The Intersection Among Torts, Science, Corporate Law, Insurance & Bankruptcy

Category Archives: Policy Issues

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“Genomics is Changing Causation Evidence in the Courtroom Forever”

Posted in Asbestos, Cancer, Epigenetics, Litigation Industry, Mass Tort Issues, Policy Issues, Science
For toxic tort lawyers, a new interview of Gary Marchant provides notable insight into the major changes ahead for the future of toxic tort litigation. Gary’s background is as a Kirkland trained lawyer with a PhD in genetics and a Master’s degree in public policy. Today, Gary thrives in and leads the way in the… Continue Reading

Cancer: “The Emperor of All Maladies” – Do Not Miss This Week’s 6 hour PBS Miniseries

Posted in Asbestos, Cancer, Litigation Industry, Mass Tort Issues, Policy Issues
“More will die from cancer over the next two years than died in combat in all the wars the United States has ever fought, combined.” In the US, more people die of cancer every 2 days than died in the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001. “For 2014, the American Cancer Society estimated 15,780 new cases… Continue Reading

Be Careful What You Wish For – The Latest Asbestos Example

Posted in Asbestos, Litigation Industry, Mass Tort Issues, Policy Issues
Be careful what you wish for remains an important maxim for lawyers, lobbyists and risk managers. The latest example arises as it appears the plaintiff’s bar in Illinois out hustled the defense lobbying groups, and achieved a repeal of the 10 year Illinois statute of repose for “premises” claims.  The state legislative record is available online at… Continue Reading

A New Study on the Race to the Bottom in Corporate Law – the “Lax Law” of Nevada is Attractive to “Aggressive” Companies Prone to Restatements

Posted in Policy Issues, Race to the Bottom
“Aggressive” companies prefer the “lax law” of Nevada. That’s the bottom line of a new paper on the race to the bottom in corporate law. The information arrives courtesy of an October 29, 2014 post at the CLS Blue Sky blog that links to a Harvard blog on corporate  governance.  Here’s the opening from the… Continue Reading

Political Donations and Asbestos Litigation – a 2014 Update on One Side of the Coin

Posted in Asbestos, Elected Judges, Litigation Industry
Years ago, Joe Rice very correctly said something to the effect of:  “Why would Congress ever end asbestos litigation. It’s the nation’s most consistently big fundraising and lobbying topic, ever.” For 2014, Legal Newsline provided an August 15, 2014  report on contributions from some asbestos plaintiff’s firms to politicians. The numbers are impressive and telling… Continue Reading

Scholarly Analysis of The Attributes of Delaware, and Other Outlier Jurisdictions, Including Tax Whore Jurisdictions

Posted in Corporate Social Responsibility, Good Faith & Fair Dealing, Litigation Industry, Policy Issues
When and how do a handful of states or nations take on outsized legal significance through legislation aimed at specific subjects? For example, jurisdictions with legislation focused on corporate law (Delaware) or legislation focused on outlier tax rates (tax whore nations and states, such as Bermuda, Ireland or Florida).  Do the outlier jurisdictions become dominant… Continue Reading

Providing Economic Incentives for Blood Donations – Evidence on Pros and Cons

Posted in Policy Issues
A May 2013 article from Science by Lacetera et al reviews  evidence – as opposed to opinions and conjecture –  and concludes that providing economic incentives for blood donor visits probably is a good idea. The conclusion section states: "In light of the recent evidence, it is time to re-examine policy guidelines for increasing and smoothing blood… Continue Reading

New Data Suggesting Earthquakes Induced by Carbon Fuel Extraction Techniques

Posted in Policy Issues
(Image courtesy of USGS)   As science advances, new findings become possible and the unexplained may become explainable. The events might even become tortious. Consider, for example, earthquakes and new evidence suggesting that there  are "hidden" or indirect costs to extraction of oil, coal and other carbon based fuels. A respected scientist has now published… Continue Reading

Reputation Risk – Law Reviewers Take on Chevron and Greenwashing

Posted in Corporate Social Responsibility
The age of inter-connectedness and scrutiny is making it harder to control reputation and spin, and business impacts can be severe. Just ask the now bankrupt entities that until recently were happily and profitably "processing" the "pink slime" sold as some form of "meat."  Law reviewers are now taking on larger targets, such as Chevron.… Continue Reading

