Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Self-Defense and the Fourteenth Amendment - Concurring Opinions

Self-Defense and the Fourteenth Amendment - Concurring Opinions:

by Robert Tsai

Dance and sing you black creatures of Mother Africa.

Move to the sound of the drums
of your forefathers.
Hold on to your drums and beat
them in defiance of the slavemaster and
let their thundering sound awaken those who sleep.
–Mabel Robinson Williams, Transition (1966)
Mabel Robinson Williams passed away last week. Williams may have been most famous for being married to Robert F. Williams, the controversial former head of the NAACP in Monroe County, NC, but she was an intriguing theorist and fierce activist in her own right. She recalled that her father slept every night with a pearl-handled pistol under his pillow in case the Klan’s night riders attacked. 

As an adult, she served as Secretary of the local NAACP, co-founded a newsletter calledThe Crusader, organized a mutual aid society called CARE, and helped run Radio Free Dixie. Mabel called herself a “co-warrior” and “helpmate” to Robert, even as she served as a nurse’s aid and later operated a day care. When her sons joined a picket against a segregated swimming pool, she sat in the car with guns, keeping one eye out for armed whites. She and other female members of a rifle club trained to protect their families against the Klan. Once, Mabel came out of her house with a shotgun and chased off deputies trying to arrest her husband.

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Sunday, April 27, 2014

How a Gulf Settlement That BP Once Hailed Became Its Target - NYTimes.com

How a Gulf Settlement That BP Once Hailed Became Its Target - NYTimes.com:

by Campbell Robertson and John Schwartz

NEW ORLEANS — Four years ago the Deepwater Horizon oil rig caught fire and exploded, killing 11 men, spewing millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico and staining, seemingly indelibly, the image of BP, the international energy giant responsible for the well.
Its reputation in free fall, the company set aside billions of dollars and saturated the airwaves with contrite pledges to make thousands of businesses and workers whole, from shrimpers to hotel owners to charter boat operators.
Four years on, BP is no longer on the defensive. In March, the federal government allowed the company, after a period of exile, to bid for oil and gas leases in the gulf. On April 15, BP announced the end of active shoreline cleanup with so much fanfare that the Coast Guard quickly reassured the public that the operation was far from over.

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Friday, April 25, 2014

China's legislature adopts revised Environmental Protection Law_China National People's Congress

China's legislature adopts revised Environmental Protection Law_China National People's Congress:

BEIJING, April 24 (Xinhua) -- The Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress (NPC), the country's top legislature, on Thursday voted to adopt revisions to the Environmental Protection Law.
    With 70 articles compared with 47 in the original law, the revised Environmental Protection Law, the first change to the legislation in 25 years, sets environmental protection as the country's basic policy.
    The new law says that economic and social development should be coordinated with environmental protection and encourages studies on the impact environmental quality causes on public health, urging prevention and control of pollution-related diseases.
    It says that the country should establish and improve an environment and health monitoring, survey and risk assessment mechanism.
    The law gives harsher punishments to environmental wrongdoing, and has specific articles and provisions on tackling smog, making citizen's more aware of environmental protection and protecting whistleblowers.
    It says citizens should adopt a low-carbon and frugal lifestyle and perform environmental protection duties, and nominates June 5 as Environment Day.
    The public is encouraged to observe environmental protection laws and make their own efforts in this regard, including sorting their garbage for recycling.
    The revised law will go into effect from Jan. 1, 2015.
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Profs. Epstein and Ackerman Debate Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action

The National Constitution Center hosts a debate between Prof. Richard Epstein (NYU) and Prof Bruce Ackerman (Yale) about Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action.  Epstein describes himself as being "in the middle", though he does say that the Slaughter Housee Cases which extends the 14th Amendment's protection to corporations is our "first constitutional disaster". - gwc

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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 - Playbill.com

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 - NYTimes.com

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 - NYTimes.com

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 http://n.pr/1nv8WYH

Deadliest Day: Sherpas Bear Everest’s Risks - NYTimes.com


Deadliest Day: Sherpas Bear Everest’s Risks - NYTimes.com:

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 - chicagotribune.com

GM could benefit, too, from an ignition-switch victims fund - chicagotribune.com:

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: http://blogs.fda.gov/fdavoice/index.php/2014/04/fda-works-with-china-to-ensure-medical-product-safety/#sthash.Mriv14Fd.dpuf

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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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Cigarette packaging in China—not going far enough : The Lancet

Cigarette packaging in China—not going far enough : The Lancet:

