Results matching “"lead paint"”

Aqua Dots Product Liability Litigation - PointOfLaw Forum

A must-read landmark decision from Judge Easterbrook in Aqua Dots Product Liability Litigation. The Chinese manufacturer of the Aqua Dots toy used the wrong adhesive in the product process; when swallowed, the adhesive metabolized into gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid, i.e., GHB, the so-called date-rape drug, with predictably adverse effects for the small children who did so.

The companies involved acted responsibly when they discovered the problem, and recalled the product, offering refunds and replacements.

There are of course legitimate personal injury claims that stem from a defective product like this. But there were also class actions seeking recovery for economic loss. What economic loss when the manufacturer is offering a refund or replacement? Well, that's a problem, isn't it, but lawyer-driven class actions often seek to free ride off of and take credit for what the manufacturer is already doing for the sake of justifying a large attorneys' fee: the attorneys in the similarly free-riding Mattel Lead Paint settlement asked for $12.9 million.

This will not fly in the Seventh Circuit now: "the district court should have relied on the text of Rule 23(a)(4), which says that a court may certify a class action only if 'the representative parties will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class.' Plaintiffs want relief that duplicates a remedy that most buyers already have received, and that remains available to all members of the putative class. A representative who proposes that high transaction costs (notice and attorneys' fees) be incurred at the class members' expense to obtain a refund that already is on offer is not adequately protecting the class members' interests." It is good to see a court recognize that Rule 23(a)(4)'s adequacy requirement forbids class representatives from incurring socially wasteful litigation costs for the benefit of their attorneys at the expense of the class they represent. This will be an especially important principle in merger-and-acquisition strike suits.

The Senate is expected to vote shortly after noon today on whether to move ahead with the full debate on the nomination of John "Jack" McConnell to the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island.

The public got a preview of any debate Tuesday when Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) spoke on the Senate floor against the nomination of McConnell, an attorney with Motley Rice who made -- and continues to make -- millions from the state tobacco lawsuit, is a major political contributor across the nation -- even in North Dakota -- and who in his public statements demonstrates judicial intemperance. Cornyn:

I am sorry to have to say this, but the hard truth is Mr. McConnell's record--which I will describe in a moment--is one of not upholding the rule of law but perverting the rule of law, ignoring the responsibilities he had to his client, and manipulating those ethical standards in order to enrich himself and his law partners.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, rose in defense of McConnell's nomination, but only after excoriating Republicans for delaying action on President Obama's judicial nominees. Leahy challenged Cornyn's assertion that McConnell had deceived the committee during the confirmation procedures, and praised the trial lawyer's dedication:

Some oppose him because he successfully represented plaintiffs, including the State of Rhode Island itself, in lawsuits against lead paint manufacturers. Some here in the Senate may support the lead paint industry. That is their right. I support those who want to go after the people who poison children. That is what Mr. McConnell did. But nobody should oppose Mr. McConnell for doing what lawyers do and vigorously representing his clients in those lawsuits.

It's a shock to see a Senate chairman so blithely accusing U.S. manufacturers of "poisoning" children. In any case, even if you admire McConnell's partnership with then Attorney General Sheldon Whitehouse in ginning up a public nuisance complaint against the paint companies, it hardly reflects a mindset or legal experience befitting a judicial appointment.

We have The Congressional Record's account of the Cornyn and Leahy exchanges here.

The Senate Judiciary Committee today voted 11-7 on party lines to approve the nomination of John "Jack" McConnell for the U.S. District Court, District of Rhode Island. Whether the Motley Rice trial attorney and Democratic contributor ever gets a final confirmation vote on the Senate floor is another matter. (Updated Friday, 9 a.m.: Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) joined the Democrats in supporting McConnell.)

Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), the committee's ranking member, read a lengthy and strongly worded statement in opposition to McConnell's nomination. Excerpt:

Mr. McConnell has a view of the law that I believe is outside the mainstream of legal thought. Much of Mr. McConnell's career has been devoted to bringing some of the most controversial mass tort litigation of recent years. He has pursued the manufacturers of asbestos, tobacco, and lead paint, whose actions he believes to be "unjust." In bringing many of these cases, Mr. McConnell has often stretched legal argument beyond its breaking point. An example is the "public nuisance" theory he pursued in the Rhode Island lead paint case. Well-respected attorneys have said Mr. McConnell's theory "just [did not] mesh with centuries of Anglo-American law" and a former attorney general called the lead-paint cases "a lawsuit in search of a legal theory." 

The Rhode Island Supreme Court unanimously ruled against him in State v. Lead Industries Associates, Inc. In a well-reasoned opinion, the court found that there was no set of facts that he could have proven to establish that the defendants were liable in public nuisance.

 

Stephen Moore at The Wall Street Journal reports on the April 5th election for Wisconsin Supreme Court, which organized labor and the political left are trying to turn into a referendum on Gov. Scott Walker's budget and collective bargaining reforms. From Political Diary, "Wisconsin's Battle Supreme":

State supreme court justice elections are typically slam dunks for the incumbent unless there is a scandal or a high-profile court decision that galvanizes opposition. In this case, incumbent David Prosser is caught in the crossfire over collective bargaining issues. Conservatives currently hold a 4-3 majority on the Wisconsin court, but an upset would give liberals the balance of power. Mr. Prosser's opponent, JoAnne Kloppenburg, was a relative unknown and a decided underdog until the protests ignited in Madison. She is now running around that state arguing that Mr. Prosser is a rubber stamp for Governor Walker and his agenda. The liberal groups are up with ads called "Prosser Is Walker."

Union activists and their allies explicitly link Kloppenburg's candidacy to reversing the new collective bargaining law in the Supreme Court. As The Superior Telegram reported, "PeopleFirst rallies behind Kloppenburg," quoting an organizer for the group, Mike Raunio:

Raunio says Kloppenburg could be a vital asset to repealing Scott Walker’s cut to collective bargaining rights.

“She is an ally to the people of Wisconsin. If we help her to get into to position then she will defiantly be an advocate to the rights of workers and everyday citizens.”

Both candidates have accepted public financing limiting their expenditures to $300,000, so outside groups are doing the advertising. Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce recently went on the air with a restrained pro-Prosser ad. In a fund-raising appeal to its members, WMC President James Haney wrote, "One union even told its members they want to defeat a Supreme Court justice to 'get even.' It’s shocking and they are putting big money behind their efforts, including boycotts of home-grown Wisconsin employers."

At Legal Newsline, John O'Brien reports on two cases about to come before the Mississippi Supreme Court.

One involves the discipline of William Guy and Thomas Brock, two attorneys found by a federal jury to have defrauded Illinois Central Railroad in an asbestos case. (Earlier: March 2010, April 5, February 5.)

The other is a lead-paint case where all sorts of evidentiary and jury-selection shenanigans occurred: a (overly-coached?) witness insisted that he saw cans whose label said "lead paint"—which, if true, would rule out defendant Sherwin-Williams as liable, since it never had such labels. The plaintiff, who allegedly had paint chips in his mouth as a child, calculated his damages on the basis of an alleged need for a 24-hour-a-day "life coach" (though he was able to complete high school, compete in varsity athletics, and drives a car), resulting in a $7 million verdict from a Jefferson County jury that included several friends of the plaintiffs' family.

More on the John McConnell (D.R.I.) nomination - PointOfLaw Forum

The Ocean State Policy Research Institute wants some answers about McConnell's role in a corrupt $2.5 million cy pres award in the Rhode Island lead paint litigation—to a Massachusetts hospital that Motley Rice owed money to, and that accepted the cy pres award as satisfaction of Motley Rice's obligation, thus serving as a laundered attorney's fee. A shame neither the Democratic U.S. Attorney nor the Democratic state attorney general is going to investigate it: the Senate Judiciary Committee should take this opportunity to do so.

