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TLR News Clips

Wall Street Journal, January 20, 2014

By Michael L. Marlow

For more than 25 years Californians haven't been able to pump gas, go to the grocery store or even buy coffee at Starbucks without seeing a sign with wording such as: "WARNING: This Area Contains A Chemical Known To The State of California To Cause Cancer." Environmentalists cheered when the state passed Proposition 65, which required such warnings. But has the law done any good?

Louisiana Record, January 21, 2014

An attorney accused of falsifying his representation of tens of thousands of claimants in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill settlement is asking a federal court to stop actions concerning his clients in the settlement program until a criminal investigation is wrapped up.

Louisiana Record, January 23, 2014

BP has asked the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals for a rehearing after two panels of judges on the court split on a decision regarding the certification of a class of plaintiffs.

New York Times, January 13, 2014

By Joe Nocera

Six weeks ago, I wrote a column about a ridiculous lawsuit being brought by Carolyn McCarthy, a congresswoman from Long Island. A smoker for most of her life, McCarthy has lung cancer. Yet her lawyers claimed that it was her “exposure” to asbestos, through the work clothes of her father and brother, both boilermakers, that triggered her cancer. Though McCarthy certainly deserves our sympathy as she fights cancer, it is hard to see her lawsuit as anything but an undeserved money grab — and the latest twist in asbestos litigation, the longest running tort in American history, with no end in sight.

Indiana Chamber Blog, January 15, 2014

We can’t make these things up. Shame on those lawmakers for protecting doctors from outrageous malpractice claims. Thanks to our friends at the North Carolina chamber for alerting us to this story....

Southeast Texas Record, January 14, 2014

NEW ORLEANS – A group made up largely of Vietnamese-American fisherman has filed a class action lawsuit against a Texas attorney who they claim improperly named them as clients in settlement claims related to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Southeast Texas Record, Jan. 14, 2014

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) – A bill aimed at curbing abusive patent litigation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last month is still awaiting its fate in the U.S. Senate.

The Innovation Act, or House of Representatives Bill 3309, was approved in an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 325-91 Dec. 5 and has since been sent to the Senate.

NY Times, Jan. 12, 2014

An upstart investment firm that bets on lawsuits has raised hundreds of millions of dollars for its second fund.

The firm, Gerchen Keller Capital, is expected to announce on Monday that it has amassed about $260 million for the fund, bringing its total investor commitments to $310 million. The fresh capital, coming less than a year after Gerchen Keller opened its doors, underscores investors’ confidence in an obscure corner of Wall Street that has gained adherents in recent years.

Litigation finance, as the business is known, often involves bankrolling plaintiffs in exchange for a slice of the lawsuit’s potential winnings. Some firms, including Gerchen Keller, can invest in defendants as well, by advancing legal fees and then collecting a return if the case is successful. If the case fails, the investors walk away with nothing.

PBS, January 6, 2014

Malpractice reform, often known as medical tort reform, has been tackled in a number of states, including California and Texas. But attempts at passing similar regulations on the federal level have failed since the 1970s.

Legal Newsline, January 8, 2014

In light of the recent Judicial Hellhole Report released in December, it is clear that asbestos played a key role in the rankings, given what the report’s authors feel is a vast negative impact on the court system nationally.

Wall Street Journal, January 8, 2014

Must judges follow Supreme Court precedent? Any high school student would say yes—at least where they still teach civics—but the High Court now has a chance to reinforce the point.

WWLTV.com, January 7, 2013

NEW ORLEANS -- A group of Vietnamese-American fishermen and business owners filed a lawsuit in federal court Tuesday against a Texas lawyer already accused of “brazen fraud” in the BP oil spill claims process.

Wall Street Journal, December 26, 2013

Delaware's top corporate-law judge blasted the lawyers who challenged last year's takeover of retailer Talbots Inc., saying the settlement they negotiated benefited their firms more than the shareholders they represented.

Wall Street Journal, December 23, 2013

Trial lawyers market themselves as champions of the little guy against corporate America. So how's that working out for the little guy? Not so well, according to a new study by the Mayer Brown law firm for the Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform, which shows that in the vast majority of class actions, the class members end up empty-handed. In two-thirds of the resolved class actions studied, the class members didn't see a penny.

