Saturday, August 17, 2013

Washington Post Op-Ed Urges Changes in ABA's Panel on Judicial Selection

The Washington Post published an Op-Ed yesterday by Professor Michael J. Yelnosky, at Roger Williams University School of Law.  Yelnosky notes that in the ABA's Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, which rates potential nominees for federal judicial vacancies, "Not one of the lawyers on the committee for 2013-14 regularly represents individuals who bring lawsuits alleging they were harmed by the actions of corporations or other business entities, and not one represents individuals charged with anything other than white-collar crimes."

PM

August 17, 2013 in Current Affairs, Federal Courts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Video Clip From ABA Panel "Are Courts Dying?"

For those of us unable to get to San Francisco, the ABA has made a brief video clip available from its panel on the courts funding crisis at the Annual Meeting (reported here).  The panelists are:

  • Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, chief justice of the California Supreme Court
  • Jonathan Lippman, chief justice of the New York Court of Appeals
  • Wallace B. Jefferson, chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court

PM

August 13, 2013 in Conferences/Symposia, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 11, 2013

"Are Courts Dying?" ABA Program Explores Question at Annual Meeting

At the American Bar Association Annual Meeting in San Francisco, a panel entitled "Are Courts Dying? The Decline of Open and Public Adjudication" was moderated by Professor Judith Resnik.  Participants discussed "budget cuts and the generally high cost of legal representation."

PM

August 11, 2013 in Conferences/Symposia, Current Affairs, In the News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Constitutional Litigation Structured as a Skills-and-Doctrine Course

Clinical Professor Sarah Ricks of Rutgers-Camden has published Current Issues in Constitutional Litigation. The book is part of the Context and Practice Casebook series and she uses it to teach a popular course of the same title.  You can read more about it here.

PM

June 15, 2013 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Report Shows Link Between Judicial Campaign Contributions and Pro-Business Decisions

From the National Law Journal:

study released on Tuesday by the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy identified a "statistically significant" relationship between ballooning campaign contributions by business interest to state supreme court candidates and pro-business decisions by those courts.

Researchers studied more than 2,345 business-related state high court opinions between 2010 and 2012 and campaign contributions during that same time to sitting state high court judges. As the percentage of contributions from business groups went up, the probability of a pro-business vote by judges — defined as any decision that made a business better off — went up as well.

The study's author was Joanna Shepherd, a professor at Emory University School of Law. During a teleconference, she said the findings demonstrated that state court elections were becoming increasingly politicized and expensive. She pointed to surveys showing concern within the judiciary and among the general public about the influence of outside dollars on the courts.

To read more of the article, click here.

PM

June 12, 2013 in Current Affairs, Recent Scholarship, State Courts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 6, 2013

New blog tracks Federal Arbitration Act cases

Professor Imre Szalai has created a new blog, www.outsourcingjustice.com, posting about recent state and federal cases involving the Federal Arbitration Act.

PM

May 6, 2013 in Current Affairs, Recent Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Plaintiffs' Mass Tort Lawyer Disbarred in Kentucky

In an opinion released March 21, 2013, the Kentucky Supreme Court has "permanently disbarred" plaintiffs' mass tort lawyer Stan Chesley from practicing law in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.  Chesley may face reciprocal disbarment from his home state of Ohio, where he is married to a federal judge.

The Kentucky Supreme Court held that Chesley was guilty of eight ethical violations relating to the collection of an "unreasonable" fee in connection with the fen-phen litigation.

Hat tip: ABA Weekly Journal.

-PM   

March 24, 2013 in Current Affairs, Mass Torts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Civil Procedure Will Be on February 2015 Multistate Bar Examination

Perhaps I should have titled this post "Lifetime Employment for Civil Procedure Professors Announced."

The National Conference of Bar Examiners has announced that Civil Procedure will be included as the seventh topic tested on the Multistate Bar Examination effective with the February 2015 administration.

With the addition of Civil Procedure, the MBE will continue to have 200 questions, 190 of which are scored (10 are unscored pretest items).  The difference will be that there will be 28 Contracts items, and 27 items each for the remaining six topics (Civ Pro, Con Law, Crim Law and Pro, Evidence, Real Property, and Torts), for a total of 190 tested questions. 