Before breaking for the Memorial Day reces, Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives had hoped to push through on the final Friday H.R. 5175, the DISCLOSE Act, to limit speech in response to the Citizens United v. FEC decision. But the House Rules Committee canceled its committee meeting and the bill never made it to the floor.

Looking at the both the Rules Committee and House floor schedule for next week, we find no mention of the bill. Have the faux passions cooled, partisan motivations waned? Doubt it, but the bill's absence is curious.

On the Senate side, the Judiciary Committee has items of interest. Tuesday morning the full committee holds a hearing, "The Risky Business of Big Oil: Have Recent Court Decisions and Liability Caps Encouraged Irresponsible Corporate Behavior?" So far the only witnesses scheduled are Christopher Jones of Keogh, Cox and Wilson of Baton Rouge; Jack Coleman, managing partner, EnergyNorthAmerica, LLC, and formerly a Republican counsel for the House Committee on Natural Resources; and Tom Galligan, president, Colby Sawyer College in New London, NH.

On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on judicial nominations, including the controversial nomination of Rhode Island trial lawyer and lead paint litigator John "Jack" McConnell to be U.S. District Court Judge. Also on the schedule is President Obama's nomination to the Second Circuit of Robert Chatigny, a U.S. District Court judge in Connecticut. The Washington Times had a tough editorial recently on Chatigny's record that also criticized McConnell, "Sexual sadism, unleaded."

At NRO this morning, I argued that it was important to keep an eye on judicial nominations other than Elena Kagan's to the Supreme Court:

[I]n 1986, the Democrats in the Senate were so focused on attacking William Rehnquist -- whom Ronald Reagan had chosen to elevate to chief justice of the Supreme Court -- that they made nary a noise about Reagan's pick to succeed Rehnquist as an associate justice. Thus it was that Antonin Scalia was confirmed to sit for life on the highest court in the land with 98 senators in favor, and none against.

It's incumbent on those of us who care about the judiciary to keep this in mind as the nation's attention focuses on Elena Kagan. Only a tiny fraction of cases decided by the appellate courts are granted review by the Supreme Court, which means that those lower appellate benches are usually the courts of last resort in the federal system. And because so many cases never make it even that far, federal trial courts wield enormous power, too.

I focused on three nominees of concern:

  • Goodwin Liu, my law school classmate (see previous posts on this site);

  • Louis Butler, of Wisconsin Supreme Court lead paint and med-mal fame (see ealier posts here); and

  • Jack McConnell, the plaintiffs' lawyer who was Senator Sheldon Whitehouse's symbiotic partner in Rhode Island's $3 billion-lead-paint-verdict fiasco (see posts here, and earlier writings here and here).

Liu's nomination was voted out of the Judiciary Committee today on a straight (12-7) party-line vote.

Our readers may recall that Butler's nomination also passed out of Judiciary last year on a 12-7 party-line vote but wasn't acted upon by the full body; and that the president resubmitted his nomination this January.

McConnell's hearings before Judiciary were scheduled for this afternoon. As Carter reported, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce came out strongly against this nomination on Tuesday, and my piece today in NRO was joined by critical editorials in the Washington Times and American Spectator.

In Rhode Island, campaigning on failure - PointOfLaw Forum

Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick Lynch, a Democrat running for governor, is actually campaigning on having lost a lawsuit. From AP's report on a candidate forum, "6 Rhode Island candidates for governor discuss childhood poverty at interfaith forum":

When the candidates were asked about protecting children, Democrat Patrick Lynch touted his record as two-term attorney general, including suing former lead paint companies for making a toxic product.

The state won a jury verdict in 2006 that could have cost three companies billions of dollars, but the decision was overturned two years later by the state Supreme Court.

"It's still used for political potshots, but I was the only one who stood up," Lynch said.

Stood up and continued the legally suspect public nuisance lawsuit started by Lynch's predecessor, AG Sheldon Whitehouse, before finally losing! (Supreme Court opinion here.)

