If you get arrested, a lawyer is handy if you're guilty and absolutely essential if you're not. Generally, lawyers are shrewd, intelligent, and fun to talk to, if you're not paying $200 an hour for the conversation. If you're accused of a crime, you'd be crazy to go to trial without an attorney.
Civil law is another matter. Once in a while people find themselves in need of an attorney. For example, if the neighbor's dog jumps over the fence and takes a piece out of my leg, I'll see to it that the negligent neighbors pay my medical bills. That would probably require an attorney.
(Or if, for example, someone copies an entire page from this web site and posts it on their own web site, presenting my works as their own -- after removing my copyright notice from the bottom of the page -- I'd probably call a really good law office in North Dallas and have them help me resolve the issue. And I did, too. But then the other web site took down the infringing page just in time to avoid trouble.)
Most people recognize, however, that litigation can be used to pursue a number of goals other than justice. It has been said that you don't have to literally chase ambulances to be considered an ambulance chaser. In my opinion, one of this country's biggest and most costly problems is hair-splitting legalism and opportunism in the form of frivolous class-action lawsuits which benefit only the lawyers who file them.
And another thing: Until about 1980 it was illegal for lawyers to advertise on television. Today, when school children are asked, "What's the quickest way to get rich?", they will most often give an answer that mentions a lawsuit or a lottery ticket, because that's what they've seen on television. If lawyers were once again prohibited from advertising on television, it would go a long way toward improving this country in the long term.
It could very well be that the percentage of unscrupulous lawyers is no higher than the percentage of unscrupulous fast-food workers. But the lawyers are in a position to inflict a lot more damage.
Trial Lawyers Line Up Their Next Target: Big Food. When lawyers were shaking down the tobacco industry in the 1990's, it was clear that it was just a matter of when they'd loot again. The only question was who would be the next mark. That picture is clearing up.
Neuter Employee Sues Company for $518,682 for Not Acknowledging its Lack of Gender. It's not gay rights. It's not even LGBT which includes men who dress up like women. It's actually LGBTQIA which includes a bunch of people who don't know what they are, including "Queer" and "Asexual". [...] The supervisors chose not to waste everyone's time with the insanity of a crazy person. And here comes the lawsuit because the catering company chose not to manufacture a single new gender consisting entirely of "Jones". This whole thing [disproves] the notion that you can just sign on to gay marriage and be done with it.
$650 per hour for lawyer in bridge probe. Attorney Randy Mastro is being paid $650 per hour to help Gov. Chris Christie's administration respond to the George Washington Bridge scandal, according to a letter of retention released by the governor's office Thursday night [1/30/2014]. Mastro, from the New York firm of Gibson Dunn, noted in the agreement that the price is more than a 40 percent discount off his normal rate. But the price is nearly twice what is being paid to the attorney advising an investigative legislative panel.
James Holmes' Defense to Take Reporter to Supreme Court. Lawyers for the man accused of killing 12 people at a Colorado movie theater said Friday [1/31/2014] they will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to require a Fox News reporter to reveal the confidential sources she used in a story about defendant James Holmes.
Little League baseball coach sues former player over victory celebration injury. Former Lakeside Little League coach Alan Beck told Fox40.com the incident occurred last spring, when the teen threw his helmet up in victory after scoring a winning run, allegedly striking and tearing Beck's Achilles tendon.
Convicted Oregon pimp sues Nike over lack of shoe warning label. An Oregon pimp has filed a $100 million lawsuit against Nike, claiming that the shoe manufacturer failed to warn consumers that the shoes could be used as a deadly weapon.
Walmart lawsuit regarding 'black people' announcement in Washington Township dismissed. A judge has dismissed a $1 million lawsuit against Walmart regarding a 2010 incident in the chain's Washington Township store that led a customer to claim "severe and disabling emotional and physical harm" after racist comments were broadcast over the store's public address system.
When the Chewbacca Defense Just Won't Do, There's Always Affluenza. The far left invented the term "Affluenza" to goof on free markets and free choices of consumer consumption. They shouldn't be too surprised an enterprising trial lawyer ran with the idea, Chewbacca Defense-style, and used it to successfully, albeit disgustingly, if the facts of the case are as CNN presents them, get his client off the hook, at least temporarily.
His mom and dad aren't likely to win the Parents of the Year award.
Affluenza teen lived in his own mansion. The drunk driving teen who killed four people but was spared jail because he was too rich to know any better, regularly had wild, booze-fuelled parties in his own mansion, claims one of the troubled teenager's friends. Ethan Couch, 16, was three times over the limit and high on Valium when he mounted a curb in Burleson, Texas earlier this year and plowed into a broken down car, taking four lives and injuring more. And MailOnline can reveal the horror crash happened just a few hundred yards from a sprawling property where Couch boasted he was allowed to live alone and unsupervised.
Despite Outlaw Image, Hells Angels Sue Often. Fritz Clapp, a 67-year-old lawyer with a bright red mohawk, practices intellectual property law. Years ago, his clients were "small-time businesses that nobody had ever heard of." Then he found something bigger. Today, Mr. Clapp, an eloquent and irreverent man known to wear a purple fez during negotiations with other lawyers, represents the interests of a group not commonly associated with intellectual property: the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club. His main role is not as a bulldog criminal defense counsel for the notorious group but as a civilized advocate in its relentless battle to protect its many registered trademarks.
Interview: Daniel Flynn on the War on Football. There's no question that football is the most popular sport in America. For decades, NFL games have been the top-rated program on all of television even as hundreds of other networks have started up and fragmented the television audience. [...] The success of football has made it a target for the bottom-feeders known as the trial lawyers, however, and in recent years, there have been several enormous lawsuits launched against the NFL and against its official helmet manufacturer, Riddell. These lawsuits, and the often shoddy science behind them have been seized upon in the media, even by some people who should know better.
Politician with cancer smoked for 40 years, sues over asbestos. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's law firm has filed a class-action suit on behalf of Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, accusing more than 70 companies of potentially causing the Long Island congresswoman to develop lung cancer from asbestos. But the bizarre Weitz & Luxenberg suit fails to mention that the 69-year-old Democrat smoked heavily for 40 years — and that she never actually worked with the cancer-causing substance.
Chevron Vindicated As Evidence Points To 'Green Fraud' By Environmentalists. So what happened to the $19 billion judgment against Chevron over rainforest pollution in Ecuador? Seems the leftist lawyer behind it all now finds himself in the dock on a RICO rap for a massive fraud.Questions Rarely Asked — and Never Answered. In our "sue anyone" America, we are told that companies are responsible, even indirectly, for the unintended but pernicious effects of their products. We not only sue tobacco companies for the bad lungs of the smoker, who on his own free will plays poker with cancer, but also the fast food outlet whose coffee when spilled burns inattentive buyers. By that litigious standard, why are there no suits against Apple for its iPhone — an insidious device far more addictive than opiates, an impairment to driving far more deleterious than two martinis, and at a monthly cost as disruptive to household finances as habitual visits to the casino?
Chevron takes shakedown lawyers to court in RICO trial. [Scroll down] While such tactics have traditionally been successful against big corporations with deep pockets, choosing to simply pay off the pests rather than spending the time and money to fight them, not so with Chevron. The plaintiffs, led in large part by Manhattan lawyer Steven Donziger, tried to dig too deep, racking up a $19 B[illion] judgement in an Ecuador court based on what turned out to be a staggering series of apparently fraudulent ploys. Chevron fought back and refused to cough up a dime.
Conn Job. Stanville, a tiny town in eastern Kentucky, seems an unlikely place for a multimillion-dollar empire. Yet for decades, an unscrupulous lawyer named Eric Christopher Conn has been working the Social Security disability system, securing benefits for even the most undeserving of clients, according to a new report from the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs. The report describes a lucrative scheme that involved not only Conn but also a disability judge and several doctors with bad reputations — all of whom may have profited substantially.
A Nation of Lawyers. America used to be a nation of laws. Those laws served as guidelines for how we conducted business and ourselves. They were powerful laws, to be sure. But more importantly, they were fair, just, and judicious. They were laws we could all believe in. They were reasonable. They were not onerous or overbearing. That's no longer the case. Our laws no longer guide our actions; they dictate them. The problem is we've morphed from a nation of laws into a nation of lawyers. And the simple truth is that lawyers aren't exactly judicious or minimalist about the laws and regulations they propose, draft, and implement.
Workers in Washington apparently must be paid a living wage, unless they are paid nothing.
Binder on Binder & Binder. The Social Security Administration pays an awful lot of money to people who aren't — and never claim to be — disabled. When a person applying for disability secures a legal representative, then is successfully awarded benefits, the lawyer or advocate who helped him gets a generous cut of the money, paid directly from the SSA's disability fund. In the first six months of 2013, the SSA has already forked over $642.6 million to these claimant representatives, who have a significant financial interest in getting people on disability.
Forcing Businesses to Hire Criminals. [Scroll down] The big winners, naturally, will be ambitious trial lawyers (nearly all Democrats, many of whom are major donors) trolling for clients claiming racial discrimination owing to past criminality. Another beneficiary will be outside firms performing background checks. Given the numbers, winning class-action lawsuits could mean a $100 million jackpot with a few lawyers splitting a $30 million contingency fee and thousands of plaintiffs at best receiving a few hundred dollars and no job.
Liberal State Bar Spends Three Years Going After Lawyer For Being Conservative Blogger. Rachel Alexander was collateral damage in a liberal fight to ruin her former boss, then-Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas. Thomas attempted in 2009 and 2010, with the help of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, to stop corruption by some judges and county supervisors in Arizona by filing criminal charges and a racketeering lawsuit against them. Alexander, a Deputy County Attorney, performed some research and writing on the racketeering lawsuit after it had been filed. However, since she was one of the best known conservative bloggers in Arizona, running Intellectual Conservative and IC Arizona, she was dragged into the court even though she was a minor player in the case.
95% of IRS Lawyers Donated to Obama. And based on the Tax Prof's numbers the picture is like that across the rest of the government class which knows quite well which side of the party line its generous government benefits are buttered.
Our Partisan Bureaucracy — Lawyers Love President Obama. The civil-service system was designed to replace the spoils system, which — in addition to creating chaotic rushes of office-seekers with each change of administration — packed political hacks into important administrative positions. [...] But what if the combination of increasingly activist government with strong bureacratic bias re-creates federal service as a kind of permanent spoils system for the Left? Isn't it inevitable that this leftist bureaucracy will eventually view itself not as a servant for all citizens but as an instrument of its own righteous ideology?
Capital Powerball: Scandals Grease Washington's Wheels. [Scroll down] Clarice Feldman has a wonderfully atmospheric piece describing the the process of lawyering up. Attorneys are scavengers of the DC ecosystem. They feast on the fallen. And what is more the fallen need them. Still, scandals mean legal fees and legal fees mean lawyers. The culture of the District is dog-eat-dog and for the first time in its long career Obama's sneak attack force is feeling the bite of the dogs.
For the People Who Gave Us Miranda, Miranda Is Never Enough. Does anything tug at your heartstrings quite like the plight of Ropel Phillipos, the 19-year-old "adolescent" arrested and charged with lying to agents investigating the bombing of the Boston Marathon by his sometime pal, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev? Fox News reports that, besides describing as "refutable" the allegation that he gave investigators conflicting accounts about the effort to cover Tsarnaev's tracks, his lawyers also contend: [...]
This is why we have lawyers and juries:
The Premature Mirandizing of a Terrorist. Miranda v. Arizona was part of a string of decisions by the Warren Court that had begun the year of Lois Ann Jameson's rape. The decisions invented rights which not only obligated taxpayers to provide accused criminals with lawyers, but also made it impossible to question a suspect without his lawyer. In the case of Lois Ann's rapist, Justice Earl Warren, who proved to be a bigger threat to the Constitution than King George III, went beyond inventing the right to a government lawyer, to invent the rapist's right to be told of a right to a government lawyer.
Deal Approved In Muslims' Suit Against McDonald's. A judge has approved a long-awaited $700,000 settlement between a Dearborn McDonalds and people who say they ate chicken sandwiches, that should have been prepared as HALAL: the Muslim equivalent of Kosher. Ahmed Ahmed, the Dearborn Heights man who represents plaintiffs in the class-action suit, claims he bought a chicken sandwich in September 2011 at the restaurant but found it wasn't prepared according to Islamic law.
Jesus Portrait Removed From Ohio School. A Jesus portrait that has hung in a southern Ohio school district's buildings since 1947 has been taken down, because of concerns about the costs of a federal lawsuit.
The Class Action Racket. Have you ever received a notice in the mail informing you that you might be a member of a class action lawsuit? You probably have. Did you even bother to read it? Probably not. Did you ever file a claim for compensation? Probably not. Did you ever file an objection to the settlement? Certainly not. Did you know that the lawyers bringing these suits get paid regardless of how many people file claims and regardless of how many class members actually get anything out of the settlement?
Reforming the Law. Only in the United States do tort lawyers chase ambulances with TV ads. And tort law has become one of the royal roads to great riches, while tort lawyers are among the primary fundraisers for Democratic candidates. [...] Political interest groups, such as environmentalists, have learned how to game the legal system, with the cooperation of judges, not to obtain justice but to delay or prevent actions they disapprove of but cannot prevent by ordinary political means.
Legal Feeding Frenzy. It's not news that countless bogus lawsuits are filed in this country every year. What's less well known is that because of obscure procedural rules, even the most self-evidently absurd lawsuits typically cost blameless defendants plenty of money, time, and anguish before any judge even considers whether to throw them out.
'Jesus Christ' Banned from Council Prayers. The mayor of a Washington town has directed pastors to stop invoking the name "Jesus Christ" in city council invocations. Don Jensen, the mayor of Longview, Wash., told the Kelso-Longview Ministerial Association that prayers mentioning Christ were not acceptable because they could expose the city to a lawsuit. The decision has sparked controversy in the city — located about 50 miles north of Portland, Oregon.
EPA's Secret and Costly 'Sue and Settle' Collusion With Environmental Organizations. "Sue and Settle" practices, sometimes referred to as "friendly lawsuits", are cozy deals through which far-left radical environmental groups file lawsuits against federal agencies wherein courtordered "consent decrees" are issued based upon a prearranged settlement agreement they collaboratively craft together in advance behind closed doors.
