Saturday, July 25, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
It is the dog days of summer here in sunny South Carolina. I hope you are staying cool. Here's what happened this past week in the world of torts:
Reform, Legislation, Policy
- Saying "sorry" works for Michigan doctors. (KIMA TV (AP))
- Coverage everywhere on health care reform: WaPo, ABC News Political Punch, WSJ, NYT, NYT#2)
- Michigan House Democrats introduced "bad faith denial" bill. (The Pop Tort)
- NY state judge reinstates Dan Rather's fraud claim against CBS. (AmLaw Daily)
- Two passengers in May 8th Boston trolley accident filed suit against the MBTA and the trolley driver, who was allegedly texting at the time of the accident. (AboutLawsuits)
- Hepatitis exposure class action filed against McDonald's. (AboutLawsuits, Law and More)
- Steelers QB sued for sexual assault. (TortsProf)
- Warning labels on hot dogs? (ABA Journal, Overlawyered)
Trials, Settlements and Other Ends
- Shermin-Williams's files post-verdict motions in Mississippi lead paint case. (Point of Law)
- Donald Trump loses an invasion of privacy case in NY and a libel suit in NJ. (ABA Journal, NY Law Journal/law.com, WSJ Law Blog)
- $24M verdict in TN med-mal case. (TortsProf)
- Eleventh Circuit reverses contempt ruling against Dickie Scruggs (NMissCommentator, Copy of opinion (pdf))
Thursday, July 23, 2009
David Engel (Buffalo) & Michael McCann (Washington-Political Science) [Not Michael McCann of Vermont Law, Sports Law Blog, and Sports Illustrated fame] have posted to SSRN Introduction: Tort Law as Cultural Practice. This essay serves as an introduction to a forthcoming book. Here is the abstract:
Most scholars would agree that tort law is a cultural phenomenon and that its norms, institutions, and procedures both reflect and shape the broader culture of which it is a part. Yet relatively few studies have attempted to analyze tort law as a form of cultural practice or to address basic challenges regarding the methods or subject matter that are appropriate to such analyses. This essay introduces and summarizes a new volume of interdisciplinary, comparative, and historical studies of tort law in the United States as well as in the United Kingdom, Japan, Italy, India, Thailand, and elsewhere (the volume is entitled Fault Lines: Tort Law as Cultural Practice, Stanford University Press, 2009). The introductory essay contends that culture is not some 'thing' outside of tort law that may or may not influence legal behavior and deposit artifacts in the case law reporters. Rather, tort law and culture are inseparable dimensions of social practice in which risk, injury, liability, compensation, deterrence, and normative pronouncements about acceptable behavior are crucial features. Contributors to this volume demonstrate a variety of ways in which tort law’s cultural dimensions can be explored as they write about such topics as causation and duty, gender and race, the jury and the media, products liability and medical malpractice, insurance and the police, and tobacco and asbestos litigation. Their analyses extend far beyond the confines of the tort reform debate, which has until now set the agenda for much of the sociolegal research on tort law.
Harrisburg is a town of divided NFL loyalties. Leaving aside the New York teams, four clubs vie for fans' loyalty: Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and Washington. I'm partial to the Iggles myself, but Pittsburgh has been successful lately, and a large portion of area fans are rabidly pro-Steelers. As such, there is some concern over the news that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been sued in Reno, Nevada for alleged sexual assault. As I understand it, there will be no criminal charges, unlike Kobe Bryant's difficulties in Colorado. From an academic perspective, it will be interesting to watch this case progress to see if it becomes the common dispute over consent.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
The parents of a Staten Island police man who was killed during a traffic stop have filed a wrongful death suit against the shooter's employer - a Long Island car dealership. According to the Staten Island Advance, the suit alleges that the dealership "did nothing to prevent [the shooter] from having full and unrestricted access to the dealership's inventory vehicles at any time."
Monday, July 20, 2009
Anita Bernstein (Brooklyn) has posted to SSRN a paper sure to generate discussion, Asbestos Achievements. Here is the abstract:
This Article defends a much-maligned cohort of lawyers by pointing out their unique accomplishments. Critics of the asbestos plaintiffs’ bar call these advocates greedy, unethical, and over-enriched. Regardless of the merits of the accusations, any judgment of these lawyers must also recognize what they achieved. American legal doctrines, both substantive and procedural, had stood in the way of asbestos plaintiffs’ claims. The vigorous advocacy and creative challenges that overcame these barriers should inspire all lawyers who seek to perform effectively in behalf of clients.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Ronen Avraham (Texas), David Hyman (Illinois--Law & Medicine), and Charles Silver (Texas) have published an op-ed on medical malpractice damage caps in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. They are responding to Rep. Michael Burgess's bill to enact Texas-style damage caps for the entire country. Here's a taste:
In our judgment, the Texas approach is too simple-minded. Texans got nothing in return when they gave all healthcare providers the benefit of caps on noneconomic damages in 2003. They received no guarantee that the supply or the quality of healthcare available to Texans would improve, or that costs would go down.
Any restrictions the federal government imposes should be "smart" ones. They should insulate only providers who deliver cost-effective healthcare that protects patients from harm.
The entire piece is here.