Results matching “jere beasley”

Public Citizen, Petroleum Critics, Political Campaigns - PointOfLaw Forum

Sundry and various ...

A recent piece of perfervid direct mail from Public Citizen demands criminal prosecution of BP executives, calling the company "a reckless criminal recidivist corporation. With a long rap sheet." Read the letter here. The litigation will continue for years, but is the outrage over the Deepwater Horizon accident sustainable as a fundraiser without new photos of begrimed shore birds?

In its selection of issues and amped-up outrage, Public Citizen's letter reads like it could have come from the American Association of Justice, the trial lawyers' lobby. Voila, here are the pages from the AAJ's 3rd quarter lobbying disclosure form that list its activities on maritime and environmental liability issues.

A great source of intelligence and commentary on the Gulf of Mexico litigation is the Jere Beasley Report, the blog and monthly report of the Alabama avocat grise and leader of the Beasley Allen firm. Here's the section devoted to the drilling accident.

One issue in the Alabama attorney general's race is whether the state should hire outside counsel to pursue its legal claims against BP . Judging from the comments in this campaign profile, Democrat James Anderson appears more willing than the Republican candidate, Luther Strange, to farm out litigation to the private sector. A poll commissioned by the state's major newspaper released Sundayreports that Strange was supported by 47 percent of potential voters against 33 percent for Anderson. Strange supports the states' lawsuit against the federal health care law, Anderson does not.

Los Angeles Times, Oct. 21, "3 environmental groups sue BP over gulf oil spill"

All oil, all the time - PointOfLaw Forum

The New York Times this week reported on legislative efforts in Congress to expand liability in the case of maritime disasters, including the far-reaching and retroactive SPILL Act, which we've posted about here. The article, "Calls to Update Maritime Laws," briefly notes the role of the trial lawyers lobby:

With some of the proposed legislation promising bigger payments to victims' families, a lobbying group for plaintiffs' lawyers, the American Association of Justice, is among those pushing for changes. Several lawyers said they have had to turn down otherwise compelling cases because existing statutes can sharply limit recovery -- often in random and scattershot ways.

The AAJ holds its convention in Vancouver, B.C., starting this weekend, and in the annual change of top leadership, succeeding current President Anthony Tarricone will be be the current president-elect, C. Gibson Vance of Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, PC in Montgomery, Ala.

Beasley Allen is the most prominent trial lawyers' law firm in Alabama, headed by the legendary former governor, lieutenant governor and still political king maker, Jere Beasley. As Beasley Allen's website make clear, the firm has geared up to be a leader in the flood of anti-BP litigation for the Deepwater Horizon accident and oil contamination. For example, "Beasley Allen files its first lawsuit in Alabama state court on behalf of property owners":

MONTGOMERY, ALA. (July 6, 2010) - Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C. has filed a lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Baldwin County, Ala., against British Petroleum ("BP") and several other companies with ties to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The firm represents James E. Fisher and Kate C. Fisher, who have incurred damages related to the disaster, including damage to their real and personal property, earning capacity, business income and use of natural resources. This is the first lawsuit related to the BP oil spill disaster to be filed by Beasley Allen in Alabama state court.

The first of many lawsuits, judging from the Jere Beasley Report blog's summary of the firm's strategy in a June 4 post, "Our Firm Will Be Involved In The BP Oil Spill Litigation."

The AAJ is full of factions -- check out the list of litigation groups meeting in Vancouver -- and one wonders whether members might resent having an association President so closely associated with just one line of attack. By making an attorney with Beasley Allen its president, the AAJ is declaring to the world, "Our priority is suing BP."

Other targets may breath a sigh of relief.

Lawyers, guns and money in Alabama governor's race - PointOfLaw Forum

Finally, blog content that really justifies a reference to that hoary Warren Zevon song.

The Tuskegee News has an excellent two-part interview with Rep. Artur Davis (D-AL) on his campaign for governor in 2010. When asked an open-ended question, "What will be your campaign focus?" Davis describes himself as a moderate to conservative Democrat, and the first evidence he cites is his vote on liability limits for gun manufacturers.

