We’ve invited SNL’s city correspondent Stefon to tell you what you need to know about ThePopTort’s hottest story updates this weekend! (If you don’t know Stefon, here’s one of his recent New York City club recommendations: “New York’s hottest club is Taste. Nightlife designer Tranny Griffith is back with an all-new club that answers the question Huh?!? Don’t look for a bouncer – there isn’t one. Instead the door’s guarded by ten jacked homeless guys in old-fashioned bathing suits. And inside it’s just sick: ice sculptures, winos, Germufs – German smurfs – a Teddy Ruxpin wearing mascara, an old lady wearing Kid 'N Play hair, and none other than DJ Baby Bok Choy.”) Ok, here goes.
Back in October, we told you about the Center for Justice & Democracy’s new study, Headline Blues: Civil Justice In The Age Of New Media. This report shows how the media are producing a deeply skewed and distorted understanding of our civil jury system. Along those lines, this week’s hottest irresponsible media story was coverage of a medical malpractice jury verdict in Colorado. This verdict will be drastically cut due to the state’s cap on non-economic damages but you’d barely know that thanks to news articles like this and this. Coverage of this verdict has everything: screaming headlines of an eye-popping verdict, sensationalization of the verdict throughout most of the articles, irresponsible placement (i.e. far down into the articles and in one case the very last paragraph) of the fact that state law “caps” damages regardless of what a jury awards.
Next, we told you last year about the painful impact of Indiana’s state liability “cap” as applied to the Indiana State Fair state collapse. This tragedy had everything: 7 deaths, many injuries, some catastrophic. A state law that capped damages at $5 million for the entire incident, upped to $6 million by the General Assembly. And now this week, we learn that anyone who accepts a paltry state settlement must also accept a limited private settlement from companies that built the stage along with a complete waiver of liability for any claim against them. And victims are given a whopping two weeks to act.
Finally, one of the U.S. Supreme Court’s hottest cases next term is Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, which we last covered here. This case presents important issues for a Court hell bent on immunizing corporate wrongdoers from liability. This includes the possible (some think likely) drastic curbing of the age-old Alien Tort Statute. The ATS is a remarkable federal law that until now has allowed people from countries outside the United States to sue foreign individuals and multinational corporations that commit human rights violations abroad - like torture, crimes against humanity, war crimes, genocide, disappearances, summary execution, etc. Thompson Reuters provides a new analysis here, noting that “the State Department's legal adviser, former human rights litigator Harold Koh, refused to sign the Justice Department's recent amicus brief advocating certain limits on the ATS's reach overseas.” That should tell you something right there.
On the other hand, and for no particular reason, here are some great NYC club recommendations. Have a great weekend!