Results matching “"ground zero"”

We complained when "the federal government added cancer to the list of sicknesses covered by the $4.3 billion World Trade Center fund"; now a JAMA study of 55,700 people with Ground Zero exposure finds, not unexpectedly, no link to cancer. [NYT]

The question now becomes whether the fund will waste only $3-4 billion of taxpayer money or whether future Congresses will be bullied into a giveaway of tens of billions of dollars to people based on geographic proximity when the fund is scheduled to close in 2016. I warned precisely against this inevitable waste, but Jon Stewart and Democrats politicized the issue into "Republicans don't care about NYC first responders," media bias failed to tell the other side of the story, and Republicans caved after some minor changes to make the bill a bit less worse.

Around the web, July 27 - PointOfLaw Forum

  • First lawsuit in the Colorado theater shooting wants to blame Warner Brothers for an event planned months before the movie came out. Somehow ten million other people saw the movie this weekend without shooting anyone. [Overlawyered]
  • I'm surprised a product-liability attorney hasn't independently heard of the overwarning phenomenon, but she deduces the hypothesis very well without using the technical term. And, yes, it's a real problem, recognized in the literature and by courts. [Abnormal Use; also earlier on PoL]
  • I am shocked, shocked, to learn that Media Matters is misrepresenting conservative writers instead of addressing their arguments honestly. [Bader; earlier on PoL]
  • Oral argument in Fisher v. University of Texas affirmative action case set for October 10. [Clegg via @FedSoc]
  • Shall we abandon "shall"? [Garner @ ABAJ via @andrewmgrossman, and don't miss Garner & Scalia & David Foster Wallace in the WSJ Speakeasy blog]
  • Political posturing against Chick-Fil-A could have bad long-term consequences for liberals; not that conservatives who demanded a shutdown of the Ground Zero mosque have the moral high ground. [OL roundup; Mandel @ Commentary; Serwer @ MoJo; Greenwald; see also Merritt]

  • In the cure-is-worse-than-the-disease category, see Holman Jenkins's proposal to have government preemptively prevent mass murders by monitoring everyone's communications. No concern for privacy, much less, say, false positives or the abuse from a government that has previously been more prone to classify right-wing movements as potentially violent than it has (more violent) left-wing movements. [WSJ]

I long ago predicted that the expansion of the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund would lead to fraud and giveaways at the expense of taxpayers, and, unfortunately, I'm being proven right. Despite the complete lack of scientific evidence that the WTC site dust causes cancer, NIOSH director is letting politics trump science and opening the fund to claims from 50 different types of cancer. Oddly, the same Lancet studies that earlier showed no statistically significant evidence (no non-smoking firefighters have come down with lung cancer out of the 9000 firefighters who worked at Ground Zero) are being used to justify this raid on the federal fisc. The New York Times highlights the case of Ernest K. Matthews, who blames his lung cancer on cleaning Merrill Lynch elevators instead of on his smoking, and will be making a claim at taxpayers' expense. Similarly, Patricia Workman implausibly claims her 2001-03 exposure to Ground Zero caused her 2007 myeloma and skin cancer. The brief exposures of Ground Zero workers to common toxic substances are being used to rationalize the payments, though "Dr. Neugut, who is a principal investigator with the Long Island Breast Cancer Study Project, which was set up to look at environmental causes of breast cancer on Long Island, added that most studies of cancer risks 'are based on workers exposed for eight or nine hours a day to mammoth amounts of these things for 30 years. Even then it is hard to demonstrate a clear excess in cancer risk.'" This junk science should be a bigger scandal.

Zero for Ground Zero worker - PointOfLaw Forum

But the lawyers got paid. The buried lede is how Napoli Bern coerced its client into settling.

If only there had been Congressional hearings and scrutiny of the substance of H.R. 847, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, to go along with the campaign of media and political threats that produced its passage.

  • The Queens Courier, "Zadroga bill covers undocumented Ground Zero workers": "After months of fighting to be protected under the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, undocumented Latino Ground Zero workers from Queens finally got what they wanted. For the several Latino clean-up workers who were left out of the $713 million settlement following a lawsuit against the city over exposure to World Trade Center dust, the legislation recently signed into law by President Barack Obama would allow them to qualify for health benefits and compensation payments."

