WHY TORT PLAINTIFFS BLUFF WHEN THEY CLAIM DAMAGES,
AND WHY JURIES SHOULD GET TO HEAR WHAT SIMILAR PLAINTIFFS RECEIVED
FindLaw columnist, author, and Brooklyn law professor Tony Sebok discusses why a recent Firestone settlement, like many others, is far lower than the amount of damages that were sought in the plaintiffs' complaint. While we have gotten used to plaintiffs' bluffing, Sebok explains, there's a good reason it happens in our system -- and not, for example, in Germany's, where plaintiffs' damages demands tend to match their damages awards.
Monday, Aug. 27, 2001
THE FIGHT OVER THE PATIENTS' BILL OF RIGHTS: WHY HATRED OF TRIAL LAWYERS PLAYS A LARGE ROLE
FindLaw columnist, author, and Brooklyn law professor Anthony Sebok contrasts the House and Senate versions of the proposed Patients' Bill of Rights, isolating the significant similarities and differences between the two. Sebok contends some of the salient differences may matter more to plaintiffs and plaintiffs' lawyers than to patients' well-being.
Monday, Aug. 13, 2001
HOW GERMANY VIEWS U.S. TORT LAW:
DUTIES, DAMAGES, DUMB LUCK, AND THE DIFFERENCES IN THE
TWO COUNTRIES' SYSTEMS
FindLaw columnist, Brooklyn law professor, and author Anthony Sebok discusses the German and U.S. tort systems from a comparative perspective. Sebok explains why German lawyers and media view our tort system with a mix of envy, horror, and fascination, and why our tort law seems to them a natural outgrowth of our political culture.
Monday, Jul. 23, 2001
LITIGATING A GERMAN TORT DISASTER IN THE U.S.: THE DIFFERENCE PUNITIVE DAMAGES MAKE
FindLaw columnist, author, and Brooklyn law professor Anthony Sebok discusses the bid by German plaintiffs to move litigation over the worst rail disaster in German history to the U.S. -- in part so punitive damages will be available.
Thursday, Jun. 14, 2001
MONEY FOR NOTHING: WHY TOBACCO COMPANIES MUST PAY EVEN IF THEY WIN IN COURT
FindLaw columnist and Brooklyn law professor Anthony Sebok explores and explains the curious recent agreement in a huge Florida class action, under which tobacco companies will pay even if they win their appeal.
Wednesday, May. 23, 2001
ENDGAME?: HOW THE TOBACCO LITIGATION MAY FINALLY END FOR
GOOD, IN JUDGE WEINSTEIN'S NEW YORK COURTROOM
FindLaw columnist, Brooklyn law professor and author Anthony Sebok discusses
the complex and fascinating strategic goings-on relating to the cases against
Big Tobacco currently pending in the Brooklyn, New York courtroom of the
brilliant maverick federal district judge Jack Weinstein. Weinstein, Sebok
argues, is angling for a national settlement of all claims against Big
Tobacco but getting there may be harder than it seems -- especially given
that the Second Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected civil RICO claims
against Big Tobacco that Judge Weinstein thought should go forward. For
example, getting to settlement on smokers' remaining claims, Sebok suggests,
may involve using a trial on a third party insurer claim by a health plan
against Big Tobacco to leverage a global bargain.
Monday, Apr. 23, 2001
THE HOROWITZ SLAVERY AD CONTROVERSY, AND THE PROBLEM WITH CONCEPTUALIZING HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS AS PROPERTY-BASED
FindLaw columnist, Brooklyn law professor, and author Anthony Sebok discusses
the recent controversy in which college campus newspapers divided over
whether to run an advertisement by neo-conservative David Horowitz opposing
reparations for African-Americans' slavery. Sebok agrees that Horowitz' ad
-- which suggests, among other things, that African-Americans benefited from
slavery because they live in America, not Africa -- is offensive. However,
Sebok points out that Horowitz's premises have something in common with those
of the reparations movement: Both, Sebok notes, conceptualize human rights
violations as property-based and that, Sebok contends, may be deeply
Monday, Mar. 26, 2001
IBM AND THE HOLOCAUST: THE BOOK, THE SUIT AND WHERE WE GO FROM HERE
FindLaw columnist, Brooklyn law professor and author Anthony J. Sebok comments on the recent suit against IBM, which is based upon claims that the company aided the Holocaust, and on the contemporaneously-published recent book that makes similar allegations. Sebok discusses the claims, moral and legal, made in both the suit and book, and argues that if the book is
accurate, the provable allegations against IBM may, in the end, boil down to a claim of blindness by the company to immoral misuses of its data processing
Monday, Mar. 12, 2001
VENTURE CAPITALISTS FOR LITIGATION? - PART ONE
In Part One of a two-part series on the possibility of venture capitalists
for litigation, FindLaw columnist, Brooklyn law professor, and author Anthony
Sebok discusses why we don't trade shares in lawsuits, and explores the
alternatives for financing lawsuits that do exist. Sebok explains why some
believe the ethical rule and legal concept ("champerty") that forbid lawyers
from buying and selling interests in litigation are antiquated, and he notes
that allowing shares in lawsuits to be sold may simply level the playing
field for poor plaintiffs who sue rich defendants.
Monday, Feb. 12, 2001
VENTURE CAPITALISM FOR LAWSUITS? (PART TWO): WHY CHAMPERTY STILL MATTERS
In Part Two of a two-part series on venture capitalism for lawsuits, FindLaw
columnist, Brooklyn law professor, and author Anthony J. Sebok discusses a
recent Florida case of a family battle arising from a loan that a sister gave
her brother to fund his lawsuit. This case, Sebok explains, raises broader
issues about the wisdom of the legal concept of "champerty," which limits the
extent to which third parties can provide financing for others' lawsuits.
Monday, Feb. 26, 2001
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