When I came in office in 2003, one of the the first votes I cast right off the bat was a vote that trial lawyers weren't very happy about, the Gun Manufacturers Liability Act. At the time there was a question as to whether or not you could sue a gun company if one of its guns was used to commit an offense, a mass shooting or something of that nature.

There were some people who were arguing that there is something inherently dangerous about semi-automatics and some kinds of guns that ought to expose the manufacturer to suit and liability. That would run major parts of the gun industry out of business potentially if a judgment were handed down. I voted for the Gun Manufacturers Liability Act. I voted to shield gun manufacturers from being sued for the use of their weapons because I believe ultimately individuals with guns commit crimes. Guns don't commit crimes. Individuals with guns commit crimes. That was a vote I cast in 2003.

Has Rep. Davis, a graduate of Harvard Law, made it up to the unhappy trial lawyers, yet? His campaign chairman is famed attorney Jere Beasley, and Davis is the chief sponsor of H.R. 2519, to allow a tax deduction for expenses and court costs advanced in a contingency fee case -- one of the American Association for Justice's highest lobbying priorities.

P.S. (3:15 p.m.): Should have commented that Rep. Davis' vote on manufacturer liability was a commendable vote.

Alabama, sunlight or subsidy? - PointOfLaw Forum

Walter noted on Tuesday that the powerful Albama trial lawyer Jere Beasley has announced his choice for governor, U.S. Rep. Artur Davis, a Democrat. Coincidently, we had just been reading up on one of the bills sponsored by Rep. Davis, H.R. 2519, a tax deduction for expenses and court costs advanced in a contingency fee case -- in effect, about a 40 percent tax benefit for trial lawyers to stimulate the filing of civil suits.

You could see how Rep. Davis might be Beasley's guy.

Davis' bill is the companion legislation to S. 437, introduced by Sen. Arlen Specter in his Republican days. Last year, Ways & Means Chairman Charlie Rangel tried to include the same language the energy and tax extenders bill last year (Section 311 in H.R. 6049). As we noted earlier, The Wall Street Journal called the provision, "The Bill Lerach Tax Cut."

The disinfecting sunlight of public attention killed the provision in 2008, and one hopes for a similar heliofatal blow this year. Victor Schwartz and Chris Appel of Shook, Hardy & Bacon help aim the light in a recent Washington Legal Foundation piece, "Federal Government Bailout For Trial Lawyers."

Kingmaking in Alabama politics - PointOfLaw Forum

Powerful trial lawyer Jere Beasley has announced his choice for governor.

Drug pricing suits: "the dread Alabama home field advantage" - PointOfLaw Forum

It came through for Jere Beasley again, per Alison Frankel at American Lawyer: "A state court jury in Tuscaloosa hit the Novartis subsidiary Sandoz with $28.4 million in compensatory and $50 million in punitives." Representing the state of Alabama in the action, Beasley is getting a 14 percent contingency -- very much as if a prosecutor were allowed to pocket a share of fines. Sandoz, which in this case was sued in its generic-drug capacity, is the fourth pharmaceutical defendant to be knocked over in the Alabama campaign, which Beasley is also rolling out elsewhere, getting himself hired by a half-dozen other states to sue over drug pricing sins.

Around the web, February 12 - PointOfLaw Forum

  • California cities' and counties' is the only lead paint nuisance suit left standing [Calif. Civil Justice Blog]
  • Retailers in "panic" over court's last-minute reinstatement of phthalates ban [WSJ Law Blog; more CPSIA coverage]
  • Who needs skilled immigrants, anyway? Stimulus bill bars bailout beneficiaries from hiring international talent through H-1B visa program [Cowen, MargRev]
  • Home field advantage for state of Alabama and Jere Beasley against Sandoz in drug pricing lawsuit [AmLaw Daily]
  • Anti-vaccine figure Andrew Wakefield, accused of various impostures, wins Olbermann "Worst person in the world" award [Orac] But alas... [follow-up]
  • First post-Engle tobacco trial begins in Florida [Childs]