Broken Justice. [Scroll down] [The writer says] that American prosecutors win 99.5 percent of their cases, a much higher percentage than those in other civilized countries; that 97 percent of them are won without trial, because of the plea-bargain system in which inculpatory evidence is extorted from witnesses in exchange for immunity from prosecution, including for perjury; that the U.S. has six to twelve times as many incarcerated people per capita as do Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, or the United Kingdom, comparably prosperous democracies; that the U.S. has 5 percent of the world's population, 25 percent of its incarcerated people, and half of its academically qualified lawyers, who take about 10 percent of U.S. GDP; that prosecutors enjoy very uneven advantages in procedure and an absolute immunity for misconduct; that they routinely seize targets' money on false affidavits alleging ill-gotten gains so they cannot defend themselves by paying rapacious American lawyers, most of whom in criminal-defense matters are just a fig leaf to provide a pretense of a genuine day in court before blind justice; [...]
Greedy class-action lawyers take it on the chin. What do you call a plaintiffs' attorney who negotiates a settlement that secures $3 million for his clients — and pays him $14 million for his services? Plenty of words come to mind, but none suitable for publication. Happily, the federal Third Circuit Court of Appeals shares our dismay. This week, the court threw out the settlement, which all told came to $35.5 million.
20 Reasons America Is Becoming An Increasingly Nonfunctional Society. [#3] Our legal system encourages frivolous lawsuits, is punitively expensive and because of the political inclinations of the judges, can often be almost random.
Hackensack officials can't say why violations at house owned by lawyers weren't pursued. Multiple housing-code violations were discovered more than two years ago in a Hackensack house owned by politically connected lawyers, but the city never issued any summonses or demanded that the deficiencies be corrected. Instead, the violations only came to light this month when a fire damaged a neighboring house also owned by the lawyers.
Occupy is back. In court. As the year winds to a close, here's one name we haven't heard in a while. Do you remember the Occupy movement? You know... those folks that were going to be the much needed counterweight to the Tea Party? Seems like they sort of disappeared there for a while. But at least out on the Left coast, they're back. And they've brought their lawyers.
What America's trial lawyers want from Santa: Sometimes, you've got to spend money to make money. For the American Association for Justice, the largest trial lawyers organization in the country, it costs a lot to keep getting the gift that keeps on giving. The AAJ increased its federal lobbying expenditures by 42 percent — from $840,000 to $1.15 million — between the second and third quarter of 2012. Its Christmas list includes anything that opens up or helps keep open opportunities for its members and other plaintiffs' lawyers to score enormous contingency fees from settlements or court judgments.
A Supremely Important Decision About America's Logging Industry. On December 3, the U.S. Supreme Court will consider who is best suited to set national environmental policy — the experienced scientists and regulators at the Environmental Protection Agency or activist trial lawyers. [...] Under the Ninth Circuit ruling, a permit could be demanded for every drain and ditch that directs water from a logging road to a fish-bearing stream. The U.S. Forest Service estimates that getting all its roads fully certified could take as much as a decade.Marin Homeowner Sued By Alleged Burglar Who Shot Him In Face. A homeowner who police say survived being shot in the jaw during a burglary has received startling news: The burglary suspect sued him for returning fire. The Marin Independent Journal reported Wednesday [10/24/2012] that Samuel Cutrufelli filed the suit claiming 90-year-old Jay Leone negligently shot him.
The Lawyers Party. No, it is not the presence of lawyers in politics which bedevils us today; it is, instead, the iron control which lawyers have on the Democratic Party and the concomitant eagerness of Democrats to produce a vast labyrinth of laws, regulations, and court decisions intended to govern every aspect of American life. There has always been an inherent conflict in having those who live by wading clients through the complexity of laws and regulations also hold offices which determine the complexity of laws and regulations. Obama, who in 2009 suggested that doctors perform unnecessary surgery to make money, surely grasps this tension.
California Student Sues Teacher, District Over C+ Grade. Bowen Bethards, 17, was a sophomore in Peggy Carlock's chemistry class at Albany High School in Albany, Calif., outside of San Francisco, in the 2010-11 school year when she gave him the C+ grade at the center of the suit, according to court records first reported by the Albany Patch. Bethards, in a lawsuit filed with his mother, Laureen, in Contra Costa County Superior Court last month, claims that he has suffered severe physical and emotional suffering, damage to his academic reputation, and diminished chances of getting into his college of choice because of the grade.
$500,000 Lawsuit for Incomplete Breakfast Dismissed. A New York judge dismissed a $500,000 lawsuit, filed by a lawyer against his Wall Street health club for failing to provide a "full complimentary breakfast." Richard Katz, a Manhattan attorney, said he paid $5,000 a year as a member of The Setai Club and Spa Wall Street for benefits like a "full complimentary breakfast," according to a suit filed in November 2011.
Southern Poverty Law Center tells Jefferson County schools it must let boys wear earrings. The Southern Poverty Law Center in a letter has warned the Jefferson County [Alabama] Board of Education that the school board must repeal what the center calls an "archaic policy" banning male students from wearing earrings, or face a potential lawsuit.
Lawsuit that sought to ban toys with Happy Meals is tossed out. McDonald's Corp.can keep including toys in Happy Meals in most parts of California after a San Francisco judge threw out a proposed class-action lawsuit seeking to ban the practice in the state.
The Invincible Dogma. A long-standing legal charade was played out again recently, when Federal Express paid $3 million to settle an employment discrimination case brought by the U.S. Department of Labor. Federal Express was accused of both racial discrimination and sex discrimination. FedEx denied it. Why then did they pay the $3 million? Because it can cost a lot more than $3 million to fight a discrimination case. [...] The net result is that the government and much of the media can now claim that race, sex and other discrimination are rampant, considering how many anti-discrimination cases have been "won."
Mandatory Racial Diversity Training at Idaho Law School. The American Bar Association, an increasingly marginalized left wing organization that has as members only a fraction of American lawyers, has been given "accreditation" power over American law schools. Worse yet, the ABA has an accreditation committee is obsessed with "diversity" issues. The grief, for example, that the College of Charleston School of Law had to endure in the name of diversity is astounding.
SeaWorld sued over 'enslaved' killer whales. Five killer whales have been named as plaintiffs in a lawsuit which argues they deserve the same constitutional protection from slavery as humans.
The Doctor Will Sue You Now. When famed dermatologist Arnold Klein, the Father of Botox, known for his flamboyant lifestyle and love of celebrity, landed Michael Jackson as a client, it was a dream fulfilled. But in the wake of Jackson's death, Klein has been engulfed by a toxic cloud of accusation, litigation, and bankruptcy.
The Editor says...
The item immediately above was posted mainly because I liked the headline.
Mississippi judge tosses $322M asbestos lawsuit verdict. A Mississippi judge has thrown out a $322 million lawsuit verdict that had been hailed as the largest asbestos award for a single plaintiff in U.S. history.
Clown Cars: The Disastrous Results of Lawyers, Not Gearheads, Running the Auto Industry. For years, the lawyers have not been able to resist instructing the auto industry. Since Ralph Nader began tinkering in the sixties, cars have gone from iconic to ridiculous. We have seen great cars like the Impala turned into a tiny little go-cart filled with airbags and other safety equipment. ... Most attorneys are not as comfortable working beneath the hood of a car as they are running behind an ambulance. So a wise nation keeps attorneys as far away from their automotive plants as possible.
Paintball park sued by non-profit for the blind. Lawyers representing a non-profit Maryland group are suing a White Marsh paintball park for not letting them play.
Big Green's endangered species money machine. Karen Budd-Falen is a fifth-generation rancher in Wyoming. She's also a strong-minded lawyer who tracks millions in legal fees paid to Big Green environmental groups by federal agencies in lawsuits to save endangered species — and she makes the records public. They show that the Endangered Species Act has been hijacked by those same Big Green groups that use it in the courts as an ideological weapon against development — and to enrich themselves. Stories of such things as wind farm projects thwarted by a field mouse are no longer uncommon, but investigations of how environmental lawyers turn the ESA into a private money machine are almost nonexistent. Budd-Falen has pioneered that niche with high-detail profiles.
The Real Scandal. The real scandal goes far beyond the case of Herman Cain and his accusers. The real scandal is that the law allows people to impose heavy costs on others at little or no cost to themselves. That is a perfect setting for legalized extortion. The fact that neither judges nor juries always stick to the letter of the law means that people who have zero basis for a lawsuit, under the law as written, can still create enough uncertainty to extract money from people who cannot afford the risk of going to trial.
Ohio Muslim Inmates Sue Over Meal Preparation. A death row inmate says the Ohio prison system is denying him meals prepared according to Islamic law — known as halal — while at the same time providing kosher meals to Jewish prisoners, according to a federal lawsuit that alleges a civil rights violation.
Feds sue company for firing 600-pound worker. [Ronald Kratz II], who weighs more than 600 pounds, asked if he could transfer to another position but he was told he could not, according to the lawsuit. Nor did BAE officials discuss whether he needed what's known as a "reasonable accommodation" under the Americans with Disabilities Act so he could better perform his essential job duties.
Lawyers netted millions in solar loan deal. In the fallout of the collapse of solar-panel maker Solyndra LLC — a company awarded more than a half-billion dollars in federal loans before it went bankrupt late last month — members of Congress are demanding to know how all that money was spent.
More about the Solyndra scandal.
This is reason enough to vote for Perry. Well... almost.
Trial lawyers prep for war on Rick Perry. If [Texas Governor Rick] Perry ends up as the Republican nominee for president, deep-pocketed trial lawyers intend to play a central role in the campaign to defeat him.
Texas Tames the Dogs of Tort. Rick Perry is a trial lawyer's worst nightmare. Tort reform in Texas has paid off in job growth, and the lessons for the nation are too clear.
The guy the sharks fear. If you can judge a political candidate by the enemies he makes, Texas Gov. Rick Perry stands pretty tall. For example, the national tort-lawyer lobby is set to spend millions to try to stop the GOP presidential hopeful in his tracks.
A Muslim terrorist in America will never lack for lawyers. [Scroll down] A terrorist detainee in Guantanamo Bay will have more pro-bono lawyers than a dog has fleas. Followed by a fawning New York Times article, a book deal and a movie in which his lawyer will be played by George Clooney. Is it because he's innocent? The prisons are full of innocent men and women who had court appointed lawyers that slept through their hearings. No, it is because he is guilty. Because he is a murderer and the left loves its murderers.
The Left Owns the Election Law Industry. Leftist foundations, litigators and organizations have established permanent structures designed to alter election outcomes through policy advocacy and strategic litigation. ... They bring lawsuits under federal and state statutes ranging from the Voting Rights Act, Motor Voter law and the Help America Vote Act. They station teams of election observers in polling places around the nation every election to fuel their litigation and their media efforts. Almost nobody opposes their efforts.
It Strikes Me As Odd. Why do Americans willingly submit themselves to legal tyranny? ... In a country graced by the presence of about half of the world's lawyers (one lawyer for every 265 Americans), the lawyer is king. Don't Americans take any notice of the profound impact the insidious legal culture has on their lives? Paraphrasing Mark Twain, to a man with a law degree everything looks like potential lawsuits and everybody like prospective defendants. Quite aside from the extraordinary economic cost, it affects our lives dramatically when just about any normal activity has legal implications fraught with a grave risk.
LA Lawsuit Bait. Los Angeles Mayor Anthony Villaraigosa has on his desk legislation that will empower bicyclists and their lawyers to go after motorists in a lawsuit gambit that is all upside and no downside. Motorists, meanwhile, have no upside, only a downside.
Inmate sues state over lack of porn in jail. A Macomb County inmate is suing Gov. Rick Snyder and the state, claiming he is being subjected to cruel and unusual punishment because jail rules ban pornographic materials. Kyle Richards, 21, of Fraser filed the five-page handwritten lawsuit June 10 in U.S. District Court in Detroit. He wants a judge to let inmates possess erotic/pornographic materials along with personal televisions, video game consoles and radios.
Wave of lawsuits over seats hit retail stores. Nearly every national chain is under legal attack in California for failing to provide "suitable seating" for cashiers and other employees who are expected to spend most of their work day on their feet. Enterprising trial attorneys by the dozen are using an obscure California labor law requiring retailers such as such as Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Target to have enough seats on hand for their workers.
Trial lawyers working to let trespassers sue you. The trial lawyers' lobby gives 97 percent of its donations to Democrats. It had enough influence in the Obama White House to prevent medical malpractice reform from appearing in Obamacare. And as this case illustrates, it has not neglected to extend its reach into other important institutions.
A Texas Roundhouse for the Trial Lawyers. This week, Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed a law that will help free Lone Star State businesses from the threat of frivolous lawsuits by enacting "loser-pays" tort reform. Prior to the legislation, litigants faced a no-lose situation, while defendants stood to lose everything — even for the most outrageous, bizarre and wrongful accusations. Even when defendants won, the legal fees associated with protecting themselves could add up to tens of thousands of dollars. As a result, many pre-emptively settled out of court, as the settlement payment would be less than the legal fees. Under Texas's new legislation, however, litigants will be forced to pay for the defendant's attorney fees if the case is determined groundless.
'Loser Pays,' Texas Small Business Wins. Gov. Rick Perry and the Texas state legislature want the rest of the country to hear this message loud and clear: The Lone Star State is open for business. In a unanimous vote last week, the Texas senate adopted 'loser pays' tort-reform legislation, which says that a plaintiff must pay the winning party's legal fees if their complaint is judged to be groundless.
Flood of lawsuits by LAPD officers costs the city millions. Robert Hill did not join the Los Angeles Police Department to become a millionaire. And yet, that's what happened in September when city officials cut the veteran cop and his lawyer a check for nearly $4 million. The money was compensation for the snide comments and other abuse Hill suffered at the hands of other LAPD officers after he reported that a supervisor used racial slurs and embezzled department funds.
Climate Activists Target States With Lawsuits. A group of attorneys using children and young adults as plaintiffs plans to file legal actions in every state and the District of Columbia on Wednesday [5/4/2011] in an effort to force government intervention on climate change.
