February 11, 2009
Roderick Hills and Catherine Sharkey on Preemption
The Fall 2008 NYU Law School magazine includes A Presumption Against Preemption, by Professor Roderick Hills (NYU), and A Model for Products Liability Preemption, by Professor Catherine Sharkey (NYU). (Scroll down the .pdf link to page 60 for the Hills piece, and page 63 for the Sharkey piece.)
Albany Law School Symposium on Off-Label Prescription of Drugs
Albany Law School is hosting a symposium entitled, Regulating the Cure: Topics Arising Out of the Prescription of Drugs Off-Label, in Albany, New York on Friday, March 27, 2009. Papers will subsequently be published in the Albany Law Journal of Science and Technology. I'll be speaking as part of a panel on current topics in off-label drug-use litigation.
Peanut Company Officials Take 5th Amendment Self-Incrimination Protection Before Congress
Article on cnn.com -- Peanut company officials spurn Congress' questions. Here's an excerpt:
The president of a peanut company and a plant manager accused of knowingly distributing contaminated food refused to answer questions posed by members of Congress on Wednesday, citing their Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination.
The testimony of Stewart Parnell, president of the Peanut Corp. of America, and Sammy Lightsey, manager of the company's Blakely, Georgia, plant, before a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee lasted less than 10 minutes.
Neither man had an opening statement. Asked whether it was their intention to cite constitutional protection in refusing to answer all the questions posed by the committee, both men said it was.
It was the only question they answered; Parnell cited constitutional protection even when asked whether he had heard members of a previous panel testify.
February 10, 2009
Should Chief Justice Roberts Excuse Himself from Wyeth?
Tony Mauro, from the Legal Times, points out that Chief Justice John Roberts owns Pfizer stock and questions whether Roberts should recuse himself from the Wyeth case now that Pfizer is acquiring Wyeth. Here's an excerpt:
Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. owns Pfizer stock that has prompted his recusal in previous cases. The outcome of the Levine case is likely to affect Wyeth's value, and in turn Pfizer's.
On Feb. 4, Wyeth's lawyer before the Court, Seth Waxman of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr sent a letter to the clerk of the Supreme Court informing the Court of the pending transaction. But Waxman told the Court that because of pending stockholder approvals and other matters, the transaction will not be completed until July 31 at the earliest -- weeks after the end of the Court term, by which time its decision would have been released. As a result, Waxman said he does not believe the pending takeover "warrants amendment of the corporate disclosure statement" submitted by Wyeth when Wyeth petitioned the Court last year. That disclosure statement is ordinarily the way justices are informed about parent companies and subidiaries that lets them know if recusal is required.
February 9, 2009
Beijing Hotel Fire
A fire destroyed the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Beijing today. According to news accounts (here and here), the fire occurred in the final hours of the lunar new year celebration, as fireworks lit up the Beijing sky. Thankfully, the hotel was newly constructed and not yet occupied, and no injuries or deaths have been reported. But for those of us who follow mass tort litigation, the images of the fire conjure up memories of the 1986 San Juan Dupont Plaza fire and the 1980 MGM Grand Hotel fire, both of which involved numerous deaths and injuries and led to incredibly complex mass tort litigation. The Beijing hotel was part of the same complex as the new CCTV (China Central Television) tower, one of the most architecturally distinctive modernist buildings in Beijing.
February 8, 2009
Richard Epstein and Rick Hills Debate When FDA Regulation Should Preempt State Tort Liability
Professor John McGinnis (Northwestern) is moderator for a January 9, 2009 Federalist Society debate between Professors Richard Epstein (Chicago) and Rick Hills (NYU) on When Should FDA Regulation Preempt State Tort Liability. I attended, enjoyed the debate, and asked a question, which is toward the end of the audio/video.