A WHO reportTobacco Health Warnings in China: Evidence of Effectiveness and Implications for Action, published on April 8, summarises evidence on the effectiveness of China's written health warnings on tobacco packaging. It concludes that China failed to comply with Article 11 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), which defines packaging and labelling of tobacco products. The report calls for policy makers to accelerate the implementation of pictorial warnings in the packaging of tobacco products and public education targets set out in China's National Tobacco Control Plan.
China signed the WHO FCTC in 2003 and ratified it in 2005, but did not commit to implement large, visible, rotating warnings covering at least 50% of the primary display areas in the country's principal language within 3 years of ratification. The reason is that China's State Tobacco Monopoly Administration, a government body, not only leads tobacco control efforts (including the changes to health warnings on cigarette packaging), but is also responsible for maintaining the country's tobacco industry, which presents a serious conflict of interest. According to the report, the present weakly worded text-only Chinese health warnings are ineffective. Chinese warnings only cover 30% of the bottom of the front and back of the pack, rather than covering at least 50% of the top of both sides as recommended in Article 11 of the FCTC. Furthermore, the font size of Chinese warnings is small and poorly visible against the background. Overall, these do not comply with the WHO FCTC's requirement of being “large, clear and visible”. In addition, China seems to apply double standards since it does adhere to packaging regulations when selling products to Australia, Singapore, the European Union, or even Hong Kong. So why not in mainland China?

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Information by Drug Class > New Safety Measures Announced for Extended-release and Long-acting Opioids

Information by Drug Class > New Safety Measures Announced for Extended-release and Long-acting Opioids:

"[4-16-2014] FDA approved class-wide labeling changes for all extended-release and long-acting (ER/LA) opioid analgesics announced on September 10, 2013, and responded to two petitions regarding labeling for neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome (NOWS).

[9/10/2013] FDA announced a set of significant measures to enhance the safe and appropriate use of extended-release and long-acting (ER/LA) opioids. These actions include proposed class-wide safety labeling changes and new postmarket requirements for all ER/LA opioid analgesics. FDA also responded to two citizen petitions."

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Torts War Stories - Mark Lanier

In multiple parts Houston trial lawyer Mark Lanier talks to a Harvard Law School class about how to try cases. He's telling War Stories
This is part 6 - the Ernst Texas Vioxx trial and Part 7 and Part 8 the McDarby case in Atlantic City, New Jersey, as well as Q&A.

Friday, April 11, 2014

A $9 Billion Punitive Damages Verdict in Actos Drug Trial (How much is too much?) – New York Personal Injury Law Blog

A $9 Billion Punitive Damages Verdict in Actos Drug Trial (How much is too much?) – New York Personal Injury Law Blog:

by Eric Turkewitz

We once again see a whopping punitive damages verdict and need to discuss: Just how much is too much? For the reasons that follow, I think that a ratio of punitive:compensatory damages of 100:1 or greater are sustainable based on current opinions from the Supreme Court.
At issue for the moment is a $9 Billion punitive damage award against Japan’sTakeda Pharmaceutical and Eli Lilly this week. The case concerned the diabetes drug Actos, and the manufacturer’s failure to warn that it increases the chances of bladder cancer. There was also a $1.5M compensatory damage award.
The punitive award spanking was no doubt influenced by the defendants’ destruction of documents. Juries tend to hate it when people destroy important documents.
It isn’t my objective to analyze the details of the trial, which I did not follow, only to go back and try to forecast what the judge might do with the punitive damage award, and more importantly, what the appellate judges will do if the matter doesn’t settle.
But there really isn’t a straight answer. In the most significant Supreme Court ruling on the subject, State Farm v. Campbell, the majority opinion by Justice Kennedy gave three conflicting statements on the subject. He cited first, for instance, to the older case of BMW v. Gore, that:
[W]e concluded that an award of more than four times the amount of compensatory damages might be close to the line of constitutional impropriety**********

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N.J. Panel Urges Special Handling For Complex Commercial Litigation | New Jersey Law Journal

Peter Doyne
Peter Doyne, a workhorse judge, headed up the committee
The New Jersey Supreme Court has released the Report of the Working Group on Business Litigation.  Although it rejects the option of a distinct division, like New York's, it does move toward specialization as Mary Gallagher explains in her report.  When I was a member of the editorial board of the late New Jersey Lawyer weekly we pressed for a commercial division without success.  The idea that judges are generalists is strongly rooted in the state's judiciary.  However the successful management of "mass tort" litigation by specially designated judges has earned New Jersey courts respect for their competence.  Much remains to be done.  Electronic filing for example, lags far behind the federal courts. - GWC

