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Personal Injury Law Round-Up #49

I’ve had a chance to catch my breath, and we have some very interesting links this week.

First, to the tort “reform” news…

I’ll start with the best post of the week, Eric Turkewitz’s How to Fool A Jury (Is It Insurance Fraud?). If you don’t click on any more of the links, click on that story. Those of us the trial bar have heard for too long about frivolous lawsuits, but the press rarely reports on frivolous defenses. The costs of litigation would go down remarkably if insurance companies or defense lawyers wouldn’t insist on asserting defenses (or here, simply manipulating evidence) that have no chance of prevailing. I recently had to defend a summary judgment that had no chance of success. The defense lawyer’s motion and evidence were probably 4-6 inches thick. After we prevailed, the lawyer said, “well, I had to try.” No. You didn’t. It was a complete waste of his client’s money, the court’s time, and my time. Alright, off my soapbox. On to the rest of the stories.

There are also some new tort “reform” sites out there. First, the Institute for Legal Reform has created I Am Lawsuit, which predictably contains a feature story on our friends the Chungs (via Mass Torts). And on the other end of the spectrum, the Center for Justice and Democracy has created The Pop (via the New York Personal Injury Law blog).

On the frivolous suit front, Walter Olson at Overlawyered reports on a woman seeking $54 million from Best Buy for a lost laptop. Surprisingly, I agree with Ted’s comment that “it’s discouraging to see people learning that bringing a frivolous claim will create publicity, and the media playing along.”

Speaking of Ted, he has a post on Bush’s nomination of ATLA member Richard Honaker for a spot on the federal bench.

Overlawyered also has an interesting post about a medical malpractice reform article co-authored by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

I’m not sure it’s tort reform news, but Ed Poll at the Law Biz Blog has a post on Mass, Conn. and RI requiring insurance companies to send out notices of settlements to consumers to help reduce the number of cases where attorneys commit fraud on their clients. It’s really sad that it’s come to this.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that doctors are increasingly turning to binding arbitration. Chris Robinette posted on the article, and I shared my thoughts also.

In Georgia,a driver’s cell phone use is a big factor in a $5.2 million car wreck verdict.

And on to the litigation related news…

The California Court of Appeals reversed a $28 billion punitive damages award under Williams.

A Conn. jury awarded $38.5 million in a cerebral palsy medical malpractice suit.

Mass Torts reports that Clear Channel has chipped in its share to settle the Rhode Island nightclub fire litigation.

The John Ritter medical malpractice trial continues. And Chris Robinette’s update may be TortsProfs’ first link to E!Online. And the click through article has the well thought out legal analysis that you’d expect from E!Online.

Dallas Personal Injury Lawyer Jeff Rasansky reports on a recall of Icy Hot. That’s not good news for those of us that are getting older, but still think we’re young enough to be weekend warriors.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released the list of the worst nursing homes in the country.

Bill Childs reports on another Sizzler (the ride, not the restaurant) lawsuit. Sadly, that’s my daughter’s favorite ride.

Turkewitz’s New York Personal Injury Law Blog has a great story about State Farm being sued for Civil Rico violations over sham medical exams.

And Los Angeles personal injury lawyer Lowell Steiger has a link to a crazy site where you can be a virtual surgeon. It’s both weird and pretty cool, all at the same time.

And on to the miscellaneous…

Evan Schaeffer has Powerpoint Examples From A Trial Tech, which links to a good site with those interested in presentation ideas.

Kevin MD links to a story of an expert witness who lost his medical license for exaggerating his credentials on the stand.

John Day has What It Takes To Be A Great Trial Lawyer, Part 8.

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