Saturday, September 6, 2008
Teaching assault and battery is always fun, as is demonstrating the two are independent torts. The example I have used when teaching there can be a battery without assault (no apprehension) is that a student could sneak up behind me while I was writing on the board and hit me over the head. Thanks to 1L Dipinjeet Sehdev, I now have a new example.
Friday, September 5, 2008
In a week that saw hurricanes and the Republican National Convention, here's what happened in torts.
Reform, Legislation, Policy
- TX liability reforms and a plunge in premiums and lawsuits (amednews.com) (Via Point of Law)
- A call for a cerebral palsy fund in Australia by University of Melbourne prof David Studdert (Univ. of Melbourne News) (Via Point of Law)
- The Pop Tort offers critiques of medical malpractice caps here and here.
- Punitive Damages now available in Thailand (Cal Punitive Damages)
- The family of the man murdered on a Greyhound bus is suing the suspect, Greyhound, and authorities. (CBCNews.Ca) (Via Overlawyered)
- No preemption in Paxil suit (Via Products Liability Prof Blog)
Trials, Settlements & Other Ends
- Two class actions skews statistics showing a big uptick in trials (ABA Journal)
- "Case of the Collapsing Office Chair" decided by AK Supreme Court (Via Products Liability Prof Blog)
- A San Diego jury has awarded $40 million in punies in a case in which a helicopter crash killed 4 Marines. (Cal Punitive Damages)
- Walter Olson on comments on personal injury blogs ("A Comment about Comments")
- John Day on evidence of a plaintiff's extramarital conduct ("Your plaintiff is a scumbag")
- Ron Miller responds to this post from Mass Tort Defense ("Plaintiff's Lawyer are Committing Fraud and Defense Lawyers are Powerless to Stop it")
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Pharmalot has details; Jim Gottstein (the Alaskan lawyer in the middle of a lot of the document hullabaloo) is seeking to unseal some of the documents as part of his renewed effort to fight Judge Weinstein's injunction, while Lilly objects.
I've had a number of posts about the litigation resulting from the fatal fire at The Station nightclub in Rhode Island during a Great White concert. The band itself has now chipped in, adding about $1 million to a total settlement of over $175 million. The settlement, one of the smaller ones in the recently-announced series (the foam manufacturers, for example, settled for $30 million), would resolve claims relating to the band's manager's use of pyrotechnics for which he did not have a permit. (He has pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter.)
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Cal Punitive Damages has posted links to the opening set of merits briefs in Philip Morris v. Williams III. The Court granted review back in June on the first question presented:
"Whether, after this Court has adjudicated the merits on a party's federal claim and remanded the case to state court with instructions to "apply" the correct constitutional standard, the state court may interpose -- for the first time in the litigation -- a state-law procedural bar that is neither firmly established nor regularly followed."
The Court declined to review the second issue presented, namely the constitutional excessiveness of the punitive damages award. - SBS
The Court declined to review the second issue presented, namely the constitutional excessiveness of the punitive damages award.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Over a year ago, Katie Lassiter's feet were severed while riding the Superman: Tower of Power at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom. As I noted in July, the judge set a trial date in January 2010. The plaintiffs have now requested that the trial date be moved up.
The American Bar Association is sponsoring a one-hour teleconference on "State Tort Remedies for Consumers: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow? Assessing the Supreme Court Preemption Cases" on Tuesday, September 9th from 3:00 to 4:00 pm EST.
In its 2007 Term, the Supreme Court addressed two major cases concerning federal preemption of consumer remedies against manufacturers of medical devices and drugs. One case significantly expanded the scope of preemption, and the Court split 4-4 in the other. This Fall, the Court will hear two more cases with far-reaching implications for preemption of state tort remedies for consumers of defective or deceptively marketed products. The first will involve “light” cigarettes, and the other will involve prescription drugs.
This program will explain the background of the cases, their importance to litigators in pharmaceutical and tobacco cases, and their broader potential impact on the availability of state common-law remedies against manufacturers of products subject to federal regulation.
Senator John McCain's running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, comments on Exxon Shipping v. Baker, in which the Supreme Court reduced the punitive damages award to $515 million. In the interview (from last June), Palin expressed her "disappointment" in the Court decision. Cal Punitive Damages has the video interview.
Monday, September 1, 2008
This one's at Six Flags Magic Mountain, where a man was hit by the Ninja suspended roller coaster. According to initial reports, it's another situation where a patron was going to retrieve a hat and got over a fairly tall fence (either six or seven feet tall).
Meanwhile, I haven't seen any updates on the hinted litigation after the fatality at Six Flags Over Georgia earlier this summer.