Southeast Texas Record, December 30, 2013

If you’re a cancer survivor, you know what a relief it is — after agonizing over the possibility of a life cut short and enduring the trauma of treatment and its aftermath —  finally to learn that the disease is in remission and you’ve got a chance to live a normal life again. 

Wall Street Journal, December 29, 2013

The thing to keep in mind when the subject is tort reform is that any reform will remain a half solution; the trial lawyers will work night and day to find ways around reform. That's the lesson from the American Tort Reform Foundation's annual Judicial Hellholes report, which reveals new lawsuit abuses sprouting despite efforts across the country to reduce the damage from this politically powerful profession.

Southeast Texas Record, December 17, 2013

For the first time since it has been published, Texas does not appear on the list of “Judicial Hellholes” in an annual report.

The Atlantic Cities, December 18, 2013

To the casual observer, the narratives of economic growth in American cities seem fairly obvious: the Sunbelt is adding people, the Rustbelt is failing, and big cities like New York, Chicago, Boston and D.C. are coming back. But the reality is far more complicated once you start adding real-world statistics into the picture.

Wall Street Journal, December 17, 2013

Toyota had been vigorously fighting hundreds of complaints that its cars are prone to unintended acceleration. Now it's moving toward a global settlement as a consequence of a single Oklahoma lawsuit that appears to establish that Toyota can't prevail if it can't prove a negative—that its software didn't go haywire in some untraceable and unreplicable manner.

San Antonio Express News, December 18, 2013

Mikal Watts' lawyer, Robert McDuff of Mississippi, said BP had wrongly launched a misleading attack his client “to detract from its own misconduct.”

Bloomberg Businessweek, December 17, 2013

Companies are punching back hard at plaintiffs’ lawyers, and today BP (BP) threw what it described as a haymaker at Mikal Watts, one of the most influential mass-tort attorneys in the country.

Bloomberg Businessweek, December 12, 2013

On April 22, 2011, a Missouri resident named Linda Burke received a phone call from a woman who identified herself as “Sarah.” Burke didn’t know Sarah, but that didn’t stop the caller from asking some exceptionally personal questions. Had anyone in the Burke household died after taking a diabetes drug called Avandia? Sarah “refused to tell me who she worked for, [her] address, or phone number, and hung up,” Burke said later, according to state court records.

Institute for Legal Reform, December 11, 2013

A new report from the Institute for Legal Reform found that consumers who participate in class actions recover little or nothing as a result of the litigation. Mayer Brown researchers concluded that, in more than half of proposed class actions filed, the class members actually receive nothing. 

Rep. Alan Seabaugh, Houma Courier, December 10, 2013

Louisiana’s economy is under attack. The oil and gas industry has been the significant driver in our state’s economy for more than 100 years. However, that is now in jeopardy.

Institute for Legal Reform, December 6, 2013

A panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld nearly $700,000 in attorneys’ fees in a case where the client received $27,280. The defendant company argued that the fees should be much lower, considering the plaintiff lost on most of their claims.

Journal Gazette, December 8, 2013

Indiana lawmakers are eyeing a growing industry that advances money to plaintiffs waiting for a lawsuit settlement, sometimes at a high cost.

Southeast Texas Record, December 2, 2013

Even though BP agreed to a generous settlement in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill litigation, is it ethical for business owners to make claims for damages they didn’t suffer?

By Joe Nocera, New York Times, December 2, 2013

In May, Carolyn McCarthy, a nine-term congresswoman from Long Island, was diagnosed with lung cancer. Her treatment began almost immediately, causing her to take a lengthy absence from her office while she fought the disease. At the same time, McCarthy, 69, ended a pack-a-day cigarette habit that she’d had for most of her life, presumably because she understood the link between cigarette-smoking and lung cancer. Scientists estimate that smoking plays a role in 90 percent of lung cancer deaths.

Southeast Texas Record, December 2, 2013

Amanda Cardoza has alleged she scalded herself while pouring her own cup of coffee at the self-service counter of the Petro Shopping Center the day after Christmas in 2010. Two years later, last Christmas, she filed suit in Jefferson County District Court, accusing the Petro owners of negligence and malice.

Institute for Legal Reform, November 27, 2013

A lawsuit claiming a man slipped on a banana peel in an elevator was dismissed when video evidence showed the man dropped the peel himself. The plaintiff actually looked at the camera three times before proceeding with his performance. 

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