  • DNAInfo (NYC News), "Gillibrand's Staff Confuses Downtown Residents Over 9/11 Fund Eligibility: "LOWER MANHATTAN -- Staff from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's office disseminated misinformation about the new 9/11 health law to a group of angry downtown residents at a meeting Monday night. Gillibrand's staff told Community Board 1 that downtown residents who got sick after 9/11 are not eligible for the new $2.5 billion Victim Compensation Fund. But in fact, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act does not exclude anyone, and residents, students and office workers, along with rescue and recovery workers, are all welcome to apply for the fund, Rep. Jerrold Nadler's office said Tuesday morning."

  • DNAInfo (NYC News), "9/11 Healthcare Advocate Recommends 5 Reliable Lawyers": "LOWER MANHATTAN -- John Feal, a leading advocate for first responders sickened at Ground Zero who helped push the federal 9/11 healthcare bill into law, has released a list of five lawyers he trusts to help those eligible collect the federal payouts. Feal previously warned responders not to sign any agreements with lawyers who had already started circling even before President Obama signed the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act earlier this month. But over the weekend, Feal and his staff at the FealGood Foundation released the names of those firms they feel are reliable, well-established, and prepared to fight for thousands of rescue and recovery workers to receive a share of the newly-created $2.8 billion Victim Compensation Fund."

  • Politico, "Schumer: TARP czar for 9/11 fund": "Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) asked Attorney General Eric Holder Thursday to appoint Kenneth Feinberg to administer the fund created by a recent law that provides health care and other benefits for some 9/11 first responders. Feinberg -- the former 'pay czar' for the Troubled Assets Relief Fund -- volunteered in a letter to Schumer to oversee the fund, which designates $4.3 billion to assist responders who became sick after in the aftermath of the World Trade Center attacks. Feinberg offered to do the job pro bono."

  • Confederation of Indian Industry, Jan. 5, news release, "Unfortunate to see US continue down protectionist path: CII," protesting the funding mechanism for the bill: "While CII understands and appreciates the need to compensate victims of terrorist attacks in the US, the new-found and easy practice of unfairly targeting foreign companies to pay for domestic imperatives is unjustified. Several critics have pointed to the absurdity of the provisions, which would be akin to India requiring US companies to pay for healthcare compensation of victims of the 26/11 terrorist attacks in Mumbai. Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry has also termed it a 'retrograde step' in US-India economic relations."

The House of Representatives stayed in session long enough Wednesday to approve the Senate-amended version of H.R. 847, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, by "a vote of 206-60, with 168 members not voting. At National Review Online's The Corner, Duncan Currie pays tribute to Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), whose persistence and refusal to be cowed produced a bill that reins in the worst excesses of the original legislation. From "Tom Coburn's Achievement":

The idea of boosting medical and financial aid to heroic Ground Zero workers was never controversial. But the proposed legislation needed serious fixes. Indeed, various aspects of the 9/11 bill -- the cost, the duration, the lack of adequate oversight mechanisms, the loopholes for trial lawyers -- were deeply problematic. Unfortunately, Republicans who suggested as much were pilloried for their "callousness" and "cowardice."

Well, guess what? On Wednesday afternoon a compromise version of the 9/11 bill passed by unanimous consent. Had Coburn simply folded? Quite the opposite. He had succeeded in obtaining major revisions that greatly improved the final product.

Originally, the ten-year cost of the legislation would have been either $7.4 billion (House-passed version) or $6.2 billion (amended Senate version). The ten-year cost of the compromise will be only $4.2 billion. Originally, the bill would have cost billions more beyond the ten-year window. Those added costs were jettisoned entirely from the compromise. Originally, the re-opened 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) -- which closed in 2003 -- would have stayed in operation through 2031. Now the VCF will be shuttered -- permanently -- in 2016. Originally, legislative loopholes would have permitted certain attorneys to gobble up a massive chunk of 9/11-related settlements. The compromise imposes a rigid ceiling on trial-lawyer fees, limiting them to 10 percent of the total amount awarded and giving the VCF "special master" authority to slash fees that he considers disproportionate. Originally, the bill suffered from a dearth of accountability controls. The compromise includes muscular safeguards against waste and abuse.

Sen. Coburn issued a news release detailing the agreement. (UPDATE, Dec. 26 -- Before the compromise, Sen. Coburn's office released a seven-page critique of the legislation.)

