Results matching “iqbal”

What effect Twombly / Iqbal? - PointOfLaw Forum

Cecil (FJC) et al., Motions to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim after Iqbal: Report to the Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on Civil Rules:

This report presents the findings of a Federal Judicial Center study on the filing and resolution of motions to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The study was requested by the Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on Civil Rules. The study compared motion activity in 23 federal district courts in 2006 and 2010 and included an assessment of the outcome of motions in orders that do not appear in the computerized legal reference systems such as Westlaw. Statistical models were used to control for such factors as differences in levels of motion activity in individual federal district courts and types of cases.

After excluding cases filed by prisoners and pro se parties, and after controlling for differences in motion activity across federal district courts and across types of cases and for the presence of an amended complaint, we found the following: There was a general increase from 2006 to 2010 in the rate of filing of motions to dismiss for failure to state a claim (see infra section III.A); In general, there was no increase in the rate of grants of motions to dismiss without leave to amend. There was, in particular, no increase in the rate of grants of motions to dismiss without leave to amend in civil rights cases and employment discrimination cases (see infra section III.B.1); Only in cases challenging mortgage loans on both federal and state law grounds did we find an increase in the rate of grants of motions to dismiss without leave to amend. Many of these cases were removed from state to federal court. This category of cases tripled in number during the relevant period in response to events in the housing market (see infra section III.B.1). There is no reason to believe that the rate of dismissals without leave to amend would have been lower in 2006 had such cases existed then; There was no increase from 2006 to 2010 in the rate at which a grant of a motion to dismiss terminated the case (see infra section III.B.1).

Of course, there could be hidden effects that the study is not picking up. Some judges are going to be resistant to Twombly and Iqbal; others were already applying a heightened standard of review of complaints before Twombly (recall that Twombly itself involved an appeal to the Second Circuit from a plaintiff who had had his complaint dismissed). And the mix of cases that are going to be brought post-Twombly are different. We will still see cases dismissed because of lawyers pushing the envelope and failing to create new law. But, after Twombly, the hypothetical 100-page complaint alleging wildly implausible conspiracies is much more likely to be filed by a deranged pro se than a lawyer who cares about adhering to ethical standards. Meritless implausible complaints that would have been filed in 2005 are less likely to be filed in 2011, but it's hard to say that that is a bad thing.

Writing at the Center for Individual Freedom, Quin Hillyer previews the upcoming Congressional debate over the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act, seeing in the legislation an extension of the procedural restraint marked by the U.S. Supreme Court rulings in the Iqbal and Twombly rulings.

Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) of the House Judiciary Committee introduced H.R. 966 (called LARA for short) in March and the committee is expected to take up the bill early next month. The legislation seeks to reduce the number of frivolous lawsuits in federal court by amending the sanctions provisions in Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to require the court to impose sanctions who misrepresent their claims to the court. The sanction will compensate the injured parties. The bill also ends to so-called "safe harbor" provision, which now allows an attorney to escape sanctions if withdraws his complaint with 21 days after serving it.

Hillyer writes in "Beating Rattlesnakes and Bottom Feeders: Congress Fights Frivolous Lawsuits":

In two recent cases, Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly (2007) and Ashcroft v. Iqbal (2009), the Supreme Court recognized that frivolous lawsuits are problematic. Before Twombly, a case could be dismissed for "failure to state a claim" only if it were "beyond doubt" that "no set of facts" could support it. In Twombly, seven justices overturned that standard. Former Justice David Souter wrote that a valid complaint must assume facts that are not merely "conceivable" or "speculative, but actually "plausible." Otherwise, he wrote, "The threat of discovery expense will push cost-conscious defendants to settle even anemic cases before reaching those proceedings."

The Twombly and Iqbal cases set the predicate for Chairman Smith's LARA proposal, which well complements those decisions. Just as the high court ruled that what constitutes "anemic" cases must be more broadly defined so as to make it easier to dismiss such cases, so should the penalty for filing those suits in the first place actually act as a deterrent (and as relief to unfairly targeted defendants).

