The Washington Legal Foundation has a variety of interesting new articles on its website, including one analyzing the new California law granting the state 75 percent of punitive damages awards. The article (written by three of my Shook Hardy colleagues) addresses problems with so-called "split recovery" laws but ultimately concludes that given the two-year operational window, the California law is unlikely to affect many cases. The issue bears watching, though, because the enactment of a split recovery law in a trend-setting state like California may encourage other states to adopt similar laws. See Victor E. Schwartz, Mark A. Behrens & Cary Silverman, Legal Opinion Letter: New California Law Grants State 75% of Punitive Damage Award, Sept. 3.
Other articles well worth reading include Rep. Lamar Smith's piece on the federal Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act, H.R. 4571, which seeks to combat rampant nationwide forum shopping and frivolous lawsuits by identifying appropriate forums for the filing of personal injury lawsuits and strengthening sanctions against attorneys who file frivolous claims in federal court, and Jones Day litigator Chuck Moellenberg's piece on the potential for the use of public nuisance standards against obesity lawsuit defendants, in light of their earlier use in regulation through litigation suits against other industries. See Congressman Lamar Smith, Legal Opinion Letter: Stopping Frivolous Litigation and Protecting Small Businesses, Sept. 3; Charles H. Moellenberg, Jr., Legal Backgrounder: Heavyweight Litigation: Will Public Nuisance Theories Tackle the Food Industry?, Sept. 3.