Monday, June 23, 2014
In 2006, Iowa State created the Center for Agricultural Law & Taxation. The Center's mission is to provide information to agricultural producers in important areas such as regulation and taxation. One of the Center's points of focus is tort law. Run by Roger McEowen, the Center keeps up with tort decisions and analyzes how they will impact agriculture. For example, the Iowa Supreme Court recently ruled that neither the federal Clean Air Act nor the Iowa counterpart preempts common law claims of negligence, nuisance, and trespass against a grain processor (Freeman v. Grain Processing Corp., No. 13-0723, 2014 Iowa Sup. LEXIS 72 (Iowa Sup. Ct. Jun. 13, 2014). The Center's Kristine Tidgren analyzed the opinion and made the analysis available to producers (and the public).
Updated: The Center just added an annotation today about the Wisconsin Supreme Court's holding that spraying herbicides is an inherently dangerous activity and, therefore, a property owner may be liable for an independent contractor/sprayer's torts.
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Victims of a Saturn Ion crash in 2004 are suing GM to reopen a case over the death of one person and serious injuries of another. GM settled the case for $75,000 and argued the driver was 100% to blame. Now lawyers argue the case should be reopened in light of the recall of defective switches in many of GM's cars, including the Ion. The Chicago Tribune has the story.
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
The discussion draft of the Restatement Third, Torts: Intentional Torts to Persons, was discussed this morning at the American Law Institute annual meeting.
Monday, May 12, 2014
Deborah J. LaFetra blogs over at Pacific Legal Foundation about a new case by the New Mexico Supreme Court, Rodriguez v. Del Sol Shopping Center, where the court held that "a foreseeability-driven duty analysis is inappropriate."
Visit Deborah's post for a more on the case.
Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Friday, May 2, 2014
A Virginia jury in Montross has ordered a restaurant owner to pay $8M to the daughters of the man's wife, who froze to death on their property in 2010. The woman's body was found partially covered with snow about 80 yards from the couple's house. The jury foreman reported that jurors believed the woman's death could have been prevented if defendant/husband had done more to find her; defendant did not report her disappearance for 48 hours. Virginia Lawyers' Weekly has the story.
Friday, April 11, 2014
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Do not pee in a co-worker's coffee urn. Compensatory damages were $1 and punies were $5,000. This case reminds me of the 1872 Illiniois case of Alcorn v. Mitchell, in which a jury awarded $1,000 to a plaintiff who was spat upon. Virginia Lawyers Weekly has details.
Friday, April 4, 2014
A med mal filing in California accuses a hospital of negligently placing a live patient in a morgue freezer and freezing her to death. Originally, the family sued for mishandling of a corpse, an exception to limitations on negligent infliction of emotional distress. New evidence, however, caused the family to sue for wrongful dealth. The case was originally dismissed, but was reinstated by an appellate court. The hospital expressed remorse, but does not comment on pending cases. CNN has the story (video).
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
The Lousiana Legsilative session began last Monday, and a bunch of tort reform bills have been introduced:
- HB 799 - prohibiting contingency fees in outside counsel contracts
- HB 482 & 483 - venue in latent disease cases
- HB 917 - lowering the monetary threshold required for a jury trial to $0
- HB 925 & SB 414 - regulation of the lawsuit lending industry
Coalition for Common Sense has links to the bills and a summary of the bills' status.
Monday, March 10, 2014
In "Would Litigation Financing Improve Mass Torts," the National Law Journal examines an article by Professor Byron Stier suggesting that plaintiffs should be allowed to sell their claims to financial entities. As Chris mentioned in an earlier post, Byron's article was part of the "Perspectives on Mass Tort Litgiation" symposium held at Widener last April.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
I am sorry to report the passing of one of the great empirical legal scholars of our day: Professor Ted Eisenberg (Cornell). Professor Eisenberg, age 66, died on Sunday from a heart attack. From the Cornell statement:
Known as the “grandfather of empirical legal studies,” Eisenberg was a passionate teacher, beloved colleague, and prolific scholar during his 33 years at the Law School.
A legendary figure in the areas of bankruptcy, civil rights, and the death penalty, Eisenberg has used innovative statistical methodology to shed light on such diverse subjects as punitive damages, victim impact evidence, capital juries, bias for and against litigants, and chances of success on appeal. He is the founder of the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Eisenberg taught courses on bankruptcy and debtor-creditor law, constitutional law, civil rights, contracts, federal income taxation, and empirical studies of the legal system.
Photo atttribution: Cornell Law School
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
A new article in Albany Law Review addresses a growing issue of personal responsibility: the use of cell phones as a causal factor in accidents. In Don't Text, Talk and Walk: The Emerging Smartphone Defense in Personal Injury Litigation, Robert Lang explores recent case law where the plaintiff and/or defendant was distracted on a cell phone at the time of an accident.
Some possible exam material in this one!
Monday, February 3, 2014
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Recently the New York Court of Appeals rejected medical monitoring. Behrens and Appel approve:
The New York Court of Appeals reached the right conclusion. For over 200 years, one of the fundamental principles of tort law has been that a plaintiff cannot recover without proof of a physical injury. This bright-line rule may seem harsh in some cases, but it is the best filter courts have developed to prevent a flood of claims, provide faster access to courts for those with reliable and serious claims, and ensure that the sick will not have to compete with the nonsick for compensation.
The full op-ed (behind a pay wall) is here.
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Monday, January 27, 2014
On January 21, 2014, the Pennsylvania Sureme Court finally* decided Lance v. Wyeth. The court held that drug manufacturers could be liable for negligent design of an FDA approved drug. I believe this is the first jurisdiction to accept this theory. Drug & Device Blog has a thorough analysis of the opinion.
*finally because the case was argued in 2011 and has been pending before the state supreme court for nearly three years.
Sunday, January 26, 2014
This is slightly off-topic, but I know a significant number of torts professors also teach insurance courses. My hometown newspaper, The Patriot-News, does an excellent job of independent reporting. Today's paper has a great series on flood insurance (highly relevant to a river town like Harrisburg) and the effects of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Act of 2012. The online version at PennLive is here.