* Here’s a list of America’s Worst Bosses for 2010. Shocker: some of them are lawyers. [eBossWatch]
* Is this a legal and/or fair way to get a flaking eBay auction winner to pay up? Maybe all is fair in love and war e-commerce — although that approach didn’t work out well for Vitaly Borker. [Reddit via Consumerist]
* Filing a lawsuit against McDonald’s over Happy Meals makes me sad — and Walter Olson mad. (Disclosure: I once worked at McDonald’s.) [New York Daily News]
* Speaking of delicious things — and readers, please note my use of “delicious” to refer to food — how do you overcome the “cupcake challenge”? A panel of experts, including my law school classmate, Georgia state legislator Stacey Abrams, tackled this question in a panel discussion at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. [The ChamberPost]
* Single D.C. lawyers, there’s still time to entrust your love life to Kashmir Hill. We have many responses, but there’s gender imbalance right now. Kash needs men — please help! [Above the Law]
I don’t remember the moment I first learned how to wipe my ass without hurting myself. I don’t think I received a special present or accolade for that momentous life event. But perhaps my parents did take notice in this way:
MOM: Our little boy just successfully wiped himself without incident!
DAD: Good. Maybe you were right when you prevented me from taking him out back and shooting him.
The point is that successfully using toilet paper is a basic skill in civilized society. If you have an accident while administering toilet paper to yourself, it’s the kind of thing you really want to keep to yourself.
Unless, of course, you think you can get money out of the mishap. America baby, the only place where hurting yourself while performing basic hygienic practices can lead to a tort payday.
A Michigan woman broke her hand while trying to get toilet paper out of a dispenser in a restaurant bathroom. And now the Michigan Supreme Court has ruled that her case can be presented to a jury….
They had to set the Karate Kid remake in China. If they had set it in modern-day America, Daniel-san would have been mercilessly bullied by the kids from Cobra Kai, he would have killed himself, and the rest of the movie would have been a courtroom drama where Daniel’s parents sought to bring the evil sensei to justice in the form of a multi-million dollar civil suit.
You see, American children apparently have become so fragile, and Americans parents so litigious, that schoolyard bullying is as likely to be settled in a court of law as it is behind a dumpster out back where boys used to handle their disagreements. I used to tell my mother that nobody ever died from embarrassment, but apparently I was wrong. The ABA Journal reports that there’s been a veritable outbreak of children committing suicide in Ohio because they were hounded by mean kids. And that story doesn’t even take into account the Tyler Clementi situation.
And when kids kill themselves, parents are increasingly turning to the courts to stand up to the bullies in a way that used to be accomplished via a flush crane-kick to the face.
It needs to stop. No, not the bullying — which is unavoidable when more than one male competes for whatever status/prestige/sex is on offer — but the tragic overreactions to the bullying, and the accompanying rush to the courthouse steps.
I say this not as an alpha-male with a caviler attitude towards the feelings of others. I say this as a former omega-male who got the crap beat out of me like I stole something from the age of 7 through the point I realized that no girl would ever mate with a guy who couldn’t basically stand up for himself….
Yesterday, after whining about law schools on NPR, I motored over to the Fox headquarters on Sixth Avenue. They wanted me on to to talk about a post I did a couple of weeks ago, encouraging oil-spill victims to take their BP money from the $20 billion fund being administered by Ken Feinberg, instead of pursuing private lawsuits against BP. For the debate, they brought on a plaintiff’s lawyer.
I thought it was a good segment, and I do believe the BP fund will be better for the victims (and the justice system) than a slew of plaintiff’s lawyers jumping on BP — and taking a sizable cut out of whatever damages a judge (most likely) reduces.
Ellie [sic], I think you are on the brink of finally embracing the fallacy of prudential regulation and the idea that government or semi-government programs are ever going to be able to take care of someone who refuses to take the most basic steps of self-preservation. I saw you on Fox News and I bet you vote Republican this November.
I don’t think I was accessing my inner elephant. But check out the clip and tell me what you think…
Exciting news. Starbucks has just launched its new However-You-Want-It Frappuccino® product, “allowing customers to create a blended beverage that is uniquely their own…. the same way they customize their favorite Starbucks espresso beverage.”
Sounds delicious! But if you order your Frappuccino with extra ice, and then experience brain freeze, don’t turn around and sue Starbucks.
Or maybe do turn around and sue Starbucks? Even though lawsuits based on allegedly unreasonable beverage temperatures have become national jokes, memorialized in popular culture (e.g., Seinfeld episodes), they still keep getting filed — and, presumably, settled.
The latest lawsuit has been filed against Starbucks, for excessively hot tea….
A Florida state court judge, Jeffrey Streitfeld, has decided that the largest individual award to a former smoker is excessive. The Daily Business Review (gavel bang: ABA Journal) reports on the good news for tobacco peddler Philip Morris:
Calling the $300 million jury verdict “excessive” and “shocking,” Judge Jeffrey Streitfeld said he would determine a lower award later against tobacco giant Philip Morris USA. He gave no indication when he would rule.