Two Fries Shy of a Happy Meal. [Monet] Parham-Lee's lawsuit accuses McDonald's of unethically and unfairly using toys to lure little children into their restaurants, not unlike how a striped bass is enticed with a shiny lure. ... Parham-Lee is represented by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nutrition-advocacy group that seems more perpetually aggrieved than scientific. They're the ones who warned that movie theater popcorn was the Godzilla of toxic snacks.
Plaintiff lawyers owe companies like Taco Bell an apology. It was a typical "sue first, ask questions later" display of lawyerly bravado that's all too common in the United States today, but this time it backfired on the greedy barristers. Taco Bell fought back and, for a large corporation, was uncharacteristically vocal in defending itself from this ridiculous lawsuit. It utilized the media to effectively point out that its beef "is 88 percent quality USDA-inspected beef." And guess what? Taco Bell won even before the matter got to a jury.
Gangsta Wrap. [Q]: What is the greatest scandal of Obamacare? [A]: There are a lot of potential choices — the AARP is one, the deal with PhRMA is another, the giveaways to unions are a third. But I'm going to have to pick the decision not to include any kind of malpractice reform. That's the clearest sign that the trial lawyers co-own this presidency, along with the unions.
Walmart Gets Punked by Frivolous Lawsuit. Walmart is getting sued by 6 women for sex discrimination; this despite the fact that most of the employees are women. The ambulance-chasing shysters fomenting this case succeeded in getting "class" status for their few plaintiffs from the notorious 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. One of the primary tests for certifying a lawsuit as a "class" is for the court to determine whether the named plaintiffs are sufficiently representative of the class.
Restoring sanity to legal system. In 2004, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decided a case that had been litigated for nine years. It dealt with whether Dorito chips pose a significant danger to the general public. The plaintiff claimed that Doritos' sharp edges can become lodged in the throat, and are therefore a threat to Dorito-eaters everywhere. After nearly a decade of costly litigation, the court rejected the claim. One judge pointed out, "the common sense notion that it is necessary to properly chew hard foodstuffs prior to swallowing." The Dorito case is just one example of the frivolous litigation that plagues the U.S. legal system. Equally ridiculous claims have been brought at the federal level. Lawsuits have been filed against U.S. weather forecasters for wrong predictions.
The lawsuit abuse problem in a nutshell. America's legal system cries out for reform when a solicitation described by a federal judge as "junk mail" can expose a mortgage company to as much as $16 billion in liability for allegedly failing to provide 16 million recipients with a sufficiently "clear and conspicuous" notice of one of their rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The prospect of having to face so massive a liability forced the company to settle a class-action lawsuit filed against it by plaintiff lawyers, who then received from the defendant $3.5 million in fees.
Inmates reap rewards of $35M settlement. [New York City] has started doling out $1,000 checks to 26,131 former jailbirds who won a $35.7 million class-action settlement for illegal strip searches — and recipients who are back in jail are throwing their newfound weight and windfall around. "I own you!" inmates are bragging to jailers on Rikers Island, according to Correction insiders.
The ABA's Jihad. The American Bar Association (ABA) has decided to undertake the fight for Sharia law. The ABA's Executive Counsel "has organized a Task Force to review the legislation of 14 states — Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wyoming — in which anti-Sharia legislation has been introduced." The goal of the ABA's Task Force is to fight against these legislative initiatives by free people, and to develop "an informal set of 'talking points' that local opponents of these initiatives could use to make their case in each of these states."
Obama's Labor Department isn't just about helping unions. Don't like your boss? Just call Obama's Department of Labor, and they'll help you find a lawyer. ... There is a Bush-era executive order still in effect ... which bars the federal government from directly hiring trial lawyers on a contingency fee basis. This program, which merely refers them, might not actually break the rule, but it walks right up to the line.
Does America have a lawyer problem, or a law problem? As someone who teaches at a law school, and sees his students go out into the world, I am predisposed to like law. When I practiced law at a big firm here in Washington, D.C., I enjoyed it and I felt like we helped our clients with their problems, more often than not. But a lot of people out there don't like lawyers, and think that the legal profession is harming the country. And I'm beginning to think that they might have a point.
Sisyphus in Boulder City. Public officials cannot simply throw dissenters into a gulag and govern by decree. But the city governors in Boulder City, Nevada, have found the next best thing. Sue the people. Regularly and repeatedly. As a method of effectuating an oligarchy, what could be more American?
Diddy Sued for $1 Trillion, Blamed for 9/11. A woman has filed a $1 trillion lawsuit against Diddy (real name: Sean Combs), alleging that he caused 9/11, put her child in the hospital and stole a poker chip worth "100 zillions of dollars." Valerie Joyce Wilson Turks is seeking a restraining order against the mogul, which a judge denied, but set a hearing for Jan. 31.
Climate Change Legal Boondoggle. Trial lawyers and their academic abettors are salivating over the potential for "hundreds of billions of dollars" in legal claims for compensatory losses due to climate change — according to a report by Richard Inham of the AFP. ... Thus as the industial world struggles to recover from the worst recession in generations, private enterprise will have to fend off thousands of spurious claims lodged by activist liberal lawyers in frivilous lawsuits over droughts, floods, and other weather-events normally classified legally as "Acts of God".
Price Of Junk Science. After the 1998 tobacco deal, many wondered where the next battleground for the shakedown lawyers would be. Few wonder now. The legal war over climate change is heating up — and it'll be costly.
The plain truth about who owns the Democratic Party. Speaking at a Northern Virginia town hall meeting, [Howard Dean] stunned many in the nation's capitol with these unexpected words: "Here's why tort reform is not in the bill. When you go to pass a really enormous bill like that, the more stuff you put into it, the more enemies you make. And the reason the tort reform is not in the bill is because the people who wrote it did not want to take on the trial lawyers in addition to everyone else they were taking on and that is the plain and simple truth."
A Texas-sized, bold idea for eliminating frivolous lawsuits. The competition between the 50 states for every new job out there just got very interesting. I'm talking about an idea the governor of Texas has for ending frivolous lawsuits in the Lone Star State. Some believe it could attract thousands of new jobs to Texas. Governor Rick Perry wants to create a "loser pays" system in the courts. It's used throughout the world, but plaintiff lawyers have worked hard to keep it out of America.
Jared Loughner may get a renowned public defender. When Jared Loughner faces a judge in federal court in Phoenix this afternoon, he will be accompanied by the same high-powered defense attorney who represented the "Unabomber," the Atlanta Olympics bomber and Susan Smith, the South Carolina woman who drowned her two children by driving her car into a lake.
California golden for legal shakedowns. California has earned another dubious distinction, this one laid at the doorstep of a "predatory" legal community. The state, particularly Los Angeles and Humboldt counties, was declared the nation's second-worst "judicial hellhole" by the American Tort Reform Association.
Defeated congressman sues pro-life PAC for 'loss of livelihood'. What a sore loser. Even before he was kicked to the curb by Ohio voters, Rep. Steve Driehaus, D-Ohio, tried to silence the Alexandria-based Susan B. Anthony List for criticizing his vote for Obamacare after the Stupak amendment banning the use of federal funds for abortion was stripped out of the bill.
Judge dismisses suit over inmate's sausage scrambler. A judge has dismissed a lawsuit accusing the Lancaster County jail of serving a Muslim inmate pork while he was awaiting trial on a drug charge. Dario Scott, 48, pleaded guilty to the cocaine charge and is serving three to five years in the Community Corrections Center, a state-run prison in Lincoln. In a lawsuit filed in October, Scott said staff at the Lancaster Correctional Facility served him a sausage and cheese scrambler with pork in it, despite assurances the jail's kitchen didn't serve pork, which Muslims often refrain from eating.
Class Action Suit Claims Happy Meals Exploit Children. McDonald's coffee, famously, was once the target of personal-injury litigation. Now, its Happy Meals turn to step into the litigation spotlight. A Sacramento mother today filed [a] suit claiming that McDonald's improperly uses Happy Meals toys as "bait" to induce kids to eat nutritionally questionable food. The suit seeks class action status.
Changes on Hill bode ill for trial lawyers. The nation's trial lawyer bar, one corner of corporate America firmly in the Democratic Party base, will soon be addressing a far less sympathetic jury on Capitol Hill. Republicans poised to take control of the U.S. House and state governments across the country next month are sending clear messages that an overhaul of the nation's tort and liability laws is a top priority, forcing trial lawyers to find ways to preserve a legal system that has allowed lucrative liability and class-action lawsuits to flourish.
Left sues to ban McDonald's toys. Never underestimate the left's audacity in their exploitation of children to advance their agenda. Whether they are blowing children up for global warming or using their own children as proxies for banning God from schools, there is virtually no boundary the left won't cross. ... The lawsuit, which reads as if the ladies of the View wrote it, cited the subversive nature of child pester power as the key factor in the harm to parents and their children.
A Black Farmer Blows the Whistle on the Black Farmer Settlement. I have 200 acres in Arkansas and have raised hogs. Pigford is the biggest rip-off this country has ever known, and there are lots of people in positions of power that know it. Politicians are using it to buy votes. Trial lawyers are using it to get rich.
Environmentalists: Give Trees the Right to Sue. What if a trimmed tree could sue as an amputee or a shucked clam could claim wrongful eviction? In an effort to ban everything from drilling oil to incinerating garbage, about a dozen communities across the country have adopted ordinances that give nature legal standing and water down the rights of businesses.
US sues school over denial of Muslim pilgrimage. The federal government sued a suburban Chicago school district Monday for denying a Muslim middle school teacher unpaid leave to make a pilgrimage to Mecca that is a central part of her religion.
The Obama Administration Fights For Sharia Law. Attorney General Eric Holder has decided to sue a suburban Chicago school district for denying a Muslim middle school female teacher three weeks of unpaid leave to abandon her students and make a pilgrimage to Mecca. The teacher wanted to perform the Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia which every adult Muslim is supposed to make at least once in a lifetime if he or she is able to do so. Ironically, the Obama administration is suing over a practice that discriminates against women.
Off to Mecca with Eric Holder's Blessing. Many first-year employees get no vacation days or time off. Teachers, depending upon their union-negotiated contracts, may get some. But to suggest that refusing a three-week leave at a crucial time of the school year is "discrimination" is just perverse. It's reaching to find a base motive for an obviously sensible decision.
The Law as Weapon: Islamic supremacists are at war with freedom of speech in the West: The 57-government Organization of the Islamic Conference has been campaigning for years now at the United Nations to compel Western states to criminalize "religious hatred" — that is, honest discussions of how Islamic jihadists use Islamic texts and teachings to justify violence and to recruit peaceful Muslims to their cause. One little-noted weapon in this war is the courtroom: using libel and defamation laws as weapons to cow critics and intimidate them into silence. My courageous and indefatigable colleague Pamela Geller is the latest target.
Lawsuit Seeks To Erase The Past. The Associated Press has a story about a Michigan father who is suing his daughter's school district, because her fifth-grade teacher read out loud from a book on slavery. The student in question, Jala Petree, is black, and is said to have suffered negative effects to her "conditions of learning duties and the advantages of her further education," along with her "mental and emotional well-being, past, present and future." Her father, Jamey Petree, is suing the district for $50,000.00 in damages. Although Mr. Petree first inquired about the lesson last April, and the lesson itself was presented over three months previously, the lawsuit was filed in early November.
Decrees of Separation. A law school audience fell into fits of laughter when a Senate candidate asked, "Where in the Constitution is separation of Church and State?" In fact, the phrase is nowhere in the document. ... Those scoffing law scholars might want to look at the Constitution's unadorned text instead of the judicial activist law review articles that take up so much of their day.
The Lawyers' Party. The Democratic Party has become the Lawyers' Party: Barack Obama is a lawyer. Michelle Obama is a lawyer. Hillary Clinton is a lawyer. Bill Clinton is a lawyer. ... Harry Reid is a lawyer. Nancy Pelosi is a lawyer.
Pimps and Parasites. [Scroll down] In recent years, however, Democratic attorneys general have been operating more as politicians pandering to voter weakness than they have as defenders of the law. The attorney general of New York, now running for governor of that state, has brought suit against every bank, insurance company, and other financial institution he can think of — all of it, apparently, in the interest of furthering his own political career. Following hurricane Katrina, the attorney general of Mississippi pressured insurance companies to pay for flood damages not covered in the policies. Now we have foreclosures on whose paperwork there may have been technical errors, and the attorneys general are swarming like rapacious mosquitoes.
Trial lawyers: Medical liability costs ONLY $56 billion per year! Our medical malpractice system costs Americans, insurers, and the government $56 billion in increased costs every year. ... The trial lawyers' spin? It ONLY costs $55 billion per year!
The Lawyers' Party. The Democratic Party has become the Lawyers' Party. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are lawyers. Bill Clinton and Michelle Obama are lawyers. John Edwards, the other former Democrat candidate for president, is a lawyer and so is his wife Elizabeth. Every Democrat nominee since 1984 went to law school (although Gore did not graduate.) Every Democrat vice presidential nominee since 1976, except for Lloyd Bentsen, went to law school. Look at the Democrat Party in Congress: the Majority Leader in each house is a lawyer.
Trial lawyers win when judges and juries become regulators. Americans should beware of plaintiffs attorneys bearing gifts. We will all be worse off now that judges and juries have taken over health care regulation in the California case of Lavender et al. vs Skilled Healthcare Group, Inc. Lavender represents almost everything that is wrong with our legal system.
Parasitic Tort Lawyers. Tort lawyers lie. They say their product liability suits are good for us. But their lawsuits rarely make our lives better. They make lawyers and a few of their clients better off — but for the majority of us, they make life much worse.
ATM's could become a lot more scarce because of abusive lawsuits. Think about how many times you or your family has used an ATM this summer. Maybe you've needed cash to pay for dinner during vacation or just to buy a snack at a local convenience store. Whatever the reason, the 24-hour access we have to our cash makes our lives a lot easier. Unfortunately, this kind of self-service banking could become a lot less convenient because of abusive lawsuits.
Blogger beware: Postings can lead to lawsuits. The Internet has allowed tens of millions of Americans to be published writers. But it also has led to a surge in lawsuits from those who say they were hurt, defamed or threatened by what they read, according to groups that track media lawsuits.
