CJAC: Civil Justice Association of California

Monkey See, Monkey Sue

Posted on 10/28/2015 @ 10:00 AM

“A monkey, an animal rights organization and a primatologist walk into federal court…” Read this lawyer’s delightful response to PETA’s absurd monkey selfie lawsuit. Click here to read the story.

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Press-Telegram Op-Ed: Why lead paint lawsuits are a dud for California cities, counties: Carmen Trutanich

Posted on 10/28/2015 @ 10:00 AM

In today’s Press Telegram, Carmen Trutanich, former city attorney for Los Angeles, addresses the long reach of lead-paint lawsuits into the private sector.

Among his points he opines:

It appears that those who joined this lawsuit failed to consider the possible impacts to private property owners by the court’s findings. For example, the verdict, in essence, labels “every” painted residential building, constructed prior to 1981, as a “public nuisance.”

This label remains with the structure until it is inspected, and if lead paint is found, until the lead paint is abated or removed, and then passes re-inspection. In essence, the findings transfer the stigma of lead paint to every single private property owner via judicial decree, in exchange for money to the cities, counties, and of course, the lawyers.

How will the entire abatement process for all these properties be handled so as not to impact property values? And who do you think is going to actually pay for all this to happen?

Homeowners and landlords whose properties are labeled a “public nuisance” could see drastic declines in home values. And the hardship won’t be isolated to the private sector; governments will suffer too. Tax revenues will fall as property taxes decrease.

To read the entire op-ed, click here.

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History Suggests California Will Require Warning Labels For Bacon

Posted on 10/27/2015 @ 10:00 AM

Tags: Processed_meats_Prop_65

Sacramento’s Capitol Public Radio reports that the World Health Organization has classified bacon, ham and other processed meats as carcinogenic. As such, would California require Proposition 65 warning labels?

Passed in 1986, Proposition 65 requires California to compile a list of “chemicals known to increase cancer risk.” If these meats are added to that list, everyone from grocers and butchers to restaurants will have to post a notification.

The report notes that WHO-identified carcinogens are historically added to the Proposition 65 list, but State health officials say they are reviewing the WHO's findings and are not sure if they will add processed meats.

To listen to the report and read the story, click here.

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Should you be allowed to invest in a lawsuit?

Posted on 10/26/2015 @ 10:00 AM

A recent New York Times article tackles the question, “Should you be allowed to invest in a lawsuit?” This practice is also known as litigation finance.

Those involved argue that it allows smaller companies to afford a day in court. Detractors worry that it could give rise to a litigation arms race, with speculative money aggravating already high litigation costs.

To read the story, click here.

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REPOST: The $10 Million Bedtime Story: Yankees Sued by Sleeping Spectator

Posted on 10/19/2015 @ 12:00 PM

By Olivia Davidson Summer Intern, Manhattan Institute's Center for Legal Policy

Two weeks ago, supposed baseball fan Andrew Rector filed a defamation lawsuit against Major League Baseball, ESPN, commentators Dan Shulman and John Kruk, and the New York Yankees for $10 million. Rector, who was caught sleeping on camera during a Yankees-Red Sox game on April 13th, claims that the commentators "unleashed an avalanche of disparaging words" commenting on his weight and ability to sleep through a home run.

Defamation is not a crime, but a tort, and for a statement to qualify as slander (a defamatory statement that is spoken), the following elements must be proven, writes attorney Emily Doskow:

"Published" means that a third party heard or saw the statement... A defamatory statement must be false -- otherwise it's not considered damaging. Even terribly mean or disparaging things are not defamatory if the shoe fits...

The statement must be "injurious". Those suing for defamation must show how their reputations were hurt by the false statement -- for example, the person lost work; was shunned by neighbors, friends, or family members; or was harassed by the press...

"Unprivileged": Lawmakers have decided that in [some] situations, which are considered "privileged," free speech is so important that the speakers should not be constrained by worries that they will be sued for defamation...

In Rector's case, the alleged slander is evidently published and unprivileged, though whether or not it was injurious and false remains to be determined by the Court. According to a NY Times article,

Mr. Rector maintains the announcers used words like 'fatty' and 'stupid' to describe him, but neither Mr. Shulman nor Mr. Kruk uttered such insults in the clip [of their commentary]. It is unclear whether they commented later in the game on Mr. Rector's lengthy nap, implying perhaps the falsehood lies in Rectors idiosyncratic and frequently grammatically incorrect complaint.

Undeniably, following the upload of the clip to Youtube by MLB, Rector was subject to public ridicule, being called 'Sleeping Beauty' by one Twitter user. Rector goes as far as to say he has "suffered substantial injury" to his "character and reputation," as well as "mental anguish, loss of future income and loss of earning capacity." Rector's mother supported his claims saying he had missed work because of the public scorn he had experienced and that "everyone made fun of him everywhere he went."'

Rector is also suing for intentional infliction of emotional distress which requires an intentional or reckless act, outrageous conduct, causation and sufferance of emotional distress by the plaintiff.

As Texans for Lawsuit Reform wrote, "Lampooning the lawsuit industry has become an industry unto itself." We'll have to see if Rector has what it takes to make it in this business and win his plea.

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