TortsProf Blog

Editor: Christopher J. Robinette
Widener Commonwealth Law School

Friday, July 31, 2009

Personal Injury Roundup No. 44 (7/31/09)

After a longer-than-planned-for absence (the reason noted below), I'm back at the TortsProf blogging.  As I announced before, I'll be a bit more irregular than usual, with my new duties as Associate Dean for External Affairs at WNEC, but I will still be around.  And while many of our former students just finished taking the bar exam, there's torts news to consider:

Reform, Legislation, Policy

  • S. Todd Brown (Buffalo) explores the intersection of bankruptcy and mass tort in a series at Point of Law (Introductory post
  • Abraham on private regulation of medicines (Huffington Post)
  • A national board on medical safety?  (NY Times)
  • Dorf on Sen. Specter's proposed response to Iqbal (Dorf on Law, Findlaw)
  • Alienation of affection: North Carolina's Number One! (Volokh)
  • Sue drug dealers in Tennessee (P.S. Good luck collecting) (Day on Torts)
  • Immunity for swine flu vaccine manufacturers (MSNBC)
  • Possible legislative responses to direct-to-consumer advertising (NYT)
  • Obama is skeptical of malpractice damages, etc., as major factor in health costs (Washington Post)
  • Tax breaks for trial lawyers (TaxProf and links)

New Lawsuits

Trials, Settlements and Other Ends

  •  A detailed look, from a defense perspective, at a Daubert loss in Prozac litigation (Drug & Device Law Blog)
  • The first Neurontin trial started Monday (WSJ Law Blog)...and ended Wednesday with an anonymous donor funding a trust (WSJ Law Blog) (I note, with interest, that David Egilman, central as an expert in the Zyprexa litigation document leak, is now serving as the family's spokesman); Ron Miller speculates on the identity of the trust funder (Maryland Injury Attorney Blog), as do Beck & Herrmann (Drug & Device Law Blog).  I'd put money on someone with a better Neurontin case coming down the road.
  • Speaking of Zyprexa (which we kind of were), West Virginia has apparently settled its off-label marketing case with Lilly (Legal News Line)
  • No false imprisonment in hospital deportation case (TortsProf)
  • Railroad not responsible for goose-caused injuries (Overlawyered and links therein)
  • First 9/11 tort suit to go to trial next spring (Newsday)




  • Author of "Doubt Is Their Product," sometime plaintiffs' expert, and SKAPP head David Michaels to head OSHA (White House)
  • Plaintiffs trying to get Chrysler's attention (
  • Wyeth ordered to release documents connected to alleged ghostwriting (AP)
  • Vesphoto  I was absent from posting (and most things) for June and most of July due to my father, W. Ves Childs, getting suddenly ill and dying, on June 21, from pancreatic cancer.  He is probably the person most responsible for me teaching, and for my interest in the intersection of law and science.  You can read the official obituary (which I wrote) at my kids' music site, Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child; there is also one from his graduate chemistry department: Mole Street Journal.  Below is the slideshow we put together for his memorial service.


July 31, 2009 in Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

$3.4M Mesothelioma Verdict

A California jury has awarded $3.4 million to the family of a former Manville plant worker.   About Lawsuits has more.


July 30, 2009 in Damages | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

A Tweet Tort

A Chicago landlord has sued a tenant for libel based on a "malicious and defamatory" tweet about her apartment to her 20 Twitter followers.   ABA Journal and Jonathan Turley both have more.  Here's a copy of the complaint (pdf).


July 30, 2009 in Current Affairs, Teaching Torts | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Top 10 Recent SSRN Torts & Products Liability Downloads

RECENT HITS (for all papers announced in the last 60 days)
TOP 10 Papers for Journal of Torts & Products Liability Law