NY lawyer in terrorism case gets 10 year sentence. A New York lawyer who helped a terrorism suspect smuggle messages to his followers from prison was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Thursday [7/15/2010]. Lynne Stewart, 70, has been in prison since November after she was initially sentenced to 28 months for helping her client, blind Egyptian cleric Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, contact the Islamic Group in Egypt.
Woman who 'didn't know how to look both ways before crossing street' sues Google. She said it was dark, she had never been to the area before and didn't know how to look both ways before crossing the street. And now Lauren Rosenberg has gone to court, blaming Google Maps for bad directions.
Mississippi lesbian student sues over rejected tux photo. Another teenage lesbian is suing a rural Mississippi school district, this time over a policy banning young women from wearing tuxedos in senior yearbook portraits.
Barack Obama, Esq. President Obama's crisis leadership is like that of trial lawyer. The Obama approach towards the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has the same storyline as television commercials which describe some sad and poignant medical problems which plague many Americans and which then offer hope... sort of. These sponsors do not offer any new cure or better treatment for heartrending diseases. Instead, they say: We can sue someone for you.
Republicans question trial lawyer tax cut. Ranking Republicans in the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committee asked the Treasury Department for clarification on a change in tax policy that could underwrite frivolous lawsuits. Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy Michael Mundaca had confirmed last week that the Treasury department is considering granting trial lawyers a tax break that could cost the federal government $1.52 billion over 10 years.
Surreal Fox News Interview with Woman Suing Airline for Not Waking Her Up. The story of 36 year-old Ginger McGuire is strange enough already. She fell asleep aboard a 1 hour flight from DC to Philly, where she remained asleep for 3 more hours in a locked, empty airplane. She's suing United Airlines for not waking her up when the plane landed.
Frivolous lawsuit over global warming may go Supreme. A few months back, I wrote about a global warming lawsuit in Mississippi, Comer v. Murphy Oil. Landowners were suing an oil company for supposedly causing global warming, which supposedly caused Hurricane Katrina to hit them with extra ferocity. The astounding, mind-numbing 5th Circuit decision (written by two Clinton appointees) to let this lawsuit go forward was vacated, and the case was sent to an en banc panel. This suit is now getting far less attention, because trial lawyers' energies are now being spent in hopes of cashing in on the misery caused by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
The sweet stench of $uccess. He's filthy, rich. The city's most litigious bum, Richard Kreimer — infamous for winning a $230,000 suit 20 years ago after being kicked out of a Morristown, NJ, library for his body odor — is about to file his 18th lawsuit since 1988. The 61-year-old hobo plans to go after Amtrak in Philadelphia because he claims police forcibly removed him from the train station. He already has another lawsuit pending against NJ Transit for the same thing.
Detroit-area bus agency sued for rejecting aids encouraging Muslim defectors. A group that says it helps Muslims quit their faith sued Detroit's regional transit system Friday [5/28/2010] for violating its First Amendment rights by rejecting bus ads that ask, "Fatwa on your head? ... Leaving Islam? Got questions? Get answers!"
County worker who slept on job files discrimination claim. A Maricopa County drinking-water inspector who admitted sleeping on the job and was suspended without pay alleges in a discrimination claim that White supervisors did the same thing and were not disciplined.
Blumenthal and the Liars' Party. [Scroll down slowly] There is a pattern to this misbehavior. Blumenthal, Edwards, Clinton, and Kerry lied about their personal lives, hiding sins or inventing heroism. Each man was very specific in his false statements. All four of these men were lawyers, and three out of four were married to lawyers. Two of the four — Clinton and Blumenthal — were chosen as Attorney General for their home states, a position that should be held by scrupulously honest men.
There's always a lawyer who is willing to help.
16 illegals sue Arizona rancher. An Arizona man who has waged a 10-year campaign to stop a flood of illegal immigrants from crossing his property is being sued by 16 Mexican nationals who accuse him of conspiring to violate their civil rights when he stopped them at gunpoint on his ranch on the U.S.-Mexico border.
Why America Is One Nation Under God — Not a Nation of Lawyers. Those who wish America a godless society have developed a plethora of arguments to support their agenda. But arguments are not facts... We watch as lawyers make arguments every day, seldom concerned with any facts or even any sense of real justice. But they can make an argument, sometimes a very successful argument. If their argument is not true, has justice been served? Is the argument right if it was made on a premise that was all wrong, even though the argument is effective?
Lawyers on the prowl after US oil spill. Armies of lawyers are turning their sights to the massive oil slick spreading across the Gulf of Mexico, eagerly seeking damages from the companies at the center of the disaster.
Malpractice litigation is costly. [Scroll down to page 24] Malpractice insurance, litigation, and the practice of defensive medicine are responsible for part of the unnecessarily high cost of health care in the U.S. ... In real terms, malpractice claims grew 10-fold and malpractice premiums tripled during the past 30 years. In 2001, 52 percent of malpractice awards were for amounts in excess of $1 million, compared to a median award of less than $500,000 just five years earlier.
Why No Presidential Wrath Aimed at Trial Lawyers? Given Barack Obama's alleged passion for containing health care costs, just why is it that the president has steadfastly refused to take on greedy trial attorneys, those ambulance-chasing barristers who are largely responsible for out-of-control jumps in health care costs? Even socialist wild man Howard Dean admitted that health care change without tort reform would be a meaningless charade.
Gulf spill draws flock of lawyers. Teams of lawyers from around the nation are mobilizing for a gargantuan legal battle over the massive Gulf Coast oil spill, filing multiple lawsuits in recent days that together could dwarf the half-billion dollars awarded in the Exxon Valdez disaster two decades ago.
Woman says she fell asleep, woke up alone on plane. A Michigan woman who fell asleep on a United Express flight to Philadelphia says she woke up and was shocked to find she was alone on the plane.
Trial lawyers love Obamacare. President Obama made a big show about being open to some Republican reform ideas to rein in lawsuit abuse. Those pledges — which Mr. Obama made twice in major public forums — were worthless. The final version of Obamacare, as signed into law, is a dream come true for big-money plaintiffs' lawyers.
ObamaCare Whets Lawyers' Appetites. It turns out the Democrats tucked away a little gift for one of their biggest constituencies, the trial lawyers, in Section 2304 of the new health care law. It alters the section of the U.S. code that defines what "medical assistance" means for state government health care programs, including Medicaid. That leaves states open to far more liability.
How many lawyers does it take... Thousands of lawyers now find themselves drowning in the unemployment line as the legal sector is being badly saturated with attorneys.
Judicial hellholes. A new report on "Judicial Hellholes" arrives just in time, albeit indirectly, to remind Congress that no health-system changes can qualify as real "reform" if they don't include serious lawsuit reforms as well. The annual report by the American Tort Reform Foundation, released Dec. 15, shows that President Obama's own Cook County, Ill., is the nation's third-worst place for lawsuit abuse. Maybe that helps explain why Obamacare, especially as translated by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, discourages lawsuit reforms rather than promoting them.
Health-Care Reform Must Serve Patients, Not Lawyers. As the Obama Administration faces the reality that some sort of compromise with Senate Republicans will be necessary to pass health-care reform, personal injury lawyers have launched a campaign of misinformation to protect their wallets. The American Association for Justice, a special interest group for lawyers, would have Americans believe that legislation that limits how lawyers can gain from the legal system would hurt patients. However, it is because of massive lawsuit abuse initiated by the trial bar that many Americans cannot afford health insurance.
Trial lawyers buy Democrats in Congress. Judging by Federal Election Commission data on the political contributions of people associated with the top 15 class-action plaintiffs' law firms, it's no accident that malpractice reform is not part of health care "reform": Trial lawyers are investing heavily in their Democratic friends who control the White House and both chambers of Congress. Since Jan. 3, 2009, 581 contributions worth $1,261,023 have been made by donors identifying themselves as employees of the 15 firms (contributions by employees who did not identify their employer are not reflected in this data). Democratic candidates and committees received $1,241,978, or 98 percent of the total.
Activist 'Green' Lawyers Billing U.S. Millions in Fraudulent Attorney Fees. Without any oversight, accounting, or transparency, environmental activist groups have surreptitiously received at least $37 million from the federal government for questionable "attorney fees." The lawsuits they received compensation for had nothing to do with environmental protection or improvement. The activist groups have generated huge revenue streams via the obscure Equal Access to Justice Act.
Trial lawyer lobbyist to head traffic safety for Obama. A former lobbyist for the nation's largest trial lawyer industry group, the American Association for Justice (formerly the Association of Trial Lawyers of America) is Obama's nominee as administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Scandal of lawyers' NHS payout bills. The cost of fighting clinical negligence claims against the NHS is soaring and most of the payouts are going in the pockets of lawyers, figures show. In one case, a law firm received 58 times as much as the victim. In each of the past five years there have been examples of lawyers receiving more than 10 times the sum paid to the victim in compensation.
Murder by Lawfare — How Liberal Lawsuits are Taking American Lives. Not being able to stop a terrorist before he strikes. Not being able to remove Muslims who are engaging in threatening behavior on a plane. Not able to take action against a terrorist plot for fear that the terrorists will be allowed to walk free. That is what the domestic version of the War on Terror looks like today. Those are the wages of Lawfare, the legal campaign on behalf of terrorists waged by well known liberal legal advocacy groups...
What the trial lawyers don't mention about their agenda. American Association for Justice President Anthony Tarricone, the head of the nation's trade organization for trial lawyers, gave a press briefing earlier this month to promote his group's agenda. There's nothing too surprising in the agenda he outlined. ... But if you pull up AAJ's lobbying filing for the fourth quarter of 2009, you'll find two items that escaped mention altogether.
Here's what is stopping tort reform. In his Sept. 9, nationally televised speech before a joint session of Congress, President Barack Obama made news by saying that medical-malpractice litigation "may be contributing to unnecessary costs" in the U.S. health care system. Since then, trial-lawyer advocates — including their lobbying arm, the American Association for Justice (AAJ), and various allied "consumer" groups such as the Center for Justice and Democracy — have been engaged in a fierce counterattack.
The Costs of Defensive Medicine. Many doctors feel the need to practice "defensive medicine" — the ordering extra tests, scans, consultations and even hospitalization — to protect against malpractice lawsuits. Doctors say the hidden costs of the tests along with malpractice insurance and lawsuit awards are major drivers behind the soaring cost of care and account for up to 10 percent of health care spending.
This is an original compilation, Copyright © 2013 by Andrew K. Dart
Tort Reform Is Key To Health Reform. Though common-sense Americans repeatedly raised the issue of tort reform while discussing health care legislation with members of Congress during town hall meetings this past summer, too many lawmakers and analysts still stubbornly insist that medical liability lawsuits do not contribute significantly to rising health care costs. These lawmakers and analysts are wrong.
Obama's Tort Reform: A Tale of Two States. Consider Pennsylvania, where liberal medical liability laws have enabled more than 10,000 lawsuits to be filed against doctors since 2002, although the Pennsylvania Medical Board reports that only 73 lawsuits were found to have merit. According to the American Medical Association (AMA), the state is suffering from an "extreme-level" medical crisis. Pennsylvania's medical liability insurance rates are among the highest in the nation.
Questions Even Glenn Beck Hasn't Asked. [Scroll down] How it was that of the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence, only 24 were lawyers or jurists, but of the current 100 senators, 60 are lawyers? While it's true that there are slightly more than a million lawyers in America, that is less than one percent of the adult population. So how is it that 60% of the U.S. Senate and slightly over 30% of the House members, in addition to their party affiliation, are entitled to put Esq. after their name?
The Malpractice Problem. The extra imaging study, the extra day in hospital at the end of an admission, the repetitive laboratory testing, the admission to the hospital to be "sure" about the diagnosis are all inherent in the culture of American medical care. The avoidance of litigation has become ingrained into all aspects of medical care. Since physicians are not liable for the increased costs of care but are liable for any error or missed diagnosis, it would be foolish for them to act in any other fashion.
Follow the Money. In case anyone was still sophomoric enough to believe Democrats' pledge that the health care bill is about improving health care, Congress and the White House have consistently opposed the easiest method for lowering health care costs: limiting malpractice lawsuits.
Report: Limiting medical lawsuits could save $41B. Limits on medical malpractice lawsuits would lead doctors to order up fewer unneeded tests and save taxpayers billions more than previously thought, budget umpires for Congress said Friday [10/9/2009] in a reversal that puts the issue back in the middle of the health care debate.
There's no shortage of lawyers. The insufficient regulation and subsequent massive amount of cash available to those pursuing malpractice suits ensures a huge oversupply of lawyers. Try Googling "medical malpractice" and you'll be faced with hundreds of advertisements for tragedy solicitors trolling for a big malpractice payday.
Lawsuit Firesale. Here and there across America, good news does happen. Take Oklahoma, where the looming prospect of legal reform is causing a run on lawsuits. Earlier this year the state legislature passed a reform abolishing joint and several liability and imposing a $400,000 cap on noneconomic damages, among other medical malpractice changes.
Woman slips on strawberry, gets $21,000. A woman who was injured after slipping on a piece of strawberry was one of several Newport-Mesa Unified School District employees to receive thousands of dollars in compensation recently. Board officials at a recent meeting approved settlements in four slip-and-fall cases.
Woman hit by train while taking photos on Tupelo tracks seeks millions from railroad. Helen Gable was taking pictures on the railroad tracks in Tupelo in 2006 when a train cut her leg nearly off as she tried to get out of the way.
Don't squeeze the telecoms. Certain Democratic senators are doing their Pavlov's dog routine again, responding to the bell of the trial lawyers who finance their campaigns. In this instance, they are reopening a fight to make telecommunications companies liable for trillions of dollars for complying with a presidential directive to assist in a "warrantless surveillance" program against suspected terrorists.
Joe Wilson's War. [Scroll down] The president threw the GOP something of a carrot by saying he would "look into" malpractice reform and support "demonstration projects" at the state level. He ignores that malpractice reform has already been acceptable at the state level, most notably in Texas, and no further study is needed. He knows the Democrats' No. 1 lobby, the trial lawyers, would never permit real reform at the national level. As we have written, malpractice abuse accounts for between 2% and 10% of all medical costs today.