Earlier Point of Law on LARA with background.

And we're glad to see Quin continuing his reporting on civil justice issues in his new gig as Senior Fellow with CFIF, which he joined in April. The strength of The Washington Times' editorials on tort reform, election law, and the politicized Justice Department were largely due to Quin's insights and reporting, and it looks like he's still on the beat -- just from a base of operations in Mobile, Ala.

The American Association for Justice has filed its first quarter lobbying disclosure form with the Clerk of the House, reporting $850,000 in lobbying expenses for the period, down from the $910,000 reported in the fourth quarter of 2010. The report filed with the House Clerk's Office indicates continued lobbying on familiar issues, such as:

  • Notice pleadings in federal courts (Iqbal/Twombly)
  • Preemption of state causes-of-action involving drug manufacturers
  • Various bills to restrict pre-dispute arbitration provisions in contracts.
  • S. 623/H.R. 592 (Sunshine in Litigation Act of 2011); relating to the use of protective orders, sealing of cases, and disclosure of discovery information in federal civil cases. (See earlier POL post.)

In light of the new Republican control of the U.S. House, the trial lawyers are also lobbying some new issues and pieces of legislation. These jumped out at us:

  • H.R. 966/S. 533 (Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act of 2011); to amend Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to make sanctions mandatory.
  • S. 299/ H.R. 10 (Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2011); to provide that major rules of the executive branch shall have no force or effect unless a joint resolution of approval is enacted into law.
  • H.R. 1 (Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act); specific interest in House Amdt. 85 to defund the Equal Access to Justice program, and House Amdt.159 to defund the the Consumer Product Safety Commission Product Safety Database.
  • H.R. 887(no short title); to direct the Secretary of the Interior to submit a report on Indian land fractionation, and for other purposes, specific interest in the modification of attorney's fees. (This is a post-Cobell piece of legislation from Rep. Don Young (R-AK).

The GOP House has also elicited an increased level of lobbying against federal medical liability reform, specifically, H.R. 5, the Help Efficient, Accessible, Low-cost, Timely Healthcare (HEALTH) Act and malpractice reforms generally. The AAJ continues to go outside its own lobbying shop to pay Patton Boggs to work the health care issue, among others, to the tune of $130,000 for the quarter, as well as Forscey and Stinson, $50,000.

The AAJ has also added another lobbying firm to handle medical liability and health care issues, Van Heuvelen Strategies, LLC. Bob Van Heuvelen is the former chief of staff to Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND), who is not seeking reelection in 2012.

"The Costs of Heightened Pleading" - PointOfLaw Forum

Alex Reinert's article in a forthcoming Indiana Law Journal finds that, from 1990-99, "thin complaints" had just as much chance of success as "bulkier" complaints. Thus, Reinert suggests, Twombly and Iqbal may be producing false negatives, and there may not be the benefits to heightened pleading we imagine: "the data here suggest that the costs imposed by heightened pleading may be substantial and may not create the assumed benefits."

Reinert thanks fifteen people and two workshops in his opening footnote, and it is frustrating to think that perhaps not one of them pointed out to him that this is a complete non sequitur. Leaving aside problems with the dataset (which Reinert acknowledges), there are two issues that completely obliterate any ability to infer causality.

First, Reinert measures "success" to include settlements. But, as Twombly itself points out, once a case gets past the pleading stage, the expense of litigation may force a defendant to settle a meritless suit. A "thinly pleaded" suit that resulted in a settlement pre-Twombly, but in a dismissal post-Twombly, may be a meritorious suit, but it's much more likely to have been a nuisance settlement. Reinert pooh-poohs this possibility by arguing that someone inclined to make a nuisance settlement isn't likely to move to dismiss and defend an appeal, but that's a poor understanding of how litigation works: discovery is far more expensive (both in terms of legal expense and non-pecuniary distraction to the defendant) than dismissal and appeal. The fact that these cases would have been dismissed under Twombly is likely a feature, rather than a bug. Reinert has no access to the amounts these cases settled for (more or less than litigation expenses?) and has made no qualitative assessment of the merits of the cases.