As we commented below, Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY), also demanded fixes to the legislation, which made him the target of organized attacks. (Casper Star Tribune, "Media continues to target Enzi on 9/11 bill.")

The text of the final bill is here.

"Final" in this case is subject to revision. According to The New York Observer's report on a news conference, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) wants another shot at the legislation.

[She] said that once the program was in place, backers could go back to the Senate and try to get it extended.

"We can go back to the drawing board in four years and fight for the next five years, but it was far more important to set up the program and deliver the care now," she said. "Once the program is created we can prove how effective and efficient it is at delivering the care, and so that will give us the momentum and the argument to push for further funding later. Ultimately we want to cover these people forever."

UPDATE (11:20 a.m. Sunday): In an interview on NPR's Sunday Edition, "Sept. 11 Responder Bill A Good Start," 9/11 responder and bill supporter, Glen Klein affirmed plans to extend the bill after five years.

More ...

 

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Senate supporters of H.R. 847 the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, believe they are close to attaining a vote on the legislation after offering changes to make the measure less objectionable to Republican critics. New York's two Democratic Senators, Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer, issued a news release on Sunday, Dec. 19, declaring, "The Finish Line for 9/11 First Responders is in
Sight

They report, "Instead of relying on the House-passed offset that closed foreign tax loopholes, the new Senate bill would impose a 2-percent excise fee on certain foreign companies that receive U.S. government contracts. This raises roughly $4.5 billion over 10 years." In addition, a fee on H-1B and L-1 Visas set to expire in September 2014 will be extended to 2021; the Travel Promotion Act's fee on visitors to the United States would be extended from 2015 to 2021. (Never believe a sponsor who claims: "This is only a temporary fee.")

We have not seen the text but would guess the new language will continue to funnel tens of millions of dollars to U.S. trial lawyers for filing claims on behalf of first responders and others who report illness based on exposure to Ground Zero contaminants. In addition, compensation funds are created to establish a measure of legal finality and predictability to costs, and this bill undermines those principles by reopening the 9/11 compensation fund.

Opponents of the bill were hit by another wave of organized obloquy last week, highlighted by Jon Stewart devoting an entire show to the issue and Fox News' Shepard Smith railing against Republicans who blocked the bill . On Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace interviewed  Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Jon Kyl (R-AZ) about the legislation, a rare example of getting both sides of the issue. Kyl said:

KYL: I don't know if that bill is going to come before us, but Dick tells me just a moment ago that he thinks that it will. First question is, is it amendable, or is it a take it or leave it proposition? The bill hasn't been through committee. There are problems with it.And I think the first thing Republicans will ask is do we have a chance to fix any problems that may exist with it. And it's a lot of money, and so I -- my early response is that I am skeptical about that bill.

If the Senate passes the revised legislation, it would have to go back to the House for approval of the changes, but the House may have already adjourned sine die by then.

News coverage ...

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Senate stops 9/11 compensation fund expansion - PointOfLaw Forum

By a vote of 57-42, the Senate has just failed to invoke cloture on H.R. 847, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act.

Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) both made floor statements earlier in the morning, arguing that a vote against the bill's considerations was a vote against American heroes.

Thwarted House members from the NYC-area are now pushing to have the provisions added to whatever measure carries the White House-Republican tax compromise. (See also New York Daily News blog, "Reps. Back Plan to Add 9/11 Bill to Tax Deal.")

Earlier posts.

UPDATE (1:20 p.m.): Here's the roll-call vote. Senate Majority Leader Reid changed his vote to no, a parliamentary maneuver that will allow him to move for the bill's reconsideration.

UPDATE (1:33 p.m.): Mayor Mike Bloomberg tweets: "Today's failed vote on the 9/11 Health & Compensation Act is a tragic example of partisan politics trumping patriotism http://bit.ly/hVDyKt." Alternatively, it might be a principled vote against a "9/11 bonanza for trial lawyers." As National Review's editors concluded:

[We] would favor a sensible bill narrowly tailored to assist the Ground Zero responders who developed an injury or illness while courageously risking their lives. But the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act is deeply flawed, and Senate Republicans should hold out for something better.

