Thursday, April 24, 2014

Donald Grody - lawyer, actor, singer, writer

Donald Grody
Donald Grody
Don Grody gave me my first job as a lawyer.  He hired me as a Business Rep doing arbitrations and contract review at Actors Equity-AFL-CIO for a year in 1976.  I just learned of his death in 2011 from Gannon McHale - like Don a baritone and mariner. The picture captures Don's warm, wry smile.  He was an actor who became a very good lawyer, who returned returned to the boards.  I had been a volunteer intern for him when he was GC of District 65 -  a union with roots in the pushcart workers of the garment district.  We sued Nixon to enforce the Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment Act of 1946.   We lost.  - GWC

Donald Grody, Actor and Equity Exec, Dies at 83 -

Donald Grody, an actor who served as executive director of Actors' Equity Association from 1973 to 1980, died at his home in Manhattan on July 13. He was 83.
As Equity's executive director, Mr. Grody led the actors union's collective bargaining negotiations for Broadway as well as regional theatres throughout the country. He also spearheaded the effort to fund and create permanent rent-subsidized housing for actors at Manhattan Plaza on West 43rd Street.

Mr. Grody journeyed to London in 1949 to train at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. Upon his return to the United States, according to Equity, he appeared on Broadway inWonderful Town, Bells Are Ringing, Happy Hunting, Kismet, and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. A gifted baritone, his vocal training enabled him to hit the back row of any Broadway house.

While pursing his acting career, he returned to school, going to New York Law School. He graduated in 1955 and subsequently passed the New York State bar exam. Mr. Grody took leave from the theatre to work for the U.S. Department of Labor in Washington, DC, followed by a stint working for the NYC garment workers (District 65). A few years later, he returned to Washington with the National Labor Relations Board, followed by a return to New York in 1973 to lead Actors' Equity.

Mr. Grody returned to the theatre at age 64 in an Off-Broadway production of Shakespeare's Measure for Measure. This was followed by appearances in the national tour of Guys and Dolls, Parade, Broadway's Jekyll and Hyde (originating the role of Poole), and as a standby for Broadway's Caroline or Change and Grey Gardens. He made many appearances at regional and Off-Broadway houses, including a production of Copenhagen and two productions of King Lear, one of which he adapted to great critical acclaim. His musical play,Ira! The African Roscius, celebrated the life of 19th-century African American actor, Ira Aldridge.

Donald Peter Grody is survived by his wife, Judith Anderson; sons Dion, Gordon, James, Jeremy and Patrick and granddaughters Jess, Jo and Cecily. A celebration of his life and career will be scheduled in the near future. Memorial contributions in his name may be made to The Actors Fund of America or Career Transition For Dancers.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

G.M. Seeks to Fend Off Lawsuits Over Switch -

I wonder if there is a fraud claim that can be used to avoid the bankruptcy discharge?  Or whether states that have a "discovery rule" could allow tort actions because it was not until recent disclosures that plaintiffs realized that their injures were due to GM's negligence? - gwc

G.M. Seeks to Fend Off Lawsuits Over Switch -

by Hillary Stout and Bill Vlasic

General Motors moved on Tuesday to prevent future safety lapses by expanding its oversight of problematic vehicles even as the automaker continued to take an aggressive legal posture in dealing with its past missteps.
General Motors has asked a federal bankruptcy judge to dismiss dozens of potentially costly lawsuits filed against the company over its handling of a defective ignition switch in millions of cars, and to bar similar cases in the future.
The legal filing, which was made late Monday in the Federal Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, asked the judge who approved the company’s 2009 restructuring agreement to explicitly enforce a provision that shielded the “new” company from liability for incidents that took place before July 10, 2009, the day the agreement went into effect. Most of the cars in the recall were manufactured before 2009.
Though the motion was merely asking Judge Robert E. Gerber to reaffirm a protection that already existed in the agreement, it was seen as a shrewd tactic to get the cases dismissed in one move, saving the company enormous amounts of time, personnel and money that would come from fighting to dismiss each case one by one.
“They’ve gotten a lot of bad publicity, and the sooner they can get this literally off the front page the better off they will be,” said Walter W. Miller Jr., a bankruptcy law professor at Boston University. “If the judge is going to make a ruling up front, you’re likely not going to have endless disputes with each case as it comes along.”

