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The Intersection Among Torts, Science, Corporate Law, Insurance & Bankruptcy

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January 14, 2019 articles around the web describe PG&E moving to file chapter 11 due to risks and potential liabilities. One of the articles, at the WSJ, describes PG&E equipment as playing a role in some 1,500 fires, some massive. As with numerous past filers of chapter 11, one of the key problems is failure to understand the magnitude of risk, and lack of financial resources sufficient to pay when the risks come to…
Depending on perspectives, the California Supreme Court is famous (or infamous) for its rulings and is nationally influential. Accordingly, its useful to keep an eye on changes. Most recently, Joshua Groban, age 45, was confirmed to the court.  He is a long time senior advisor to Governor Brown and was involved in the selection of over 600 judges for the state. His private practice career was at Munger Tolles and then Paul Weiss, as described
Amazing changes in the litigation industry include the real arrival of television covering trials, including plenty of “mass tort” cases. Thus, as we start out 2019, Courtroom View Network published its “top 10” list from 2018 as to plaintiff verdicts. Presumably a defense list will follow.…
My automated daily google search for “asbestos” recently pulled up a link to a 90 minute video, apparently from the Library of Congress. The landing page is: https://lccn.loc.gov/91790914/dc The page includes both the video, and the following information: “About this Item Title The story of asbestos–illustrating the mines and factories of the H.W. Johns-Manville Company Other Title Illustrating the mines and factories of the H.W. Johns-Manville Company Summary Shows the operation of asbestos mines (in…
An arbitration agreement may specify confidentiality, but does that term necessarily control and require sealing of subsequent proceedings in court? “No,” usually, is the answer according to a recent federal district court ruling in CAA Sports LLC v. Dogra, No. 4:18-cv-01887-SNLJ, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 214223 (E.D. Mo. Dec. 20, 2018).  The key portion of the ruling is quoted below. “But, in the context of arbitration, courts routinely reject arguments that arbitration awards and supporting documents…
It is depressing to read about the havoc wreaked in some cases by apparently not credible “blood splatter science,” and some other fringe areas of “expert” testimony in criminal cases. A broad view of a wrongful conviction is set in a December 20, 2018 NYT article.   Also see this May 31, 2018 article at Pro Publica.   One wonders how many related civil suits for damages have been or will been filed for persons…
Some recent reading reminded me that the Conversable Economist blog includes an October 23,  2013 post that provides a very useful discussion of some of the issues and data tied up in trying to value a life for purposes of statistics. It begins as follows, and includes much more. “The costs of regulations can be measured by the money that must be spent for compliance. But many of the benefits of regulation are measured by…
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…