World’s Most Polluted Places – A Video and Story from Our Amazing Planet

Posted in Policy Issues
The world’s most polluted places. Our Amazing Planet  provided this eye-opening Earth Day story in words and pictures. The story shows that some mining and extraction operations create massive pollution. Some are government owned and some are private. One wonders whether and how they will be held accountable for harms caused. Hat tip to Huffington Post for linking to the… Continue Reading

Professor Rhee Offers a New Proposal on the Legal Reform Needed to Compensate Tort Victims of Insolvent Limited Liability Entities

Posted in Policy Issues
Persons injured by torts are involuntary creditors of the entity which committed the tort. And, today, we see increasing examples of  insolvent companies failing to pay anything close to full value for massive harms spread over many years and continents. For product liability examples, consider the American car companies which used bankruptcy to largely walk away from various tort  liabilities (a position later modified), bankrupt former makers of asbestos… Continue Reading

Judge Rakoff Takes the SEC To Task On Pleas that Neither Admit Nor Deny Guilt

Posted in Policy Issues
You have to love Judge Rakoff’s willingness to ask hard questions and make comments about public policy. His current questions  and comments – highlighted by this Dealbook article –  are related in this new opinion.    The question he posed goes to the SEC  practice of allowing defendants to settle claims  “without admitting or denying wrongdoing.” Judge… Continue Reading

Are Twenty Million Dead Children Enough to Illustrate the Insanity of Cutting Budgets for Science and Disease Prevention ?

Posted in Policy Issues
Yesterday, Paul Krugman used his NYT column to tee off on the failure of the Republican budget "plan" to acknowledge that health care costs drive long-term many budget disasters, and the system is not fixing itself. The lesson really should be simple to grasp – just look at the various bankrupt car companies, or any state that can’t pay… Continue Reading

Scientific and Political Lessons from the Tragedy of Depakote-Caused Injuries In Babies (Bracewell & Giuliani Taking on Plaintiff’s Work Against Big Pharma)

Posted in Policy Issues
Depakote. It’s a drug for people with epilepsy, migraines and other miserable disease. It’s also a drug that causes severe birth defects (e.g spina bifida) in a signficant percentage (perhaps 20%) of the children born to women taking Depakote during the first trimester of pregnancy.  Go here to see extracts from relevant articles. Go here to see Abbott’s current,… Continue Reading

Good to See Intelligent Conservatives Speaking Out Against the Form of Government Intrusion Known as Damages Caps, a/k/a “tort reform”

Posted in Policy Issues
The "tort reform" war cry drives me crazy. It’s a meaningless set of words used – usually – in deceptive way to mask the imposition of damages caps. But the phrase sure excites the  uninformed, as illustrated by this post by Sarah Palin. Note  that Ms. Palin’s post  cites as "authority" an ABA Journal article reporting that imposing… Continue Reading

Examples of Right Wing American Extremism Aimed at State Court Judges

Posted in Policy Issues
When I’m outside the US and involved in political discussions, a frequent question/comment revolves around the way US voters elect  state court judges, and why the process is so polarized these days. I’m of course unable to explain exactly how we ended up as we are today.  It is easier, however, to highlight examples of right-wing extremism at work on state court judges. Here’s… Continue Reading

Selling Risky Products – Is a Clear Conscience Enough – Global Approaches Needed

Posted in Policy Issues
Suppose a new a business is planning to undertake global sales of  products that contain known or suspected carcinogens. Suppose also that the proposed seller declares that he has a clear conscience on the rationale that the products are desired by buyers, and that short-term measures may or will block  exposures during production, and during initial sale and use of the product.… Continue Reading

Delaware the Tax Haven

Posted in Policy Issues
Delaware certainly does what it can to bring people and entities  to the state to generate money for Delaware. This prior post noted the "race to the bottom"  initiated by Delaware judges seeking to make Delaware attractive as a forum for bankruptcy cases.  Now, from the Conglomerate, here’s a brief summary of how Delaware deprives other… Continue Reading