Obamacare Only Healthy for Lawyers. Tucked away in the thousands of pages of the Democrats' health care overhaul bill are a number of gifts to the trial lawyers. Which, by the way, are the Party's largest financial backers.
Why Democrats won't cross trial lawyers. A former Vermont governor and Democratic presidential aspirant, [Howard] Dean was a practicing physician before he entered politics, so perhaps we should not be surprised by his explanation for why medical malpractice caps (i.e., tort reform) is not in Obamacare. "The reason tort reform is not in the bill is because the people who wrote it did not want to take on the trial lawyers in addition to everybody else they were taking on," Dean said. "And that's the plain and simple truth."
Tort Reformed. The Founding Fathers envisioned the states as laboratories for ideas and choices. If the administration needs a demonstration project for successful tort reform, it need look no further than Mississippi.
Climate lawsuits are coming, Gore & Browner warn. Former Vice President Al Gore and current White House climate change czar Carol Browner are warning companies and lawmakers that the courts will step in to regulate greenhouse gases if Congress fails to act. "All of the discussion has been about the president and the Congress," Gore told journalists at a U.N. press conference Tuesday. "We have a third branch of government: the courts."
Did someone mention Al Gore?
Manufactured Healthcare Crisis. The increasing costs of medical care resulting from Medicare, Medicaid and the dramatic growth of malpractice lawsuits have provided activists with the rationale they need to agitate for socialized medicine. This has been their strategy all along. Medicare and Medicaid were designed to undermine private healthcare, making it ever more expensive and unmanageable, until enough interest could be generated for systemic change. Similarly, changes in tort law aimed at turning our courts into vehicles for income redistribution have overburdened our legal system with massive caseloads and the highest liability costs in the world. While doubtless many thought they were doing good, the ultimate goal, as elucidated by the Left, has everywhere and always been Socialism.
Tort Reform Can Lower Costs Without Harming Health Care. It seems that the president should be desperate to find some savings in his health care plan, as the Congressional Budget Office has said almost every Democratic Party idea increases rather than decreases spending. Tort reform may very well be the ticket to heath care savings that President Obama is looking for.
Obama Taps ex-Trial Lawyer Lobbyist to Look at Tort Reform. There are credible estimates that serious tort reform could save the country between $100 and $200 billion annually in wasteful spending, as doctors practice defensive medicine to preempt lawsuits. Trial lawyers are adamantly opposed to any caps on damages and have made fighting tort reform their top priority for years. So tort reform was excluded from Obama's version of health care reform because the trial lawyers would have bitterly opposed it.
Health care run by trial lawyers. Political power, rather than substance, is at the heart of the Democrats' proposed health care legislation. Admission of that power-politics reality was the most significant occurrence in a very odd town-hall meeting Tuesday night [8/25/2009] held by Virginia Democratic Rep. James P. Moran. It is now clearer than ever that plaintiffs' lawyers collectively are the political powerhouse running the health care show.
Caving to Trial Lawyers. We've always suspected that fear of angering trial lawyers was the only reason President Obama refused to embrace tort reform as a crucial part of achieving his goal of reduced health care costs. Now we know for sure. A moment of candor by Howard Dean, the former chairman of the DNC and an enthusiastic backer of Obama's health reform initiative, confirmed our suspicions.
Robber sues store worker who shot him. The owner of Nick's Party Stop on Cass Avenue in Clinton Township and several people connected to his store are being sued by a man who was shot while robbing the store. ... John Acho, owner of the store and one of the people sued, said his customers are mad that an armed robber is allowed to file a lawsuit after he threatened the store's employees with a knife.
Why I Cancelled My AARP Membership: [Scroll down] For any age group, many tests and procedures are ordered because they are available and in the patient's best interest. Yet how much utilization is caused by physicians practicing defensive medicine? They fear being sued over missing something that might be found in a diagnostic test. Ordering guidelines are inconsistent. Inconclusive tests lead to more tests, in the hopes of ruling out or confirming suspicions. We are a litigious society and some trial lawyers are all too eager to line their own coffers representing frivolous cases.
Health care reform that actually works! Here's a modest proposal. Rather than looking to Massachusetts or Tennessee for examples of health care reform, why not look to Texas? The Lone Stare state has its problems, but in recent years it has made major progress in improving health care availability, especially in predominantly poor and minority regions. ... Their answer? They got rid of the lawyers.
Fraud by Trial Lawyers Taints Wave of Pesticide Lawsuits. After responding to a radio commercial seeking former banana-plantation workers for a lawsuit against Dole Food Co., Marcos Sergio Medrano thought he might be entitled to some money. ... Mr. Medrano is part of the sorry fallout from a group of U.S. personal-injury and other lawyers who descended on this small, impoverished city, seeking to recruit thousands of clients and earn up to 40% of any awards.
Abusive lawsuits: Suing America into ruin. To save jobs, stop abusive lawsuits. That was the gist of the timely message Monday at a hearing on legal reform sponsored by the Senate Republican Conference. ... Orthopedic surgeon David Teuscher, a Desert Storm veteran, told how doctors are literally flooding into [California] as a result of a series of lawsuit reforms Texas adopted in 1995.
Litigation Nation. Called to a Florida school that could not cope, police led the disorderly student away in handcuffs, all 40 pounds of her 5-year-old self. In a Solomonic compromise, schools in Broward County, Fla., banned running at recess. Long Beach, N.J., removed signs warning swimmers about riptides, although the oblivious tides continued. The warning label on a five-inch fishing lure with a three-pronged hook says "Harmful if swallowed"; the label on a letter opener says "Safety goggle recommended."
Tax cut for trial lawyers. Congress adjourns for August recess this week. As lawmakers try to explain to their constituents back home why the world's most advanced health care system should be altered, the one special interest that ought to be targeted is the only one that may get off scott-free — trial lawyers. In fact, the lawyers want a tax cut.
Why John Edwards Is Responsible for More Unnecessary Operations Than "Greedy Doctors". It's interesting that President Obama discusses unnecessary operations as one of the causes of high health care costs. Do you know what the most often performed operation is in the United States? With heart disease being the number one killer in America, you might think it would be related to that, perhaps bypass surgery or angioplasty. It's cesarean section. In 1965, only 4.5 percent of children were delivered via c-section. Today, 31 percent are.
Climate bill could trigger lawsuit landslide. Self-proclaimed victims of global warming or those who "expect to suffer" from it — from beachfront property owners to asthmatics — for the first time would be able to sue the federal government or private businesses over greenhouse gas emissions under a little-noticed provision slipped into the House climate bill. Environmentalists say the measure was narrowly crafted to give citizens the unusual standing to sue the U.S. government as a way to force action on curbing emissions. But the U.S. Chamber of Commerce sees a new cottage industry for lawyers.
Lawsuit alleges unsafe salt at Denny's. A class action lawsuit filed Thursday by a New Jersey man alleges meals at Denny's contain unsafe salt levels, a non-profit groups said. The lawsuit, filed with the support of the food advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest in Washington, seeks to compel Denny's to disclose on menus the amount of sodium in each of its meals and to place a notice on its menus warning about high sodium levels.
The Silicosis Abdication. It is going on four years since a Texas judge blew the whistle on widespread silicosis fraud, exposing a ring of doctors and lawyers who ginned up phony litigation to reap jackpot payouts. So where's the enforcement follow-up?
A Chemical Scare Campaign Is Good Business for Some. If you're unfamiliar with Bisphenol A (BPA), it is a chemical used to make lightweight, versatile, durable, high-performance plastics. It's also one of the most extensively tested products in the world. For example, as Norris Alderson, the FDA's associate commissioner for science, said just last year, "a large body of available evidence" demonstrates that products made with it are safe.
Wheelchair granny who shot Harlem crook sued for $5 million. A gun-toting grandmother who shot a man she says tried to mug her in her wheelchair in Harlem is being sued by the career criminal for $5 million. Margaret Johnson, 59, whose grandfather was an infamous Harlem crime boss who inspired a character in the film Shaft, says that she now wishes she had killed Deron Johnson when she wounded him in the arm in 2006.
Lefty Foes Attempt to Bankrupt Palin Family. Since Alaska governor Sarah Palin was named John McCain's running mate, her foes and various Alaskan liberals have begun a new exercise, attempting to bankrupt the Palin family through legal fees, by filing endless ethics complaints against her.
Well, I Do Have Two B.A.s. In thirty-five years of defending lawsuits, one case sticks out more than the rest. I have thought about this case a lot lately. Perhaps the "2009 Pass the Pork Bill" signed by Obama which mortgages our great great grandkids' future reminded me of this case.
Five Ways that Insanity Has Become the New Normal in America: In our legal system, you can injure yourself doing something utterly stupid, sue someone who just happened to be in the vicinity while you acted like a lunatic, and if you get lucky, you can walk away with millions of dollars while he's driven out of business. It's like playing the lottery, except your odds of winning are much better. The evidence of how warped our legal system has become is all around us. It's difficult to find an obstetrician in some parts of the country because they've been sued out of existence.
Legal Services Unleashed. The Obama Administration and the Democratic Congress may soon gain another valuable ally in their effort to radically expand government. On March 26, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) introduced legislation that ends the restrictions on the ability of legal services organizations, funded by the Legal Services Corporation (LSC), to file ideologically motivated lawsuits. In addition, Harkin's bill, "The Civil Access to Justice Act of 2009," nearly doubles the LSC budget from $390 million to $750 million. If Harkin's bill is enacted, thousands of legal services lawyers will unleash a barrage of lawsuits in the nation's federal and state courts to advance a liberal political agenda.
How Modern Law Makes Us Powerless: Americans don't feel free to reach inside themselves and make a difference. The growth of litigation and regulation has injected a paralyzing uncertainty into everyday choices. All around us are warnings and legal risks. The modern credo is not "Yes We Can" but "No You Can't." Our sense of powerlessness is pervasive. Those who deal with the public are the most discouraged.
Motley Paint Crew. The trial lawyer set is getting a lesson in the real definition of "public nuisance." Late last month, Rhode Island Superior Court Judge Michael Silverstein ruled that defendants in a legendary lead-paint litigation should be reimbursed for $242,000 in "co-examiner costs" for a lawsuit they won in July. The reimbursement may be pocket change to some, but it sends a strong signal to trial lawyers and state Attorneys General that filing frivolous lawsuits is not cost-free.
Buying off trial lawyers to grease the stimulus. Who knew that plaintiffs' lawyers need to be stimulated? In a "recovery plan" that President Barack Obama said must be passed with "urgency," why does the Senate weigh down its version of the economic stimulus bill with extraneous provisions having nothing remotely to do with invigorating the economy? Several sneaky parts of the bill are designed solely to make it easier and more profitable for class-action plaintiffs attorneys to file lawsuits against more businesses. Not only are the provisions unfair, they also are likely to be job killers in a bill supposedly aimed at job creation.
The trial lawyers' "justice" myth. Although trial lawyers say they "protect the little guy," that's a myth. In truth, for every little guy they help, they hurt thousands.
A perversion of Justice: As vile as pederasts, pedophiles, bottom-feeding scum-suckers, are, there are others who are even worse, if only because they are far more numerous. For openers, there are the lawyers who use all their guile to con juries into letting these freaks run loose. I have no idea how these shysters sleep at night, knowing full well that their children and grandchildren could be the creep's next prey. Next we have the judges, the parole boards, the ACLU and the legislatures, who are all in cahoots to pretend that these perverts are just like other criminals. It's just not so.
16 illegals sue Arizona rancher. An Arizona man who has waged a 10-year campaign to stop a flood of illegal immigrants from crossing his property is being sued by 16 Mexican nationals who accuse him of conspiring to violate their civil rights when he stopped them at gunpoint on his ranch on the U.S.-Mexico border. Roger Barnett, 64, began rounding up illegal immigrants in 1998 and turning them over to the U.S. Border Patrol, he said, after they destroyed his property, killed his calves and broke into his home.
Your Land Is Their Land. Our southern border is so out of control you can now be sued by those illegally entering the country and trespassing on your property. Illegal aliens, it seems, have a right to interstate travel.
Rancher ruling adds to border debate. Arizona rancher Roger Barnett initially faced the possibility of paying $32 million to compensate several illegal immigrants he stopped at gunpoint on his land. He walked away instead with a verdict that rejected any notion he violated the trespassers' civil rights and affirmed that U.S. citizens can still detain aliens crossing the border. What remains to be seen, though, is what impact the $77,800 in damages that a jury Tuesday ordered Mr. Barnett to pay will have on America's larger immigration debate and the efforts of some illegals to get compensation from a country they aren't even allowed to enter.
Setting the Bar for Corruption. The real name of the nation's foremost securities class-action firm is Milberg Weiss. Since 1965, the firm has won, often by tactics indistinguishable from extortion, $45 billion from corporations — more than $1 billion a year for plaintiffs claiming to have been cheated as investors.
The Law is an Ass. When even Harvard law professor and one-time member of O.J. Simpson's so-called dream team Alan Dershowitz claims that over 90% of all criminal defendants are guilty, why would any sane person want to devote his life to trying to spring hundreds, maybe even thousands, of felons? I realize that our legal system insists that every murderer, rapist, pedophile and kidnapper, is entitled to the very best defense his lawyer can provide, but what sort of human being wakes up in the morning and, even before brushing his fangs, is busy thinking up ways to aid and abet those monsters? And just how is he morally superior to the goon who drives the getaway car?
For legions of lawyers, bad markets are good business. As the corporate victims continue to pile up in Wall Street's great financial collapse, that flapping noise coming from the skies over Manhattan isn't the pigeons circling, it's the vultures. With personal fortunes, retirement savings and institutional assets evaporating each day, swarms of attorneys from some of the nation's most prestigious firms are positioning themselves to cash in on the escalating misery.
Did someone mention the bailout bill?
No Lawyers, Please. A poll released this week finds that most Americans do not want their day in court. Rather, they prefer cheaper and faster methods of settling arguments. When asked how they'd like to settle a dispute with a company, 82% chose arbitration, which avoids the time and expense of going to court. Only 15% opted for litigation.
'Over-lawed' nation: For our money, attorney Norman Pattis still holds the record for the best summation of the legal profession: "Each year, the bar belches forth a new class of lawyers; we add them faster than they die off. Lawyers need cases or controversies to survive. As the number of lawyers grows, plaintiffs' lawyers reach ever deeper into the cesspool of human need to find clients."