N.J. Panel Urges Special Handling For Complex Commercial Litigation | New Jersey Law Journal:

by Mary Pat Gallagher // NJLJ
A New Jersey Supreme Court committee has rejected the recurring idea of setting up a specialized business court in the state but suggests other ways to improve the management of commercial litigation.
In a report released Thursday, the Working Group on Business Litigation recommends expanding a pilot program statewide and designating a business-savvy judge in each vicinage for complex commercial cases, which would have a $200,000 threshold.
The 13-member committee chaired by Bergen County Assignment Judge Peter Doyne was created last October to identify and assess the needs of the business community, review the judiciary’s current practices, and suggest ways to address legitimate concerns and streamline the process for handling complex commercial litigation.
Its work included reviewing the case management techniques used to file, track and resolve commercial litigation and to assess two long-running pilot programs.
The group suggest that one of them, which has been operating in Bergen and Essex counties since 1996, should cease being a “pilot” program and be expanded statewide.
 The assignment judge in both of those counties designates a jurist with a business or commercial background to handle all commercial matters from start to finish.
The working group recommends that each vicinage designate a business judge, who is either familiar with complex business issues or willing to develop that expertise.
A protocol should be created to “properly identify” what cases should be classified as complex commercial. Right now, that decision is left up to the lawyers who select a case type code when they file.
Court personnel, in consultation with the working group, should “redefine the complex commercial case type so that the Bar will be notified appropriately of the importance of this case type coding on the Civil Case Information statement,” the working group says.

Read more: http://www.njlawjournal.com/id=1202650577676/N.J.-Panel-Urges-Special-Handling-For-Complex-Commercial-Litigation#ixzz2ya0rSIeo

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

50 Years Later, Obama Salutes Effects of Civil Rights Act - NYTimes.com

50 Years Later, Obama Salutes Effects of Civil Rights Act - NYTimes.com: ""

by Peter Baker

AUSTIN, Tex. — For three days, the veterans of a long-ago movement reunited and drew together their spiritual heirs to explore the legacy of the Civil Rights Act a half-century after it transformed America. And then the legacy walked onstage.
President Obama presented himself on Thursday as the living, walking, talking and governing embodiment of the landmark 1964 law that banned discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion or national origin.
In a speech that stirred an audience of civil rights champions here at the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library and Museum, Mr. Obama acknowledged that racism has hardly been erased and that government programs have not always succeeded. But, he added, “I reject such cynicism because I have lived out the promise of L.B.J.’s efforts, because Michelle has lived out the legacy of those efforts, because my daughters have lived out the legacy of those efforts.”

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Honoring President Lyndon Baines Johnson on the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act | The White House

Honoring President Lyndon Baines Johnson on the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act | The White House:

Today, 50 years after President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law, President Obama spoke at the LBJ Presidential Library to honor the work and legacy of our nation’s 36th president.
“As we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, we honor the men and women who made it possible,” President Obama said. “We recall the countless unheralded Americans, black and white, students and scholars, preachers and housekeepers -- whose names are etched not on monuments, but in the hearts of their loved ones, and in the fabric of the country they helped to change.”
“But we also gather here,” President Obama said, “deep in the heart of the state that shaped him, to recall one giant man’s remarkable efforts to make real the promise of our founding:  “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”’

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Chait channels Obama | xpostfactoid

Chait channels Obama | xpostfactoid: "

President obama to David Remnick:

“There is a historic connection between some of the arguments that we have politically and the history of race in our country, and sometimes it’s hard to disentangle those issues,” he went on. “You can be somebody who, for very legitimate reasons, worries about the power of the federal government — that it’s distant, that it’s bureaucratic, that it’s not accountable — and as a consequence you think that more power should reside in the hands of state governments. But what’s also true, obviously, is that philosophy is wrapped up in the history of states’ rights in the context of the civil-rights movement and the Civil War and Calhoun. There’s a pretty long history there. And so I think it’s important for progressives not to dismiss out of hand arguments against my Presidency or the Democratic Party or Bill Clinton or anybody just because there’s some overlap between those criticisms and the criticisms that traditionally were directed against those who were trying to bring about greater equality for African-Americans. The flip side is I think it’s important for conservatives to recognize and answer some of the problems that are posed by that history ...”"

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Preisdient Obama marks 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

President and Mrs. Obama with
 Congressman John Lewis at the LBJ Library
50 Years Later, Obama Salutes Passage of Civil Rights Act - NYTimes.com
by Peter Baker"AUSTIN, Tex. — President Obama on Thursday paid tribute to the Civil Rights Act a half century after its passage transformed American society and ultimately paved the way for the day when the United States might have an African-American man serve in the Oval Office. In a much-anticipated speech at the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library and Museum marking the 50th anniversary of the landmark law, Mr. Obama said the push for equality and liberty had opened doors of opportunity for millions of Americans. “They swung open for you and they swung open for me,” he said. “That’s why I’m standing here today.”"

