Sunday, August 28, 2011

NIH researchers: genetic link to mesothelioma

On of the great mysteries is why some people develop an occupational cancer and others, similarly exposed, do not.  Now there are dramatic finding from an NIH study - identifying a genetic predisposition to developing mesothelioma - the asbestos-specific cancer of the lining of the peritoneum and the pleura of the lung.
h/t Jon Gelman - Injured Workers Law & Advocacy Group

Lessons of 9/11 for mass torts

Kenneth Feinberg, special master for the September 11 Victims Compensation Fund will be the featured speaker at a Tuesday September 11  (2:30 PM start) conference at Cardozo Law School on the lessons of 9/11 for mass torts.
The Agenda is here.

Friday, August 19, 2011

2d Circuit reinstates rape victim's award against Erie County

One of the most contentious issues in tort liability of public entities under 42 USC 1983  arises from the Supreme Court’s error in refusing to recognize vicarious liability of municipalities for rights violations by employees.  A plaintiff must prove directly an intentional tort - such as a policy level decision.  Key to this is notice of the risk - which must be knowingly ignored. “Deliberate indifference” is the key word.

In Cash v. Gallivan the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit yesterday reinstated a jury verdict awarding $500,000 to a woman who was raped by a corrections officer at the Erie County jail.

The majority opinion by Judge Reena Raggi, joined by District Judge Jed Rakoff (sitting by designation), ruled that a prior incident of alleged sexual impropriety at the jail, coupled with a general awareness of sexual assaults in jails, was sufficient to put the county on notice.

Chief Judge Dennis Jacobs, who has grown very hostile to tort claims dissented.  The ruling, he declared with characteristic hyperbole, would be read to "impose strict liability on municipalities and policymakers for any incidents that arise in a prison."

Cash arose from a 2002 incident at the Erie County Holding Center, where Vikki Cash, who was being held in pretrial confinement, was raped by sheriff's deputy, Marchon Hamilton. Mr. Hamilton was charged with first-degree rape and pleaded guilty to third-degree rape.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Plaintiffs challenge GCCF's OPA compliance filed in BP oil spill MDL | Louisiana Record

Plaintiffs challenge GCCF's OPA compliance filed in BP oil spill MDL | Louisiana Record: "A motion filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana claims that the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF) fails to comply with the Oil Pollution Act (OPA) in how it administers payments to victims of the 2010 BP oil spill.

Filed by attorneys in the plaintiff steering committee (PSC) in the massive multidistrict litigation (MDL) surrounding the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion and oil spill, the suit claims BP uses 'coercive' tactics when dealing with claimants seeking compensation through the GCCF.

The motion asks the U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier, who is overseeing the MDL, to appoint a special master to ensure BP and the GCCF are OPA compliant."

Monday, August 8, 2011

Democrats Break With Obama on Medicaid Lawsuits -

Democratic Senators and members of Congress have urged the Supreme Court to imply a cause of action by individuals who assert that a state has refused to provide Medicaid benefits to which they are entitled under federal law. Douglas v. Independent Living Center of Southern California, No. 09-958 - GWC
Democrats Break With Obama on Medicaid Lawsuits - "In an unusual break with the White House, the Democratic leaders of Congress told the Supreme Court on Monday that President Obama was pursuing a misguided interpretation of federal Medicaid law that made it more difficult for low-income people to obtain health care."