17 posts categorized "Outrageous Lawsuits"

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Credit Card Receipt Spawns Class Action

“There was no foul. No one had a problem until a lawyer saw this and he filed a suit against us,” Friedman said. “But if we fight it, we’re not going to win.”

 

Continue reading "Credit Card Receipt Spawns Class Action" »

NJCJI Letter to the Editor: Fights on the Schoolyard Shouldn't be Solved in the Courtroom

The Star-Ledger editorial, "Bullying: If schools are liable, parents can be, too" (March 31), appropriately raised warnings about using courts to hold parents of child bullies liable, but I disagree with the conclusion that some good can come from the threat of litigation.

 

Continue reading "NJCJI Letter to the Editor: Fights on the Schoolyard Shouldn't be Solved in the Courtroom" »

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Top News Clips for the Week of March 8-14

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.

Full Story.

 

 

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.

Full Story.

 

 

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.

Full Story. 

 

 

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.

Full Story.

 

 

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.

Full Story.

 

 

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.

Full Story.

 

 

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.

Full Story.

 

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Man Sues McDonald's for $1.5 Million After Being Given Only One Napkin

Lee Moran | New York Daily News

McDonald's has been hit with a supersized lawsuit.

Unhappy eater Webster Lucas reportedly wants $1.5 million from the fast-food company after he claimed the staff only gave him one napkin.

Full Story.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Kids These Days

A New Jersey teen is making headlines across the country for the lawsuit she has filed against her parents seeking monetary support. However, this is just the tip of the juvenile lawsuits iceberg.

 

Continue reading "Kids These Days" »

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Top News Clips for the Week of Feb. 15-21

A selection of the need-to-know civil justice news for the week of February 15-21, 2014.

Continue reading "Top News Clips for the Week of Feb. 15-21" »

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Ridiculous Lawsuits

I can hear the television commercial now: “Did you suffer emotional damage when Michael Jackson died? You may be eligible for compensation.”

Continue reading "Ridiculous Lawsuits" »

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Top News Clips for the Week of Feb. 1-7

A selection of the need-to-know civil justice news for the week of February 1-7, 2014.

Continue reading "Top News Clips for the Week of Feb. 1-7" »

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Top News Clips for the Week of Jan. 25-31

A selection of the need-to-know civil justice news for the week of January 25-31, 2014.

 

Opinion: Background Checks - ‘Ban the Box’ is Not the Answer

Jon Bramnick|The Record

As Americans, we believe in giving people a “second chance.” The proposed “Ban the Box” legislation is not the answer to the problem of a job applicant with a criminal history.

 

Imagine you are looking to hire someone to care for your elderly mother. That person will be alone with her and will have access to her home and her possessions.

 

After receiving applications for the job, you discover that one of the applicants has a criminal history of assault and theft. One would presumably be concerned about hiring that person to assist your mother.

 

You may not have a choice if “Ban the Box” legislation is enacted.

Full Story.

 

Continue reading "Top News Clips for the Week of Jan. 25-31" »

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Top News Clips for the Week of Jan. 18-24

A selection of the need-to-know civil justice news for the week of January 18-24, 2014.

How to Sue Over the Christie Bridge Scandal and Win

John Culhane | Slate

As New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie tries to recover from the fallout for his administration’s participation in the vindictive decision to close lanes and snarl traffic on the George Washington Bridge for five days, he will get no help from lawsuits brought by angry citizens stuck in the mess. The first suit has already dropped. These claims will surely breed others. They could keep the story alive for years. And they could even result, unusually, in personal liability for the officials involved, including, perhaps, the governor himself.

Full Story.

Continue reading "Top News Clips for the Week of Jan. 18-24" »

Friday, January 17, 2014

Legal Impacts of Bridgegate

You can’t turn on the news, open a paper, or scroll through your Twitter feed these days without being inundated with stories about the George Washington Bridge lane closing scandal. While most stories focus on the political fallout, there are real legal implications that deserve attention as well.