LA judge rules in $247-million seatbelt suit. Car owners who claimed a seatbelt installed in some 4 million cars in California was improperly tested and its buckle might open in a crash lost a $247-million lawsuit against the manufacturer. ... The suit didn't claim anyone was injured by the seatbelts but argued they might cause future problems.
Arsonist seeks pension; it's the 'Chicago Way'. In what squeaky-clean city would a fire department lieutenant known as "Matches," convicted of multiple arsons — including one sparked at an elementary school — feel that he's still entitled to his taxpayer-funded pension of $50,000 per year? Oh, don't pretend you don't know the city. It's Chicago, which must be the epicenter of political reform now that Mayor Richard Daley's guys are running the White House and the U.S. Census, and are about to wet the beaks of federal road and bridge contractors.
Drunk Rides Gravy Train. He got so drunk that he fell into the path of a subway train — costing him his right leg — but a Manhattan jury still awarded him $2.3 million after finding that NYC Transit was to blame.
In Tight Race, Victor May Be Ohio Lawyers. If the outcome of next week's presidential election is close, this precariously balanced state could be the place where the two parties begin filing the inevitable lawsuits over voting irregularities, experts say. The battles could be over the rules for a recount, or how to deal with voters who were not added to the rolls even though they registered properly and on time. Lawyers could fight over how to count the paper ballots used when the electronic machines break down, or whether a judge was correct in deciding to keep certain polls open late.
Biden Benefits From Trial-Lawyer Donations, Backs Them in Votes. Joe Biden has been an ally of trial lawyers throughout his tenure in the U.S. Senate, opposing every effort to curb lawsuits against businesses and doctors. The lawyers are returning the favor.
America Needs a Trustworthy President — Not a Lawyer. When polled about who they trust (by occupation), people have consistently ranked Doctors and Teachers at the top of the list, and Lawyers at or near the bottom. In a 2006 Harris Poll, lawyers would have maintained their position at the bottom of the trustworthiness barrel, except for the fact that the Pollster included Actors as a new choice. Actors are now at the bottom of the list, bumping Lawyers up a notch to second least trustworthy.
The Lawsuit Gravy Train: Doing It the Black Way. Writer Shahrazad Ali described the antics of blacks who either had filed class-action lawsuits or were plotting lawsuits against their white employers for so-called discriminatory practices. Calling this stratagem "a new job related lottery," she chided such blacks for their "perpetual begging" and willingness to have whites "buy and sell" them. Thanks to today's political climate, the perpetual begging has turned into perpetual demands .
After I-35W bridge collapse, lawyers promptly pounced. The last victim of the Interstate 35W bridge collapse has been recovered from the water. The long, complex search for the disaster's cause is ramping up in earnest. It's about the time we'd expect the lawyers to descend.
The "climate change" gravy train ...
Flooded Village Files Suit, Citing Corporate Link to Climate Change. Lawyers for the Alaska Native coastal village of Kivalina, which is being forced to relocate because of flooding caused by the changing Arctic climate, filed suit in federal court here Tuesday [2/26/2008] arguing that 5 oil companies, 14 electric utilities and the country's largest coal company were responsible for the village's woes.
Lawyers Embrace U.S. Climate Practice at $700 an Hour. Lawyers are becoming some of the best-paid environmentalists. Twenty of the 100 highest-grossing U.S. law firms have started practices advising companies on climate change, according to a Bloomberg survey of the firms' Web sites. The attorneys help clients finance clean-energy projects and lobby Congress, typically billing $500 to $700 an hour.
Exposing Trial Lawyer Earmarks Growing in Congress. Every summer, I suspect that those who work at garden supply stores are inundated by people looking for advice on how to fight back against invasive vines and weeds that creep into their yards. A similar lesson holds true for trying to contain the growth and threat to our economy of the plaintiffs' trial bar: no matter how much work we put into bringing balance to the U.S. legal system, there's a good chance plaintiffs' lawyers will regroup and look for new ways to sue.
Judge Ahab and the Whales: In its storied history the U.S. Navy has defeated German U-boats and the British and Japanese Imperial navies, but we are about to find out if it can be whipped by whales and activist judges. Welcome to the new world of lawsuits as antiwar weapons.
See also Environmentalists vs. Military Preparedness.
Sublimely Ridiculous Suits. There's a guy I'd never heard of (and whose name I will not repeat) who has plenty of time on his hands because he resides in a federal slammer down South, where he is serving time for wire fraud and identity theft. Alas, he has enough time on his hands to be his own lawyer and launch his own lawsuits. He's claiming I caused him "major mental damage" when I supposedly said, "Anyone who steals credit cards and does identity theft should rot in prison."
After more than 400 lawsuits, disabled man can sue no more. Whether Jarek Molski is a crusader for the disabled or an extortionist who abused the law for personal gain, the vexatious litigant has filed his last lawsuit. The U.S. Supreme Court declined Monday to hear the case of Molski vs. Evergreen Dynasty Corp., owner of a Chinese restaurant in Solvang, Calif., in a legal Waterloo for the 38-year-old Woodland Hills man. Molski filed more than 400 suits under the Americans With Disabilities Act before a federal judge barred him from future litigation.
Parents Sue Philadelphia for Letting Them Kill Their Child. The abdication of individual responsibility, along with the chutzpah and greed that drive our legal system to ever new extremes of absurdity, may have reached a climax in Philadelphia, where parents have filed a suit against the city for letting them kill their child.
Lawyer Reveals Secret, Toppling Death Sentence. For 10 years, Leslie P. Smith, a Virginia lawyer, reluctantly kept a secret because the authorities on legal ethics told him he had no choice, even though his information could save the life of a man on death row, one whose case had led to a landmark Supreme Court decision. Mr. Smith believed that prosecutors had committed brazen misconduct by coaching a witness and hiding it from the defense, but the Virginia State Bar said he was bound by legal ethics rules not to bring up the matter.
Inmate's freedom may hinge on secret kept for 26 years. For a quarter of a century, defense lawyers Dale Coventry and Jamie Kunz were bound by the rules of law to hold onto a secret that now could mean freedom for a man serving a life sentence for murder. Bound to silence by attorney-client privilege, Kunz and Coventry could do nothing as another man, Alton Logan, 54, was tried and convicted instead.
The Editor asks...
Is attorney-client privilege more important than justice?
We'll Rue Having Judges on the Battlefield. The Supreme Court's decision in Boumediene v. Bush is being hailed in many quarters as a great victory for civil rights and the rule of law. It is not. In fact, it is a watershed in judicial hubris, and in the continuing trend in our society to convert every form of decision making into a lawsuit.
Did someone mention Boumediene?
Safety mania bursts clown's bubbles. A clown has had to stop blowing bubbles for children to chase after being warned it could be a safety hazard. Tony Turner, also known as Barney Baloney, will now stick to clowning and juggling after being refused insurance by several companies which feared youngsters might slip on the bubbles' residue.
Professor Sues Students For Doubting Hairbrained 'Theories'. She claims that her students violated her civil rights. She says student's "anti-intellectualism" made her life a living hell. So, this ex-Dartmouth professor is threatening to sue her students for the temerity to have doubted her hairbrained theories on "ecofeminism" and the "French narrative theory." Why, it was so horrible for her that she felt she had to consult a physician for her symptoms of "intellectual distress."
Stuff and Nonsense. The drink maker Snapple claims its products are "made from the best stuff on Earth." But what does "stuff on Earth" mean, exactly? Does it mean "stuff" that naturally exists? Or is it enough that the "stuff" can be artificially created? The answer could be worth $100 million to persons who bought Snapple thinking its ingredients were "all natural," according to a lawsuit filed in early July in federal court in New York City.
Man says hold the cheese, claims McDonald's didn't, sues for $10 million. A Morgantown man, his mother and his friend are suing McDonald's for $10 million. The man says he bit into a hamburger and had a severe allergic reaction to the cheese melted on it.
The Editor says...
A person who is so severely allergic to cheese would have to be an utter fool to trust his health to McDonald's minimum-wage burger-flipping employees. And wouldn't a person in that fragile state of health look inside the burger before biting into it? And how do we know it's really cheese and not some artificial look-alike? I wish I could be on that jury!
The Black Trial: The human drama the jury didn't see. Just before the case went to the jury, Conrad Black's two lead attorneys sent him a demand for an additional million bucks each. No messing around with billable hours and 15-minute increments and $27.59 for photocopying: just a nice round seven-figure sum by way of supplementary retainer. A day or two before closing arguments to the 12 men and women who'll decide your fate is no time to pick a quarrel with your lawyers.
Sometimes First Prize is Not an Honor. If it weren't so sad, it would be funny. We've become so accustomed to various warning labels that we often forget their proliferation is a direct result of frivolous litigation. When runaway juries fail to penalize plaintiffs in frivolous cases for their own stupidity — it's called "contributory negligence" in legalese — they think they are raiding corporate deep pockets. In fact, the pockets they are picking are their own.
Inmate Files Another Bizarre Lawsuit, Names Barry Bonds, Bud Selig and Hank Aaron's Bat. The prisoner who made headlines by filing a "63,000,000,000 billion dollar" lawsuit against NFL quarterback Michael Vick is at it again, this time suing new home run king Barry Bonds, Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig and a character unable to defend itself — Hank Aaron's bat.
The Editor says...
The legal system is in need of repair when an inmate is permitted to file lawsuits unrelated to the case that put him or her in prison.
Feds seek to halt inmate's frequent lawsuits. A federal inmate who has filed more than 3,800 lawsuits and targeted the famous, the infamous and even the long-dead is now being sued by federal officials who want him to knock it off.
A ruling so silly, the dissenting judge didn't even read it This is a case about nothing. Now, after years of litigation over two dollars, the majority will impose on a busy judge to conduct a trial on this silly thing, and require a panel of jurors to set aside their more important duties of family and business in order to decide it.
John Doe vs. flying imams: Imagine you're waiting to board a plane and you see fellow travelers acting strangely and muttering words that you don't understand. Maybe they're Muslim, maybe they're not. You're afraid that they are up to no good. What do you do? Nothing. If you report the behavior, you might get sued.
Zero Tolerance or Unneccessary Legislation? In New York the trademark jingle of the iconic ice cream truck has been silenced. In Sacramento you have to use your inside voice on a thrill ride called the Screamer. And in Murpheesboro, Tenn., the city council implemented a body odor ban on its workers. Forget your deodorant and you could be breaking the law. With more and more schools and local governments telling people what they can't do these days, some say America has become a nation of bans.
Tidal Wave of Lawyers Nears, Bar Applications Forewarn. Even with 91,000 practicing attorneys in the five boroughs last year, a new wave of lawyers is hitting the city, as a record number of law school students are taking and passing the state bar, according to data provided by the New York State Board of Law Examiners.
When Lawyers Become Bullies: There are only two ways to do things in life: voluntarily or forced. We reporters may be obnoxious, intrusive, stupid, rude, etc., but we cannot force anyone to do anything. All our work is in the voluntary sector. But litigation is force. When a plaintiff sues, a defendant is forced to mount a defense. If he settles or loses, he's forced to pay. Government is the enforcer.
Clinton v. Obama: The Lawsuit. What splendid theater the Democratic Party presidential nominating process is shaping up to be. And they are just getting started. The real fun would be a convention deadlock denouement a few months from now, the prospect of which is already quickening the pulses of scores of Democratic lawyers who have been waiting more than seven years for an encore of their 2000 presidential-election performances.
The $65 Million Dollar Pants
Lawyer's Price For Missing Pants: $65 Million. When the neighborhood dry cleaner misplaced Roy Pearson's pants, he took action. He complained. He demanded compensation. And then he sued. Man, did he sue. … Pearson is demanding $65,462,500. The original alteration work on the pants cost $10.50. By the way, Pearson is a lawyer. Okay, you probably figured that. But get this: He's a judge, too — an administrative law judge for the District of Columbia.
Judge suing D.C. dry cleaner chokes up in court while recalling lost trousers. A judge had to leave the courtroom with tears running down his face Tuesday [6/12/2007] after recalling the lost pair of trousers that led to his $54 million US lawsuit against a dry cleaner. Administrative law judge Roy Pearson had argued earlier in his opening statement that he is acting in the interest of all city residents against poor business practices.
The Editor asks...
Can a sane person become so emotionally attached to a pair of pants?
The Great American Pants Suit: When attorney Roy Pearson filed suit demanding $67 million from the Chung family, whose Washington dry cleaners had mishandled his pair of trousers, he must have felt he was sitting pretty. Mr. Pearson probably had no idea that his Great American Pants Suit would stir commentary around the world and come to symbolize the extent to which lawsuits in America can serve as a hobby for the spiteful and a weapon for the rapacious.
The tale of the judge with no clothes: Showing that he's not totally unreasonable, Pearson acknowledged before trial that $67 million in damages was going a little overboard. He reduced his damage demand -- to $54 million. Pearson also asked the judge presiding over the case to award him attorney's fees. He is representing himself and Pearson figures he deserves as much as $425 an hour.
Why Judge Pearson's Lawsuit Matters: Judge Roy Pearson's lawsuit against his drycleaners for losing his pants induces an equal amount of outrage and mockery, but it's important to remember that this kind of legal excess is not that unusual. U.S. businesses and citizens are constantly bedeviled by litigious cranks and cranky litigators. Small business owners are especially vulnerable to frivolous but destructive lawsuits.
How quickly the chickens come home to roost...
Pants lawsuit could cost D.C. judge his $100,000 job. The boss of Roy L. Pearson Jr., the administrative law judge whose $54 million pants lawsuit has turned the D.C. legal system into a punch line on late-night talk shows, has recommended that the city deny Pearson another term on the bench, D.C. government sources said Thursday.
Dry Cleaner Wins Missing Pants Case. A judge ruled Monday [6/25/2007] in favor of a dry cleaner that was sued for $54 million over a missing pair of pants. The owners of Custom Cleaners did not violate the city's Consumer Protection Act by failing to live up to Roy L. Pearson's expectations of the "Satisfaction Guaranteed" sign once displayed in the store window, District of Columbia Superior Court Judge Judith Bartnoff ruled. Bartnoff ordered Pearson to pay the court costs of defendants Soo Chung, Jin Nam Chung and Ki Y. Chung.
