The Civil Justice Association of California's (CJAC) Comments on the California Supreme Court's Decision in "Santa Clara"
The President of the Civil Justice Association of California, John Sullivan'a remarks on last Monday's Supreme Court of California decision on the Santa Clara Contingency Fee issue:
By disregarding the firm advice of California's district attorneys and not learning from ongoing lessons in other states, the California Supreme Court may have set our state’s civil justice system on path to a new brand of wasteful, confusing, and perhaps extortionate litigation. Read More »
On Monday the California Supreme Court reversed course on itself by deciding a governmental entity can retain contingency fee counsel to pursue civil claims provided the language of the contingency fee agreement contains certain provisions that purport to guarantee the government is in control of the litigation. In County of Santa Clara v. Read More »
The appeal of the dismissal of the Kivalina climate change case has drawn fire from several amicus curiae, but some of the most notable criticism comes from Richard Faulk and John Gray in their amicus brief for The American Chemistry Council, the American Coatings Association, and several other industry organizations. In their brief, Faulk and Gray illustrate how the “standardless” liability for public nuisance sought by the plaintiffs creates a non-justiciable “political question” – and justifies the district court’s dismissal of the plaintiffs’ claim. Read More »
In a seminal article published last year, Texas climate change lawyer Richard Faulk prophesied that the Securities and Exchange Commission would enable a wave of securities litigation based on climate change disclosure mandates. See http://works.bepress.com/richard_faulk/26/. Read More »
Scott Smith’s current article on NuisanceLaw.com highlights the problem with governments retaining private trial lawyers on a contingency fee basis to pursue lawsuits. Private lawyers motivated solely by profit are not able to make decisions about a case that threatens their return on investment. Read More »
It should come as no surprise that the next application of nuisance law would be climate change litigation. Read More »
The American Tort Reform Association (ATRA) has just published its annual list of “Judicial Hellholes” and, no surprise, California is on the “Watch” list. This is no surprise because the California judiciary has abdicated its gatekeeper responsibility.
There are likely any number of reasons for this “recognition” of the California judicial system, but let’s look at one major reason-- public nuisance litigation.
Public nuisance, as misapplied by the plaintiffs’ bar, would neuter the long-standing law of product liability. Plaintiffs, unable to identify which manufacturer’s product caused the alleged harm, try to cast a wide net of public nuisance to snare any company that manufactured, distributed, promoted or sold the product, regardless of how many decades ago and regardless of whether it was defective, claiming these entities substantially contributed to creating and maintaining a public nuisance. In at least one instance, a California Court of Appeals agreed with this mottled thinking and has allowed a public nuisance claim to proceed against companies some of which last manufactured lead pigment 50+ years ago. Surprisingly, the California Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal. Read More »
Richard Faulk, Chair of the Litigation Section at Gardere and a frequent contributor to numerous publications and to nuisancelaw, spoke to judges from across the nation at the Third Annual Judicial Symposium hosted by Northwestern Law School. Here is his presentation. Read More »
One would think that recent revelations concerning South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford’s personal, and very public, humiliation would encourage other elected officials to stick to the straight-and-narrow path of honesty, integrity and looking out for the Peoples’ business, rather than their own. Not so.
Last week The Wall Street Journal ran an op-ed stating that Attorney General Henry McMaster has entered into no-bid contingency fee arrangements to reward private attorneys for suing Eli Lilly and has . . . wait for it . . . received campaign contributions from these lawyers of more than $60,000. Put aside the fact that a 1991 state statute prohibits any person with a no-bid state contract from making a donation to a state official empowered to act on that contract, the issue remains—how does an elected official give to others that which he could not receive for himself? Read More »
On June 15, 2009, Richard O. Faulk and John S. Gray of Gardere Wynn Sewell, LLP, recieved the coveted Burton Award for Legal Achievement for 2009 in the field of Legal Writing. The award is a result of Faulk and Gray's influential law review article "Alchemy in the Courtroom? The Transmutation of Public Nuisance Litigation," 2007 Mich. St L. Rev. 941 (2008). This article was cited by the Rhode Island Supreme Court in support of its groundbreaking decision unanimously rejecting the attempt to apply public nuisance law to former lead paint and lead pigment manufacturers. Faulk and Gray are frequent contributers to a number of online publications including NuisanceLaw.com. Their work is influential throughout the legal community and was certainly influential in turning back the misuse of nuisance law in Rhode Island. Read More »