December 12, 2009
Cornell Prof Sues Wesleyan For Being Wrongly Pictured As A Murder Suspect
From Injured: A Cornell sociology professor has sued Wesleyan for negligence after the school mistakenly released his photo as a murder suspect in a killing near the Wesleyan campus. He seeks damages for emotional distress and reputational harm.
December 11, 2009
Personal Injury Roundup No. 60 (12/11/09)
Reform, Legislation, Policy
- GAO issues report on FDA drug oversight. (AP/Google news)
- Betcha didn't know that the pending health care bills would require chain restaurants and vending machines to post nutritional information. (USA Today)
- FDA widens radiation overdose in LA-area hospitals. (LA Times, PopTort)
- Regulation of direct-to-consumer drug advertising? (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
- CPSC releases report on Chinese drywall. (Mass Tort Defense)
- Estate of woman killed by driver talking on cell phone sues driver's phone service providers. (NY Times, Injured). Russell Jackson responds.
- Family of father and son killed on NY highway last summer by drunk, wrong-way driver sue driver's estate. (NY Post)
- Parents of high school senior who committed suicide after "sexting" incident sue school for negligence. (eSchoolnews)
Trials, Settlements and Other Ends
- Judge Weinstein dismisses pre-paid cell phone class action. (Jackson)
- NY judge dismisses action as frivolous where doctor sued opposing expert in prior med mal cases - and also sanctions the plaintiff and his counsel. (Turkewitz)
- Seventh Circuit affirms dismissal of negligence claim against Wal-Mart for selling bullets to customer who committed suicide. (Day on Torts)
- Wisconsin Supreme Court decides issue of first impression and holds that victim of intentional tort does not have duty to mitigate. (Wis Law Journal)
- Searle Civil Justice Institute issues preliminary report entitled "State Consumer Protection Acts: An Empirical Investigation of Private Litigation."
- Don't friend the judge in Florida. (ABA Journal)
Thanks to Russell Jackson for material this week.
December 10, 2009
Engstrom on Personal Injury "Settlement Mills"
Nora Freeman Engstrom (Stanford) has posted to SSRN Run-of-the-Mill Justice. Here is the abstract:
This Article examines a particular form of heretofore unexamined personal injury law practice that has proliferated across the United States. These law firms, which I call settlement mills, are characterized by their high claim volume, aggressive advertising, significant delegation to non-attorneys, entrepreneurial focus, and quick resolution of claims, typically without initiation of suit. Drawing on voluminous documents extracted from federal court and state bar disciplinary files, as well as fifty interviews with current and past law firm employees, the Article demonstrates that settlement mills represent a relatively new, largely distinct, and surprisingly prevalent form of law firm organization. After setting forth the characteristics that distinguish settlement mills from conventional personal injury practices, the Article considers the forces that have contributed to their rise, analyzes how they resolve claims in practice and to what effect, and asks why insurers (not facing a realistic threat of trial) bargain with settlement mills at all. The analysis reveals that settlement mills are not only organized differently than their conventional counterparts; they actually settle claims differently, in a manner that challenges prevailing theories of settlement as well as our basic notions of compensation through tort.
(Via Solum/Legal Theory Blog)
December 9, 2009
Tiger Woods and Alienation of Affections?
It's covered in this CNN.com story.
Krauss & Jones on Hines v. Garrett
The latest paper by Michael Krauss (George Mason), coauthored with Mason student William Jones, is a historical analysis of a case I used when practicing in Virginia and continue to use as a note case in the textbook I teach (Franklin, Rabin & Green). Entitled Rape on the Washington Southern: The Tragic Case of Hines v. Garrett, the abstract is below:
The judicial treatment of the tragic multiple rape of Julia Garrett, in wartime Virginia, offers interesting insights into a fascinating period in the jurisprudence of the Near-South. The economic emancipation of women and of blacks, the rapid urbanization of a heretofore rural area and the behavior of a government regulator were all backdrops for a battle royale over the meaning of "proximate cause."
December 8, 2009
Turducken in a Federal Appellate Opinion
The torts-angle here is that it is an order about privacy law, specifically whether there is a constitutional right to informational privacy.
But really this post is all about the turducken. Who would include a reference to turducken - that weird turkey wrapped around a duck wrapped around a chicken concoction - in a federal appellate decision? That woud be Judge Kozinski.
Adam Liptak has more.
Negligent Failure to Tree Prune
From Injured: "the wife of a Google engineer injured by a falling tree branch has sued the city of New York for $120 million dollars."
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).
"Sorry Works" At Work in Rhode Island
Jane Genova reports on a story out of Rhode Island: Actor James Woods had been in a bitter lawsuit with Kent Hospital in Warwick, Rhode Island over the death of his brother in 2006. As the Providence Journal reports:
When Kent Hospital President Sandra L. Coletta had dinner with actor James Woods Monday night and apologized for her hospital’s role in his brother’s death, Coletta said she was just following her gut, treating a grieving brother the way she’d want to be treated herself.
That apology led to a startling turnaround in what had been an increasingly bitter lawsuit over the 2006 death of Michael Woods from a heart attack in the Warwick hospital’s emergency room.
Less than 24 hours after the dinner, Coletta, Woods and his mother were standing next to each other, announcing the withdrawal of the suit and the creation of the Michael J. Woods Institute to help reorganize the hospital to better serve its patients.