A respectful debate - PointOfLaw Forum

Debate is expected to begin Wednesday in the Senate on H.R. 847, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid filed a cloture motion on Monday. Senate Republicans had also vowed no action on legislation until the pressing tax issues were settled, and the Obama-GOP agreement appears to accomplish that prerequisite.

The debate will no doubt provide more edification along these lines:

  • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), statement, Dec. 5: "Let's put politics aside, engage in a thorough and respectful debate, and then let each senator decide for themselves."
  • Matt Canter, Gillibrand spokesman, quoted in New York Post, Dec. 7: "Right now, Republicans are holding health care for 9/11 workers hostage to deliver Bush giveaways to millionaires and billionaires."

An informed and respectful debate would consider issues raised in this New York Post column, "9/11 junk science," by Jeff Stier*, associate director of the American Council on Science and Health, who reported: "[There] is no credible evidence in the medical literature that exposure to Ground Zero dust can cause any chronic disease or condition. That is, the central claim in the suits has no real scientific basis." (See also Stier's follow-up column.)

News coverage ...

9/11 compensation bill nearing a vote - PointOfLaw Forum

Editors of The National Review Online have written a concise summary of H.R. 847, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, and all that is wrong with the legislation. From NRO's editorial today, "A 9/11 Bonanza for Trial Lawyers":

The Senate will soon vote on legislation that would establish a new government-run health-care program with insufficient oversight controls, create a bonanza for trial lawyers, cost a minimum of $11.6 billion, and be funded primarily through a significant tax hike on U.S.-based companies.

Of course, that's not how the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act is being sold.

Supporters of the bill have countered the substantive policy objections with the the powerful political formula of emotion and patriotism. Last week, for example, they unveiled an exhibit in Washington of 29 replica police badges from officers who died after clean-up work at or near Ground Zero.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) says Majority Leader Reid intends to file cloture on the bill with debate to start Wednesday. In a statement, she said: "Let's put politics aside, engage in a thorough and respectful debate, and then let each senator decide for themselves whether the heroes and victims of September 11th deserve quality health treatment and appropriate compensation for their tremendous loss and sacrifice."

Quite the rhetorical trick, there: Let's put politics aside, and if you vote against the bill, you're voting against heroes and victims who made a tremendous sacrifice.

So will critics be allowed to observe that Officer Zadroga's death was NOT the result of exposure to 9/11 debris, or is that not respectful?*

* The New York Times, Sept. 7, 2008, "New Doubts That Dust Killed a 9/11 Rescuer," which also reports:

Mr. Barasch, the lawyer, said the Zadrogas had no plans to file a lawsuit against the city. They merely wanted recognition that Detective Zadroga was a victim of 9/11, he said, and were satisfied when the mayor and the police commissioner added his name to the Wall of Heroes at 1 Police Plaza, recognizing him as a victim of the trade center attacks. ''The Zadrogas want nothing more except to allow their son to now rest in peace,'' Mr. Barasch said.


Mayor Bloomberg and the 9/11 compensation bill - PointOfLaw Forum

New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg came through Washington on Tuesday to lobby for Senate passage of H.R. 847, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, a $7.1 billion bill that would re-open the 9/11 compensation fund for new payments, especially for claims based on health problems resulting from debris removal.

The Washington Post took note of the mayor's trip with a large Style Section piece on his political ambitions, "N.Y. Mayor Bloomberg: He says he won't run for president, but keep asking." 

As for the legislation, supporters are pinning their hopes on another New York pol. The New York Daily News reports, "Unions and sick 9/11 responders agree only Sen. Chuck Schumer can seal deal to pass Zadroga Bill."

Interestingly, there was a drive-time radio ad this morning on WMAL here in Washington, a spot voiced by a man with a heavy NYC accent pleading for aid for firefighters and policeman. Assume it was a union-paid spot; we didn't hear any disclaimer. (Here's a list of groups that lobbied for the bill, which passed the House in September.)

As Ted -- who has testified on the bill -- has pointed out, the legislation will produce "what will be inevitable multi-billion-dollar fraud on the taxpayers." Trial lawyers filing claims will do well, however.

The New York Times covers the issue of litigation financing, which can range from basic high-interest loans to law firms; to contingent arrangements linked to specific lawsuits; to the potentially troubling practice of tricking consumers to assign litigation rights and enmesh them in lawsuits against defendants who could have more quickly and cheaply assisted the consumers if they had gone through normal warranty procedures. The practice drew attention recently when Judge Hellerstein prohibited Napoli Bern from seeking reimbursement from their clients for its interest expenses in financing the Ground Zero litigation on top of the exorbitant contingent fees.