State of Rhode Island v. Lead Industries Association, Inc., et al. case is in the news again this week because the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday will hold a hearing on the nomination of John J. "Jack" McConnell, Jr., to be U.S. District Judge for the District of Rhode Island. McConnell is the Motley Rice attorney who, on a contingency basis, "led the trial team representing the State of Rhode Island in the public nuisance litigation against the major former manufacturers of lead paint."

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for Legal Reform just issued a statement opposing McConnell's nomination. Lisa Rickard, ILR President, said:

In addition to earning a lackluster rating from the American Bar Association, Mr. McConnell has defined his plaintiffs' lawyer career by suing employers based on controversial legal theories. For example, he has spent a large part of the past decade advancing a misguided interpretation of the public nuisance theory in lead paint litigation, which was rejected by four state supreme courts, including the unanimous rejection by the Rhode Island Supreme Court.


Lawyers for the Vatican have called the lawsuit against Pope Benedict and the Holy See a "publicity stunt." I wouldn't go so far as to say that - it has a chance of surviving a motion to dismiss and there may be, embedded in its fifty four pages, a theory that might get to the jury. But there is a sense in which that a publicity stunt is precisely what it is and there may be some larger lessons here about the American liability system.

The lawsuit arises from the predations of a pedophile priest in Milwaukee named Father Murphy. It's a nasty case. Murphy abused numerous young boys at a school for the deaf, largely in the fifties and sixties, but perhaps extending to the early seventies when he was (quite improperly) quietly shuffled away to an early retirement. It is clear that the Milwaukee Archdiocese - in particular Archbishop Meier - failed to act in ways - during the 1960s - that would have halted the abuse. There is no evidence that the Vatican, much less the Pope, had any knowledge of or involvement with Father Murphy during this period. By the time the Vatican (and then Cardinal Ratzinger as head of the Office for the Propagation of the Faith) became aware of Murphy's offenses, it was the late 90s. The Milwaukee Archdiocese had brought a belated action to defrock him.

There is a controversy over how that proceeding was conducted and whether it ended prematurely. But it could not have prevented any further abuse and it is almost certain that, however it was handled, Father Murphy would have (as he did) die before it could be completed.

Here is where the publicity stunt begins. What makes this case newsworthy - what puts you in the New York Times and on the networks news - is the defendant in the Apostolic Palace.

There are multiple legal problems with bringing an action against the Pope and Holy See under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. Two circuit courts of appeals have allowed part, but not all, of such cases to go forward. The outcomes are not consistent with each other and, in one, a cert petition is pending before the Supreme Court. Without getting into the details, the reasoning in these cases is far from unassailable.

But the theories that have been permitted - largely negligent supervision and a rather curious notion of respondeat superior - have either been rejected or are unlikely to be recognized by Wisconsin law. The Wisconsin Constitution has been interpreted to confer rather broad protection for church autonomy. Even if these problems are not fatal, the actions complained seem to be almost certainly barred by the statute of limitations.

And, as this is important, the wrongs alleged to have been committed by Pope Benedict himself could not have averted any of the very real harms suffered by the plaintiffs. Father Murphy's predations had ended long ago. They - and the feckless response of the Milwaukee Archdiocese - were well known within the deaf community. (It was pressure from that community that lead to the charges against Murphy.) The Milwaukee District Attorney had, rightly or wrongly, already declined to prosecute him. Unless one buys into the dubious notion that the failure to a religious institution to impose discipline long after the fact is a legally cognizable injury, the naming of Pope Benedict XVI is, notwithstanding the sympathetic nature of the plaintiff and the very real horror to which he was subjected - a publicity stunt.

There are a few larger implications. Litigation, in this instance, is being used as a front in a larger war to affect Vatican policy in the future. Although advocates say that something "must change," the fact is that almost everything about the Church's response to clergy abuse has changed. The gravamen of the complaint is to have outsiders manage that change. Once again, we see an attempt to take traditional common law notions of duty and liability and extend them to form the basis for prospective regulation - something which, I would argue, strains judicial competence and usurps prerogatives of civil society - particularly where the institution to be regulated is a religious institution.