Pants suit judge hanging on to job by a thread. For months, calls have poured in from around the globe demanding the dismissal of Roy Pearson, the city judge who unsuccessfully sued a Northeast Washington dry cleaners for $54 million over a missing pair of pants. A five-person commission today is expected notify Pearson and his boss of their concerns with Pearson. Some D.C. government officials had hoped to have the matter wrapped up last month.
Judge Who Filed Suit Plans to Appeal Defeat. The Pants Judge isn't giving up. A day after the dry cleaners he sued tried to make peace, D.C. Administrative Law Judge Roy Pearson filed notice yesterday that he plans to appeal the verdict against him to the District's highest court. The owners of Custom Cleaners in Northeast Washington had hoped to head off Pearson by withdrawing their demand that he pay tens of thousands of dollars in attorney fees and prevailing on him to let the case lie.
Even if you win, you lose.
Dry cleaner in pants suit closes. The owners of a dry cleaner who were sued for $54 million over a missing pair of pants have closed and sold the shop involved in the dispute, their attorney said Wednesday. The South Korean immigrants are citing a loss of revenue and the emotional strain of defending the lawsuit.
Judge Who Lost Pant Suit Loses Job. Roy L. Pearson Jr., the administrative law judge who lost his $54 million lawsuit against a Northeast Washington dry cleaner, lost his job yesterday [10/29/2007] and was ordered to vacate his office, sources said. Pearson, 57, who had served as a judge for two years, was up for a 10-year term at the Office of Administrative Hearings, but a judicial committee last week voted against reappointing him.
Victims of $67 Million Dry Cleaning Suit Speak Out. Jin and Soo Chung came to the United States in search of the American dream. What they experienced was the nightmare of American lawsuit abuse. While the Chungs may not be household names, most Americans are aware of the $54 million lawsuit over pants they temporarily misplaced. That lawsuit, which was laughable on its face, has had a very unfunny impact on their business and their lives, forcing them to close two of their three dry cleaning stores and causing years of anxiety and sleepless nights.
Judge in pants lawsuit sues to get job back. The former judge who last year lost a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against a dry cleaners over a missing pair of pants wants his job back. Roy Pearson was not reappointed after his term expired as an administrative law judge in the District of Columbia. He filed a lawsuit Thursday [5/1/2008] in federal court accusing city government and others of an "unlawful demotion and subsequent termination."
[Filing lawsuits is apparently what he does best.]
Appeal begins in lost pants case. An appeals court has begun a case brought by a former judge who is suing a dry cleaners for $54 million claiming they lost his pants. "A written opinion should be issued in two to four months" from three appellate judges, said Christopher Manning, lawyer for Jin and Soo Chung, a South Korean immigrant couple that runs the drycleaning business.
$54 Million Missing Pants Case Rejected by Appeals Court. An appeals court says there will be no new trial for a former District of Columbia judge who sued his dry cleaners for $54 million over a lost pair of pants. The D.C. Court of Appeals on Thursday rejected the request from Roy L. Pearson to overturn a 2007 ruling that denied him damages. Pearson had argued that Custom Cleaners failed to live up to its promise of "Satisfaction Guaranteed."
This guy just can't take "denied" for an answer.
Ex-Judge Won't Drop $54M Pants Lawsuit. A former judge who unsuccessfully sued his dry cleaners for $54 million over a lost pair of pants isn't giving up. Roy Pearson has filed a petition with the D.C. Court of Appeals, requesting the case be reheard — this time by a nine-judge panel.
No window desk? That'll cost you $33M, she says in suit. She's definitely not a woman for all seasons. A Connecticut secretary who suffers from the "winter blues" is suing her ex-employers for $33 million, claiming they wouldn't give her a well-lit desk with a window view. Caryl Dontfraid says she has seasonal affective disorder, which causes depression during the fall and winter and can be alleviated by exposure to bright light.
Man sues Zondervan to change anti-gay reference in Bible. A Canton man is suing Zondervan Publishing and a Tennessee-based publisher, claiming their versions of the Bible that refer to homosexuality as a sin violate his constitutional rights and have caused him emotional pain and mental instability.
Bible Causes 'Emotional Pain' To Man Who Sues Christian Publishers. A man who claims the Bible has caused him emotional pain is suing two major Christian publishers over their Bibles. Bradley LaShawn Fowler of Canton, Michigan is suing Zondervan for $60 million and suing Thomas Nelson for $10 million.
Man moved by spirit of God sues church over injury. A man says he was so consumed by the spirit of God that he fell and hit his head while worshipping. Now he wants Lakewind Church to pay $2.5 million for medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering.
Nebraska woman with hearing disability sues McDonald's. A hearing-impaired woman has filed a federal lawsuit against a local McDonald's, saying workers there refused to let her order food at the drive-thru window. Karen Tumeh of Lincoln says they insisted she either order at the electronic speaker along the drive-thru lane or come inside to order.
Science is not a democracy. Because of liability fears and minimal profit margins on lifesaving vaccines, only five companies are still in the vaccine business, down from 26 a few decades ago. If these few sense increased liability after a verdict against vaccines in federal court, they will flee the market as well.
Leading Class-Action Lawyer Is Sentenced to Two Years in Kickback Scheme. William S. Lerach, a former partner of the law firm now known as Milberg Weiss, was sentenced Monday [2/18/2008] to two years in prison and ordered to forfeit $7.75 million for concealing illegal payments to a plaintiff in the class-action lawsuits for which the firm became famous.
Canadian Court to Father: Grounding Daughter 'Too Severe' a Punishment. What started as a simple case of parent-child disagreement has turned into what some fear is a precedent-setting ruling. In Quebec, a 12-year-old girl repeatedly ignored her father's rules and posted a profile of herself at an online dating site. Her father then grounded her from attending her sixth grade field trip. The punishment lasted as long as it took the girl to notify her court-appointed lawyer, have the judge "fast-track" the case, and ultimately get her punishment overturned by a Quebec Superior Court.
Richland girl sues Hasbro after Easy-Bake Oven incident. A 6-year-old Richland girl is suing the maker's of the Easy-Bake Oven, Hasbro, Inc., for $1.2 million after she got her hand stuck in the oven for more than three hours. Emergency room doctors were forced to cut the device off with a bone saw after conventional methods failed.
High court to decide if man should be compensated for bottled fly. Canada's highest court is to rule Thursday [5/22/2008] on whether a man who found a fly in his bottle of water should be compensated for anxiety and depression. Martin Mustapha of Windsor, Ont. said he was forever altered by finding the insect, despite the fact he didn't drink from the bottle. He said he developed a phobia about flies, cannot sleep, is irritable and his sex life has suffered.
Hairdresser loses dead fly case. A Canadian hairdresser who says he suffered from depression and phobias after finding a dead fly in his bottled water has lost a case for damages. Waddah Mustapha had been awarded $341,775 in damages in 2005, but the Supreme Court of Canada has now overturned that award.
Convict takes Executive to court over 'embarrassing' telephone warning. A serial offender serving 21 years in jail is spearheading the latest legal challenge for prisoners' rights in Scotland -- complaining that outgoing telephone calls carry a pre-recorded warning. After a lengthy battle to secure thousands of pounds in legal aid, Stewart Potter, 43, has taken a case to the Court of Session in Edinburgh, claiming the phone message "is an ... embarrassing reminder to his family" that he is calling from prison.
Greedy Trial Lawyer? Naaah. When is a contingent fee too high, even for the American Trial Lawyers Association? How about when it makes their members blush.
Man sues himself in court. A Californian [of course] has taken the nation's litigation craze to a new level by effectively suing himself.
The Fourth Yacht's the Charm. Or, "Not only loose lips sink ships."
Bad Medicine: Numerous anecdotes about frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits.
Tears help in court. A study by two Norwegian researchers finds clear advantages for those who shed tears during courtroom testimony. The landmark study will be published in a range of recognized foreign journals, newspaper Dagsavisen reports. The study found that both victim and accused were judged more credible if they cried during their testimony, and that this effect could be seen even on experienced police officers.
Assault on alcohol industry is a case of litigious malfeasance. There's nothing new about lawyers attempting to profit from tragedy. When an individual dies after behaving irresponsibly, an attorney always can be found to blame someone with deep pockets.
Police won't chase if thief has no helmet. [British] Police refused to chase a thief who had stolen a moped because the youth was not wearing a helmet, the victim said yesterday [6/29/2006]. Max Foster, 18, said officers told him they feared being sued if the thief fell off the moped and injured himself.
Foiled Burglar Sues Store Employees for 'Emotional Distress'. A man who was beaten by employees of a store he was trying to rob is now suing.
Clinton pardon helps ex-con to law degree. Serena Nunn is set to graduate from University of Michigan law school — even though she served 11 years in prison on felony drug charges. Nunn was only able to get into the school after getting pro-bono legal assistance and a White House pardon.
[One has to wonder what kind of lawyer she will be.]
Mentally Retarded Sue, Charging Condo Discriminated. The condominium board of a Washington Heights building is facing a discrimination lawsuit on behalf of five mentally retarded adults who want to move in. The lawsuit, filed recently in federal court in Manhattan, is the latest chapter in Margaret Puddington's effort to find a suitable home for her son and four of his friends. Mark Puddington, 26, and his intended roommates are mentally retarded to varying degrees.
Man files lawsuit to take wife's name. Mike Buday isn't married to his last name. In fact, he and his fiancee decided before they wed that he would take hers. But Buday was stunned to learn that he couldn't simply become Mike Bijon when they married in 2005. As in most other states, that would require some bureaucratic paperwork well beyond what a woman must go through to change her name when marrying.
[Here we have a man filing a lawsuit to facilitate abnormal behavior, and apparently he found a lawyer who was willing to abet, for a nominal fee.]
Prescription Drugs: The "Next Wave" of Patient Lawsuits. To gain leverage against the companies, trial lawyers aim to build "inventories" of hundreds or thousands of plaintiffs that they can settle simultaneously for hundreds of millions of dollars.
34 People Accused Of Fat Fraud. U.S. Attorney's Office announced Thursday the arrest of 34 people who investigators said defrauded social security using obesity as an excuse not to work. The 34 Miami-Dade County residents who were named in 25 separate indictments allegedly claimed that they were so overweight that they were unable to work. Investigators said not a single one of those indicted had a legitimate claim to benefits.
Two! Four! Six! Eight! Protesters just here to litigate!. The professional protesters who intend to disrupt the Republican National Convention keep going to court with strange demands. It can only be concluded that they are professionals, incidentally, for they seem to have time to keep going to court. While it is certainly true that the citizens have every right in the world to protest, there is no constitutional protection for their demands that they be seen or heard by a certain number of people. That is their latest complaint.
A Thought Experiment. One of the most prominent tort lawyers in the country, Melvyn Weiss, was sentenced yesterday to 30 months in federal jail after pleading guilty to paying plaintiffs to file class-action suits. He must report by August 28th. His former partner Bill Lerach, equally well known, is already in jail for the same crime, serving two years. Richard Scruggs, perhaps the most famous and certainly one of the richest tort lawyers in the country (he made hundreds of million in the tobacco settlement case), recently pled guilty to the attempted bribery of a judge. He will be sentenced July 2nd and faces up to five years.
Class-Action Lawyer Gets 30 Months in Prison. Melvyn I. Weiss, the prominent class-action lawyer, was sentenced on Monday to 30 months in prison by a Federal District Court judge in Los Angeles for his role in concealing illegal kickbacks to plaintiffs. He was also ordered to pay $9.8 million in forfeitures and $250,000 in fines.
How does this guy sleep at night? He defended John Hinkley, Jr. after the latter's attempt to assassinate President Ronald Reagan. He defended former Bolivian Defense Minister Carlos Sanchez-Berzain, a human rights violator accused of 67 deaths. He was a "personal attorney" for Kofi Annan in the UN Oil for Food scandal and he provided "special counsel" to Bill Clinton during his impeachment trial. And he's a senior foreign policy advisor to presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama.
Tort Tribute: How Democrats repay the plaintiffs bar. Democrats devoted their first months in the majority to paying back unions for their electoral support. Now it's time for the other huge campaign bankrollers. And don't think the trial bar, beat down by years of GOP tort reform, isn't expecting to feel the love. Since 1994, law firms and lawyers have thrown a half-billion dollars at getting lawsuit-friendly Democrats back in the majority.
Lawsuits make us less safe. Why do we have to worry about shortages of flu vaccine? Because only a handful of companies still make it. And why is that? Because when you vaccinate millions of people, some get sick and sue. Between 1980 and 1986, personal-injury lawyers demanded billions of dollars from vaccine manufacturers. That scared many American drug companies out of the business.
Ex-Professor Claims Dog Feces Is Political Expression. The lawyer for an ex-professor accused of leaving dog feces at a congresswoman's office said her client's actions qualify as protected speech under the First Amendment.
Homework Case Gets an "F" for "Frivolous". Lawsuit Abuse Fortnightly reported in February 2005 that a Wisconsin high school student and his father had filed suit against the student's math teacher and the school district that employs him, alleging it was unconstitutional to deprive the student of a "homework-free summer."
Environmental activists' suits damage wildlife in the long term. Environmental groups are unwittingly destroying forests and killing wildlife with lawsuits. Ironically, they are doing so while claiming to save them. Activists again are filing lawsuits to stop forest management, and the government pays them to do it. They craft settlements that pay them handsomely with taxpayer money so that they can live well and file the next lawsuit. No wonder they are inflexible.
Cleanliness is next to ... Litigiousness. A Denver, Colorado woman has been sued by her elderly neighbors for bathing. According to news reports, Marvin and Goldie Smith, 83 and 78 respectively, have sued their neighbor, Shannon Peterson, alleging that her 5 a.m. baths cause the water pipes to shake so violently that the elderly couple cannot sleep. A letter from the Smith's son, a partner in the Holland and Hart law firm … ordered her to stop running water in her unit before 8 a.m.
No Escaping a Lawsuit. The families of seven illegal immigrants who died after being abandoned in a sealed truck trailer while being smuggled into the United States are suing the trailer manufacturer in federal court. Specifically, the relatives claim that the manufacturer is liable for the deaths because there "were no warnings, instructions, decals or other means of warning of the dangers of transporting individuals inside the trailer."
