Kirk Hartley

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Lots of efforts to project asbestos litigation involve efforts to understand and forecast filing patterns, and resolution rates.  On that topic, it’s worth remembering that budget cuts in state courts often always lead to fewer judge and case backlogs. A recent example can be found in the efforts to resolve “Libby asbestos cases.” A December 26, 2018 article at Montana NPR illustrates the point, as it recaps statistics on the cases and the appointment of…
A new litigation funder (Ralph Sutton CEO  Validity Finance), offered five predictions in a November 27, 2018 article at American Lawyer.  His second prediction is below; the same prediction has been made before.  Time will tell. “Defense Funding “Defense-side litigation funding will begin to emerge as an important segment of the market. While routine financing of litigation risk by corporate law departments is still a few years away, bold and innovative companies are beginning…
More and more molecular data will arrive over the next few years; some of it will be very valuable for more deeply understanding when and how diseases arise. Consider, for example, the fact that genes matter a great deal because they contain the instructions for producing proteins, but we need to know more about actual outputs of proteins coded for by the genes. The proteins, after all, are the actual doers of the work to…
Weekend reading led to an interesting, long form story on the private, automated and apparently  arbitrary and capricious world of  “law” in the Amazon marketplace; see this December 19, 2018 article in the Verge. If one assumes the article is accurate, it seems Amazon is yet another company that disregards existing law (e.g. Uber, Lyft) and just plunges ahead until someone stops it. That conclusion is reinforced by thinking back to Amazon’s many years…
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce (via its American Tort Reform Foundation) has issued the 2018-19 version of its annual “Judicial Hellholes” report. Of special note this year, the report concludes some hellholes are threatening to appear in “red states,” including Georgia. The entire report is online at this page; pasted below are excerpts about a newly named entrant (the Twin Cities of Minnesota), and the watch list, which includes the Georgia Supreme Court and…
  “Nationwide, 14% of law-school enrollees are pursuing non-J.D. programs, newly released numbers from the American Bar Association show, compared with 8% five years ago.” The chart and the quote are from a December 20, 2018 WSJ article noting the trend. It is good to see a focus on the evolution of law schools to offer various forms of degrees and specialized learning, rather like like some specialized MBA programs.  The article would be…
With trial court approval of a settlement, the parties are close to reaching the end of the long and winding road of the Avery case.   It’s about 20 years old and a fascinating case’ class claim approval occurred in 2016; see here.  As explained by Law360 in a September 16, 2016 article, “the RICO plaintiffs allege that State Farm deliberately sought to “recruit, finance, direct and elect a candidate to the Illinois Supreme Court…
A brilliant new study on parachute use was recently published in the British Journal of Medicine. The researchers/authors presumably will go on to enjoy long careers as expert witnesses in lawsuits involving injuries related to sky-diving. The study is open access and online; it is titled: Parachute use to prevent death and major trauma when jumping from aircraft: randomized controlled trial BMJ 2018; 363 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k5094 (Published 13 December 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;363:k5094
The robocalling epidemic is an example of the complete failure of federal and state regulation and enforcement, the failure of litigation to block the calls, and the ills of shrink-wrapped “terms of service” and blanket consents.   Despite the “do not call” law and lists, the scale of robocalls is massive and growing:  “There were 5.1 billion robocalls made in November — a record 1,963 per second — meaning that the average person did in fact…