Results matching “silver luxenberg”

Albany: Senate boss joins plaintiff's firm Belluck & Fox - PointOfLaw Forum

"[John] Sampson, the state Senate Democratic leader, quietly accepted a job last month as 'counsel' to Belluck & Fox, a politically connected Manhattan law firm that specializes in asbestos litigation and that claims to have won $220 million in judgments." Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver, of course, has long been on board at one of the city's biggest tort firms. "Like Silver, Sampson won't say how much his job pays. And, as is the case with Silver's firm, Weitz & Luxenberg, a founding partner of Sampson's firm, Joseph W. Belluck, sits on the board of the state Trial Lawyers Association." One veteran lobbyist said "the trial lawyers are now covered in both houses". [NY Post via NY Civic]

Around the web, June 4 - PointOfLaw Forum

  • "Lerach disbarred, but could return for Armageddon" [CalLaw Legal Pad]
  • Calif. Supreme Court decision banning balance billing will harm emergency room care [Mark Morocco, L.A. Times via White Coat]
  • Distinguishing the injured from the uninjured in the MoistureLoc contact lens cleaner mass tort [Beck & Herrmann]
  • New pressure on New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to disclose his earnings from tort firm Weitz & Luxenberg [NY Post]
  • "How dare you petition the government?" New lobbying restrictions will curb unwanted advocacy in the capital [ShopFloor]
  • Salon.com columnist Glenn Greenwald, of the ever-accusatory manner, had case before Sotomayor as lawyer, got 1/3 loaf [WSJ Law Blog, scroll]

Backroom deal to lift New York med-mal fee caps - PointOfLaw Forum

"Gov. Paterson wants to hand the state's powerful trial lawyers a huge cash bonanza by rolling back a two-decades-old reform law that capped legal fees from medical-malpractice awards, The Post has learned." To try to buy off doctors' opposition, the deal might include a one-year freeze on the insurance rates physicians could be charged -- though of course the bill would do nothing to freeze the cost of providing such insurance, quite the reverse. (In the past, docs have gotten an unpleasant surprise after years in which insurance rates had been artificially suppressed, when they learned that rates and assessments would then have to skyrocket to cover past shortfalls).

Readers already know about the tort connections of Assembly leader Sheldon Silver, of-counsel with Weitz & Luxenberg. Not as well known are those of the governor: "Paterson's father, Basil, is partner at the Long Island tort-law/lobbying firm of Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein. Lifting the malpractice cap would mean a huge payday for Meyer, Suozzi. And a very happy Paterson pere."

No more prepack asbestos bankruptcies? - PointOfLaw Forum

We and others (above all Prof. Lester Brickman) have been consistently critical of the gamesmanship and power plays involved in the "prepackaged" bankruptcies of various companies sued in asbestos litigation, in which asbestos plaintiff's lawyers have sometimes effectively seized control of the bankruptcy process (in cooperation with current management) to frustrate the legitimate interests of non-asbestos creditors and insurers. Now New Jersey bankruptcy judge Kathryn Ferguson has dismissed the attempted prepack of the Congoleum Corporation, a flooring manufacturer, in what American Lawyer's David Bario calls a "feisty" ruling (PDF) that could discourage such attempts in future. Check out Bario's article for reminders of the far from attractive conduct of (among others) Joe Rice of Motley Rice and Perry Weitz of the Sheldon Silver law firm, Weitz & Luxenberg.

Around the web, September 29 - PointOfLaw Forum

  • Erin Brockovich enlists as pitchwoman for NYC tort firm Weitz & Luxenberg, of Sheldon Silver and asbestos fame, but there's no telling when her reputation will catch up with her [NY Post, NY Daily News]
  • Whoever thought "liar loans" would end badly? Quite a shocker that was [Malanga, Real Clear Politics]
  • Class-action suit seeks end to Building Industry Association of Washington support for Dino Rossi, challenger to Gov. Christine Gregoire (D-Wash.) [WSJ editorial]
  • Chemerinsky: new Irvine law school "has no ideology" [L.A. Times]
  • Don't blame "mark-to-market" accounting for the catastrophe, argues Nicole Gelinas [City Journal]
  • Court of appeals appointments by next president likely to make big impact [Legal Times]