 

Here's Who's Behind The Huge Civil Lawsuit From The Chris Christie Bridge Scandal

Brett LoGiurato | Business Insider

Four-hour delays. Late for work. Lost wages. Late for crucial doctor's appointments.

Some of these alleged hardships are at the heart of a proposed class-action complaint in the burgeoning George Washington Bridge scandal. The complaint was filed last Thursday, the day after new revelations tying the administration of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to the lane closures.

Full Story.

 

Chris Christie hires law firm to review administration's role in 'Bridgegate'

By Statehouse Bureau | Asbury Park Press

A former federal prosecutor will head up an internal review by the administration of Gov. Chris Christie of his staff’s involvement with the politically motivated lane closings on the George Washington Bridge in September 2013.

The administration this morning announced the hiring of the Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher law firm and specifically Randy Mastro to assist both with the review and an investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s office into the closings, which snarled traffic for four days in Fort Lee.

Full Story.

 

Bridge scandal: Chris Christie's Nominees Delayed

By Jenna Portnoy | The Star-Ledger

The ongoing scandal over George Washington Bridge lane closures is having more ripple effects through Gov. Chris Christie’s administration.

The Republican governor has put on hold his plan to nominate John Hoffman, his acting attorney general, to the state Superior Court. The move comes as the nomination of Christie’s chief of staff, Kevin O’Dowd, is also in a holding pattern.

Full Story.

 

Top News Clips for the Week of Jan. 13-17

 

Here's Who's Behind The Huge Civil Lawsuit From The Chris Christie Bridge Scandal

Brett LoGiurato | Business Insider

Four-hour delays. Late for work. Lost wages. Late for crucial doctor's appointments.

Some of these alleged hardships are at the heart of a proposed class-action complaint in the burgeoning George Washington Bridge scandal. The complaint was filed last Thursday, the day after new revelations tying the administration of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to the lane closures.

Full Story.

 

Chris Christie hires law firm to review administration's role in 'Bridgegate'

By Statehouse Bureau | Asbury Park Press

A former federal prosecutor will head up an internal review by the administration of Gov. Chris Christie of his staff’s involvement with the politically motivated lane closings on the George Washington Bridge in September 2013.

The administration this morning announced the hiring of the Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher law firm and specifically Randy Mastro to assist both with the review and an investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s office into the closings, which snarled traffic for four days in Fort Lee.

Full Story.

 

Bridge scandal: Chris Christie's Nominees Delayed

By Jenna Portnoy | The Star-Ledger

The ongoing scandal over George Washington Bridge lane closures is having more ripple effects through Gov. Chris Christie’s administration.

The Republican governor has put on hold his plan to nominate John Hoffman, his acting attorney general, to the state Superior Court. The move comes as the nomination of Christie’s chief of staff, Kevin O’Dowd, is also in a holding pattern.

Full Story.

 

Judge Questions Whether $765 NFL Concussions Settlement is Enough

Cindy Boren | Washington Post

A federal judge in Philadelphia issued a preliminary rejection of a $765 million settlement of concussion claims by more than 4,500 former NFL players on Tuesday, ruling that the amount agreed upon may be insufficient to cover payouts, medical tests and treatments.

Full Story.

 

Will Consumer Class Actions vs. Target Survive?

By Alison Frankel | Reuters

Who doesn't empathize with the 70 million Target customers whose private information was supposedly hacked?

No one likes to worry about identity theft and impaired credit ratings, the odds of which, according to Reuters, drastically increase for data breach victims. But that doesn't mean Target customers have a cause of action in federal court.

Full Story.

 

Litigation Finance Firm Raises $260 Million for New Fund

By William Alden | New York Times DealBook

An upstart investment firm that bets on lawsuits has raised hundreds of millions of dollars for its second fund.

The firm, Gerchen Keller Capital, is expected to announce on Monday that it has amassed about $260 million for the fund, bringing its total investor commitments to $310 million. The fresh capital, coming less than a year after Gerchen Keller opened its doors, underscores investors’ confidence in an obscure corner of Wall Street that has gained adherents in recent years.

