March 31, 2007
FNL Suit Settles
I've previously posted a little about the lawsuit on Friday Night Lights (on NBC, and I think the best drama on TV right now) (and, incidentally, co-produced by Sarah Aubrey, one of my law school classmates). The short version is that a high-school quarterback was left permanently in a wheelchair after attempting to tackle an opponent, and, over his opposition or at least frustration, sued the school district and coach. In this week's episode, the case settles.
In the settlement conference, the district's attorney first noted their immunity argument and even (accurately!) referred to summary judgment, then saying that only the coach would be left. (Would he? Seems unlikely, but maybe.) Noting the coach's relative lack of assets, they argued for a small settlement. The plaintiffs' attorney then described how compelling the QB would be on the stand. The QB, who (along with all of the parties) was present, objected to being a prop and wrote down a number that, he said, would deal with the family's debt and pay off the house. The school district accepted, and everyone went about their business (and the Panthers are going to state!).
I suppose it was a decent time for the plotline to end, but it would've been interesting for it to proceed further. Alas. Maybe the QB's new tattoo will get infected and he can sue the tattoo artist (with whom he may be involved, but that's another story).
Preemption, Preemption, A Heck of a Doctrine
Okay, that doesn't rhyme.
The Drug & Device blog summarizes a new opinion finding that state warning claims are preempted, in part due to the FDA preemption preamble. Worth a read, and these cases will be well worth following as they work their way through the system.
(As usual, a reminder that I do some work for pharmaceutical defendants who would obviously be affected by these cases.)
...and more Tennessee discussions
The Commercial Appeal has an editorial endorsing what it sees as a middle ground -- prefiling certification, but no caps.
March 29, 2007
Should the 9/11 Fund be Reopened?
That's the question addressed by Tony Sebok in a new Writ column, focusing on respiratory ailment plaintiffs and whether they should be given access to the fund.
March 27, 2007
Another Slow Time; "Jackpot Justice"
I'm traveling (again!) this week and may not get to post much. But the Jackpot Justice website is probably worth checking out. I admit to some skepticism about it, especially the means by which the authors identify costs as "excess" (by comparing US costs to those in other developed countries, which, at least in the introductory parts, isn't particularly well justified as an approach), but it's at the least interesting.
March 26, 2007
Consumerist on Tort Reform
There's an interesting post at Gawker Media site Consumerist with the title, "Tort Reform: What It Is, Why You Should Care, and Why It Is Anti-Consumer."
Edit: A "small type" disclaimer notes that it's written by a plaintiffs' lawyer.
"Tort Reform" Conference
I may have posted about this before, but it's worth mentioning again -- Northwestern is hosting a conference this Friday on "Litigation and Tort Reform."
“Tort reform” has been a rallying cry of the business community for over 25 years, with acrimonious political battles waged with trial lawyers in almost every state capital. But very little is known about the impact of tort reforms. Are tort reforms achieving their goals of reducing the burden of litigation? Do tort reforms have unintended consequences?
Scholars at Northwestern University are among the nation’s leaders in empirically studying the impacts of tort reforms. The goal of this conference is to explore the significance of the cutting-edge research that scholars from Northwestern and other leading universities are undertaking. In order to help bridge the gap from academia to the practical consequences of this research, leading attorneys and protagonists in the public policy arena will critique this important work in a dynamic format designed to sharpen our understanding of the consequences of tort reform.