Second, Reinert necessarily falsely assumes that a pleading that was thin pre-Twombly would be thin post-Twombly. That static assumption ignores how attorneys respond to incentives. Pre-Twombly the thinness of a pleading was a matter of a stylistic choice. An attorney could choose to draft a thin complaint to avoid accidentally making a concession that would adversely affect the case, and count on it surviving a motion to dismiss. As Judge Posner has written, "A plaintiff who files a long and detailed complaint may plead himself out of court by including factual allegations which if true show that his legal rights were not invaded." The fact that a plaintiff filed a thin complaint may just mean that the lawyer was being prudent, not that the complaint could not have been more detailed should courts require more. Again, this would require a qualitative assessment of the cases that Reinert does not perform.

The paper suffers from a fundamental problem of empirical studies of the legal world: the existing quantitative data, no matter how arduously compiled, does not provide the qualitative data necessary to draw public-policy conclusions, because much of what happens in the legal system is never recorded in court.

Around the web, December 9 - PointOfLaw Forum

  • Toyota isn't going to be able to win its sudden acceleration litigation at the motion-to-dismiss phase. [NLJ] This means the case proceeds to tens of millions of dollars worth of discovery as plaintiffs search for documents that they can take out of context to "prove" an otherwise nonexistent problem.
  • Brooklyn lawsuit: because they offer keyless ignition, it's Toyota's fault that 79-year-old plaintiff forgot to turn off his car and died of carbon monoxide poisoning. [NYDN via ABAJ] It's almost as if Toyota should require a surcharge for elderly drivers.
  • It doesn't necessarily mean much legally if a wealthy criminal defendant appeals a criminal conviction—the cost-benefit analysis is to seek every level of appellate review possible—but Conrad Black might have a point in his en banc petition objecting to the Seventh Circuit's "harmless error" analysis. [Bashman link roundup; Earlier at POL] (Update: see now Elwood @ Volokh.)
  • More tapes the Ecuador plaintiffs don't want you to see in the Chevron case. [Am Law Daily]
  • One of the collateral tragedies of Richard Nagareda's death is that he was one of the few law professors willing to take a common-sense stand on Twombly and Iqbal. Compare the nonsense from Arthur Miller.
  • Fisherman on the Gulf Coast are doing pretty well under the BP compensation scheme. [FrumForum]
  • Speaking of the Gulf Coast, the opinion is unpublished, but the Fifth Circuit got around to affirming the rejection of a class certification in Katrina litigation against insurers. [Jackson]
  • A new blog on originalism.
  • It's behind a subscription wall, but the story is titled "Legal Activist Ted Frank Cries Conflict of Interest, Forces O'Melveny and Grant & Eisenhofer to Modify Apple Securities Class Action Deal." [Litigation Daily ($)]

Cert grant in Ashcroft v. Al-Kidd - PointOfLaw Forum

SCOTUSblog: "The Court limited its review of the new terrorism case (Ashcroft v. Al-Kidd, 10-98) to two issues: whether Ashcroft is entitled to absolute immunity in a case involving a detention under the federal 'material witness' law, and whether he is entitled at least to qualified immunity to a Fourth Amendment claim." The Court will not be reviewing the applicability of Iqbal to the case, even though the theory of Attorney General Ashcroft's liability was far removed from the line prosecutor who held the plaintiff for fifteen days as a material witness. Justice Kagan has recused herself from the case, so Ashcroft effectively starts down 1-0, since a 4-4 split is the same as a 5-4 loss. Earlier discussion of the Ninth Circuit ruling (598 F.3d 1129 (9th Cir. 2010)): Thornburg @ WLF; Samp @ WLF; Samp @ WLF.

Update: more from Orin Kerr.

In defense of Iqbal and Twombly - PointOfLaw Forum

Twombly and Iqbal establish a modest pleading standard requiring a complaint to be "plausible." The legal and academic left has been up in arms over this. Beck asks the question I've been asking for a while. "Why should the legal system tolerate the filing of implausible complaints?" I'd recommend the excellent post even if it didn't cite my previous work.

