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

BEWARE of STUB HUB (Tickets they sold were duplicates)

Posted in Uncategorized

 A word of warning regarding Stub Hub.  In short, the company has failed to put in place systems to block fraudsters from using online systems to create false or multiple sales of the same tickets. So I  learned when my girlfriend and I showed up for a Book of Mormon performance this weekend in Chicago. We were refused entry on our (expensive) tickets. Someone else had purchased the same seats. The other people apparently got in but we did not because we arrived after they did. We also were not offered any other seats, so we missed the show. We did receive a refund of what I paid.

In sum, like so many businesses today, Stub Hub has failed to invest enough to block fraud, and instead simply shifts the risk to consumers. One wonders what they do – or do not do – about prosecuting fraudsters.

For more specifics on its failure, see this review of Stub Hub, with links to other critiques.





Litigating Brain Disease Issues? New Molecular Science News Now on Hand; How Will It Evolve?

Posted in Litigation Industry, Science

Over the years ahead, the term “somatic recombination” may make its way into the lexicon of more lawyers. Why? Because a new, high quality study (published in Nature) shows that brain neurons appear to include mechanisms that intentionally induce somatic changes in brain cells.  Some are calling it a “landmark” study. That said, it is an “early days” results that will need confirmatory studies and much more work. That said, it raises interesting questions, including whether a mechanism of that sort could be part of Parkinson’s or other diseases/conditions.

A November 21, 2018 news article in Science provides a summary of some of the findings and possible implications:

“Rather than having one constant blueprint that stays with us throughout life, neurons have the ability to change that blueprint,” Chun proposes. That capability may benefit neurons by enabling them to generate a medley of APP versions that enhance learning, memory, or other brain functions. On the other hand, somatic recombination may promote Alzheimer’s disease in some people by producing harmful versions of the protein or by damaging brain cells in other ways, the scientists conclude.

Where do all these gene variants come from? Chun and his team think gene reshuffling depends on an enzyme called reverse transcriptase that makes DNA copies of RNA molecules. A new variant could arise when a neuron produces an RNA copy of the APP gene—this step is part of the cell’s normal procedure to produce proteins. However, reverse transcriptase may then recopy the RNA molecule to make a DNA duplicate of the APP gene that slips back into the genome. But because reverse transcriptase is “a sloppy copier,” Chun says, this new version may not match the original gene, and it may code for a different variant of APP. Drugs that block reverse transcriptase are part of the standard treatment cocktail for HIV infection, and they might also work against Alzheimer’s disease, Chun suggests.”

“Chief Justice Defends Judicial Independence After Trump Attacks ‘Obama Judge’”

Posted in Litigation Industry

Amazing times for courts, at the SCOTUS level and all other levels, federal and state.

By Adam Liptak

Nov. 21, 2018

WASHINGTON —In a direct rebuke to President Trump, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. defended the independence and integrity of the federal judiciary on Wednesday, issuing a statement responding to Mr. Trump’s criticism of a judge who had ruled against the administration’s asylum policy.

The chief justice seemed particularly offended by Mr. Trump’s assertion that Judge Jon S. Tigar, of the United States District Court in San Francisco, was “an Obama judge.”

Chief Justice Roberts said that was a profound misunderstanding of the judicial role.

“We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges,”he said in a statement. “What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them. That independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for.”

Chief Justice Roberts issued his statement in response to a request for comment from The Associated Press about Mr. Trump’s remarks on Tuesday concerning the asylum ruling, which ordered the administration to resume accepting asylum claims from migrants no matter where or how they entered the United States.

More Securities Suits in State Courts?

Posted in Litigation Industry, SEC Disclosures, Securities

Various pundits are saying 2019 will include a surge in litigation.  In that vein, it will be interesting to see if adverse financial outcomes for  M&A deals and IPOs result in state court class action securities cases. For  more on that topic, see a November 16, 2018 guest post at D&O Diary, titled: A New Twist in M&A Litigation: Section 11 Cases in State Court.