May 30, 2009 to July 29, 2009

Rank Downloads Paper Title
1 124 The Decision to Award Punitive Damages: An Empirical Study
Theodore Eisenberg, Michael Heise, Nicole L. Waters, Martin T. Wells,
Cornell University - School of Law, Cornell Law School, National Center for State Courts, Cornell University - School of Law,
Date posted to database: June 2, 2009
2 86 Trade 2.0
Anupam Chander,
University of California, Davis - School of Law,
Date posted to database: June 3, 2009
3 75 Taxing Structured Settlements
Gregg D. Polsky, Brant J. Hellwig,
Florida State University - College of Law, University of South Carolina - School of Law,
Date posted to database: May 21, 2009
4 74 Frivolous Cases
Suja A. Thomas,
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - College of Law,
Date posted to database: May 30, 2009
5 73 Irrelevant Confusion
Mark A. Lemley, Mark P. McKenna,
Stanford Law School, Notre Dame Law School,
Date posted to database: May 21, 2009
6 73 Federalism Accountability: 'Agency-Forcing' Measures
Catherine M. Sharkey,
New York University - School of Law,
Date posted to database: May 28, 2009
7 53 The Curious Case of Directors' and Officers' Liability for Supervision and Management: Exploring the Intersection of Corporate and Tort Law
Martin Petrin,
University of California, Los Angeles - School of Law,
Date posted to database: May 21, 2009
8 52 Trial Selection Theory and Evidence: A Review
Keith N. Hylton, Haizhen Lin,
Boston University, Indiana University,
Date posted to database: May 20, 2009
9 45 The Value of Consumer Choice in Products Liability
Mark Geistfeld,
New York University - School of Law,
Date posted to database: April 29, 2009
10 43

Territorial Claims in the Domain of Accident Law: Conflicting Conceptions of Tort Preemption
Robert L. Rabin,
Stanford Law School,
Date posted to database: May 29, 2009


July 29, 2009 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

OT: The Legal Limit by Martin Clark

Ah, summer!  The scholarship, the sun, the books!  I just read a terrific book I want to recommend to our readers:  Martin Clark's The Legal Limit.  The book has been out for a year, and is now available in paperback.

I begin with caveats.  First, Random House sent me a copy of this book; I assume the company wanted me to do exactly what I'm doing.  I'm okay with that because I'm disclosing it, and, more importantly, I love the book.  Second, the book is set in rural Stuart, Virginia, about 40 miles from where I grew up in Hillsville, Virginia.  The thrill I get in seeing places like Pandowdy's Restaurant in Mt. Airy, North Carolina factor into the plot of a novel from a major publishing house may not be shared by all.

Without giving away too much of the plot, the book follows two brothers who are victims of an abusive childhood:  Gates and Mason Hunt.  Gates, the older brother, falls into dealing drugs and sponging off his mother.  By contrast, Mason goes on to law school, and, eventually, becomes the Commonwealth's Attorney of Patrick County (of which Stuart is the county seat).  However, the brothers have kept a secret that threatens everything Mason has worked to achieve.

The book is both entertaining and enlightening.  The plot is gripping, and Clark does a superb job with character development (but, hey, every novel can't have a TortsProf as action hero!).  I can attest that he evocatively conveys the atmosphere of a small town in Virginia in the 1980's.  Additionally, the book raises questions about the relationship between law and justice, and the proper place for loyalty in both.

Martin Clark is a circuit court judge seated in Stuart, and the author of two previous, well-received novels:  The Many Aspects of Mobile Home Living (love the title!) and Plain Heathen Mischief.  Writing fiction is challenging (my mother writes), and the fact Judge Clark can do it well on top of his day job is impressive. 


July 29, 2009 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

No False Imprisonment for Forced Deportation

As the New York Times reports, a Florida jury found that a hospital did not act unreasonably when it chartered a plane and repatriated a severely brain injured illegal immigrant to Guatemala (after caring for the patient for 3 years at a cost of $1.5 million).  Accordingly, the jury rejected the family's false imprisonment claim and found for the hospital.


July 28, 2009 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Legislators Take on Direct-To-Consumer Drug Advertising

Sunday's New York Times had an article summarizing the various efforts in Congress to control direct-to-consumer drug advertising.   Bills have been introduced that would ban ads for certain drugs during prime time, or alternatively, amend the tax code to eliminate DTC ads as a deductible business expense. 


July 28, 2009 in Legislation, Reforms, & Political News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Internet Images and the Right to Privacy

Jonathan Bick has published "Pictures from Public Places Not Private" in the New Jersey Law Journal.   The article provides a nice summary of the tort and privacy issues surrounding the use of public images on the Internet such as Google Street View.  


July 27, 2009 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)