Around the web, September 1 - PointOfLaw Forum

Around the web, July 12 - PointOfLaw Forum

  • With punitive damages yet to be awarded, jury imposes statutory damages of $613 million on Skilled Healthcare for allegedly failing a statutory requirement of nurse-to-patient ratio, an amount that may preclude an appeal bond if not lowered in the district court. Skilled Healthcare says it disagrees with the verdict, but doesn't deign to tell anyone why, assuring one-sided media coverage. Plaintiffs' lawyer says he wants to change the way nursing homes do business in California, which may well be correct: if statutory damages are close to $20,000/patient ($500/patient/day), one can expect nursing home costs to rise accordingly, but that's a legislative decision to transfer money from patients and taxpayers to lawyers. [Contra Costa Times; LA Times; Reuters]
  • Posner on the financial reform bill. [Bloomberg]
  • A modest proposal requiring legislators to give the same care to legislation as their campaign ads. [WSJ letter via Boudreaux]
  • Elements of Arizona law previously unsuccessfully challenged in Rhode Island (albeit not on preemption grounds). [McCarthy @ Corner]
  • McDonald's takes on the nanny state. [Reason]
  • Defending Iqbal and Twombly. [Rickard]
  • Where's the threatened cascade of corporate money in politics after Citizens United? [Bainbridge]

The Business Roundtable, President Obama's closest ally in the business community, has gotten around to realizing that the Obama administration is not a friend of the private sector. This week, it issued a 54-page report to outgoing OMB director Peter Orszag that details the Obama administration's job- and investment-killing initiatives. Page 33 deals with the administration's woeful record on tort reform:

A major area of concern is the lack of meaningful discussion about tort reform. Pending legislation will affect many different industries, significantly add to costs, reduce personal incomes and increase regulations. Yet, in no case has the government included tort reform in the mix. This inaction will worsen a challenging environment for businesses as they try to comply with a large body of new law under the overhanging threat of litigation.

Key areas of concern include (in descending order of importance):

* Medical Liability Reform: The new health care law failed to adequately address medical liability reform. Comprehensive reform must include ensuring appropriate remedies for negligence while limiting damages where there is no negligence; developing alternative mechanisms to resolve claims to so that those harmed by negligence can obtain appropriate relief; and encouraging providers to follow quality standards by supporting the adoption of medical practice guidelines by professional associations, that if followed by a physician, would serve as a complete defense to a malpractice action.

* HR 4115 ("Open Access to Courts Act"): This legislation would resurrect meritless complaints federal district courts could otherwise dismiss under U.S. Supreme Court standards expressed in the Twombly and Iqbal decisions. Those decisions allow the courts to dismiss complaints that allege no support for conclusory allegations and whose allegations are not credible. This bill, by prohibiting courts from dismissing a suit unless a defendant can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that there is no set of facts that would ever entitle the plaintiff to relief, will extend the life of meritless suits and will cost corporations (and therefore consumers) millions of dollars in litigation and discovery costs, diverting resources which could be productively used for investment, job creation and retention and economic growth. This bill should be rejected.

Kagan on tort reform - PointOfLaw Forum

We've previously written about Kagan's role in the Clinton administration opposing product liability reform, an act that helped bankrupt two of the Big Three auto companies a decade later. Now we learn from the New York Times that Kagan all but single-handedly persuaded Clinton to veto the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act, which suggests that she'll care more about the effect on trial lawyers than on regular Americans when it comes to pleading standards cases. Furthermore, Kagan's clerkship memos to Justice Marshall suggest she was on the wrong side of DeShaney, putting her to the left of Stevens (well, the 1989 version of Stevens, anyway) on this issue. By the end of his tenure, Stevens was reflexively voting in favor of expanding the role of courts in society and against anything that might put reasonable limits on liability—he was the sole dissent in Twombly and Tellabs, for example. So while Kagan isn't likely to pull the Supreme Court that much further to the left, there is no reason to think she is a moderate on civil justice issues.