As of July 2013, every state except Louisiana will administer the MBE.

The "test specifications" (I assume this means the subjects possibly tested by) MBE Civil Procedure items will be announced no later than June 30, 2013.

--PM

March 6, 2013 in Current Affairs, In the News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Trial in BP Oil Spill Case

The trial in the BP Oil Spill case began yesterday in New Orleans federal court, before U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier. Coverage at…

--A

February 26, 2013 in Current Affairs, In the News, Mass Torts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

AO Statistics Show Bankruptcy Filings Down in FY 2012

The Third Branch News reports, "Bankruptcy cases filed in federal courts for fiscal year 2012, the 12-month period ending September 30, 2012, totaled 1,261,140, down 14 percent from the 1,467,221 bankruptcy cases filed in FY 2011, according to statistics released today by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts."  In addition, "[f]or the 12-month period ending September 30, 2012, business bankruptcy filings—those where the debtor is a corporation or partnership, or the debt is predominantly related to the operation of a business—totaled 42,008, down 16 percent from the 49,895 business filings reported in the 12-month period ending September 30, 2011."  Filings decreased for every bankruptcy chapter (7, 11, 12, and 13). 

The link above contains further links to detailed statistics.

PM

November 8, 2012 in Current Affairs, Federal Courts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Miller on Closing the Courthouse Doors

Concord Law School invites our readers to attend a talk by Professor Arthur Miller (NYU) on Saturday, October 20th at the University Club of Pasadena, entitled Don't Look Now, But They May Be Closing The Courthouse Doors.

Download Invitation (Arthur Miller Lecture)

You can RSVP by phone (310.689.3216) or email.

October 9, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Kritzer and Drechsel on Local News Coverage of Civil Litigation

Herbert M. Kritzer and Robert E. Drechsel have posted on SSRN a paper entitled “Local News of Civil Litigation: All the Litigation News That's Fit to Print or Broadcast,” 96 Judicature, No. 1, pp. 16-22.

Abstract:

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.”

PM

September 24, 2012 in Current Affairs, In the News, Recent Scholarship, State Courts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Survey Finds 41% of Americans Doubt Fairness of Civil Justice System

In a survey last month of 1,020 randomly selected adults, DRI-The Voice of the Defense Bar, found that 41% of the respondents were not confident about the fairness of civil courts.  A majority of respondents also believed that class actions improved corporate responsibility (but also that plaintiffs' attorneys were unfairly enriched as a result).  Most would rather have a jury decide their civil case than a judge, while admitting that if called as a juror, they would probably have some bias.

The full survey is available here.   

Hat tip: Blog of the Legal Times.

PM

September 20, 2012 in Class Actions, Current Affairs, In the News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 7, 2012

Amicus Files Brief Explaining Antitrust Law in Cartoons to Meet Five-Page Limit

The ABA Journal reports that "a lawyer who opposes the Justice Department’s proposed antitrust settlement with three publishers of e-books has filed an amicus brief (PDF) in the form of a comic strip."

After U.S. District Judge Denise Cote of Manhattan limited his brief to five pages, lawyer Bob Kohn conceived of the “graphic novelette” and says it complies with court rules requiring 12-point or larger type and one-inch margins.  Although Publishers Weekly called the brief "brilliant," it apparently failed to persuade Judge Cote, who approved the settlement.

PM

 

September 7, 2012 in Current Affairs, In the News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Report on New York State's Commercial Litigation Courts Released

The Chief Judge's Task Force on Commercial Litigation in the 21st Century: Report and Recommendations to the Chief Judge of the State of New York (June 2012) is available on the New York courts web site.  The Commercial Division in New York state courts began as a pilot project in 1993 and now is established in eight counties.  A Task Force was commissioned to study commercial litigation "to ensure that the New York Judiciary helps our State retain its role as the preeminent financial and commercial center of the world."

The Task Force's recommendations include:

• establishing a new class of Court of Claims judges

• increasing the monetary threshold for actions to be heard in the Commercial Division

• providing Commercial Division Justices with additional law clerks

• rehiring Judicial Hearing Officers

• recruiting seasoned commercial litigation practitioners as Special Masters

• convening an Institute on Complex Commercial Litigation

• earlier assignment of cases

• revised procedures on expert discovery

• limits on privilege logs

• adjustments to e-discovery

• creating a permanent statewide Advisory Council on the Commercial Division.

