December 7, 2009
"Kings of Torts" (aka The Dickie Scruggs Story)
In yesterday's Clarion Ledger, Sid Salter reviewed "Kings of Tort" by Alan Lange and Tom Dawson. The book tells the story of Dickie Scruggs's fall from grace in the bribery scandal that led to his current address in federal prison.
As an aside, I know nothing about copyright law, but I am surprised that the book title is so similar to John Grishama's popular novel "The King of Torts."
UPDATE: Readers might also be interested in "The King and the Dean: Melvin Belli, Roscoe Pound, and the Common Law Nation," which is chapter four in Patriots and Cosmopolitans: Hidden Histories of American Law by John Witt (Yale).
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John Witt's book is really brilliant.
His description of how settlement values were determined in an era when lots of cases went to trial is dead on. I caught the tail end of that era and can say that from personal observation.
As Stephen Sugarman has discussed, liberals "flip-flopped" on tort law in the last 30 years. Witt's history shows that `conservative' skepticism about the administrative state led to support of the jury system as a decentralized system of determining compensation which took community values into account, rather than the bloodless risk management calculations of the `liberal' technorati.
I remember hearing Belli lecture on drug product liability litigation in the late 70's. The line I remember is "look for the smoking gun. There's ALWAYS a smoking gun because they bury the bad news". I thought of that often as I worked with the Vioxx record in the appeal of McDarby v. Merck, 401 N.J. Super. 10 (App. Div. 2008)
Posted by: George Conk | Dec 7, 2009 11:13:13 AM