Second, a theme in the complaint is that the Vatican should have acted in a way that would have publicized what it calls, at a least one point, "the practice" of child sex abuse. The harm in its failure to do so, it seems, was not limited to the predations committed by known abusers who were placed in a position to abuse again, but in the failure (or so it seems) to let people know that, in general, "priests abuse kids."

This reminds me of other cases in which the theory of liability has been that the defendant (I think of the lead paint and tobacco cases, although those were stronger examples of the approach than this is) should have fallen on its sword. There are numerous difficulties with this theory in this context, but, once again, it strikes me as a questionable spin on traditional notions of common law duty.

Finally, we have the problem of our repeated inability to discuss these matters rationally. When I wrote an op-ed in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel a few weeks ago arguing that it might not be a good idea to completely abolish Wisconsin's generous statute of limitations for cases like this, I was accused of siding against "victims" and not appreciating the gravity of Father Murphy's offenses. Neither charge is fair.

Just as lawyers know that being "against crime" does not mean that we ought to do away with constitutional protections for criminal defendants, we also know that empathy for those to whom bad things have happened doesn't mean that all limitations on liability - even for those "deep pockets" whose relationship with the wrong is indirect - ought to be swept aside.

President Obama on Wednesday nominated Rhode Island's most prominent trial lawyer and a generous campaign contributor, John J. "Jack" McConnell, to be a U.S. District Court judge. McConnell is the managing partner at Motley Rice (bio) and was one of primary figures behind the tobacco lawsuits of the 1990s.

McConnell also joined then Rhode Island Attorney General Sheldon Whitehouse in dreaming up the public nuisance suit against paint manufacturers. In 2008, the state Supreme Court overturned the 2006 verdict against Sherwin-Williams Co., NL Industries Inc. and Millennium Holdings, but not before cities and states produced a wave of copycat lawsuits seeking to twist traditional public nuisance law into a new, all-encompassing brand of product liability law.

Whitehouse, now a U.S. Senator, and his Democratic colleague Jack Reed recommended McConnell for the judgeship in April 2009. (News release.) As the Wall Street Journal editorialized at the time:

Mr. McConnell and his firm helped pioneer the practice of soliciting public officials to bring lawsuits in which the private lawyers are paid a percentage of any judgment or settlement. The law firms front the costs of litigation and are compensated if the suit is successful. But such contingency-fee arrangements inevitably raise questions of pay to play. And private lawyers with state power and a financial stake in the outcome of a case can't be counted on to act in the interest of justice alone.

So, yes, McConnell is a transformative political figure, which is not what one normally asks for in a trial judge.

From a White House news release dated Jan. 20 announcing presidential nominations:

  • Louis B. Butler, Jr., of Wisconsin, to be United Stated District Judge for the Western District of Wisconsin, vice John C. Shabaz, retired.
  • Edward Milton Chen, of California, to be United States District Judge for the Northern District of California, vice Martin J. Jenkins, resigned.

These two controversial judicial nominees were voted out by the Senate Judiciary Committee, but Republicans prevented their nominations from being held over after the first session of Congress adjourned on Dec. 24.

Both must go through the committee process again, but new confirmation hearings are unlikely.

We've followed Butler because of his history as a Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice ruling against medical liability caps and his defense of "collective liability" for manufacturers of lead paint. (Previous post.) Wisconsin Senators Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold vigorously back his nomination; both serve on Judiciary. (See Nov. 4 hearing.)

UPDATE (12:58 p.m.): Butler was appointed to the Wisconsin Supreme Court by Gov. Jim Doyle, a Democrat. In 2008, he was defeated for election to a full, 10-year term by Michael Gableman, a Burnett County Circuit Court judge and former prosecutor. Gableman's victory, aided by business support, has made him a bete noire to the state's activist left. The latest development is lawyers seeking to force Gableman to recuse himself from criminal appeals. See Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, "Gableman isn't biased against criminal defendants, he says."

