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Around the Web, May 4

  • The May issue of "Trial," the monthly magazine of the American Association for Justice, includes an article on In re Seroquel Prods. Liab. Litig., 2008 WL 215707 (M.D. Fla. Jan. 24, 2008). While the magazine is reserved for members, a summary of the article has been posted online: "The U.S. district court overseeing multidistrict litigation against the manufacturer of the atypical antipsychotic drug Seroquel held that documents reviewed by witnesses in preparation for depositions are not protected by the work-product privilege." Here's an article on the litigation last year at Law.com.
  • Apropos the AAJ, the trial lawyers group is sponsoring is a teleseminar Wednesday, "Using the McKinsey Documents in Your Bad Faith Case." The reference is to management consultant McKinsey & Co.'s documents recommending how Allstate Corp should challenge automotive insurance claims. One of the AAJ presenters is David Berardinelli, Santa Fe trial lawyers and author of the book, "From Good Hands to Boxing Gloves." Business Week covered Berardinelli and his book in May 2006.
  • Last month, All State decided to post the McKinsey documents online in response to a judge's order and fines. The 150,000 pages are available here. The decision prompted news reports, including this New Orleans Times-Picayune story, which notes that the documents do not include information about catastrophic claims, of potential use in Hurricane Katrina litigation. David Rossmiller at the Insurance Coverage Blog has more.
  • This line in the registration materials for the AAJ teleseminar caught our eye. "Note: Eastern Indiana and parts of Arizona--no daylight savings -- Please be sure to note correct time for the teleseminar you register for." Nope. Indiana went all Daylight Saving Time effective April 2006, an initiative of Gov. Mitch Daniels. So if you miss the seminar because of bad info, can you sue?
  • Via The Volokh Conspiracy comes news of the action by Swiss Federal Ethics Committee on Non-Human Biotechnology. Finding: Plants have rights. "The Committee members unanimously consider an arbitrary harm caused to plants to be morally impermissible. This kind of treatment would include, e.g. decapitation of wild flowers at the roadside without rational reason."
  • From the Wall Street Journal's Law Blog: "Just days before the first Bextra trial was to begin, Pfizer has struck tentative settlements with some plaintiffs who alleged that painkillers Celebrex and Bextra caused heart attacks, according to lawyers at three plaintiff firms involved in the litigation." More from Bloomberg.
  • A column by Ken Connor, Chairman of the Center for a Just Society in Washington, D.C., challenging the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's "Lawsuit Climate 2008: Ranking the States." By its sample -- corporate attorneys -- the survey is inherently biased and does not reflect a good knowledge of the court system, Connor argues: "As a trial lawyer for thirty-five years, I am among the first to admit that the civil justice is imperfect. But access to the court system is a constitutionally protected right, and at a time of rampant corporate misconduct it is a right that needs to be zealously defended. Conservatives who believe in the Constitution and the need for checks and balances in our public life should agree." Connor's column is a rebuttal to a pro-survey column by Lindsay Boyd of Townhall.com
  • Three-hundred-and-twenty five new laws go into effect in Utah on Monday. The Deseret News has a round-up. Many new opportunities for litigation. Here's one: The estate of a person killed by illegal drugs can sue the person who provided or administered the lethal drugs.
  • A post mortem in the Orlando Sentinel of the Central Florida commuter train debacle in the Legislature: "TALLAHASSEE - Central Florida's commuter-rail project failed in the Florida Legislature because its backers didn't heed a cardinal rule of politics: Know your enemy...They thought their main opponents were residents of Lakeland, angry that the state's deal with CSX Corp. would run more freight trains through their city. They didn't realize until too late that the state's trial lawyers were grimly determined to defeat the deal."

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.