Arsenic in Drinking Water, Cancer and Age of Exposure

Posted in Cancer, Litigation Industry, Mass Tort Issues, Science

Age of exposure to toxins is receiving increasing attention from researchers. Below, the abstract from an interesting study of arsenic drinking water exposures in Chile.


Arsenic in drinking water is known to cause cancer and noncancer diseases, but little is known about its association with age at exposure. Here, we investigated age at arsenic exposure and mortality in Antofagasta, Chile, 30螔years after a distinct period of very high water arsenic concentrations (1958). We calculated standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) comparing Antofagasta with the rest of Chile for 2001by sex and age at potential first exposure. A remarkable relationship with age at first exposure was found for bronchiectasis, with increased risk in adults 30螔years after exposure being confined to those who were in utero (SMR = 11.7, 95% confidence interval (CI): 4.3, 25.4) or aged 1蝶years (SMR = 5.4, 95% CI: 1.1, 15.8) during the high-exposure period. Increased SMRs for lung, bladder, and laryngeal cancer were evident for exposures starting at all ages, but the highest SMRs were for exposures beginning at birth (for bladder cancer, SMR = 16.0 (95% CI: 10.3, 23.8); for laryngeal cancer, SMR = 6.8 (95% CI: 2.2, 15.8); for lung cancer, SMR = 3.8 (95% CI: 2.9, 4.9)). These findings suggest that interventions targeting early-life arsenic exposure could have major impacts in reducing long-term mortality due to arsenic 30螔years after exposure ends.” 

“The Trend Toward Monster Verdicts—What Is Happening and What To Do About It”

Posted in Litigation Industry

Below, an interesting agenda item from the now ongoing PLAC annual meeting:

“10:00 am – 10:30 am:  The Trend Toward Monster Verdicts—What Is Happening and What To Do About It

Eight and nine figure verdicts are coming down with increasing frequency. If the trend continues, it will dramatically change the product liability landscape. We will discuss what is happening, why it is happening, what the plaintiffs are doing to perpetuate the trend and what we can do to stop it.

Christopher C. Spencer, Esq. Spencer Shuford LLC”

Aggregate Data and Policy Analyses on Catholic Dioceses Using Chapter 11 to Resolve Sex Abuse Cases

Posted in Litigation Industry, Mass Tort Issues, Uncategorized

A new article consolidates information on the use of chapter 11 by Catholic dioceses. The author is a Penn State law professor, Marie Reilly. The article  is posted in SSRN, Catholic Dioceses in Bankruptcy. Hat tip to Private Law Theory blog for flagging the article.

The abstract states:

“The Catholic Church is coping with mass tort liability for sexual abuse of children by priests. Since 2004, eighteen Catholic organizations have filed for relief in bankruptcy. Fifteen debtors emerged from bankruptcy after settling with sexual abuse claimants and insurers. During settlement negotiations, sexual abuse claimants and debtors clashed over the extent of the debtors’ property and ability to pay claims. Although such disputes are common in chapter 11 plan negotiations, the Catholic cases required the parties and bankruptcy courts to account for unique religious attributes of Catholic debtors. This article reviews the arguments and outcomes on property issues based on reported decisions, pleadings, plans, and disclosure statements. It explains the key characteristics of Catholic dioceses under canon and secular organization law and the bankruptcy contexts in which these characteristics became hot button issues. It offers an analysis of the legacy of the Catholic cases for bankruptcy law, religious liberty, and for the relationships among entities within a Catholic diocese.”

Fee Petition Filed by Plaintiffs in State Farm – Karmeier Case

Posted in Litigation Industry

Now online is the 1/3 fee petition from Hale  v. State Farm. et al., # 3:12- cv-00660, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois.  As explained in an October 17, 2018 article in LAW360, the suit’s allegations assert thatState Farm “funneled millions into the campaign coffers of a candidate for an open seat on the [Illinois Supreme] court in order to buy his vote to overturn [a prior ruling] — and then lied about it in court filings, the suit claimed.”  Unfortunately, the motion says nothing about what will or will not be done to make public the testimony and documents collected in discovery. That seems incongruous when the fee petitioners claim this case is important for the public.