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion: will courts respect freedom of contract in consumer arbitration context, or yield Litigation Lobby the monopoly it seeks over dispute resolution? [Ted at PoL]
  • No search warrant needed: armed deputies in Orlando storm unlicensed barbershops, handcuff barbers [Balko, Reason "Hit and Run"]
  • After Colorado hit-run, banker allowed to plead down to misdemeanors lest his job be at risk [Greenfield]
  • FDA to decide whether to ban menthol in cigarettes [CEI]
  • Reshuffling blackjack decks is not “racketeering” [ten years ago on Overlawyered]

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