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Sotomayor Attacks John Roberts' Views On Race As 'Out Of Touch With Reality'

The U.S. Supreme Court today 6-2 let stand a Michigan referendum that forbids "racial preferences" in public schools, contracts, etc.
In Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action the bitterly divided Justices split along familiar lines:  for Justice Kennedy and the other four conservatives virtually any governmental recognition of race as a deciding factor is forbidden - except as a remedy for proven past intentional racial bias.

For Justice Sotomayor, joined by Justice Ginsburg the majority talk of a color blind constitution is a form of willful blindness that refuses the recognize the continued high saliencyof race in America.  - gwc

Sotomayor Attacks John Roberts' Views On Race As 'Out Of Touch With Reality':

by Sahil Kapur // Talking Points Memo

A significant portion of Justice Sonia Sotomayor's scathing dissent in the Supreme Court's decision upholding Michigan's affirmative action ban was dedicated to taking on Chief Justice John Roberts' views on race in America.

Here's a snippet from her dissenting opinion (emphasis added), which she took the unusual step of reading from the bench on Tuesday:

"In my colleagues' view, examining the racial impact of legislation only perpetuates racial discrimination. This refusal to accept the stark reality that race matters is regrettable. The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to speak openly and candidly on the subject of race, and to apply the Constitution with eyes open to the unfortunate effects of centuries of racial discrimination. As members of the judiciary tasked with intervening to carry out the guarantee of equal protection, we ought not sit back and wish away, rather than confront, the racial inequality that exists in our society. It is this view that works harm, by perpetuating the facile notion that what makes race matter is acknowledging the simple truth that race does matter."

Although she didn't mention him by name, Sotomayor was apparently alluding to Roberts' frequently-quoted line from a 2007 case: "The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race."

Elsewhere in her opinion, Sotomayor quoted that line from Roberts and described it as "out of touch with reality." Her attack wasn't lost on the chief justice, who filed a brief concurring opinion responding to her, alongside Justice Anthony Kennedy's 6-2 controlling opinion.

Roberts wrote:

"The dissent states that “[t]he way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to speak openly and candidly on the subject of race.” ... But it is not “out of touch with reality” to conclude that racial preferences may themselves have the debilitating effect of reinforcing precisely that doubt, and—if so—that the preferences do more harm than good. To disagree with the dissent’s views on the costs and benefits of racial preferences is not to “wish away, rather than confront” racial inequality. People can disagree in good faith on this issue, but it similarly does more harm than good to question the openness and candor of those on either side of the debate."

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Gender, precaution, and DES // Environment, Law & History blog

by Nancy Langston Toxic Bodies: Hormone Disruptors
and the Legacy of DES (Yale UP, 2010)
Environment, Law, and History: Gender, precaution, and DES

"H-Environment recently re-posted a 2012 roundtable review of Nancy Langston's Toxic Bodies: Hormone Disruptors and the Legacy of DES (Yale UP, 2010), with comments by Jacob Darwin Hamblin, Mark Hamilton Lytle, Frederick Rowe Davis, Thomas R. Dunlap, and Stephen Bocking, along with an author response.

DES is familiar to law students as the harmful drug that gave rise to the novel tort theory of market-share liability in a 1980 California Supreme Court case, but Langston investigates its deeper history. The drug was banned by the FDA in 1940 based on precautionary thinking, but regulators later reversed themselves and allowed the substance to be used for many purposes, leading to all kinds of harm, including cancer in the daughters of women who took the drug. This is a rich history of toxic-substance regulation, including issues of gender, the history of science, and the precautionary principle.

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Sunday, April 20, 2014

A Complicated Cleanup: The BP Oil Spill Litigation // Stanford Journal of Complex Litigation

The Symposium, hosted by the Stanford Journal of Complex Litigation, will be held on Thursday, May 8 and Friday, May 9, 2014 at Stanford Law School.
The explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig on the BP-operated Macondo Prospect on April 20, 2010 claimed eleven lives and is considered one of the largest accidental marine oil spills in history. The litigation that emerged—ranging from governmental investigations into BP, Transocean, and Halliburton, to environmental suits, to individual claims—raises important questions about the nature of complex litigation.
Thursday, May 8 at 6:30 pm
Stanford Law Lounge
Dinner with Keynote Address by Kenneth Feinberg
Gulf Coast Claims Facility Administrator
The keynote speech will be given by Kenneth Feinberg, who served as the government-appointed administrator of the Gulf Coast Claims Facility in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. He has been key to resolving many of the most challenging and widely known national disputes, serving as the Special Master of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, TARP Executive Compensation Fund, and One Fund—the victim assistance fund established in the wake of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. Mr. Feinberg is also an Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown University, the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University, New York University, and the University of Virginia. He received his bachelors from the University of Massachusetts in 1967, and his J.D. from New York University School of Law in 1970. 
Friday, May 9 from 8:00 am - 1:00 pm
Room 190
Introduction by Kenneth Feinberg
Panel Discussions with:
Elizabeth Cabraser 
Kenneth Feinberg
Francis McGovern
Linda Mullenix
Byron Stier
Maya Steinitz
Moderated by:
Nora Engstrom
Deborah Hensler
Janet Alexander