Even though Senator Arlen Specter failed in his bid to win the Democratic Party's nomination in Pennsylvania, he's still around for the next several months to work Congressional mischief on behalf of the plaintiffs' bar. Front and center in his efforts: his bill to reverse the Supreme Court's Iqbal and Twombly decisions reining in federal pleading rules (see earlier discussion here, here, here, here, and here).

As we've previously suggested, there are national-security implications for returning to a pre-Iqbal notice pleading standard, a point made clearly today on NRO by my law school classmate Bill Burck and his former Bush White House colleague Dana Perino, in a column discussing the interrogation of alleged Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad.

Around the web, May 19 - PointOfLaw Forum

  • Though, alas, I don't think his opposition to Stoneridge and Iqbal was what did it, Senator Arlen Specter lost his primary last night. We'll miss Victor Schwartz's impersonations. One hopes that Specter doesn't respond to his lame-duck status with even more efforts on behalf of spiteful and destructive pro-trial-lawyer legislation.
  • New issue briefing page on corporate criminalization. [Searle Institute]
  • Alex Tabarrok refutes Paul Krugman on the legal implications of the BP oil spill. [Marginal Revolution; also, Olson @ Cato]
  • WSJ on the odd en banc blow-up in Comer v. Murphy Oil. [WSJ]
  • WaPo editorializes in favor of preemption in consumer financial protection. [Elsewhere in WaPo]
  • Dentists lose implausible case against insurers at early stage, thanks to Twombly/Iqbal. [NLJ; American Dental Association v. Cigna (11th Cir.)]
  • Bad Ninth Circuit ruling on vouchers before Supreme Court. [Will @ WaPo; Heartland; Winn v. Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization]
  • Heads I win, tails is a do-over: Obama's aunt, Zeituni Onyango, wins asylum on the third try after living illegally on taxpayers' expense for nearly a decade and disregarding a deportation order. Because who could be in more danger of political persecution in her home country than the relative of a wildly popular political figure? This really should be a much bigger scandal: the immigration court decision is inexplicable. NY Times coverage forgets to mention she overstayed her visa. [NYT; Derbyshire @ Corner]

Around the web, April 29 - PointOfLaw Forum

  • More on Ninth Circuit decision advancing Dukes v. Wal-Mart class action [Mark Moller, Cato]
  • "Financial Regulation Bill Includes Attack on Arbitration" [Carter at ShopFloor] And watch out for the provisions empowering state attorneys general [same]
  • Academic reception of Twombly/Iqbal plausible pleading has passed through stages of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, now on to acceptance [Sullivan, Workplace Prof]
  • Seventh Circuit Judge Diane Wood's handling of some liability cases gets high marks from one defense-oriented observer [Drug and Device Law]
  • "Modeling the Effects of Peremptory Challenges on Jury Selection and Jury Verdicts" [Roger Allan Ford, George Mason Law Review, PDF]
  • New Federalist Society site will cover Supreme Court nomination politics []

Democratic representative opposes Iqbal/Twombly bill - PointOfLaw Forum

U.S. Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) has sent a letter to House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers urging him not to schedule any committee consideration of H.R. 4115, the Open Access to Courts Act. The Congressman writes:

The measure overturns two recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions, Ashcroft v. Iqbal (2009) and Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly (2007), which clarify standards for the sufficiency of pleading in civil cases. I am concerned that the legislation would produce a dramatic change in pleading standards to the detriment of the federal court system. Rather than reverting to pre-Iqbal and Twombly standards, as proponents of the bill claim, H.R. 4115 would raise substantially the government standards for motions to dismiss. In doing so the measure ignores the years of precedent affirmed by the two Supreme Court decisions which struck a fair balance between the rights of plaintiffs and the need to prevent frivolous lawsuits.

Boucher also emphasizes the effect of excessive filings on the limited resources of the federal courts.

Earlier posts on pleadings.

The American Association for Justice has just filed its first quarter 2010 lobbying disclosure form, reporting $1.05 million in lobbying expenses for the three-month period. That's compared to the $1.33 million reported in the fourth quarter 2009.

