April 5, 2008
Congratulations to Sheila...
...for being one of a handful of nominees for "Teacher of the Year" at the Charleston School of Law.
April 4, 2008
Foreign Objects in Food?
Locally we have had several instances of people allegedly finding foreign objects in their food. Negligence? Breach of warranty? Strict products liability? Those are good doctrinal concerns, but don't be hasty.
In the first case, a woman found what was identified as an herbal supplement in her frozen fish. A recall was instituted. Later, one of her children admitted placing the pills in the fish. Now, a man alleges he found a pill floating in his orange juice. He reported the incident to the store, and has since been administered multiple lie detector tests by the FDA. His case is unresolved. The story (which quotes me for the astute observation that false claims increase scrutiny on subsequent claims) is here.
April 3, 2008
Complexities in the Bullying Story
The Northwest Arkansas Times (h/t WVC) reports on complexities in the story of Billy Wolfe, the victim of bullying around which the NYT centered a story (earlier post here). In short, while most everyone agrees that Wolfe has been bullied, he's also allegedly been the aggressor in a number of bullying incidents himself.
Brooklyn Symposium on Products Restatement
On November 13 and 14, 2008, Brooklyn Law School will host The Products Liability Restatement: Was it a Success?. A program is not yet available, but the participants are confirmed. The legal academics presenting are: Richard Ausness (Kentucky), Anita Bernstein (Brooklyn), Margaret Berger (Brooklyn), Ellen Bublick (Arizona), Edward Cheng (Brooklyn), Richard Cupp (Pepperdine), Mary Davis (Kentucky), Mark Geistfeld (NYU), Michael Green (Wake Forest), James Henderson (Cornell), Lars Noah (Florida), David Owen (South Carolina), Robert Rabin (Stanford), Jane Stapleton(Texas), and Aaron Twerski (Brooklyn). Practitioners include Sheila Birnbaum (Skadden) and Victor Schwartz (Shook, Hardy).
April 2, 2008
More Settlements in RI Club Fire Suits
Three more defendants are close to settlements in the Rhode Island nightclub fire suit in which a pyrotechnics display during a Great White performance ignited a fire at a Rhode Island nightclub, and killed 100 people. According to the report, Audio maker JBL, ABC Bus Inc., and Superstar Services LLC are near settlement. (Via Overlawyered). As previously reported, several other defendants have already settled.
In a related note, one would think the Great White fire would have caused performers to steer clear of fireworks displays. Instead, ABC News recently reported on a fireworks accident at a WrestleMania event in Florida; luckily, only minor injuries were reported:
Pet Food Cases Settling
Menu Foods is reportedly settling the hundreds of suits filed against it after its tainted pet food injured or killed numerous pets. A TV report I saw this morning reported that the settlement was in the tens of millions of dollars.
April 1, 2008
Hot Off the Presses! Charleston Law Review Punitive Damages Symposium Volume
The Charleston Law Review has published its 2008 symposium volume, which contains articles and essays from the punitive damages symposium that we held back in September. Check out the contents:
Sheila B. Scheuerman, Introduction, Punitive Damages, Due Process & Deterrence: The Debate After Philip Morris v. Williams. (Provides an overview and summary of each essay and article in the volume). Download a copy of the Introduction: Download 4_scheuerman_introduction.pdf
Anthony J. Sebok, After Philip Morris v. Williams: What is Left of the "Single-Digit" Ratio? Download a copy of Sebok's Essay [pdf file]: Download 5_sebok.pdf
Anthony J. Franze, Clinging to Federalism: How Reluctance to Amend State Law-Based Punitive Damages Procedures Impedes Due Process. Download a copy of Franze's Essay [pdf file]: Download 6_franze.pdf
Neil Vidmar & Matthew W. Wolfe, Fairness Through Guidance: Jury Instruction on Punitive Damages After Philip Morris v. Williams. (Available through SSRN).
Christopher J. Robinette, Peace: A Public Purpose for Punitive Damages. (Available through SSRN).
Keith N. Hylton, Due Process and Punitive Damages: An Economic Approach. Download a copy of Hylton's Article: Download 9_hylton.pdf
Victor E. Schwartz & Christopher E. Appel, Putting the Cart Before the Horse: The Prejudicial Practice of a "Reverse Bifurcation" Approach to Punitive Damages. Download a copy of Schwartz's Article: Download 10_schwartz.pdf
Elizabeth J. Cabraser & Robert J. Nelson, Class Action Treatment of Punitive Damages Issues After Philip Morris v. Williams: We Can Get There From Here. Download a copy of Cabraser's Article: Download 11_cabraser.pdf
Byron G. Stier, Now It's Personal: Punishment and Mass Tort Litigation After Philip Morris v. Williams. Download a copy of Stier's Article: Download 12_stier.pdf
Michael L. Rustad, The Uncert-Worthiness of the Court's Unmaking of Punitive Damages. Download a copy of Rustad's Article: Download 13_rustad.pdf
My thanks again to the symposium participants for a lively and enjoyable discussion. And my congratulations to Charleston 3Ls Matt Kendall (Editor in Chief), and Christy Fargnoli (Symposium Editor) as well as the entire Charleston Law Review staff for a very interesting collection of essays and articles!
What the Best Law Teachers Do...Nominate Your Best Prof!
Conducting a follow-up to "What the Best College Teachers Do" by Ken Bain, Michael Schwartz (Washburn) is investigating what the best law teachers do. He hopes to "identify the best law teachers in America," "synthesize the principles by which they teach," and "share these principles and stories of these wonderful teachers by documenting them in a book." Indeed, Schwartz already has a contract with Harvard University Press to publish "What the Best Law Teachers Do" in 2011.
March 31, 2008
Chronicle of Higher Education on Peer Review Discovery
The Chronicle of Higher Education has a story (link will explode in five days), quoting me, about Pfizer's efforts to obtain discovery into the peer review process. It is a better story than most, in my view, in terms of recognizing the potentially overblown (but not baseless) predictions of doom raised by journal editors. As the story notes, but just to be sure it's clear, I have done work for pharma companies, though not Pfizer.
Scalia Is Not Fond of the Press Reporting on Preemption
Eric Posner, on the new Slate law blog, has more on Scalia's criticism of press coverage, finding that, indeed, some coverage of the Riegel preemption ruling suggested that the Court just decided it liked the FDA, and that tort suits were thus preempted -- rather than engaging in a textual analysis, etc. Of course, as Posner points out, how one does that textual analysis is often (always?) affected by one's other inclinations, so some of the discussion (particularly that of the NYT's editorial) is not as unfair as Scalia suggests.