Friday, June 4, 2010
The Pacific Research Institute has released its 2010 U.S. Tort Liability Index, which ranks the states' "tort climate." According to the press release, the "best" tort climates are (in order) Alaska, Hawaii, North Carolina, South Dakota, North Dakota, Maine, Idaho, Virginia, Wisconsin and Iowa. The "worst" tort climates are (in order) New Jersey, New York, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Montana, Michigan, Connecticut, and California.
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Aaron Twerski (Brooklyn) & James Henderson (Cornell) have posted to SSRN Reaching Equilibrium in Tobacco Litigation. The abstract provides:
Recent pro-plaintiff developments in tobacco litigation may lead to the conclusion that such litigation will go on endlessly and threaten the financial viability of the tobacco industry. This article takes the opposite position. Although the industry may take some near-term losses, it is far more likely that tobacco companies will survive short-term losses and that tobacco litigation will reach a stable equilibrium within the next fifteen to twenty years. The threat of third-party payer claims is no longer viable. Courts have unanimously rejected them. With the exception of cases pending in Florida and West Virginia, there are few individual personal injury claims pending throughout the United States. Both the Florida and West Virginia trial plans are subject to serious constitutional challenge. Two possible serious threats to the tobacco industry remain – punitive damage awards and cases for economic loss based on fraudulent marketing of light cigarettes. The former are likely to come under serious constitutional scrutiny and the latter cases are viable only as class actions. Under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), new cases will end up in federal courts which have been hostile to class certification in cigarette litigation. The relatively few pre-CAFA class actions that have been certified in state courts will have to grapple with difficult issues in attempting to assess damages.
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
The Kansas Attorney General's office filed an amicus brief with SCOTUS against Fred Phelps and his Topeka-based Westboro Baptist Church. The brief argues it is constitutional for a state to protect privacy through "funeral picketing and protest" and state tort laws. Forty-seven states and D.C. joined the brief (Virginia and Maine declined). Morningsun.net (Pittsburgh, KS) has the story.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
A Michigan woman has sued United Airlines for negligence and false imprisonment. She alleges that, after arrival in Philadelphia at 12:30 am, the crew left her on the empty plane sleeping for three hours. The AP has more. According to the story, there are no FAA regulations about leaving a sleeping passenger on a plane.
Thanks to Bill Janssen for the story.
Monday, May 31, 2010