For several years, it’s been my experience and opinion that idiocy and failure has been rampant within the technology and management functions of Lexis/Nexis, including its “Advantage” program.  A new example is shown below. It is a screen shot of the useless error message that shows up when I try to sign in from my laptop, using the proper name and password.

Like tens of millions of others, I’m very, very tired of wasting my time on dealing with failures created by miserably executed technology. Failure is not ok, for consumers and buyers. Compare https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/aug/21/the-undertakers-of-silicon-valley-how-failure-became-big-business

Useless error message from Lexis Advantage

The litigation industry continues to evolve and grow. Consider, for example, this June 19, 2019 press release by a group of firms brining opioid suits, titled:  “Lawsuits Filed by Opioid Justice Team in 34 of the 48 States Reporting Babies Born Opioid-Exposed and/or Dependent.”

Note also that the press release provides yet another example of the growing numbers of claims that involve alleged harms arising in children as a result of events involving parents.

Like so many aspects of commerce, the litigation funding industry includes both positive and negative factors and some bad apples. In a June 20, 2019 post at the Drug and  Device Law blog, Bexis (Jim Beck) reports on bad apples involved in the pelvic mesh litigation, in a post titled  “Litigation Funder Indictment in Pelvic Mesh Litigation.”

Once upon a time, way back a decade ago, single gene testing often occurred during investigation of diseases. Those days are essentially over. Today, it’s all about multiple genes, gene expression tests, and much more. For an example, consider the numbers set out in this abstract of a June 10, 2019 paper about an investigation into Alzheimer’s and genetic variants:

“Design, Setting, and Participants  The discovery stage included 10 441 non-Hispanic white participants in the Alzheimer Disease Sequencing Project. Replication was sought in 2 independent, whole-exome sequencing data sets (1766 patients with AD, 2906 without AD [controls]) and a chip-based genotype imputation data set (8728 patients with AD, 9808 controls). Bioinformatics and functional analyses were conducted using clinical, cognitive, neuropathologic, whole-exome sequencing, and gene expression data obtained from a longitudinal cohort sample including 402 patients with AD and 647 controls. Data were analyzed between March 2017 and September 2018.”

Ma Y, Jun GR, Zhang X, et al. Analysis of Whole-Exome Sequencing Data for Alzheimer Disease Stratified by APOE Genotype. JAMA Neurol. Published online June 10, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2019.1456

 

Questions of law and fact continue to evolved regarding post-merger claims of privilege between buyer and seller.  A May 29, 2019 Delaware chancery opinion addresses the fact pattern in which the agreement included language preserving the privilege for seller but the seller failed to incur the time and effort needed to actually segregate the privileged materials. See Shareholder Rep. Services LLC v. RSI Holdco, LLC et al., C.A. No. 2018-0517-KSJM (Del. Ch. May 29, 2019). The claim of privilege was sustained as a matter of contract law, despite the more than arguable waiver due to failure to keep the information confidential.

Summaries from law firms are here, here and here.  The opinion is online here.

Constitutional law continues to ripple through mass tort issues, and so a new database may be helpful for mass tort lawyers (and others). It’s a compilation of all cases in which SCOTUS reviewed an act of Congress. It’s online here. The interesting image below is from the database.

“The preferred citation for the use of the dataset is Keith E. Whittington, The Judicial Review of Congress Database (May 2019) (available at https://scholar.princeton.edu/kewhitt/judicial-review-congress-database).”

 

Image from new database

An interesting new article follows up on Adam Winkler’s book; the article is online at this page of SSRN. Hat tip to Steve Hedley for flagging the article.

“Abstract

Adam Winkler’s We the Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights identifies the legal foundations of corporate constitutional rights and traces the historical development of those rights. On Winkler’s account, the Supreme Court’ corporate rights cases treat corporations as “associations of citizens” — not as “separate legal persons.” Winkler uses the phrase “piercing the corporate veil” to describe the legal theory embraced by the Supreme Court in the seminal corporate rights cases. 

This Review argues that the language of veil-piercing, even if used metaphorically, mischaracterizes the legal theory the Supreme Court embraces and weakens the full force of Winkler’s critique. Winkler is correct that the Supreme Court treats corporations as associations of persons, but he is incorrect that this treatment constitutes piercing the corporate veil. When a court pierces the corporate veil, it performs a practical, fact-based inquiry in which it determines whether the corporation is truly a separate juridical entity from its shareholders, creditors, and directors. If the court determines that there is no legal separateness, then it can hold shareholders personally liable for the obligations of the corporation. The Supreme Court does not provide any such analysis in the cases Winkler discusses. Rather than consider whether a particular corporation has acted in a manner that suggests that it is not truly a separate juridical entity, the Supreme Court seems to assert that corporations are never distinct from their shareholders when they are claiming constitutional protections. And the Court has offered no legal or theoretical defense for that assertion. Both veil-piercing and treating the shareholders as an association of persons look behind the corporate form, but the way the Court has treated corporations in corporate-rights cases is more radical and less justifiable than Winkler’s metaphor suggests. What Winkler has identified is not that the Supreme Court “pierces the corporate veil” in constitutional cases but rather that the Supreme Court refuses to recognize the very existence of the corporate form in those cases altogether. In describing this phenomenon as “piercing the corporate veil,” Winkler implies that the Supreme Court’s treatment of the corporation in constitutional cases is part of a sensible and coherent corporate law doctrine. What Winkler actually shows is that the Supreme Court’s existential theory of the corporation in constitutional rights cases is radically at odds with the existential theory of the corporation it adopts in every other area of the law.

Macey, Joshua, What Corporate Veil? (May 6, 2019). Michigan Law Review, Vol. 117, No. 6, 2019. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3383713″

 

 

 

 

 

New findings – from a highly credible source – provide yet another example of the power of AI to find previously unseen patterns that drive diseases, including cancers. As the new findings illustrate, use of the term “junk DNA” after the Human Genome Project was not such a good idea. Today, there is much more ability to understand molecular systems thanks to massive and cheap molecular investigation tools, combined with the power of AI to find patterns within the data. See “AI Finds Mutations in “Junk” DNA that Cause Autism.”