Saturday, August 14, 2010

Kalajdzic on the Globalization of Class Actions in Canada

Professor Jasminka Kalajdzic (University of Windsor Faculty of Law) has posted "The Globalization of Class Actions: Canada" on SSRN. 

The abstract states:

As part of an international group of scholars who came together in December 2007 to discuss and debate the use of class actions worldwide, the authors prepared a report on the role of class proceedings in Canada. The original report followed a format designed by the conference organizers and traced the procedural particularities and historical pedigree of class actions in Canada, as well as the general policy rationales and arguments that continue to attend them. Condensed versions of the country reports, including this Canadian report, were published in March 2009.


August 14, 2010 in Class Actions, International/Comparative Law, Recent Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, August 13, 2010

BP Oil Spill MDL Sent to New Orleans

Last month we covered the hearing before the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) on the BP Oil Spill litigation (In Re: Oil Spill by the Oil Rig “Deepwater Horizon” in the Gulf of Mexico, on April 20, 2010, MDL No. 2179). This week the JPML ordered, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407, that actions relating to the BP Oil Spill be transferred to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana and assigned to Judge Carl J. Barbier for consolidated pretrial proceedings.

From the panel’s opinion:

The actions before the Panel indisputably share factual issues concerning the cause (or causes) of the Deepwater Horizon explosion/fire and the role, if any, that each defendant played in it. Centralization under Section 1407 will eliminate duplicative discovery, prevent inconsistent pretrial rulings, including rulings on class certification and other issues, and conserve the resources of the parties, their counsel, and the judiciary. Centralization may also facilitate closer coordination with Kenneth Feinberg’s administration of the BP compensation fund. In all these respects, centralization will serve the convenience of the parties and witnesses and promote the more just and efficient conduct of these cases, taken as a whole.

. . .

The parties have advanced sound reasons for a large number of possible transferee districts and judges. Upon careful consideration, however, we have settled upon the Eastern District of Louisiana as the most appropriate district for this litigation. Without discounting the spill’s effects on other states, if there is a geographic and psychological “center of gravity” in this docket, then the Eastern District of Louisiana is closest to it. Considering all of the applicable factors, we have asked Judge Carl J. Barbier to serve as transferee judge. He has had a distinguished career as an attorney and now as a jurist. Moreover, during his twelve years on the bench, Judge Barbier has gained considerable MDL experience, and has been already actively managing dozens of cases in this docket. We have every confidence that he is well prepared to handle a litigation of this magnitude.

The order includes “the relatively few personal injury/wrongful death actions” as well as the “putative class actions seeking recovery for property damage and other economic losses.”  

The panel’s full opinion is available here. For additional coverage, see ABA Journal; Associated Press; Bloomberg; National Law Journal.


August 13, 2010 in Current Affairs, In the News, MDLs, Recent Decisions | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Request for Articles

The Akron Law Review is seeking articles for its upcoming symposium issue tentatively titled "Erie Under Advisement: The Doctrine After Shady Grove." The Review "seeks articles that discuss Shady Grove, the future implications of Shady Grove, and the Court's treatment of the substantive rights prohibition of the Rules Enabling Act.  More broadly, the symposium also aims to collect articles about other aspects of the future of the Erie doctrine."

According to the call for articles, the Review "will review articles on a rolling basis until October 15, 2010."

Please submit articles to Symposium Editor John Thuermer at  Questions may be asked by contacting the Editor-in-Chief, Morena Carter ( or 216-513-8961) or the Law Review's faculty advisor, Professor Bernadette Bollas Genetin ( or 330-705-5770).


August 12, 2010 in Conferences/Symposia | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Kritzer & Drechsel on News Reporting of Civil Litigation

Professors Herbert M. Kritzer (University of Minnesota Law School) and Robert E. Drechsel (University of Wisconsin, Madison, School of Journalism & Mass Communication) have posted "A Portrait of Local News Reporting of Civil Litigation" on SSRN.

