August 14, 2009
Personal Injury Roundup No. 46 (8/14/09)
Most of us are gearing up for classes next week. I hope you enjoyed your last week of summer.
Reform, Legislation, Policy
- Richard Epstein on preemption in Forbes (Via Drug and Device Law)
- "Fumbled" health care "handoffs" (The PopTort)
- NY: Gov. Patterson has extended the state's med mal insurance rate freeze (National Underwriter Property & Casualty Insurance News)
- WV: An asbestos defendant argues it was forced to follow the directives of the U.S. Navy when it manufactured products for a ship. (LegalNewsline)
- MD: The family of a man who died after transplant surgery at the University of Maryland has sued, alleging a staffer drained out all of the decedent's blood. (AboutLawsuits.com)
- IL: Woman sues ex-boyfriend for posting nude photos of her (ABA Journal)
Trials, Settlements and Other Ends
- MD: Over $1M truck accident verdict in Baltimore (The Maryland Injury Lawyer Blog)
- NM: A blow to assumption of risk in those baseball-into-the-stands hypos (Olson/Overlawyered)
- NY: Recent elbow fracture pain-and-suffering verdicts in excess of $1M (Hochfelder/New York Injury Cases Blog)
Survivors' "Hold Your Wee for a Wii" Suit Settles; Wrongful Death Case to Start 9/8
August 13, 2009
Burch on Weinstein on Mass Torts
Elizabeth Chamblee Burch (Florida State/Mass Torts Prof) has posted her essay A New Way Forward: A Response to Judge Weinstein on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
This short essay responds to Judge Jack Weinstein's essay, Preliminary Reflections on Administration of Complex Litigations, 2009 Cardozo De Novo 1. In so doing, it also provides a condensed version of my earlier article, Litigating Groups, which analyzes group dynamics within nonclass aggregation. By drawing on the literature of moral and political philosophy as well as social psychology, I contend that, in the face of hard cases, of instability and disunity, plaintiffs who have made promises and assurances to one another can invoke social norms of promise-keeping, social agglomeration, compatibility, and the desire for means-end coherence to achieve consensus, mitigate client-client conflicts, and re-tether their attorney to their needs. Thus, using groups to overcome the problems in nonclass aggregation not only makes sense from a group responsibility perspective, it may also harmonize with wealth maximization and individual autonomy goals.
August 12, 2009
"Dead By Mistake"
From The Pop Tort comes word of a national investigative series by Hearst Publications on medical malpractice deaths. Hearst explains the series in this way:
Dead by mistake, the comprehensive story you see on this web site, is the result of two things converging: a team of skilled and dedicated journalists from across Hearst newspapers and television stations, and a critical and neglected health care issue that dramatically affects hundreds of thousands of Americans every year. ....
Our team, which during the course of the project involved over 35 people - and an entire class of graduate journalism students at Columbia University, read thousands of pages of documents, disciplinary files, lawsuits, governmental, medical and other public and private reports. ....
We conducted several hundred interviews across the country, concentrating on a half dozen states. Journalists 3,000 miles apart coordinated their work and their findings. ...
In the process, we compiled and analyzed collectively nine databases, including hospital discharge records in four states, hospital administrative penalties, healthcare project research and whatever other available information we could find for the most comprehensive look at the issue undertaken to date. ....
August 11, 2009
California Enacts Good Samaritan Bill
From Walter Olson at Point of Law: Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed two bills that extend legal immunity to Good Samaritans.
Fast Track for Chinese Drywall Cases
The Daily Business Review (via law.com) reports that U.S. District Judge Eldon E. Fallon (New Orleans) will select five of the nearly 600 Chinese drywall cases for bellwether trials, possibly before the end of the year:
Fallon has ordered each side to select 10 cases to jump start the process of turning over documents and other information. He has said the initial trials most likely will involve claims limited to property damage as opposed to personal injury.
"Hold Your Wee for a Wii" Case Heading to Trial
The Sacramento Bee has details on the most recent events in the litigation resulting from an ill-conceived competition held by a radio station a couple of years ago. (Prior posts here.) As the name of the contest suggests, contestants were required to drink water and keep from urinating; the one who lasted longest won a Wii game console. One contestant died as a result.
The trial will include both the wrongful death case brought by the family of the woman who died as well as the negligence cases brought by three other contestants, who allege physical and emotional ailments from taking part in the competition.
The case is expected to take at least seven weeks.
August 10, 2009
Rare Win for Alien Tort Claim Plaintiffs
Last week, a Brooklyn jury awarded $1.75 million to a Bangladeshi man who was tortured by a Bangladeshi paramilitary group. The plaintiff sued under the Alien Tort Claims Act and the Torture Victims Protection Act. American Lawyer (via law.com) has more.