Litigation finance, as the business is known, often involves bankrolling plaintiffs in exchange for a slice of the lawsuit’s potential winnings.

Full Story.

 

Corporate Takeover? In 2013, a Lawsuit Almost Always Followed

By Steven M. Davidoff | New York Times DealBook

These days, you can be sure that when a company announces it is being acquired, it will also be sued by a bevy of plaintiffs’ lawyers.

Full Story.

 

N.J. Senate Confirms Robert Hanna as Superior Court Judge

By Alexi Friedman | Star-Ledger

As Gov. Chris Christie’s choice for state Supreme Court judge, Robert Hanna waited a year for a confirmation hearing that never came. Senate Democrats blocked his selection and another Christie nominee to fill a different seat on the high court, fearing they would cause partisan imbalance.

Full Story.

 

Ceremony for Newest N.J. Justice, Fernandez-Vina, Set for Friday

By Salvador Rizzo | The Star-Ledger

The newest associate justice on the state Supreme Court, Faustino Fernandez-Vina, will be sworn in Friday in a ceremony at Rutgers University in Camden, the court announced today.

Fernandez-Vina, a Republican who was appointed last year by Gov. Chris Christie, joined the court Nov. 19 and has been hearing cases already.

Full Story.

 

BP Appeal to Stop 'Fictitious' U.S. Oil Spill Claims Fails

By Reuters

One of BP's attempts to curb payouts for what it says are "fictitious" and "absurd" claims related to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill has failed after a legal appeal was rejected by a U.S. court.

Full Story.

 

Bill Protecting Rescue Squads from Lawsuits Hits a Dead End with Change of Legislative Session

By MaryAnn Spoto | The Star-Ledger

A bill protecting rescue squads from civil lawsuits stopped dead in its tracks Tuesday after the legislative session ended without the state Senate voting on the measure.

Full Story.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Spilling hot coffee gets hotter

It’s been nearly twenty years since Stella Liebeck made the first McDonald’s hot coffee lawsuit famous by spilling coffee in her own lap and suing the fast food chain.

But becoming a posterchild for our overly litigious culture has done little to discourage copycats, as a McDonald’s in River Edge, Bergen County discovered this week. 

A Florida man who was visiting family in Bergen County two years ago is now coming forward with a suit against McDonald’s in River Edge, alleging that an employee “failed to properly secure the lid,” which apparently induces a lack of consumer coordination and second-degree burns. 

The comments below from NJ.com capture the sentiment well:

Post1

 

Notes: This suit is not to be confused with the New Jersey resident who filed suit against a chain of Wawa stores for selling hot, highly-spillable coffee last month.  And yes, McDonald happens to be the surname of yours truly.  It is purely coincidental, as I am not affiliated with the defending company in any way. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Gas cans and natural disasters become the new face of legal reform

The chaos and heartache brought about by Hurricane Sandy forced New Jerseyans to appreciate the utilities and shelter we often take for granted, and incidentally, renewed our appreciation for gasoline and the containers which store it. 

You may not realize it, but if you used a gas can during Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath, it was likely manufactured by Blitz, a company in a small Oklahoma town.  And sadly, it's now a relic of the pre-lawsuit abuse era.

Blitz sold more than 14 million cans per year for the last decade, which translates to 75 percent of all gas cans sold in the United States.  Fewer than two incidents per million cans sold were reported, and most involved obvious misuse.  Pouring gasoline from the container onto an open fire was a common theme. 

Of the 62 cases filed since 1994, only two made it to court and only of those cases was successful.  The rest were settled or dismissed, notes a New York TImes report.  Nevertheless, it still cost the Oklahoma-based company $30 million in legal fees, and presumably, higher insurance premiums to cover the additional $30 million paid by their insurance companies.   Sadly, these costs of doing business in America forced the leading manufacturer of gas cans in the United States to close its 117-person operation for good.  Buying domestic also just got a bit harder. 

