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July 2003
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September 2003

Chamber Calls Mold Litigation A Growing Problem-Papers Conclude There's No Scientific Evidence To Support Lawsuits

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has recently released papers dealing with the problem of mold litigation. For an overview, click here.

The full text of the papers in pdf format is here. One paper is written by two partners of Hughes & Luce. The other is a scientific paper that examines each type of health complaint linked to mold by surveying the scientific literature. It determines that mold can be an allergen for atopic individuals; that infections caused by mold are rare, save for immune-compromised individuals; and that there is no sound scientific evidence that mold causes “toxicity”in doses found in indoor home environments.


Building a computer

I spent a good part of the day building a computer with my 13 year son. Main components: Antec 660 plus case, Epox 8RDA3+ motherboard, AMD 2800 processor, IBM/Hitachi 120 gb hard drive. Used Mysuperpc site as our bible, although the parts we used were different enough that I had to actually read the manuals at times. We are still waiting for the monitor and operating system to arrive, so there is lots of work left -- but the case fans work, so at least we got that right.

The Antec case is a beauty -- my only complaint about it is that the connectors for the front mounted USB ports had to be hooked up to the motherboard wire by wire. That is, there were eight tiny connectors to plug into the motherboard, instead of one 8-pin connector.

I wanted this to be a learning experience, and I guess it was; but the bottom line is that we attached components to a metal frame with fasteners and plugged things in by matching the shape and color of plugs to the sockets. It's funny that you can build a computer from components without having much of a notion how any of them work, using for the most part kindergarten level skills.


In D.C., Claimant Not Required To Exhaust UIM Insurance Before Enforcing Judgment Against Insured Covered By Guaranty Association

From time to time insurers are put into receivership or liquidation, and the applicable state guaranty association steps in to provide substitute coverage.

The D.C. Court of appeals recently considered whether a defendant tortfeasor whose liability insurer is insolvent has the right to require the plaintiff to exhaust his potentially applicable uninsured motorist insurance before the plaintiff enforces his judgment against
the defendant, where the District of Columbia Insurance Guaranty Association has elected to honor the insolvent insurer’s coverage obligations to the defendant without requiring such exhaustion.

The Court held that the defendant cannot force the claimant to first exhaust the UIM insurance.

Continue reading "In D.C., Claimant Not Required To Exhaust UIM Insurance Before Enforcing Judgment Against Insured Covered By Guaranty Association" »


Dangerous Consumer Fraud Statutes

Walter Olson has kindly shared a link on his Overlawyered blog to a Manhattan Institute publication on Consumer Fraud Statutes. The full title is Unfair Competition and Consumer Fraud Protection Statutes--Recipe for Consumer Fraud Prevention or Fraud on the Consumer, sponsored by the Center for Legal Policy at The Manhattan Institute.

The D.C. Consumer Protection Procedures Act, D.C. Code 28-3904, like the statutes discussed by the panelists at the Manhattan Institute program, is so broadly written that it could swallow up a significant part of tort law. As if it were not an overbroad and sloppy statute already, it was amended in March, 2000 to eliminate the requirements of injury in fact and causation.

Continue reading "Dangerous Consumer Fraud Statutes" »


Five Musts to put in Writing to a Client

Unfortunately, the full text of the Maryland Bar Journal isn't online.

Melvin Hirshman, Maryland Bar Counsel, sets out five "musts" to put in writing to a client in his column in the latest issue of the Maryland Bar Journal (September/October 2003). The list, which bears endless repeating, is as follows:

1. The retainer agreement.

2. A letter declining representation.

3. A letter to the client and the client's written consent to a settlement.

4. A settlement statement of a case, also signed by the client.

5. A waiver of a conflict (where permissible).


In Maryland, Leader of Hunting Party Not Liable In Tort For Negligence of Another Member of that Party

A leader of a party of deerhunters may not be held liable in tort for the actions of a member of
that party who accidentally shot and injured other hunters because the leader of the party
was under no special duty to protect the injured parties from the actions of the shooter. Remsburg, Sr. v. Montgomery et al., No. 129, Sept. Term, 2002 (Md. Aug. 27, 2003).

In this case, the plaintiffs had been shot on their own land by the son of the defendant.


D.C. Choice of Law Rule As Applied To Medical Malpractice Damages

The U.S. District Court for D.C. has ruled in a medical malpractice diversity action that Virginia's damages cap for medical malpractice awards would not apply. This litigation arose from health care treatment
provided pursuant to a plan that the plaintiff, a Virginia resident, obtained through her District of
Columbia employer. The application of Virginia’s cap on the plaintiff’s damages award would contravene the District’s interest in protecting its workforce and promoting corporate accountability. Therefore, the court applied District of Columbia law to the issue of damages in this matter.

Accordingly, the Court denied the defense request to reduce the jury award of $1.45 million to the maximum $ 1 million allowed under Virginia's cap. Bucci v. Kaiser Permanente


Full Text Washington Lawyer Is On Line

The DC Bar Association has revamped its website. One thing I just noticed is that it has put the full text of the Washington Lawyer, the bar magazine, on line. Plus all the back issues to 2000. Plus you can search the whole collection. Take a look.

Jake Stein's column, Legal Spectator, is excellent as usual.

The DC Bar Association is a mandatory bar association, and the magazine subscription comes with the dues. So they are not really risking much damage to their subscription base by giving access to the magazine plus 2 1/2 years of back issues for free.