Briefly Stated: News Snippets

Suing over circumcision
William Stowell is suing the hospital where he was born, claiming that his adult sex life is not as much fun for him and his partners as it might have been because it subjected him as an infant to the surgical procedure of circumcision. Is this a frivolous lawsuit or cutting edge litigation? Read how Atlanta lawyer David Llewelyn is carving out a niche by blocking unwanted circumcisions. We thank for sharing this witty piece.

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Contributions bill goes to the House
The Texas House Elections Committee has approved more detailed disclosure of campaign contributions. The measure now goes to the full House for debate. Meanwhile, several proposed changes to the judicial selection process were left pending in committee.

See article in Dallas Morning News

Making Jury Service More Appetizing
The American Bar Association is embarking on a yearlong study aimed at making jury service less onerous. Texas jurors are paid $6 a day—the lowest in the nation. Bills designed to improve attendance are before the Legislature.

See “Project aims to attract jurors”, Dallas Morning News, Feb. 21, 2001

Outlived its Usefulness
Texas Chief Justice Tom Phillips said the current partisan election system “has long outlived its usefulness and now dangerously impedes public respect for the administration of justice.”

In his biennial State of the Judiciary address, Phillips urged public funding of judicial elections for the state’s two highest courts, the Supreme Court and the Court of Criminal Appeals.

See “Chief Justice rips election system”, Austin American-Statesman, Feb. 14, 2001

To Get More Jurors, Pay Raise Proposed
Jury duty—shunned by large numbers of Texans—would be more rewarding financially but also harder to avoid, under a carrot-and-stick legislative package introduced in Austin recently.

See “Carrot-and-stick plan offers up to $50 a day”, Dallas Morning News, January26, 2001

Lawsuit was Initiated Without the Consent of Patient
A judge on Wednesday ruled that a Houston law firm did not have the authority to file a medical malpractice suit on behalf of an Edinburg man who did not ask them to do so.

See Judge: Firm shouldn’t have sued physicians

Get a Grip
There is no cents in crying over spilled milk, but apparently lots of dollars in crying over spilled coffee.

In the latest spilled coffee lawsuit an Illinois woman has sued McDonald’s, the manufacturer of the car’s cup holder, the cup manufacturer and her own mother. Apparently, Mom should have been more diligent in her

(“Woman sues McDonald’s owner, own mother over spilled coffee,” Houston Chronicle, Jan. 10)

Hot Pickle Lawsuit
A Tennessee woman has filed a $125,000 lawsuit claiming a hot pickle from a McDonald’s hamburger burned her chin. Apparently, Neosporin and a band-aide wouldn’t remedy the problem. But $110,000 in cash will. That is the price tag Veronica Martin has placed on the medical bills, lost wages, physical and mental pain and anguish she has suffered.

She has not suffered alone. Her husband Darrin is seeking an additional $15,000 because he “has been deprived the services and consortium of his wife.”

The story originally appeared in the Knoxville News-Sentinel. The article was picked up by several news organizations, including the Associated Press, which ran the web site address of Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse. Web sites from radio and television stations across the nation carried a durable link to our web site.

People are angrier about frivolous lawsuits than politicians may think. Our web site received more than 98,000 hits the first three days after the hot pickle story broke nationally. A record 50,777 maneuvers were registered on our site October 9 with folks logging in from Boston to Los Angeles, Minneapolis to Miami.

“Couple Sue McDonald’s Over Spilled ‘Hot’ Pickle,” Knoxville News-Sentinel, Oct.7
“Lawsuit on Hot Pickle Draws Attention Around the Globe,” Knoxville News-Sentinel, Oct. 10

Lawsuits Prolong Recovery
Injured whiplash victims recovered twice as fast and claims dropped 28 percent under a “no fault” insurance system, according to a study by the University of Alberta. The study, released in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that health recovery improved dramatically by simply removing the possibility of lawsuits for pain and suffering.

Under the no fault system patients tend to concentrate on getting better rather than focusing on the negative aspects of their injuries. According to the study, this translates into huge improvements in recovery time.

The study found that the most important factor in recovery time under the tort system was whether or not the claimant retained a lawyer. Those who hired a lawyer took about 250 days longer to close their claims than those without, regardless of injury severity.

Click here to read more

Veto for Dollars Alleged
The Justice Department has opened a preliminary investigation into the possible misuse of the White House for fundraising purposes. According to the New York Times, Vice president Al Gore may have solicited campaign contributions to the Democratic National Committee in exchange for a presidential veto of a lawsuit reform bill.

See "Memo Linking Political Donation And Veto Spurs Federal Inquiry"

Tongue-In-cheek dig at Houston’s cellar dwelling baseball club.

Click here for Houston Press article “We’ll Be Paying the Filing Fee”

Invasion of the Party-Snatchers
Who will be the most influential political player making independent expenditures in this year's presidential election? asks Wall Street Journal editorial writer John Fund. The AFL-CIO, the religious right, the NRA? More likely lawyers flush with new tobacco fees: "a comprehensive study by Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse found that the trial lawyers gave 78 percent of all contributions to the Texas Democratic Party in the 1998 election cycle, when Bush was running for re-election."

Also see the related story on the CALA site Bush's Trial With the Trial Lawyers

Ante Up?
Did former Attorney General Dan Morales improperly solicit funds in consideration for awarding legal work in the Texas tobacco case?

Reportedly, prominent Houston trial lawyer Joe Jamail says yes. Jamail claims Morales solicited $1 million from each of several lawyers he considered hiring on a contingency fee basis for the state’s suit against Big Tobacco.

Current Attorney General John Cornyn is asking the court to allow him to take depositions of the five lawyers who were awarded $3.3 billion in legal fees after helping Morales achieve an historic $17.3 billion settlement against tobacco companies in 1998.

Click here for more details

Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse

2500 City West Boulevard, Suite 300 • Houston, Texas 77042
E-mail: sosueme@ • Administrative: (713) 267-2302 • Fax: (713) 267-2267