Around the web, May 6 - PointOfLaw Forum

  • NY judges' deplorable "Black Robe Flu" slowdown aimed at Albany lawmakers' firms [Giacalone; also see Overlawyered and my comment at NYPIAB]; Judith Kaye issues denial [NYLJ]; Kaye in judge-pay suit wants Sheldon Silver to disclose what he gets from Weitz & Luxenberg [NY Post edit]; and will a Buffalo judge kick W&L off its representation of Erie County in drug-pricing suit, with its potentially huge contingency fee? [NY Post, Buffalo News] And isn't it kinda weird that the NYT still hasn't covered this?
  • Employee's having obtained and sold confidential business information no bar to winning FMLA verdict against Chase that could reach $7.6 million [Fulton County Daily Report]
  • Welding rod defendants holding off the courtroom onslaught? [Fisk, Bloomberg via ABA Journal; earlier]
  • Alabama's drug-pricing, oil-royalty suits stoke memories of the state's old reputation for insider justice [Tucker/AVALA, Huntsville Times]
  • "Very bad idea": bill co-sponsored by Obama to force firms to identify and disclose their major beneficial owners [Bainbridge]
  • "Lawsuit Reform Huge Boost to Texas Economy" per report by economist Ray Perryman for Texans for Lawsuit Reform Foundation [release; McAllen Monitor]
  • Mustn't condone tobacco companies funding research that might prevent lung cancer deaths, they've got a conflict of interest after all [Shaywitz/T. Stossel, TWS]

Silver's pick for judicial panel - PointOfLaw Forum

Can you guess who Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has picked as a member of a state panel that screens appellate and other judges? The New York Post's Kenneth Lovett reported the other day that it's none other than Arthur Luxenberg, name partner of the giant personal-injury firm Weitz & Luxenberg, at which Silver has been "of counsel" since 2002. ("He and the firm have repeatedly refused to reveal who his clients are or how much he is paid, although sources have said it could be in the seven figures.") Critics of the move include not only Post editorialists (more) but even a spokesman for the New York Public Interest Research Group -- and it's a pretty safe bet that trial lawyers have gone too far when even NYPIRG criticizes them.

NY counties hire Silver's firms for drug-price suits - PointOfLaw Forum

New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's law firm, Weitz & Luxenberg, says it's just a coincidence that Erie, Schenectady and Oswego counties, which must go hat in hand to the Speaker for appropriations, hired the law firm of which he's of counsel to pursue Medicaid drug reimbursement suits against pharmaceutical companies for a 20 percent share of the proceeds. More on pharmaceutical pricing actions here, here, here, etc.

"Help us, Governor Spitzer!" - PointOfLaw Forum

Nicole Gelinas of the Manhattan Institute, whose article on capital market competitiveness is our featured column of the moment, has an article in the new City Journal (published by MI) urging Gov. Spitzer to use every means at his disposal to attack the endemic corruption and fiscal mismanagement of New York government. The piece ranges widely over a variety of topics (Medicaid, school failure, public employee pensions, conflicts of interests in Albany, the Wicks Law, etc.) but of particular interest to this site's readers is the following passage:

Absurd personal-injury claims, including claims for pain and suffering, hammer New York municipalities, too. Gotham alone pays out over $500 million in awards and settlements each year, up nearly eightfold since the late seventies, after adjusting for inflation. Costs are so high, the city�s law department explains, in part because "even when a jury finds the city only slightly at fault," state law requires Gotham to �foot the whole bill." Abuses abound, including a case in which a driver, high on cocaine and heroin, swerved wildly around a New York City sanitation truck, injuring three pedestrians. A jury found Gotham 23 percent at fault�the truck driver might have made an illegal turn�but the city had to pay the full $18 million awarded.

To reduce such unjustifiable payouts, New York�s cities and towns have long petitioned Albany to set up a court of claims, modeled on the one that the state uses to adjudicate claims against it. Under such a system, appointed judges, not softhearted jurors, would hear claims and determine liability. But yet another Albany conspirator against the public�the trial lawyers� lobby�has foiled sensible change, again by rallying the powerful Silver to its side.

Not that it had to work too hard. Silver�s support for the litigious status quo is even more self-interested than it appears. Consider one huge trial-lawyer payout during the nineties. As Albany reporting vet Jay Gallagher describes the case in his book The Politics of Decline, two adult brothers, Virgil and John Brown, climbed over a railing at Coney Island and jumped off a pier into shallow water, breaking their necks. The brothers made headlines when they won a $104 million judgment against city taxpayers (later cut by two-thirds by an appeals court). Who represented the Brown brothers, taking home an estimated $8�12 million fee for his trouble? Attorney Harvey Weitz, of the law firm Weitz & Luxenberg, where Speaker Silver himself is on permanent retainer, for an undisclosed amount.

Lawsuit Heaven�NYC's Hell - PointOfLaw Columns

By Walter Olson

(Reprinted from the New York Post, 6-15-06)

A report released Tuesday by the city's Independent Budget Office found that the share of the city bud get devoted to lawsuit outlays doubled from 1990 to 2004. And the whopping $575 million the city spent to settle lawsuits in 2004 is expected to balloon to nearly $800 million by 2010.