Around the web, July 11 - PointOfLaw Forum

  • Our own Ted Frank on punitive damages after the Exxon Shipping decision [yesterday's WSJ]. Also check out Gordon Crovitz's take [WSJ earlier]
  • After acquittal of Mills, Kentucky fen-phen trial results in hung jury for Gallion and Cunningham; prosecutorial fumbles blamed [Ted at OL]
  • Adventures in class action choice of law: New Mexico high court sees no problem applying its law to transactions in other states [Albuquerque Journal courtesy US Chamber]
  • Alabama drug-pricing trial: Jere Beasley gets jury to award $114 million against Glaxo and Novartis, demand letters sent to 69 other drugmakers charged with the same supposed fraud [CNBC, FiercePharma]
  • Abbe Lowell files Fifth Circuit appeal of client Paul Minor's conviction [White Collar Crime Prof Blog, appeal in PDF]
  • WSJ on hurricane insurance models is stronger on hand-wringing than on analytical rigor [Salmon, Portfolio]
  • Defense bar lagging plaintiffs' in new media involvement? [Genova]

Around the web, June 17 - PointOfLaw Forum

  • Ole Miss professor Curtis Wilkie, a former Boston Globe correspondent, lands a book deal to write up the Scruggs story [Paul Quinn blog]
  • Embarrassing? West Virginia officials rolled out welcome mat to Mel Weiss, crowning his firm "exclusive" representative of state employee pension fund in investor suits [WV Record]
  • Profile of Ohio-based class-action "professional objector" can't quite resolve whether he's been a useful watchdog or just gets paid to go away [Cleveland Scene via ABA Journal]
  • Most corporate leaders view litigation as grim "tax to be paid, even though no lawmakers ever passed it, it is unfairly imposed, and business cannot calculate or anticipate it." [Joseph F. Speelman/Texas Lawyer]
  • Profile of tort king Jere Beasley, whom Republican Alabama officials keep hiring to sue big business on behalf of the state [AP]
  • Four vacancies may offer chance to change direction of much-criticized Florida Supreme Court, if anyone in Tallahassee has the inclination [ABA Journal]

Around the web, April 3 - PointOfLaw Forum

  • St. Petersburg, Fla. is latest locale where trauma center coverage is flickering due to shortage of that much-sued specialty, emergency neurosurgeons [SP Times]
  • NY Times runs articles on consecutive days making case for wider "bullying" liability -- anyone sense a campaign in the air? [ATL]
  • Some further thoughts on European non-enforcement of punitive damage awards [E. Posner, Slate "Convictions"]
  • Remember that asbestos case where a Reaud Morgan lawyer said duPont's safety policies were so bad the company should forfeit its right to exist? Jury disagrees and returns defense verdict [SE Texas Record]
  • More patients signing agreements with docs to arbitrate disputes, and lawyers trying to figure out how to do something about that [NLJ]
  • Continued rise of Alabama tort czar Jere Beasley [Houston Chronicle courtesy Chamber]
  • John Phillips has been doing blog roundups of employment law [for instance, and again]
  • Can a newspaper basically sympathetic to class action litigation nonetheless acknowledge lessons of latest Weiss, Lerach, Scruggs scandals? Yes, if it's the Philadelphia Inquirer; but the New York Times still hasn't weighed in and maybe never will [no link because, well, no editorial]

Alabama v. AstraZeneca - PointOfLaw Forum

Veteran tort lawyer Jere Beasley got himself hired to represent the state, and is demanding $40 million plus punitives over alleged violations of Medicaid pricing regs.

"Alabama Values Coalition" - PointOfLaw Forum

Such a pleasant, wholesome-sounding name for an organization. And then it turns out to have been just a conduit by which the powerful law firm of Jere Beasley could fund radio ads attacking politicians it disliked.

