March 18, 2011
Personal Injury Roundup No. 97 (3/18/11)
- Guatamalans who were deliberately infected with syphilis in the 1940s file class action against U.S. government under Alien Tort Statute. (MSNBC/AP, WSJ Law Blog)
- DOJ opposes Virginia's attempt to take a direct appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court on health care bill suit. (WSJ Law Blog, ABA Journal, SCOTUS Blog)
Reform, Legislation, Policy
- Movie theater owners fight calorie disclosure rules for movie menus. (WaPo)
- California punitive damages bill fails to pass out of committee. (Cal Punitive Damages)
- Florida Senate passes bill allowing evidence of everyone who contributed to accident in "crashworthiness" cases against manufacturers. (Naples News)
Trials, Settlements and Other Ends
- In honor of spring training, two baseball items:
March 17, 2011
Warning on Chopsticks
Sushi Maki, a Miami-based Japanese restaurant chain, is kind enough to provide diners with chopsticks. Not uncommon. However, their chopsticks are far more entertaining than average. On one side of the wrapper, there are drawings of ways one can use the chopsticks as part of a costume. For instance, if you have both chopsticks behind your ears, they stick out like horns ("El Diablo"); if you hold them both straight up behind your ears, they look like antennae ("My Favorite Martian"). Here's the torts angle. On the other side of the wrapper is the warning:
WARNING: Professional Chopstick Stunt People were used for the drawings above. In real life, chop sticks are dangerous - even lethal in a ninja warrior's hands. You could poke your eye out, or tear your rotator cuff or something. So our lawyers tell us that we have to warn you that they can be dangerous and cause serious physical harm if you use them for anything but eating. Sushi Maki is not liable for any damage or harm that may come to you from the improper handling of these utensils. Parents, watch your children closely and please exercise caution. Or just ask for a fork. Which could be dangerous too, we guess. Eating with your hands would be safe, but messy. Good luck.
Thanks to my research assistant, Ulysses Wilson, for bringing these back from Florida.
March 16, 2011
Cupp on Exporting Tobacco Litigation
Richard Cupp (Pepperdine) has posted to SSRN another piece from Pepperdine's symposium last spring, International Tobacco Litigation's Evolution as a United States Tort Law Export: To Canada and Beyond? The abstract provides:
In the late 1990’s, the states’ healthcare reimbursement lawsuits against the tobacco industry were settled for approximately $246 billion. In the wake of this enormous settlement, many similar lawsuits were initiated in other nations or by other nations. Most of these early healthcare reimbursement lawsuits failed. However, in 2005, the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control was finalized by over 150 nations, and today has been ratified by 168 nations. The Framework encourages nations to consider tort litigation against tobacco sellers as a way to limit tobacco usage. Canada’s provinces have been particularly aggressive in seeking to use healthcare reimbursement lawsuits inspired by the United States litigation as a tool for tobacco control. This Article considers ways in which United States-style litigation against tobacco companies might be both helpful and hurtful for other nations.
Baker & Siegelman on the Law and Economics of Liability Insurance
Tom Baker (Penn) and Peter Siegelman (Connecticut) have posted to SSRN The Law and Economics of Liability Insurance: A Theoretical and Empirical Review. The abstract provides:
We survey the theoretical and empirical literature on the law and economics of liability insurance. The canonical Shavell model predicts that, despite the presence of some ex ante moral hazard (care-reduction by insureds), liability insurance will generally raise welfare because its risk-spreading gains will likely be larger than its adverse effects on precautionary activities. We discuss the numerous features of liability insurance contracts that are designed to reduce ex ante moral hazard, and examine the evidence of their effects. Most studies conclude that these features work reasonably well, so that liability insurance probably does not generate substantial ex ante moral hazard. Its effects on ex post moral hazard (the increased tendency of victims to sue in the presence of insurance) are not as clear, however, and the welfare consequences of increased litigation are ambiguous, for reasons we explain. We discuss additional issues such as the effects of liability insurance when some defendants are judgment-proof, the problems posed by non-independence of liability risks owing to changes in legal doctrines, and the cyclical nature of liability insurance markets.
March 15, 2011
Congratulations to TortsProf's Chris Robinette!
Congratulations to Torts Prof's own Chris Robinette for being awarded tenure at Widener University School of Law!!
We are delighted for Chris, though not at all surprised by his latest accomplishment!
So, please join us in extending congratulations from TortsProf!
March 14, 2011
Mississippi Fatal Pursuit Settles for $375k
The family of a man killed while fleeing a Mississippi state trooper has settled its claim against the State for $375,000. The Clarion Ledger has more.