Update: good commentary from Walter Olson and Daniel Fisher @ Forbes. The problem that Fisher identifies of lawyers strong-arming clients into settlements that pay the lawyers quickly after they've promised the moon, however, is one that is independent of litigation financing, except to the extent that the attorney would not have brought the suit without the financing or the extent that the financier is dictating the attorney's strategy.

9/11 Health Bill is on "fast track" in Senate - PointOfLaw Forum

According to press releases from Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, the 9/11 Health Bill will bypass Senate committee hearings and be place on a "fast track":

In late September, the U.S. House of Representatives, with the bipartisan support of 17 Republican Representatives - voted to pass the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. The bill was immediately sent to the U.S. Senate, where, at Senator Gillibrand's request, the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid invoked Senate Rule 14 Process, which will fast track the bill to floor consideration, bypassing the much longer and uncertain committee consideration process that the vast majority of bills undergo.

Through the fast track process, the legislation will be added to the Senate's vote schedule shortly after the next legislative session resumes, on November 15th. Negotiations on the legislation will begin immediately, making it available for a floor vote at the start of the next Senate work period. While this process does not guarantee passage, it does remove obstacles including the committee process, which could stall the bill for months or it kill it before it is brought to the floor.

This is a well-meaning but bad idea, for reasons I explained in my March 31, 2009 testimony and answers to Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee. Though I made several suggestions on how the bill could be improved to avoid what will be inevitable multi-billion-dollar fraud on the taxpayers, they were all ignored in the House. The bill also hurts America's ability to respond to future terrorist attacks by taxing innocent third-party volunteers' liability insurance for the benefit of trial lawyers—thus guaranteeing that any liability insurer worth its salt will refuse to insure contractors and subcontractors who volunteer to help in the aftermath of the next terrorist attack.

As if to demonstrate how the bill will be a huge source of fraud, the bill is named after James Zadroga, who died from injecting prescription drugs, but has somehow become a symbol of Ground Zero workers' health problems. Earlier.

The expansion of the 9/11 compensation fund - PointOfLaw Forum

Update (5 p.m.) The bill passed after lengthy arguments and maneuvering by a vote of 268-160. We'll do a post Thursday a.m.

The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote today on H.R. 847, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. The bill creates a variety of new, redundant health programs for care of people exposed to the terrorist attacks against the World Trade Center. It also makes major changes to the compensation fund established in the wake of the murderous assault.

The CRS summary of the bill reports:

Title II : September 11th Victim Compensation Fund of 2001 - (Sec. 201) Amends the Air Transportation Safety and System Stabilization Act to: (1) make individuals eligible for compensation under the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund of 2001 for harm as a result of debris removal; (2) extend the deadline for making a claim for compensation for physical harm not discovered before the deadline; (3) cap liability for claims related to debris removal based on the level of insurance available; (4) limit the total payment for compensation for claims filed on or after the regulations are updated pursuant to this Act; and (5) cap the amount that an individual may charge in connection with a claim under such Act, with exceptions.

[UPDATE: 11:05 a.m. If the House rule passes, the House will consider a substitute amendment.]

Despite the political sensitivities, the bill failed to gather the two-thirds majority necessary for House passage when leadership tried to push the bill through on the suspension calendar in July. (The vote was 255-159.) Although aggressively promoted by New York-area members of the House and local editorialists, the bill could run into further difficulties today. See WABC, "GOP amendments could derail 9/11 health bill," with compensation for illegal aliens being the issue.

The only groups to have lobbied in support of the measure this year (second quarter) are the labor unions and trial lawyers, that is, the American Association for Justice.

During the July floor debate, Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), summarized the objections in his floor remarks:

The bill before us today... creates a brand new entitlement program that could last an additional 21 years. It creates a special compensation system for hospitals in the New York City area at 140 percent of Medicare rates, provides special protections for trial lawyers, and creates a host of special programs and special protections. It also does not require any kind of a citizenship test, Mr. Speaker, to receive a benefit. It is, in fact, apparently a $7.4 billion new entitlement program.