For New Jerseyans who retained their homes but lost their power, gasoline offered somewhat of a lifeline for those with generators to fill.  And as shelters and motels filled to capacity, generators were able to keep more people in their homes even as temperatures dropped.  A not-so-small silver lining during a catostrophic storm.   

Of course we hope we never see a storm of Sandy's magnitude ever again.  But if we do, the absence of Blitz in our markets may make generator-powered electricity a difficult commodity to deliver.  

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Seeing Red All Over

Coppertone sensitive skinWhen red is the only color your skin turns, you tend to take note of the sunblock products that work.  After all, it’s a bit obvious when a particular line of sunscreen fails.  Pictured is one of my personal favorites, Coppertone’s sensitive skin SPF 50. 

But under New Jersey's Consumer Fraud Act, what’s obvious to the consumer can have little bearing on the outcome.  New Jersey-based Merck just settled a longstanding class action lawsuit in which plaintiffs claim that the power of Coppertone was overstated in advertising, using words such as “waterproof,” “sweatproof,” and (shocker) “sunblock.” 

Originally developed by Schering-Plough, Merck acquired Coppertone (and its lawsuit) when it bought Schering in 2009.  The case was originally filed in 2003.  And consumers, like me, readily used Coppertone products in ignorant bliss in the interim, unaware that our UVA-protected skin wasn’t as protected as the attorneys in this case contend. 

Here’s how things will change under the settlement: Coppertone will stop using the words “sunblock,” “waterproof,” “sweatproof,” and “all day” on its labeling.  The content of the sunscreen will remain the same.  Yes, the same.  And under this $3- $10 million settlement, I will get $1.50.  According to Reuters, Merck stated that it agreed to the settlement “solely for the purpose of avoiding the burden, expense, risk and uncertainty of continuing to litigate those issues."

Nice of the lawyers to reward me with $1.50 for my patronage and leave my product formula intact.  Heck, for $1.50 I can get:

  • 3 postage stamps;
  • 1/3 of a latte;
  • One-way bus fare in Los Angeles

I can’t get a bottle of sunblock, but apparently that’s beside the point.

Now if only I could figure out how to collect. 

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder - not the ADA attorney - right?

To the dismay of taxpayers and Americans with actual disabilities everywhere, unfortunately, it appears that the answer is “wrong.”

A University of Texas professor mused in an op-ed in the New York Times last year that affirmative-action like programs for the “ugly” should be in order, giving self-described “ugly” Americans grounds for a lawsuit under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). 

Lacking a high school diploma, the Department of Justice warned, may also count as a disability under the expanded definition of the ADA, should a potential employer reject an applicant because of it.

The Washington Times points out that the expanded definition of “disability” is consistent with a 2008 Congressional amendment to the Act, following concerns that courts were interpreting the definition too narrowly.  The tide seems to have been reversed and then some, with ADA claims rising by 90 percent in the past five years.  “The flood includes more frivolous claims than ever,” writes Luke Rosiak for the Washington Times.  “Despite the broadened law, the EEOC [Equal Employment Opportunity Commission] saw the highest percentage yet deemed ‘no reasonable cause’ last year.” 

Alas, even with the expanded definition on the plaintiffs’ side, ADA attorneys are still finding ways to te$t the bounds of our taxpayer-funded court system. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A win for common sense

As you may recall from a previous post, a Morris County judge was being asked to decide whether a woman who sent a text message to her boyfriend just before he caused a serious accident could be held liable. 

Judge David Rand rejected the plaintiff’s effort to hold the text sender liable.   “Were I to extend a duty of care [to the text sender] in this case, in my judgment any form of distraction could potentially serve as a basis of liability,” he said. 

The case was believed to be the first of its kind.  Morris County motorcyclists who were severely injured and each had a leg amputated sued Kyle Best, the driver of the car, as well as his girlfriend, from whom he was receiving a text message at the time he caused the accident.  The injured parties claimed that she knew or “should have known” the driver would be reading the text while driving, even though she wasn’t with him in the vehicle. 

According to a Daily Record report, the plaintiffs’ attorney is planning to appeal.