Having successfully lobbied against any medical liability reform in the new health care law -- and boasting of that success -- the AAJ can now turn to other legislative priorities. From the lobbying disclosure, the association's website,, and other sources, we'd identify those priorities as the Medical Device Safety Act -- ending federal preemption for FDA-approved devices -- legislation to ban pre-dispute arbitration clauses, and bills to restore notice pleadings, i.e., to reverse Iqbal/Twombly. These will all be familiar topics to Point of Law readers.

The lobby also appears ready to resurrect H.R. 2519/S. 437, bills to allow the deduction of attorney-advanced expenses and court costs in contingency fee cases. This is the Holy Grail for the trial lawyers, described by Victor Schwarz and Chris Appel of Shook, Hardy, and Bacon in a May 2009 Washington Legal Foundation paper, "Federal Government Bailout for Trial Lawyers." Excerpt:

In the 110th Congress, the Joint Tax Committee scored the federal bailout for trial lawyers at $1.57 billion over 10 years. We do not believe the American taxpayer will want to bear this cost. At that time, The Wall Street Journal editorialized that the tax change "would allow plaintiffs lawyers to deduct the up-front expenses of pursuing contingency-fee lawsuits, even in cases where the lawyer is expecting to be reimbursed for these expenses. . . Allowing these big deductions now would mean that future reimbursements are taxed, but with some monster class-actions, the lawyers could avoid the tax bill for a decade or more. Naturally, this would be an incentive to file more class-action suits, because the lawyers could write off their up-front expenditures to pursue them." Editorial, The Bill Lerach Tax Cut, WALL ST. J., May 30, 2008, at A14. [Here].

We thought the disinfecting sunshine of public scrutiny had killed those provisions, but AAJ must believe otherwise. Not only are the bills listed on the lobbying report, the AAJ has also just hired an outside lobbying firm to work the issue.

On March 1, the Washington Tax Group filed its lobbying registration form with the American Association for Justice listed as its client. Listed as the lobbyist to represent the AAJ is Noushin Jahanian, former chief counsel to Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), a member of the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee.

Trade associations don't normally spend money on outside lobbyists if an issue is dead.

There's been talk of Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA), sponsor of S. 437, trying to add various special-interest legislation to the financial regulation bill, but the trial lawyer bailout seems too hot for that maneuver. Our guess is that lobbyists will try to add it to an omnibus or disaster aid spending bill later in the session. A post-election, lameduck Congress in which the Democrats still control large margins in the House and Senate could try for one last bill to reward political allies. A tax deduction for contingency fee lawsuits would be quite a gift to the AAJ, one certainly worth lobbying for.

Around the web, April 13 - PointOfLaw Forum

  • Coming up Apr. 21: Searle Center discussion on Federal Rules of Civil Procedure [announcement]
  • "Their pain gave them strength to fight for justice." L.A. Times isn't playing neutral in Kettleman City birth-defect-cluster suit [its endorsement]
  • Beck & Co. answer some critics of Twombly/Iqbal [Drug & Device Law]
  • Lawsuits proliferate involving embedded software [Michael Barr,]
  • "Long Live the Reversionary, 'Claims-Made' Settlement" [Karlsgodt, Class Action Blawg]
  • "Save Crown Cork" asbestos liability limit fails in Virginia legislature [Hartley, WaPo]

Around the web, March 26 - PointOfLaw Forum

  • Nail in tire didn't matter: jury says Cooper should pay $28 million in tread separation minivan rollover [Bloomberg, Iowa]
  • Law review symposium consisting exclusively of Iqbal/Twombly critics isn't exactly diverse [Beck et al, more]
  • Employers' hiring incentive in new jobs bill is "absurdly game-able" says one employer [Coyote]
  • "Time to Rethink What's a Crime" [Marc Levin, Texas Public Policy Foundation, PDF]
  • Appeals court overturns $3.5 M award against Queens apartment building owner over gang attack on tenant [Hochfelder]
  • Ninth Circuit nominee Goodwin Liu likes at least the rhetoric of slavery reparations, though it's less clear what he thinks of the actual litigation [Verum Serum and followup via Whelan, NRO]