The minority report filed on the bill by the Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee further detailed the objections:

The report comes by email from James Cordrey of Lexis/Nexis-Mealey's. "The Wisconsin Supreme Court today unanimously affirmed an appellate court ruling and held that lead pigment is not defectively designed, dismissing a lead-poisoned boy's claims for strict liability and negligence against the former manufacturers of white lead carbonate pigment (Ruben Baez Godoy v. E.I. duPont de Nemours and Co., et al., No. 2006AP2670, Wis. Sup." It sounds like a devastating setback for the well-organized mass tort campaign, which continues to press county and municipal recoupment litigation in California and elsewhere. Jane Genova has a link to the decision (PDF); statement of defense attorney Charles H. Moellenberg, Jr. of Jones Day; NLJ.

More: Maybe not so devastating to plaintiffs, as Julie Triedman, AmLaw Litigation Daily, notes: Fidelma Fitzpatrick of Motley Rice, who represents the plaintiff in the Godoy case,

points out that the court did not strike Godoy's failure to warn claim, and the case is expected to go forward on those grounds, as will a flood of other individual claims. Fitzpatrick says Motley Rice has an inventory of more than 200 such claims. ...

The Wisconsin high court's ruling is unlikely to change Wisconsin's status as ground zero for individual lead paint injury claims, says McGuireWoods' [Joy] Fuhr [who defended the case]. Wisconsin achieved that status exactly four years ago when it became the only state to permit individuals to file product liability claims even if they can't identify the specific manufacturer whose product caused the poisoning.

Ground Zero workers litigation update - PointOfLaw Forum

Mass Tort Prof Blog has a summary of what's going on in the sprawling litigation claiming toxic dust injury on behalf of Sept. 11 first responders and cleanup workers; the special masters who have developed a litigation plan are well-known torts scholars Aaron Twerski and James Henderson.

"Ground Zero Lawsuits Are to Begin in 2010" - PointOfLaw Forum

Reports the Times. "Nearly 10,000 firefighters, police officers, construction workers and others have sued the city and its contractors, saying they suffered respiratory and other illnesses because they were not given breathing masks during the nine-month rescue and recovery operation after the 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. The defendants face a liability that could reach $1 billion or more if they are found to have been negligent."

Around the web, June 30 - PointOfLaw Forum

  • NYC lawyers say 30 percent of those suing over Ground Zero dust from 9/11 cleanup aren't seriously ill at all, let alone ill from the dust [NYT, AP] New York expanding disability benefits for more rescuers, anyway [NYT]
  • Asbestos, tobacco, Orioles magnate Peter Angelos is giving $5 million to expand University of Baltimore Law School, defense lawyers don't even try to keep up [AmLaw Daily]
  • "Conspiring former partners" at Milberg Weiss ID'd as Jared Specthrie and Robert Sugarman, still in good standing with the New York bar, and the late Larry Milberg [Portfolio]
  • Blog about e-discovery, data security and related legal topics [Hack-igations, via Genova]
  • Speaking of discovery: Our client fell off your trailer, now let us rummage through 600,000 checks written by your family businesses [MC Record and editorial]
  • Because of Supreme Court's Valdez ruling, plaintiff's lawyers suing Exxon might get only $188 million in fees [AmLaw Daily]

Speaking of Ground Zero dust lawsuits, I will be testifying tomorrow morning about H.R. 3543's proposal to reopen the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund to potentially hundreds of thousands of new claimants.

NY Times on Ground Zero dust lawyer - PointOfLaw Forum

In Sunday's Times reporter Anthony DePalma takes a much-needed look at attorney Paul Napoli and his Napoli Bern law firm, which is now representing thousands of plaintiffs claiming injury from 9/11 dust inhalation and before that made its name in the fen-phen litigation. Among the controversies that have trailed it to the present day from that affair: charges that it divvied up settlements in a way favorable to its own fee interests, and that it used unreliable "echo mill" expert reports from echocardiologists attesting injury to fen-phen claimants. Prof. Lester Brickman, friend of this site, is quoted extensively. See our extensive earlier coverage at Overlawyered: Dec. 16, 2002, Sept. 21, 2003, etc. (echo mills); Dec. 28, 2001, Feb. 14, 2005, and Mar. 29, 2007 (settlement practices); Feb. 25, 2008 (broad net cast in 9/11 suits).

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