Are Tort Reformers Going After the Wrong Target?
New York personal injury lawyer Eric Turkewitz takes a critical look at a lawsuit by numbers kingpin-cum-Rikers Island inmate Raymond Marquez, alleging that the New York City Department of Corrections' indoor smoking policy caused Marquez's bladder cancer. Despite the fact that Marquez had smoked for thirty years before quitting around the mid-1970s, his lawsuit attributed his cancer to the second hand smoke that he endured between 1998 and 2001 while awaiting trial at Rikers Island for a crime for which he was subsequently acquitted. On Friday, a jury returned a verdict in favor of the City.
When I first heard about the litigation, it sounded like a dog, and I don't know any reputable personal injury firm that would have taken it. And as it turns out, the suit was brought by the plaintiff's son, who happens to be a local attorney.
Because most reputable lawyers would have -- and indeed did -- decline this case, Turkewitz argues that it's unfair for the City to make the case a poster child for "ridiculous lawsuits" as it has done in recent press releases.
Turkewitz makes an interesting point. Some of the most notable examples of litigation-gone-wild -- such as Roy Pearson's $65 million pants suit against the dry cleaners or the $54 million suit against Best Buy for losing a woman's computer in the repair shop -- were brought by pro se litigants (though Pearson is a lawyer). In many pro se cases, or cases where a plaintiff is represented by a friend or a relative, it's often because most sensible plaintiffs' lawyers turned the cases down. For that reason, is it fair to use cases that no lawyer would have taken anyway as an example of what's broken in the tort system or as a basis for criticizing trial lawyers?Sphere: Related Content
Vista Won't See the Light of Day at Most Law Firms
It's been about two years since Microsoft launched Vista, a Windows-based operating system that has been so poorly received that even Wikipedia devoted an entire entry to "Criticism of Windows Vista." Because of its many problems, Vista is being bypassed by many large corporations, reports Rick Georges at Future Lawyer.
As for law firms, this is one case where their complacency in adopting new technology plays to their advantage. Georges writes that "until someone makes [law firms] adopt it, Vista will not likely see the insides of a majority of law firm computers." Thus, most law firms will be spared the headaches that other users have experienced with Vista.Sphere: Related Content
Web Users Would Support Code of Conduct
Though blogging, Web 2.0 applications, and user-generated content sites represent the still-wild, untamed frontier of the Internet, most users would not resist efforts to settle the laws of this territory. According to a story in the Guardian, nearly half of Internet users would support a voluntary code of conduct for bloggers and online commentators, according to a survey by DLA Piper. The survey revealed that currently, roughly 75 percent of Web users who have posted comments on blogs and news sites had no understanding of laws governing libel, defamation or intellectual property that might potentially apply to their conduct on the Web.
At the same time, while 46 percent of Web users were receptive to a voluntary code of conduct, users' current actions suggest otherwise. At present, only one third of Web users surveyed actually read the legal liabilities in the terms of conditions of Web sites that they use. And 14 percent have had content removed from a site due to violation of applicable terms and conditions. Bottom line: While Web users may say they want a code of conduct, in practice, few obey the rules in place now.
Do you support a code of conduct for Web users? And if so, what features would it include?
(H/T to ABA Journal.)Sphere: Related Content
Posted by Carolyn Elefant on May 14, 2008 at 08:23 AM | Permalink
Rodrigo González Fernández
DIPLOMADO EN RSE DE LA ONU
Renato Sánchez 3586