Jere Beasley: all 53-year-old men have heart disease - PointOfLaw Forum

An autopsy found that Richard "Dicky" Irvin, Jr., whose death will be the subject of the first federal Vioxx trial in two weeks, had "moderate to severe" heart disease, with blockage of 60%-70% in the artery where his fatal blood clot occurred. Jere Beasley, the attorney for Irvin's widow, Evelyn Irvin Plunkett, scoffs at this fact: "He had no more plaque build-up than any other 53-year-old man in America." (And, after all, heart attacks are completely unknown amongst American 53-year-olds.) Because Irvin had been taking Vioxx for 23 days (after getting a 30-day prescription from his son-in-law without an examination), the plaintiff wishes to attribute the heart attack to Merck rather than to, say, Irvin's 230-pound weight, fast-food diet, 149/90 blood pressure, sedentary lifestyle, and family history of heart problems. (Fox News, "Next Trial to Focus on Limited Vioxx Use", Nov. 16; Bloomberg, "Merck's Next Vioxx Trial May Test Heart Risk of Short-Term Use", Nov. 16).

Stories correctly note that many more trials will need to be held before there's any discussion of settlement, and that plaintiffs' attorneys don't admit being discouraged by the Humeston loss. The next case, Irvin, will begin in federal court on the 28th, where plaintiffs will be limited to Daubert-quality expert testimony before Judge Fallon, but will involve a wrongful death claim (albeit one with a decedent who had extensive plaque in his arteries). The plaintiffs' attorney there will be Jere Beasley, whose aborted first attempt at a Vioxx trial was covered by Overlawyered Apr. 28. Judge Higbee will hold a hearing this week to decide which of four potential plaintiffs' cases will be tried next. (Thomas Ginsberg, "Merck can expect more highs, lows", Philadelphia Inquirer, Nov. 6; Barbara Martinez, "Merck Faces A Crossroads In Vioxx Cases", Wall Street Journal, Nov. 7 ($); "Merck's Vioxx Victory May Not Help Future Cases, Analysts Say", Bloomberg, Nov. 4; Kristen Hays, "1st federal trial up for Merck", AP, Nov. 6).

Merck's attorney in the Irvin case will be Phil Beck, who won a critical Baycol case against Mikal Watts (Nov. 2) in Corpus Christi (OL Mar. 19, 2003). The must-read Wall Street Journal recap of that trial is now online. (Monica Langley, "Bayer, Pressed to Settle a Flood Of Suits Over Drug, Fights Back", Wall Street Journal, May 4, 2004).

Max Boot on Lowndes County, Ala. - PointOfLaw Forum

Thanks to Alex Tabarrok at our current Featured Discussion for pointing to a resource we hadn't known was online: the Denver Post has reprinted a very interesting chapter from Max Boot's book Out of Order built around an account of the unusual brand of justice on display in Lowndes County, Ala., where famed tort attorneys James Butler and Jere Beasley won a $150 million jury verdict against GM in the courtroom of Judge A. Ted Bozeman in a case alleging a defective door latch in a Chevy Blazer.

In a retrial of a case which earlier led to an exorbitant punitive damages award, an Alabama jury two weeks ago ordered ExxonMobil to pay $63.6 million in compensatory damages and $11.8 billion in punitive damages to the cash-strapped state government in a dispute over natural gas royalties ("Alabama jury orders Exxon Mobil to pay $11.9 billion in dispute over natural gas royalties", AP/San Francisco Chronicle, Nov. 14; Phillip Rawls, AP/Miami Herald, Nov. 13). A former state administration had hired two of the state's most successful private trial lawyers, Jere Beasley and Robert Cunningham, to take the case on a 14 percent contingency, which in this case would amount to $1.6 billion in fees; the two lawyers are also important campaign contributors. Earlier verdict: Dec. 20, 2000. Editorial reactions: "The truly ridiculous", Huntsville Times, Nov. 17; "Exxessive verdict", Birmingham News, Nov. 19; "Don't over-celebrate ExxonMobil verdict", Mobile Register, Nov. 17. Update Apr. 18: judge cuts verdict to $3.6 billion. Further update Nov. 8, 2007: Alabama Supreme Court throws out punitives.

[cross-posted from Overlawyered, where it ran Dec. 1, 2003]

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