The abstract states:

What is the nature of the coverage of civil litigation by local newspapers and local television? That is the question considered in this paper. Drawing upon news clips from 2004 (11 media markets around the U.S.), 2006 (9 media markets in the Midwest), and 2007 (9 media markets in the Midwest), we present a portrait of litigation as locally reported. We find (a) torts make up a minority of reports, (b) very few verdicts are reported, and (c) dollar figures are mentioned in a modest proportion of cases but when mentioned tend to be large. We also find significant differences in the reporting practices of local television and local newspapers, particularly with regard to the types of cases discussed (more torts on television and more cases against government in the newspapers). We conclude with some speculations about the implications of our analysis for debates over civil justice “reform.”


August 11, 2010 in Recent Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Court to Lerach: Law Teaching is *Not* Community Service

The National Law Journal reports that William Lerach, who pleaded guilty to crimes involving kickback payments to class action plaintiffs, asked a federal judge to complete part of his community service by teaching a law course at UC Irvine. 

The course would be called "Regulating Free Market Capitalism -- Are We Failing?"  U.S. District Judge Walter was not convinced that Lerach would make an effective teacher, claiming that "the only message he could offer students was this: 'Don't get caught.'"


August 10, 2010 in Class Actions, In the News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Seidman on Acontextual Judicial Review

Louis Michael Seidman (Georgetown University Law Center) has posted Acontextual Judicial Review to SSRN.

Is constitutional judicial review a necessary component of a just polity? A striking feature of the current debate is its tendency to proceed as if the question could be answered in the same way always and everywhere. Defenders of constitutional review argue that it is a conceptually necessary feature of constitutionalism, the rule of law, and the effective protection of individual rights. Critics claim that it is necessarily inconsistent with progressive politics and democratic engagement. Largely missing from the debate is a fairly obvious point: Like any other institution, constitutional review must be evaluated within a particular temporal, cultural, and political context.

Part I of this article lays out the groundwork for my discussion by separating out several questions that are too often conflated. It addresses the distinction between arguments for constitutionalism and for judicial review, between arguments for judicial review grounded in political and substantive justice, and among arguments for different types of judicial review. The Part concludes that the embrace of constitutionalism, the choice between substantive or political justice, and the choice among different types of judicial review all depend upon context.

Given the conclusions in Part I, the argument in Part II will come as no surprise. The wisdom of providing for judicial review turns on the type of judicial review we are talking about and on the relationship between judicial power on the one hand and constitutionalism, political, and substantive justice on the other. All of these factors are different in different times and places. It follows that judicial power to invalidate statutes and executive actions is a contingent good.

A brief coda discusses the implications of this argument for the discipline of comparative constitutional law.


August 9, 2010 in Federal Courts, Recent Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Dahdal & Gillies on In Rem Actions in Australia

Professors Andrew Dahdal (Macquarie University, Macquarie Law School) and Peter S. Gillies (Macquarie University, Macquarie Law School) have posted "Characterising the Action in Rem in Australia and the Implications on International Commercial Arbitration" on SSRN.  It will be published in the Journal of Maritime Law and Commerce.

The abstract states:

The law of admiralty evokes, as Sir Ninian Stephan noted, a romantic sense of the high seas and of that which is exotic, but in the modern international economy, it is integral to facilitating maritime commerce and trade. In Australia, such law is grounded in legislation, in particular the Admiralty Act 1988 (Cth). A consequence of grounding admiralty law in legislation, according to some commentators, ‘has been the creation of an entirely novel form of action known as the statutory action in rem.' In Comandate Marine Corp v. Pan Australia Shipping Pty Ltd, the full bench of the Federal Court of Australia addressed the important and interesting question of whether a party initiating such an action may be deemed to have waived a contractual right to arbitrate. This article analyzes the court’s decision in light of the International Arbitration Act 1974 (Cth), the UNCITRAL model law, and the common law.


August 9, 2010 in International/Comparative Law, Recent Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

PrawfsBlawg on Teaching Civil Procedure

Readers may be interested in these recent posts on PrawfsBlawg about teaching civil procedure:

Things You Oughta Know if You Teach Civil Procedure, by Scott Dodson (William & Mary)

More things to know if you teach civ pro, by Howard Wasserman (Florida International)


August 9, 2010 in Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0)