Supreme Court Buries Patent Trolls. The U.S. Supreme Court has tipped the balance in patent disputes ever so slightly toward the users of patented technology and away from inventors, owners of intellectual property and the hated "patent trolls" — companies that make money by suing for infringement of patents they own but don't use.
West Virginia Sees Some, Not Enough, Tort Reform. There are two tort systems in West Virginia, or so it seems to observers of the litigation climate there. The first has been reformed in recent years, delivering the benefits of competition and choice to consumers, lowering prices, and luring companies and professionals. The second tort system, however, continues to drag down the West Virginia economy, delivering verdicts against defendants that bear little relation to actual damages or a fair reading of liability.
Pick up the pace. In my years doing consumer reporting, I watched every American industry find ways to do things better, faster, and cheaper. Today's computers cost less, but are more powerful. Cars got better. Supermarkets offer more for less. Most every business is better. But not the law business. In law, everything is slow and expensive, and our choices limited.
The peculiar fruit of the legal profession:
Wacky Warning Labels. Michigan Lawsuit Abuse Watch (M-LAW) conducts an annual "World's Wackiest Warning Label Contest," and many of the winning labels are highly amusing. … Plaintiffs' lawyers who file the lawsuits that prompt these warnings argue they are making us safer, but the warnings have become so long that few of us read them anymore — even the ones we should read.
Teflon accusation doesn't stick. Teflon has recently gone from the frying pan into the fire, thanks to some money-hungry lawyers. They've cooked up a scary story, adding a dollop of hyperbole for good measure. Unfortunately, they left out common sense and science.
When sexual "harassment" is a joke. By the year 2020, every American will be a victim. Give it another 15 years, and there will be a study that puts every man, woman and child into one aggrieved group or another.
Death by a thousand lawsuits. Though many Islamic groups across the United States have been closed since 9/11 for ties to terrorism, some Muslim organizations being accused of having similar such connections have turned for help to a branch of the government, specifically the courts. In most instances, though, the point does not seem to be winning or clearing one's own name, but rather to do what the government cannot: stifle criticism.
City Gun Suits Are No Business of Congress. Quite simply, the power to control frivolous lawsuits belongs to the states. Those who would have it otherwise, including the NRA, are asking for trouble.
Litigation central: A flood of costly lawsuits raises questions about motive.
Fixing the jury system: When prospective jurors are given 30-page questionnaires made up by lawyers, asking intrusive questions about their personal lives and beliefs, the situation has gotten completely out of hand. Courts do not exist for the sake of lawyers but for the sake of the public. Allowing lawyers to fish around in hopes of finding one mushhead who can save their client makes no sense.
Jurors more likely to convict unattractive people. Lawyers have long suspected that the more attractive their clients are, the less likely they are to be convicted of an offence. Now they know why. A new study has identified two types of juror, with one group whose minds work emotionally rather than rationally, judging defendants by looks rather than evidence.
Wisconsin is about to become a Mecca for lawsuit abuse. In July 2005, the Wisconsin Supreme Court abolished one of the classic requirements for recovery in lawsuits involving injuries allegedly caused by products. The legislature approved a bill that would fix the damage done by the court, but Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle vetoed it on January 6. The court's and governor's reckless decisions could open the doors to lawsuit abuse, resulting in heavy costs to consumers, workers, and investors in our state.
Lawsuit Abuse Fortnightly — Special Hurricane Katrina Edition. Lawsuit Abuse Fortnightly readers will be dismayed — but not surprised — to learn plaintiffs' lawyers are following close on the heels of rescue workers in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
Painting the Town … with Lawsuits. Officials in Oakland and San Francisco have joined other California counties and municipalities in a lawsuit against eight U.S. paint and pigment manufacturers, the Lead Industries Association, and "up to 50 fictitiously named companies." The suit, based on lead paint exposure among children, is akin to proceedings launched more than a year ago by the State of Rhode Island. … It is important to note the very special attribute of this suit: local governments, not injured children or their parents, are the plaintiffs in this case.
Dr. Coburn, I Presume. [Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, an obstetrician,] no longer accepts new patients and has withdrawn from a group partnership he belonged to with other physicians. He estimates that in today's litigious climate he needs $200,000 a year to pay for his expenses, mostly malpractice premiums.
Arizona Prosecutor Has New Twist on Prosecuting Illegal Aliens. [Maricopa County Attorney Andrew] Thomas said that since the suspects paid the coyotes to transport them across the border, they are complicit in their own smuggling and therefore guilty of conspiracy.
[That's a bit of a stretch, but it is quite clever!]
What left-wing law professors consider "mainstream". Law school clinics weren't always incubators of left-wing advocacy. But once the Ford Foundation started disbursing $12 million in 1968 to persuade law schools to make clinics part of their curriculum, the enterprise turned into a political battering ram. Clinics came to embody a radical new conception that emerged in the 1960s — the lawyer as social-change agent.
Judicial Hellholes® are places that have a disproportionately harmful impact on civil litigation. Personal injury lawyers seek out these places because they know that they will produce a positive outcome — an excessive verdict or settlement, a favorable precedent, or both.
Judicial Hellholes® 2007. The Rio Grande Valley and Gulf Coast of Texas ... is recognized as one of the toughest places in America for corporate defendants to receive a fair trial. This year, there was a surge in personal injury lawsuits related to dredging, a judge's "pocket veto" of an appeal of a $32 million award against a pharmaceutical company in a case where a juror knew and had taken loans from the plaintiff, and several particularly ridiculous lawsuits filings.
This article is about the use of frivolous lawsuits to badger political enemies.
CNS fights the good fight. Well, I have just lost an argument with Brent Bozell, head of that indispensable media monitor, the Media Research Center.
Bill Would Punish Frivolous-Lawsuit Filers. Lawyers could lose their licenses for a year for repeatedly filing frivolous lawsuits under a Republican bill headed for passage in the House. Supporters say such lawsuits, deemed baseless by a judge for flimsy facts or faulty interpretations of the law, are a waste of court time and often a bonanza for lawyers rather than a chance to recoup legitimate damages for clients.
Conflict of Interest. It's a simple system. Deep pocketed personal injury trial lawyers flood Democratic coffers with cash won exploiting the legal system. In exchange, elected Democrats pledge to reject tort or class-action reform or anything else that might drain their Golden River. But what happens when trial lawyers are the lawmakers? Massachusetts is finding out.
Teacher sues student over hall collision: A New Jersey school teacher is suing an 11-year-old boy who accidentally collided in the hallway with her two years ago while he was running to catch his school bus. The boy was unaware that his family was being sued until a sheriff's deputy showed up at his door with a summons.
Mothers sue over gender test that promised 99.9% accuracy. In a class action lawsuit filed in the US district court in Boston on behalf of 16 women the makers of the Baby Gender Mentor are accused of breaking their promise. Barry Gainey, the women's lawyer, said he knew of about 100 women whom the kit had failed….
The Editor says...
These gender tests are not just to tell the mother what color of curtains to buy for the baby's room. Many people use these tests to facilitate gender-selection abortions. And naturally there are plenty of lawyers around if you want to file a "wrongful gender" suit.
The tort tax: Having figured out how to win the legal lotto, [Erin Brockovich] and her firm are now suing several oil companies and the City of Beverly Hills, claiming some public high-school students in attendance there between 1975 and 1997 have cancer from oil-well vapors.
Jackpot Justice and the Wal-Mart Case. Class action suits became tremendously more profitable, especially for lawyers whose contingency fees sometimes exceeded the money paid out to successful plaintiffs. Contingency fees are commonly viewed as a necessary device by which poor plaintiffs can access the court system. … But the excesses of contingency fees have become infamous, leading critics to label class action suits as "jackpot justice" for lawyers.
The Vioxx lawsuit:
When punishment is the crime. The story from Angleton, Texas, is — well, you know by now: Merck & Co. killed Robert C. Ernst! In fact, there's a far bigger story: "Runaway Texas jury consigns untold thousands to pain, suffering and, for all anyone now knows, death." Not the most economical headline you ever read but true — deadly true.
Fire and Smoke: Government, Lawsuits and the Rule of Law. Author Michael Krauss, a leading legal scholar on the relationship between tort law and personal freedoms, systematically dissects the tobacco and firearm recoupment lawsuits. He shows how such lawsuits betray every criterion of sound, effective, and just tort law. The lawsuits against gun manufacturers can show no damages, no proximate causation, and no wrongdoing. Similarly, governments have no direct damages to claim against tobacco manufacturers and cannot legally stand in the place of individual smokers or their families. Fire & Smoke concludes that recoupment lawsuits are incompatible with civil freedoms, representative democracy, and the rule of law upon which institutions of a free society depend.
Interesting web site
Lawsuit Abuse Fortnightly: A huge collection of news items (dozens, perhaps hundreds of anecdotes) about frivolous lawsuits all over the U.S.
About auto litigation: Every mass maker of vehicles for the U.S. market — even Volvo, even Lexus, even BMW — has faced lawsuits in American courts alleging that its designs are impermissibly unsafe. The explanation is not that all models are defectively designed, but that drivers of all models get into accidents — and when crash victims' injuries are serious and the other driver underinsured, lawyers will often stretch quite a ways to find some theory or other that allows them to pull in the maker of the car as a defendant.
Stupid Lawyer Tricks. The tort system is corrupting. By rewarding — in cold cash — irresponsibility and a tendency to blame others for unavoidable misfortunes, we are eroding our national character.
Illinois Supreme Court Reverses Billion Dollar Class Action Award. The Washington Legal Foundation [has] scored a major victory for consumers, and a blow against "regulation by litigation," when the Illinois Supreme Court overturned an unprecedented $1.05 billion class action judgment entered against State Farm Automobile Insurance Company. The Court ruled 6-0 that it was wrong for the case to be certified as a nationwide class action on behalf of auto insurance policy holders, and that in any event, the plaintiffs failed to establish breach of contract damages or consumer fraud.
More Microsoft Antitrust Suit Insanity. I have to "admire" just how lucrative the antitrust racket can be. Manufacture an injury under the antitrust laws, create a class (however lethargic and unresponsive) and simply stand by to cash in. Why would anyone even bother defend the rights of businessmen when the real money is made in looting them — and the businessmen go along with it?
Florida Reins in Asbestos Litigation Abuse. Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) on June 20 signed legislation to reform the state's asbestos litigation system. Florida joins a growing number of states that are requiring plaintiffs to present evidence of actual medical ailments before recovering damages from companies linked to the manufacture of asbestos.
Some Asbestos Grace. The asbestos lawsuit blob has grown so large that many companies have simply given up fighting it. Then there's W.R. Grace, which is on the verge of making legal history with a trial proceeding that could alter the federal asbestos bankruptcy landscape forever.
Michigan House Considers Asbestos Bill. On May 23, the recently organized Michigan House of Representatives Committee on Tort Reform, by a vote of five to one, reported favorably to the whole body House Bill No. 5851, which would greatly change Michigan tort law related to asbestos and silica lawsuits.
The $3,000 an Hour Trial Lawyer. Five dollar vouchers for the "victims," hundreds of millions of dollars in cash for the lawyers. Those are the proposed terms in just the latest in a long line of courtroom abuses perpetrated by America's trial lawyers.
Class Action Shakedown. Trial lawyers continue to exploit the American legal system. Will Congress finally stop the abuse?
A Country Named Sue. American business people these days … know that just about any employee they fire, for good cause or bad, can (if possessed of a sharp lawyer and a dull conscience) use the leverage of a lawsuit threat to demand a whopping severance packet.
America Has Grounded the Wright Brothers. Today we seek to escape the responsibility of judgment while demanding that progress be risk-free. New products are expected to be instantly perfect, to last forever and to protect us from our own failings — or else we sue. By the late 1970s, general aviation accidents reached their lowest point in 29 years — yet liability lawsuits were up five-fold, and manufacturers were sued for even such obvious pilot errors as running out of fuel.
Reparations or Rip Off? What may become the most massive attempted financial rape of the American Government and its 200-million taxpayers, for crimes which no one living committed, is now being plotted by a consortium of trial lawyers. They are well known for their excessive class-action lawsuit successes against segments of U.S. society in the past decade. With the claim of seeking justice, if they win, the greatest injustice ever attempted could bankrupt the government and people of the United States.
Pair arrested for telling lawyer jokes at Long Island courthouse. Did you hear the one about the two guys arrested for telling lawyer jokes? But seriously folks, it happened earlier this week to the founders of a group called "Americans for Legal Reform," who were waiting in line to get into the First District Courthouse.
Courts $pank frequent filer. In the courts, he's known as Mr. Litigious. Meet Peter Malley, a former math teacher who has filed 18 federal lawsuits against the city after he was fired by the Board of Education in 1987. But the Clifton, N.J., instructor never got over it. Instead, he has filed 15 lawsuits in Manhattan federal court and three others in Brooklyn and New Jersey courts, seeking reinstatement and millions of dollars in damages.
Transgender Woman Sues Catholic Hospital for Refusing Breast Augmentation Surgery. A transgender woman in California has gone to court, claiming that a Catholic-affiliated hospital discriminated against her when it denied her request for breast augmentation surgery.
Gun Control Group Stands Against Lawsuit Control. A gun control group that uses lawsuits in an effort to bankrupt the gun industry says it is opposed to tort reform legislation — legislation, it says, that would "shut the courthouse doors to victims of negligence and mistreatment."
Asbestos Litigation Is Bankrupting America: Sixty-five percent of the funds generated by asbestos litigation, according to a RAND Corporation study, doesn't reach the people who are supposed to benefit, but finances instead a complex and adversarial system that rewards lawyers much more richly and consistently than victims. Congress has been repeatedly asked to remedy the situation, yet opposition from trial lawyers (who are major donors to the Democratic Party) has kept it from acting.
The Wrong Approach on Asbestos. Hundreds of firms face the imminent threat of bankruptcy at the hands of a predatory trial bar with all the economic calamities that inevitably result — lost jobs, a depleted source of settlements and destruction of the retirement pensions of ten of thousands of employees.
"And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them."
The Ten Commandments
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Updated February 18, 2014.
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