The 2004 figure testifies eloquently to the cost of the Litigation Lobby's stranglehold on Albany. It amounts to $71 for every man, woman and child in the city, a sum that gets passed directly into the city's tax burden. (Although trial lawyers like to portray the liability crisis as one of the insurance system rather than of the lawsuit system, New York City happens to be self-insured, so the raw numbers tell the tale.)

Is this just the inevitable cost of running a big city? Well, the 2004 budget for the city of Denver is available online, and it includes a line item for liability claims of - no misprint - $3.9 million, a number that would practically disappear as a rounding error in Gotham's legal budget. That's $7 per resident, about one-tenth the burden New York taxpayers face.

Yes, New York's government does more than Denver's - especially in running hospitals - but much of the tenfold difference per capita remains once you control for such factors. And the $575 million figure doesn't include several huge sources of lawsuit exposure for New York taxpayers - starting with the MTA, with its subways and buses, and the Port Authority, which was a magnet for liability lawsuits even before 9/11. Add them to the count, and you'd vault the figures far higher.

The bigger story here is not just the continued growth in lawsuit outlays. It's that Gotham was already facing a crisis in liability payouts 10 or 15 years ago, and things keep getting worse rather than better, despite the vocal complaints of virtually every mayor.
And also despite some concerted efforts by the city to limit its exposure. Sidewalk slip-fall claims are off sharply, for example, because of a 2003 law backed by Bloomberg that sticks adjacent property owners (as opposed to City Hall) with liability for many slip-falls. Victor Serby, a New York attorney who often represents plaintiffs, says the Health and Hospitals Corp. has acted lately to clean up its chaotic patient recordkeeping, a step that is likely to help the city in its defense of malpractice claims.

Overall, 30 percent of city lawsuit outlays go to medical liability claims, where million-dollar payouts are common. The most important category of these claims by far are cases of infant brain damage, most of which are not avoidable by obstetricians no matter how skillfully they practice, but which (particularly before plaintiff-friendly Bronx and Brooklyn juries) can generate enormous verdicts even when they rest on highly doubtful scientific theories of blame. In fact, the most likely hope for reducing the incidence of these cases is probably improved social conditions (e.g. fewer premature births, less substance abuse by moms), rather than error-free obstetrics.

Attorney Ellen Lombardi, with the city's Law Department, said the state's appeals courts are more willing to uphold high verdicts than formerly. Plus, the city's new push to settle cases early has led to some short-term bulging of outlays.

The city has some highly regarded legal talent, and it's quite possible its strategy is sound. But the overall direction of the numbers is unlikely to improve any time soon.

Why not? Some judges in the city's own back yard are considered deeply unsympathetic to the city as defendant. But the wider reason lies in Albany: New York is one of the very few states that has enacted little or no liability reform worth the name.

And that's exactly the way the immensely successful trial-lawyer lobby - along with its favorite representative, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver of Weitz & Luxenberg - aims to keep it.

"A walking conflict of interest" - PointOfLaw Forum

The New York Post is again wondering how New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver harmonizes his legislative role with his day job as of counsel to personal-injury powerhouse Weitz & Luxenberg. Per the Post's editorialists, "he's never disclosed what he does for W&L."

"The Lawyers Killing N.Y." - PointOfLaw Forum

New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Weitz & Luxenberg) is so avid to eliminate the statute of limitations for civil rape claims, the better to open the sluices for negligent-security and premises-liability suits against businesses, that even the National Organization for Women is upset with him. It's all kind of symbolic of the stranglehold the trial bar has got on Albany (via NYCivic.org)(more there).

"A Well-Oiled Machine" - PointOfLaw Forum

As part of American Lawyer's Litigation 2004 supplement, entitled "Plaintiff Power", reporter Alison Frankel profiles Weitz & Luxenberg, the firm that brought mass torts to New York City (a town whose injury bar is still better known for one-at-a-time cases). W&L now boasts annual revenue "well in excess of $75 million", having branched out from asbestos into breast and hip implants, pharmaceuticals, toxic torts and water contamination. (The asbestos revenues fund continual expansion into other areas). Some highlights:

* Perry Weitz got his start at the tort law firm of his father-in-law, the famed Morris Eisen, but left well before the indictments which led to the conviction of numerous persons at the firm for fabricating evidence and bribing witnesses. Co-partner Arthur Luxenberg is likewise an Eisen refugee. The third partner -- there are only three, although the firm employs many attorneys as well as a support staff of about 300 -- is Robert Gordon, formerly of Philadelphia's Greitzer & Locks.

* The New York state legislature pretty much made Weitz & Luxenberg's fortunes when it reopened and liberalized the statute of limitations to allow the filing of old asbestos cases, a large share of which W&L scooped up; one sign of the firm's close ties with Albany is its hiring of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver as of-counsel, promising him a share of fees from cases he brings in.

* "It costs something like $25 million, Weitz says, to start up a new mass tort onslaught. "

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