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Cross-posted from TortDeform.Com  and CorpReform.Com
By Justinian Lane

Every now and again, I get a reminder of why I want to be a plaintiff's lawyer.  This morning, my mother called to let me know she's canceling our Sprint cell phone plan.  We're on a family plan with 4 lines.  We've been customers for a little over seven years, and have never had any disputes or late payments.  But last month, my parents happened to look through their Sprint bill and discovered something interesting.  For the last 3 and a half years, Sprint has been charging us about $6 bucks a month in Texas state and local taxes.  The problem is that none of us have lived in Texas for 3 and a half years... and Sprint has also been charging Nevada state and and local taxes.  Obviously, that's about $250.00 that we shouldn't have paid Sprint.

What we're going to do about it below the fold:

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Cross-posted from TortDeform.Com:

The Center for Justice and Democracy wrote the following letter as a response to a new "report" by industry trade group, the American Tort Reform Association. The so-called report, blindly embraced by a variety of media outlets, erroneously labels as "Judicial Hellholes" the states that allow injured victims to hold unscrupulous corporations accountable without the burdens of tort deform. If that's hell, I'm not sure if I want to know what heaven looks like.

This letter is golden. A la Colbert, I tell you. Below the fold (Emphasis Added.)

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By Henry Greenspan, Cross-posted from TortDeform.Com:

Early during my training as a psychotherapist, I was told a one-liner that has proven to be useful: "Paranoids are always right."   The idea is that paranoids may lose perspective on the wider context of particular events.  But, in every case, they are on to something that is genuinely true, even if they make mistakes of scale.

So allow for the possibility that what follows is a paranoid view.  Some of it is true.   Some of it may be out of proportion. And, of course, much of it may be dead on.

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By Hank Greenspan, Cross-posted from TortDeform.com.

In my last blog for Tort Deform , I argued that the Food and Drug Administration Revitalization Act (FDARA) passed the Senate overwhelmingly (93-1, the nay being Bernie Sanders) mainly because it wouldn't change anything.   The final bill was so watered down by compromises that it didn't even make good sausage.  But for the pharmaceutical industry it promised a continuing supply of filet mignon.

I also predicted that FDARA's illusory strengthening of the FDA, if the bill became law, would provide a pretext for the next troop surge for "FDA preemption."   It would be argued that, now that the FDA's has been "fixed," there was no reason to withhold it full preemptive authority.  Imagine Dan Troy, Tiger Joyce, and friends on the Abraham Lincoln.   Mission Accomplished.  

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Cross-posted from Tort Deform

I recently suffered a grave injury during a hearing and balance test.  The internal carotid artery on my right side dissected, a result of applying torque to my neck so a computer could get better readings from electrodes attached to my skin.  A massive blood clot formed, blocking the artery 80-90 percent.  I suffered blinding headaches, nerve damage, and other problems, and was hospitalized for over a week.  Still, I count myself lucky.  I’m alive and, apparently, I didn’t suffer a stroke.  My doctors remain hopeful that, with time, I’ll recover.  

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Cross-posted from Tort Deform

by Michael Townes Watson

The sacrifices being made by injured patients who are victimized by the tort reform movement are not being offset by improvements in the safety of healthcare. On the Alternet website, Dr. Atul Gawande, who has written extensively about medical mistakes, states that "One of the easiest ways to prevent the spread of hospital infections is also one of the most neglected." He has toured hospitals with infectious disease specialists and microbiologists whose sole jobs are to stop the spread of infections in the hospital. He laments, however, that despite the fact that every year two million Americans acquire an infection while they are in the hospital, and the fact that ninety thousand die of that infection, the hardest part of the infection-control team's job is not coping with the variety of contagions they encounter or the panic that sometimes occurs among patients and staff.

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Cross-posted from Tort Deform

by Professor Henry Greenspan

Last week, the U.S. Senate passed the "FDA Revitalization Act" (hereinafter, FDARA) by an overwhelming majority (only Bernie Sanders of Vermont voted 'nay').   That ought to tell us something.  Clearly, the pharmaceutical industry and both major parties found something they could all agree upon: the usefulness of lipstick.

In order to understand this victory for cosmetology, a bit of context is needed.  For the past six years, the industry and its allies have done everything possible toward making FDA preemption the law of the land.   That is, the goal has been to turn Michigan's drug industry immunity law – which fully shields drug companies from civil liability if their product is "in compliance" with FDA regulations – the national standard.   There has never been any secret about this; Michigan has been designated "the model" by every preemptor from Daniel Troy, who is to FDA preemption what James Brown was to soul, to every law firm that defends pharma from product liability claims.

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Cross-posted from Tort Deform

by Richard Pyorre

State Farm Insurance Companies have come under fire in Mississippi, Oklahoma and elsewhere recently because of denial of claims and or failure to pay what they owed. There has been documentation showing State Farm, or the engineering firm representing them, changed engineering reports in order to support State Farm's denial of claims in Mississippi. This same pattern with State Farm and the same engineering company also took place in Oklahoma and resulted in one jury award in May 2006 of $13 Million dollars with $10 million of that being punitive damages. The jury in that case found State Farm had "recklessly disregarded its duty to deal fairly with policyholders".

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Cross-posted from Tort Deform

by Laura Klein Abel, Deputy Director, Poverty Program, Brennan Center for Justice &
David Pedulla, Research Associate, Brennan Center for Justice

It is common knowledge that our courts don’t well serve people of modest means.  Whether the concern is lost wages, unfair evictions, bureaucratic denials of health coverage, divorce or domestic violence, most individuals have a difficult time trying to enforce their civil legal rights.  But, against this grim backdrop, some areas are getting increased attention.

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Cross-posted from Tort Deform

by Cameron Getto

Michigan has for months now been in the midst of its worst budget crisis ever.  The Governor and the Legislature are talking about taking school money away in the last quarter of the fiscal year, laying off state employees, and potentially shutting down our government.  And now the governor is threatening the reduction of Medicare payments to medical providers who serve poor people and elderly people.  

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Cross-posted from Tort Deform

by Michael Townes Watson

Being, as I am proud to admit, an addict of the history of our American history, I have visited Jamestown, Virginia on multiple occasions. Consequently, I am on the mailing list for promotional information from their public relations department. I have recently received news of the planned events for the weekends of May 4-6 and May 11-13, when Colonial Williamsburg will host "Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness Prince Philip" to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Jamestown’s founding. The reason for the timing of these spectacles is that this year marks the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown.

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Cross-posted from Tort Deform

by Brian Wolfman, Director of Public Citizen Litigation Group

Today, I’m writing about the relationship between the so-called Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) and the attack on the consumer class action and consumer law more generally.  CAFA was enacted in February 2005 for the fundamental purpose of bringing virtually all substantial class actions based on state law into federal court.  State-law class actions can now be filed in, or removed to, federal court based on minimal diversity of the parties, not the ordinary complete diversity rule.  Under CAFA, there are a few situations in which the minimal diversity may not apply – for more or less "local controversies" – but they can only be invoked, at a minimum, if the main defendant is a citizen of the forum state, which is rarely the case with large corporations, whose corporate "citizenship" often has nothing to do with where it does business.  

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