Thursday, November 16, 2006
This morning, I read this USA Today story (hey, I'm in a hotel) about the execrable forthcoming OJ Simpson book If I Did It, and noticed this:
Simpson has failed to pay the $33.5 million judgment against him in the civil case. His NFL pension and his Florida home cannot legally be seized. He and the families of the victims have wrangled over the money in court for years.
The victim' families could go after the proceeds from the book's sales to pay off the judgment. But one legal analyst said there are ways to get around that requirement — like having proceeds not go directly to Simpson.
"Clever lawyering can get you a long way," said Laurie Levenson, a Loyola University law school professor and former federal prosecutor who has followed the case closely.
Levenson noted that the criminal justice system's protection against double jeopardy means Simpson's book, explosive as it may be, should not expose him to any new legal danger. She added that Simpson could create an extra layer of insulation from any legal worries by presenting the story hypothetically.
"He can write pretty much whatever he wants," Levenson said. "Unless he's confessing to killing somebody else, he can probably do this with impunity."
Now, the double jeopardy discussion is, I think, noncontroversial. But if the royalties are even going to support him in any way, I would think it unlikely that they'd really be beyond the reach of the plaintiffs -- who obviously have a substantial incentive to go after them. I would imagine most judges would share the repulsion that I, and it seems most everyone, feel.
But maybe I'm missing something. Is there some way that Simpson could structure the royalty payments such that they'd help him but be beyond the reach of the civil plaintiffs? I suppose maybe he could go on a book tour paid for by Reganbooks, but it's hard to imagine that would be worth it to him.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Julie Hilden has a Writ column criticizing the dismissal of Britney Spears's complaint against Us Weekly; if you get to defamation in your Torts class, (a) I'm jealous, and (b) it's worth reading.
As I mentioned earlier, I will be out of town today through late Friday, so posting may be sporadic or nonexistent.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Monday, November 13, 2006
A ways back, I posted a link to a YouTube video of Joe Jamail taking a deposition that got a bit out of hand. YouTube now indicates that it has been removed by its poster. Did anyone happen to download it? I've had an inquiry from a professional responsibility prof.
Couple of updates:
- Stephanie Mencimer (of The Tortellini) has an article, inspired at least in part by the Chamber of Commerce poll I posted about last week, discussing the prospects for various litigation reforms in the new Congress. Overlawyered thinks litigation reform could be a winning issue, noting that ATLA didn't advertise against it; then again, as I noted before, I don't know of anywhere that it was a big issue, and it didn't make it into any open-ended exit polls. Maybe it's got traction, maybe it doesn't, but its almost complete absence from the campaigns this year suggests that nobody thinks it's going to do much for them.
- Charles Silver has a final response to Ted Frank regarding physician supplies in Texas (earlier post). Update: Frank has replied at PoL.
- I will be in Atlanta towards the end of this week, presenting at the Amusement Law & Government Relations Symposium at the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions conference. It is ginormous and, yes, they set up rides. Check out the floor plan [2.1 MB PDF].
Sunday, November 12, 2006
Dan Zegart at The Nation has a piece [sub. req.] about the FDA in the 11/20 issue. After describing a death and multiple near-deaths at a Puerto Rican hospital (and no warning letter issuing), he continues:
Over the past five years warning letters have become an endangered species at the FDA. According to a recent report by Representative Henry Waxman, the number of such letters issued under Bush-appointed FDA chief counsel Dan Troy plummeted from 1,154 in 2000 to 535 in 2005. Seizures of mislabeled, defective or dangerous products, another key measure of enforcement activity, dipped 44 percent. Waxman's investigators found a disturbing pattern of laissez-faire managers overuling [sic] field agents trying to discipline wrongdoers--even when deaths had resulted.
The changes at the FDA are but one result of an unprecedented attempt by the Bush team to extend direct political control deep into operational areas throughout the executive bureaucracy, especially at agencies where the Administration has strong policy interests such as the FDA, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Justice Department and the Interior Department. . . .
Thanks to the anti-regulatory course set by Troy and his counterparts at other agencies, many longtime bureaucrats have simply quit. But what is actually happening is more complex and far-reaching than mere brain drain. More accurately, the executive branch is undergoing a brain transplant. An entire culture of civil service professionals loyal to their agency's mission is being systematically replaced with a conservative cadre accountable to the White House. While every President appoints his own "politicals" to run the departments, the Bush team has broken new ground, attempting to realign the executive branch permanently by junking a 100-year-old system of merit-based hiring for career bureaucrats.