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Telltale oil sheens across the Gulf || NPR

Telltale Rainbow Sheens Show Thousands Of Spills Across The Gulf

Deadliest Day: Sherpas Bear Everest’s Risks -


Deadliest Day: Sherpas Bear Everest’s Risks -

by Ellen Barry and Graham Bowley

NEW DELHI — The Sherpas always go first, edging up the deadly flank of Everest while international clients wait for days in the base camp below.
They set off in the dark, before the day’s warmth causes the ice to shift. They creep one by one across ladders propped over crevasses, burdened with food and supplies, all the while watching the great wall of a hanging glacier, hoping that this season will not be the year it falls.
On Friday, however, it did.
Around 6:30 a.m., as the Sherpas were tethered to ropes, a chunk of ice broke off, sending an avalanche of ice and snow down into the ice fields on the mountain’s south side and engulfing about 30 men. The toll, at 12 dead, was the worst in a single day in the history of Everest, climbers and mountaineering experts said. A 13th body was recovered Saturday; three men were still missing.
The disaster has focused attention on the Sherpas, members of an ethnic group known for their skill at high-altitude climbing, who put themselves at great risk for the foreign teams that pay them. Among their most dangerous tasks is fixing ropes, carrying supplies and establishing camps for the clients waiting below, exposing themselves to the mountains first.

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GM could benefit, too, from an ignition-switch victims fund -

GM could benefit, too, from an ignition-switch victims fund -

by Jessica Dye

(Reuters) - If General Motors Co creates a fund to compensate victims of its faulty ignition switches, an option that a top legal adviser suggested it is exploring, the company could give up strong defenses to a wave of lawsuits. But it could stand to gain even more.

By setting up a fund, GM could avert years of civil litigation and limit its financial and reputational harm.

GM has retained Kenneth Feinberg, a Washington lawyer who has overseen compensation funds for victims of high-profile catastrophes like the BP Plc oil spill and the September 11, 2001, attacks.

Feinberg told CNBC on Wednesday that GM is "asking me to help develop some sort of program that might be used to compensate eligible claimants."

Feinberg did not return a request for comment. A spokesman for GM, Jim Cain, said Feinberg is "highly respected for his handling of compensation issues, and we've hired him to explore and evaluate all options." That work is ongoing, and no decisions have been made, Cain said.

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FDA Works with China to Ensure Medical-Product Safety | FDA Voice

FDA Works with China to Ensure Medical-Product Safety | FDA Voice:

By: Christopher Hickey, Ph.D.
Americans benefit greatly from medical products produced by other countries. Approximately 40 percent of finished drugs in the United States come from overseas, as well as more than 50 percent of all medical devices. About 80 percent of the manufacturers of active pharmaceutical ingredients are located outside the United States.
Christopher Hickey
Christopher Hickey, Ph.D., testifies April 3, 2014.
However, this rapid globalization of commerce presents challenges to regulators who oversee the safety and quality of medical products. Many of these challenges manifest themselves in China. As FDA’s country director for the People’s Republic of China, I testified on April 3, 2014 before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, an advisory panel created by Congress, on our work to ensure the safety and quality of medical products produced in China and imported into the United States.
China is the source of a large and growing volume of imported foods, medical products and ingredients. In the years spanning fiscal years 2007 and 2013, the total number of shipments of FDA-regulated products from China to the United States almost quadrupled.
- See more at:

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Friday, April 18, 2014


Did GM Pull A Pinto? | JONATHAN TURLEY: "The Parable of the Pinto may need to be updated. Almost 50 years after the Ford scandal, another Detroit CEO, Mary Barra, recently sat before a congressional committee answering withering questions about the Cobalt, a low-cost car produced by General Motors with a design flaw that the company acknowledges was responsible for more than a dozen deaths. For those of us who teach the Pinto case, the similarities are unsettling."

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