The landmark verdict was reached in November for Cindy Naugle, an emphysema patient who quit smoking in 1993.
There are few things that bother me more than smokers blaming tobacco companies for becoming addicted to their products. Does Philip Morris sell an illegal product? No. Do you need to be galactically stupid to smoke yet not know that smoking is dangerous? Yes. So what is the rationale for suing a company that produces a legal product you’d have to be epically dumb to not know is potentially dangerous?
As a smoker, I feel particularly qualified to say: it’s not Philip Morris’s fault if I get sick. It’s my fault. I take personal responsibility for my own health choices.
Personal responsibility. Seems like a winning argument, doesn’t it? Well, it’s pretty much the argument pursued by Philip Morris’s lawyers. And … it horribly backfired.
Judge Streitfeld has decided to step in to correct the lawyers’ mistake.
At first blush, the judgment awarded to the parents of a fallen baseball player is enough to make a tort reformer vomit. The Helena Independent Record reports (gavel bang: Overlawyered):
After 12 hours of deliberation, a jury sided with the parents of former Miles City American Legion baseball pitcher Brandon Patch in a civil suit over the player’s death during a 2003 game in Helena.
Aluminum bat maker Hillerich & Bradsby Co. failed to provide adequate warning as to the dangers of the bat used by a Helena Senators player during the game, at least eight of the 12 Lewis and Clark County jurors agreed Wednesday.
Hillerich & Bradsby Co. was ordered to pay $792,000 to Patch’s estate, which is represented by his mother, Debbie Patch, who filed the suit.
The jury felt the bat makers should have had some kind of warning about the dangers of batted balls at high speeds.
Seriously? On first blush, this verdict makes me want to hunt down jury members, scream “warning, terrible judgments could result in you getting hit with a bat,” and play pepper using their eyeballs.
But in my homicidal fantasy, I’m hitting eyeball grounders with a wooden bat, not an aluminum one. Are aluminum bats different, in a way that might partially explain the verdict?
More details after the jump.
Let’s get the boring stuff out of the way. Albert Freed (pictured) won a trip to Hawaii (not pictured). As part of the vacation celebration, Mrs. Freed bought her husband some new Hanes brand briefs. But Mr. Freed is a husky gentleman, and apparently the new trunks couldn’t contain all of his junk. He sued Hanes, claiming they made “defective” underwear.
Let me turn it over to Escambia County (FL) Judge Pat Kinsey:
A question for the guys out there: How long would it take you to correct a problem involving sandpaper and your penis? Don’t you think penis chafing is something that requires immediate attention and decisive action?
And while we’re here, how long does it take for you to notice your stuff hanging out where it is not supposed to be?
Check out Albert’s excuse after the jump.
The tort reformers among you are going to love this story. Just as it looks like there might be an opening to enact significant medical malpractice reform, it appears that one of the most powerful lobbying arms against reform is hemorrhaging money (gavel bang: Overlawyered). The Washington Times reports:
The American Association for Justice, the most prominent group representing plaintiffs’ attorneys, has seen a shake-up in its executive suite and has struggled to deal with what appears to be a mounting budget shortfall. To help it fight congressional efforts to make it harder for patients to sue doctors and lawyers, it recently sent out an extra solicitation to its members, asking them to fork over money for a lobbying campaign.
The most striking evidence of its financial woes is a swift decline in income, which resulted in a more than $6.2 million deficit in its operating budget for the fiscal year ending July 31, 2008, the most recent year for which data are available.
The reason for the shortfall appears to be fewer members. Details after the jump.
The Connecticut Employment Law Blog reports on the kind of plaintiff that gives other plaintiffs a bad name:
In the middle of trial, a plaintiff (who is claiming his employment was terminated, among other reasons, in retaliation of his exercise of FMLA rights) drops a bombshell:
“[In the prior October], I learned that I had — have stage III prostate cancer with a metastatic brain lesion.”
What kind of client just blurts out “metastatic brain lesion” in open court? What kind of counsel allows that to happen?
Not surprisingly, defense counsel moved for a mistrial. The judge called a hearing, and then the idiot plaintiff had something else to say:
During the hearing, however, there’s another another unexpected development: The medical records show that the employee did not have (and never had) a metastatic brain lesion.
The plaintiff knew he didn’t have a brain lesion — though it seems self evident that something upstairs is not working properly in this guy’s head.
Is this a situation that demands more than a mistrial?
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The holiday season is upon us, and yet again, you have no idea what to get for the fickle lawyer in your life. We’re here to help. Even if your bonus check hasn’t arrived yet, any one of the gifts we’ve highlighted here could be a worthy substitute until your employer decides to make it rain.
We’ve got an eclectic selection for you to choose from, so settle in by that stack of documents yet to be reviewed and dig in…
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