Inter Alia on the Internet – Catching Up Edition
Wow, it’s been forever since I’ve done one of these. I’ll have to pick a day of the week to do these on a regular basis. Suggestions as to what day I should do them are welcome:
- $110 million dollar class action settlement comes… 26 years later. This was a settlement for E-Ferol, a vitamin shot that killed around 40 infants and children in the mid-eighties. The wheels of justice do turn slowly sometimes.
- Pharmaceutical company files suit to prevent low-cost version of “centuries old” drug from being sold. Remember the old tort “reform” story that lawsuits drive drug prices up and manufacturers out of the market? It’s true in this case – but a pharmaceutical company is behind the lawsuits. I wonder if the “reform” crowd thinks this is an acceptable use of the justice system.
- Caps save Toyota $13 billion. Instead of damage caps, it’s statutory penalty caps. Now, I think $13 billion isn’t an appropriate fine at this point. But NHTSA sure would have more leverage to get Toyota to play by the rules if it could offer to reduce the $13 billion in exchange for a safety plan.
- Defensive medicine, or profitable medicine? Some in the “reform” movement argue that doctors order unnecessary tests and procedures to protect themselves from the grim specter of a malpractice lawsuit. But maybe they’re actually ordering those tests and procedures to make a buck: “When doctors become invested in an outpatient surgery center, they perform on average twice as many surgeries as doctors with no such financial stake, according to a new study from the University of Michigan Health System.”
- 93% of mine safety fines go unpaid. If you knew you’d only have to pay 7 out of every 100 speeding tickets you received, how seriously would you take the threat of a speeding ticket? I think it’s odd that the same people who support a “three strikes” criminal law generally oppose a similar regime with safety violations.
- Don “coal mine explosion” Blankenship on mine safety: “The very idea that [politicians and regulators] care more about coal miner safety than we do is as silly as global warming.” I’m sure global warming deniers are stepping away from Blankenship now.
- Trial lawyers recover $20 million for Louisiana. The “reform” crowd will be up in arms over this because outside attorneys worked on the matter. Apparently, taxpayers would be better off leaving complicated lawsuits to the overburdened staff of state attorney general offices.
- FreeCreditReport.Com Shenanigans. Now they’re going to sell you a “free” credit report for a buck in order to avoid FTC scrutiny. I have a novel solution to the problem: Congress should require credit reporting agencies to deliver copies of credit reports to consumers for free, on demand, as often as consumers want.
- Medical malpractice arbitration award contains $2.6 million in punitive damages. Punitive damages in arbitrations are pretty rare. The case sounds interesting.
- Exxon sues US to pay for cleanup. This is the environmental law equivalent of “dog bites man.”
- Defective sperm not covered under product liability law. Interesting discussion of “wrongful life” lawsuits.
- Should the public be allowed to access the National Practitioner Data Bank? A few years ago, I would have said yes. Now, I’m not so sure. I suspect that if the public could access the database, healthcare providers would stop using it. Yes, I know they have to use it, but lots of regulated entities don’t do things they “have to.”
- Pfizer paid $35 million in 6 months to “independent” doctors that promoted Pfizer’s products. What bothers me is that one of the criterion as to whether expert testimony is admissible is whether the science was created purely for litigation. Science that was created purely for marketing should be subject to the same scrutiny.
- Toyota mini-roundup: Consumer Reports says Lexus GX-460 is unsafe, warns consumers not to buy it. That’s gotta hurt. Sudden Acceleration: The Story Unfolds. A good background on the crisis. Republicans claim NHTSA is denying them access to documents. Hey, GOP: I’m available if you’d like some legal help challenging the “trade secret” designation.