The year that was (and more lists) - PointOfLaw Forum

Public Nuisance Wire summarizes the high points of 2009 in lead paint litigation and new-style public nuisance law generally. At Mass Tort Lit, Alexandra Lahav rounds up highlights of 2009 scholarship on mass torts and class actions and separately asks: "What were the most important developments in mass torts in the last decade?" Bruce Carton has a 2009 securities-law year in review at Compliance Week. Finally, at the Marquette Law Faculty Blog, Michael Ariens has a list of "Top Ten Changes in the Legal Profession Since 1979" [part one, two].

In a flurry of mostly overlooked action, the Senate on December 24 confirmed a slew of President Obama's nominees on a single "en bloc" vote. Included in the list (starting here in The Congressional Record's Daily Digest) was David Strickland, the former trial lawyer lobbyist named administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (See this Dec. 9 post on the nomination of Strickland, who has a Senate Commerce staffer bears great responsibility for the excesses of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.)

Notable was the Senate's decision to return six nominees to the White House, a sign of major political opposition to their confirmation. The Washington Post's Federal Eye blog reported the high-profile nominees to the Justice Department the Senate decided against approving: "Dawn E. Johnsen, nominated to oversee the Office of Legal Counsel; Mary L. Smith, tapped to head the Tax Division; and Christopher H. Schroeder, nominated as assistant attorney general for legal policy."

The most controversial rejected nominee -- at least in civil justice reform circles -- was Louis Butler, put forward by President Obama to be U.S. District Court Judge for the Western District of Wisconsin. As a justice on the Supreme Court of Wisconsin, Butler offered ill-reasoned, liability-expanding decisions in cases involving medical damage caps and "collective liability" for lead paint manufacturers. Appointed by Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle to the court, Butler lost a 2008 election seeking to win a full term on the court. Conservative activist groups organized against his confirmation, and The Wall Street Journal prominently editorialized against him.

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 12-7 to confirm Butler in early December over strenous objection by Republican committee members, Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama and John Cornyn of Texas. (See Point of Law post.)

Also returned to the White House was the nomination of Edward Chen, a federal magistrate in San Francisco, to serve as U.S. District Court Judge for the Northern District of California. A formal opposition did not get organized, but some conservatives have criticized him for reactive hostility to U.S. society. (See Washington Times, "Another judicial radical; Sean Hannity, "Another Radical Surfaces in White House.") The Senate Judiciary Committee reported out his nomination 12-7 in October.

President Obama could withdraw the nominations or return them to the Senate. Butler was certainly vigorously supported by his two home-state Senators who serve on the Judiciary Committee, Sens. Feingold and Kohl. The President could also make recess appointments, but that rarely makes sense for judicial nominees with otherwise lifetime appointments; they could only serve until the end of the current Congress. (See CRS report, "Recess Appointments: Frequently Asked Questions.")

UPDATE The Senate action occurred under Rule XXXI, paragraph 6, of the Standing Rules of the Senate. We've put the language in the extended entry:

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday voted 12-7 to approve the nomination of former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Louis Butler Jr. to be U.S. District Court Judge for the Western District of Wisconsin.

Appointed to the state Supreme Court by Gov. Jim Doyle, Butler wrote several opinions that dismayed business groups and doctors. As summarized by The Wall Street Journal in a Nov. 19 editorial:

In Ferdon v. Wisconsin Partners, he drew the rage of doctors and others when he dismantled the state's limit on noneconomic damages in medical malpractices cases--the kind of tort reform that had been serving the state well. Business groups were likewise floored by his decision in Thomas v. Mallet, which allowed "collective liability" in lead paint cases--making any company a potential target, regardless of whether they made the paint in question. His nickname as a public defender was "Loophole Louis," a name that stuck when, as a judge, he was considered to be soft on crime.