PM

June 26, 2012 in Current Affairs, State Courts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Tamanaha's Book "Failing Law Schools" Released

Professor Brian Tamanaha of Washington University in St. Louis has published "Failing Law Schools," a book criticizing American legal education.  According to the National Law Journal, "its central argument is that going to law school is a raw deal for most students."

PM 

June 18, 2012 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 4, 2012

Preliminary Approval Granted for Deepwater Horizon Settlement

The story is reported by the National Law Journal here.  The link to the Oil Spill litigation web site, which contains additional links to the court's actual orders regarding the preliminary approval, is here.

Class members have until August 31 to object and until October 1 to opt out.  The final fairness hearing is set for November 8.

PM

May 4, 2012 in Class Actions, Current Affairs, In the News, Mass Torts, MDLs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 16, 2012

House Republicans Link Bipartisan “IPAB Repeal” Bill with Partisan “Tort Reform” Bill

You can never be too rich or too thin, and apparently you can never get enough “tort reform,” either.
And if you keep repeating over and over that damages caps lower malpractice premiums, maybe it will someday be true despite all empirical evidence to the contrary.

A bill to repeal a portion of “Obamacare” dealing with the Independent Payment Advisory Board (H.R. 452) had bipartisan support until House Republicans linked it with the Orwellian “Help Efficient, Accessible, Low-cost, Timely Healthcare (HEALTH) Act of 2011” (H.R. 5). The resulting bill, (http://docs.house.gov/billsthisweek/20120319/CPRT-112-HPRT-RU00-HR5Floor.xml) now called the “Protecting Access to Healthcare Act,” provides in its findings:

(1) EFFECT ON HEALTH CARE ACCESS AND COSTS.—Congress finds
that our current civil justice system is adversely affecting patient access to
health care services, better patient care, and cost-efficient health care, in
that the health care liability system is a costly and ineffective mechanism for
resolving claims of health care liability and compensating injured patients,
and is a deterrent to the sharing of information among health care
professionals which impedes efforts to improve patient safety and quality of
care.

(2) EFFECT ON INTERSTATE COMMERCE.—Congress finds that the
health care and insurance industries are industries affecting interstate
commerce and the health care liability litigation systems existing throughout
the United States are activities that affect interstate commerce by
contributing to the high costs of health care and premiums for health care
liability insurance purchased by health care system providers.

Same old rhetoric, same old provisions -- $250,000 cap on noneconomic damages, 3-year-statute of limitations, elimination of joint and several liability, court review and serious reduction of plaintiff’s attorneys’ contingent fees, and limitations on punitive damages (including the prohibition of pleading such damages initially).

Politico (http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0312/73957.html) reports that the IPAB bill was expected to go to the floor of the House for a vote later this month, but now “[i]It’s unclear exactly how Republicans plan to move the two bills, but both should clear the House relatively easily.”

PM

March 16, 2012 in Current Affairs, In the News | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

No Cameras In the Courtroom? Try Puppets Instead!

The Wall Street Journal reports that a news station, WOIO 19 is covering one of Ohio's biggest corruption trials using puppets in a show called The Puppet's Court.  Because cameras are not allowed in the courtroom, reporter Kirk Maynard reenacts bits of testimony and trial with scenes like this: 

 

According to the WSJ, 

The result is a cross between "The Sopranos" and "The Muppet Show" that has elicited some complaints from viewers and hand-wringing from journalism professors. But since the trial began in January, "The Puppet's Court" has led a ratings surge for the station's late news show and won praise from some politicians.

I, personally, think it is one of the funniest things I've ever seen, and a genuinely creative response to some of the absurdities of American courts.  Perhaps next year I'll allow my students to perform a puppet show in lieu of the final exam.

RJE

 

 

February 28, 2012 in Current Affairs, State Courts, Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

BP Oil Spill Trial Delayed

The first phase of the trial was supposed to begin tomorrow before Judge Carl Barbier of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. It's been delayed until March 5. Story by Rebecca Mowbray of the Times-Picayune here.

--A

February 26, 2012 in Current Affairs, In the News, Mass Torts | Permalink | Comments (0)