Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on Proposed Changes to FRCP Discovery Rules

In the midst of a week that’s chock full of civil procedure, we’re just moments away from a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Bankruptcy and the Courts entitled “Changing the Rules: Will limiting the scope of civil discovery diminish accountability and leave Americans without access to justice?” Here are the details and witness list:

Continue reading

November 5, 2013 in Current Affairs, Discovery, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 3, 2013

More on the Second Circuit's Order in the Stop-and-Frisk Case

We covered earlier the Second Circuit’s order staying District Judge Shira Scheindlin’s rulings in the stop-and-frisk litigation and removing her from the case. For more, here are a few links worth taking a look at:


November 3, 2013 in Current Affairs, Federal Courts, In the News, Recent Decisions, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 1, 2013

A Big Week for Civil Procedure & Federal Courts

There is a lot of action on the civil procedure & federal courts front next week. Mark your calendars (especially if you’ll be in D.C.).


November 1, 2013 in Current Affairs, Discovery, Federal Courts, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, In the News, Supreme Court Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Summary Judgment Granted in Cooley Law School's Defamation Suit

The ABA Journal reports that summary judgment was granted Cooley Law School's defamation suit against a law firm and bloggers who published comments criticizing the law school's reported employment statistics. 

The ABA Journal report is here.

U.S. District Judge Robert J. Jonker's ruling is here.

Cooley's statement is here.

Jesse Strauss's (founding partner in defendant law firm Kurzon Strauss) statement is here.

October 6, 2013 in Current Affairs, Federal Courts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Discovery and Lance Armstrong

Jim Vertuno (AP) covers a recent order by a Texas state court judge compelling Lance Armstrong to respond to discovery requests. Here are some excerpts from the report, Judge Orders Armstrong to Answer Doping Questions:

Nebraska-based Acceptance Insurance Holding is seeking the information in its lawsuit to recover $3 million in bonuses it paid Armstrong from 1999 to 2001.***

Travis County District Judge Tim Sulak last week ordered Armstrong to provide documents and written answers to a series of questions by the end of September. The case has been set for trial in April 2014.

The questions seek information dating to 1995 and ask Armstrong to detail who was paid for delivered performance-enhancing drugs, who determined what amount to use and administered them, and who was aware of his drug use. Acceptance specifically asks for information on when and how Armstrong's closest friends, advisers, ex-wife and business partners learned of his doping.


September 4, 2013 in Current Affairs, Discovery, In the News, State Courts | Permalink | Comments (0)

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."


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


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."


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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…


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.


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.


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.”


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.


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.



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.


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