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), the ranking Republican, cited both cases in objecting to Butler's record and argued that Butler displayed an "extreme activist judicial philosophy and a temperament as such that disqualifies him for a lifetime appointment." Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) also criticized Butler's disregard for precedent, citing the issue of malpractice caps and tying that ruling into the Senate's discussions of health care reform.

Sen. Russell Feingold (D-WI) hailed Butler's record, qualifications, and intellect and called him, as an African-America "a trailblazer in our state." Feingold also rejected the argument that, since Wisconsin voters had twice defeated Butler at the polls he should not rise to the federal bench.

(The discussion of Butler's nomination starts about 50 minutes into the committee's webcast.)

Around the web, September 9 - PointOfLaw Forum

  • Steven Shavell and Mitchell Polinsky, "The Uneasy Case for Product Liability" [SSRN via TortsProf]
  • Distinguished alum now at odds with Gerry Spence's Trial Lawyer College [Norm Pattis, Greenfield]
  • Victory for sound policy: City of Milwaukee drops its public nuisance product liability case against Sherwin-Williams over lead paint residues [Genova]
  • Could the newly constituted NLRB order employers to recognize unions formed by card check even if the idea fails to pass Congress? [Mark Schoeff Jr., Workforce Management via ShopFloor; latest on measure]
  • Now before Supreme Court: Graham County v. United States ex rel. Wilson case might help rein in qui tam "whistleblower" actions that piggyback on official reports and investigations [amicus brief, PDF, and more from WLF, plaintiff's view from Labovick]
  • "Ten Things I Hate About Health Care Reform" [cardiologist/administrator Arthur M. Feldman, Washington Post via Althouse; #2 is the omission of you-know-what]

Around the web, September 4 - PointOfLaw Forum


  • New direction for New York high court under Kaye's successor? [NYLJ]
  • EEOC's new ADA suit against UPS could leave protracted-leave employees in limbo land indefinitely [Michael Fox, Employer's Lawyer]
  • Implications of Wisconsin high court lead paint decision for pharmaceutical liability [Beck & Herrmann]
  • Gov. Rick Perry "insists that Texas' success 'is a broader story than just tort reform.'" [WSJ interview]
  • "Buy American" rules strain U.S.-Canada trade relations [Carter at ShopFloor]
  • "Poll: Californians Want Lawsuit Reform" [Cal Civil Justice]

Around the web, August 18 - PointOfLaw Forum

  • "New University Survey of Labor Economists Shows Overwhelming Opposition to EFCA, Binding Arbitration" [LaborPains.org]
  • Federalist Society launches new podcast series;
  • How to talk carefully about tort cases [Eugene Volokh] How to handle policy arguments [same]
  • Blawg Review #225 is at Seattle Trademark Lawyer [Michael Atkins]
  • Ohio AG Richard Cordray criticizes predecessor's lead paint suit [Stinnett, Public Nuisance Wire]
  • Andrew Serwin (Foley & Lardner), "Poised on the Precipice: A Critical Examination of Privacy Litigation" [SSRN]

Around the web, July 27 - PointOfLaw Forum

  • U.K.'s Freshfields under fire after it's found to having represented antebellum slaveholders. Next shock-horror discovery: some big-name lawyers have even represented murderers [WSJ Law Blog]
  • Lawyers will reap $10 million from $35 million settlement of Wal-Mart Washington state wage/hour claims [AP/Law.com]
  • Maryland lead paint lawyers lose round in effort to circumvent damage limit [Miller] More: Pero.
  • Coffee cup warning raises a smile [Overlawyered]
  • "10 Myths About Subprime Mortgages" [Demyanyk, Cleveland Fed, via Carney]
  • "Texas-style health care reform is bigger and better" [Sally Pipes, Examiner]

Mississippi football player's lead paint win - PointOfLaw Forum

Sherwin-Williams is claiming hometown sentiment -- as well as dodgy projections of the youth's future and capacity for college work -- did it in before a Jefferson County jury [Legal NewsLine, Jane Genova and followups here and here, defense site with motions] More: AmLaw.

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