Around the web, March 18 - PointOfLaw Forum

  • Illinois toxics case: court turns thumbs down on medical monitoring class action [Russell Jackson]
  • Californians may hope for class action reform, but lawyers with clout in Sacramento have other ideas [Cal Labor, Karlsgodt]
  • Court dodges Twombly/Iqbal in pain pump case [Beck et al] Edward Hartnett compromise proposal on Iqbal/Twombly [Wasserman, Prawfs]
  • $5 million pain and suffering award set aside in suit against NYC housing authority [Hochfelder] $105 million NYC hospital award will result in $5 million recoverable damages [same]
  • "Corporate penalties and the SEC" [D&O Diary]
  • Lawyers swarm Toyota and scramble for position in resulting litigation [Bronstad, NLJ, AP; WSJ Law Blog] And here come the public-private lawyering partnerships: Orange County, California D.A. Tony Rackauckas hires Newport Beach's Robinson Calcagnie [Reuters, NLJ]

Around the web, March 11 - PointOfLaw Forum

  • Hans von Spakovsky, Heritage Foundation's The Foundry blog, "The Latest Worthless Medical Malpractice 'Reforms'," reporting on a proposed amendment by Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) supposedly intended to make state grants for medical liability projects a little more legitimate. "The bottom line is that so far in this extended debate over healthcare, there is absolutely nothing substantive in the president's proposals or the House or Senate bills that would implement any real medical malpractice reforms."
  • South Coast Today (Mass.), "Massachusetts SJC rules 2nd Amendment does not apply to states": "The right to bear arms as defined in the Second Amendment does not apply to the states, so Massachusetts can regulate who can have firearms and how those weapons are to be stored, the state's high court ruled Wednesday." Opinion in Commonwealth v. Runyon.
  • Washington Post, "Setting a Higher Bar at the White House": "President Obama's new social secretary, Julianna Smoot, sets a new bar in bringing powerful connections to the job. Smoot, 42, served as national finance director for Obama's $750 million presidential campaign...Early in her career, Smoot also worked at the American Association of Trial Lawyers (now the American Association for Justice), which ranks as one of the most powerful lobbying groups in Washington." The usual self-styled watchdog groups are upset, but the more interesting question is how was she was ever considered qualified to be chief of staff to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, her previous administration job.
  • Trial, the monthly magazine of the American Association for Justice, the one article from the March issue, "Pleadings and Discovery," made available online, "In the wake of Iqbal": "Last year, the Supreme Court stirred up the federal pleading waters, declaring that notice pleading is no longer enough. Here's how you can prepare your case to meet the challenging new standard."
  • Washington Examiner, David Freddoso, "America's Lindsay Lohan problem": "This week, Lindsay Lohan filed suit against E-Trade for $100 million because the company's 'talking baby' Super Bowl ad included an infant character named 'Lindsay' (or Lindsey) who is described as a 'Milk-a-holic.'" Really? I heard it as "Linseed" and thought the oil seed industry might have a claim. North Dakota flax growers are outraged.
  • NJBiz,, "Tort reform hopes dashed as Christie focuses on budget": "A Trenton-based tort reform organization hopes unfounded money-hunting lawsuits may be sidelined now that Chris Christie is in the Statehouse, but they admit a budget crisis has for now pushed the issue to the back burner." Unfortunately, that's all you get to read free, but the group cited is the New Jersey Lawsuit Reform Alliance.
  • New Jersey Lawsuit Reform Alliance, homepage news release, "Ninety-three percent of the lawsuits filed against our pharmaceutical companies were from out-of-state litigants, whose cases would never see the light of day in their home jurisdictions," added Marcus Rayner, Executive Director of the New Jersey Lawsuit Reform Alliance (NJLRA). "Instead of being the nation's 'medicine cabinet,' the trial bar is turning New Jersey into the nation's lottery ticket instead."
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