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Metro crash litigation begins

Over at our sister blog On The Record, Barbara Grzincic spotted this tidbit in a Washington Post piece on the ongoing investigation into the horrific Metro subway crash here in DC:

The first lawsuit against Metro as a result of the crash was filed yesterday, and more are expected. The parents of Davonne Flanagan, 15, of the District sued in federal court, charging “negligent operation” and “negligent maintenance” on the part of Metro and the train’s operator.

The Maryland Daily Record got a hold of the complaint, which was brought by Davonne’s parents Imhotep Yakub and Dawn Flanagan just two days after the crash. They are seeking $950,000 for the teen’s fractured leg and for his pain and suffering. It appears to be the first lawsuit filed so far in courts in Maryland or the district.

Chamber, AAJ face off over frivolous lawsuit site

lawsuitsiteThe U.S. Chamber of Commerce has launched a new public awareness campaign aimed to show that frivolous lawsuits are not victimless crimes.

A new website called FacesOfLawsuitAbuse.org features videos of workers, business owners, and even a rollerblading child telling their stories of being named in lawsuits and the ensuing effect on their lives.

“Many people have the perception that lawsuits are primarily the concern of faceless, ‘deep-pocket’ corporations, yet small businesses and average families are also victims of these abusive suits,” Lisa Rickard, president of the Chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform said in announcing the new site.

But the American Association for Justice, the nation’s largest trial lawyers’ group, shot back, saying the campaign is bankrolled by negligent corporations.

When you are bankrolled by giant multi-billion dollar corporations, it’s laughable to claim you’re also protecting the interests of small businesses,” said American Association for Justice CEO Jon Haber, noting that companies including Wal-Mart, Citigroup, AIG, Bank of America sit on the ILR’s board.  “This campaign is just a new phase of their longstanding credo: negligent corporations should never be held accountable.”

New ‘hot’ practice area: Jalapeño litigation?

What could be the first lawsuit over the recent salmonella outbreak that has sickened about 1,300 people this summer has been filed.

A Colorado man is suing Wal-Mart and one of its vegetable suppliers, claiming that he ate jalapeños from the retailer and became ill and needed to be hospitalized for dehydration, a condition that worsened his existing kidney and liver problems. Tests confirmed that the salmonella strain that sickened the man was found in to remaining jalapeños that had been purchased at the store, according to the suit.

The Wall Street Journal‘s Law Blog suggests that making a case against tomato retailers and suppliers would have been tough, but the jalapeño litigation was always a possibility provided the crucial “choke point” could be found. DC Dicta doesn’t truly understand why this might be, so we’ll just have to trust Law Blog’s source on this.

The kicker? The suit was filed in Colorado’s Montezuma County Court. You can’t make this stuff up.

New ‘hot’ practice area: Jalapeño litigation?

What could be the first lawsuit over the recent salmonella outbreak that has sickened about 1,300 people this summer has been filed.

A Colorado man is suing Wal-Mart and one of its vegetable suppliers, claiming that he ate jalapeños from the retailer and became ill and needed to be hospitalized for dehydration, a condition that worsened his existing kidney and liver problems. Tests confirmed that the salmonella strain that sickened the man was found in to remaining jalapeños that had been purchased at the store, according to the suit.

The Wall Street Journal‘s Law Blog suggests that making a case against tomato retailers and suppliers would have been tough, but the jalapeño litigation was always a possibility provided the crucial “choke point” could be found. DC Dicta doesn’t truly understand why this might be, so we’ll just have to trust Law Blog’s source on this.

The kicker? The suit was filed in Colorado’s Montezuma County Court. You can’t make this stuff up.

Subprime fiasco keeping class action lawyers busy

Class action suits are hot again! (Thanks to the mortgage industry meltdown.)

According to a report by Cornerstone Research and Stanford Law School’s Securities Class Action Clearinghouse (Via ABA Journal), subprime-related litigation is driving up the number of lawsuits seeking and gaining class action status. Of the 110 class action lawsuits filed in the first half of this year, more than half were subprime suits. And there have already been more financial sector class action suits filed this year than in all of 2007. (Image by Sv)

Stevie Wonder is not happy with the Supremes

Legendary singer Stevie Wonder is very dissapointed in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Recently Wonder preformed in Chicago’s Grant Park as part of the city’s “Taste of Chicago” celebration.

As thousands of Chicagoans and tourists (DC Dicta included) looked on during the warm Saturday afternoon, Wonder took the stage and warmly greeted the audience.

But before singing a single note, Wonder got political, making comments that touched on everything from Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential candidacy (Wonder is pretty psyched about that) to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Specifically, he said he isn’t happy with a certain decision penned by Justice Antonin Scalia.

“I have to say I am very, very disappointed with the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on handguns,” Wonder told the audience, referring to the D.C. v. Heller ruling invalidating Washington D.C.’s handgun ban, which was handed down just days before Wonder’s performance.

That wasn’t the only taste of Washington that was included in Wonder’s performance. Special guests Wonder brought up on stage during the two-hour performance included Rev. Jesse Jackson and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. John Conyers, Jr.

(Photo by Agência Brasil)

Break for the holiday

With the Supreme Court’s 2007-08 term in the history books, it’s time for DC Dicta to take a little vacation on a beach far from Washington, DC.

We’ll be back Monday, July 7, ready to bring you the latest scoop on the goings-on in Congress and elsewhere. In the meantime, stay tuned to Lawyers USA‘s website for the legal news you crave, and check out some of our other favorite blogs (links to the right) as well.

Scalia and the City: When Nino Met Carrie

Is Justice Antonin Scalia a fan of the show Sex and the City? Did he tune in regularly to see the adventures of Carrie Bradshaw and her Jimmy Choo-wearing comrades? And did he gush when he met the show’s star Sarah Jessica Parker on a New York City street – all before bumming a smoke from her?

According to New York magazine, quoting witnesses claiming to have seen the whole thing go down, all these things are true. But Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg, speaking to Legal Times, throws water on the whole thing.

Arberg said Scalia had no idea who the actress was when they met on a sidewalk outside of a Manhattan television studio. He eventually realized who she was, but he did not gush over her work on the show. And he merely lit her cigarette at her request, he did not ask for one.

(HT: ABA Journal. Photo of Parker by Franz Richter)

As housing market slumps, subprime suits skyrocket

It looks like all those law firms carving out subprime practice niches had the right idea.

A new report suggests that subprime-related lawsuits are outpacing litigation involving the saving and loan fallout of the 1990s.

According to a story in Corporate Counsel (via the ABA Journal) a new study by Navigant Consulting Inc. counted 448 subprime related lawsuits filed in a 15-month period from the beginning of 2007 to the spring of 2008. Compare that to 559 S&L related suits in a six year period from the late 1980s to the mid-1990s.

“What we saw in 2007 was a mild breaking wave compared to the tsunami we’re witnessing now,” Navigant managing director Jeff Nielsen told Corporate Counsel. “In the most recent quarter, we’re looking at approximately two filings per day, including weekends.”

About 86 percent of the subprime cases tracked by the Navigant study are still active, he said.

Back Monday

DC Dicta is off today, but will return Monday. In the meantime, check out some of the other Dolan Media blogs to the right, as well as some of the sites on the blogroll.

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