A selection of the need-to-know civil justice news for the week of March 8-14, 2014.
Flushability of Wipes Spawns Class-Action Lawsuit
U-Jin Lee | ABC News
A New York doctor has filed a federal class-action lawsuit against the makers of "flushable" wipes after experiencing what he claims were major plumbing and clogging issues in his home.
“The defendants should have known that their representations regarding flushable wipes were false and misleading,” the complaint states.
The lawsuit by Dr. Joseph Kurtz, who lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., cites Kimberly-Clark and Costco Wholesale corporations and seeks damages of at least $5 million.
An Elected Attorney General? Lawmaker Wants to Let Voters Choose, Not Christie
Matt Friedman | The Star-Ledger
Some now say the time has come to make New Jersey’s top law enforcement official more responsive to the public and less beholden to the governor, and one lawmaker has introduced a measure to do just that. The issue has taken on added urgency with the apparent decision by the Attorney General’s Office to stay out of the George Washington Bridge investigation, much to the annoyance of veteran prosecutors in the office.
Has Supreme Court lost its zeal to curb consumer class actions?
Alison Frankel | Reuters
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to grant review to two small Nebraska banks facing class action allegations that they failed to post stickers on ATM machines to alert users about add-on fees. That might not seem like a surprise, except that the certiorari petition by the banks’ counsel at Mayer Brown raised a question that the Supreme Court has previously struggled with: whether class action plaintiffs asserting federal laws that provide statutory damages have constitutional standing to sue even if they haven’t suffered any actual injury. The justices heard a different case posing the exact same question in 2011 in First American Financial v. Edwards, but didn’t resolve the issue because they dismissed the appeal on the last day of the term in June 2012. Class action opponents like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Washington Legal Foundation and the Association of Credit and Collection Professionals were hoping that the Nebraska banks’ case was a new chance to end litigation by uninjured plaintiffs whose small, individual statutory damages claims turn into a big nuisance when they’re accumulated in class actions.
Can Panel Compel Kelly, Stepien to Release Bridgegate Emails?
Mark J. Magyar | NJ Spotlight
The future of the Legislature’s Bridgegate investigation is in the hands of a Superior Court judge who will decide whether Bridget Kelly and Bill Stepien, the deputy chief of staff and campaign operative who are the only two staffers Gov. Chris Christie has fired, must turn over emails and other communications related to the infamous George Washington Bridge lane closures.
Family Feud Ends for NJ Teen Rachel Canning and her Parents
Ben Horowitz | The Star-Ledger
Rachel Canning, the 18-year-old who sued her parents for support after an escalating family squabble, returned home last night, an attorney for the couple said today.
Angelo Sarno, who represents the Cannings, would not say what sparked the reconciliation, but said the parents welcomed her back.
2013 Civil Justice Update: Recently Enacted State Reforms and Judicial Challenges
Andrew C. Cook | Federalist Society
The purpose of this paper is to provide a comprehensive national survey of both recent court decisions ruling on challenges to existing civil justice laws and the newly enacted civil justice reforms. This paper has two main parts: Part I describes state and federal court rulings in 2013 and Part II describes legislation passed during the year’s legislative session.
Chevron Case Shows Why We Must Police Lawsuit Fraud
Lisa A. Rickard | U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform
Terms like “racketeering,” “extortion,” “money laundering” and “wire fraud” are typically more associated with the Mafia than plaintiffs’ lawyers. But in a landmark ruling last week, a New York federal judge used these terms to describe conduct by a lawyer.