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Takeda, Lilly Jury Awards $9 Billion Over Actos Risks - Bloomberg

Takeda, Lilly Jury Awards $9 Billion Over Actos Risks - Bloomberg:

Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. (4502) and Eli Lilly & Co. (LLY)were ordered to pay a combined $9 billion in punitive damages after a federal court jury found they hid the cancer risks of their Actos diabetes medicine in the first U.S. trial of its kind.
Osaka, Japan-based Takeda was ordered to pay $6 billion by the jury yesterday in Lafayette, Louisiana. Its shares fell 5.2 percent to close at 4,572 yen in Tokyo, the biggest decline since Dec. 27. Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly, Takeda’s partner, was ordered to pay $3 billion, though Takeda may wind up paying any final judgment in the case under an agreement between the companies. Lilly dropped 2.2 percent to the equivalent of $57.32 in German trading. It fell as much as 1.7 percent in New York Stock Market composite trading, before closing at $58.58.
“I hope Takeda executives in Japan heard what this jury had to say loudly and clearly,” Mark Lanier, a lawyer for former Actos user Terrence Allen, said after the verdict. The jury earlier awarded $1.5 million in compensatory damages to Allen, who blamed the drug for his bladder cancer.

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Zadroga 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Benefit Program

The Zadroga 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Benefit Program:
On January 2, 2010, President Barack Obama signed the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act establishing the World Trade Health Program and extends and expands eligibility for compensation under the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund of 2001.
The President remarked, "I was honored to sign the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act to ensure that rescue and recovery workers, residents, students, and others suffering from health consequences related to the World Trade Center disaster have access to the medical monitoring and treatment they need. We will never forget the selfless courage demonstrated by the firefighters, police officers, and first responders who risked their lives to save others. I believe this is a critical step for those who continue to bear the physical scars of those attacks."
Those who were exposed to the toxic dust and fumes of the World Trade Center disaster continue to suffer from latent and progressive medical conditions. The New England Journal of Medicine has reported that a substantial population that was exposed to the toxic residuals of the event are suffering from sever medical conditions. Positive pathological findings reflect the existence of aluminum and magnesium silicates, chrysotile asbestos, calcium phosphate, calcium sulfate, glass, and carbon nanotubes (CNT) were found in specimens of exposed individuals. Eligibility for benefits under the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act include those who were World Trade Center victims and First Responders.
Under the law those who worked, attended school, childcare and adult day care, may be eligible. The program also covers some who were present in the area of the dust cloud or who lived in the the New York City disaster area. Certain cleanup and maintenance workers are included including tele-communications workers such as Verizon, AT&T and other employees. Like the September 11th Victim Compensation Act of 2001, even if the exposed individuals are living in another state, but were exposed at the NY Disaster Area, the ill individuals may apply for benefits. 

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Why race has defined the Obama era // Jonathan Chait // New York Magazine

The fundamental shift in American partisan politics of the past 50 years is that the Republican party became the party of the white south.  That brought not only anti-black sentiment but the cultural heritage of biblical conservatism, scientific skepticism, retributive justice, and militarism.  Jonathan Chair marshals the evidence that the stronger slavery was the stronger is anti-black sentiment today.  Then he turns the tables and argues that conservatism does not equal racism, contrary to common liberal sentiment.  

I don't know that the charge is fair.  I certainly am convinced that racial bias makes it easy to rally people against social welfare spending.  But that opportunistic advantage does not mean that conservative thinking is inherently racist.  In my view there are many more reasons than that for conservatism's ascendancy. Like conservatives who see liberal triumph I see conservative ascendancy.  Glass half full vs. glass half empty? 
We are inherently social creatures but there is an inherent tension between self-interest and the interests of others.  We are all more likely to find fault with policies that benefit "the other" however we define "them".  This has many implications for social policy - such as school funding, integration, etc.  As I watch young professional parents sacrifice to send their kids to costly private schools they are certainly not trying to avoid integrated schools.  They are seeking peer education - the typical road to success. And there just aren't so many black or Latin families on that road.  Why is the legacy of racism.  Is there a path out?  hard to say.  Anyway read Chait, and read Andrew Sprung's insightful assessment of Chait and a similar piece by Ezra Klein on "confirmation bias". - gwc
Why Race Has Been the Real Story of Obama's Presidency All Along -- New York Magazine:

Optimists hoped Obama would usher in a new age of racial harmony. Pessimists feared a surge in racial strife. Neither was right. But what happened instead has been even more invidious.